Meal Planning for Complete Idiots

... Or for people who aren't really sure what they're doing in a kitchen, but are absolutely willing to destroy it in the quest for better meals.

So, last year when my whole life turned upside down, we found ourselves in a pretty gross financial situation. (I know I keep bringing this up, but rumors really do destroy lives. For real. I'm so serious. Just don't do it.)

Anyway, because our finances were super tight, James would go to the grocery store and buy a couple cases of Ramen noodles, 10 packages of hot dogs and a bunch of buns. I would buy cans of soup. And that's what we would eat.

If we didn't have time to run to the store, we'd end up on McDonalds for 3 days in a row, before we went back to the hot dogs and Ramen noodles and soup. So, not only were we super unhealthy, we were spending a lot of money on McDonalds. Which is so dumb. And probably will give you scurvy.

One time, on a good week, I went grocery shopping. James promptly cooked everything in the house and presented it for dinner. I 10 pound plates of food. And so we were immediately back on the scurvy diet.

Anyway, in my battle against my own brain and my very real desire to be healthy in all ways possible, I know I have to eat better. I know James has to eat better. So I've been cooking. And I've been telling people I've been cooking and that I've been planning my meals and they ask me about it and I keep meaning to share recipes but then I stay in bed all day...because depression. But today is a good day, so here's a bunch of stuff about how we currently plan our meals.

First - salad. James will eat everything if I don't portion it, and he'll eat everything terrible if I don't force vegetables on him. So I made a household rule that you have to eat a salad with every meal.

"You Don't Need Scurvy" Salad

1 can black beans   -  60 cents
1 can kidney beans  - 60 cents
1 can garbanzo beans  -  $1.00
1 can sweet corn  -  50 cents
Fresh broccoli -   $2.49
Fresh cauliflower  - $3.99
Carrot shreds  - $1.49, use 1/3, so 50 cents
Quinoa   -   $5.69 for a bag, use 1/3, so 1.90
Mixed greens  -   $4.99 for 2.79 lbs
Cherry tomatoes -   $3.99
Lime vinaigrette dressing  -  $2.49 

Open up your beans and corn and put all that in a strainer and rinse everything really well with cold water. Cook quinoa according to the directions - it's basically the same as cooking rice. You'll have to strain the water out of the quinoa and if you use a regular strainer, you're going to be screwed, so invest in one of those mesh ones. Mine was $4.50 but I'm nearly positive a dollar store has them. Cut your broccoli and cauliflower into bite sized pieces.

These ingredients will make ten salads. I use the medium sized Gladware containers - you can get 10 of them for $6.00 and they're microwaveable and re-usable.

Line all of those up and assembly line your salad. Mixed greens first, then everything else. It's really important that you use cherry tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes or tomato slices. Sliced tomatoes will get tomato juices all over your salad and after a day or so, it's all going to be nasty. OH! Same thing with cucumbers. Cut cucumbers get gross after a couple of days if you set them in a Gladware container with salad. At least they did with me.

Anyway, each salad costs approximately $2.31 and if you bought one of these at a restaurant, it's going to cost you anywhere from $8-$12. Also, these salads are huge. It's a meal all by itself.

I buy everything at Kroger, I have a Kroger card, and I live in the midwest, so midwest prices. I also buy generic brands and things that are on sale, so pricing fluctuates a little bit.

After I get done with salads, I make a bunch of microwaveable stuff, but just writing this post wore me out, so I'll write about this stuff next time:

As usual, you guys are the best. And I'm not just saying that. Life is such a mess and so hard but you're my people and I hope you're hanging in there and doing well and taking care of yourself, as best as you possibly can. You deserve to be happy and at peace.

OH!!! I'm down to one cup of coffee a day and I've mostly switched to chamomile tea. I'm pretty positive it helps with my anxiety - so eat salads and drink tea so you can have more peace and more happiness!

1 comment:

Dave Lin said...

Yay recipes! I'm so gonna make this salad.