Generally speaking, I tend to make the same three meals I know I am really good at. These are beef soft shell tacos, greek pasta, and lemon chicken. Yes they are delicious but eating them every week can get a bit boring. So I was actually looking forward to this assignment. On Wednesday, I got home from work and did an inventory. What do I have to make that is different from the usual but also using only the things I have.
As I opened my freezer, I realized I have sausage saved from when my boyfriend’s family made it over Christmas (a tradition). Now, I personally do not think I am a picky eater but I HATE sausage. The look, the smell, ew. But, I thought this may be a good opportunity to figure out what I can do with it so it won’t just be in my freezer for the next five years.
Meal One: Sausage Pasta
I have boxes and boxes of pasta because of those amazing “10 for 10” deals at Cub. After doing some research for “Sausage Pasta” online I realized I had many of the ingredients.
- 1 onion, chopped – Had Shallots
- 3/4 pound pasta – My Pantry
- Olive oil – My Pantry (extra virgin)
Spicy Italian sausage – Freezer
4 cloves garlic, minced – My Pantry
- Can chicken broth – Used Beef Broth instead
- Dried basil – Not Fresh but in my spice rack
- Can diced tomatoes – No tomatoes – decided to use mushrooms
- chopped spinach – In my fridge
- Parmesan cheese – Used Ricotta Cheese instead
- I added some Cayenne Pepper (because I like spicy food)
I boiled the water for pasta. In a separate pan, I combined ground sausage meat (took it out of the pig intestine casing, ew). Once it got a little brown I tossed in the mushrooms and shallots. Once the pasta had somewhat cooked (still a little hard) I tossed in the pasta, spinach and cheese and cooked until everything had been cooked down. I will say, I was surprised how much I liked it! Looks like the sausage will get eating after all.
Meal Two: Stuffed Peppers
I had actually bought peppers before our assignment with the intention of making stuffed peppers but I actually didn’t get all the ingredients I wanted to. Therefore, I had to be a bit more creative.
- 1 pound ground beef – My Freezer
- 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice – had boxed spanish rice
- 6 green bell peppers – had four peppers
- 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce – had tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce – did not include this but used hot sauce for spiciness
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder – used actual garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder – My Pantry
- salt and pepper to taste – My Pantry
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – Did not have
I cooked the beef for about 10 minutes or so with spices maybe less and then put the meat inside the stuffed peppers and baked them for another 10 minutes. Then I covered them with cheese and tomato sauce. I forgot to take a picture while I was cooking but I remembered yesterday to take a picture of the left overs.
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 generally try to plan over the weekends to cook two or three meals for the week expecting that I will have a lot of left overs. As I said earlier I tend to eat the same meals each week. I try to be conscience about switching it up.
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?
I thought my pantry inventory looked good but I have way more snacks (popcorn, crackers, chips) and less staples than I should (meat, fish, etc). I think I should have a few more types of spices and sauces to be able to have more flexibility in what I make such as cumin, paprika, nutmeg etc.