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Sunday, June 5, 2011

What's for Dinner This Week - A Week of Menus

Judging by the size of the lettuce heads that I have been getting in my CSA shares, lettuce is definitely in season right now! Because of that, we will be having more salads than usual this week - - however, I am planning on mixing it up a little bit one night - I'm going to grill heads of romaine!!
How else can you use lettuce? Besides salads and maybe (maybe!) shakes / smoothies? If you give me some ideas, you can help me use up all this surplus!!! :)

Pre-made chili over baked sweet potatoes
Make your own salad

Stir-Fried Rice with Tofu and mushrooms
Chinese "chicken" salad

Black Bean Tacos with Brown Rice
Grilled Mexican Style Salad

Left overs

Garden Burgers or Veggie Hot Dogs

And here's my notes:
1. For "baking" sweet potatoes, I generally don't have the time to actually bake them in the oven ahead of time {sigh!}. Generally, I scrub them, microwave them until they are still somewhat firm, and then put them in the toaster oven until the rest of dinner is ready. The extra time in the oven makes them seem like they are truly baked, but shaves off TONS of time. And, the make your own salad is my little treat for my little one - I cut everything up, put it on the cutting board and she gets to decide what goes in her salad (so she "makes her own") - it's the only way I can get her to have a salad with dinner.
2. The chili I make myself, but could easily come from a can (Hormel-brand Vegetarian chili is the best canned chili I have ever used). To make the chili: saute one half of an onion until translucent, five to ten minutes, add in a clove of diced garlic, saute for another 30 seconds. Add in some ground "meat" (I use the Lean Ground brand) and saute for a few more minutes. Add in seasonings (you could use a pre-made seasoning mix, but I just make my own: throw in a bit of everything: oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, parsley, and a little bit of flour), saute for another minute to get everything incorporated and then add in one can of diced tomatoes and one can of either pinto or chili beans. Stir to mix, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. My Chinese "chicken" salad is a Racheal Ray recipe where I just use Boca burger chicken patties instead of meat.
4. My stir fried rice is small diced veggies sauteed for a few minutes, add in some "scrambled" tofu, cook another minute, add in brown rice, a little bit of soy sauce and stir to mix.
5. Mexican style salad just means that I add black beans, corn, tomatoes, and either cilantro or green onions to. :)
6. See my desciption of left overs and what I do with them here.
7. Friday is my "break" and I cook something easy.
8. Saturday we usually go out or are out to eat at someone else's house (not just ANYONE's house...usually my mom's or my aunt's).
9. Sunday we do a pasta dinner.

I plan my meals because it means that I can come home and get dinner on the table in less than 1/2 an hour. It also means that I don't resort to frozen, pre-made, high sodium, packaged dinners or something less than stellar for my family's nutrition.

You have the power to decide (mostly) what your family eats by virtue of being the "chef". What you put on the table is what goes into their mouths. I want my family to have well balanced meals, so that's what I work to put on to our table.

So, seriously, I need help with my lettuce surplus.
Do you have any creative ways to use up lettuce?

Thanks to all the comments from last week.
Annabean is a woman after my own heart - she is also using meal planning as a time saving tool! She says that she is not ordering out as much as a result (yayayayyay!). Leslie from the Mommy Therapy is also eating a lot of veggie meals because she has also joined a CSA! Good for you, Leslie - and good for your family, too!!! I love to get new, unusual stuff in my basket that I can't buy at the grocery store. A CSA is such an awesome opportunity to get new foods in your family's rotation, but it's also a great way to help out the environment and the local economy...but that could be a whole other post!!! Lindy, I hope your enchiladas come out good!!

Happy eating!
More later  :)