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What's cooking today?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Since we're a rather diverse group here I'd like to know what your usual dinner looks like. I HATE making grocery lists for the week but feel a lot more accomplished when I have it all written down, stuff bought and ready to go. Takes a lot of pressure off. We're carnivores and like meat/fish, not every night but I'll eat it. I don't buy a lot of prepackaged food or helper stuff. I will however buy pasta sauce, salsa etc for cooking, rather than make it myself. So I guess it's semi-from-scratch :). I read ingredients a LOT and I'm trying to keep everything as clean as possible. I'm not buying groceries with HFCS, BHTs, TBHQs, hydrogynated oils or artificial coloring and sweeteners other than sugar or stevia (even though I only enjoy stevia in combination with sugar).


Where do you find your recipes, what's your go to book/site?


Do you eat vegetarian?


Do you prep food for the entire week?


What was for dinner tonight?




I ususally find my recipes either in cookbooks (I like Tosca Rena's EAT CLEAN) or somewhere online, crockpot365 blog, allrecipes, pinterest etc.


We do have vegetarian meals, I try to squeeze two or three meat free meals in a week.


No, I don't prep for the week ahead. I will cook about four/five times a week and hope for leftovers or we have sandwiches :).


We had Chicken Chili tonight, found it on pinterest and I'm starting to get into Cilantro. I'm actually liking it.


FEEL FREE TO DISCUSS, this doesn't have to be a strict recipe thread. I wanna learn new stuff :).

post #2 of 18

It sounds like we eat very similarly to your family MissE, except that we eat mostly vegan (DH doesn't eat vegan out of the house as much, but what I bring into the house is vegan). But I'm trying to make more from scratch and I always read the ingredients. The list of things you won't buy is pretty much identical to mine. We're recent converts to some of these things, but we've decided they're really important to us.


I use Pinterest and a few vegan cookbooks for ideas mostly. I'm not very good at following recipes, I'm always trying to substitute things or guess on quanitites and sometimes that doesn't work out well for me. My favorite cookbook is called Happy Herbivore. Is anyone interested in swapping Pinterests? I have all sorts of vegan recipes pinned!


I don't prep for the week. I shop sales and try to cook from what I can get for the best prices. I also shop at multiple stores most weeks. We recently switched to cash only/envelope system for groceries, and I'm going to have to meal prep next week because I have so little money left... Oops! (Another reason why I want to cook and bake more from scratch, besides avoiding the bad ingredients, it is obviously cheaper.)


Tonight was a bad dinner night, honestly. I wasn't feeling well, so we had bagels and Sun Butter/Peanut butter with bananas. Tomorrow though! Tomorrow we're having crock pot lasagna! I've only had vegan lasagna a couple times, but it was AMAZING, I'm really hoping this turns out!

post #3 of 18
Originally Posted by MissE View Post

(even though I only enjoy stevia in combination with sugar).


MissE, I know what you mean about the stevia. about ten years ago I used stevia to make whipped cream for the first time, added too much, and had to put soooo much sugar in to correct the taste!


I eat vegan/veggie, DH and DS eat meat.


If we I need a recipe I usually use google! lol


I don't prep food for the week, or meal plan. I probably should.


Tonight was a" Daddy is working late and Mummy can hardly move because of sciatica and pubic symphsis pain" dinner: morning star chickenless nuggets, watermelon, raspberries, sugar snap peas, and baby carrots.  Last night it was home made cheese tortalinni with pesto, and tomorrow will probably be burritos made with black beans, tomato, romaine, cheese, and some avacados that need to be used up.

post #4 of 18
We're omnivores who try eat a lot of whole foods. We do meatless dinner maybe twice a week. My mom is vegan, so we do that if she eats with us. My sister is lactose intolerant, so we do that if she eats with us (which is usually when my mom's here, so it all works out vegan-wise).

Tonight, I was all by my lonesome and made an enormous salad with all kinds of veggies, plus strawberries and grapes and leftover chicken that I shredded. I always have bought salad dressing before, but I was actually thinking in the car this morning that I should probably start making it. It's not that hard, and it would be cheaper plus I wouldn't have to read stupid labels.

I also like the crockpot365 blog! We have a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook that we got for a wedding present 8 years ago that I actually do use a lot. I just wing a lot of it, too, and DH grills all kinds of things.

I don't prep for the week, but I do make out a meal plan/grocery list each weekend and then use that for the week. I'll at least do 2 meals that get double mileage -- mostly by making a lot of something (soup, especially) and having it twice. Sometimes by re-purposing something (like making a few extra chicken pieces on the grill and using them for salad or tacos or something the next night). We eat out (er, order in) probably only once a month. Slightly more than that in first trimester smile.gif

I make white chili (usually with chicken, but not always) all the time! I use: great northern beans, pinto beans, bell peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, broth/stock/water/whatever we have, sometimes add chicken, cilantro -- I make it in the crockpot if I think of it in time or on the stovetop if I don't -- so easy and good

We do "big salad" one night a week. Most of the time that's with bacon -- I feel kind of dumb getting 4 slices of bacon at the counter, but that's all we need, so that's all I get -- if I bought a pound, I know I'd just end up eating it. Sometimes it's with leftover meat from another meal.

DH makes our bread a lot, but he's been busy, so I've been buying it -- it's expensive! and annoying as all get out to read the labels and see that nearly every whole wheat sliced bread has HFCS
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have heard about the Happy Herbivore blog. My friend just recently went Milk/Meat Free since her DS (diagnosed with mosaic down syndrome) was allergic to any milk product. She just figured she'll go completely vegan, seems to work for her. Anyway, she always posts stuff on Facebook from Happy Herbivore.


How much do you think you spend on groceries a week (excluding papertowels, toilet paper etc). I must say I'm shocked at the price of groceries and there are some things that I only buy organic like milk, carrots, potatos, apples) and we spend around 150 bucks for the four of us. BUT I will not save money on groceries cause the cheaper you go with stuff the more likely it's processed (my experience). We live 'in the neck of woods' apparently the east side of Houston is still very redneck and heavy on the south of the boarder population. They recently tore down our HEB and put a cheapo Joe Vs Smartshop here. I have never been and vowed to never go.


Our meat (beef and pork) comes from cows and pigs that my MIL auctions off in the springtime from a local youth auction. She'll then have them slaughtered and distributes all the meat to us, her daughter and her mom (and keeps some for herself of course). So we don't have to buy meat other than maybe chicken and shrimp if we wanted to. DH loves to fish so he'll bring home fish every now and then but I'm more of a salmon girl. I love salmon.


Anyway. I bake our bread too. I have a machine though, it's falling apart but it's been good to me. I make about 3 loafes a week and I LOVE my homemade bread :).


I guess the weekend will be leftovers for DH and the kids since I'm leaving on a girls trip tomorrow.

post #6 of 18

MissE I grew up in Houston, but live in MO now, and I miss HEB sooooo much!


I usually wing it, but have several cookbooks I look at for ideas, my top two are the better homes and gardens cook book (an OOOOLD copy of my great grandmas so it is a little different but funny to see the pics of women in beautiful aprons with a perfect manicure making bread or whatevereyesroll.gif) I also use a Jewish one called Passover by Design, it has a lot of easy veggie recipes that we love. Usually though I just eed to have an idea of how something is made and then I just go from there... I also use google for some things like salad dressings, sauces etc.


We usually eat vegetarian, because I like to buy good meat and it is expensive, my in-laws raise chickens so we have a great source for that but we ran out of chicken a while ago. we probably have meat every 2 or 3 weeks and fish once a week. DH and I have been trying to eat mostly veggies anyway and are doing a pretty good job so far


I plan my meals and then try to shop accordingly but I don't buy everything at once, this allows for a little flexibility in my meals, if I get a craving eat.gif! I also shop at discount grocery stores (I don't know of any in Houston, I only heard of them when I moved up here) which saves me  a TON of money on everyday staples like canned tomatoes, pasta etc. If you don't already plan meals I strongly encourage you to. I spend far less on groceries when I plan meals and shop accordingly wasted food is also cut down to a minimum.


Dinner tonight was kind of boring, just frito pie made with vegetarian chili, last night we had calzones with spinach and mushrooms, and Caesar salad w/ homemade croutons... soooo yummy!


One of my FAVORITE recipes, found in Passover by Design, is called cauliflower popcorn. It is cauliflower cut into about 1 inch pieces tossed with oil and whatever seasoning you like, I usually use S&P and garlic powder, and baked at 350 until you can stab a larger piece with a fork. It comes out soooo delicious! I never liked cauliflower before I had that recipe but now I love it!

post #7 of 18

I'm also always grasping to come up with ideas for dinner! I love this idea. 


Evi, Have a great time on your trip!!!


PrincessJules, that cauliflower popcorn sounds fantastic!

I often go to tastespotting.com for ideas - but never actually use those recipes.  I find them unreliable, so I'll check the site, find something interesting (slow-cooker pulled pork tacos was my latest find) and then look in my cookbooks, allrecipes.com, epicurious.com, the bbc's food site etc. to see how other people are making it.  Then I usually combine recipes to my liking - ha.  Not very scientific.  I just like to see what types of temperatures and ingredients other people are using, but I don't like to strictly follow recipes. 

ETA: Forgot about my two BFFs: Simplyrecipes.com and Dinneralovestory.com - great for ideas, all of the recipes I've tried have been reliable.  101cookbooks.com is good for info about various grains, lots of vegetable dishes . . . I used it all the time when I was vegetarian but don't visit as much anymore. 

I can't afford to use recipes all the time because you never know what will be reasonably priced, in season, and available here - so adding things that are called for in a recipe can be tricky and expensive.  For example, sometimes there is cheap, good celery, other times it's $6/bunch, other times there is NO celery at all.  I shop pretty carefully and we spend about $200-250/week on groceries,  BUT we almost never eat out unless traveling, so most food costs are included there and the cost of living is insane here.  For reference, a big mac combo (not biggie-sized) costs about $14 here.  (Not that I would know, because of course I never eat a big mac combo wink1.gif 2whistle.gif)  Sometimes I'll just go to the grocery store or our local farm store, buy what looks seasonal and good quality, and then come home and find ways to use it.

I make homemade chicken stock, beef stock, yogurt, sour cream, water kefir, milk kefir and sauerkraut every week, ok almost every week. Some weeks it gets away from me. We tend towards the WAPF style of eating - but don't always stick to it.  We do out best.   I also spend way too much $ on good quality cheese, because I feel that it's good for us and we eat a lot more cheese than meat, so we make up for it there.  And plus, cheese, well, we just LOVE it.  don't eat a lot of grains, but we do eat as much high quality fat as we like. 


We had leftovers for dinner last night - black bean soup with some slow-cooker mexican style pulled pork, and grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread.  It was random, but DH loved it and told me it was 'restaurant quality' hahaha. 

Edited by MIrandaM - 6/24/12 at 4:44am
post #8 of 18

My most used cookbook is Joy of Cooking, which is completely falling apart and held together with duct tape.  We were subscribers to CookingTF for about a year and i use those recipes often.  Other than that, I don't experiment much during the week - that's almost always tried and true family favorites.  I like to try out new stuff for Shabbat and holidays.  I made my own challah for the longest time but I've been too busy to do that lately.  Our regular bread is sprouted grain bread (we attempt a traditional foods diet but don't succeed as much as I like).  We keep kosher so certain combinations don't work for us.  I make kefir weekly, we drink raw milk, my go to breakfast is a green kefir smoothie and a soaked wholegrain waffle with almond butter.  Yum!!  The kids eat sour cream/cottage cheese pancakes or soaked waffles for breakfast almost everyday.  The amount of butter and syrup we go through in a month is staggering.  :o


We eat veggie a few times a week.  The kids and I love beans, DH not so much.  Usually lunches are veggie/fish.  I like to cook a whole chicken or turkey breast on Shabbat and use that meat and the bones for the rest of the week.  I make stock a few times a month.


I don't prep food for the week, except for cooking to last all of Shabbat, and making a huge batch of pancakes or waffles on Sunday to last the week.  Some months are better than others in terms of meal planning.



Tonights dinner is salmon pie with sweet potato crust, and corn on the cob and broccoli.


Snacks are often peppers, fruit, nuts, yogurts.


I secretly giggle when my kids friends come over for lunch and they all gobble up homemade gluten free stove top mac n cheese.  And I am stupidly happy when our babysitters comment that our kids eat healthy.  

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

So while I was gone my DH emptied out my fridge..thank you very much...argh. He 'cleaned' up and we're too broke right now to buy new stuff.


Since we always have meat in the freezer I made a veggie, barley, beef soup in the crockpot. I thought it was pretty good, DH doesn't like the barley, he wanted rice. Whatever, last time he 'complained' that he wanted more meat, now it's the barley.

post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by Faliciagayle View Post

And I am stupidly happy when our babysitters comment that our kids eat healthy.  

It makes my heart swell three sizes if someone complements/is surprised when DD eats healthy ("Oh! I'm so impressed that she likes broccoli!") smile.gif
post #11 of 18

MirandaM, I do the same thing with recipes. I'll look different things up and then just get creative. Sometimes I find a really good recipe and actually follow it. Like tonight I made my own version of pork barbacoa salad and found a dressing recipe that was absolutely delicious! Tomatillos, cilantro, lime, buttermilk, and homemade paleo mayo with spices, etc.


DH and I try to stick to a modified paleolithic/primal diet (which sometimes makes for some long hours in the kitchen for me!) I do some dairy: yogurt, buttermilk and butter and I also use local honey for the occasional baked goods. I get grass-fed beef and some of my veggies organic from Whole Foods. But anything that has low pesticide contamination levels, I buy cheap from Winco as well as things like shrimp, salmon, and bulk nuts. DH is always trying to get me to cut back on the grocery bill, but then complains when I don't have lots of leftovers stocked up in the fridge for his lunches! :P


I get almost all of my recipes online. I just type in paleo meals or desserts and browse until I find ones I like. I almost always have a few tabs open with recipes I've found and when it's time to go to the store, I pull them up and jot down the ingredients I want to get. I just have to share my latest favorite: Blueberry Espresso Brownies. They are incredible! Paleo baked goods can be interesting sometimes, but these bad boys don't disappoint! http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/grain-free-goodies/blueberry-espresso-brownies/

post #12 of 18

We're leaving on Friday for a family vacation and I've got oats soaking to turn into granola bars tomorrow.  Dinner tonight will be left overs or some other type of fridge diving excursion (see comment on impending vacation).


I keep futzing with the blender batter recipe to try and get my kids to REALLY like it, and I keep failing.  I think it's delish, but DH and the littles aren't convinced.  Any ideas?

post #13 of 18

I have to admit, I have recipe ADD.  So I might not be much help.  I also have some weeks where I'm itching to get in the kitchen and cook, and others where I'm totally done with cooking.


Where do you find your recipes, what's your go to book/site?

I'm a big fan of recipes from the following magazines:

Cooking Light

Clean Eating

Whole Living

Fit Pregnancy

I have to say though, I know enough about cooking I'll usually only venture out with new recipes on the weekends.  By the time I get home from working I'm tired and need to prepare a meal I already know how to fix.


Do you eat vegetarian?

I was a vegetarian before I got pregnant, but somewhere between weeks 13 and 15 I started eating meat.  I was craving it, tried some, and I had this immediate and sustained energy boost.  I also wasn't getting ideal nutrition.  I am now on my third week of what I think is the ideal pregnancy diet for me: two vegetarian meals and one meat meal a day.  Protein sources include yogurt, nuts, eggs, beans, tofu, whole grains, and poultry.


Do you prep food for the entire week?

I will cook things in the slow cooker like chicken that I can shred and use in several recipes.  For example, I cooked up several chicken breasts in the slow cooker on Sunday and they have and will be used for the following: chicken and black bean tacos, southwestern chicken salad, Mediterranean chicken pita sandwiches with falafel, and chicken stir fry with quinoa.


Last week, I knew I would be stressed and lazy.  So I picked up a bunch of pre-prepared salads and things: edamame salad, Texas caviar, black bean salad, tabbouleh, tzadziki sauce, along with my usual organic greens and veggies, and we had salads every night.  When I needed extra protein I boiled an egg or two.


One thing I do that really helps - I will cook 2-3 pounds of turkey burgers at a time and freeze the patties for later use.  I also have frozen veggie burgers and falafel, which are all super easy to reheat on a night I'm too worn out to really cook.


Another big hit at my house for dinner is "snack plate:" sliced bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and celery with hummus, string cheese, boiled eggs, and toasted pita bread.


Can you tell DH and I love mediterranean food?  Ha!


What was for dinner tonight?

Last night, we had chicken tacos.  Shredded chicken with diced sauteed bell peppers and garlic with black beans, salsa, avocado, and a little bit of cheese wrapped in small whole grain tortillas.  Bing cherries for dessert!  The leftover taco mix (chicken, avocado, beans, peppers), were packed in our lunches with organic greens and goat cheese for salads today.

post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by MissE View Post

So while I was gone my DH emptied out my fridge..thank you very much...argh. He 'cleaned' up and we're too broke right now to buy new stuff.


Since we always have meat in the freezer I made a veggie, barley, beef soup in the crockpot. I thought it was pretty good, DH doesn't like the barley, he wanted rice. Whatever, last time he 'complained' that he wanted more meat, now it's the barley.

My DH does that all the time! I always have to tell him not to touch certain things because they are spoken for lol


That soup sounds great! Did you just make it up? I make stuff up all the time... for some reason, when I use a recipe it turns out awful!

post #15 of 18

Evi and Princessjules, I WISH my DH would clean out the fridge! He sees the kitchen as very much 'my area' which is normally fine because I like things a certain way . . . but he will occasionally go so far as to take something out of the fridge, see that it's empty or has gone off, and will PUT IT BACK.  I take offense because since it's just us, if he doesn't clean it up he's essentially leaving it for me to clean up . . . but now that I think about it, he definitely had some old food and empty containers in his fridge when we first started dating - so I guess it's just the way he is! haha. 

I love the feeling of using up all the random odds and ends in the fridge, cleaning everything out, and doing a shopping trip for fresh stuff for the week. 

post #16 of 18


Where do you find your recipes, what's your go to book/site?

I read a few blogs (some primarily food, some general housekeeping) and bookmark things as they appeal to me. Some that I seem to get a lot from are Sarah Wilson's blog, Smitten Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks, and My New Roots. If I want to make a traditional sort of dish, I go to tastespotting just to look at other people's variations. As far as books, Nourishing Traditions is the go-to for all things fermented/soaked. DH and are both pretty devoted tinkerers in the kitchen, though. 


Do you eat vegetarian?

Yes! DH and I are both veggies. 


Do you prep food for the entire week?

Not at all. I'm definitely an eat-with-my-mood person. I change my mind about what will be for dinner throughout the day depending on what I've already eaten and what I'm inclined toward. We get a csa share every week, and lately it's been loaded with greens, which has meant a lot of easy salads and cooked messes of greens. During the winter, it's a lot of hodge podge soups (I love my immersion blender!). I do cook rice and dried beans ahead of time and keep two-person servings in the freezer, which makes last-minute dinners much much easier. And I'll often (when it's not summer) cook up a pot of oatmeal on Sunday and heat up a serving every morning at work. I try to keep our grains to a minimum, but there's usually homemade granola or homebaked bread or some sort of from-scratch deliciousness (fruit pie, banana bread, fig bars) on the counter.
I almost always keep weekly grocery store spending under $50 (and under $25 during the CSA season - I work off our share at the farm, which means free organic produce!), plus a trip every month or so to Trader Joe's (frozen veggies, dried cherries, peanut butter!, chocolate covered almonds!) and Whole Foods (bulk beans/oats/rice/lentils) that usually runs $50-$60. Sunday is family dinner with the in-laws (and they always send us home with leftovers), and every weekend involves either takeout eggplant pizza or diner breakfast.


What was for dinner tonight?

Last night, we had gotten back from a day of traveling, so we went simple: a big salad with a yogurt/chive dressing, followed by some trail mix we had left from the day on the go. We get our CSA bag this afternoon, so I'm guessing that dinner will also be very veggie heavy!

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ugh, it's that time again, making my shopping list. DH stepped up and said he wanted to make chicken fajitas tonight. Sounds good to me. Only six more dinners to cover, argh. We have NOTHING in the fridge, like..NOTHING...maybe a dead mouse that starved to death. It's about time I go get stuff.

post #18 of 18
Tonight, we are having grilled shrimp, grilled corn on the cob, green peas, and a baguette smile.gif (plus RRL tea for me)
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