Monday, May 31, 2010

Some Kinda Meal Plan....

This month has been full of disorder and stress -- the mix of a new j-o-b and trying to figure out how to wrangle both an infant and a toddler has left me drained. It surely was handy to have so many freezer meals -- thinking back on the month, it felt like we ordered a lot of takeout, but looking at the budget, we actually didn't. Instead of going out to eat on the weekends, we've been kinda hunkering down, and takeout has been a stress response on the toughest weekdays. June will be better, surely. I love spring weather, and I have no interest in my girls growing up any quicker than necessary, but I'm ready to leave May behind, thankyouverymuch.

I realized today that my accumulated ground pork is pretty perfect for tacos (Secret Meat Club seems to include quite a bit of ground pork; the only use I'd come up with prior to today was eggrolls, which are frozen and awaiting stirfry meals). Despite eating out of the freezer quite a bit, I still have quite a stockpile from my previous rounds of freezer cooking. Today I stumbled across a couple of stuffed pancake cupcakes .... yum!

  • grill out 2x -- hamburgers, lamb sausage, steak
  • pork tacos
  • lamb curry stew
  • turkey meatballs
  • sweet & sour shrimp stirfry
  • DIY pizza w/mozzerella & pepperoni
  • asparagus risotto (or grilled)
  • wild rice

To Freeze

  • chopped asparagus
  • chopped rhubarb
  • creamed corn

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Freezer Cooking/Meal/Gardening Plan

Here's the items I want to make in this month's cook-a-thon:
  • Pizza Rolls
  • Chicky Nuggets w/peach sauce
  • Buffalo Shrimp
  • Ravioli Lasagna
  • Turkey-egg-cheese "muffins"
  • Twice-baked potatoes
  • Lasagna
  • Taconess
  • Bread! Finally!
I am splitting this into a 3-day plan...which will be a little more of a challenge than usual because I don't have my work-at-home day this week. I'm also integrating in my meal and gardening plans to try to give myself a full & reasonable picture of what I'll be up to.

Tuesday AM: put pork roast into crockpot. Tuesday PM: Chop vegetables. Dinner tonight: shredded pork tacos; Also, start lamb roast and ground beef defrosting.
Wednesday PM: Cut potatoes, bake. Prep pizza dough. Freeze chicken that won't be used for nuggets. Chop chicken for nuggets, prep, bake. Put ground turkey into crockpot. Dinner tonight: leftovers. Garden plan: Dig a hole for sage, replant. Plant peppers in space vacated by sage plant, get tomatoes in the ground.
Thursday AM: Put ground beef in crock pot to cook overnight.
Thursday PM: Prep potatoes, freeze. Scramble eggs, mix with turkey and cheese, bake. Prep pizza rolls. Bake. Assemble lasagna, freeze. Assemble taconess, freeze.
Dinner tonight is Italian chicken, pasta, & sauce.
Plant perennials in back. Tote window boxes up to the back deck, plant annuals.
Friday PM: Plant leftovers.
Saturday AM: put lamb roast in crockpot. them, plant them. Get bread started.
Saturday PM: Dinner tonight: crock-pot lamb roast in pita with greek yogurt.Punch down bread.
Sunday AM: stirfry w/eggrolls
Sunday PM: Dinner tonight is BBQ.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Some people just don't know when to quit....

My last published meal plan is dated April 7th, and it's May 1. I mention this not because I feel like a slacker for not making and posting meal plans....although I suppose it's true. I don't feel guilty about it particularly, although it does remind me to redouble my efforts. Nope, I mention the time gap because in reality, I spent the last 24 days attempting to follow my April 7th meal plan, and not having very much success. So as I sit down to make the next week's plan, I'm trying to sort out what went wrong.


Pan-seared chicken breast from cook's illustrated
This I actually did make, last week. It was more effort than I really wanted to spend on worknight dinner, but the sight of several ingredients approaching the end of their useful life convinced me to suck it up.

These three never got made:
Beef Strogonoff from cook's illustrated

thai lemon grass pork chops w/ginger-lime sauce

chiang mai noodles

The first one didn't make it because I never bought the beef to go with it....I assumed that I had the right sort of beef in my giant freezer stockpile, and I was wrong. The other two depended on me not being too tired and hungry to deal with new recipes....

This one got made:
turkey meatballs part, I think, because they are one of my specialties, and popular with the family.


Hah. Didn't happen. I bought all of the ingredients except for the chicken, made plans to get the chicken on sale, missed the sale, and never recovered.

In the intervening weeks, I entertained my in-laws during their "new grandchild" visit, cooked and ate most of the pre-cooked meals I put aside earlier in the year, and ended up going back to work earlier than I had planned -- I took 4 weeks leave instead of 8.

What was my real error in all this? I didn't recognize failure early enough. 3 weeks spent trying to implement a 1-week plan should have been a sure sign that I hadn't made much of a plan, that circumstances had changed, that a new plan was needed, but I never took a step back to observe things from an outside perspective.

So, what's the plan this week? Step 1, use the Freezer inventory to build the meal
plan...not my "wow, we have a lot of meat, so I'm sure we have THAT kind" imaginings....Step 2, go back to using my "working mommy" style of meal plan, and don't plan to spend ninety minutes in the kitchen every day of the week, you silly girl!


  • grill outside 2-3 times -- turkey burgers and hotdogs and burgers and brats, potato salad, green salad Mon and Mon next week
  • crock-pot pork roast -- for shredded pork tacos Thu
  • crock-pot lamb roast in pita with greek yogurt Tue
  • italian chicken, pasta & sauce w/spinach Fri
  • frozen stirfry mix w/eggrolls, sweet & sour sauce Sat
  • leftovers Wed and Sun


  • Fruit & Grain Bars
  • Pizza Rolls
  • Chicky Nuggets w/peach sauce
  • Sweet & sour chicken
  • Buffalo Shrimp
  • Ravioli Lasagna
  • Turkey-egg-cheese "muffins"
  • Twice-baked potatoes
  • Bread! Finally!
After today's shopping trip, I can proudly announce that I'm actually starting the week with all the ingredients for my week's plan in-hand.