I think it might finally be spring here in the north country–and spring always makes me think of fresh vegetables and cleaning house. This week’s “house cleaning” is actually going to be some “freezer cleaning”–iron chef style! I’ve got some weird odds and ends cluttering up the upstairs freezer and I want to clear out some space!
1. All the regularly scheduled activities: Piano/voice lessons. Scouts. Pool league. Guitar lesson (that one is mine). This week Princess also has the cast party/dinner for the highschool play she was in (it’s a bit late due to scheduling conflicts) and the NYSSMA festival solo on Saturday (that’s an adjudicated solo–good experience for her).
2. As I mentioned, in the freezer I’ve got some odds and ends to use up. These include: A big tub of some kind of frozen broth–possibly with meat still in it–Frozen fish fillets (raw, not breaded, slightly freezer burned), mixed vegetables, hash browns, Venison tenderloin, garlic scapes, and frozen bananas (which will just get made into smoothies or bread–probably not included in an actual meal)
3. In the fridge I’ve got the dandelion greens I picked, washed and boiled yesterday, slices of turkey ham, shredded cheddar cheese, cabbage, leftover rice, some broccoli, carrots that were accidentally partially frozen (and so should be used soon).
4. I’ve got to make potato salad to bring to Princess’s cast party. So I’ll be cooking up a whole bunch of potatoes at some point. Too bad I’m already trying to get rid of hash brown potatoes. It might be a very potato-y week.
Taking all that into account here is my game plan:
Monday: Venison Tenderloin, Dandelion Greens with Bacon, and Baked Potatoes.
There is a venison tenderloin in the freezer. I will let it thaw, then just slice it in medallions and lightly pan fry it. You don’t want to overcook venison anyway–and it would be a crying shame and a waste to overcook tenderloin! I’ll take the dandelion greens I prepped yesterday and cook them with a little bacon (actually fry the bacon first then cook the greens in the bacon drippings with some onion, then crumble the bacon and mix it back in–heaven!). For a side Yankee Bill specifically requested baked potatoes–and I even happen to have sour cream on hand (plus the chives are up, so fresh chives!). I’ll bake extra potatoes and use those for the potato salad I need to take in for the Cast party on Tuesday. Why not–I’m heating up the oven anyway!
This is my venison meal for the week.
Tuesday: Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce, Roasted Broccoli and Quinoa
When I make “fish” style patties I usually make it with either canned salmon or tuna. In this case since I’ve got the white fish fillets (honestly, can’t remember what kind they are) that are slightly freezer burned around the edges (yes, freezer burned food is safe) I figure I’ll just cook them up, let them cool and then flake them to use in a patty. To switch it up a bit from my typical Salmon Patties, I’ll do a potato version where I mix the fish with egg and some leftover potatoes that I mash up, then fry them. This should add extra moisture to the fish, which is helpful in this case. The tartar sauce will be mixed from my homemade squash relish (I need to post that recipe this summer) and mayo.
The broccoli was from the “marked for quick sale” bin at the grocery store, and the quinoa has been in the cupboard for a long time and needs to be used up!
This is my fish meal for the week.
Wednesday: Skillet Warmed Ham Slices, Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole and Carrots.
When I’ve got sliced ham, I find that just heating it up in a dry skillet gives it a nice additional flavor and is super easy to do. Practically instant as a matter of fact. The Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole is a sort of mock Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole and will use up some of the cheese and that bag of hash browns. I’ll just boil the carrots.
This is my pork meal for the week.
Thursday: Soup and Biscuits
I have no idea what kind of soup this will be as I have no idea what exactly the broth/meat in that tupperward from the freezer is! By Thursday i should have plenty of odds and ends of meat, vegetables and starches left over, plus I’ve got that bag of frozen vegetables to use. It will all get tossed into the slow cooker, have the seasoning adjusted, and let go for the day. In the end, it will be edible and it will be soup. I’ll whip up some fresh biscuits to go with it and everyone will be happy.
This is my soup meal for the week.
Friday: Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta, Cheesy Bruschetta and Green Salad
There is a lady I know locally who is “The Garlic Lady”–they plant thousands of cloves a year and sell the garlic. I was mentioning how much I enjoy garlic scapes and she gave me several freezer bags full! I need to start using some up. Pesto is a great way to use scapes. I’ll make some up, toss it over angel hair pasta and serve it with some of the homemade Bruschetta in a Jar I made last year (to which I’ll add olive oil and some cheese for protein) and a green salad.
This is my meatless meal for the week.
Saturday: Ham Fried Rice
There should be leftover ham from earlier in the week, and I’ve got that rice left. Between the veggies I have in the fridge and the frozen mixed veggies I can whip up a one pot meal of fried rice. It will be quick and easy, which is good because with Princess’s NYSSMA festival and all the outdoors gardening tasks to be done I don’t really want to be messing around with a big meal to cook.
Sunday: Pumpkin, Black Bean and Beef Tamale Pie with Green Salad
I was looking for a way to work the beef and beans into this week’s meal plan! The Pumpkin, Black Bean and Beef Tamale Pie will do it! Instead of pumpkin I’ll use one of the butternut squash I have left from the winter. I’ll soak and cook some black beans from the cabinet, and I’ll use some ground beef from our 1/2 steer. It’s almost a one pot meal, but I feel like I need a vegetable, so I’ll add in a green salad, probably supplemented a bit with some wild greens foraged from around the yard.
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .