Tag Archives: Cook

Meal Plan 9/22-9/28

It’s close to the end of the month, and my birthday is on Sunday!!  I’m trying to keep this week’s grocery budget under $60 so that Rami has more money for presents. And so I can get a pedicure at the end of the month.

I already spent $43 at Greenling on our local box, plus 1 lb. tomatoes, 1 head of butter lettuce, milk and a surprise me!  That leaves $17 for groceries, plus whatever leftover food I can scrounge from my pantry and fridge.  Can I do it???

Here’s what’s coming in the local box:

  • Fresh Black-Eyed Peas – Naegelin
  • Limes – G&S Groves
  • Lentil Sprouts – Groovy Greens
  • Indian Cucumbers – My Father’s Farm
  • Sweet Italian Peppers – Lundgren
  • Red Potatoes – Naegelin
  • Butternut Squash – Massey
  • Sorrel or Canary Melon or Eggplant – Tecolote
  • Herb – Pure Luck
  • Yellow Onion – Naegelin
  • Okra – Bradshaw Farm

Here’s what I’m gonna make:

Wednesday: Sorrel Soup garnished w/plain yogurt, hash browned potatoes
Thursday: Fattoush salad with steamed lentil sprouts, pita with hummus
Friday: Old Fashioned Wilted Lettuce, Garlicky Butternut Squash, spiked limeade
Saturday: Black eyed peas, cornbread
Sunday:  Misc. leftovers (I’ll be working at an event for my job that night)
Monday: Okra gumbo, rice
Tuesday: Weelicious pepper tofu packets
Wednesday: Weelicious pepper tofu packets

Most of the perishable ingredients for the recipes above will come from Greenling.  I’ll be able to scrounge the dry ingredients and 3 cups of chicken stock from my pantry. The rest, hopefully, will come out to less than $17! Here’s the grocery list:

Phoenicia pita ($2)
10 slices Bacon ($4)
Bunch parsley ($.50)
Mushrooms ($2)
Extra firm tofu ($2.50)
Cereal ($4)
2 cups chicken broth ($2)

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Cheese Grits

Today I went to a brunch hosted by my new friends Grechen and Cassiday where I met lots of wonderful Austin bloggers! Although it was only the second time I’d been to an event, this group meets about once a week to chat, network, and eat good food.  Most of the ladies who lunch/brunch are fashion bloggers so when I see them I have to restrain myself from asking them annoying questions about accessories.  (Can I wear leggings with flats? In September in Austin??)

Anyways, at this brunch I ate some terrible cheese grits.  Everyone knows that cheese grits should be tender and creamy, but these were flaky and dry. Lame! I have been so irritated all afternoon about these grits that I decided to make them for dinner tonight.  Here’s to you, ladies!

Cheese Grits (serves 2)
1 and 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chicken broth (vegetarians, sub water or milk)
1/2 cup grits or cream of buckwheat
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 centimeters jalapeno, minced (I left the seeds in)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

I have a little corn allergy, so I like to use cream of buckwheat instead of hominy grits for this recipe.

1. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil in a saucepan.  Meanwhile, mince the garlic and jalapeno. Add to saucepan.

2. Once liquid is boiling add the grits and lower the heat to medium low. Whisk constantly until the grits are creamy and thick, about 10 minutes. This one boils over easily and it will scorch if you use milk, so pay attention and stir away!

3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, whisking until completely melted. Season and serve immediately.


A Soup for Tuesdays

Tuesdays can be a pretty rough day to cook in our house.  We don’t get our Greenling local box until Wednesday each week and I wait to take care of other grocery shopping until Thursday or Friday. Sometimes I forget to go grocery shopping altogether.  That means every Tuesday, we’re usually out of milk, scraping at the dregs of the produce in our fridge, and if we’re lucky, we’ve still got a few random tupperwares of leftovers.

The past few weeks, though, Tuesdays have been great!   I found an awesome soup recipe whose ingredients all last over a week in the fridge! It’s a huge plus that they all happen to be local-box favorites that are almost always in season in Texas. The non-refrigerated ingredients keep a long time in the pantry and are super cheap, plus the finished soup reheats beautifully. Oh yeah, it’s really healthy, too!

You’ll see that the recipe adapts really easily to what you have on hand– if it’s been in the crisper for a week and it’s still good, it will probably work in this soup.  No grocery panic, and no wasted local box produce!

Tuesday Soup (makes about 8 cups)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 leeks or 2 onions
2 potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes
2 cups cubed butternut squash or 1 cup cubed zucchini squash
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 apples, cored and diced
4 cups veggie or chicken or beef broth or a mix of these plus some water if you’re desperate
1/4 cup leftover white wine
salt & pepper
Plus any combination of herbs and seasonings that you enjoy.  I like 1/4 tsp each curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.  An alternative would be 1/4 each teaspoon rosemary, thyme, and a few bay leaves.  Choose a flavor profile and go with it!

1. Chop up all the veggies and fruit. You can leave the skin on everything but the butternut squash. Take care to core and deseed the apples and butternut squash!  Hint: microwave the whole squash for about 4 minutes while you collect the ingredients. Once it has cooled, it will be much easier to cut and cube than if it were raw.

2. Saute all the fruits and veggies in olive oil in a really big soup pot for about 20 minutes, until it’s all soft and shiny.

3. Add the wine and stir, then add the broth. Bring to a simmer and cover.  Simmer, covered, at least 20 minutes. Midway through the simmering process, taste the soup and add the seasonings you like.  It is important for this recipe to taste as you go, especially if you experiment with the quantities and types of veggies and broths you use.

5. Remove the bay leaf and any rosemary stems, if applicable.  Use a blender to puree the soup and serve.

6. Bask in the glory of your cleaned-out crisper drawer.  Feel thrifty and healthy and regular. (This soup has a lot of fiber.) Enjoy!!