menu plan for the week of 09/23

This week is a fridge and freezer clean out meal plan for us. About once a week it seems we don’t prepare a meal we intended to, and the meat gets popped in the freezer. So, in the interest of keeping on budget and avoiding freezer overflow, this week is all about eating what we have. Thanks to this strategy our food bill for the week was only about $50 US, which is pretty great for us. In the freezer we had chicken legs (which I’ll be roasting to go in lunch salads), chicken thighs (for Friday), chorizo (Friday), sushi grade tuna (Monday), tilapia (Sunday), chicken breasts (Tuesday and Thursday), and ground beef (Wednesday). We have hot dogs and a selection of veg in the fridge. The only protein I had to buy was another small pack of chicken breasts, since we’re having them in the chicken & leek stew and in the pad thai. So here’s a more in depth look at what’s for dinner this week:

  • Remember the tilapia burgers we were supposed to have last week? Well, those didn’t get cooked. So we had them tonight instead. And they were quite delicious. I was going to make avocado soup with the burgers, but after doing CrossFit this morning and running 6 miles this afternoon, I barely had the energy to make the burgers, let alone the soup.
  • Monday night we’ll be making sushi. We bought a pound of tuna at Meat & Meet last Sunday that has been in our freezer all week. We’ll be making a spicy tuna roll and tuna rolls with different mixtures of avocado, limes, cucumber and scallions. The poke we’ll  make with lime juice, red onion and tuna.
  • The chicken and leek stew we’ll be having on Tuesday is an old favorite of ours. We serve it on top of brown rice, and it’s a great meal. It’s light, yet still satisfying. We had a leek leftover from last week’s carbonara, so yay for cleaning out the fridge!
  • Nick’s mom makes the most incredible meatloaf you’ve ever had. It’s a Southern Living recipe, and it is the bomb! So I’ll be making that this week, paired with some corn on the cob and my grandma Jane’s tangy green beans. I’ll post the recipes for both the meatloaf and the green beans before Wednesday.
  • Nick was craving Thai food two weeks ago, and after posting an inquiry on the SO board on Facebook, we were crushed to learn that no one really does Thai food here. What?! Crazytown, I know. But luckily for us an incredible coworker of mine saw my post and brought me a variety of Thai seasoning packets to make our own Thai food. I can’t wait for the Pad Thai!
  • At Meat & Meet we also picked up some house-made chorizo, which I can’t wait to use for the arroz con pollo y chorizo. I love one pot meals!
  • Saturday cooking is a little weird for us. We never know when we’re going to be home or how much energy we’ll have to cook. We’re helping to pick the trail for an upcoming hash this Saturday, so we will likely be hot, tired and starving. There’s a good chance the carrot fries will be swapped out for mac and cheese, let’s be honest.

Keeping with my freezer-emptying theme, I made chicken stock from scratch this weekend. I’ve been keeping a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer and anytime I have any veggie scraps or chicken bones (which I actually have a lot. It’s hard to find anything boneless/skinless if you aren’t looking for breasts and the truth is: A) I like dark meat and B) I prefer bone-in, skin-on chicken for flavor and moisture), I throw them in the bag. So this weekend the bag was full and I tried my hand at making stock. I thawed everything and threw it in a pot, adding an additional half of an onion, a palmful of peppercorns, three bay leaves and a palmful of thyme, covering it with water. The whole house smelled amazing while it was cooking. I think I got about 8 cups of stock out of it. It has the prettiest rich, golden color that I’ve ever seen in chicken stock. Not bad for scraps I would have normally thrown in the trash without a second glance at home. I can’t wait to use it.

So now you know what we’ll be eating this week. What will be hitting your kitchen table?

much love, Cayley