Adventures in Meatballs

In which I remember the second of ten food adventures (#80), and make some more food-related plans (#4, #55).

Last weekend, the hubs and I embarked on another food adventure: Greek meatballs with Tzatziki. I posted the recipe over on our food blog, so I’ll just be focusing on the adventure. This recipe took us to a new grocery store and a local butcher, where we bought ground sirloin and ground lamb. Those two ingredients made the meal feel special, and added a bit of pressure on the results. (Ground sirloin and lamb are not cheap.) I’m so glad that we went out of my comfort zone — we could really taste a difference in the meatballs. We made these meatballs larger than we normally do, using a 1/4 cup measure to form them. So we’ve got three more two-person meals waiting for us in the freezer.

Things went pretty smoothly for a first time recipe. I made the tzatziki and realized that it was double or triple the amount that we really needed. I thought it was a little garlic heavy, which is a shame because the garlic flavor strengthens in the fridge, where we still have a healthy supply of the sauce. (I adjusted the measurements in the recipe I posted.) I also made some roasted carrots and mojitos with mint simple syrup to round out our dinner. Once again, we ate later in the evening than we should, but the meal was a nice treat. And a second food adventure completed successfully.

I’ve been working on my meal planning. (Need ideas for dinner?) I have gotten out of the habit, but the hubs and I regularly planned two weeks of meals at a time. I’m only working on one week now that grocery shopping is more convenient, so I felt like I could step up my game a little bit. I’ve been trying to plan meals that will use up common ingredients. Tonight, we plan on making pulled pork tacos with guacamole, which required us to buy cilantro. So I decided to jump in on my goal to create one special lunch a week for three months with curried chicken salad, which also requires cilantro.

Eating lunch at home (or from home, in the hubs’ case) can save us a lot of money. We rotate between sandwiches and leftovers. I really like the idea of having a meal just for lunches, though. Because sandwiches get old, and I’ve been cutting back on the amount of leftovers we have in an effort to waste less food. (Some things just never appeal to me as leftovers.) So, I’ll be attempting to make a nice, special lunch on Wednesdays for the next three months. Accordingly, I’ll try to plan easier meals for Tuesday night to allow for the double prep. (Last night we had salad for dinner.)

All of this plays into my focus on grace for this month’s missions. I love the feeling of being able to cook a meal without rushing out for one last ingredient. And we are remaining flexible when things come up. Last week, we went out to dinner with my in-laws unexpectedly. Those uncooked meals gave me a head start on this week’s menu choices. Yesterday, I noticed that our avocados were feeling pretty ripe, and we couldn’t enough chicken the last time we did grocery shopping, so we’ll be having the pork tacos today (and maybe tomorrow, given the size of our pork roast.)

I enjoy focusing on the parts of making meals that I enjoy. I enjoy cooking, and I love it when the hubs and I are both in the kitchen, working on different parts of a meal. I don’t like having to decide what sounds good, so I shove that all into one day, rather than allowing it to be a nightly question. (I much prefer the “what shall we drink tonight?” question.) Plus, I love that we are being frugal without feeling like it. I’m keeping our grocery receipts this month and next to make sure that we are budgeting enough for food, but I think we are making smart choices. Neither eating ramen noodles regularly, nor shorting on meals for a week in order to have one big one is graceful. At least not in my definition. I’m working on decent, well-rounded meals, prepared without fuss each night.