Clapping On The Down Beat

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Well Stocked Pantry + Meal Plan 1.17.12 January 18, 2012

Filed under: Meal Planning — clappingonthedownbeat @ 10:56 PM

There are 2 times a year I like to think about a deep clean and restocking.  The first is at the beginning of the year and the second is in the summer when we go on vacation for 2 weeks.  In the summer I completely empty out the freezer (use up whats in there) and fridge and wash out the inside.  I toss everything in the fridge- even condiments.  I restock when we get home.  In January I like to clean out the fridge, and freezer ( I try to use up what I have in there and empty it out), and go through the pantry.  I like to make sure that the can goods are being rotated and used.  FIFO- first in, first out.  Remember that when you bring home groceries put the ones you just bought in the back.  I like to clean out my spice rack.  Dried spices do not have an unlimited shelf life.  They are good for about 6-8 months.  If you don’t go through them that fast, don’t buy a lot, or find dishes to make, that use that particular spice.  I like to make sure that after the holidays I have a good basic stock in my pantry.  Things I use most frequently are: canned tomatoes, both and stock, rice/lentils/pasta, dried or canned beans,canned green chilies, cream of mushroom/chicken, baking soda/powder, brown sugar, honey, flour, yeast, an assortment of vinegar, and oils.  In the fridge my weekly staples are carrots, onions, celery, butter, milk, half and half, lemon/oranges, and fresh herbs (basil, parsley).  In the freezer I like to have puffed pastry, nuts (they last longer in the freezer), peas, pearl onions, and ravioli.

Price Matching works at Walmart and Target.  Take your weekly grocery ads and you can price match your groceries.  The grocery ads for me, come in Wednesdays Dallas Briefing paper that I get for free.


On the vine tomatoes $.69/lb

Baby carrots $.49  (1lb bag)


Pineapple $1

Boneless Chicken breasts $1.77/lb

Spinach/Broccoli (lb)/Eggplant /Avocados$.88 each

Celery $.88 each


Goldfish $1  **STOCKUP!   they have not been on sale for a while


Meatless Monday: linguine with Avocado Pesto

• 1 pound linguine pasta

• 2 medium avocados, halved, peeled, and seeded (about 12 ounces total)

• 3 cups baby arugula leaves (3 ounces)

• 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup grated Parmesan (4 ounces)

• 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted *Optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce


Tuesday:  Smoked Sausage with Broccoli Bites

I actually really don’t like broccoli, but my kids do and I bought a HUGE bag at Costco.  My friend Amie sent me a recipe and I modified it.  These came out really good.


1-2 lbs smoked sausage or kielbasa

3 heaping cups of raw broccoli

1 egg

1/2 c. bread crumbs

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

2 oz. cream cheese

Slice sausage and saute in skillet.  Steam broccoli till soft and then mash.  Add bread crumbs, egg, cheese and cream cheese.  Mix well.  With an ice cream scoop or spoons, drop half dollar size scoops on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 12-15 minutes till lightly browned.  Serve with sausage.

Wednesday:  Spicy Pulled Pop Pork (thanks Pioneer Woman!)

• 2 onions, peeled and quartered

• 1 whole pork butt (pork shoulder roast)

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• One 11-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

• 2 cans pop (Dr Pepper, Root Beer, Coke….)

• 4 packed tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  ( or could use a crockpot)

Start by placing the onion quarters in the bottom of a pot. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper, and then place on top of the onions. Pour the chipotle peppers over the top, and then crack open the cans of pop and pour them over the whole thing. Add the brown sugar to the liquid and stir.

Cover the pot, put in the oven and cook for at least 6 hours, flipping the roast 2 or 3 times during the cooking process. When it’s done, the pork will be dark and weird and wonderful.  Remove the meat from the pot and shred completely. Then return the meat to the pot and keep in the juice until you need it.

Thursday: Szechuan Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

• 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

• olive oil

• 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and stems discarded

• 6 garlic cloves, chopped

• 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)

• 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

• 1/2 cup good soy sauce

• 1/4 cup dry sherry

• 1/4 cup sherry vinegar

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1/2 teaspoon Asian hot chili oil

• 2 tablespoons dark toasted sesame oil

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

• 1 pound spaghetti

• 4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)

• 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned

• 1 red bell pepper, julienned

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan, skin side up. Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli florets for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain and set aside.

Place the garlic, ginger, vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, sherry vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne pepper in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Add a splash of olive oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with the sauce. Add the scallions, peppers, chicken and broccoli and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Friday: Meat Loaf and Potatoes
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place bread in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in milk. Set aside, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine beef, pork, onion, garlic, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add bread-milk mixture, and mix very gently with a fork (do not overmix).
  3. Place meat mixture on prepared baking sheet, and form into a loaf about 9 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide.
  4. Bake, brushing twice with remaining 1/4 cup ketchup during baking, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes. Let meatloaf rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds russet, Yukon gold, or long white potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup milk, or cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 block cream cheese
  1. Peel and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water; add 1 tablespoon salt. bring to a simmer. If using a potato ricer, fill another saucepan with water; place over low heat. Keep potatoes at a low simmer until a knife slips in and out easily. Drain potatoes in a colander. Place milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. For the electric-mixer method, transfer hot, drained potatoes to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, until most lumps have disappeared, about 1 minute. Add butter; mix until blended. On low speed, add hot milk in a slow stream, then add cream cheese, blend till incorporated.  Then add pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Mix to combine.


Fell in love with Flat Apple Pie.  I have made two.  Thanks again Pioneer Woman. This makes 2 pies.  I ate most of it before I remembered to take a picture!  Oh yeah, I drizzled caramel sauce over it too…..

• 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• 2 Pie Crusts

• 6 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In large bowl, stir together the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, salt and lemon juice. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust and place on a baking sheet.  Place half the apple mixture on one crust and the other half on the other crust. Fold over the edges of each crust so that it covers 2 to 3 inches of the apple mixture. No need to be artistic – the more rustic the better. Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of the butter.

Bake until the filling is golden and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. If the crust appears to brown too quickly, cover the edges with aluminium foil for the remaining baking time.

I am still fixed on lemons too.  Today I wanted lemonade so I made a lemon simple syrup.  Boil 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water with the peel of 2 lemons julienned (sliced real thin).  Cool and store in fridge.  In a glass squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1-2 Tbs simple lemon syrup and mix with water or club soda.  Add ice and enjoy!

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