So lately I've been wanting to share my Pintrest inspired dinner menus with the world.
Alex makes fun of my Pintrest obsession almost constantly but I really don't think he realizes how many times Pintrest has actually been solely responsible for us not eating the same thing four nights in a row.
I love to cook don't get me wrong, and I am pretty adventurous when it comes to cooking-if I do say so myself. The issue though is that I've run through all of our cookbooks. I'm a big fan of the REALSIMPLE magazine cookbook that they put out seasonally but honestly I can't bring myself to pay $13.99 for an over-grown magazine, even if it is full of delicious recipes.
Pintrest however has become my new method of fabulous meal planning. And I can't lie I have been inspired by a friend's blog and her courage in experimenting in Pintrest DIY's.
"Meal Planning" has also become my new best friend in regards to dinner time.
When we lived in Petersburg we lived really close to a Martin's grocery store. It was heavenly.I love love love grocery shopping, in a good environment that is...
Martin's was wonderful, the lighting wasn't harsh, the international section was HUGE. There was a fresh meat and fish section and then of course there was a gluten free section and an organic section. And the free samples....who could forget those?
At the risk of sounding like a food nerd I really could have just walked around in there all day!
Back to meal planning though, when we lived in Petersburg we had access to fabulous grocery stores (except Aldi) and I would make grocery shopping a daily event. Obviously I did not have a child then....
I also would not decide before the day of what I was going to make for dinner. Now that we live in
the wilderness Kansas finding great places to shop was a little more challenging. At first I was visiting our local grocery store "Country Mart" (it's not that bad....) but it's prices were higher than Walmart and even though it was convenient it didn't have nearly the selection that Walmart has (and that isn't even great).
I then realized that about 25 miles up the road in Salina there was a Aldi. For those of you who have never experienced Aldi, I am terribly sorry for you.
Salina is great because I can go twice a month grocery list in hand and visit all the necessary stores. It works like this.
1. I make a menu from recipes I find on Pintrest
2. Make a list of ingredients I don't have
3. Go buy all the ingredients I can from Aldi
4. I then visit Walmart for ingredients not found at Aldi
5. If there are specialty items or Walmart's selection isn't good enough I visit Dillon's
6. For ground beef and any pork I go to Country Mart (those are the few things that are cheaper there,than anywhere else).
I know that sounds like a really big hassel and a lt of running around but keep in mind I do this twice a month and actually going to town is exciting these days. (listen to me , "going to town", I sound like this is little house on the prairie....)
At first buying food for two weeks felt like I was paying a lot of money and buying a whole lot of food but that's because that was exactly what I was doing. Going from buying one meal at a time to two weeks at a time is a big jump! It felt like the beginning of the Oregon Trail game, when you have to buy everything you could possibly need at the general store just in case little francis gets typhoid a fourth of the way through the game or you run out of food half way through which is a real concern here on the prairie..... So I had to get over feeling like I was buying too much and it really helped when I began breaking the price down meal by meal. And although it's not perfect I think I have a pretty rad system going and I am really excited to begin sharing with everyone the meals we are trying, how we using them to save us money and any special little tips and tricks of these recipes that I pick up along the way.
Okay now that I have given my long-winded explanation to this post let's get down to it....
Indonesian Peanut Saute
We love some Noodles & Co around here and we definitely love some Thai food or anything spicy for that matter and this is my fav from Noodles.
*Side Note* Even though we love Noodles & Co we don't eat a lot of carbs on the regular. I don't really like carbs too much, they make me feel sluggish and may or may not cause some issues of the bathroom variety.....however ever since Grayson has been around I've been feeling faint and dizzy like I'm going to pass out, so until we find the culprit of this we are going to keep me on the carbs.
I found a blog that shared a recipe for the vegetarian version of this dish.
To make it meat-eater friendly I just used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth in the peanut sauce and sautéed chicken breast to add.
I use frozen veggies whenever possible because they are cheaper and honestly I don't have time to sit there cleaning a chopping exactly 1 cup of brocoli.
Another note about the chicken breast...
I buy the huge package of "Boneless Chicken Breast" at Walmart. It's not frozen and it isn't any certain brand it just comes on a yellow styrofoam carton with plastic wrap around it. The cool thing about these chicken breast in particular is that they are really thick. thick enough that I can cut them in half and end up with two chicken breasts and they are both thick and sustainable.
(was originally one chicken breast)
One more chicken tip, when I bring home that huge pack of chicken it usually has seven or eight chicken breasts. I wrap each one individually with plastic wrap and then just stack them in a tupperware container in the freezer that way I can take out one at a time to thaw.
A few over-all tips I would give on meal planning is to put a weeks worth of meals together that share similar items. This meal for instance only uses 1 cup of the brocoli so I found a recipe to make later in the week that will use the remainder of the brocoli, same deal with the cabbage and cilantro.
Also if you keep certain items on hand at all times you will find that brings down meal cost. for example....In my pantry I ALWAYS have beef, chicken and vegetable bullion, honey, peanut butter. We also eat a LOT of asian food so we has sriracha chili sauce and soy sauce.