I have been working diligently on getting together a week’s worth of food based on menus so I can relax a bit about cooking. I work very long hours, and NT-style eating tends to be labor intensive. Very often what happens is, I work 9 or 10 hours both in the building and at home online (and when I say work, I do not just mean my trad job, but also websites, Ran’s forum, blogs, etc. It’s ALL work, baybee!) the spouse works the usual eight plus commute, kids come home hungry (if they bother to come home, often unannounced, hungry, and with friends) and what do we do? Go out to dinner. Argh. Total point-blower.
So, I have come up with a system that works for me, in getting ready to feed all of us for the week without going into full blow stress mode. I have to use “cheater” ingredients to do this, but since our diet is healthier even WITH the “cheaters”, I stopped stressing about it.
Here is a sample of a week’s meals:
either presoaked Scottish oatmeal form Bob’s Red Mill or
bacon and eggs or
a coconut milk/kefir/yogurt based smoothie.
Lunch: I make three soups every Sunday, and package them in single serving containers and freeze them. The night before, I thaw them, then heat the soup up in a pan and pour into thermoses for all. We also pack small packages of “odds and ends” like salami, raw cheese, veggies and dip, homemade crackers, cream cheese, crispy nuts, fruit, yogurt, whatever each person likes. It helps to keep a variety of stuff on hand. I make small batches of mild kimchee every couple of weeks, and take a bit every day with me in a small container. I also pack salads if I have enough greens.
Dinner: for this week, I picked:
Beef and cheese enchiladas in sour cream/coconut milk green sauce,
Lasagna with meat sauce,
Beef stroganoff with sour cream and egg noodles,
Steak and baked potatoes
Roast chicken and veggies
smothered pork chops and potatoes
The soups this week are:
Cream of Chicken
That is Mon-Sat, with Sunday a day we buy and make something special after shopping for the week’s meals. Tonight we are having ribs and chicken wings. Yum!
NOTE: I keep on hand a roughly 3 month food supply, between dry goods, canned goods, and frozen goods. I am lucky to be a part of an organic food co-op, and get most of my food from there. I buy Rocky’s chickens, and Creekstone Farms meats, and that is what I have available this year. A lot of my meals are structured around what I have stored.
Much of the meat comes straight out of the freezer, since I tend to buy the same cuts over and over, based on price. To defrost them, I soak the cuts in a brine in a big bowl (each type of meat separate: beef/pork/chicken)
After 24 hours of brining/soaking, I transfer the cuts to type-specific containers for soaking in buttermilk/kefir/yogurt or whatever I have on hand (usually all three). The containers are Tupperware, and stack on top of each other in the fridge for space saving. They can sit like that in the fridge for up to two weeks, as long as they get turned at least once a day and the smell stays fresh.
I like to do all of this on Sat-Sun. Some cuts of meat I buy fresh and send straight to the kefir.
If all goes well on Sat, I have a lot of the ingredients I need to start getting meals together. I have premade the enchiladas already, using high quality organic, thick corn tortillas that have nothing in them but corn, salt and lime from the soaking (got them from Trader Joe’s). I buy organic green sauce, use raw cheese, and shredded beef that I popped in the slow cooker. I like to layer the tortillas and ingredients flat, like a casserole. I have the lasagna ready too. This week I used bottled organic marinara sauce, as I ran out of home canned tomatoes. I cheat and use the “no boil” sheets and layer the casserole with zucchini squash as well as cheese and ricotta with parmigiana, egg and garlic. Two of the soups are done, as I save stock from making it about once a month so I can whomp up the mushroom and chicken quickly. Today, for the tortilla soup, I am boiling meaty rib bones for the base. This will take a while, but while all this is going on, I am sitting on my butt blogging, so it can’t be that hard! The meat for the stroganoff is soaking, and I will cut it up the morning I cook it and throw the whole kit-and-caboodle in the crock pot.
The chicken, steaks and chops are defrosting in brine, and will be transferred tomorrow to containers for soaking. The chops will be smothered in some of the cream of mushroom soup I made, with extra sliced onions and baked golden brown. That is one of my favorites. I make two kinds of veggies with each meal for sides, not counting potatoes or noodles if they are served. We seldom have bread but if we do, it is either whole wheat sourdough or sprouted wheat bread. (on special occasions I make soaked white-flour rolls.)
All of this activity makes for a busy weekend, but I find if I do this, I can come home and pop something into the oven or into a pan, then put on my jammies and be a bum for the rest of the evening!