Not surprisingly, you are all amazing.
I have been inundated in the best possible way with recipes and food planning tips since my recipe plea. I needed ideas for easy meals that produce a lot of food for leftovers or freezing. Boy did you deliver. Lo and behold, such recipes exist and I have you to thank for a week of much better eating around here. The first and most helpful piece of advice that I got from my friend C?
1) Do a huge shop every 2 weeks or so.
I think I’ve been teetering on the edge of this since J officially entered the ranks of 3 year olds who eat entire meals. I’m still living in the past, as is the destiny of parents everywhere, and clinging to the idea that I can still feed him off of my plate. This, sadly, is not true, since he can and does easily polish off 4 bananas in one sitting at just about any time of day. So last time I went to the store, I bought 2 dozen eggs, 2 tubs of yogurt–essentially twice the amount of the things that I’ve been buying for my entire adult life. The result: we have food in our refrigerator for longer than 5 minutes. And I feel less resentful when I open the fridge before bed, desperate for protein, and find that all appealing options have been scavenged by the two men in my life.
2) Stock up on ingredients for high-protein snacks.
I found this list of snack ideas in a moment of internet desperation.
Some of the stuff was pretty basic, but there were some good ones–I have been especially loving smoothie #13, and I like it best with almond butter.
3) Make lots and freeze.
- From E: Black bean sweet potato burritos
- From S and C and r: Make a lot of soup and freeze it. (This was a revelation, since I often do make a lot of soup, and then we all go on strike on day 3 and I find myself leaving little tubs of the stuff on our neighbors’ doorsteps.)
4) Make lots and eat for days.
- From r: “Roasted vegetables! You just have to cut them up, drizzle in olive oil, season, and stick them in the oven. Turn half way through.”
- Anna: “Cook a load of cous cous (soaked it veg stock so it tastes of something already), chop up ( nice and chunky) a red onion, pepper, fennel( essential in my opinion), courgette and roast for about 20 mins, then for the final 5 mins chuck in chopped chilli and garlic ( plenty of) cherry toms and crumbled feta. Mix with all roasted goodies with cous cous and mix together with a dressing consisting of olive oil, whole grain mustard, lemon juice and loads of seasoning. Eat it warm and fresh then stick it in the fridge and it makes good cold lunches for a few days. Yum yum pigs bum.”
- From me! Lentil feta tabbouleh (I make at least a double recipe and it’s also great with quinoa instead of bulghur wheat)
5) Pick recipes that are easy to throw together quickly:
- From Laura: “Tilapia filets cooked in a skillet with Frontera sauce for fish and served over rice. Grab some salad from a bulk mix, toss it with some olive oil and soy sauce and BOOM, dinner.”
- and Laura again: Noodles with broccoli and white beans
- From S: Bibimbap–its a traditional Korean dish. “Make a big pot of rice and toss with sesame oil (& toasted sesame seeds are good). Saute protein (tofu, beef, chicken). Add veggies: greens, mushrooms, carrots in vinegar. Last minute, fry and egg and throw on top. Eat with soy and spicy sauce.”
6) From my dear friend MM: “Here’s my two cents on cooking ahead. CROCK POT!”
- Crock pot sweet and spicy ground turkey and sweet potato stew
- Crock pot Santa Fe chicken
- Slow cooker beef curry noodles
- Slow-cooked minestrone
- crock pot breakfast!! Overnight oatmeal
7) Prepare certain ingredients in advance to throw into future meals.
- From Shanyn: “For example, make a big batch of your favorite grain on the weekend when you have the time and then you can morph that grain into several meals just by adding a protein and veggie/fruit.”
- From S and J: Make a huge batch of beans or lentils to freeze or add to multiple meals all week.
8) Ask for help when you need it.
Putting out the call to all of you was the single most helpful thing I did to improve our food reality. It made me feel less alone, impressed with your resourcefulness and lovingly envious of the beautiful meals you feast on with the ones you love. It also reminded me that I do have recipes I love and ways that I tend to cook, and that sometimes I go into lock-down mode because there is simply too much going on. Having some compassion and understanding for that topped off with some very practical help from a bunch of kick ass people–well, that is a recipe we should all keep around.