How to Menu Plan With Veggie Boxes
The last few years, I've been subscribing to different veggie boxes or complete weekly menu boxes, to see what works for me. When I lived in my student town, there were different possibilities to subscribe to organic veggie boxes. To me, the biggest disadvantage was that it was a monthly subscription. Where I live now, there's a very similar system, but you can decide each week if you sign in for next week's box. I like that system a lot—but when I got pregnant, I jumped off, too tired to work out weekly menus based on what was in the box.
After Little Boy was born, we signed up to get complete menu ingredients AND recipes delivered on Monday night. Boy, did we love it! But it turned out to be quite expensive, and I had to throw a lot of it away. I had subscribed to a four-person formula to get five different meals each week; the other two days were for leftovers, in my mind … but we just had way too much food. That was a pity, because it were really high-quality ingredients.
So the weekly veggie box is back since yesterday. And I thought I could share with you my way of working with it in my kitchen.
1. Figure out what to eat first.
This week is easy, as most of what's in my box keeps rather well. Only the red oak lettuce has to be eaten now. We're not big lettuce lovers, but I thought it would work well as "bedding" for a chicken - potato salad. The rest of it will probably be used in a good potato mash.
2. Look at the quantity of what you have.
We got plenty of parsnips, but only one rather small kohlrabi, so it will have to be combined with something. I'm thinking a diced kohlrabi-apple salad, maybe with some feta cheese, or just a good dressing.
3. If you know the box will last you more than just this week (maybe because you're invited somewhere), consider freezing or freezer cooking.
For example, there are some beautiful tomatoes in my box, but I still had some on hand. The ones I had are better for eating raw, so I am going to make a basic tomato sauce to freeze in small portions. And when I see my cooking apples are turning mushy sooner than I anticipated, I can make applesauce right now and freeze it.
4. Have fun looking for new ways to prepare your veggies.
With weekly boxes, you get the best of what's in season, so you might have zucchini in your box for a few weeks in a row. You can just as well play around with how you treat it. One week, you can make deliciously marinated and grilled zucchini, and the next, the best zucchini-apple sauce to go on pasta. Don't forget to collect the recipes that were a success, so you can create a list of family favorites.
5. At the end of the week, before you pick up your new box, take any leftover veggies and make a soup.
Or a ratatouille. Or dice them and roast them in the oven to serve as a side dish. If you're lucky enough to have a garden, this is the moment to add all those lovely picks that just were too small to make a normal portion. Make fajitas or sandwiches. Create pestos and dipping sauces. Try not to waste a thing. I have the best memories of the dishes my mom created with leftovers.
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