This took me two hours. Just these two lists. I’m exhausted and hungry and want all these things right now. Some of these things are repeats from a previous list, but they’re so good, I know you’ll want to read about them twice anyway.
Step 1 – The meal list
1. Pizza Puffs – pizza in a muffin – easy to make in bulk and freeze. I will be adjusting this recipe, probably to include more vegetables and maybe no meat.
2. Kale/chicken egg rolls – because I NEED them. Ditto on the making in bulk and freezing. Baked, not fried.
3. Lasagna – the basics with variations. This has the benefit of combining something that can be made for company or for leftovers, and it can be made with things that I usually keep on hand.
4. Veggie enchiladas – the basics with variations – for the same reasons listed in #3.
5. Lazy Sunday Casserole – it’s easy, and sometimes, I just need my house to smell like this. I am not above putting apples in it.
6. Chicken and dumplings – basic and awesome. It freezes beautifully, and it tastes even better the second time around. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. I won’t, because I’d like to be able to fit through the door. But yeah. Love me some dumplings.
7. Caponata – this is probably my favorite thing to make in the slow cooker. It’s so versatile. It can be put over rice, eaten as a stew, top a baked potato, served on toast – the possibilities abound.
8. Chickpea curry – I adapt this one to whatever veggies I have around. Careful with that pepper. Your more faint-of-heart guests will not like it. If I’m coming over, add another. I like the spice.
9. Black bean chili – another thing that I can eat alone or serve over ten thousand things.
10. Green bean casserole – I make my own mushroom soup, and I make it vegan-ish, but otherwise, it’s pretty traditional.
11. Roast with carrots and potatoes – another thing I love to come home to after it’s been simmering in the slow cooker.
The last four are meals with a base and a variety of fixins.
12. Pasta, etc. – particularly drunken noodles. Otherwise, this is something I typically keep in the house. It’s a quick meal that I like better and can fix faster than I can drive through Sonic. My favorite pasta creation is usually something with black olives and either goat cheese or my mom’s pesto.
13. Simple tacos, etc. – I will add just about anything to it, but I’m also happy with beans, cheese, and tortillas.
14. Burgers, etc. – as with tacos, I like to experiment, but I’m happy with just meat, bread, mustard, and cheese. Maybe pickles and a tomato.
15. Baked potatoes, etc. – I can make a whole mess of potatoes in the slow cooker and just reheat them as needed.
I also want to make sure that I have everything that I need for morning oatmeal, beer bread, muffins, waffles, and those delicious mini-egg cups that I can freeze and reheat for a quick breakfast.
Also wine. Because.
Step 2 – The grocery list
I have three different lists – one for the things that go in the pantry or on fruit/veggie storage bins, one for the things that go in the fridge, and one for the things that go in the freezer.
I think I’m going to go ahead and get the generally non-perishable items and the frozen things all this weekend. And I’ll get the refrigerated items that I’m going to cook up or prepare for freezing this weekend as well. For instance, I can wait on the roast and the sausages, as I’m making those meals later in the month. But I think most of this list I will either use this weekend, or it will keep until I do use it.
This looks like a huge list. I must remember that this is a list of the things I need for this month, not for things I necessarily have to buy. I bet that I have at least half this list at home already. I will check things off as I clean tomorrow. No need to hyperventilate, self.
Pantry/fruit and veggie bins:
Baking aisle: baking powder, baking soda, flours (self-rising, whole wheat, and AP), almond milk, coconut milk, brown sugar, muffin tin liners, spices (just going to refill what I’m missing from the bulk bins)
Canned (i.e., jarred): tomato paste, salsa, broth (2 chicken, 1 beef, 3 veggie), french fried onions, olives, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, applesauce
Oils/condiments: oils (grapeseed, olive, coconut), vinegars (red wine, balsamic), honey, molasses, soy sauce, chili paste, maple syrup
Dry goods/bulk: quinoa, rice (long-grain), dried fruit, beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, northern), oatmeal
Fresh fruits/veggies: onions, butternut squash, lemon, lime, ginger root, scallions, potatoes, tomatoes, serrano chile, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, apples, eggplant, zucchini, fresh herbs/spices (garlic, cilantro, parsley, basil),
Random: bread, potato chips (I put eggs on them…don’t judge me…it’s delicious), wine, beer
eggs, cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, goat), meat (ground sausage, sausage links, ground beef, roast, chicken), veggies (kale, bell peppers, celery, carrots), egg roll wrappers, corn tortillas, flour tortillas, butter
Mixed veggies, spinach, green beans, hash browns
That doesn’t look as bad as it does on my handwritten list. That’s do-able. And like I said, a lot of it is in my house already.
Themes, Observations, and Lessons:
– I imagine that meal-planning is faster when you regularly keep staples in the house. There might be musings about that next week.
– Meal-planning helps me minimize food waste. I like that.
– Thinking about all this food I need to make room to store reminds me that tomorrow is fridge-cleaning day. I’m dreading it.