This past week I tried my hand at some intense meal-planning, with the goals of saving money, not wasting food, and trying some yummy new recipes. I poured over this cookbook, which I love but am usually intimidated by, and picked out some seasonal dinners that had overlapping ingredients, carefully planning my trip to the grocery store. It ended up being a very tasty, and very French-Italian. Here is my week of meals:
1. SALAD: spinach, kale, tuna, bacon, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, & avocado, topped with a poached egg + dijon vinaigrette // Let it be known that I hate lettuce masquerading as a meal, and am always skeptical of salad. But after a gluttonous weekend, some palate-cleansing was in order. I still piled on lots of good stuff to make it truly appealing. Also an option: topping with parmesan.
2. SLOW COOKER SAUSAGE + VEGETABLE RISOTTO // This was delicious. The one exception to Trader Joe’s I made was picking up this Italian sausage from Whole Foods that was a big hit when I cooked it with kale once before.
3. EGG WHITE SOUFLEE WITH RATATOUILLE // Adding a crispy layer of eggs whites on top definitely elevated this ratatouille. I may try doing that with other veggies, too.
4. MARINATED FISH WITH SALMORIGLIO SAUCE + lemon garlic broccoli // I used white ruffy I had in the freezer. It turned out super buttery and tasty, but I may use more lemon juice in the sauce next time.
I ended up having dinner at a friend’s house one night, but still could have made a feast of leftovers or whipped up an omelette or eggplant parmesan for a final night. (Weekends, I’ve declared special enough for eating out or ordering in).
THE SHOPPING LIST
I had stuff like olive oil, vinegar, pepper, etc. on hand already. Since these recipes make large quantities, I shared meals with either my roommate, boyfriend, or both–and still had enough leftovers to feed us little lunches throughout the week. Shopping at Trader Joe’s, the cost of groceries came out to about $35/person, which is pretty great considering I can easily spend that in one meal out. I’m sure I could have done even better with pasta and potato-based dinners, but avoiding tons starch was also a secondary goal.
There were plenty of eggs, veggies, and bacon available for breakfast, and lunches could be made of stir fry with rice, bruschetta, or, as mentioned, wonderful leftovers.