I’m really having fun sharing these weekly recaps with you! There are so many subtle decisions that are made throughout the week that really impact how I navigate my food intake and grocery budget. I feel like they’re the final piece of the puzzle to help many of you see the big picture of what I’m doing and that will hopefully inspire or help you to do the same.
This past week was a bit chaotic. I was out of town for most of the first day of my “week” (Wednesday), and I had to go pick up my groceries on the way back into town. I didn’t have time to cook anything that evening, but luckily a friend of mine decided to take me out to a belated birthday meal (so nice!). Because my planning and execution of the weekly menu was not as much of a priority this week, I ended up straying way off plan. Two entire recipes that I planned for didn’t get made, but luckily those ingredients are shelf/refrigerator stable, so I can save them away for a future week.
Anyway, let’s take a look at what happens when I don’t stick to plan…
What I Bought
So maybe I should start with what I planned to cook: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers (check), Garlic Parmesan Polenta (check), Braised Red Cabbage (didn’t make), and Sloppy Joes Plus (didn’t make). I already had everything on hand for the sloppy joes (freezer and pantry), except the lentils and bell pepper, so all of that can just stay put until I get the craving for them again. The cabbage is really sturdy, so it’s just as good this week as it was last week when I bought it. I reworked it into the plan this week.
I only had to stock up on a couple staples this week: milk, butter, tortillas, garlic, and cornmeal. Then, as I was taking the photo above, I realized that I accidentally bought cornmeal MIX instead of plain cornmeal. Cornmeal mix has flour, baking powder, and some other stuff in it, so it definitely wouldn’t work for polenta. :( So, I had to stop by the store later that night and get a bag of cornmeal instead ($3.29, I lost the receipt). Ooops.
So, once again, I came in well below my $30 budget! I stood there in the store for a moment asking myself what I could stock up on or if I wanted to splurge on something like yogurt, but in the end, I just left. I had everything I needed and I feel pretty stocked up on goods right now, so I just “saved” the extra five bucks or so. Why spend $30 if I can do it in $25? So, that felt like a big win this week.
It’s crazy how short my list was this week, but all of my planned recipes were incredibly simple and as I said, my pantry feels really well stocked at the moment. As mentioned, I had to take back the cornmeal mix and buy the plain cornmeal, which was $3.29 instead of $2.50 for the mix. Small adjustment.
I was really disappointed in my melon this week. I was really looking forward to it because I had been craving melon, but from the very day that I cut into it, the flavor was just off. It was not sweet and almost tasted sour. I wish I had cut into it before taking the cornmeal mix back!
What I Ate
This Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers was my main meal this week. It was SO easy and so delicious that I ate it all week and never got sick of it. I ate it over polenta and I ate it alone straight out of a bowl. I realized after the fact that it would have been AWESOME in a roll with some melted mozzarella. Oh well, I can always make it again!
I ate the saucy slow cooked chicken spooned over these fried Garlic Parmesan Polenta cakes. This stuff was really easy to make and made the perfect savory/starchy base for the marinara drenched chicken and peppers. The freshly cooked polenta, which is roughly the same texture as mashed potatoes, only takes a few minutes to make, so I know I’ll be making it a lot in the future to go along with other dishes.
Ooohhhh this Eggs Florentine Breakfast Pizza! This was my favorite recipe this week (okay, maybe tied with the slow cooker chicken) and it was totally a last minute decision. I was craving pizza and just went rummaging through my fridge, freezer, and pantry for anything that could be considered a pizza topping. I ended up with eggs, spinach, and white sauce (butter, four, and milk). It’s so simple, yet SO amazing!
I also made it into a new video, so you can see just how FAST and EASY making fresh pizza crust is. You can watch it here:
I never made the planned braised red cabbage because I just kind of got busy and ran out of time (and wanted that pizza more!). I didn’t make the Sloppy Joes Plus because I felt that I already had enough food for the week and if I did take the time to make it, it would have gone to waste. Luckily, most of those ingredients (all but the green pepper) are shelf/freezer stable, so they’ll be there waiting for a rainy day.
I “ate out” twice this week. The first time was on the day that I went grocery shopping, which was perfect because I was out of town all day and couldn’t cook up anything new. A friend of mine offered to take me out to a belated birthday dinner and I obliged, since I would have been eating something out of my freezer that night anyway. That and the leftovers took care of two meals for the week. A couple days later my boyfriend brought home a pizza (he knows the way to my heart!) and that also covered two meals worth of food for me. So, two meals “out” this week, but both were treats from other people.
I didn’t finish all of the yucky melon, but I tried to eat as much of it as I could. It only got worse after day one, so a good portion of it went in the garbage. I had the one leftover green bell pepper that I bought for the Sloppy Joes, which I should have eaten as snack (sliced up), but I kind of forgot it was in there. By the end of the week it was kind of soft and discolored, so I wrote that one off as a loss.
I had no chicken and peppers left, but if I did it could have easily been frozen. I don’t think the polenta would have frozen well, but it costs next to nothing, so if there had been a small amount leftover it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Luckily, it was all gobbled up!
The breakfast pizza? Yeah, that was gone in like 24 hours. …I had help, though.
It’s okay to change your plans mid-week, but it’s probably not a good habit to get into. Luckily I was able to do it this week without having to go buy more ingredients or throw away a lot of unused items, so it worked out alright. I think I’ll be taking into consideration my work schedule and what I can realistically make with the time given when planning my menu in the future!
Till next time!