2 Weeks of Meals under $99

After writing the meal planning post earlier this month, the c-virus ramped-up and the closings, cancellations and run on toilet paper are now in full swing. As everyone is getting creative while in quarantine, with kids who are now off from school for at least a month, and adjusting to the different work environment, I thought I’d share some recipes you might like to add to your list of creative activities because you’ll actually be home and have a little more time to cook. These recipes really don’t take much time, just a little planning.

I planned a two week menu. I chose 8 meals because I like flexibility and sometimes just having a salad is enough and allowing for a take out meal to support the local restaurants is important to me. I did have a couple things in my pantry or freezer already, but most of the ingredients were purchased for a total of less than $70. That’s pretty good for 8 dinner meals and some leftovers for lunch. I typically cook for two people now, but most of these recipes are for four servings, some serving six.  Follow the links to the actual recipes.

BBQ Shrimp & Tahini Greens is a quick meal that comes together in under 30 minutes, if your shrimp is thawed.  (I eat an occasional meal with clean/wild caught animal protein, maybe once or twice a month.)

Chickpea Hot Pot and the Ginger Carrot Soup are recipes that are quick to put together because everything can go into one pot and allow time to cook. These two recipes hold well when frozen and can be made in larger batches to have one for the week and another to freeze for a later time.

Peanut Soba & Broccoli and Pad Thai take a bit of chopping and preparing vegetables, but once that’s done the cook time is minimal.

Veggie Enchilada Bake, Curry Red Lentils and Walnut Falafels take a little time but not difficult and definitely worth the time. These are great dishes to make a head and freeze as well, or double the recipes and make one meal for you and another to bless a neighbor.

If you want to limit your trips to the store during this time, pick up enough greens and salad veggies that you can eat in a week, kale lasts for more than a week if wrapped well and kept cold. Then rely on frozen vegetables: chopped spinach and kale, broccoli and cauliflower for sauteed sides or in the above recipes. Root vegetables and cabbage will last well and can be made into soups, roasted and served over boiled grains. Think about having canned tomatoes and beans on hand as well as dried lentils, rice and quinoa. Those things could carry you for two weeks at least, before having to shop again.

For breakfast, having oats and fruit combined with plant milk is delicious, or freeze or buy frozen berries and spinach to make green smoothies. If green is a turnoff, be sure to blend any greens with blueberries or cherries, for a beautiful purple shake. Check out the recipe page for more ideas.

For lunches, eat any leftovers from dinner, try different kinds of toasts, salads or even smoothies.

I know you don’t want to be spending more time in the kitchen than you need to. But I hope while you have some extra time at home, you’ll take a look at the recipes and try a few. They don’t take long, just a little planning. If you want more info about meal planning, check out THIS post.

Let me know how you like the recipes!



Burrito Bowls or Jars

Make simple sides and build a buffet for making lunch/dinner bowls or lay out a prep area for making meals to grab-n-go.  Layer your choices and enjoy or seal up and refrigerate to grab on your way out.

The dishes just need to work together. For this post I’m serving up burrito bowls  with rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice topped with the fajita beans, fruit salsa, guacamole, cilantro corn salsa, carrot-cashew queso sauce, tomato salsa, romaine and peppers.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

For cauliflower rice: Add 3 cups cauliflower florets to a food processor along with 1 T sesame seeds or cashews, 1/4 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Pulse on and off until the cauliflower is “riced” or about the size of rice.

For the Fajita Beans : Combine 1 chopped onion and bell pepper in a skillet and saute to soften. Add a can of pinto, kidney or black beans that you’ve strained and rinsed. Add 2 T of water and 1 T each of chili powder and cumin, stir well to coat everything with spices and turn to low heat to gently simmer and combine flavors.

For the fruit salsa: finely chop or use a food processor to pulse & chop 1 cup pineapple, 1/2 mango, 1 tomato, juice of one lime and 1 jalapeno, seeds removed. Pulse one and off quickly to chop, you want there to be texture, not all mush. (mush tastes good too, though)

For the Corn salsa: use 2 cups of thawed frozen corn or cut corn off the cob. Combine the corn in a bowl with 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup diced red onion, diced jalapeno to taste and 1 lime juiced. Stir to evenly mix and enjoy!

For the carrot-cashew queso: Chop 1.5 cups carrots, 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic, and add to 1/2 cup water in a saucepan, cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Pour the contents of pan into a blender and add 1 cup cashews, 1 cup dairy free milk, 3 T nutritional yeast, 1 tsp each of cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. Blend for a minute or two until it’s smooth, thick and creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper and maybe some cayenne if you want it spicy!

Chop your favorite raw toppings and add to the line up. some suggestions are shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, red onion, bell peppers, radish, cucumbers, crispy lettuce, chopped tomatoes, olives, sliced or mashed avocado, and lime wedges. A few toppings or many work, but having them prepped and ready to go makes for ease in putting meals together.  I hope you’ll try and let me know.