Saturday, January 8, 2011

Menu Plan for Jan 10-16 (And review of new recipes from last week).

As usual, some of last week's meals got switched around from day to day, but overall we stuck to the plan and I think our week was simpler for it. I tried a few new recipes last week, so I wanted to review those here.

Quinoa Veggie Stirfry - We are not vegetarians, so we added some chicken to this for extra protein (even though quinoa is a complete protein by itself.). We also improvised on the veggies some (to use what we had on hand), and used Tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce) instead of the Bragg's Liquid Aminos; since the Tamari is fermented soy and truly is MSG-Free, and the Bragg's is just no-MSG-added. If you are going to eat soy, it should definitely be naturally fermented, because otherwise it really does not digest well, and the good things in it are not as easily absorbed (bio-availability). However, we kept the spices exactly the same. The flavor was great, the meal was very filling, and it was not that difficult. Soaking the Quinoa in water for a fifteen minutes ahead of time both helps it cook up more quickly and makes it easier to rinse. You must rinse the quinoa, because its outer shell is covered with a waxy substance (saponin) that leads to a very bitter taste (and is not good for you).  (Because quinoa is technically a nut and not a grain, it does not contain as much phytic acids as grains, but if you are soaking for those reasons it only needs to be soaked for 2-4 hours).  Since we were only feeding two with this recipe, we had enough left over for lunches for a few days.  Jeff definitely asked that we keep this recipe in the rotation, so I consider it a smashing success (He also decided we should sprout some of what I have on hand, and plant it in a month or so).

Easy Quinoa Veggie Burgers - Again, because we are not vegan, instead of using an egg substitute I used an egg. Also, once again, I used Tamari instead of Bragg's. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. The patties tasted great, and they went well with the pumpkin soup we had them with. The recipe says you can fix them up like a regular burger, and I can see how that might work; however (especially with the chickpeas) they really tasted more like falafel, and since we were eating them without the buns, we just dipped them in the pumpkin soup. Again, Jeff said I could make this again. Two successful new recipes in one week!  (If you do not have a food processor, though, you may want to hold off on this one - unless you have an amazing blender - I felt like I nearly killed my blender trying to process the mixture.)

On to this week. A little less budget-limited and a little more determined to -- not only keep our grains whole, as we usually do -- use only soaked grains as often as possible, I think our plan for this week is pretty awesome. We only have one meal where the grains are not soaked, and that is on Monday, because I do not make my own tortillas yet and I am trying to limit my new experiments until we have more of a routine down. To help me out with my planning, I am going back to blogging the preparatory steps I need to remember (they day or days before the meal).

Monday - Fish Tacos. No previous day prep required on this one. Instead of beer batter-ing the cod, we are going with sauteed, instead. And I'm going to use most of the spices in the skillet with the cod, and keep the dip a little more bland. We got red cabbage as well, because when I had them I remember both being used, and I thought it would keep things a little more colorful and appealing.

Prep for Tuesday: Monday AM soak biscuit dough for Tuesday AM. Move Chicken stock to Fridge to thaw. Move Chicken to fridge to thaw.

Tuesday - Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie

Prep for Wednesday: Tuesday AM move venison sausage to fridge to thaw.

Wednesday - Cozy Quinoa Casserole.  We use venison sausage instead of the ground turkey (ground turkey often has "natural flavors," which are anything but natural and can mean MSG). Also we use sweet potato instead of the Acorn Squash. Acorn Squash is impossible to cut when raw, and Sweet potato tastes almost identical as far as I am concerned (yup, I am choosing sweet potatoes out of sheer laziness. And because we still have plenty stored from our garden).

Prep for Thursday - Wednesday PM Soak Pizza Crust

Thursday - Pizza (With soaked whole wheat crust) - Spinach and Mushroom :)

Prep for Friday - Thurs PM start pork backbone in the crockpot

Friday - Pulled Pork, Sweet Potatoes, & Steamed Spinach

Prep for Saturday - Friday AM start making beef stock, and soak dough for french bread.

Saturday - Jeff's "Famous" Burgers & French Onion Soup

Sunday - Leftovers

Breakfasts throughout the week will be eggs fried in raw butter (grass-finished), and soaked oatmeal or breakfast quinoa. Snacks will be celery & peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, and/or carrot sticks with the amazing truly-MSG-Free ranch dressing I found.

This post is part of Menu Plan Monday. Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great menus.


  1. I'm fascinated by all of this, Melody! I'm ashamed that half the time I don't know what you're talking about here ; P What do you mean by all the " soaking " you've got going on?

    By the way, I made that quinoa veggie stir fry this week ( with Shrimp ) and liked it though I thought it tasted a little bitter, which may be because I did not know to soak the quinoa before cooking it. Is that a good thing to do even if it's organic?

  2. Oh goodness...don't be ashamed, haha. I've been making bread from freshly ground wheat, which I learned from my sister in law, but when Jeff's mom asked me (when we were first married) if I SOAK my bread dough, I was like "What on earth are you talking about??" I had never ever heard of this strange thing called soaking. The short answer is that soaking is a way to prepare grain based foods ahead of time, by slightly fermenting them to break down phytic acid. Phytic acid can keep people from fully absorbing the nutrients in the grain. More in depth information on it can be found (Where I learned it) at Passionate Homemaking. This link tells you basic soaking instructions and why to do it.
    This other post is helpful, too:

  3. Oh, and yes, quinoa needs to be soaked and rinsed even if it is organic. Saponins are a naturally occurring substance on the surface of quinoa that cause the bitter taste. If you look on the same site as the stirfry recipe, there is a link for "how to cook quinoa" and I believe they describe their rinsing process there. Their method is the one that has achieved the best results for me.