Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Planning Meals

This week I thought I would give an example of how I plan my meals, and add pictures of each meal as I cook it. I plan meals based on simple guidelines - usually the goverment's "mypyramid" food guidelines.

For us, that would be...

2 cups fruit
6 oz. meat, beans, or nuts
3 cups vegetables
3 cups dairy
7 oz. whole grains

2 cups fruit
5.5 oz meat, beans, or nuts
2.5 cups vegetables
3 cups dairy
6 oz. whole grains

...and here are the meals I planned for this week:

Meals (lunch and Dinner)
Quinoa chicken (4 servings)
Red cabbage
Grilled corn on the cob

Moroccan Eggplant with Garbanzo beans (4 servings)
Grilled pineapple

Lentil Hazelnut Patties (6 servings, freeze 10 patties for later)
Cabbage Salad

Spicy Veggie Soup (6 servings)
Toasted garlic bread or naan
Coconut quinoa

Herbed Leg of Lamb (8 servings)
Cold Curried Apple Soup (4 servings)
Baked Yams

Meals (Breakfast)
Banana/strawberry/hemp/yogurt smoothie
Banana/blueberry/almond butter/yogurt smoothie
Toasted bread with raw almond butter + strawberries w/glass of milk
Pineapple/orange/banana/hemp/milk smoothie

So as you can see, most of our daily fruit and dairy portions come from breakfast. For the rest of the meals, they will probably end up lasting us closer to two weeks. The serving sizes shown are the serving sizes in the recipe, and for us those servings often end up too big and we have more leftovers than planned.

When planning vegetable servings, I try to get as many different colors of vegetables in the mix as I can. Dark green, light green, purple, orange, yellow, and red. All the grains in our diet are whole whenever possible. Sometimes that means planning ahead to soak the beans or grains for 24 hours before cooking.

For our bread this week I used the artisan bread instructions in the Dec/Jan issue of Mother Earth News. Basically, you create a starter, and use the dough one loaf at a time straight out of the fridge. The longer the starter sits, the more sourdough notes you get in the flavor of the bread. I made a whole wheat sandwich bread this week, pictures + recipe to be posted later this week.

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