My budget seems to be getting tighter and tighter, but my family’s appetite gets bigger and bigger (two growing boys and a hubby that bikes 30 miles a day, and a college student). Plus there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything I need done (work, kids activites), much less cook a complete meal every night. So I’ve been cooking ahead on a weekly basis and try to work with fresh food that’s on sale. I haven’t actually gotten the Once A Month Cooking concept down yet, it takes some planning and too many brain cells I can’t afford to spare right now. But I have been implementing some of the OAM cooking ideas and that has been very helpful. I’m hoping these prep ahead meals can redeem me of two food/budget sins I used to commit almost weekly – overbuying and wasting fresh food!!
Chuck Steak (boneless) – (on sale this week) Marinated this Saturday night and cooked on Sunday.
Sprinkled Meat tenderizer and then marinated in Montreal Steak seasoning, olive oil, water. Marinade overnight and BBQd after meat went down in temp from fridge. I cooked the meat a little rare so that when I warmed it up on the skillet it won’t dry out too much.
Produce - Avocados and asparagus (on sale this week). Also, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onion (always and I dice it and keep it refrigerated). I also used most of the produce for salsa.
I wash my veggies w/ a spray and prepare for storage. I dice or cut up everything at once.
Steak Omelet – Just chop meat and put in omelet w/ Salsa (or add whatever fixins you like). I served w/ rice and beans for hubby.
Tortas – Mexican Sandwich. Bread (toasted on BBQ grill - don’t have Panini press), mashed avocado (w/ cilantro and salt) spread on bread, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, salsa, and chop meat.
Southwestern Salad – lettuce, tomatoes diced, green onion diced, avocado (diced), canned corn, canned black beans rinsed, canned dice greeb chiles or jalapenos, corn chips (or I just cut corn tortillas into strips and quickly fry or dip in oil/water bath and put in oven). Chopped steak. With this salad I don’t even use a dressing. Sometimes I use salsa and a little sour cream and mix the whole thing up.
Carne Bowl - For something a little heartier I also made a “Bowl” like those served at places like the “Crazy Chicken” (that was translated folks). I put rice I cooked the day before, warm it up and put in bottom of bowl. Then a layer of black beans (or pinto). Then the salad, then the cut up steak and top w/ chips. If someone is tired of beef, then I just substitute w/defrosted (cooked and seasoned) chicken.
Burritos –This is something the kids can do when I drop them off from school or between school and work. They just warm up diced meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese.
Steak and potatoes – baked or mashed. Along with asparagus (sprinkled with EVOO & salt and pepper, then baked for 10 minutes.
Okay, I know there is a lot of Mexican food in that menu, but I re-married a Mexican and I am Mexican. I don’t think I’ve cooked so much Mexican food in my life. I like it; it’s what I grew up on. My son told me in a nice way, “mom, you used to cook more of a variety of different types of food before”. But you get the idea.