Meal Plan: September 28-October 4

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

How I felt this morning

How I felt this morning

September 28- October 4

My best friend Rachel and her husband Bryan arrive Thursday, so not a ton of meals to cook! Unlike when we lived in TN and cooked for out of town company, here we just go out.  So many restaurants to try!

Total cost: Roughly $130

Average cost per meal per person, with snacks tucked into the mix: $4.64

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

  • Crispy brown rice and cacao treats (recipe coming soon)

Dinner

Bolognese

photo (31)

On the list of Josh’s favorite things that I make, I know for sure that my bolognese is in the top 3, and quite possibly number 1. Birthday request level. This makes me extremely happy, since it has taken me quite a while to find and modify the right recipe, and I plan on this being a recipe our family uses for years to come. I want this to be my legacy recipe. I mean, that’s not asking for too much, right?

I didn’t think so.

This recipe is not hard, but it does take time. lots of time. Time that is all completely worth it, but it shouldn’t be rushed. It matters.

I normally make this while Josh is at work, but since he was home the last time I made it, I had him taste the sauce every hour, so that he could see the delicious progression  of the sauce over the course of the afternoon. He was blown away at the difference between hour 1 and hour 4, even before I added extra seasonings.

Seasoning to taste during hour 1 is a no go. You need to give it time and space for the flavors to develop, and only tinker with it during the final half hour. Trust me, this is the right thing to do.

Bolognese (adapted from The Merry Gourmet)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (26- to 28-ounces each) tomato puree
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • A few dashes of worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Pasta

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cook vegetables until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef, pork, and a big pinch of salt; cook, stirring often and breaking up any clumps, until meat is fully browned. Add milk and Italian seasoning, stir, and cook until the milk has reduced by at least half. Add the white wine, stir well,  and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the tomato puree; when the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring more as the sauce thickens.

When the sauce is at the thickness you prefer, start heating your pasta water.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and add the optional seasonings. Stir well and let it continue to simmer while the pasta cooks

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.

Taste the sauce and make any additional seasoning tweaks.

Serve the pasta with a generous amount of sauce, and add some shaved parmesan if you’d like.

Meal Plan: September 21-September 27

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

Fires of Mordor... or the beginnings of a curry sauce

Fires of Mordor… or the beginnings of a curry sauce

September 21 – September 27

Nothing too exciting this week!

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

 

 

Links I Want to Eat: September 19

Enjoying the Met

Enjoying the Met

  • This looks like a perfect, easy dinner. Now to buy some udon and find some dashi powder
  • Crispy curried chicken would be soooo good on a salad
  • I love salt and vinegar chips, and I love roasted chickpeas, so this blend of the two could be dangerous
  • Tonkatsu is one of Josh’s comfort foods, and I love the idea of putting it in a salad roll
  • I had to set aside my yeast challenge due to some dang carpal tunnel issues, but this list makes me want to start it back up again
  • Before I start the yeast challenge back up, I want to try my hand at these apple pie biscuits
  • We spent our honeymoon in Scotland, and thoroughly enjoyed eating countless homemade scones (with clotted cream for me). I’d love to see if this recipe can compare to the ones we had http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-real-irish-scones-recipes-from-the-kitchn-128074
  • I trust Joy, and I love weird flavor combos that involve salty, sweet, spicy, so this crazy popcorn mix looks just weird enough to be insanely delicious

Double Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

photo (28)

I’m always interested to see what Josh picks on weeks when I tell him to go crazy and pick all of the meals. Most weeks, we each decide on a few meals, so it’s a good balance, and we both try to keep the budget in mind. He did a great job, budget wise, staying easily within our limit.

His choice for snack this week? These bars, which are always a favorite, and since we usually have most of the ingredients on hand anyway, they wind up being insanely cheap as well. Easy to make, hearty, and delicious. It’s really just a win/win.

Double Banana Chocolate Chip Bars (recipe from Eat Live Run)

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/3 c oil, preferably coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 c quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 c chopped banana chips (we use unsweetened)

2/3 c dark or semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 8×8 pan and set aside.

In large bowl, smash the banana until it’s just a mushy pulp (appetizing, right?). Add the oil and brown sugar and stir until completely combined, with no sugar lumps remaining. Note: if your kitchen is cold, or you use a cold banana, sometimes the coconut oil will start to harden. The few times that has happened to me, I placed the mixing bowl into a large bowl of hot water and let it warm up, then stirred it again.. Nothing to worry about!

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and oats.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined, then fold in the chocolate chips and banana chips.

Pour this mixture into the 8×8 pan and pat down evenly. Bake until the edges are golden, about 25 minutes.

Let cool, and enjoy.

Meal Plan: September 14-September 20

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

September 14- September 20

Although Josh’s birthday was the 13th, this is his birthday week meal plan. All meals and snacks following were selected by him, the lucky guy. Bolognese was his first and happiest choice.

Total cost: Roughly $150

Average cost per meal per person, with snacks tucked into the mix: $5.36

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

 

Meal Plan: September 7-September 13

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

Misfortune cookie

Misfortune cookie

September 7-September 13

My parents are visiting New York this week (yay!), so there won’t be much cooking happening. Also, Josh’s birthday is Saturday! Happy times all around.

Breakfast

Lunch 

Snack

Dinner

  •  Classic split pea soup- one of our favorite soups ever
  • Japanese curry- with chicken, carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper