Did you miss me last week? Wonder where I was? I’ll tell you where I was!
With Monday marking our seventh year of marriage, there was no way we were going to stay home! We got a sitter and dined out at a trendy little vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Akron called Crave. Not too big a deal, right? But see, then it was like a switch we couldn’t turn off! Since we’d already blown the “no eating out” rule once, we then spent FIVE WHOLE DAYS in various fast food establishments. Not good. Not healthy. Not cheap. By Friday I had come to my senses and realized how my challenge had gone horribly, horribly wrong. It was time to Mac up and learn a hard lesson:
Failure to plan is a plan to fail!
When I started this challenge, I was so set on making this uncomplicated, I thought I could just meander through it without any sort of proper meal plan. I thought it would make things simpler, but come supper time, when I’m scrambling to work up a dish and I realized my husband has used the last of the onions, it really made things more difficult.
But, all is not lost. With 15 full days left in my challenge, I stopped and created a menu plan, and lucky for you, I feel like sharing! Here’s what I’m eating this week:
Jun 01 – Friday
Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe — I used this recipe from Taste of Home. But Aldi doesn’t always have balsamic vinegar. Just use your favorite Aldi salad dressing instead of the oil/vinegar mix. And skip that Parmesan Cheese to keep it vegan. Traditionally, this is a picnic side, but we loved it as a colorful, nutritious, one dish meal!
Jun 02 – Saturday
Boca Burgers — YES! Aldi sells these in their freezer! They even sell whole wheat buns in the summer! I don’t usually like to go with foods this processed, but Saturdays tend to be a day when I need an easy meal. These burgers were a nice, no fuss solution. I served them with fresh sweet corn on the side!
Jun 03 – Sunday
White Bean and Veggie Soup — You DON’T need a recipe to make this dish. Onions, garlic, carrots, and celery make a great base for any brothy soup! Soak half an Aldi bag of Great Northern beans in water overnight. Add them, plus the aforementioned veggies (and any little bits and pieces of leftover veggies you have in your home) to a big old pot of water and let it simmer for a couple hours! I throw in whatever herbs and spices I have on hand by the tablespoon full, and salt and pepper to taste! It has yet to disappoint! Serve with Aldi’s reduced fat woven wheat crackers and you’ve got a healthy and filling meal! (Seriously! Check the ingredients on those crackers! You’ll be amazed at how healthy they are!)
Jun 04 – Monday
Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf — I’m going to try this recipe tonight, after I finish this blog post, and I have to say, I’m a bit nervous! My husband thinks we should mix in some pinto beans, for color, and to make it Aldi friendly, I’ll be using brown rice instead of quinoa. I’m thinking I’ll do roasted sweet potatoes and green beans on the side.
Jun 05 – Tuesday
Vegan Pizza Bagels — “When pizza’s on a bagel…” Aldi sells lovely little 100% Whole Wheat bagels. I just plan to top them with a dab of pasta sauce and veggies and toast them up in the oven. The key to pulling this off will be sprinkling them liberally with minced garlic, basil, and various Italian seasonings. Wish me luck!
Jun 06 – Wednesday
Favorite Chili — Everybody’s got a favorite chili recipe. Here’s mine. It’s simple, and I used to always make it in my crock pot with all that meat, but here’s a secret: I’ve often made a favorite ground beef recipe vegan, simply by substituting canned black beans. Most of these sort of dishes are so heavily seasoned, you might not even notice the meat is gone!
Jun 07 – Thursday
Hubby’s not home that night so we fend for ourselves. If the leftovers are all used up, it’s peanut butter jelly time!
Oh, and there’s breakfasts–oatmeal, fruit, or cheerios usually. We don’t need much of a plan for that. And I usually just set aside a portion of dinner, so we can reheat it for the next day’s lunch! Easy peasy! We keep a lot of nuts and fruit around the house for snacks, too.
Would you like to steal my little plan for your home? No problem! Here’s your grocery list:
Carrots, 6 for multiple recipes
celery, 1 bunch for multiple recipes
garlic cloves, 6 for multiple recipes
green onions, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad
green pepper, 1 for Vegan Pizza Bagels
mushrooms, 8 ounces for multiple recipes
onions, 4 for multiple recipes
red onion, 1 for topping Boca Burgers
tomatoes, 4 for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe and Boca Burgers
spinach, 1 cup for topping Boca Burgers
zucchini, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipered pepper, 1 cup for Veggie Pasta Salad RecipeSweet corn, for Boca burgers side dish
Sweet potatoes for “meat”loaf side dish
Bread and Bakery
Whole Wheat burger buns, for Boca Burgers
Whole wheat bagels, 1 bag for Vegan Pizza Bagels
Boca burgers, 4 for Boca BurgersGreen Beans, for “meat”loaf side dishOils & Dressings
Italian Dressing, 5 tablespoons for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe
ketchup, 2 tablespoons for Black Bean ‘meat’ LoafSauces & Spices
chili powder, 2 tablespoons for Favorite Chili
soy sauce, 2 tablespoons for Black Bean ‘meat’ LoafPasta/Rice/Beans
brown rice, 1 cup for Black Bean ‘meat’ Loaf
Great Northern Beans, 2 cups for White Bean and Veggie Soup
uncooked spiral pasta, 8 ounces for Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe
(15 ounce) kidney beans, 1 for Favorite Chili
(15 ounce) tomato sauce, 1 for Favorite Chili
(28 ounce) diced tomatoes, 1 for Favorite Chili
black beans, 3 cans for multiple recipes
Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can for White Bean and Veggie Soup
Pasta sauce, 1 jar for Vegan Pizza Bagels
Woven Wheat Crackers, 1 cup for White Bean and Veggie Soup