Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: Kitchen, Home, and Me

I admit it, I like the whole resolution thing. Here's how I did compared to what I set out to do.

Goal 1:

Maintain a healthy, half-budget grocery bill. According to Mint, I spent 92.5% of my grocery budget for the year. I had actually forgotten about this as a goal, updated my budget in Mint, and stuck to it. We did a meat CSA, veggie CSA, and split a cow from a wonderful ethical farmer.

Assessment: SUCCESS.

Follow-up for 2011: Drop another 10% from the monthly grocery budget, skip the meat CSA while the freezer is so full, plant a better garden.

Goal 2:

Target the top 3 food stress days. I think I did a moderately good job with this goal -- but toward the end of the year, I really fell off the meal-planning wagon and this goal suffered for it. I think having a few more meals in the freezer stockpile would help me keep on track here, but I'm also going to need to rethink my overall meal planning cycle in the face of the new job.

Assessment: Mixed Success and Failure.

Follow-up for 2011: Increase my thinking to a sliding two week window so that my plans are more resilient against busy weekends.

Goal 3:

Observe Kitchen Wednesdays. This one really fell apart by mid-year. My work-at-home day fell by the wayside with the new job, and that was the end of the goal.

Assessment: Pretty much a failure.

Follow-up for 2011: I still want to have special meal days. It seems like the only way to work this into our new lifestyle is to either spread the prep out over a couple of days or to target the weekend.

Oh...and no snowbound cookie challenge in 2010. So, January.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yellow Curry Tofu & Pineapple Rice

Yellow Curry Tofu

2 carrots, diced
2 onions, cut into wedges
peas (I used frozen)
tofu (one block, cut into chunks)
yellow curry sauce (maybe 2/3 of a bottle from trader joe's)
sesame oil

I cooked the onions in a very small amount of oil until they were softening and browning in places, then added carrots, then peas, then the tofu. All this simmered while I played on the floor with my kids and let it cook.

Meanwhile, I also had a pan of pineapple rice going.

Pineapple Rice

leftover rice from takeout, a couple days old and dried out is kinda perfect
can of crushed pineapple
sesame oil

I cooked the rice in the oil until I started to worry it would stick to the pan, then poured in the pineapple. All the juice soaked up into the rice and the whole thing simmered happily while the curry heated.

The kids liked the rice, but have yet to show much interest in tofu, even without the curry. Oh well, more for me ;). Lazy delicious dinner, and the nice thing here is that by having two quick and easy dishes instead of a single-pot meal (not that there is anything wrong with going single-pot) is that you can always grab an extra bite of rice if the curry gets to be too hot.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meal Plan for 12/5/2010-12/12/2010

I'm trying to make this week's plans fairly low-impact and drawn from ingredients I have on hand -- not only is it a freezer-cooking month around here, it's almost time for the twelve days of cookies. You heard that right... it's almost time for the twelve days of cookies!!! More about that in another post, however. This is the plan I have for the next week plus:

Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: pot roast with french bread
Prep: chicken/spinach pies

Grocery shopping day: freezer cooking month version (i.e. buy only items that are either practically free or on the absolute essentials list)
Dinner: chicken/spinach pies, pita chips & hummos

First day of the twelve days of cookies!
Dinner: crock pot shepherd's pie: ground beef, carrots, peas

Dinner: Yellow curry tofu w/chickpeas & naan

Dinner: crock-pot chicken cordon bleu

Dinner: turkey nachos