I'm a person who prefers to do things on a whim. I don't typically plan my excursions to the grocery store, list in hand. I usually head out when there is little in my kitchen to inspire me, and then head to the store seeking out that inspiration. Having to make a list, and buy only those items, do some preliminary meal planning, etc, is in itself a bit of a challenge for me. I needed to be organized if my experiment was going to be a challenge. Added to that, the fact that my part-time, out-of-the-house job has me working extra hours and odd times over the holiday season, and the fact that I am scattter-brained on the best of days and often forget to tote along my lunch, meaning a quick dash out for a bite to eat, at extra expense. No extra dollars for that sort of carlessness this week.
To keep myself on track, I took a few hours and pre-cooked meals so that I would have meals ready when I needed them. As I suspected, carrots were invaluable additions to most dishes. I tossed my turket drums into my crockpot and added LOTS of water, a bit of carrot and a couple slices of my precious onion, so that I would have an abundance of extra stock for making soup and adding flavour to my cooking through the week.
I browned my ground beef, used 2/3 of the can of red beans, 1/3 can of the diced tomatoes and 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce for chili. It was heavily plumped up with grated carrots.
Using the rest of the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, I sauteed my full block of spinach (forgetting that I had planned to reserve half for addition to a quiche), mixed in 2 more heaping handfuls of carrots, and simmered the mixture until a half box of whole wheat pasta was cooked. I tossed it all together in a casserole dish, sprinkled it all with a small block of my mozzarella, and baked it. The top noodles ended up a little dry, so I will have to brainstorm a remedy for that.
I have a bowl of grated carrots sitting in my fridge that will be tossed into soup, added to stirfry, and mixed into a carrot salad using the raisins and sunflower seeds.
As far as organization goes, I am not off to a bad start.
In the centre, are the grated carrots. Thank goodness for a Cuisinart; being spoiled I did the quick method rather than hand-grating. On the right is the carrot, spinach and tomato mixture for the pasta. On the left is my pot of chili, heavily mixed with carrots.