Weekly Meal Plan #15: Sucking Earthworms

Earthworm Jim faces, courtesy of look1982 on deviantart.com

Sucking earthworms: it’s how my mom used to describe a car running on empty… super-empty. And as my teenage years did not involve much in the way of generous gas purchases, I heard that phrase a lot.

Well, my grocery budget is sucking earthworms this week, folks. And I really want to get through Thanksgiving weekend without having to go shopping. We have what I’d like to call ourselves a situation.

If you’re looking for amazingly balanced meals or tons of original recipes, this week is not for you. But if you, too, are on a budget I’m hoping you find some inspiration in my post.

Next week I won’t be playing Mother Hubbard. I promise. In fact, perhaps I’ll follow this meal plan from “Life as Mom.”

In the mean time: what meals do you all make when you’re at the end of your budget? I’d love to expand my repertoire!

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My Thanksgiving Contribution: I make the pie. That is my job. So I will be making pie on Wednesday night and bringing it over to my mom’s for Thanksgiving! What will we have for dinner when I’m making pie? Likely BLTAs (the “A” is for avocado, a necessary addition now that we’ve discovered it).

The Random: veggie burgers (I’ll be picking up the patties at Trader Joe’s)

Vegetarian: Pear, Shallot, and Delicata Squash Soup

Pantry Challenge: Spicy Quinoa Black Bean Casserole (I will serve in whole-what tortillas, with sour cream)

The Big Easy: tuna noodle casserole with green beans and applesauce

Crockpot/Freezer: emptying the contents of my freezer, I found more fish and some veggies… plus homemade chimichurri sauce! So we’ll definitely be turning that into something edible this week.

Crockpot/Freezer #2: the Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili I’ve yet to make.

Weekly Meal Plan #14: Being Good Sucks

At my last doctor’s appointment, I heard the words every pregnant lady dreads and loathes: “You really need to start watching your weight gain.” And then the midwife began listing off all the foods I should limit eating… which happen to be all the foods I desperately want to consume right now.

In mass quantities.

Oh, white flour! Pasta, sugar, bread, and rice–how I love thee! How can I hope to sever our special bond? Especially when you help me stretch the grocery budget?

Well, perhaps if I manage to plan a little differently for the rest of my pregnancy, I won’t hear all those other words we knocked-up women just love. To whit: “you’re so huge,” “there’s no way you’re making it to your due date” and “I bet you’re going to deliver a gigantic baby.”

Thanks, people. Why not just go one step further? Say something like, “Hey, Super-Size. I think you’re having an abnormal killer baby tomorrow–and he’s going to irreparably slash up your lady bits with his evil raptor talons! Good luck with that!”

Okay, so maybe I’m a little sensitive. Pregnant lady. Hormones. Yummy comfort foods in jeopardy. I’m entitled.

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Hippie Breakfast: ful medames (I will find whole-wheat pitas for the scooping)

The Random: Having fish this week… which means two vegetarian meals to make up for the expense! This winter vegetable torte looks delicious. Very cheesy. But hey, no white bread or pasta! Good job, me.

Vegetarian: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Pantry Challenge:

The Healthful: something involving the cheapest not-full-of-mercury fish I can find. There will be a salad on the side and, so I don’t feel like I’m being punished, cauliflower tots.

The Big Easy: Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

Crockpot/Freezer: Lazy Day Stew (already made in the freezer). I am probably going to make Dutch Oven bread with this. I just can’t help myself.

Grain-Based:  

Weekly Meal Plan #13: Palate Cleanser

Sweet Pea helped make Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

Sweet Pea helps make Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

I feel like we’ve been eating the same few recipes for weeks. Why? Well, my husband and I have been hesitant to spend big bucks on food while we were both waiting to hear what our yearly salaries would be (long, boring story). Also, October is a five-week month… which means the budget had to do some serious stretching. And finally, it’s the end of the quarter. Grades are due. Parent-teacher conferences loom. The stack of unscored essays… it is gargantuan and demoralizing.

So the grading pile is still a problem, and I’ve actually got conferences this week. (Three cheers for working two 13-hour days in a row! Anyone? Anyone? No? Hmm.) But I figured: why not procrastinate productively on the grading? I could chop up all our veggies and meat in advance!

And I could find something different and possible tantalizing to eat.

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Pumpkin/Apple Treat: pumpkin pie fudge (the less complicated version of these truffles)

The Random: chicken quinoa casserole (which I’ve been planning to make forever, but haven’t yet)

Vegetarian: butternut squash soup

Pantry Challenge: quiche. Seriously. Use up the remaining kale.

The Big Easy: Chinese Pork Stew with Daikon Radish

Crockpot/Freezer: crockpot honey and Dijon chicken

Grain-Based: Beef Lo Mein (I’m making mine from Mark Bittman’s fabulous The Best Recipes in the World. If you don’t have the book, you should get it. But in the mean time, you could always check out this recipe.)