You can learn a lot about a person/family with the question, "What's for dinner at your house tonight?" It's one of my favorite questions as the mother of a swimmer waiting for practice to end. I love the question because I can get some good recipes or good ideas, and I do find out a bit about the person. Some of us are planners and know what our meals are for the week (well, most weeks anyway), some people have no idea what they'll be eating after practice, and others are stopping somewhere to grab a dinner. Oh...and I often ask the question because it's evening and I'm getting hungry and just want to talk about food.
I love to eat...that's why I work out and why I plan meals ahead of time. I try to plan about 4-5 meals every week. The other meals we eat leftovers or I create something with freezer ingredients and pantry staples, or we may decide to eat out. For our small family of three (and a traveling husband, so often for only 2) that seems to work for us. I have tried planning more meals each week but that hasn't worked for our family.
Elizabeth and I met at swim practice and soon started exchanging recipe ideas. Sometimes I get in a cooking rut or have a problem thinking up weekly plans. It's inspiring to hear what others are having...especially because she likes quick, healthy, and inexpensive ideas as well! She asked me to provide some blog posts...and I'm excited about sharing recipe ideas, so let's see some comments and ideas from others. I'm always looking for more recipes.
A CSA box provides us with fresh ingredients every other week during the growing season. We split the share with another family of three and alternate the weeks. We've done this for a number of years and it works well. Initially we tried splitting the items in each box but have found that created too much work. For example, the cabbage had to be cut..sometimes there is one tomato, and it's just as easy to parboil and freeze two turnips as it is to do that with one.
During the growing season meals are planned after receiving the box on Thursday. However, during the school year the meals are planned around my work schedule and when I can get to the store.
I try to plan my meals so the ingredient usage is maximized. For example, this week I'm using cilantro in an Asian inspired dish as well as in tacos. It's not so much of an issue when I can pluck it from the planter in my yard...but when I purchase it I hate to see part of that big bunch of an herb go to waste! Planning ahead gives us a variety of meals...chicken, fish, meatless. And....it minimizes trips to the grocery store!
Our family recently joined a warehouse store. It took me awhile to jump on this bandwagon thinking that a family of three didn't need to have huge stockpiles of ingredients; however, now that we have been part of this for over a year (yep, just renewed), I am finding that there are items I do like to purchase in bulk. I make the artisan bread (see Elizabeth's post) and purchase the flour and yeast in bulk. The yogurt for smoothies is great to get in large containers. And the fruit....I love the large containers of berries.
So, I have the recipes and meals ideas...now I just have to remember to take some food pictures before posting.....