This Week’s Menu: The Freezer Purge Continues

Getting better - at least we can easily see what we have now.
Getting better – at least we can easily see what we have now. The frost is getting worse though.

We are starting to make a dent in our freezer stash, but we still have a ways to go. I organized everything (or at least tried to) in our garage freezer this past weekend so I have a better of idea what’s out there, and I think we’re looking at maybe another three weeks before it can be turned off for defrosting.

One of YaYu’s classes this term is a culinary course. The class focuses on cooking, both preparation and technique, and students, working in teams, prepare a different dish each week. They are also tested along the way on their developing skills – YaYu has become quite proficient with a knife! I took home economics back in high school, but the course she’s taking goes much deeper than anything we ever did in the kitchen. Students who finish the entire culinary pathway leave school with the skills to work in a restaurant kitchen, or continue on to culinary school to develop their skills even further. We have been letting her do more in the kitchen here, and this week she’ll take over for a couple of the meals.

One item didn’t get fixed last week (butternut squash ravioli) because we ended up with a ton of leftovers that needed to be eaten, so it will appear first on this week’s menu. Otherwise, we are having:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Butternut squash ravioli with Alfredo sauce; garlic bread, grilled asparagus
  • Wednesday: Pad Thai with chicken; cucumber salad
  • Thursday: Slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy; steamed rice (tofu for me)
  • Friday: Breakfast for dinner (some kind of pancakes)
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Barbecue pulled pork sandwiches; coleslaw (vegan barbecued ‘pork’ for me)
  • Monday: Grilled fish tacos with mango salsa; saffron rice

We’ll need bananas, mung bean sprouts, cucumbers, bok choy, and zucchini from the farmers’ market this week. Otherwise, everything else is what’s on hand in the freezer, pantry and fridge.

For YaYu: Allez cuisine!

This Week’s Menu: It’s That Time Again

There's approximately 1 1/2" of frost coating the inside of the freezer, growing thicker by the day. And yes, that is a big bottle of rum back in the corner, keeping nice and cold for our mojitos!
There’s approximately 1 1/2″ of frost coating the inside of the freezer, growing thicker by the day. And yes, that is a big bottle of rum back in the corner, staying nice and cold for our mojitos!

It’s once again time for our small chest freezer to be defrosted, which means several weeks of using up everything that’s already in there as well as trying not to put more into it. Right now it’s pretty full so it’s going to be an interesting and challenging few weeks, menu-wise. It also means we won’t be buying much food either for a while, which hopefully means more for our travel savings.

A great deal of what’s taking up space in there right now seems to be bread in one form or another – both Brett and I are puzzled about how we ended up with so much. I’d also like to think there’s not a whole lot of meat, but there’s probably more than I imagine. We have several frozen treats, like ice cream and a big tub of mini cream puffs (which are for election night next week), but all of that should disappear fairly quickly. Our goal in the coming weeks will be to use much as possible so we can fit what’s remaining into our small-ish refrigerator freezer and our big cooler while the defrost and re-chill happen. I always convince myself that it will only take us two to three weeks to get to this point, when in reality it usually takes more like four or five before we’re ready to shut the freezer off.

As it’s a new month I’m going to ‘officially’ add dairy, including milk and ice cream, back into my diet, although in limited amounts. I will continue to use soy milk whenever I can though because I enjoy it. I still have no interest in eating any kind of meat other than fish.

Here’s this week’s menu:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Quinoa, kale and butternut squash ravioli with pesto; steamed artichokes; garlic bread;
  • Wednesday: Thai curry chicken (chickenless nuggets with curry for me); steamed rice; cucumber salad
  • Thursday: Grilled hamburgers (Boca Burger for me); leftover 3-bean salad; potato chips
  • Friday: Vegetarian lasagna; garlic bread; grilled zucchini
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Slow cooker kalua pork; rice; macaroni salad; cucumbers (no pork for me)
  • Monday: Homemade fish cake sandwiches; cole slaw

We’ll need zucchini, cucumbers, mint and limes from the farmers’ market this week, so that will mean savings as well.

Let the games begin!

This Week’s Menu: Where Did All This Food Come From?

Cooking Light magazine's Thai-style pork stew - it's been a favorite recipe since it appeared in 1999!
Cooking Light magazine’s Thai-style pork stew – it’s been a favorite recipe since it appeared in 1999!

We are still trying to use up what we have on hand so that we can get our small freezer defrosted, but my goodness, it’s like someone or something is feeding the freezer from the bottom. There’s still a LOT of food in there, and other than a box of ice cream bars for the girls we didn’t buy one thing that went into the freezer when we shopped at Costco last week. I think it will be another two to three weeks before we can even think of defrosting :-(. As I said on Sunday, I’m not complaining, but I am surprised. And grateful.

Last week’s menu plan went off without a hitch other than swapping around a couple of days. We bought fresh mung bean sprouts for the pad thai at the farmers’ market and then realized that they would not last until Sunday, so the pad thai was moved to Thursday. Friday night’s kalua pork dinner was swapped with Saturday’s leftovers because the girls  were invited to go to one of the local obon festivals on Saturday night. Still, we made progress toward getting things used up and the freezer cleaned out (although obviously not enough).

The girls cooked dinner two evening last week, and will be taking care of another couple of meals this week. They have been doing a great job!

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Beef & broccoli stir fry; steamed rice (tofu and broccoli for me)
  • Wednesday: Grilled chicken ravioli with pesto; grilled zucchini; garlic bread (pasta with marinara for me)
  • Thursday: Homemade fish cake sandwiches; corn on the cob
  • Friday: Pasta with ham, spinach and red peppers (not sure yet what I’ll have)
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Slow cooker Thai-style pork stew; steamed rice; cucumber salad (sesame peanut noodles for me)
  • Monday: Grilled hot dogs (vegan for me); potato salad

We’ll need to get cucumbers, zucchini, and corn at the farmers’ market this week as well as LOTS of ginger because YaYu and I are going to be making a traditional Chinese hot pepper condiment for her to enjoy. That girl loves the heat!