Friday, March 1, 2013

My go to "meatball" recipe, finally! and Meal Plan Wednesday (20/2/13)

I know that Meal Plan Monday has this great ring to it and everything but we've started this new tradition of doing our big weekly shop on Wednesdays.  Going to the market in near by Boston and then hitting up the supermarket for the rest of our stock-up   Maybe there is a stop at an additional shop for a little fun treat for the Noodle.  I've been having more fun than she has collecting little Playmobile guys (and gals).  I, of course, have not been very regular on posting my meal plans for the week but in the interest of full disclosure I do not get them done every week.  I don't know how you moms do it out there.  Between looking after the Noodle, and keeping the house and cooking in between my day is over.  I struggle to get proper exercise in as evidenced by my significant lack of strength.

This was the last week in dinners.

1. Sloppy Joes over potato (Vegan Diner  - page 93).  I'll be making these again and will do a separate post highlighting their deliciousness with my preferred serving method.  And maybe a photo which I totally flaked on this time.

2. Bean and Pea Garden Burger with chips & veg
These were plenty tasty and another good burger for putting in those random bits of vegetable.  I added off cuts of the kale and cabbage I had (stem and tougher leaves cut into small confetti).  Seriously, don't throw out your kale stems they are edible they just need to be cut up due to their fibrous nature.  Toss those bits into burgers and soups.  We served these with spicy sweet potato fries.

3. Nacho Potatoes
Another delicious bowl idea.  I've been leaning toward the bowl presentation more and more lately.  Especially as we lean away from eating bread and wheat over all.  Potatoes make a great base for many of these sandwichy type things.

For some reason this link doesn't want to work and bumps you to the home page of Lisa's Vegan Project but no matter.  In the top right corner there is a search box and enter "pistachio tofu" and it is the first result :)  This was really nice and simple.  A couple things overall I might change if I make it again.  I think I'll add a bit of corn starch/flour to the mix to help the crust stick onto the tofu better and I'll also think of a sauce for the hubs to use because he really wanted a sauce on this.  He does like his sauces though.  I thought it was fine as is.  I added carrot to the rice mix for more flavor/color/veg and I used regular onion as I rarely buy leeks. I caramelized the onion and carrot together then mixed it with the peas and rice.

5. Vegetable Cobbler
Because let's be honest.  No one thought I'd bake this right?  The stew was great anyway.  I ended up adding kale, green beans and chickpeas.  The topping was made with a combo of spelt and oats in biscuit form.

6. Gluten-Free "Meatballs"
Of course I didn't straight up follow the recipe but I didn't make that many changes either.  And I totally flaked on the photo but again, I'll be making this again and will do a better job of it next time.  I think this is my go to recipe.  After so many months, years, searching.  Thank you Susan! Try these balls!!!
My adjustments and thoughts on the recipe . . .
-Doubled the overall recipe to give us leftovers (didn't double the salt though).
-Sunflower seeds instead of walnuts (Susan does suggest the use of other nut/seed)
-bit of extra oats to account for my slight shortage of chickpea flour
-put lentils in for the kasha because I had some cooked and don't generally have kasha on hand
-used the optional ingredients except for the tomato powder I used tomato paste and accounted for the moisture by adding it as part of the boiling water measure.  Reduced the water to 1c due to the already moisturized cooked lentils
-I was tempted to skip the baking soda in the recipe but opted to go ahead and add it and make note of if it seemed to add anything to the texture.  Think of these as meatball cookies.  It will work without the baking soda but the soda does help aerate and texturize the balls.  Without it I think they will be much more dense and they may take slightly longer to cook due to the lack of tiny little steamy pockets inside.

7. Oven fries/chips with Linda McCartney Sausages, baked beans and salad (aka junk food night).  No pic of this one either but I'm sure it's not hard to picture and there wasn't much to making it so there isn't much here to take credit for.  I did enjoy looking down at my plate laughing to myself that this is the most junky our food gets really.  A bit of extra salt and fat but not much really and more than half the plate is full of nice raw veggies anyway.

Noodle Snacks:

So this was my first attempt at trying to lead the Noodle away from bread.  Yes I can make gluten free bread and I will but we still have wheat flour to work through and limited space and most importantly a budget so it's not something I could tackle this week.  While these were plenty tasty Noodle wasn't all over them.  They were of course cookie like as you'd expect and I've come to realize that she like bread bread.  Like yeasty bread.  Ah well.  I ate them and I will no doubt come back to them as she goes into a cookie phase.  As you can see I even tried to make them kinda bread stick like but she was too clever for that.

I've started work on a pantry staples post but assuming your kitchen is semistocked you can do pretty well on your weekly shop.  Especially if you're willing to shop around a bit.  There seems to be a few programs in place at certain stores that amounts to "price matching" but I haven't really gotten around to taking advantage of this and I don't think that works in connection with the veggie markets so we would still be doing a bit of shopping around anyway.

This week's shopping list (some things like rice, miso, and oats we won't finish over the week they just go to stocking the pantry) and some extra bits we picked up on the fly (these are marked with *, this usually happens at the market when we spot a good price on things like fruit that are not on my dinner menu).

bell peppers (needed 1 got 4)
cherry tomatoes
avocados (3)
*mandarine oranges
potatoes (4 kilos)
pistachios (1/4 kilo)
porridge oats (1 kilo)
vegetable shortening
rice (2 kilos)
mushrooms (0.8 kilo)
bananas (1.86 kilos)
miso paste
Linda McCartney sausages (3 pks of 5)

total for this was about £30.  By the end of the week we ended up around £40 with little bits and bobs that were forgotten or found on sale (mostly fruit, we love our fruit).

It looks like quite a low number for a family of 3 (including 1 athlete) but that's definitely the good thing about meal planning.  I can look ahead and chose meals that have low ingredient costs.  In the case of this week I chose one more expensive ingredient that I wanted that I didn't already have on hand (miso) but this jar will last several weeks.  In our pantry (I'll expand on this later) we keep bulk items that we order online which help keep costs down too.  These will show up as more expensive blips in the budget but work out much more cost effective over the long haul.  I really want to show that, whether you're single, a family, an athlete or whatever eating vegan can be pretty cheap and healthy.


Kari said...

I could happily eat any and all of the meals you list here. I love your list of food purchases for the week too, and we have recently discovered those Linda McCartney sausages after they arrived in Australian supermarkets - they're now a feature of our 'junk' / 'easy' cooking nights too ;)

Bex said...

Thanks Kari. Those sausages have definitely helped me out many a time crunched evening. There are LM sausage rolls too. We tried those at Christmas. Super tasty though definitely only for special occasions.