One more menu to go after this and I’ll have a full week’s worth. As I’ve written in some of my other menu posts, I don’t actually cook a different dish every day. In fact, please don’t follow a entirely different menu every day. If you follow this menu today, cook another menu tomorrow and then make something new again the day after that, you’ll have lots of leftovers, you’ll likely have bought a pile of ingredients with bits and pieces that you didn’t use entirely and you’ll waste food.
Besides the food waste problem, most people don’t have time to cook a different meal from scratch every night. I certainly don’t—I have a job, kids, a needy cat. When I cook something like the chili in this menu, it lasts for a few meals (without leftovers, I’d have nothing to take to the office for lunch). I certainly don’t mind eating the same things for a couple of days in a row. Dishes like chili, soups and stews usually taste even better on the second day anyway.
Scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables
Gut shot or beet kvass
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables
I get my pastured eggs without waste because I can—and do—return the cartons to a vendor at the farmers market. At one farmers market near me, you can take your own carton and fill it up with loose eggs.
Egg scrambles taste delicious and you can use up little pieces of this and that in them. I often have a bit of chopped onion, some herbs and maybe a tomato that all need to be used up quickly. Into the scramble they go. Delicious. The following recipe serves one.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
- handful of various vegetables, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole milk, half and half or cream
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
1. Heat up oil in a skillet and sauté vegetables over medium-high heat until softened. Turn heat down to medium-low.
2. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour over vegetables and stir everything slowly until the eggs set (i.e., they no longer are runny). Serve immediately.
If you make naturally fermented dill pickles, as you eat them, you have excess brine left over, teeming with probiotic goodness. Sometimes in the morning—or later in the day if I have not yet consumed my daily quota of fermented foods—I’ll drink a shot of this brine (about two ounces). This may sound unappetizing to the uninitiated but where I live, people literally line up at the farmers market to shell out between $5 and $6 for a 16-ounce bottle of this probiotic brine. As a byproduct of dill pickle making, mine costs nothing. Here is the recipe for garlic-dill pickles.
Beet kvass, another savory probiotic drink that you consume in small amounts, also costs a small fortune to buy in stores. Basically, you chop some beets, put them in a jar, add salt, pour water over them and wait about five days. Here is the recipe for beet kvass.
If you want to know more about the non-woo-woo benefits of fermentation and how these foods benefit your gut and overall health, read this post.
Lunch: Vegetarian chili
This dish is actually vegan…
I had never cooked a good vegetarian chili recipe until my daughter MK came up with the recipe for this. I stole it with her permission for my blog and tweaked it ever so slightly. The secret ingredients are mushrooms for umami, sweet potatoes for flavor and thickening and my own spice blend rather than chili powder. Even omnivores will gobble this up. It freezes well so consider making a vat of it and squirreling some away for later.
Have some corn you want to use up? Celery? Carrots? One lone potato you don’t know what to do with? Toss them in. (I would chop the celery and carrots and sauté them along with the onion.) This is another dish that allows for improvisation.
Who says you must top pizza with tomato sauce? You can of course (here is a recipe). Or you can top it with something else, based with what you happen to have on hand.
- Have some leftover (or fresh) pesto? My kids and I love pesto on our pizza. Round up the usual toppings.
- I make a tapenade-like spread with olives and preserved lemons that goes well on pizza. Spread a thin layer (it’s potent) and top with red peppers and feta cheese.
- Brush with olive oil, top with tomatoes and bake as usual. After you pull it out of the oven, drizzle with a few tablespoons of aioli (something akin to garlic mayonnaise but highly addictive).
- Simply brush the pizza crust with olive oil and top with minced garlic and your favorite vegetables.
Here is a recipe for pizza from scratch, including instructions for the crust, the sauce and homemade ricotta cheese for the topping.
I’ve been working on a sourdough crust made with discard and the last attempt was pretty darn good. Stay tuned for a recipe for that…
Snack: Kale Chips and Ginger Beer
I have only made kale chips in a solar food dehydrator but you can certainly make them in the oven. They are surprisingly good. Wash them down with ginger beer to up your hippie status.
Here is the recipe for ginger beer. Cheers!