Meal planning without grocery shopping

I’m scheduled to return to work tomorrow which is especially awkward since my specialist gave me a return-to-work note for my mallet finger but has not filled out any of the paperwork my employer requested. Even though I paid for it and gave it to them Tuesday at 10 a.m.

I have this irrational fear of bending my finger accidentally now that the hand rehab/ occupational therapists and the specialist have warned me that one bend at the knuckle could restart my healing process from day one.

So instead of getting the “Sunday scaries” on Saturday as I fear going back to work, I decided to use that nervous energy to meal prep.

Usually I have things I want or need to make when I undertake my meal prep— typically lunch for my four work days and some planning or preparing of dinners.

I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week nor do I get a Hungryroot box, so the goal was to recycle leftovers and see if we had enough food to survive.

I didn’t have a plan per se… I did know I had taco meat, baked beans, turkey hot dogs and mac and cheese leftovers. I also knew I had an unopened container of Hungryroot’s cashew cheddar sauce. And that the teenager really wanted me to make plain white rice. And while we were doing push up at the gym, we decided to make a puttanesca-style sauce with vegan chorizo and olives.

Today’s session ended up having 12 steps.

Step One: Nancy had given me one of her Tupperware pitcher and I thought rather than shove it into my very cluttered cupboard, I would brew some Earl Grey tea and add some honey granules to make a wicked iced tea.

Step Two: while waiting for the water to boil, I put 1.5 cups white rice and 3 cups water on the stove to boil.

Step Three: I gathered leftovers, ingredients, sauces and dishes and piled them on the counter.

Step Four: Started water to boil for pasta.

Step Five: while all that water comes to a boil, (except I think the teapot was already done at this point and I had tea steeping in a giant novelty mug) I transformed leftovers into work lunches.

Leftover Korean barbecue chicken and veggies was placed into the work lunch pile as is. added hot dogs to the beans and the Amy’s Organic skillet mac and cheese that I had also added riced broccoli to. I added some spicy kimchi to the taco meat (which I had originally prepared with black beans and peppers) and Hungryroot’s green Chile sauce, which I also added rice to when it was done.

I organized them in the fridge with the oldest (and least processed) leftovers going to work with my tomorrow.

Step Six: start spaghetti

Step Seven: cook vegan chorizo in extra virgin olive oil with some scallions I found in the back of the fridge, green olives and roasted red peppers. When that’s cooked, add tomato sauce and that will be the topping for the spaghetti.

Step Eight: cook a couple chicken breasts from the freezer with smoked paprika and garlic powder. Spread some rice into a casserole dish. Liberally add parsley and pour on the cashew cheddar.

Step Nine: dig out a vegetable from the freezer— in this case garlic seasoned cauliflower. The chicken and the cauliflower will go into the rice/cashew cheddar mix to make a chicken-rice casserole that we’ll probably warm in the oven Monday night.

Step Ten: assemble pasta.

Step eleven: assemble vitamins and realize you only have four days of allergy medicine left.

Step twelve: have a late lunch with the teenager and pack up the leftovers.

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