A Week of MarthaPosted by in Food
In the September issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food, there’s an interesting section called Sunday Strategy. The idea is you shop for the whole week, do some cooking prep work on Sunday and then you can make quick and easy dinners every week night through the week based on the prep. I’ve seen this concept elsewhere – there are entire books about this for people interested.
I decided to dive in and give it a try – and what better week than the first week of school when things are nuts in general and some fast meals are just the ticket. I’m a little off schedule though. You’re supposed to prep on Sunday and make the first meal on Monday. With the Labor Day weekend, everything got pushed back a day, so I prepped on Monday and cooked the first meal on Tuesday.
My grocery bill for the entire week was $38.77 – however I had many things in my pantry/freezer (and from my dad’s garden) already: chicken breasts, spaghetti, salmon, lettuce, some tomatoes, onions, garlic, oil, sugar, cumin, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and bacon – these are the pricey items, so I think you can add another $25 for that at least, so we’re looking at about $65 for the week, or a little over $11 per night. Keep in mind that you’re making really only one dish per night with this, and for my family, that doesn’t cut it, so I’ve got to add extra veggies or bread to go along with it most nights.
The first dinner was Marinated Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Salad. You marinate the chicken (tenders) on your prep day in olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt and pepper. On your cooking day, you mix sliced cucumber with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper and fresh mint. You heat pitas in the toaster oven (first time I’ve seen Martha reference a toaster oven!). You cook some onion in oil then add in the chicken pieces and cook those.
This was very easy to pull together. It didn’t feel like much of a meal to us though. We ate it with the chicken and cucumber salad in the pita, so it was
basically just a pita for dinner. I supplemented with some honey dill carrots and watermelon.
The chicken did have a nice flavor. That is one of the big benefits of this weekly meal plan – things have time to marinate and really soak up flavors. If I’m rushing around at 5:30 on a weekday there isn’t time for something to marinate properly. The chicken was tender and the cumin added some nice flavor. I loved the cucumber/yogurt/mint salad, which gave a nice fresh taste. I used whole wheat pitas and it all tasted good together.
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This is a good idea. I used to prepare meals in advance when I worked outside of the house. Instead of preparing meals in advance now, I use the crockpot a lot too. This meal does look mouth watering!
I had a crockpot for a while but I was never happy with the things I made in it. Since I work at home, I can just run down and start something at any time I need to which is convenient.
I do some pre-prep, commonly freezing fresh bread rolls to be popped out and baked for dinner rolls or hamburger slider buns, but I’ve never tried to pre-prep a whole week. I’m with Kerri on the crockpotting!
This is a great idea and cost effective. Thanks for sharing your success with this meal.
I blogged this for http://www.FloridaTable.com–Not Martha, but a book called Frozen Assets that wants you to cook for a day, eat for a MONTH. Like you, I got pushed back because of no AC…(no AC? No cooking.) I did finally make some stuff last night and I found the recipes are very very VERY mild for my family’s tastes ANd yes, you need to add to this. Salad for sure, if nothing else…but I did find it cost effective, like you. Maybe I’ll have a look at Everyday Food for my own tastes, bec. the pita sounds great.
I’ve just never had the oomph to cook for a whole month in advance. I can see how it really makes sense though. Before I started this Martha business I used to make doubles of things and freeze them and that was always very handy. I guess I also like to see how I feel each day and decide what I want to make based on my whims!
I’d love to be able to plan in advance and not sweat it when I have to decide what to make for dinner. But somehow I always end of shopping almost every day for that night’s dinner…I think your post has inspired me to plan ahead – thanks!
This looks good and the concept is one I can get into… however, a salad for dinner won’t cut it with my family. I need a little more. And I have young kids; one of which is uber picky. HOWEVER, all that being said, i’m trying the chicken idea with other things…
Some weeks I go to the store twice, but that’s usually the most for me. Cooking Martha has forced me to be more organized. I usually look over the recipes on the weekend and buy things to make the things I think I want to make. But then sometimes I change my mind about what I want to make!
When I worked outside the house, I did this all the time, too. When I started working from home, I figured I’d have all kinds of time to prepare diner, but,of course, it didn’t turn out that way, so I’m watching this series carefully…
How did you get your grocery bill to just $37? I think that alone deserves a post!
Well, I was only buying the items for these 5 recipes – and a lot of items I already had so I didn’t need to buy them. If I was smart and had planted an herb garden I would have saved about $5 since I had to buy some fresh herbs I could have grown. Next year, hopefully, I can do an herb garden.
This is exactly the kind of info I need. I tend to wing it a bit too much which results in me going to pick up some take out. Maybe with a guide like you planning won’t feel as daunting as I think it is 🙂