Last night’s supper was delicious AND fast. That’s not a combination that happens by chance in my household. Most of our meals are delicious….they just tend to take a while to cook. The time that a recipe takes has never before been a criteria when I was choosing our meals.
That has changed. Now that John and I are both working at home, there is extra incentive to try to minimize the dinner prep time. All three kids (and us, I admit) are a bit crazy by 5:00, so the faster that we can get through supper and bathtime, the better.
The new weekly gluten free menu plans over at the Cooking School are FAST recipes. According to the author’s note*, all can be made in less than 20 minutes if you’re comfortable in the kitchen and prep foods as you’re cooking. Believe it or not, he’s right. Unlike certain 30 minute meal cookbooks that I’ve tried, these meals are fast and simple to make. And they use seasonal ingredients and pretty standard pantry items (standard, at least, for a GF kitchen that doesn’t use a lot of processed foods). That means that the meals are pretty easy on the budget too. This was the first week that I cooked off of the menu, and I spent much, much less at the grocery store than I usually do.
(*We’re cooking through Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express cookbook.)
Here’s what we’ve had so far this week:
GF Pasta tossed with pickled peppers, green olives, and marinated artichokes. This was not a flavor combination that we would typically eat, but it was delicious. I really enjoyed having something different for supper. And the only cooking that was required was boiling the pasta. We ate this as a main dish with a side salad, but it would have been really good paired with grilled chicken, too. ( I forgot to take a picture of this one, and it was gone in no time!)
Tuesday night I baked up some GF sub rolls and we ate Po’Boys. Since we’re vegetarian we had fried tofu rather than fried shrimp, and vegan coleslaw rather than the shrimp bisque.
If you bake the bread earlier in the week (I try to do all my bread baking on Sunday), then this would be a pretty easy meal to put together. I tried to bake bread and take care of and feed sick babies and a sick husband and this meal took a while to put together, but I think that was entirely my fault.
Doesn’t that bread look great. It’s the Finally, Really Good Sandwich Bread baked into a hoagie shape.
Wednesday night’s meal was AMAZING. So simple and so tasty. I made a double batch so that we’d have leftovers for today’s lunch, but I spied John having seconds late last night, so that plan may be scuttled. For those of you who have never cooked tofu, I’ll post a short tutorial in the Cooking School section. It’s very easy, and so much nicer than working with raw chicken. Of course, you could always substitute chicken in this recipe and I’m sure it would be very good. We served this over rice and it is seasoned very simply with garlic, ginger, GF tamari (or soy sauce) and rice vinegar. So yummy!
I’ve started ordering some of my groceries from a local online grocery and I love being able to see the exact price of what is in my shopping cart as I add new items. The site saves my shopping cart, so I can leave the list up for an extended period of time to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything or to give me time to rethink the menu if I’m spending too much. They also deliver the groceries to our house the next day for a minimal delivery fee. It sure beats spending an hour or two at the grocery store each week!
The online market’s selection of produce is not as varied as I would like, so I’ll also do shop for fresh produce at a nearby supermarket a couple of times a week. However, my goal is to not by anything but fresh produce when I’m there. We’ll see how that goes!
Below, we’ve listed a few sample gluten-free menus–to give you an idea of what a week of gluten-free cooking might look like!
Sometimes a girl just needs some indulgence time. And after a week of everyone being sick with high fevers, that’s what I’m hoping this coming week will be. I really want to curl up on the couch with a good book and a plate full of Chinese take-out. I took care of the book situation today with a big trip to the library. And I’ll be taking care of the Chinese cravings with a week full of Asian-inspired recipes. This menu is a mixture of family favorites and recipes from other bloggers that I’ve been dying to try. Vegetarian substitutions are listed in parentheses for those who are interested.
I did my grocery shopping for the week and spent $113.91. I hit Whole Foods first for soy milk, tofu and any veggies under $1.99/lb and then stopped by a local chain grocery store for most of the dry goods and the remaining veggies. I try to check my grocery receipts as soon as I get in the car and today that paid off big time. The Whole Foods cashier has rung up 3 items incorrectly! I took the receipt back into the store and the help desk gave me the correct price on one item and then gave me the other two items for free. The total refund ended up being $13.33. If you’d like to read more about my gluten-free grocery budgeting efforts, try this article: 10 Strategies to Lower My Grocery Bill.