Saturday, May 2 – Saturday, May 9

We had a ton of leftovers from last week, so this weekend we’re just finishing off what we couldn’t get around to cooking last week. We got takeout from Taco Mama last Tuesday, which messed up the meal plan a little bit, and we also had just a lot more food from each recipe than we expected.

This week, we’re getting a little bit more adventurous with our meals, probably because I’m getting bored of cooking the same old things and I’m ready for something new. We have a couple of super easy meals (we’re having sandwiches three times this week) and a couple that are a little more complicated. We had to go to three different grocery stores to get all of the ingredients, and I spent way more than I wanted to, but next week we’ll make up for it by having some frugal meals!

Meal Plan and Recipes

Saturday Lunch – Cheez Fries (using leftover nacho cheese sauce)

Saturday Dinner – Spaghetti & Meatless Meatballs

Sunday Brunch – Pancakes

Sunday Dinner – Tofu Tacos

Monday Lunch – Bocadillos

Monday Dinner – Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with homemade Ranch

Tuesday Lunch – Tempeh BLTs

Tuesday Dinner – Grilled Cheese & Green Soup (not homemade – the soup comes from a box)

Wednesday Lunch – American Goulash

Wednesday Dinner – Malaysian Laksa

Thursday Lunch – Chili Mac

Thursday Dinner – Balsamic Asparagus Pasta

Friday Lunch – American Goulash

Friday Dinner – Black Bean Empanadas

Saturday Lunch – Chili Mac

Saturday Dinner – Baked Mushroom Rice

Recipe Notes

I wrote about the Cheez Fries and Spaghetti in my previous post.

Bocadillos – Last year, Josh and I went on vacation in Spain & Portugal, spending most of our time in Spain. The Spanish people love their meat, so it was very difficult for me to get by as a vegan. I will admit that I gave up being 100% vegan on the trip for the sake of convenience, and I did eat cheese when there was no other option (I never ate any meat). While in Spain, we walked the Portuguese Camino, and most of our meals were from little roadside cafés with limited menus. One thing all the cafés had in common were bocadillos. These are simple sandwiches with few ingredients between two halves of a crusty baguette. At almost every stop, I would order a bocadillo de queso con tomate – a cheese and tomato sandwich. When Josh and I got back home, we found that we really missed these simple sandwiches, so we make them at home from time to time. These days, I am able to make them with vegan cheese! There is no recipe – you simply warm a baguette in the oven, split it lengthwise, and fill it with slices of cheese and tomato. There is no need to add butter or mayo if the tomatoes are ripe. The only condiment you need to add is a little bit of salt and pepper.

Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos – I make the buffalo cauliflower wings from Hot for Food and use them as a taco filling with a little homemade ranch drizzle and a slice of avocado. I prefer them with a little bit of slaw (tossed in the homemade ranch) but Josh likes it without.

Tempeh BLT – You can buy tempeh bacon at most stores that carry tempeh. If you’ve never heard of tempeh before, it is a fermented soy product from Indonesia that is an excellent source of plant-based protein. It tastes a little nutty and has a firm texture. You can cube it and fry it to use in stir frys, crumble it as a meat replacer for chili or bolognese, or slice it thinly, marinate it, fry it, and put it on a sandwich. I buy the tempeh bacon strips already sliced and marinated, so all I have to do is lightly pan fry them and put them on a sandwich with some vegan mayo, lettuce, and fresh ripe tomato.

Grilled Cheese – I make them using Follow Your Heart provolone slices on sourdough bread with vegan butter (Earth Balance is my favorite brand but lately I have been using Melt, as it’s cheaper). Yesterday the store was out of provolone style cheese, so I got the “American” flavor instead. I’ve never tried this one, so I hope I like it!

Malaysian Laksa – I lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 1995 -1997. Long story. I miss Malaysian food terribly, but it is absolutely impossible to find in Birmingham, Alabama, so I’ve got to figure out how to make it myself. Malaysian food is heavily influenced by Chinese (Cantonese), Indian, and Thai flavors, and while many dishes are meat-based, you can veganize some recipes. I found a great one that I haven’t tried yet, for Laska. Laksa is a curried noodle soup that I will serve with fried tofu. Josh has never tasted it, but he is eager to try!

Everything else not listed above will be made exactly according to the recipe. The first time I make something, I always follow the recipe so that if it doesn’t taste great, I can rule out user error. After that, I can make my own tweaks and personalize the recipe to my taste.

Grocery List

In my previous post, I included a list of the groceries I bought and the cost, but I think I am going to eliminate that from future posts, as it’s kind of boring and it heavily depends on what you already have in your pantry/fridge, so it wouldn’t be useful to anyone. This week I went to India Spice, Sprouts, and Winn-Dixie, and I spent roughly eleventy-billion dollars. Ouch.

Meal Prep

As I write this, it is Saturday morning and since I don’t have anything else planned for the day, I’m going to get a leg up on the meal planning. Today I will:

  • Make black beans in the Instant Pot. I cook dry beans with garlic, onion powder, chili powder, and a bay leaf. It’s cheaper and less wasteful than buying cans.
  • Make the Laksa paste. The first step is to toast and blend the aromatics to make a paste that will become the soup base. It keeps in the fridge for a week so I will make it now to save time later.
  • Make the homemade ranch dressing. I bought a whole head of romaine for the BLTs and we obviously won’t use that much, so I also got some cherry tomatoes and a cucumber, so we can have salads a couple of nights this week.
  • Make the goulash and portion out for the week’s lunches.
  • Ditto the chili mac, though that will come last as it depends on the availability of cooked beans.

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