Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meal Planning

I'm taking a stab this week at actual meal planning.  As part of my diet, food control is fairly important.  As a poverty stricken graduate student, not wasting food is, too.  I also need to consider that I'll probably be moving in May (to a location to be determined), so I need to clean out my freezer.  So, I'm taking stock of my current food situation and trying to see if I can't swing an entire week without a substantial grocery trip.

In hand:

Meats and Meat Substitutes
3/4 of a rotisserie chicken, deboned and deskinned
1/2 lb of shredded beef (from the beef bourguinon)
canadian bacon
breakfast sausage (crumbled and drained)
tofu (extra firm and silken)

green peppers!
 sweet potatoes

I also have a ton of frozen soups and chilis that I could dip into for lunches or to round out a meal.  Something I noticed I'm a little long on are frozen blueberries and frozen blackberries.  But what can I do with those that won't bust my diet? 

Meal Ideas
Senegalese peanut stew (sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, green peppers, zucchini, spinach and tofu?)
Beef and chicken tacos (beef, chicken, lettuce, onions, tomatoes)
Crustless quiche with canadian bacon, spinach, shallots, and gruyere
Meat and cheese pizza (chicken, sausage, onions, canadian bacon, pepperoni, green pepper)
 Stuffed peppers (green peppers, onions, tomatoes, sausage, beef)
"Cream" of tomato soup (tomatoes, silken tofu)

Zucchini bread
Pumpkin bread

I'll have to cruise my recipe sites to see if I can't find something healthy to do with that frozen fruit.  Any ideas appreciated.

Also, if anyone uses any meal planning web sites that are particularly useful, I'd love to check them out.  Or if you just have tips on meal planning.  Especially meal planning that incorporates food you already own.


  1. Ooh, can stir your frozen berries into home-cooked oatmeal (the pre-fab stuff is full of junk you don't need) that you made with cinnamon (I also stir butter flavored extract into it after cooking), then add a little. Splenda brown sugar. This is my breakfast almost every morning, but I use frozen dark sweet cherries (about 8 of them and they are unsweetened). Try it!

    Ever tried turkey pepperoni?

    Also, on your banana and zucchini breads, have you ever tried whole wheat flour? I swear it is what makes mine everyone's least they say so. Could be the butter flavor Crisco I so sinfully use, too.

  2. I baked a smoked turkey a while back just for the purpose of portioning the meat and freezing it. I am using some today to make potato soup (the recipe calls for ham, but I thought the smoked turkey might be really good). I'm also lightening it up by using fat free half and half instead of heavy cream.

  3. I like Leanne's suggestion for your berries!!

    I too plan all my meals in advance because it 1) saves money when I go to the store and 2) I live 35 minutes from the grocery store and only go once every 8 or 9 days.

    I don't use a menu planner site or anything, I just look at what I have in the fridge and think about what I want to learn to make. This week:
    1) Chicken and Green Chile Casserole (have to use up some items in the fridge and have left over rice)
    2) Meatball Sandwiches and Beer-battered Greenbeans (have leftover meatballs from spaghetti and wanted to learn how to make beer-battered beans!)
    3) Beef Stroganoff and Braised Cabbage (have left over cabbage from stir fry and figured a russian theme was in order.)
    4) Senagalese Peanut Stew. Because it's good and I already have everything
    5) Lamb Gyros on Whole Wheat Pitas and Steak fries. Have some Greek Yogurt to use up, and too many potatoes (forgot to buy Dill though--doh!) And D has never had a gyro.
    6) Winter Root Vegetable Chicken Pot Pie. Because its winter. =)
    For lunch: Turkey and Avocado Sandwiches, and Buffalo Chicken wing wraps with Blue Cheese.

    Am already toying with next week: Meatloaf? Fish Tacos? I love menu planning!

  4. Oooh. I have a great meatloaf recipe, but I don't think I'll have time to make it before you get around to yours. My mother taught me to make meatloaf and I was never a big fan of it, but one of my college roommates made a meatloaf that was so delicious I had to learn how to make her recipe. Meatloaf was one of my favorite meals for a long while after that. Maybe I'll write her and have her give me her recipe again so we can post it here in time for you to try it if you'd like.


Comments welcome. Feedback on recipes appreciated.