Sunday, August 8, 2010

Planning Meals.

Before you cringe, I offer you this bucket of freshly cut flowers to put you in a good mood.  Yes, before we sit down to plan and organize our tasks in the kitchen we need inspiration, stamina and a plan.

Fresh food raised by organic methods is very expensive. So, good planning will save us money and frustration.

Forget what everyone else has told you to do, to plan a weekly menu and go shopping with a list.  If you did this, you'll feel rushed and frustrated. If you abandon your list, you feel guilty. Your list did not have corn or peaches.

So, my suggestions are to simplify your planning by having everything you could ever need already on hand in your pantry or your freezer by shopping in bulk ever so often at whatever big store you prefer.  Canned goods, frozen vegetables and fruit, condiments and oils should all be in your pantry or in your freezer, replenished regularly.

Your meat, dairy and produce, however, should be purchased  from local sources as close to the time of cooking as possible. If you have a CSA( community supported agriculture), near you, take advantage of it.  Their prices may be higher than your supermarket, but their products are superior. Their vegetables and fruit, even meats, will come with recipes and ideas.Improvise with the rest.  Be flexible with your palate.  Sometimes, a plate of raw vegetables with fresh aioli is all the food you need.

Visit local farmers' markets to see what  is new.  Have you had grilled fennel lately? Or favas?  When was the last time you cooked whole beets?  Have you tried all the different kinds of vegetables displayed?  If not sure what you are looking at, ask the farmer how best to prepare that food in a simple way.

Have standbye quick meals.
My secret? I cook extra meals and freeze in portions.  So, at any time, I can pull out a container of minestrone  or eggplant parmigiana and loaf of  bread out of the freezer and dinner is ready. For dessert, cheese and fruit.

In the next post, I will share a recipe for minestrone.   Who said vegetables couldn't be stars?


  1. WOW! That is some blog header photo!!!!

  2. I am moving in this direction and will enjoy your new blog to keep me on track.

  3. Good advice here....I'll keep coming back.

  4. I'm in the need of inspiration in the kitchen and we have the same outlook about food....looking forward to more great ideas... like the artichokes in your last post...

  5. Good advice! Real food is always one of my top priorities! We rarely eat out except on vacation!
    Always in New Orleans! HA!

  6. helpful hints from u,
    have a nice day!

  7. Such a lovely photo! Loved the previous post, too. I love artichokes, but I would have to saute some small shrimp, with the garlic, and add to the stuffing. :)

  8. Yes, always adapt a recipe. Recipes are there to inspire us, to concoct memories, to get us thinking of what else...

  9. Great advice. I made the most wonderful peach cobbler because my local market had wonderful peaches I couldn't resist. Of course, I had to buy plenty so there were leftovers to eat fresh.

  10. Great advice! I learned to love so many new vegis when we joined a CSA.