October Cooking Challenge: Week 2, Meal 1 – Italian Steak and Egg with Hash

I often think ‘things will quiet down after this week’ – but they never seem to. Crazy is the new normal. My mom often comments that the pace at which we fly through our days is sheer lunacy, and she doesn’t know how we do it. I agree with her, it’s wacky. I don’t know how we do it either, and I don’t quite know how to slow the speeding bullet train.

I have to say doing this challenge and planning out our meals has actually been an ENORMOUS help. Much more than I realized. I think about it once, up front, make a list, and then I am done. I don’t think about it again. No more ‘what’s for dinner’ scrambles. So, if nobody gets anything out of this experience other than me planning my menu, I’ll still be very glad I did this challenge!

Steak, egg, and home made fries are a nostalgic dinner choice for me. My mom used to make it once a week, more or less, and we would eat it in front of the TV watching the A-Team or MacGuyver. This recipe is an elevated, healthier version of my nostalgic classic, but it really made me want to watch old A-Team re-runs  to round out the experience!

Ingredients:

img_40021.2lb sirloin tip steak (excellent choice)

1 bunch kale

2 green peppers

8oz crimini mushrooms

2lbs sweet potatoes

3 cloves garlic

paprika or cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

 

 

Step 1 – Prepare Steak & Vegetables (10 minutimg_4005es)

Remove the steak, pat with paper towel to remove excess moisture, season with salt and pepper

Remove stems from kale, and chop into 1/2-inch ribbons

Peel and dice sweet potatoes

Core and dice green peppers

Slice mushrooms

Peel and mince garlic

 

 

 

Step 2 – Make Hash (10-15 minutes)

img_4007In a large pan add a little olive oil and saute the garlic on medium-high heat

Add the green peppers and sweet potato and stir

Continue to stir occasionally until sweet potato softens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 – Cook Steak (20 minutes)

img_4006Heat oven to 400 degrees

In a large pan, heat a little coconut oil over medium-high heat

Add your seasoned steak to sear it, about 3 minutes until it is nice and brown

Turn steak and cool for another 3 minutes

Remove steak from stove, place on baking sheet, cover with a tinfoil tent and pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Tip: The steak was large and quite a thick cut, I find roasting steaks to finish them keeps them tender and gives them great flavor.

Step 4 – Finish the Hash (5 minutes)

img_4008Add mushrooms and kale to the hash, stir occasionally

Season with cayenne pepper or paprika to taste

Step 5 – Fry the eggs (4 minutes)

Give the large frying pan that the steak was in a quick wipe (I have ceramic coated non-stick)

Add a little coconut oil, and fry four eggs to order

 

 

Step 6 – Plating the meal

img_4010Remove steak from oven, slice into strips

Spoon two generous servings of the kale and sweet potato hash onto the plate

Add a few strips of steak

Top with fried egg

 

(This was my husbands plate, he likes his steak and his eggs well done. I like my steak medium and my yolks runny. It is easy to remove the steak part way through cooking and slice a piece of it off, and put the rest back if you so desire. Eggs can be fried to order).

 

Quick Analysis

Assessment: My husband praised my efforts! Okay, he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so it figures. But it really was delicious, one of the best meals I have cooked this challenge.

Total time: approx 45 minutes

Mess factor: this was a messier  undertaking. I don’t know what it was, I only used two pans and a baking sheet, but my husband cleared the plates and commented on the explosion of chaos in the kitchen. It didn’t take long to clean up though.

Waste: a BPA free bag, and the bag the steak came in. About a pint of vegetable scraps for a veggie stock at the end of the week, egg shells for the compost heap.

What’s Left Over for the Week?

1.5lb green tomatoes (on my windowsill ripening)

2 acorn squash

4oz green peppers

1lb green beans

1 bunch red beets

1 bunch yellow carrots

1 head lettuce

1 bunch scallions

From the South Shore Organics Local Market

8oz ginger

1lb limes

1bu cilantro

1bu basil

8oz feta

2 eggs

From the Fish Market/Store

12oz shrimp

32oz organic long grain white rice

October Cooking Challenge – Week 2

The results are in from our first week, and I was so surprised. Truly! You can feed your family a healthy organic locally sourced meal for less than the price of a Big Mac Meal from MacDonalds!

This week, I am sharing my menu plan early in case you want to cook with me! Remember the parameters of the challenge? Okay, well here’s what I have going on in the kitchen this week:

Green Veggie Box – $40

1.5lb green tomatoes

2 acorn squash

s-squash-acorn

2lbs sweet potatoes

8oz green peppers

1lb green beans

1 bunch red beets

1 bunch yellow carrots

1 bunch kale

1 head lettuce

8oz crimini mushrooms

1 bunch scallions

From the South Shore Organics Local Market

Here’s what I ordered extra, for $37.02 (I needed a few dollars extra at the store for shrimp):

s-feta-cheese

8oz ginger

1lb limes

1bu cilantro

1bu basil

8oz feta

1.2lb beef sirloin tip steak

1/2 dozen eggs

From the Fish Market/Store

Spend was $12.98:

12oz shrimp (this is my plan, but I might change my mind when I get to the market and the shrimp is farm raised – but it will be another seafood)

32oz organic long grain white rice

sachet of yeast (I keep a sourdough starter going for our bread – it’s cheaper than store bought bread and tastes better and its cleaner, so I don’t actually need this to make pizza dough. However, part of the challenge is to use what everybody has in their pantry, and not everybody has a sourdough starter,! A sachet of yeast is inexpensive – 50c – and it will get the job done but once this challenge is over, I’ll do a post on baking bread – it’s easy!)

Menu

Meal 1 – Pan Fried Shrimp with Lime Chili Rice (with Carrots, Ginger, and Green Beans)

Meal 2 – Italian Steak ‘n Eggs with Kale, Crimini, & Sweet Potato Hash

BONUS:

Meal 3 – Roasted Beet Pizza with Feta, Beet Greens Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze, and a Salad

Meal 4 – Stuffed Acorn Squash (I’ll use whatever is left for the week)

 

I’ll post as a I cook, check back in for recipes, and join me!

Week 1 Summary & Meal Kit Comparison

For the October Cooking Challenge, we wanted to do a comparison between what we offer, and the meal kit companies out there. We are all busy, my household is no exception, and we need help! So I laid out some ground rules, and got to work. Looking for recipes and planning out my basket, then making a shopping list literally took me around 45 minutes. Here are the recipes I made:

Meal 1 – Sweet Potato and Chard Calzones, with a salad

Meal 2 – Tandoori Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Green Beans

BONUS Meal – Vegetable Lo Mein

BONUS Meal – Vegetable Lo Mein Lettuce Wraps (the other option was a soup)

BONUS – Veggie Stock

What was left over from my delivery?

4oz of Atwells Gold Cheese (saving for a quiche)

1 bulb of Garlic (will keep)

img_3934

Value Comparison

week-1-value

Sustainability

sustainability-1

Let’s Be Honest. How Much Time Did it Take?

It took me about 45 minutes to take the list of basket contents, and formulate a plan with recipes, and I looked online to make sure my ‘add-ons’ were within budget.

The few extra items I needed from the store, I got when I was going for something else.

In other words, I did not feel like it was a massive time investment. What took the most amount of time this week (and was the most fun), was photographing my food!

Summary

The food was good. Not cordon-bleu-five-star-dining good, but tasty and satisfying.

Breaking down the delivery into meals at the beginning of the week, choosing recipes, and sourcing the extras, was very, very helpful. Usually I just wing it. I am versatile enough of a cook to get away with it. But the ‘what’s for dinner tonight’ scramble is no fun whether you are versatile or not, and I found that I had a much better handle on our meals. It was nice not to scramble. And I spent less money.

Check in tomorrow for this week’s plan.

FREE with each delivery – just add water!

I saved all the vegetable trimmings from my box as I went along this week, including the lettuce heart. I put them in a tub in the fridge. At the end of the week, I filled a big stock pot  almost to the brim with these scraps, and made a beautiful, rich, flavorful vegetable stock.

Ingredients:

img_3908Noodle water (left over from lo mein noodles) – but not essential to making stock, you can just use plain water

Chickpea juice (drained from can of chickpeas) – but not essential to making stock, you can just use plain water

Vegetable scraps and trimmings (stems, skins, seeds, leaves – all of it!)

4-6qts water (depends on scrap quantity – but it’s okay to eyeball it)

 

 

 

 

Step 1 – Fill the pot & cook

img_3911In a large 12qt stock pot add noodle water, chickpea juice, and scraps

Add water

Bring pot contents to rolling boil over low to medium heat, and allow to simmer in the background for about 1 1/2 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 – Cool and strain

Once done, remove from heat and allow to cool

Strain through a cheesecloth lined colander

Fill jars (not to the top) and seal for the freezer

img_3923

Uses

This veggie stock can be used as a base for soups and stews, you can use it to cook rice, pilafs, or in any recipe that requires the use of stock to add flavor.

 

October Cooking Challenge: Week 1, Meal 4 – Lo Mein Lettuce Wraps

Week one of the challenge drew to a close with a very busy night. I was very thankful I had the foresight to cook the remaining vegetables into a double serving of Vegetable Lo Mein – a decision that ‘served’ me well – ha ha! If I’d had more time, I would have turned the leftovers into a veggie noodle soup, using the veggie scraps from the week to make a veggie stock base. But I didn’t have the time.  So here’s what I did!

Ingredients:

img_3912

left over Vegetable Lo Mein

1/2 a green leaf lettuce

salt and pepper to taste

 

Tip: I received this lettuce a week ago, but it is still fresh and crisp thanks to how it was stored. If you wrap your greens in a damp cotton towel (I had it in an organic cotton vejibag, made in Maine) in the crisper drawer of your fridge, they will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks with ease.

 

 

Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables (2 minutes)

img_3914Trim the lettuce and wash well

Pat the lettuce dry with a clean dry cotton towel (or paper towel)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 – ASSEMBLE WRAPS (10 minutes)

img_3915Lay the lettuce leaf out, stem side closest to you.

Spoon two to three heaped tablespoons of cold Lo Mein near the base.

Tuck the base of the leaf over the Lo Mein and roll tightly towards the top of the leaf.

As the you near the top of the leaf, it widens, and you can fold the sides over the top to contain the wrap and prevent spillage.

I made ten wraps from the leftovers.

Tip: You could also use rice paper to wrap both the lettuce and the Lo Mein

Step 3 – Plating the Food (2 minutes)

img_3916Put two-to-three wraps on a plate.

Add a dipping bowl of soy sauce for flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Analysis

Assessment: This was quick and easy and filling. Was it the most ground-breaking meal I have had? No. But it was enjoyable, and it was healthy. I’d make it again.

Total time: under 15 minutes

Mess factor: virtually none

Waste: None

What’s Left Over for the Week?

4oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery – which I am saving for a quiche.

October Cooking Challenge: Week 1, Meal 3 – Vegetable Lo Mein

When reviewing what I had left in my fridge, I was fast forwarding to Thursday night. Thursday night in our house is brutal, I have a class to attend at 7:00pm, Ryan has swimming from 6:30-7:30pm, and April has equestrian drill team practice and usually only gets home at 7-7:30. It all converges. Plus, it is a South Shore Organics delivery day, or, as we in the biz like to call it: Anything Can (And Probably Will) Happen Thursday. Eek! So in deciding whether or not to divide what I had left into two meals or just cook it all, I opted to cook it all.

This recipe offers up A LOT of food. Enough for two meals. So my plan is to put half in the fridge, and use the left overs to make veggie noodle soup, or make low mein lettuce wraps.

img_3897Ingredients:

1lb sweet potato

1 bunch brussels sprout greens

1 bunch radishes

10oz low mein noodles

1 can chickpeas

2 sweet peppers

4 ears corn

half a lemon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

5 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons coconut oil

6 tablespoons of soy sauce

1/2 a bunch of chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Cooks Note: I was so, so tempted to add a spoon of peanut butter at the end, I didn’t. Because I wanted to stick to the rules. I also wanted to add some fresh ginger, which I regretted not working into my budget, but the ground ginger I had in my cupboard did a really good job and after tasting it, I didn’t miss either the fresh ginger, or the peanut butter.

Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables (10 minutes)

img_3898shred the brussels sprouts leaves

cut sweet potato into stripes

cut peppers into strips

open and drain chick peas (save liquid)

cut up radishes

peel corn and cut kernels off cob

mince garlic

derobe the noodles

Step 2 – Stir Fry (10 minutes)

img_3900In a large wok or frying pan, heat all of the oil. I use coconut oil for stir fry’s because it is better than olive oil at the high heat you need to cook hot and fast.

Add garlic and peppers. I add peppers early on because my family don’t love them, and the longer the cook, the more they caramelize, the more my family likes them 😉

Add sweet potato, stir.

Add chickpeas and radishes, stir.

Add corn.

Add brussels sprout leaves, stir.

Keep stirring to make sure nothing chars, and all the veggies are well   blended.

Turn the heat way down.

Step 3 – Cook Noodles (5 minutes)

img_3901In a large pan, at least 5 quarts, cook lo mein noodles according to the instructions on the package. In my case, that meant adding them to boiling water and cooking for four minutes without salt or oil.

Drain noodles, save liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4 – Assembling Lo Mein (5 minutes)

img_3902Turn the heat in the pan way up.

Add the noodles.

Add the soy sauce.

Add the ground ginger.

Stir aggressively (?) enthusiastically (?) with vigor! Until well blended.

Throw cilantro on top.

Stir some more – I used a strong hard wood spatula.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

 

Step 6 – Plating The Food (2 minutes)

img_3904Divide in half.

Dish up one half into four bowls, and squeeze lemon over the top. Leave the other half to cool down so that it can go in the fridge for dinner tomorrow night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Analysis

Assessment: I loved this meal, it was simple and satisfying. Although my temptation was to be more heavy handed with condiments and flavorings, it was a good reminder that simple is often best, and you don’t need highfalutin sauces and add-ons to make a good, tasty, healthy meal. It was comfort food too, I ate it on the couch with the kids.

Oh, and also, spicy radishes are truly tamed with heat. Heat sedates them. They become turnips.

Total time: 30 minutes

Mess factor: one large electric frying pan, and a pan for the noodles (and again, lots of bowls. Although, I have to say, that taking a few minutes at the beginning to peel, slice, and dice, is actually starting to work for me. It makes the rest of the process really quick and easy, so I am finding cooking less stressful.)

  img_3907Waste: I saved the noodle water and chickpea juice for the stock. .

I composted the corn husks.

I saved the elastic bands for future use.

I saved the corn cobs, radish greens, pepper ends, radish ends, sweet potato peels, stems from the brussels sprout greens, and paper garlic peels for vegetable stock.

The chickpea can will be recycled, as will the bag the noodle came in.

I threw the left over lemon in a quart of water for the next days’ consumption.

 

 What’s Left Over for the Week?

4 servings of Vegetable Lo Mein

1 spaghetti squash

4 ears corn

1 bunch radishes

2lb sweet potatoes  1lb sweet potatoes

1 bunch brussel sprout leaves

1lb sweet peppers 2 sweet peppers

1lb green beans

1 fennel bulb

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 green leaf lettuce 1/2 a green leaf lettuce

1 bunch swiss chard

1.2lb chicken thighs from Feather Brook Farm

8oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery 4oz cheese

16oz pasta sauce from Poblano Farms

1 lemon 1/2 a lemon

8oz of garlic 6oz garlic

1 bunch of cilantro 1/2 bunch cilantro

1lb pizza dough

1 can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

10oz GMO-free lo mein egg noodles

1 can organic coconut milk

October Cooking Challenge: Week 1, Meal 2 – Tandoori Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Green Beans

I am a little-of-this-little-of-that kind of cook. So far, the hardest thing about this challenge for me is that I have to restrain myself from reaching into my pantry cupboard. Sticking to the recipe takes discipline. Restraint and discipline are two qualities I severely lack when it comes to food.

This recipe requires a little more engagement than the calzones, which surprised me. But it combines some absolute winners: curry, coconut milk, fennel, and cilantro.

Inimg_3883gredients:

4 chicken thighs

1 spaghetti squash

1lb green beans

1 fennel bulb

1 can coconut milk

5 small or 3 large cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of curry powder

1/2 bunch cilantro

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to season

Optional: 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes or pasta sauce (I added this in, because I found one of my kids hadn’t eaten theirs with the calzones the night before, so I covered it, put it in the fridge, and added it to the chicken. It is not essential to the recipe, but waste nothing, remember?

Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables (10 minutes)

img_3885Before you begin, preheat oven to 400 degrees

half spaghetti squash and remove seeds

top and tail the beans

chop the fennel

mince the garlic

chop the cilantro

open the can of milk

Tip: here’s a great instructional video for how to prepare fennel

Step 2 – Bake Squash (2 minutes)

img_3887In a baking sheet, add 2 cups of water

Lay the squash open sides down in the water

Pop into the pre-heated oven to cook (roughly 30 minutes)

Step 3 – Sauté (15 minutes)

img_3889Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat, you will need a pan with a lid, so I used a saucepan

Add garlic and fennel, and sauté for five minutes

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper

Add chicken thighs to the pan and brown on both sides

Step 4 – Chicken Curry (15 minutes)

img_3890Add the coconut milk, curry seasoning, and optional tomato/pasta sauce to the chicken

Cover and let simmer

Tip: read the ingredients on your curry powder when you buy it, a good curry powder will have just a few essential ingredients, like coriander, and turmeric. I prefer to get one without ground chili, because I can add that myself and control the heat depending on who I am cooking for.

Step 4 – Green Beans (10 minutes)

img_3891In a small pan, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil over medium heat

Add a little salt

Add green beans

Cover and allow to simmer

Step 5 – Spaghetti Squash (5 minutes)

img_3892Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven

Carefully, using oven gloves, flip the squash over

Using a fork, pull the spaghetti strings away from the shell.

Step 6 – Plating The Food (2 minutes)

img_3894Remove chicken from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes

Remove the green beans from heat, drain, and set aside

Each plate gets a generous serving of spaghetti squash, a chicken thigh, and a quarter pound of green beans

Garnish generously with chopped cilantro

Quick Analysis

Assessment: This meal was so delicious and satisfying, we all cleaned our plates except for my daughter who wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early. I brought hers into work today for lunch and it was even better today than it was last night. Creamy without being too rich, and full of flavor.

Total time: 60 minutes

Mess factor: one large pan, a baking sheet, and a small pan for the beans (and again, lots of bowls if you are photographing the process. I have a collection of little pottery dipping bowls that are getting excellent mileage).

img_3895Waste: I saved the fennel fronds, garlic peels, spaghetti squash seeds and skins, cilantro stems, and bean tips for our veggie stock.

There was nothing to compost.

I put the tie from the cilantro in my kitchen drawer for reuse.

The plastic bag the beans came in (which could also have been wiped down and re-used – it’s bpa free,) was recycled. As was the cryovac chicken bag which I rinsed, along with the can.

What’s Left Over for the Week?

1 spaghetti squash

4 ears corn

1 bunch radishes

2lb sweet potatoes  1lb sweet potatoes

1 bunch brussel sprout leaves

1lb sweet peppers 2 sweet peppers

1lb green beans

1 fennel bulb

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 green leaf lettuce 1/2 a green leaf lettuce

1 bunch swiss chard

1.2lb chicken thighs from Feather Brook Farm

8oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery 4oz cheese

16oz pasta sauce from Poblano Farms

1 lemon 1/2 a lemon

8oz of garlic 6oz garlic

1 bunch of cilantro 1/2 bunch cilantro

1lb pizza dough

1 can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

10oz GMO-free lo mein egg noodles

1 can organic coconut milk

OCTOBER COOKING CHALLENGE : Week 1, Meal 1 – Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Calzones

These are easier than you think, and quite delicious! I decided to do the calzones first because I didn’t want to keep the pizza dough too long. This recipe uses a bunch of the greens, and it is a good idea to prioritise use of greens first.

I asked my driver to deliver my order to my home on Friday, and I brought it inside later in the day when I got home. I did this because I wanted ‘the customer experience’. These greens have been sitting in my fridge since Friday. One of the reasons they keep their freshness is because they are stored in Vejibags. Greens in plastic bags never work, but wrapped in soft, organic, wet cotton toweling they will keep for at least ten days.

Ingredients:img_3861

1lb sweet potatoes

1 bunch swiss chard

1 head lettuce

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 green pepper

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1lb pizza dough

4oz Atwells Gold cheese

8oz Poblano Farm pasta sauce

4 tablespoons olive oil

Step 1 – Prepare Vegetables (10 minutes)

img_3865

 

Before you begin, preheat oven to 475 degrees

 

Peel and dice sweet potatoes

De-stem and chop up chard

Slice cherry tomatoes in half

Shred lettuce by hand

Cut half a lemon into wedges

Mince garlic

Core and dice pepper

Dice cheese

Step 2 – Sauté (15 minutes)

img_3867-1

 

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat

Add sweet potato and garlic, sauté for ten minutes

Add swiss chard, keep over heat until wilted

Add 1/5 the jar of pasta sauce and remove from heat

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 – Assemble Calzones (10 minutes)

img_3870

 

Dust flat surface with flour, divide dough into four balls

Roll ball out flat until it is about the size of a side plate

Dust baking sheet with flour, lay out flat dough

Spoon sweet potato and chard onto one side, add blocks of diced cheese

Fold over, and press edges closed with a fork

Tip: I assembled these on the baking sheet so that I wouldn’t have to move them once assembled because they are soft

Step 4 – Bake Calzones, Assemble Salad (18 minutes)

img_3873

Bake calzones in heated oven for 16 to 18 minutes

Add tomatoes and green peppers to lettuce (I had some left over cheese, so added that as well)

For the dressing, mix 3 tablespoons of olive oil with juice from lemon wedges and season with salt and pepper

I had enough time to clean up, stack the dishwasher and wipe down the counters once the salad was made so the kitchen was clean before plating the food

 

 

Step 5 – Plating The Food (2 minutes)

img_3875

 

Four plates – each get their own calzone and dressed salad

Divide the remaining pasta sauce between the four plates for dipping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Analysis

Assessment: Terrific Meatless Monday meal. It was very filling, everybody cleaned their plate. The dipping sauce was nice to have because the parts of the calzone without filling were very dry. I barely tasted the chard which is a plus if you have fussy kids like me. I loved the salad dressing, but then lemon, olive oil, and pepper are one my go-to favorites.

Total time: 55 minutes

Mess factor: one large pan and a baking sheet (and lots of bowls if you are photographing the process LOL)

img_3872

Waste: I saved the chard stems, garlic peels, pepper core and stem, and the sweet potato peels for a veggie stock later in the week.

I composted the cardboard pint container, lemon tips, and outer lettuce leaves.

I put the elastics from the chard and the tomatoes in my office drawer to reuse.

Not featured is the glass jar from the pasta sauce – it was in the dishwasher!

It was just the plastic the cheese was wrapped in, and the bag the dough came in that needed to be recycled.

 What’s Left Over for the Week?

1 spaghetti squash

4 ears corn

1 bunch radishes

2lb sweet potatoes  1lb sweet potatoes

1 bunch brussel sprout leaves

1lb sweet peppers 2 sweet peppers

1lb green beans

1 fennel bulb

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 green leaf lettuce 1/2 a green leaf lettuce

1 bunch swiss chard

1.2lb chicken thighs from Feather Brook Farm

8oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery 4oz cheese

16oz pasta sauce from Poblano Farms

1 lemon 1/2 a lemon

8oz of garlic 6oz garlic

1 bunch of cilantro

1lb pizza dough

1 can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

10oz GMO-free lo mein egg noodles

1 can organic coconut milk

October Cooking Challenge – Week 1

Cool! I’m jazzed. It is going to be a busy week. My friend said and  I quote, “Honey, you are nuts to take this one right now!” And she is right. I am nuts. I wasn’t kidding, our lives are hectic. So there will never be a less nuts time to do this, besides, you are busy too right? Isn’t that the point? I am looking forward to the challenge.

To recap – get a delivery, feed a family of four at least two meals that are inspired by meal kit companies. Use everything. Waste nothing. Keep track of time, cost, and packaging.

Green Veggie Box for $40

1 spaghetti squash

4 ears corn

1 bunch radishes

2 sweet potatoes

1 bunch brussel sprout leaves

1lb sweet peppers

1lb green beans

1 fennel bulb

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 green leaf lettuce

1 bunch swiss chard

44301707 - cabbage leaves

Brussels sprouts greens are a new ‘thing’ – they are softer than collards and sweeter than cabbage. They are cut from the top of the Brussels sprouts plant a few weeks before sprout harvest, to allow the sprouts to get some sun and size up! This week my intention is to use them in a stir fry.

South Shore Organics Local Market

Here’s what I ordered extra, for $40.75:

1.2lb chicken thighs from Feather Brook Farm

1 8oz Atwells Gold cheese from Narragansett Creamery

1 16oz pasta sauce from Poblano Farms

1 lemon

8oz of garlic

1 bunch of cilantro

Grocery Store

1pkg pizza dough

1 can organic garbanzo beans (Chickpeas)

10oz GMO-free lo mein egg noodles

1 can organic coconut milk

Menu for the Week

Meal 1 – Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Calzones, with Salad

Meal 2 – Tandoori Chicken with Fennel, Spaghetti Squash and Green Beans

BONUS:

Meal 3 – Roasted Veggie Stir Fry with Egg Noodles

Vegetable Stock for freezer – and who knows, maybe a soup.

That’s it for today. I’ll be posting recipes – check back in!

 

 

 

The October Cooking Challenge

I’m doing a challenge! Follow me? Wait! Let me backtrack, I need to explain.

Confession: My name is Pamela Denholm, and I signed up for a meal kit service. Yes, I know, I am surrounded by the most beautiful local food on the South Shore so it’s kinda ridiculous. Yes, I know that my livelihood is predicated on the farm to table philosophy, scratch-made meals from farm fare, and that this is a sell-out. Yes, I realize I have espoused newsletter upon newsletter of ‘how-tos’ with tips to store, cook, and use every morsel of your box. I know. I cheated.

In my defense, like many of our customers, I struggle to balance this busy life. I feel like I am constantly push-pulled in many directions. There are not enough hours in the day for me to be the kind of wife, parent, citizen, earth-custodian, gardener, artist, writer, and pet owner, and woman I want to be. Plus, and I know many of you can identify, I feel as though I am genetically predisposed to feel guilty. I didn’t take the dogs on a long enough walk, we had eggs on toast for dinner, I didn’t really listen to the convoluted story about who said what in school, I am late with the newsletter, I forgot to phone the farmer back with a final harvest count . . . guilty, guilty, guilty, condemned.

“Plus, I was wicked curious. How did it compare to our offerings?”

Our lives are moving too fast. I needed a way to slow it down, free up some time. I needed help. PLUS – I have to admit, I was wicked curious. How did it compare to our offerings? Can we do better for our customers? So I did it. I hit the button and got a box delivered. It took two weeks of two meals for a family of four sent to my front door, perfectly portioned, to realize this was not the answer I was hoping for.

I know in my heart that what we are doing at South Shore Organics, the food we are delivering with its nominal packaging and feel-good background, is still the best option for me. It is true to my belief system of ‘do no harm’. No meal-kit company can offer me the same. I know when I look at my children, I’ve done right by them by bringing this food into our home. I’m very proud that together my crew and our farmers, offer the most sustainable, environmentally friendly food system available short of growing it yourself.

“So, I came up with a plan (because I need one more thing to do!)”

For the month of October, I am going to take a challenge. I will be turning a box of our veggies, into meal kits. Here are the parameters:

  1. I will take a delivery of a Virtuous Veggie Box for $40, because fruit doesn’t form a significant part of our cooked meals usually
  2. I will purchase an additional $40 of South Shore Organic add-ons for things like garlic, cilantro, beans, protein, flour, cheese etc. to round out the offerings
  3. I will have a budget of $10 to spend at the grocery store for things we don’t offer, like chickpeas, or coconut milk.
  4. Staples that I have in my pantry and do not need to include in my purchases are: olive oil/butter, soy sauce, vinegar’s, salt, pepper, flour, common dried herbs and spices (pepper flakes, cinnamon, turmeric, curry, cloves, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme etc)
  5. I am not allowed to make substitutions, I must take my basket as is
  6. I have to use every morsel of the basket, no food waste

Each week I will post the recipes, and at the end of the week a summary of what we ate, what it cost, how much time was invested, how much food we wasted, and how much waste packaging we generated.

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My first delivery arrives tomorrow! Will you check back in?

Pam