Friday, March 30, 2012

Creating Next Weeks Menu

Creating a menu for one or two people is a challenge. Some of us are elderly, some are single and loving it, some have empty nests after cooking for 4, 6, 8 or more.

For me I meet a couple of those criteria. We had a large family that hung around for quite some time and suddenly left kind of all at the same time. Additionally I took care of three of my grandchildren for a time which cushioned the blow.

As you know cooking for one or two can be..........well...........rather uneventful. There is just something different about sitting down to a table a happy, busy voices all trying to tell tales of their day all at once to the small section of the table alone or with one other person. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and I love having him with me. I want to please him with my meals and yet deal with my issue of being gluten-intollerant at the same time.

At any rate, I want to share with you how I go about creating meals for the two of us when we

  • Don't want a ton of left-overs (I swear we could eat for a week on some recipes)
  • Don't want to throw away a lot of food because you just don't use the whole bag of veggies, etc
  • Do want to create healthy yet taste foods that makes a person want to eat
  • Can't afford to always eat out or buy convience food
We do work with leftovers...........

When cooking for one or two there is aways left-overs. What can you do to work with those creatively? We purchased some glass one serving dishes with lids. I have an issue with using to much plastic but not only for the planet. I just don't think using a lot of plastic is good for a person, especially if you heat up things in a microwave. The plastic has to get into the food. So I prefer the glass.

If I cooking a meal that I know I'm going to have left-overs I'll have the bowls ready. I will put one serving the the bowl, label the top with what is in it and rewarming directions and put it in the freezer or refrigerator. My husband works 4 days a week. He takes four of these bowls to work with him every week and uses them for lunches. I will keep some of them for my lunches and we're set. Neither of us will get caught missing a meal because we didn't have time to go buy lunch or just didn't want to round something up for one person.

This plan also works well if you are caring for elderly parents. Do you have parents living alone or just the two of them and you notice they aren't eating well? Why not make this plan, label each meal with day, etc. Create a written plan for them to follow and check up with them to make sure they are following the plan.

How I plan my menus...................

I have studied alternative medicine, our food as medicine and more for a good many years. This gives me a head start and I plan to start sharing some of this with you in the weeks ahead so that you can make informed choices for your families. My peditrican appreciated my approach of family self care until and when he was needed for things that were above and beyond my ability. He actually was a wonderful physician who spoiled me for others who didn't/don't understand and/or appreciate my approach. Actually what I had learned was the ebb and flow of the old paths and I followed them well.

When I approach my meal plan there are several things I will take in account.

I can't afford to eat entirely organic on our limited budget. When I can garden it is a big help and grow all my produce orgnically. We raise our own beef, goat (chevon and milk) and chicken (meat and eggs) using organic grains only when necessary preferring grass for feed. This is a luxoury that we can count on for now but know there will come a time when that won't be available to us. I'm hoping by then, since I've been proving food for my children and their families from our excess that some of them will, in turn, provide that for us when we are no longer capable.

When I can't raise something myself I choose which items that I know would be the worst as far as the amount of pesticides and herbicides used on the product and purchase the worst offending to buy organic. This means that all root crops will be purchased organic, as well as greens and cole crops plus apples and a few others like citrus fruits that I'm going to be using the peel on.


We have learned that we eat to large of portions. Actually, what needs to be learned is to scale the portion sizes to the age of the person and the amount of exercise that he/she does. When we worked harder as we gardened a four acre market garden, cared for a herd of goats, dairy cows, beef cows, and a moderate flock of sheep we needed larger portions and even then I think we ate to much as evidenced buy our extra pounds. Now that we've scaled back on physical labor we've scaled way back on portion sizes and have be shedding those extra pounds.

Additionally we eat much to large portions of meat compared to vegetables and then finally fruits. If our plates are comprised of primarily a highly nutritious form of protein (about 3 ounces) and about twice that amount of some good vegetables (low in carbohydrates as potatoes and starch) our meal is fairly complete. We reserve fruits to snacks and desserts.

Planning Meals Wisely.................

My primary plan for wise meal planning is choosing main dishes and sides that use some of the same ingredients so I'm being a good steward of the Lord God's provisions. Do I have to buy a bag of Organic Baby Spinach that I know I won't use up if I'm only planning one dish for the whole bag? No I plan on other dishes that I will make so that the bag is completely used up.

I plan parishable vegetables wisely also. I buy some celery and chop it up and freeze it. Same with peppers, onions and even mushrooms. That way I'm not throwing away a bunch of vegetables for going bad (although my laying hens do enjoy that). I have found that if I take my menu that is carefully planned on Friday, do my shopping and then do my meal prep for all those meals on Saturday that I not only save time on daily meal preperations but reduce my food budget at the same time.

One last thing that is very important. We take advantage of seasonal produce. More on that later.

Now it's time to share this next weeks menu, I'll share more basics as the weeks go on........

Saturday:  Grilled Pork Chops, Potato Salad, Spicy Carrot Coins (some of the kids are coming and they'll bring other things.

Sunday: Spinach Mushroom Pasta, Steak, L/O Spicy Carrot Coins

Monday: Grilled Chicken, Pear Salsa, Asparagus, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Spinach Pasta Pie, Peas & Carrots

Wednesday: Bourbon Chicken, Coconut Baked Brown Rice, Snap Peas

Thursday: Asparagus Pasta n Salmon, Roasted Zuchinni, Carrots and Brocolli

Friday: Hamburgers (Mike will have a bun and I will not), Sweet Potato Fries for me and regular fries for Mike (I bake these from scratch), Super Salad

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