Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fighting Back the Kitchen Blues with Meal-planning & a Bonus Recipe

Ok confession time…meal planning has been quite a battle in here.  A long one, with some victories and many defeats.  I’ve had seasons were I had been at it for several weeks, and after feeling that the habit is set on place, life happens and plop, I find myself facing another “defeat” as I feel the stress of figuring out “what’s for dinner” on a daily basis. I know it’s not right to put a guilt trip on myself or anybody else. WE must fail forward. Grace covers this weakness and life is not perfect. There are seasons in life and you just have to adjust to them thru the journey..but man, I want to develop this habit! I know not everybody feels the need to meal plan. But for me, it saves some much time, energy and money when you know what you’re cooking everyday and that you don’t have to go for unplanned visits to the grocery store!  That itself is getting so much more difficult now that I have another little one! So here I’m giving it a try again. This time with some help of others. And I wanted to share the info with any of you that also struggle in this area and may want some help to get better at meal-planning.

Ok,  what I’m doing is signing up for this meal planning boot-camp that Kat Lee from Inspired to Action is holding this week.  (Awesome website! I encourage you to check it out, it’s all about practical ideas to get better at being a mom, homemaker, etc) I know there are a bunch of other ladies that are joining the challenge, and it will be a lot of fun to encourage each other thru the process. There’s a meal planning service called “plan to eat” (pretty cool and cheap: about $27 a yr after a current discount) that helps you streamline the process of saving your recipes, planning your meals and coming up with a shopping list.  And though the boot-camp will be based off this program, you don’t necessarily have to use it to get on board.  I know there are so many methods out there to meal plan! Some people have a monthly/weekly planner hung on the kitchen wall, others use a planner, there are meal-plan notebooks, etc. I was doing it manually in Evernote on my Ipad.  But I got sold out to signing up with plan to eat, after looking at some of the potential time savings I would be getting by getting the meal plan done with just a few clicks, a shopping list to go along with it, plus you get to share recipes with other subscribers. Isn't that awesome? I think it is. Plus they have a 30 days free trial. And not, they are not paying me to advertise. I'm just very excited about fighting back the kitchen blues! The least I can do is try!

OK, so since one of the first steps of getting started with this is try putting all your recipes in one place, I’m gonna share today a very basic recipe that was a hit for lunch today over here (I’m notorious for coming up with a yummy recipe, and forgetting how I did it because I don’t write it down). I’ll try to post some other recipes later.  Some won’t be originally mine. And it’s fine, because you can actually build your recipe “database” in the website importing recipes from everywhere online…I think there is even a way to get away from having to type anything..I will share as I learn. Ok here it goes, let’s call this recipe “Creamy chicken with Mushroom”. But you can call it as fancy as you want! It's so yummy, I promise! =D Warn you, this is not a low-fat recipe.  We are not afraid of consuming healthy saturated fats in our family as we like to follow many of the advice of the traditional style cooking. You can find some good information about it on the book “Nourishing Traditions ” or the Weston Price Foundation Website.

OK, here it goes:

Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms

1 pound of chopped chicken (I used thighs to make it tastier)
1 medium chopped onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 TBS of Coconut Oil (We've learned that this is the healthiest cooking oil out there, check the link for the best deal per ounce we've found so far, without buying a 5 gallon tub, which we may do in the future)
1 TBS of butter
½ pd of sliced mushrooms
2 TBS of heavy cream
2 TBS of Worcestershire sauce (I'm yet to find and organic version, there's a way to make it at home: here but I haven't ventured there yet).
2 tps of flour
2/3 cup of water
Salt & pepper to taste

-Combine flour, salt and pepper in a zip-lock bag. Add chopped chicken and shake it until well coated.
-Heat up coconut oil on non-stick pan and cook onions until clear. Add 2 cloves of garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
-Add chicken to skillet, and cook until chicken gets a golden brown color (The idea is to seal up the juices of the chicken, so you have to stir constantly and not let it "sweat". Add cup of water and stir for a minute. Turn off the heat.
-On separate skillet add butter, remaining garlic and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms start rendering their juices (For about 3 minutes). Pout this mixture over chicken.
-Add heavy cream and Worcestershire.
-Add more salt and pepper if needed.
-Enjoy and have seconds! =)

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