Creating recipes from ingredients I already have on hand is something I’ve been wanting to get better at. I’ve always wished I had the creative meal planning skills to be able to look in the fridge and whip up something delicious from nothing. (Hubby is much better at this!) Or to wander through the farmer’s market (or my garden!), pick out the yummiest looking produce, and build dinner, or a weekly meal plan, around that.
The only problem with this is that I’m not a naturally creative cook. So instead of browsing the farmer’s market for fresh ingredients I usually first spend hours pouring over cookbooks and cooking blogs searching for recipes to try. Only to be stumped if an ingredient I need can’t be found when I go shopping. I have, however, been very intentional about trying lots of new recipes,to get exposure to different methods, flavors, ideas, foods.
The good news is that I think all my practice is starting to pay off! To start with I’ve been modifying spices and flavorings within recipes for a while now. (Brave, I know – TASTE and adjust for seasoning!) We’ve also made some health changes this past year, and as a result I’ve started making more substitutions in recipes – looking for ways to sub in veggies for higher carb ingredients, reduce fats, or add more whole grains.
Farmer’s Market Produce
Cut to this week – we went to a farmer’s market we hadn’t been to yet this Saturday, and I just picked up what looked yummy. And you know what? The wheels started to turn for what I could make, while I was shopping! Creative meal planning in action, folks! I know, for many people this is second nature. Maybe it is becoming closer to that for me. Is “third nature” an option? Maybe that’s more like it. Anyways… here’s what I came home with:
- Head of Cauliflower
- Bok Choy
- Roasted Green Chiles
Creative Meal Planning Takes Shape
Cauliflower – Roasted Side Dish
The cauliflower was easy – roast it as a side dish with some protein and it’s an easy meal. We’ve discovered roasted cauliflower this past year, and it is now honestly one of our favorite veggies. I probably roast some up every couple weeks (which is a super frequent repeat rate for us). Toss it with a little olive oil and some seasonings – my favorite is a “Rogan Josh” curry I picked up from a local spice shop. It is YUMMY and just the right amount of spicy.
Leek and Bok Choy – Stir Fry
The Leek and the Bok Choy were pretty easy too – they inspired a yummy chicken and vegetable stir fry that also debuted on our table this week. (Think: eggplant, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, bok choy, leek, chicken. Mixed with a seasame-soy-orange-slightly-spicy sauce.)
Roasted Green Chiles – Two Ways
Finally the green chiles. We love roasted green chiles. So we bought them not even caring what we would do with them. Chop them up and put them on top of everything? Usually we would make green chile pork, but we had just smoked a pork shoulder a couple weeks ago and the freezer is well-stocked with that. Hmmm… what else? Well… I make an egg bake every week – add some into that for a yummy spin! Follow this link for that egg bake recipe!
And then – ENCHILADAS! Chicken green chile enchiladas. How about one step further: Collard Wrapped Chicken Green Chile Enchiladas. Follow this link for the Collard Wrapped Chicken Green Chile. Enchiladas Recipe.
And there you have it! A sample of creative meal planning for the week, centered around a trip to the Farmer’s Market, picking up the freshest and tastiest looking ingredients!