Back to the menu planning! Right now the whole world is cooking at home and working with what they have in the freezer or pantry. The same thing happens on the farm, our freezer and pantry just look different. We have a cold cellar in the basement. This allows us to store all of our food from the garden for winter. We also raise our meat and have 6 months to a year of meat in the freezer. For our pantry items that we can not raise ourselves, we buy in bulk. Sometimes buying in bulk means buying a month or two worth of a food at Aldi. There are some items where it is cheaper to buy the smaller packages at Aldi, than it is to buy at BJ’s or other bulk supplier. I also shop at Aldi for our processed foods, I love chips. I am a salty food lover. So we do have some processed foods in the house. I would say we raise about 60-70% of what we eat. I would love to see it higher, but I need a cheese curl every once and a while! What can I say I’m human. The kids also prefer store ketchup.
Something you can do for your family right now is to menu plan. Keep it simple. Below is our menu plan for the week.
Sunday: Chili, cornbread and kale salad. It is still cold outside, so it is still “Soup Sunday”. My husband will be making chili in the crock pot. We have whole frozen tomatoes in the freezer from last years garden, homemade tomato paste, chopped onions, frozen celery, and dried beans from the cellar. He will also add ground beef. Corn bread goes great with chili and corn meal is a pantry staple for us. He likes the Pioneer Woman’s corn bread recipe. It is low sugar. Kale is fresh from the garden, so I will make a salad out of any veggies we have in the crisper.
Monday: Chinese Chicken, stir-fried cabbage and quinoa. The chicken is a mock recipe from PF Chang’s spicy chicken. Start the quinoa in the pressure cooker, rice cooker or on stove top. Cut chicken breast or thigh off the bone, toss in corn starch, cook in a tbsp of oil or lard. When the chicken is cooked, add 1/4 onion. Once chicken and onions are done add 1 cup chicken stock. We use frozen chicken stock cubes. The sauce is 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, dash red pepper flakes. Add this to the pan and let thicken. Add water if it is too thick. In another pan cook 1/2 cabbage chopped with red onion, and carrots. I add about 1 tbsp of soy sauce or aminos. Cook till cabbage is al dente.
Tuesday: Tacos. Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday. This is a day when one of the kids cook. Then after dinner they fight of who has to do the dishes and who cooked most of the food. I go out and milk the goats!
Wednesday: Asparagus, in a butter garlic white sauce over pasta. I just make the pasta al dente. Roast the Asparagus in the oven 350 for 10 mins or so with olive oil. On the stove I melt a tablespoon of butter, minced garlic clove, table spoon of flour, a cup of milk and a cup or so of stock. When the sauce thickens I add it to the pasta, slice the asparagus in bite size pieces and mix everything together. Might serve a side salad if we have lettuce left after tacos.
Thursday: My daughter’s day to cook. She has not decided on a menu yet, she likes to plan all week. Right now she is thinking popcorn chicken bites with broccoli or green beans with baked potatoes.
Friday: Hamburgers and sweet potato fries. I make gluten free hamburger buns, they are quick and taste great. Bake sweet potatoes in the instapot, then fry in the fryer. They are out of this world!
Satuday: Calzones. A simple no yeast pizza crust, add whatever left over meat from burgers, tacos onions, pepperoni, homemade sauce and homemade mozzarella.
Every week I try to bake a breakfast item. This week the item will have pumpkin in it. I am thinking pumpkin oatmeal muffins. I have not figured it out yet. We freeze our extra pumpkin, ripe bananas, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and berries. I use these to bake and it is cheaper than cereal.
Also we make a batch of goat’s milk yogurt for the week. This is a great snack item or breakfast item. There is a blog post on how to make yogurt https://shadesoflavender.wordpress.com/?s=yogurt
Let me know what your favorite go-to meals are! Enjoy!