I do this, especially in the summer when the farmer's markets have so much to offer. A couple of tips:
- Experience. Once you have a repertoire of meals you know how to make and that your family likes, you no longer rely on recipes. Sure, you still use them to get new ideas, but if you're missing one ingredient a lot of times you can substitute something else, or vary the recipe slightly or whatever.
- Have a well-stocked pantry. There are certain key ingredients to keep on hand at all times to base your meals upon. Depending on what you can/like to eat, these ingredients will vary. For us, we keep flour, milk, eggs, butter, spices, grains, dry beans, canned tomatoes, oils, etc. at all times, and buy more when we are getting low. This way I can whip up basic meals with the fresh veggies I find at the market.
For example, this week I bought pastas, cheese, eggs, tortillas, chicken and a few other things from the grocery store. Then at the farmer's market I found a lot of corn, green beans, squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, mushrooms, greens, peaches and herbs. So far I have made pasta primavera with creamy pesto sauce, squash and tomatillo pizza, tomato and mozzarella sandwiches, grilled corn, asparagus and chicken, broccoli with cheese sauce, and black bean quesadillas. Oh, and peach ice cream, apricot muffins, and banana bread, because we love sweets
. So, just by making sure I had
the staple items of pasta, flour, milk, cheese and eggs, I was able to shop at the market and then come up with a menu.
Sometimes I do it the other way around, make menus and then shop, but this is working out pretty well too! Hope this helps!