Home Assignment 1

  • How does meal planning generally work for you?  Do you have a routine or strategy, or is it spontaneous?  Without judgment, talk about what works, and what doesn’t work about it. 

I don’t have much of a routine for meal planning. I don’t usually cook, my go-to foods are some sliced vegetables (I’m obsessed with tomatoes – LOVE the heirloom ones, and I like green onions a lot too) with feta cheese (preferably imported from Greece and made from sheep milk – the feta from regular grocery stores is usually garbage), and bread (but not the artificial thing that tastes like plastic and lasts for months without going bad, the fresh one that’s usually called “artisanal” and costs twice more 😐 . Raised in Eastern Europe, I grew up eating bread all the time, so I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to bread eating). Salmon with bread and butter or heating chicken sausage is also the extent of my ‘cooking’ a lot of the time.

I’m fine with my standard diet, but I’d like to branch out and start adding some more recipes to my repertoire. I cook sometimes, but not very often, and when I do I need to plan it because very seldom I’d find all the ingredients lying around in my pantry, especially fresh vegetables.

  • How does your pantry inventory look?  Do you think you have what you need to prepare food the way you want? What do you still need?  What do you have that isn’t necessary?

My pantry is well stocked in terms of spices, oil and vinegar, as well as some frozen veggies in the freezer, tomato paste, pasta, dried beans and lentils. Fresh veggies on the other hand not so much. But I don’t think the inventory in my pantry is as much of an issue for me as finding the time to actually cook. I find that cooking usually takes at least an hour no matter how simple the recipe is, and sometimes I’d rather spend that time differently.


Recipe 1: Polenta with feta cheese and sour cream

Boiled water, added a teaspoon of salt and  gradually added polenta flour while stirring to avoid lumps until desired thickness was reached.  Sided with feta cheese (cottage cheese could work too) and yoghurt or sour cream. (Ate this pretty often when growing up in Romania).


Recipe 2: Green Pea Stew

Sauted some onion in sunflower oil until glassy-looking. Added frozen peas, then covered with hot water. Added some carrots. When peas got softer, added some tomato paste and let simmer for a few more minutes. Added salt to taste, dill, parsley, pepper, thyme and bay leaves.

2 thoughts on “Home Assignment 1

  1. RobinS says:

    I completely agree with your feelings about bread. Even though I was raised in the United States and grew up eating white bread, when I discovered breads made with wild yeasts and sour starters and whole grains, I never looked back. We are fortunate to have so many good bread bakers in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
    It appears that you prepared a couple of items that took less than one hour? Lack of time keeps many of us from cooking, but I believe that with a well-stocked pantry, a few simple techniques, and plenty of practice, one can prepare some amazing meals in under 30 minutes.
    The Green Pea Stew is lovely in appearance – is this something you created on your own?
    I hope we this class gives you some new ideas and inspiration to create nourishing food.
    Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana N says:

      Thanks Robin! Your class already showed me ways to step out of my comfort zone, and I look forward to learning more techniques in the next couple of weeks. Indeed, both recipes took under an hour to prepare – I was very short on time this week. The green pea stew is not my invention unfortunately, it’s actually a common Romanian recipe, especially during lent (when some people try to be vegan for 40 days – hence the need for vegetable sources of protein): https://depozitulderetete.ro/mancare-de-mazare-de-post/ . I’ll try my best to branch out of my Eastern European comfort zone in the future 😀


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