Reservations for Two

Instead of only my hungry mouth to feed up in here, now there are two hungry mouths to feed and since I’m not working right now, a hungry mouth (his) also needs to eat lunch.

I am fortunate that Myron is a excellent chef and doesn’t mind doing more than his share of the cooking. He also has quite the knack for pulling together the pantry items for dinner. I am, alas, not quite that visionary and am a slave to my few recipes. I am trying to add more to my repertoire, however.

What I am finding though is that several times a week we are still running to the grocery store in the evenings to pick up something to augment whatever we plan for dinner because it wasn’t in the pantry and I’d like to stop doing that.

In addition, at the beginning of April we are going to start the Couch to 5K program and we need to start eating and cooking a lot healthier than we have been doing thus far. After all, we want to look extra fine for the wedding pictures!!!!

We have similar food tastes and don’t mind leftovers at all, especially so Myron can take them for lunch the next day. And with good food being expensive to purchase, I am definitely trying to minimize our waste and make sure we eat all of what we cook.

So, gentle readers, please share your tips in the comments with us for better meal planning, recipe sources and anything else you have to say that would help us out.

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19 thoughts on “Reservations for Two

  1. Girl, I LOVE to cook! I’m a little weird about organic & local, so I’ll buy up a mess of meat from Whole Foods or our local place and put it in the freezer. Then every weekend I pick up the stuff for sides…always fresh fruits & veggies.

    My advice for eating well on a budget: combination foods! Why eat a plain chicken breast when you can cut that sucker up and put it in a stir fry or some soup? Stretch it out!

  2. I try to limit my shopping to every 2 weeks. I like cook books that tell you want to always have in your pantry so you can always do a quick meal. I have one by rachel ray 30-minute express lane meals (I don’t like all her recipes but I like the pantry lists) According to her method, you do a big shop once a month and then maybe stop 1nce a week for something quick. Also when I got my first place and started cooking, my mother bought me this book called cook your meals the lazy way and it helped me learn how to shop and what kitchen tools I needed. Another thing I do is when its time to shop I see what one thing I do have in my pantry and plan around that. for example, I have some brown rice, and okra in the freezer, so maybe I’ll shop for gumbo. Or I have a ton of spaghetti sauce I bought on sale a few weeks ago so I’ll probably have lasagna next week.

  3. Menu planning is my friend! I typically shop every week for fresh fruits and vegetables and seafood. I will get whatever red meat is on sale because we typically only eat it once a week.

    I often purchase frozen vegetables for convenience but I will also buy fresh and freeze. Roast an entire chicken and have two or three meals from it (chicken salad, quesadillas(sp), etc. I will also roast an entire package of chicken breasts because they are so easy to add to salads or soups or sandwiches. I also keep chopped vegetable ready for roasting. I have yet to meet a roasted vegetable that I don’t like. Typically takes 15-20 minutes in a high heat oven and you have delicious vegetables. Stirfry is good but roasted is better IMO.

    Get your spice game up too. It is great to season with salt pepper and paprika but add some chili powder, curry powders, marjoram, sage (it is not just for dressing LOL) different herbs, etc. and experiment. You will be surprised at the different things you may like.

  4. I swear by No salt added canned tomato sauce, frozen vegetables (mixed, brocolli, peas, anything) and any types of meats(or seafood) you can buy. I usually buy those fresh and then freeze them myself after making small portions. (Ziploc bags are my friends) so I can get out what I need every morning and it will be thawed out when I get home for work.

    Like someone mentionned, the chicken drums are easy to bake. I usually cover them with tomato sauce and season to my liking (dried herbs, salt, pepper) and in the oven they go. After 30 mns, I have a delicious meal that can be eaten several ways/ several days.

    Rice is also a big staple in my house, so we buy the 25lbs bag and with a rice cooker, you can have almost instant cooked rice. The frozen veggies help for quick stir fries or as a side dishes.

    Another god send (and sanity saver) is a the slow cook! I have invented recipes based on what I had on my pantry/frigde/freezer. :-)… I can put everything in the morning, and come back at night to a nicely cooked meal. There are plenty of crockpot recipes books. They are truly helpful.

  5. Everybody else has already given such great ideas!

  6. I have a really hectic schedule and have found meal planning to be a god send. I use kraftfoods.com a lot and refer to the budget wise (1 bag, 5 meals) and healthy living sections which have turned out to be really good guides.

    • I was on kraftfoods.com the other night and they have started charging for their magazine! It used to be free. I will definitely go back and look again, thx!

  7. Visit your parents often. LOL Try to keep some quick healthy food around. I always keep a few packages of the microwave steam vegetables in the freezer for when I don’t feel like cooking or only have a few minutes to prepare a meal. I also keep a bag of quick frozen chicken breast tenders in the freezer. I cook them on the George Foreman grill frozen with a little seasoning. You can have them with some vegetables or put them in a salad. Apples make a good snack especially if you have an apple slicer. This weekend I bought an ice crusher. It crushes the ice just a little bigger than shaved. A cup of crushed ice with a couple of ounces of juice or tea gives your mouth something to do and increases your water intake.

    • I still hit up the parents on Sundays..don’t think I won’t go there..and they love to feed their babies! LOL!

  8. I grocery shop every Thursday. And no matter how many list I make, I still can’t foresee things that I may run out of. Plus, I don’t like to freeze meats and prefer to buy them fresh. I do have the convenience of a supermarket that’s within a mile of home, so picking up what I need is not an inconvenience. Also, I eat a lot of seafood. Again, I prefer fresh to frozen. I also buy a lot of produce. If you don’t use it within a day or so after buying it, it goes bad. So, I have no answers for that.

    About recipes…
    If you to the bookstore, look for recipe magazines. There are A LOT that specialize in simple, healthy meals that are 400 – 500 calorie.

  9. In addition to what everyone else said, I also make snacks instead of buying them. Tim likes stuffed mushrooms, chicken dip, and those pinwheel sandwiches so I try to keep those around. It helps when he can grab a couple of those instead of a bag of chips or powdered doughnuts.

    Oh, and in addition to chicken breasts, I also keep a bag of chicken drummettes in the freezer. They are great to bake, add some kind of glaze to, etc., and they go with everything!

  10. Shop at BJ’s or Sam’s or Costco’s. The packaging is large but you can break the meats and fish down into meal size portions and freeze some.

    We also make lunch from leftovers, so I always cook two meats on Sunday, and make a BIG Sunday dinner. We take Sunday dinner leftovers for Monday lunch. Most of the time that means that I don’t have to cook another meat until Tuesday night. Side dishes are usually easy to whip up quickly.

    I freeze bread, and milk. My friends call me Country for doing that, but I never run out of either.

    We slice oranges grapefruit and strawberries and put them into a bowl, and store in the fridge. When you want to snack they are easily available to eat a few or alot. Also that make them more portable for lunch. I’ve found that we tend to eat more fresh fruit and less is wasted since doing this.

  11. I’m gonna be browsing this comment section and write down some of these ideas myself. I’m like you when it comes to cooking, so I don’t really have any suggestions to add. Most of the people I know who are adept at this (like S23, lol) plan out and organize their meals. My problem is I never know what I want. I just need to do better with that.

  12. Plan meals ahead of time and stick to what is on sale. Granted both of those solutions do not always work together but one should work at any given time. For example, if boneless skinless breasts are on sale, buy a large quantity to freeze and use. Find recipes using the sale item and make extra to freeze. When I first began to cohabitate, we bought a ton on dinner portioned food containers and I designated two days to cooking 5 different meals we portioned them out into the containers, froze them, and had homemade and healthy frozen dinners for days!!

  13. I menu plan and grocery shop every week. On Friday I start thinking about what I’d like for the next week and plan around that. I usually cook 3 or 4 meals on Sundays and that is lunch (for me) and dinner (for all of us) for the week. It is so easy to cook everything up at once and be done with it.

    Some of my staples: fresh spinach, whole wheat pasta, ground turkey, frozen shrimp, canned tomatoes, chicken broth.

    Sites to try:
    allrecipes.com
    foodgawker.com

  14. Well, you know I don’t cook every night so I’m interested in reading the responses you get. The past two weekends, I’ve cooked on Sunday and it lasted the entire week. I do my big shopping every Sunday. I have to go weekly because I get a lot of fresh fruit and veggies.

    Most of my recipes come from google – but I also get some from SparkPeople.com (a healthy living website). I also solicit friends for recipes.

  15. I do my grocery shopping on the 1st and 15th of the months. I make an exhaustive list before hand and try to write out what I think I will want to cook during those two weeks. Some things are just staples over here. Like I always buy a big bag of frozen boneless chicken breast, pack of ground beef/turkey and I buy several packs of sausage. I can pretty much cook anything I want w/those ingredients. I do have to make weekly trips now that I am eating more fruits b/c it needs to be fresh. But I’d say start out by making a list of everything you guys go out to eat and see if you can make a list from there of what to buy. It’s fun to experiment with cooking and trying to recreate restaurant foods. That’s how I learned to make a lot of the things I cook.

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