Friday, January 22, 2010

Meal Plans: Day 10

Jo Hunter Adams

Inspired by my brilliant sister-in-law on our visit to South Africa, Eug and I have been trying out meal plans as a way of avoiding eating out and keeping our grocery bill down. Our CSA has ended, which means the glorious unpredictability of our food supply has given way to a genius, foolproof plan for eating well and saving money!

What's been useful about the process so far is that it's helped us try out a couple of new meals every two weeks (and see what we like and what we don't). Don't you find that you have a psychological need to full an empty fridge? Our genius plan reassures me that we have enough food for the full two weeks, even if the fridge looks like it's emptying out. On evenings where we're not to excited about cooking, we have good simple fast options. As a bonus, it makes it easy to eat very little meat.

Wow, I used the word "easy" a lot in that paragraph! Going back to the public health ideas about behaviour change and self-efficacy, it's most likely that we will make changes that we feel are manageable. Gradual change and simple options tend to be more manageable than deciding to make gourmet meals every night. So here's to good, simple, cheap food!

One unexpectedly good recipe from the last two weeks:

Adapted from Lentil Loaf
Prep Time:
45 MinCook Time:
50 MinReady In:
1 Hr 35 Min

1 1/8 cups green lentils
2 1/4 cups water
6 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
2 or 3 eggs
1 cup vegetable broth water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs/marjoram/basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup grated cheese

Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups cooked lentils, bread, eggs, broth or water, tomato paste, basil, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley, olive oil. Spread into prepared pan. Add some cheese or nuts for extra taste.
Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle top with grated cheese or bread crumbs, and continue baking another 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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