I realized after my last meal planning post last month that I wasn’t going to have the motivation to keep it up on a weekly basis. And they were kind of redundant. So, I’ve decided to share new-to-us meals that we’ve tried after the month has ended and give an update on how we did for that month budgeting wise.
Here we go!
We tried three new meals in May, all thanks to Pinterest. It finally clicked in me that I should be using what we already have on hand to save money rather than searching willy nilly on the internet for something new and then having to go out and shop more. I know, a simple concept but I was skipping that step. We have a lot of frozen vegetables in our freezer from various Field Goods deliveries and I’ve always thought best to keep them until we need them… but I’ve always overlooked them, even when we “seem” to have nothing in the pantry / fridge. I don’t want them to go to waste, so I’ve been trying to incorporate them more recently.
Pizza is not a new meal to us but the beau made a new kale pesto using a bag of frozen kale from the freezer. It’s always full of stems if just eaten as is, so he whirled this up and it was delicious! Pine nuts, fresh basil, EVOO, nooch – so good! We had a bunch leftover as well, that I ate on toast and we used in a pasta dish the following night I do believe. Sorry no recipe but do a quick Google search and get inspired! Don’t judge my horrible green pizza picture… the vegan cheese turns translucent when baked and the lighting was off… at least it tasted delicious.
Another item we have multiple bags of in the freezer: butternut squash puree. I love butternut squash roasted but didn’t know what to do with it other than make a soup… and the beau isn’t a fan of soups. He likes soups but honestly prefers to chew his dinner – ha! After a little searching, I found the OMG vegan butternut queso from the first mess. THIS is a keeper recipe for sure. It’s on the sweeter side but I added some pickle brine and lime essential oil and it was perfect. The original plan was to serve it over chips as nachos, but we didn’t have any chips left so we made home fries and steamed up some broccoli… almost like a loaded potato. We also had a bunch of this leftover that I enjoyed over toast with a vegan egg and mushrooms for breakfast a couple times throughout the week.
Tempeh scramble wraps with roasted broccoli and a jalapeno dip spread. I know, this sounds like a hella mess and flavors all over the place but the verdict: also a keeper! When you’re making the scramble, it smells like an Italian dish. Then you make the spread and it smells like an American appetizer. Roasted broccoli just doesn’t seem to want to fit in, but it all comes together, especially by adding the pickled jalapeño slices. They were devoured out on the back deck before I could care what it a photograph would look like. Little tip: the recipe makes a minimal amount of sauce. I’d probably triple it next time to make it worth using the Vitamix.
Japchae Korean glass noodles with tofu. We’ve had these sweet potato noodles in the pantry for months now and had everything else on hand so it was an easy decision to give ’em a try and clean out the fridge. The beau made them when I was at a local trail series, which was perfect because I had something to scarf down after coming home late / running miles. This recipe is also a keeper! If you’ve never tried sweet potato noodles, pick up a package at your local Asian market. They’re super cheap and easy to whip up – a fun texture too! Sorry no photograph – I was too hungry to even think about a photograph (but think colorful noodles).
Budget wise we did great! We had $191 left over in our envelopes that was then applied to outstanding debt. We ran out of grocery money probably mid month, and tapped into the other envelopes (eating out and alcohol) to cover expenses. We only ate out once – at Tara Kitchen prior to the wedding – and the beau did frequent DD on a somewhat daily basis for his large unsweetened ice tea. This month also included our wedding party = we have a SHIT TON of leftovers. I’m talking 20 gallon sized bags in our freezer. You can barely open the doors! Annnnnnnd we’re both pretty sick of Moroccan food. My plan is to defrost a meal once a month until gone. Four bags are just the seasoned rice that we can incorporate more frequently but the meals, that’ll take some time until space is freed. I joke that some couples save a slice of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary… we’ll still be eating Moroccan leftovers! I think I’m also going to practice dehydrating meals such as this for hiking… get ready Paula!
We came up with an additional $115 extra dollars this month to also apply to outstanding debt. This included returning our cans and bottles (holler 6 cent center), cashing in scratch-offs from the holidays and an unexpected check from Young Living.