At my house, it’s my husband and I. Generally, meal planning is deciding after work what we might need to pick up to make dinner. We tend to have some easy go-to meals for instances such as these (or we often keep frozen pizza at home; don’t judge! 🙂 ) I love reading food blogs and scanning Pinterest so I will often try a new recipe which usually requires a special trip to the grocery store. On weekends, we tend to spend time making meals. The other option is going out. We go out to eat at least once a week. All this to say, I guess I fall under the spontaneous category! It works well for the most part. I try to be conscious of what we are eating from a health perspective. When we start to feel lazy about cooking or get in a rut with foods, we then tend to eat more packaged food or go out. When we get to that point, I know it’s time to start doing more cooking at home. We both enjoy cooking so that helps!
I feel we do a good job of keeping a stocked pantry. In our pantry, we keep canned goods such as black beans and chickpeas; diced tomatoes and tomato sauce; rice and quinoa; and boxed chicken stock. Costco is our go-to place for these items. We also keep lots of different spices and seasonings on hand. Another product we keep in stock from Costco is meats. We like to buy organic chicken and ground beef. We can keep these on hand as we have a freezer out in our garage which saves on space in our kitchen freezer and money by buying in bulk! We also usually keep frozen vegetables and fruit stocked as well. The items we tend to buy as needed are fresh fruits and vegetables and any dairy items we may need. Although I’ve found we can get a lot of our perishable foods such as eggs and vegetables at Costco too. If you have ever wondered how to make a warehouse store work for 2 people, I would be happy to share tips! Some of the known unnecessary items are things like potato chips and other various packed chips and snacks. Both of us tend to love salty snacks and if we keep them around, they of course get eaten!
Because we keep various canned goods stocked, it was easy for me to make a chicken tortilla soup recipe I’ve been wanting to try. I thawed some chicken breasts overnight and also had some onions and peppers on hand. I found a couple of different recipes that I combined to make my soup. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/chicken-tortilla-soup/ and http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2016/10/crock-pot-chicken-tortilla-soup-kale/. I didn’t have kale so I omitted that and didn’t want to add corn so I added more bell pepper. I was happy we keep a variety of spices on hand to make this flavorful soup!
The next dish I made was roasting some vegetables in a stir-fry sauce. We had some rice in the pantry and thought having both the vegetables and rice available for lunches would be an easy option. I found this recipe recently http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/sheet-pan-chicken-stir-fry/. I omitted the chicken and roasted bell pepper, broccoli, and onion. I used the same sauce from the recipe, but omitted the oyster sauce. I would use this recipe again and cook the chicken next time for some added protein. I feel the timing of this homework assignment worked well as we had just been to Costco last week and I bought bagged broccoli and a bag of bell peppers so I didn’t need to make a trip to the store for these fresh items. This assignment helped confirm I do keep the pantry well stocked. And making a habit of having some fresh vegetables in the fridge can help me be creative with the recipes I find in order to use up the vegetables.