I know I’ve been completely absent in my Recipe Monday posts, and for that I apologize. My only excuse is that J and I went through a period where the only things we were cooking were frozen pizzas, frozen breakfast burritos, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Vegetables had become a thing of the past, and our eating habits were going downhill fast. However, last week, we made a promise to ourselves to change that, and so here I am, back in the Recipe Monday saddle!
This Monday isn’t really a recipe, it’s more of a walk-through on what J and I do after we go to the grocery each week. We’ve really tried our best to only hit up the outer parameter of the grocery store, where all the fresh foods and vegetables/fruits are located. We make it a point to only go into the middle aisles if something is absolutely necessary, and while it makes our grocery bill a little more expensive, we’re eating so much healthier. I’d like to think eating healthier will cut down on future medical costs, so it’ll even out in the end (at least, that’s what I tell myself).
So…what do I do with all the fresh produce I buy, you ask? That’s how I usually spend my Sunday evenings…just me, a glass of wine, Food Network playing in the background, a sharp knife, a cutting board, and tons of Pyrex glass bowls with lids. Yeah…I’m glamorous like that, be jealous all of you. But, in all seriousness, that’s what I do. Usually, J and I go grocery shopping Sunday morning/afternoon. We’ll make a list of what we need for the week, including the recipes that we’d like to cook, and then head out with our mission. We’ve found that if we don’t make a list, we come home with tons of random ingredients and nothing to make a full meal, so shopping with a list is a life saver for us.
This past Sunday was quite busy! I had plans of making beans for the week, so I needed to get out the pressure cooker. Plus, I figured I could make extras and freeze them for when we have busy weekends and I can’t get around to making cooked beans from dried. I don’t mind buying canned beans, but I often forget to get them at the store, so I don’t always have them when I want them. Plus, something about canned beans tastes weird to me. It’s like they taste like metal or something. Also, there’s a ton of salt, that you can’t always get rid of by rinsing (and I rinse the crap out of my beans). Which basically leaves me with making my own from dried. Thankfully, with the amazing pressure cookers out there, it really doesn’t take long at all, and you don’t even need to soak them overnight. Soaking them overnight does speed up the process, but I’m perfectly fine spending 30 minutes instead of 20 and not soaking them at all. Yeah…I’m lazy like that. So, with that said, I started on the black beans, before dealing with anything else.
After the black beans were doing their thing in the pressure cooker (J bought me an amazing electric pressure cooker for my birthday last year, so it’s literally “fix it and forget it”), I started in on all the fresh produce we bought. For most produce, we don’t really wash it when we prepare it. I cut it up and put it into portions that we’ll use later on, but we don’t really wash the produce until it’s time to use. A lot of times, I’ll just take off the obvious dirt (with a damp paper towel) and start cutting away to get it into manageable pieces. This week, I went through quite a few vegetables: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes, kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce. Most of that will be used to make daily salads for lunch and dinner, as well as other meals that we’ve planned out during the week. For storage, we really like to use glass Pyrex dishes. There’s the BPA scare out there, which comes into play some, but in all honesty, we got a lot of Pyrex mixing bowls with lids for the wedding years ago. Those Pyrex dishes have become an absolute staple in our kitchen and I use them constantly. I even ordered more of them yesterday from Amazon, because I found myself running out of them so often. They’d either be full of things in the fridge, or dirty in the dishwasher, so I realized that they were probably the most used thing in my kitchen and that I needed more. Hopefully Amazon comes through for me and they’re delivered tomorrow!
Along with my much coveted Pyrex dishes, I’ll also be getting a pressure canner in my Amazon shipment! I’d really like to can beans instead of freezing them (but, without a pressure canner, I can’t do it), as well as preserves and other veggies that we get from the grocery and various friends’ gardens. One thing I’d really like to try my hand at is small batch preserves, that I can give away for Christmas gifts! Plus, I found a really easy looking recipe for handmade crackers, so I’m thinking gifts of homemade crackers, preserves, and cheese might be really nice gifts for friends during the holiday! Of course, I’m sure I’ll change my mind at least 10 more times before the holidays get here, but for now…this is the plan!
So, there is my Sunday/Food Prep routine! We try to do this weekly, but obviously the last few months have been few and far between on the homemade food items. If you have any questions on how we prep various veggies and fruits, let me know!