I love to cook. That's a good thing. It saves money. It's healthier. I can identify and pronounce every ingredient that's gone into our bodies. And I'm sure I cook more than the average working person, but I get in my moods. It can be something as simple as just having no idea what to cook that night or forgetting to take something out to thaw or I just don't feel like it, and the urge to order out resurfaces. I repeatedly renew my promise to myself that I'm going to cook more often for all the above reasons. And it usually lasts for a couple weeks and then, boom, that old familiar oh-heck-it's-easier-to-have-Mickey-pick-something-up-tonight feeling creeps into my head. I always feel so guilty afterward, like I've been a traitor to my own urban homesteading goals somehow.
So I've made a new goal for myself. I'm going to cook dinner for the entire month of March. We are not going to go out (meaning go to a restaurant) or order dinner in for 31 days. I will allow myself to go to dinner at a friend or relative's home (it's a big birthday month for us). My hope is that by blogging about the meals I will actually keep my promise to myself.
- March 1st: Emptied the freezer of the last grossly-processed food in it. Made fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and frozen organic peas. Needless to say, the organic peas were the least scary and best tasting thing on the plate.
- March 2nd: Organic brown rice-wild canned salmon-organic onion-free range egg "frittata." I don't know what to call this concoction. It doesn't have a name. My mom made something similar with canned tuna and white rice when I was a kid, but I've healthied it up a bit over the years. Middle Eastern stewed green beans (from the garden) were the side dish. Pictures and recipes below.
- March 3rd: Meatloaf made with organic free-range ground beef, a cauliflower and turnip mash and sauteed turnip and beet greens from my garden.
2 big onions, finely chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
4 big fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, grated, or blended or 1 can of diced tomatoes (I used a container of Pomi diced tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup olive oil (I just poured enough oil in the pan to sautee the onions and I didn't use this much)
1 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chopped onions and garlic until lightly brown. Add tomato paste and stir for a minute. Add the beans and stir them until they slightly change color (about. 6-8 minutes). Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins and then add sugar (cumin, allspice and chili pepper flakes), water, and salt. Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the beans are soft (about 40 minutes).
Serves 4-6. Note: This recipe came as a suggestion from my friend Renee Kohn when I sent her an email saying I had so many green beans I didn't know what to do with them. It's supposed to be served cold, but is equally as good warm and absolutely delicious.