Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Same Food, Different Meals

When I don't plan ahead, grocery shopping seems to take me forever because I just wander around wondering what I should buy. Then I always end up buying too much or forgetting something and having to go back several times in a week and let's face it, who really has time to go to the grocery more than once or twice a week?  I know I don't.  So, I've been trying to become a  more efficient grocery shopper.

When I cook a lot of different recipes that require vastly different ingredients I found that it cost a lot of $$$ and that we couldn't possibly consume everything before it went bad.  So now, I've been planning ahead.  Each week I choose 2-3 recipes/meals that I know I'm going to prepare and I make a list of all of the necessary ingredients.  Then, I select 3-5 items to supplement those ingredients.

For example, this week I knew I was going to be making green smoothies and vegetarian tacos which require:
Green Smoothies:  spinach, kale, cucumbers, celery, carrots, apples, lemon/lime juice.
Vegetarian Tacos:  black beans, refried beans, rice, grape tomatoes, spinach, olives, onions, avocado, lime juice, wraps
Supplemental Ingredients: portobello mushrooms, marinated beets and orange & yellow bell peppers. 

From these ingredients I was able to create multiple lunches and dinners:
Sunday Night- Vegetarian Tacos
Monday Lunch- Vegetarian Taco leftovers
Tuesday Lunch- Celery, Cucumber, Beet and Avocado salad (see recipe below)
Tuesday Dinner- Burritos w/sauteed Onions, Bell Peppers and Mushrooms with leftover Rice in a Wrap
Wed Lunch- Burrito 'salad' (the last of the Rice with the leftover sauteed Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms sans wrap)
Wed Dinner- Spinach Salad with grilled Portobello Mushroom, chopped Celery, Grape Tomatoes and Vinagrette
Daily- Green Smoothies
Daily Snack- chopped Carrots and Bell Peppers

Cucumber, Celery, Beet, Avocado Salad
  1. Chop celery, cucumbers, beets and combine in a bowl
  2. Add juice of 1/2 lime and salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Let marinate for an hour (or longer) in the fridge
  4. Add sliced avocado and enjoy!

Vegetarian Burritos
  1. Cut onion, mushrooms and peppers into long thin slices
  2. Saute onions over med-high heat until they start to get soft and translucent
  3. Add peppers and mushrooms and saute for approximately 2 minutes
  4. Fill wraps with rice and then layer on the sauteed veggies.
  5. Add hot sauce (optional), roll up and enjoy!

  6. These aren't the fanciest recipes but they're simple to make, they taste good and we utilize all of the food we buy so it saves us $ and we aren't wasting food.   Just be creative with the ingredients you purchase and with what you have on hand at home. For example, if you have whole wheat pasta in the pantry, you could put the leftover sauteed onions, mushrooms and peppers over pasta with chopped grape tomatoes, olive oil and salt & pepper.

Have a great day!

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