Dinners for the week starting 8th February 2016

So it seems the second week of February is not starting off that much better than the first week of February. Worse if anything. Note to self for 2017 or any future health kicks / don't host a dinner party in the first week and have lots of tempting leftovers in the fridge!

Acutally there was sooo much tempation this week, that I decided to embrace it and get back on board with the health kick next week. A.) I did quite a bit of baking - brownies for friends - and who can resist trying some! And secondly the Flour Market was coming to Sydney - and after almost crying everytime I saw this event, only to realise it kept happening in Melbourne, there was no way I was going to miss it, and no way on the planet I was going to miss out on the opportunity to sample an Andy Bowdy cake. (To see how successful I was at that, check out Sunday's 'Dinner'!)

This week's meals was largely driven by the fact that I had frozen two steaks together, so therefore defrosted them together which meant that i had to eat them both in a short space of time. Really must remember not to self about taking the time to freeze things in single portions. Saves a lot of money and waste.

Also, from Monday I knew I was going to the Flour Market on Sunday, so I kind of gave myself a free pass for the week on the whole Feb Health Kick thing .... - not the right thing, BUT it allowed me to open up the blue cheese that had been sitting in the fridge since my birthday drinks and was near expiry.   A reminder of 2nd note to self, entertaining immediately prior to a health kick is a bad idea!

Weekly Stats

  • Total number of serves of vegetables - 25
  • % of desired intake-  51%
  • Number of different types of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains eaten - 15

Some thoughts about my meals last this week:

  • Blue cheese is great accompaniment to warm salads - how have I only just discovered this
  • I am STILL eating the red cabbage and kale that seem to keep regenerating in my fridge - when will it end!
  • I need to get back to weekly shopping and menu planning - you can see how far off the rails I go when that doesn't happen. I was VERY hard to post the green smoothie and brownies picture and avoid the temptation to fake a meal!
  • Roast vegetables make everything taste good
  • Favourite meal of the week was a toss up between the warm salads on Monday and Wednesday, due to my new found foodie BFF, blue cheese (Gorgonzola in this instance)
  • Best hack of the week - cooking a batch of roast vegetables that can be made into several delicious meals

Food Audit - What i started off with at the beginning of the week

Even when I am out of the habit of 'proper' weekly menu planning, I still do some sort of food audit to work out, what's in the fridge, what is about to expire, or go off and therefore what needs to be eaten, what's lurking, forgotten about the back of the cupboard.

So the main things that drove my meal planning for this week were:

  • There is still an enormous amount red cabbage and kale to be eaten, and I really do need to make an effort to incorporate them into most meals, otherwise they will become spoilage
  • My freezer is in a good / bad state. Clean and organised, but very few protein or 'fillers' to defrost if i get stuck or can't be bothered cooking
  • That of course that chocolate is safe there, i won't be tempted and it is just there because it was on special and I will want to use it to make brownies for friends at some stage in the next few weeks
  • That I need to eat the cooked quinoa or freeze it into portions, and I MUST find out how long cooked quinoa can be kept for
  • That the green lidded lunch box is MORE kale
  • That steak HAS to be eaten in the early part of the week, but won't be great cooked just as a steak. (It's been in the freezer a long time and is rump steak)
  • and finally, WHY of WHY didn't I just roast all the vegetables at once vs ending up with half bits of sweet potato, and two baby potatoes!
  • That if I don't use them the thyme and shallots are in danger of wilting



Warm salad of steak with roast vegetables, blue cheese, walnuts and broccoli

Two Pans | 4 serves vegetables | 15- 45 minutes

Recipe for one - warm salad of roasted root vegetables, steak and blue cheese

YUM. This was one of my two favourite meals of the week. (Not counting Sunday).  It was so easy to put together because I had already roasted the vegetables, and was totally delicious.

Even if you don't have roast vegetables to hand, I have often roasted some just for a meal.  It makes the total time before eating take longer, but other than prepping them and putting them in a baking tray, you don't have to do much.  So worth thinking about.


Warm salad of Chicken cooked in balsamic vinegar and lemon, toasted pine nuts, proscuitto, cranberries, kale and red cabbage

One Pan| 2 serves vegetables | 15 minutes

Proscuitto is what is wapped in the white paper



Warm salad of steak and roasted sweet potato and beetroot with kale, cranberries and toasted pine nuts

One / Two pans | 3 serves vegetables | 15 - 45 minutes -

So much deliciousness - my equal favourite meal of the week - mainly because I am in a blue cheese fan phase at the moment.

This pretty much follows the same formula as Monday night's meal - except I decided to torture myself toasting pine nuts and I remembered I had dried cranberries.

The main thing it shows is that a warm salad is a really versatile meal, and if you spend some time pre-cookingit can also be really quick to throw together or is a great way to use leftovers.



Willpower Failure

The chocolate got to me.

So much for putting all that kale to the use it was intended - a daily green juice! After a lengthy discussion about recipes for 'chewy' brownies with my neighbour Amanda (a foodie kindred spirit), knowing I had chocolate in the cupboard I couldn't hold out on trying her recipe. Unfortunately it definitely wasn't mean to end up as a substitute for dinner!


Boiled egg with avocado on toast

One pan| 1 serves vegetables | 15 minutes

So while the good news was that I had managed to eat most things that were in the fridge that were about to expire or go off (excepting the red cabbage!) I still hadn't been shopping. But for a Friday night meal when you can't be bothered and don't want to spend any time in the kitchen, for me, this beats most takeaways.


'Vans Pasta tribute'

One pan| 1 serves vegetables | 15 minutes

My go-to-meal when feeling like comfort food, but don't to put in much effort.

Unfortunately, as i had d been pretty successful at clearing out the fridge, it did involve a trip to the supermarket. Oh the joys of wandering around the supermarket, tired and hungry at 7pm on a Saturday .....

For me this was a one pan meal as I had some cooked pasta in the freezer.

What is most interesting about it, is that because i really couldn't be bothered, and really was wandering around the supermarket at 7.30pm on a Saturday evening, still yet to get home and even start dinner, I was trying to make it easy on myself, so I took the unusal step of buying a cooked chicken.

Not that that ended up being easy - I spent an inordinate amount of time debating whether or not to buy half a chicken or a whole chicken.

It was the standard cooking for one debate - half a chicken was 2/3 the price of the whole chicken, but was going to a false economy if I didn't eat it all. More about that next week - it did kind of end up feeling like a millstone around my neck.


BEST 'meal' ever

Well what can I say - this probably looks like i bought good for two - but NO, it was two Andy Bowdy cakes just for me.  I can not begin to explain how delicious they were or how excited I was to try an Andy Bowdy cake - and even more elated for them to outdo my expectation.

This is good, as I have been trekking around the inner west on the weekend a couple of times trying to chase down an Andy Bowdy dessert at one of his pop-ups, only to find that after an hour of wrangling traffic to drive 5km and then half an hour to find a parking spot, he has either sold out, or is selling something i don't like. 

So today marked complete success. Made al the more enjoyable by the fact that I really did manage to save one of them until dinner time, so watched while in full reminiscing mode watching 'Molly' about Molly Meldrum and the making of Countdown.

On that note I'm off for a paddle as I'm still trying to work off all those calories!

Be part of the community - recipes, comments and questions

If you see any meals that you like and would like to know more, or want a recipe, leave a note in the comments below and I will make sure it is the next recipe I write up and post.

If you want answers sooner, tune into my twice weekly Blab - What's cookin' and I can answer the questions on the spot.

Likewise, if any of this week's meals sparked meal suggestions or recipes for one that you would like to share, add to the comments and I will add them to the blog, or jump over to Facebook and add a comment.

Wans pastaLinks you might be interested i

Vans pasta tribute

Next week's menu plan

Recipe for Anneka' Manning's chicken and corn soup, modified for one

Next Batchathon

Joining our Blab - a live video show where you can join in our community, ask questions and share ideas on cooking for one, great recipes for one person etc.


Links - Blog post on 'proper menu planning'