Menu October 25th through 31st, 2009

It’s a busy week for both of us – working full time and 5 performances, so we’re going to focus on leftovers and easy meals. The Roasted Vegetables for Wednesday are actually already prepped (I cut & marinated twice what we needed last week, for just such an occasion). For both soup days, we’ll pull the leftovers out of the freezer & pop them in the crock pot on low in the morning, so we’ll have soup hot & ready to go when we get home from work & rehearsals.

Here’s the plan:

  • Sunday: Melissa’s Simple Pumpkin Soup
  • Monday: Black Bean and Bell Pepper Salad
  • Tuesday: Leftover White Bean & Kale Soup
  • Wednesday: Roasted Vegetables & Mashed Potatoes with Braised Mustard Greens & Kale
  • Thursday: Melissa’s Simple Pumpkin Soup (leftover from Sunday)
  • Friday: work & 2 performances = grilled cheese sandwiches & leftover tomato soup
  • Saturday: 3 performances = leftovers from the week

Grocery List ($74.54):

Costco ($69.42)

  • Cheddar cheese ($11.69)
  • Feta ($8)
  • Cereal ($6.95)
  • Freezer Bags ($9.69)
  • Mint gum ($8.15)
  • Beer ($21.99)
  • Tax ($2.95)

Top Foods ($5.12)

  • Mushrooms ($2)
  • Herb rolls ($2.58)
  • Dates ($0.54)

Sunday is also my day to prep foods for storage for the future. Today involved taking the pumpkin puree out of the muffin tins where they’ve been freezing and transferring them properly to freezer bags. I then washed the muffin tin and filled 6 spaces with the pumpkin soup I made today (for sometime in the future) and the other 6 spaces with the leftover beef broth from a carton I used last week. Since none of my chosen recipes this week call for beef broth, I want to make sure it gets preserved before it goes “off”.

I’m also storing batches of the soups we’ve made this week in the same way. I love freezing with muffin tins – whatever you’ve prepared (pizza sauce, the remaining broth you didn’t use in that soup recipe, pumpkin puree, finished soups, etc) is frozen in neat little ½ cup portions that you can then toss into one freezer bag. When you’re ready to use some of it, just pull however many ½ cups you want from that freezer bag and put them in prep bowls in the fridge to defrost. You can create “serving sized” portions easily this way without a lot of extra packaging – once they’re frozen, you can pop as many ½ cup portions in the same freezer bag as will fit without worrying about them sticking to each other later. This method will work with anything that will form to a muffin tin, so anything sauce or soup-like, as well as leftover portions of almost anything you take out of a can. The only thing I don’t freeze this way is rice (which doesn’t hold its shape that well once it’s out of the muffin tins) and tomato paste (which I store in 1 tablespoon portions in individual sandwich bags in the freezer). The only problem right now is that I only own one muffin tin, which only holds 6 cups total. So I can only process that much in one day (or maybe double that, if I’m motivated enough to start early & keep going late). For example, right at the moment, I’m waiting for the soup and beef broth I started earlier today to become firm enough that I can transfer it to the freezer bags I purchased at Costco so that I can freeze some of my other soups.

I would think that it’s time to get more muffin tins, but I also have a vague concern about running out of freezer space. We currently only have the small freezer attached to our refrigerator, and it’s getting fairly full. We might need to look into getting a separate freezer as we continue on our CSA journey…

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