Even though I consider myself a frugal shopper, I could never buy that much produce (or that kind of produce) for those prices. Plus, because I shop according to price, buying mostly what is on sale, I would probably never buy a coconut or bok choy and certainly not fresh herbs (except for cilantro and parsley, which are fairly cheap) on any given week because the price would eat up too much of my grocery budget. So we get to try things we wouldn't normally buy, and we are all healthier for it. It's fun!
Since I have a large amount of produce to use up in a short period of time, I am menu planning around my produce and any meat I still have in the freezer (plus a few protein items on sale at the store). Bountiful Baskets allows you to eat healthier, and save money. At our produce pick-up, the ladies in line next to me were commenting how much they've seen their grocery bills drop since ordering their baskets. Really, if you've eating more whole foods, and you're picking up your produce on the weekend, there is very little you need to get from the store (except for more whole foods ingredients to round out your meals, such as rice, meat/protein, dairy, etc.). Any time you can stay out of the store, you're instantly saving money (see this post and this one for more on this subject).
So here are some ideas for how I will be using all this wonderful produce this week (and into next):
(The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid) has fabulous recipes for using the vegetables)
- Roast chicken (or in the crockpot), asparagus, boiled red skin potatoes
- Use basil to make pesto, pasta, salad with romaine, tomatoes, celery, peppers, water chesnuts, etc.
- Coconut shrimp with pineapple sauce, sauteed Chinese cabbage, cheese biscuits
- Asian beef stir fry over rice (using peppers, green onions, snow peas, green beans, ginger) (in our church cookbook)
- Teriyaki Chicken, Chinese cabbage salad, Orange pilaf (from Colorado Cache Cookbook: 30th Anniversary Edition)
- Beef with peppers
- Cuban shrimp stew (from Colorado Colore: A Palate of Tastes)
- Brauts, Cabbage, potato bake (church cookbook recipe)
- Chicken and ginger stir-fry
- Runzas (recipe in our church cookbook), tropical fruit salad
- Chicken casserole (uses water chestnuts and long grain rice), green beans amadine (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid))
- Ratatouille (From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid))
- Stuffed peppers from our church cookbook
- Calzones with sauteed eggplant, onions, spinach, sausage and cheese (recipe in our church cookbook)
- Chicken/pork/salmon bok choy (recipes here for chicken, here for pork, and here for salmon)
- Pork chow mein
- Shredded bbq beef sandwiches, coleslaw, thinly sliced fried potato "chips"
- Orange bread
- Banana Bread and orange juice
- Cranberry-orange scones
- Granola, Greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries
- Blueberry muffins
- Orange muffins from Colorado Cache Cookbook: 30th Anniversary Edition
- Chicken pasta salad (cook tri-colored rotini, drain and rinse with cold water, add Italian dressing, feta cheese, tomatoes, diced chicken, and any other veggies you'd like--cucumbers, olives, etc.)
- BLT's on whole-grain bread
- dinner leftovers most every day :)
- or...use some dinner ideas for lunch ideas (stir-frys, etc).
- Coconut cream pie
- coconut macaroons
- fried plantain with butter and sugar or candied plantains
- fresh fruit with mint and sherbert
- candied oranges (from Colorado Colore: A Palate of Tastes (Celebrating Twenty Five Years of Culinary Artistry)
Does anyone have any other ideas on how to use fresh mint?
(more menu planning ideas at orgjunkie.com)