Menu Plan Monday ~ Feb 15, 2010

by Shawanda Greene

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After two weekends of being stuck in the house, I’m finally free. Because of all the snow we’ve gotten, I hadn’t been able to grocery shop like I want. On Friday, I decided to head over to Harris Teeter for a few items before driving the car back to my office parking garage and taking a cab home. I learned the hard way people don’t like it when you park in the space it took them hours to plow their car out of.

Although I felt like a prisoner of mother nature, the experience made me really grateful for learning how to cook.

Before the first snow storm began, I rushed to the supermarket to stock up on a bunch of junk food. Somehow I bought too many salty snacks and completely forgot about the sugary stuff. After going without sweets for over a week, I was desperate. For the first time in many, many years, I attempted to make a batch of cookies from scratch.

By no means were they delicious (maybe because I used salted butter), but they satisfied the craving. If you cook on a regular basis, you’re bound to have certain staples on hand, e.g., butter, sugar, flour, eggs. I’m so thankful I had the ingredients for a basic sugar cookie recipe.

The snow has made it miserable the last few weeks, but I did relearn a money lesson that’s easy to forget. It’s quite simple really.

Use what you got.

Monday/Tuesday – Taco Pasta Toss from Everyday with Rachael Ray (using slow cooker to prepare taco meat)

Wednesday/Thursday – Swedish Meatballs and Vegetables

Friday/Saturday – Pork Chops and Roasted Asparagus

Sunday – Layered Taco Salad (using taco meat from above)

Rookie Cook Tip – I hate it when a recipe calls for tomato paste. Primarily because I almost never have any. Also, it seems you usually only need a tablespoon or two from a 6 oz can. Thanks to Tipnut, now I know you can make tomato paste by cooking tomato sauce until it’s reduced to half. And now you know too.

Have you ever learned anything about cooking as a result of a traumatic mildly inconvenient event?

Find other menu plan options on Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Photo credit: Masashi Mochida

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

The Saved Quarter February 15, 2010 at 6:15 AM

Did you know that you can buy tomato paste in a resealable tube now? That way you can use your tablespoon without having to throw out the rest.



ToyLady February 15, 2010 at 10:39 AM

I use what I need from the can of tomato paste and freeze the rest in ice cube trays (to be popped out and bagged when frozen) – each cube is 2 Tablespoons.


Shawanda February 15, 2010 at 11:41 PM

I couldn't find any tubes of tomato paste at the grocery store, so I might have to try this technique. Even if I did find a tube of tomato paste, an unacceptable price tag may cause me to revert to this strategy anyway.


Money Funk February 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

There is also a tube of tomato paste that is apparently sold in store. That might be another solution on hand. But that is great info to know. ;)

Love the comment about freezing it in ice cube trays. I do the same with a big batch of pesto.


Shawanda February 15, 2010 at 8:51 PM

@The Saved Quarter and @Money Funk – That's news to me, so thanks for sharing it. While searching for tomato paste on Amazon, I noticed you can purchase tomato paste by the jar too. I'm going to look for either the tube or the jar when I go to the grocery store. I'm so excited!


ToyLady February 15, 2010 at 11:11 PM

They also have pesto and ginger in the tubes, too.


Rona February 16, 2010 at 2:08 AM

Wow! Great question. When we lived in San Diego during the grocery store strikes and fires we learned to stock up on the staples.


Shawanda February 17, 2010 at 4:34 AM

I never even thought of something like that happening. You never know what might happen that could limit your access to food. A well stocked pantry is something we should always have.


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