Category Archives: Noms

Meal planning

Noms 2.25.2013

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Since last week didn’t involve a lot of cooking, Josh and I are trying to focus on making some simple, healthy meals this week and next.

We got most of our shopping done this weekend, but had a few things left to pick up today. (Who would’ve thought sesame seeds and quinoa would be so hard to find?)

A few things I learned today: 1) You pretty much have to go to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods (or a similar store) for unseasoned quinoa. 2)Same goes for unsweetened coconut (I learned this about banana chips over the summer). 3)Sesame seeds are located on the spice aisle… not the nut aisle. Go figure.

I’m sure I just helped you with your next shopping trip. You’re welcome.

We moved a lot of items over from the last round of meal planning just because there were so many we didn’t get around to making. (Josh was sick with little appetite most of the first week, and I was gone most of the second week.)

Also (and I just figured this out) the Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki recipe that I had moved from the last meal plan to this round seems to be no longer available. So I’ll have to figure out something else. It definitely needs to involve chicken and sweet teriyaki sauce. I’m open to suggestions.

Anyway, here’s this round of meal planning!

The Meals

The Sides

The Snacks

The Treats

  • Peanut Butter-Chocolate Krispy Bars

Notes on the last round of meals:

Like I mentioned earlier, most of our planned meals didn’t happen last time. Aside from grilled tilapia (a go-to in our house), the pulled chicken sandwich recipe was the only one I was able to get to, but Josh got sick before he was able to eat any. (He tried to down some leftovers a couple of days after I cooked it, but was still too sick.) I really enjoyed the sandwiches, though I ate so many it may be a while before I cook them again. (After three days of having pulled chicken for breakfast and lunch, I froze what was left.)

The only thing I didn’t like about the pulled chicken recipe was the four-hour cook time. My favorite part of slow cooking is starting the meal when I leave for work and having it just finish as I get home–so, usually eight hours. Meh.

I paired the pulled chicken sandwiches with carrot fries, which was really nice. They tasted a lot like sweet potato fries. They take a lot of effort to make, but if you have the time, I recommend them. (Obviously, I like them a lot. I’m planning to make them again in the next two weeks!)

The carrot chips, however, did not get such a warm welcome. I only made the sweet chips because I didn’t have any cayenne for the spicy chips. Josh wouldn’t even try them because they looked weird (which was probably my fault for over-seasoning them…oops!) and I didn’t like the consistency. They were very soft and chewy–not at all what I expected from a chip.

Oh, but the no-bake energy bites… yes. Just. Yes. I had to make two batches because Josh and I both loved them so much. (I forgot to roll most of the second batch before I left for San Antonio, and Josh told me he just ate it straight out of the storage container. Ha!) I only wish there was some way to cut down on the sugar and still keep the bites together. Ideas?

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now.

Keep up with me on Instagram for photos of these recipes as I make them.

Noms 03.11.2013

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It’s been a minute since I’ve been around here, hasn’t it? Last week was pretty hectic (mostly because of the annual cleanliness inspection–more on that another day), and it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down for me. But I’m going to try to carve out a little more time this week for sharing stories and things (especially {infatuation friday}) with you.

Anyway, on to the noms of the week!

We didn’t plan much for this round of meals because I’ll be out of town for four days next week. Josh is content with cans of soup and tuna and other quick fixes, so we made sure we have plenty of that kind of stuff, but we only planned three main-dish recipes. I did, however, come up with some interesting snacks and side dishes. Plus, I’ll be making a special dessert for Josh sometime this week (we’re both pretty excited about it).

Here’s the plan:

The Meals

The Sides

The Snacks

The Treats

  • Peanut Butter-Chocolate Krispy Bars

Notes on the last round of meals:

Several meals didn’t happen because I planned too many (I forgot I’d be visiting my mom for three days last weekend). We nixed the Almond-Crusted Tilapia and the Crockpot Chicken Tacos but were able to have the Chicken Tenders (with Baked Steak Fries) at my mom’s house. (We also had skilled-cooked flounder with rice and broccoli, which was a nice change of pace.)

Again, I didn’t make time for the Snacky Black Beans; I’d love to try them, but because they have to dry for an hour, I’ll have to plan (time-wise) better. So I’m keeping them off the list this time, especially since we have plenty of other snacks planned.

The Crockpot Lasagna Soup didn’t turn out so great. Maybe it was because I subbed in extra-fiber penne noodles, or maybe I used too little meat substitute  but it was pretty awful. When I usually make slow-cooker recipes, Josh and I both love how the house smells. But this time it smelled like too many different and strong ingredients at once. And it didn’t taste much different. I won’t go as far as to say the recipe was bad (I’m never afraid to admit I may have done something wrong),but we won’t make this recipe again.

The Shepherd’s Pie was better than I expected. I’ve never tried it before and was afraid I wouldn’t like it, but I really enjoyed it. My sister ate with us and told me she wants to make it for her fiance. I’d definitely say it was a winner. It’s only downfall is it’s very carb-heavy (not complex carbs though) and didn’t keep me full for long. But if I can find a way to change out some of the simple carbs for complex carbs, and maybe increase the fiber and protein, I’d love to have this again.

I cannot say enough good things about the Gluten-Free Chicken Chili with White Beans, Sweet Potato and Lime. Josh and I both loved it. (He had to stop himself from going for seconds when he was already full.) It was fairly time-consuming and took a lot of effort, but it was so worth it. We will definitely have it again soon!

The snacks and treats were the best part of our last meal plan. I took my first attempt at creating my own scone recipe, and it turned out surprisingly good. (I honestly expected to have to throw at least one batch away, but I got it right on the first try.) You can find that recipe here. I also made Whole Wheat Blueberry Bites and loved them. Josh said he liked them but only ate one or two from the batch; I think he was concerned about the amount of carbs and sugar. Regardless, I’ll probably make them again sometime. (More for me, right?)

Check out Instagram for photos of these recipes and more!

Noms 02.25.2013

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We had an interesting weekend. Josh and I had a date night planned Saturday night, which we ended with two hours of grocery shopping (totally necessary, thanks to our conflicting schedules). Then I spent most of yesterday destroying the kitchen with flour and oats. But the good news is we now have delicious scones and whole wheat blueberry bites. Lets just ignore that we had to eat fast food for dinner because I forgot to set out chicken, ‘kay?

Cool.

bitesAnyway, Josh and I have discovered a new thing that works for our meal planning: shopping at multiple locations. I have a feeling this is nothing new to plenty of people, but then again maybe it isn’t. We do most of our shopping at Target, but I realized that with my Winn Dixie card (which was free, by the way–if you have a Winn Dixie nearby, it’s worth getting a card, even if you don’t plan to use it often), I can get ground turkey for about half the price of Target’s. we also haven’t been impressed with Target’s produce lately (which is weird, since that used to be my go-to store for produce), so we usually go to Publix for that, though I’d love to start giving the farmers market a go once it opens again.

Well, the point of all that was to let you know that if you don’t do this already, shop around. You don’t have to go to one place for all of your groceries. Look for the best quality and the best deals, and choose places that will work for your needs.

Alright. On to this round of meal planning. Josh and I found some really interesting meals, and it seems like most will be super easy to make. Keep in mind this is for two weeks.

The Meals

The Sides

The Snacks

The Treats

  • Whole Wheat, Dark Chocolate Chip Scones with Oats & Almonds (recipe coming soon)

Notes on the last round of meals:

chxpotroastWe tried a gluten-free, yeast-free pizza dough for our Valentine date night pizza, and it was, well, exactly what I expected. I’ve had gluten- and yeast-free rolls from Chebe before, so I figured the tasted would be similar. It was exactly the same. I don’t recommend that pizza dough unless you absolutely have to have it gluten- and yeast-free. (If you need a gluten-free dough but can handle the yeast, this dough from Gluten-Free Goddess looks like it would do the trick.)

The chicken pot roast dinner was everything I hoped it would be. It was so easy and delicious, and it lasted us for two meals each! I made a few changes when I cooked so I could use things I had on hand rather than buying a lot of frozen things I probably wouldn’t reuse. The biggest difference was the gravy: I used fat-free turkey gravy instead of chicken gravy because I couldn’t seem to find pre-made chicken gravy anywhere. I think it changed the flavor, but that definitely wasn’t a bad thing. Instead of frozen small whole onions, I cut about half of a large yellow onion into thin strips and measured out about a cup of it to use (and stored the rest of the cut strips in the fridge). We always have yellow onions, so this was way simpler than buying the bag of small frozen onions. Probably the least effective change was the veggies. I didn’t have a full 1 ¼ cups of peas, nor did I have a full two cups of carrots, so I subbed in the missing ½-cup or so with corn. (Josh loved the addition!) I don’t think it made a major difference in taste, but I’ll probably do it again anyway.

garlicfriesThe cheeseburger pasta was okay. I think it’s because we use almond milk, but the texture wasn’t quite right, and we both felt kind of gross after eating it (it was far too much cheese and pasta and not enough good-for-you stuff). Again, I may have just done something wrong (it’s likely, since I threw it together within the hour between work and Josh’s lunch break), but I doubt we’ll be eating it again.

The garlic fries: ohmygosh they were so much better than I imagined! I made them last weekend and paired them with baked chicken tenders, and I invited my sister and her fiance over for lunch. I had a small problem with the fries sticking to the pan, despite that I greased the pan before putting the fries on it. However, it didn’t affect the taste, so I’m not too worried. The biggest problem was that I hadn’t fully read through the instructions before starting, so a 1 p.m. lunch turned into a 4 p.m. early dinner. (So if you make these, give yourself a solid 2 hours for prep–including peeling and cutting the potatoes–and cook time.) But everyone agreed it was totally worth the wait–then they went back for seconds.

The snacky black beans still haven’t happened. I keep forgetting to make them! They’re on the list again for this round of meals, so we’ll have to see how that goes.

Check out Instagram for photos of these recipes and more!