Week 18: The Grate Return

AH, it feels good to meal plan again. The past month-and-a-half has been an insane whirlwind and I’ve had barely any time to organize or cook! From traveling, to reunions with people I haven’t seen in a while, to pressures at work, it has been non-stop. To save money I’ve been supplementing takeout with cooking, but only quick meals here and there (like a fast clean-out-the-fridge pasta or Ina’s Butternut Squash Bruschetta). I used to think routine was deadly (and maybe it is, in certain ways), but there’s something about getting back into a healthy habit that feels so good and like you’re coming back to yourself.

Had in kitchen: Greek yogurt, frozen edamame, instant rice, farro, apples, mandarin oranges, granola bars, pico de gallo, jarred Pad Thai sauce, honey,sriracha, mayo, Sesame seeds, EVOO, salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, onion powder

Bought: Pre-sprialized zucchini noodles, 1 large red onion, garlic, 4 limes, 2 mangos, 2 avocados, bunch of cilantro, 1/2 lb fresh shrimp, 3/4 lb diced chicken, 1 can black beans, 1 can corn, 1/4 lb feta cheese, corn tortillas, sweet jarred peppers

Spent: $27.94 (aka $5.59/day for 3 meals per day)

Daily Breakfast: Granola bar and fruit (need to get more creative with my breakfasts lately – more to come soon!)


Lunch: Leftovers from Sunday

Dinner: Bang Bang Zucchini Shrimp

Claire’s Quips: I had pinned this recipe a while ago and thought I would make it this week since I saw my grocery store started carrying pre-sprialized zucchini (score!). I actually really didn’t enjoy this meal unfortunately…I think it was mostly because the jarred Pad Thai sauce I used (instead of the “Thai sweet chili sauce” in the official recipe) was way too sweet. It’s something I had leftover in my fridge and just wanted to get rid of. I also need to learn how to cook zucchini noodles better because I tried to follow the directions but mine were still pretty watery. Any tips are much-appreciated!


Lunch: Leftover Bang Bang Shrimp

Dinner: Chicken Tacos

Comments from Claire: These were so delicious! I always struggle making tacos at home because they’re so simple and yummy, but they just never come out quite as good as a restaurant. This was a really solid recipe that was easy but still packed with flavor. I think marinating the chicken punched up the spice a lot, and I also learned long ago that corn tortillas are the best for tasting authentic.


Lunch: Leftover tacos

Dinner: Homemade Faux-ke Bowl (faux-Poke – did that work??)

Comments from Claire: I’ve been trying to be really good about using up ingredients that have been sitting in my pantry, and one of them has been rice. I thought of doing some kind of rice bowl, then realized I could use shrimp from Monday’s dinner, that I had edamame in the freezer, and would have avocado from the tacos. Thus, the idea for a Poke-inspired bowl was born. I put shrimp and chicken (leftover from the tacos) on top of the rice, added chopped avocado, mango, cucumber, cilantro and topped with edamame and homemade sriracha mayo. No raw fish here – though once I figure out the best way to do that at home, maybe I’ll try it!


Lunch: Leftover Poke

Dinner: Mexican Farro Salad – inspired by this but made a bit differently

Comments from Claire: Instead of using quinoa for this, I used farro since it was in my cabinet. I also used canned corn to make assembly faster, and while I was cooking I didn’t look at the recipe so I eye-balled the ingredient amounts, used olive oil instead of canola, and didn’t add the honey. Overall it was still quite tasty – I love these types of recipes for the summer because they come together quickly, don’t involve the oven (and stove use is minimal) and are refreshing. You could even cook the grain in the morning when it’s less hot out so when you get home from work all you have to do is assemble.


Lunch: Leftover salad

Dinner: Out to eat

See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden

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