Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday & My Meal Planning Process

I have a new meal planning process that I thought I would share.

I don't assign meals to specific days of the week. I choose a few meals that I'll make during the week, this leaves me wiggle room. Since my husband seldom eats dinner at home, I end up with leftovers & plan fewer meals. This way I'm planning for what is likely to happen & I don't end up having to toss food that's past it's expiration date.

I've recently begun using the website for organization. I've integrated it into my meal planning.

This week I began with leftover meat in  my fridge (sale meat for which I had no specific plan when I bought it.)  I listed the meat including the sell by or use by date so that I could easily remember what I had without having to go look in the meat bin of my refrigerator. I also have a link to my grocery list so that I can get there quickly. I mark each meal as completed as I make it (I liked to see items crossed off the list.) The next week when I make a new plan, I delete them. With Workflowy you can choose if you want to display or hide completed items.

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This week I have leftover turkey sausage & chicken breasts so I set about meal planning based on those items.  I've added the recipes I will make with each dish & where to find them.

******(Update I no longer use this app or website, it stopped working, it wouldn't sync and started saying certain items like onions were already on my list and simply would not add them!)********
While I was building my meal plan I also have a tab open at - This the grocery/shopping list app that I use on my phone. I love it because it's available for Android, iPhone (& iPad), Blackberry & as a website. I have it on my phone (android), my iPad & iPod Touch, and I've shared my list with my husband who has the app on his Blackberry. I can add to my grocery list no matter what device I have in my hand when I think of items to add, and it will be synced to all my devices. I can also send my list to an email address or print it from the website. Grocery IQ has a barcode scanner, so when I run out of a pantry staple I scan the empty box using my phone camera - and it adds that item to my grocery list. I've also found it's handy if my husband goes to the store because he may not know which type of Ritz crackers I buy, but if I've scanned the item it lists specifics and usually shows a picture.
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So I've added to my grocery list & will take my phone with me to the market when I go shopping. I used to use a paper list, but I was often losing it, or forgetting to take it with me, thinking of items to add to it while I was at the doctor's office, or leaving it sitting on the seat in the car, in the parking lot of the supermarket. Keeping my grocery list on my phone has been a great solution for me.

This week I chose 1 cookbook - The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, and a stack of 3 magazines. I knew what my meats were so I looked through the indexes (I love magazines with a recipe index in the back!) for recipes that used those items. When I wasn't finding anything for boneless skinless chicken breasts that tickled my fancy & went well with the potatoes I wanted to make, I searched for chicken recipes on a site with which I have a paid membership. The quality of the recipes on this site make it worthwhile (to me) to pay a membership to have access to their full history of recipes (I believe that access to recipes from the current season of their program is free.)  I don't like to waste my time with recipes that turn out to be no good and I find that sites with user submitted recipes have a large percentage of those. I guess I'm picky.
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I'm on Menu Plan Monday at

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quick Weekday Migas

This is the new favored breakfast dish for school mornings in our house. Boy and Mama are equally enthusiastic so I thought I'd share it with you.

2 eggs
cream or half & half
tortilla chips
taco sauce
shredded cheese
butter or olive oil
ham (optional)

Beat the two eggs in a bowl with a dash of salt then add the cream or half and half (if you use milk you will get watery eggs - see my post on Perfect Scrambled Eggs for why.) Don't skip the salt, it goes a long way to eliminating that sulfer egg taste.

Crumble in a handful or two of tortilla chips, a squirt of taco sauce, and a pinch of finely shredded cheese. (A small amount of shredded cheese mixed into the eggs while cooking will melt and flavor throughout instead of just sitting on the top getting rubbery - it's a good way to get the flavor with fewer calories & fat.)  If I have the time I like to go make coffee at this point to let the tortillas soften up a bit in the egg mixture, some mornings I don't have the extra time, they still taste good if you don't.

Add diced ham to and 8 or 7 inch omelet pan, if you are using it. I buy a large ham at the market & use it for breakfasts over the next 2 weeks or so. If I plan to make it into eggs I dice up a few ham steaks and keep the dice in a zip-loc bag ready for using with eggs.  If you saute the ham in the pan a bit it will bring out more flavor.  When the ham is hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Make sure you have a puddle of butter (or oil) that covers the bottom of the pan & pour the eggs into it.

When the edges of the eggs are just set, take a heat safe silicon spatula and pull 3 edges toward the center (See Scrambled Egg Post).  When edges are set again, repeat.  Now turn up the heat in the pan, when the full underside of the eggs looks puffed, turn the eggs. It will break into pieces, just turn each piece, if you wait until you can turn all the eggs in one piece your eggs will get dry.

The eggs will be done nearly as soon as you flip them, turn them out onto a plate, if you leave them in the pan, they will overcook.

Serve, you can add your choice of condiments, some ideas include: taco sauce, salsa, sour cream, avocado slices, guacamole - you get the idea.