Meal Planning around your CSA

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May 22, 2013 at 6:30 am

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This post is for you if:

  • You like to eat dinner at home most nights of the week
  • If you prefer to make that dinner yourself
  • You order takeout a few nights a week and you feel guilt every time

Spending just 20 minutes thinking about your meals for the week can save you at least five hours in the kitchen a week. Planning your dinners takes a few minutes of thought and a few hours in the kitchen on one day, instead of an hour a night.

You’ll save time, money and sanity, especially if you’re like our family – we work full time out of the home and have side projects when we get home. We have two kids under the age of 5 and 2 fur kids that also need our attention. With a few hours spent planning and cooking on the weekend, dinner during the week can come together in five minutes.

The minimalist plan

I look to my weekly produce delivery for inspiration. A few days in advance, I find out what goodies I’m going to get. Then I create a loose plan to work the organic goodness into healthy meals for the week. Since produce needs to be used up first, I plan everything around produce.

 

Once I know what fruits and veggies will fill the fridge, I take stock of fridge and pantry for items I need to use up or restock. I choose our dinners for the week, then make a grocery list.

 

Prep. This is where the fun begins. When you get home from the farmers market, store, or when your produce arrives, crank some tunes or put on a movie, get to work, and don’t forget to have fun!

 

  1. wash and dry greens and herbs (a salad spinner speeds this along) and wrap in paper towels or kitchen towels
  2. peel veggies like parsnips, beets, or carrots, chop them for raw snacks, or shred them to throw into salads, stir fry’s, sauces or smoothies
  3. freeze bananas (peel, break into chunks, put into a baggie and freeze) for smoothies
  4. Roast veggies – chopped carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, potatoes, root veggies
  5. rice and/or quinoa – cook a big batch for the week (I usually make about 2 cups dry) – use for curries, rice bowls, soup, burritos, salads
  6. soup – make a big batch; carrot, sweet potato, black bean or tomato soup are all easily portable for lunches
  7. dips – bean dip, hummus, red pepper dip, eggplant dip
  8. sauces for pasta – tomato sauce, pesto

I mix and match all my prepped items – pesto on pasta, hummus with veggies, rice for quick stir fry’s. Near the end of the week is normally when I start making some fun combos to use up everything – this past week was marinara sauce with finely chopped and roasted cauliflower and broccoli – the kids didn’t even notice.

Once these cooked foods are in ready to go in my fridge; my kitchen becomes a fast food restaurant. There is no Chinese restaurant in Chicago that can take my order faster than I can assemble dinner.

Do you like to do some food prep for the week ahead? What kind of items do you like to prep?

Like this? Get more tips for minimalist meal planning at Barefoot Essence and be sure to like my Facebook page!

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