Last week I showed you what was in the PERISHABLE section of my whiteboard. This week I'll expand that and also show you the PANTRY.
You see how some of the items aren't underneath a date? That means they're so old, I've forgotten when I actually bought them. And that can of bamboo shoots? I think it's been expired for a while. My go-to recipe for using up bamboo is curry, so I decided to put green chicken curry on my list of dishes for the week.
Obviously, that means I need to go to the Asian store to buy green curry paste. And since I've got that on my list, why not just make it a full week of Asian food? Sweet rice (sticky rice) is at the top of my PANTRY section, and the reason I bought that in the first place was to make Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage. But, the last time I made it, I didn't feel like actually opening that new bag of rice, so I just used my normal Jasmine rice. And that bag of sweet rice has been sitting in a cabinet, unopened, ever since.
For my third dish, I looked up noodle soup recipes on The Woks of Life since it's cold out now, and noodle soup sounds really good. I settled on Udon Noodle Soup with Chicken and Mushrooms since I've made it before and it uses dashi, which I currently have, and shiitake mushrooms, which I'm going to buy anyway for the sticky rice meal.
And that would have settled it, except I looked back at my whiteboard and realized I STILL NEED TO USE UP THE CABBAGE. I was trying to think of other Asian dishes that use cabbage, and my mind went to Singapore noodles. I don't know why my mind associates that with cabbage, but it works since I also have vermicelli noodles.
So, my original shopping plan was to just hit up the Asian store. But then I put together my list and realized I needed to buy chicken, and I just do not think buying chicken from the Asian store is a good idea. I don't even know if the local Asian stores here sell chicken.
So, I made a trip to Aldi. And look at all that produce! I'm definitely getting my greens this week. And yeah, Aldi sells ginger now. Crazy.
Aldi also sells coconut milk, but I just decided I'd get it at the Asian store instead. I'm not actually sure which option would have been cheaper. The Chinese sausage and dried shrimp are also kinda pricey. In total, I spent $48.37 on my groceries, which is way more than I should spent on food in one week. But, I did have a very light grocery haul last week, and next week will probably also be light. If we're averaging, I'm still under $30/week.
|Saturday||Mushroom pasta||Takeout: Chicken sandwich||Fried mac n cheese|
|Sunday||Fried mac n cheese||Singapore noodles||Okonomiyaki|
|Monday||Fried mac n cheese||Pulled pork tacos||Chicken curry|
|Tuesday||Fried mac n cheese||Okonomiyaki||Singapore noodles|
|Thursday||Singapore noodles||Sticky rice|
|Friday||Singapore noodles||Chicken curry||McDonald's|
So, it's Saturday now, and I'm sitting here and I cannot remember well enough what I actually ate on Wednesday. Usually I try to write this down the day of, but I just happened to forget to do that on Wednesday. Did I actually skip a meal? Why in the world would I have skipped breakfast? Maybe I snacked on something. Maybe I had beef jerky in the morning.
I did sort of skip lunch on Thursday. I mean I ate food. I was grazing all day. I definitely had a yogurt and some beef jerky and probably something else as well. You'll also notice that I had McDonald's on Friday. I just really wanted those french fries. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything else on the menu I really wanted. But I got a few other things and it was still satisfying enough for a lazy Friday evening.
Ending with an obligatory photo of the pulled pork tacos:
I'm going to try something new, and show you more of my thought process in how I meal plan. This is inspired by the Weekly Recap posts that Beth used to make on Budget Bytes.
First of all, I cannot be spontaneous with food. If I'm cooking, I need to plan every meal, and I am constantly thinking about my next meal. So, as long as work hasn't totally exhausted me, I'll take some time every Friday night or Saturday morning to come up with the next few dishes to cook. And I start that by staring at my whiteboard.
Yes, this is an actual snippet of what was on my whiteboard a week ago. There's actually A LOT more on the whiteboard, but I just cropped this. Each date lists what I bought that day. I know, you're seeing that I've had half and half for almost two months. The internet tells me I should only keep half and half a week after opening. But it still smells and tastes fine. /shrug
But you know what, it's a whole quart of half and half so I should really find another use for it besides going in my morning coffees. I searched for recipes that use half and half on Budget Bytes, and I see that she has a mushroom pasta recipe, which works well, since I also have mushrooms that I don't know what to do with. It's perfect! All I have to buy for this is pasta!
So I also have this huge head of cabbage that I bought for my dumplings. My dumplings only took like a quarter of this head, so I need something that uses a lot of cabbage. My go-to cabbage meals are stir fry or some sort of sausage skillet, but I figured I'd try something different and make okonomiyaki. And it also works because I can use up the rest of my green onions as well!
Finally, you see that Mac n Cheese in the Already Cooked section? Yeah, I needed to do something with that. I decided to try and make fried mac n cheese balls, except it's going to end up being fried mac n cheese rectangular prisms since that's easier to cut. I wanted to make some dipping sauce for this, and of course I looked on Budget Bytes for one.
And that's already plenty of food, especially when you consider all those Thanksgiving leftovers I had. So I barely had to buy anything from the store!
...of course I ended up buying twice as many things as I had on my list. But I ended up spending a whopping $10.52, so I think it's okay. Random grocery store thoughts:
As I was checking out, I thought, "Huh. I don't have any veggies." I probably should have bought something green. I don't know why I didn't restock on cilantro. I mean, I had it on the whiteboard, but I was low on cilantro, and why would I ever be worried about having too much cilantro? Plus it's only like $0.75! That was a mistake. Definitely getting cilantro next time.
Anyway, here's every breakfast, lunch, and dinner that I ate. I also had a lot of snacks, but I'm not going to type those out, because that's just way too much to type.
|Saturday||Rice w/ fried eggs||Thanksgiving leftovers||Pulled pork tacos|
|Sunday||Mushroom pasta||Gumbo @ my friend's|
|Monday||Roll||Thanksgiving leftovers||Thanksgiving leftovers|
|Tuesday||Musroom pasta||Pulled pork tacos|
|Wednesday||Rice w/ fried egg||Pulled pork tacos||Okonomiyaki|
|Thursday||Crescent rolls||Mushroom pasta||Okonomiyaki|
|Friday||Crescent rolls||Mushroom pasta||Dumplings|
Stay tuned, and I'll actually show you how all the cooking went. In the meantime, here's some tacos using the last bit of cilantro I had.
Yup, life got busy. Too busy to be worrying about a blog that not very many people read. But the blog has always been in the back of my mind, and my brain is still constantly thinking about food. I'm going to be taking this blog in a different direction. Instead of having posts that feature recipes that I've tried out, I'm going to be doing weekly food recaps of my life.
Last year I had a goal to only spend $30 a week on food. I wanted to bring back this goal now that I'm cooking for just myself again, and week one was already a failure. I spent close to $40 on groceries AND I ate tacos at Taco Town!
So, what else did I actually cook this week?
Spinach Tomato Pasta was the first meal I intended to make this week, but when I got home from the grocery store, I looked in my fridge and realized I was missing cream cheese. I don't know why I thought I already had cream cheese, and even if I did it definitely would have gone bad in the weeks I was away from my apartment.
Then later in the week, I wanted to make fajitas, but when I got home, I realized I didn't have any onions! And then later that day, I decided to make some Ramen Eggs, but as my water was boiling I realized I didn't have any Mirin! My meal planning was not off to a good start. But, I guess I could always make salads.
My mom eats salad all the time. And as silly as I think her salad habits are, I have to say she makes a really beautiful Caesar salad. So that inspired me to make my own Caesar salad! I don't know how she makes hers so aesthetic because mine did not turn out that nice.
Also, washing and drying lettuce leaves is such a pain. I really don't understand how I'm supposed to dry my leafy greens. I basically just wash them hours in advance and let them sit out, but they're still too wet, and then I use some paper towels to pat them dry, but that's not terribly effective either. I know I could invest in a salad spinner, but I think that seems like a waste of money to buy a tool just for drying lettuce.
Even though I delayed making my pasta and fajitas a day later, I still went ahead and made the ramen eggs since I figured I had to have something that would work. I replaced the mirin with some rice wine vinegar and sugar. I also used seasoning sauce instead of soy sauce, and the eggs still tasted great.
Finally, I ate instant noodles twice this week which is WAY more instant noodle than I should even be eating in a month. But that's what happens when you scramble and keep forgetting a single ingredient in your meals. At least I got to throw my ramen egg in it!
At this point, I've got a ton of veggies to use up, so hopefully that means I won't need to buy too much from the store for next week.