Today’s topic, ladies and gentlemen, is all about meal-planning. Do you meal-plan? Yeah neither do I. Well, if you actually do, I not only applaud you but I BEG you to send me your tips, because quite frankly I suck at it. Well that’s a bit harsh, let’s re-phrase that: I suck at following through on it!
Part of my job in marketing is organizing (and executing) events, be they promotional, corporate, media, what have you; you need it, I plan it- and I’m actually pretty darn good at it too. So, with that in mind, all that planning, you’d think I’d be a fantastic meal-planner. Yeah, I did too.
Unfortunately, I think this stems from my years old-habit of cooking on the fly. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I get weird cravings, cravings that rival a pregnant woman- carrying twins! I barely figure out what I’m making for dinner on any given night before lunchtime!
Before moving in with the boy, a typical evening (sans boy) would include:
– Finish work
– Metro home
– Stop at:
- Fruit and veggie stand
- Grocery store (Oh the joys of living downtown!)
– Come home cook awesome dinner
– Pack leftovers for lunch
It was a pretty awesome system and a routine I sincerely enjoyed, but when the boy and I decided to cohabitate last year, well my system didn’t work out very well. This system turned into:
– Finish work
– Drive to grocery store (I’m a big girl now with a car living in the ‘burbs)
– Come home cook awesome dinner (at least that hasn’t changed)
– Forgot about ingredients picked up earlier in the week that never got used because I’m now cooking for 2 which really equals 4 at times since the boy is still a carnivore
– Said ingredients go bad
– Boy rips out hair in frustration and yells at veggie for gastronomically high month-end grocery bill (Ok, so he didn’t yell, but I may have gotten a ‘slap on the wrist’ lol)
Needless to say, a change was demanded in order. So, I decided to once again give meal planning a shot and I’ve now dubbed this week: Meal Planning week! I sat my butt down in the heat last night and planned out all of this week’s meals including: breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner for myself and the boy. Well, as the boy eats cereal or toast every day for breakfast and a turkey sandwich with fruit and yogurt everyday for lunch- his part was easy 😉
I even did a mass grocery shopping trip this afternoon on my way home from work!
Would you believe I got all this glorious food for under $65??? Amazing!! Now to be fair, no, it’s not organic, and a lot of it isn’t local- I did my best in that department but when shopping with budget as the primary factor, some things have gotta give people!
However I did find this gem- local beautiful Red Frisee Lettuce!
Ain’t she gorgeous? Expect plenty of yummy salads to be posted this week my friends. That was probably my fav purchase. Yes I am a freak, my blog is titled MTL Veggie– whaddya expect- hot dogs and poutine?
Anywho, after drooling over my produce and pulling a muscle from patting my back, I went to cooking our first planned meal, the boy’s all-time fav:
MTL Veggie Jambalaya (figured I’d suck up a little, I’m not above it)
I believe I’ve talked about this recipe on the blog before, but let me reiterate some key points:
-Yes, I realize the rice is processed/packaged Uncle Ben’s with more sugar than really should be allowed but it MAKES this recipe I tell ya!
– The tofu could be substituted for meat if you’re not veg- my mom uses chicken, sausage, and ham in hers
This go-around I used: green bell pepper and this delectable yellow zucchini for my veggies
But, as this is the most easy-going recipe you’ll ever get from me, you should use whatever veggies you’ve got handy- I’ve been known to put in: broccoli, snow peas, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, even sweet potatoes into this mix on occasion.
Here’s the recipe for this version:
MTL Veggie Summer Jambalaya
½ Package, Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Rice
1 block extra firm tofu (pressed if you had a chance to do so
½ c. chopped white onion (Spanish or Vidalia work also)
1 ½ tsp minced garlic, divided (I use bottled, sue me)
½ c. diced bell pepper
1 c. diced zucchini
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp paprika
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Cook Rice according to directions, keep covered and set aside
Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp Olive oil in large skillet or wok over medium heat.
Add onion sauté 1 min
Add garlic sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds
Add in tofu, stir until well mixed and starts to brown slightly ~ 3 minutes
Add in basil and paprika
Cook, stirring frequently for another 3-5 minutes, then add veggies
Cook until heated through and veggies are cooked to desired doneness (I like crisper veggies so I don’t cook for longer than another 5 minutes)
Add in rice and stir to combine, season with S + P and serve
I served mine up with a delicious salad with my awesome lettuce- this was sooooo good! Simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic and a dash of sea salt to bring out the fresh summer flavors of the cucumber and tomato.
After dinner I demanded begged pleaded requested ice cream as a reward for my shopping efforts and kick-ass jambalaya (we were fighting over the leftovers for our lunches). The boy bought me a lovely single scoop of pistachio almond- I’m probably the only person under 65 who likes pistachio ice cream but I loved every last lick 😉
Ok, well safe to say meal-planning day one was a big success- let’s hope I keep it up for tomorrow!
Do you meal plan for the week? What are your fav tips to share on this topic?