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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weeknight Dinners

It has come to my attention that some people find my planning meals for the week and doing all my shopping in one day amusing...I am not here to defend myself but rather to point out the benefits of doing just that. When I plan a weeks worth of meals I can see where the gaps are in my diet. For example: too much breads, not enough veggies, too much red meat and I can make changes right then and there on paper before I ever get to the grocery store. Another benefit is I am not stopping at the grocery store on the way home multiple times a week to pick up dinner, and I am less likely to impulse buy.
Sunday's dinner was a simple soup called Chicken Gnocchi Soup I had roasted a chicken the day before, let it cool and picked all the meat off the bones. I used the amount of chicken called for in the recipe and put the rest of the meat into my freezer for use later in the week for another dinner. Dinner was complete with the soup some salad and homemade bread that I had made that day.
Monday's dinner was simple enough. I had purchased a small pork roast a couple weeks before (super sale and double coupon deal) put it in my freezer for just such a simple meal. I simply seasoned it well and roasted it along with one very large peeled and cut up sweet potato. Served it all up with a salad and homemade honey balsamic dressing.
Tuesday's dinner was Spicy Mushroom Rice another super simple yet satisfying meal when you add a salad and slice of homemade bread. I did increase the mushrooms to one pound for this dish. We love mushrooms.
Wednesday's dinner Lemon Orzo Salad with AsparagusThis meal went together in a snap, had great flavor, and I served it up with a large plain naan bread that I had purchased (packaged) the week before and didn't use (sometimes you have to improvise). I did increase the Asparagus to 1 lb.
Thursday's dinnerChicken Meat Balls I did make some changes here. I used ground turkey (another one of those deals along with the pork roast) I added some additional spices, and you need to add some salt to the mix. I made a tomato sauce (from last years tomatoes that I froze) and served this up with some more salad and the last piece of naan bread (improvise, adapt, overcome). There was also Almond Bread with Lemon. It is a winner, hands down.
Friday's dinner was Chicken Pita pockets I made some changes to this recipe. I used the rest of the chicken from the Chicken Gnocchi Soup on Sunday, and instead of Swiss cheese I used the left over Feta cheese from the Orzo Salad that we had had on Wednesday.
Now I did need to make a trip to the grocery store this week for Almond milk to make the cake on Thursday and some avocados and pita bread, but a great deal fell into my lap and saved me. Instacart It is a new service and since I was saving some cash I took advantage and grabbed up some regular milk, eggs, and cheese. I also got the avocados and pita bread that I needed for Friday's dinner. You can pick the day and time frame to have your delivery, you can also choose to have some items swapped with others if they don't have them, and you get a great new shopping bag. My order arrived Wednesday afternoon just a bit past four pm. Everything was perfect.
Now tonight we are having hamburgers with a vegetable gratin, and since I do my shopping on Saturday I will pick up any missing items that I need for tonight's dinner today. It is not easy to make a menu and follow it, but in the long run it saves you time and money. I hammer out my menu on paper with pencil that way changes can be made while I am standing in my pantry looking at what I have on hand, and what I need to re-stock. You also have to take into consideration what will live in your refrigerator for a week. Mushrooms generally won't, so I will have to buy those today, buns and rolls may or may not survive a week so you have to put some thought into where you place the meals on your menu to maximize your meals while minimizing your trips to the grocery store. I still learn things when I do this, but what I do know is grocery stores love to see people in every night, the after work shopper who doesn't have a clue on "What am I hungry for" you end up purchasing stuff you don't need and sometimes get home and ask yourself why did I buy this? Not to mention the wasted hour you spend wandering around the grocery store trying to formulate a plan and get checked out. Me...I would rather be at home with my puppy or out walking him. Have a great rest of the weekend folks. I am going grocery shopping. I got my list all ready to go.

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