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.

Hungryroot meal prep for week ahead

On Saturdays, I tend to make my work lunches and make a loose meal plan for the week ahead.

I ordered an extra Hungryroot box after the snafu of last week’s shipment as we have almost eaten everything in the pantry and freezer.

And since I have heard there is mandatory overtime this week and I have already signed up to work next Saturday, I ordered a box to be delivered this coming Friday.

I have a $15 credit currently on my account and should see an additional $87 credit hopefully Monday.

Meal prep with Hungryroot groceries: superfood blend, salmon, kohlrabi noodles, beef meatballs, turkey meatballs and tortellini

I put most of the teenager’s food into one big divided container so she can design lunches.

For myself:

  1. one lunch of kohlrabi noodles with marinara, shredded parmesan, nutritional yeast, two beef meatballs and two turkey meatballs
  2. one lunch of kohlrabi noodles with thai peanut sauce, superfood blend, and broccoli
  3. one lunch of teriyaki salmon, superfood blend, sesame ginger sauce and sesame seeds
  4. One lunch of tortellini in kale pesto with shaved Brussel sprouts

Dinners will include nachos or tacos with chicken, cuban beans and avocado. Another of burgers, sweet potato fries and my “popcorn” cauliflower, and some sort of stir fry or grain bowl with the remaining brussels and/or cabbage, one of the leftover sauces and tofu burgers.

But by the time I made everything, I forgot to save a meal for today. So the teenager and I tried Hungryroot organic peanut butter on her homemade cinnamon raisin bread with a side of the dark chocolate banana bites also sent by Hungryroot.

Her assessment of the peanut butter: “I don’t hate the peanut butter.”

The bites?

“These don’t taste like banana.”

I looked at the package. “That’s because they are salted caramel chocolate cashews.”

The verdict?

Teenager very much likes the cashews and doesn’t mind the bananas, though the cashews are infinitely better.

Continuing thoughts on Hello Fresh two meals in

We were supposed to receive our Hello Fresh box on Tuesday, but it arrived Monday. Despite having an extra day to implement our meal plan, here it is Friday and we just got to preparing our second meal.

Teenager #1 wanted to do the majority of the cooking and utilize me in the helper role.

Today was garlic butter chicken with paprika roasted carrots and creamy kale.

Like I did, teenager #1 had a few foibles. I appreciated the roasted carrots as I am not a big carrot fan. Luckily the chicken cutlet was indeed a cutlet and did not disappoint me like the strips.

And it was delicious.

Our last meal for this week is the paprika chicken.

Hello Fresh advertises that they save you money on your grocery bill. But the full price of three dinners for four people is $89.99 plus $8.99 shipping. My entire monthly grocery bill is about $300 a month.

So we invest in Hello Fresh right now to find new recipes and renew our efforts in the kitchen and keep real food in the house while I am working all this overtime.

To read my first impressions, click here: Hello Fresh