Monday, October 24, 2016

Guest Post: Weekly Meal Plan by Cousin Jessica, Monday

Our dear "Cousin Jessica" (as kids, we only referred to her by her full "title", and it still sticks) has written a series of posts for our blog this week, walking through a week of cooking for a new family amidst the busy-ness of life. We're posting it over several days this week, but will include the grocery list at the top of each post for ease of use.  Her posts are filled with great tips along with great recipes, so happy reading!

Welcome to a week in the life of a new wife, new step mom, new homeowner and full time employee. 

Cooking and entertaining are a huge part of my life, but in order to pull it off, I have to be incredibly organized, plan our meals, make our grocery list, and try to stay on budget! This week, I am creating a fall inspired menu – one night just the two of us, one night of entertaining, and one night together as a family.  Followed by creative use of left overs to save some cash and clean out our fridge before we head out for the weekend.  

Growing up, I was always the kid who never cooked and broke a wooden spoon trying to stir chocolate chips into my first batch of cookies . . . however . . . I knew how to eat. As an adult, I’ve found that I have a unique skill of craving what is in season, and designing recipes with complementary flavors. I almost always start with googling ingredients that sound good and combining recipes or substituting items to create something unique and healthy for our family.  My food doesn’t always look the prettiest – I’m not skilled with knife work and sometimes I don’t time things perfectly – but it almost always tastes good J

Everything below can be adjusted to suite your personal tastes.

Grocery List and Budget – Weekly budget including what we need for breakfasts and lunches - $150 for a family of three.

I have a lot of the spices in these recipes already, along with some staple items. Please double check your cupboards and the recipes to make sure you have all ingredients!

Brown Rice
Whole grains (any)
Acorn Squash
Ground sausage with sage
Flat leaf Parsley
Chicken stock
Avocado oil
Brussel sprouts
Butternut Squash

The plan:

Monday “Just the two of us” – Whole Grain Bowl with roasted veggies, a fried egg, and lemony walnut dressing

When it’s just Josh and I at home, I tend to experiment. I went to lunch at EVE in Fremont here in Seattle and had their Hot bowl – they use seasonal vegetables, and I decided to try and recreate the experience with my own dressing and vegetable combination.

·       Whole grains – any you prefer! I used a combination of multigrain rice mixed with whole grain wheat.  
·       Brussel Sprouts – sliced  (Best guess for two people – 5)
·       Radishes – 10-12 cleaned, stems cut off, halved
·       Delicatta squash – one squash, diced with skin on
·       Beets, peeled and cut into ¼s (3 total)
·       Carrots – 3 large, halved length wise and cut into chunks
·       Pine nuts
·       Goat Cheese
·       Egg* – one for each dinner eater
·       Walnuts – 1 cup or so
·       Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
·       ½ Shallot - diced
·       Thyme – to preference, I used about 1 tablespoon
·       Olive oil – half cup
·       Avocado oil – ¼ cup
·       Lemon zest
·       Salt and pepper to taste – be generous!

Time to get cooking!
·       Heat up your oven! 375 Degrees
·       Roast your walnuts – about 10-12 minutes – until they start to smell fragrant
·       Toss vegetables in any oil – I used avocado oil
·       Add your own spices! I used lemon pepper, but if I did it again, I’d use tarragon as well.
·       Roast veggies for 20 minutes, stir, flip, whatever it takes to get the other side. Roast another 15 minutes or until you reach your desired tenderness.
·       While veggies are cooking – cook your grains according to the packaging

·       Add walnuts, shallot, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice,  olive oil into the food processor and pulse.  Try a magic bullet if you have it!  Add salt and pepper (generously) –
o   Note: This dressing does not look appealing – the walnuts give it a thick brown texture, but close your eyes and taste it, because it really packs some good flavor!

When everything is cooked – fry up two eggs, or poach if you know how!

·       Grains – Mix dressing directly in
·       Veggies
·       Egg
·       Goat cheese
·       Pine nuts

Feel free to toss in some siracha, or whatever gets your taste buds going!  EAT! Make sure you cut into the egg to get the yolk mixed in with the grains.

* Added bonus if you can get farm fresh eggs. Check out the yolk color in ours – those are eggs from our friends who are very happy chickens. They are so delicious and healthy!

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