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Topic: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along  (Read 18293 times)
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calliemae
« Reply #60 on: June 26, 2014 10:39:32 PM »

I struggle with produce freshness. I buy my produce to last the two weeks between grocery shops, but within a week and a bit the unused stuff is starting to go bad and I end up throwing it out if it's unusable. The second week is usually all the veggies I've frozen because that's all I have left, but I would love to be able to have more fresh produce the whole time. In my fridge I use the vegetable box and the meat box to store my fresh produce. Maybe I just need to start getting produce I know will last longer.

Cauliflower always goes bad within the first week. I've tried storing it whole in the veg box, pre-cutting, pre-cutting and pre-washing, is there any way to make it last longer? It happens no matter what grocery store I go to, I've tried 5 in the city and it happens with all of them (I wondered if Safeway's was just not the freshest).

Going to buy produce every week is not an option for me.
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« Reply #61 on: June 26, 2014 11:52:07 PM »

I cleaned my fridge out really well and threw out a bunch of stuff that had been hanging around. It's so much easier to see what's in there and use things up! I prepped a big salad and stuck it in the fridge and have been using that all week, so nice to have a dinner side dish ready to go, and helps when I'm making lunch for my mom and her co-worker every night to already have some things chopped up.

I recently heard a tip about keeping a layer of paper towel on the bottom of your vegetable crisper to suck up any excess moisture. I might try that and see if it helps! If nothing else, it would help keep the bottom of the drawer clean.

Hmm, cauliflower usually lasts pretty long for me. I examine it really carefully in the store to make sure that it doesn't have any black dots of mold or whatever that stuff is before I buy it, and just throw it in the vegetable bin until I get around to cooking it.That's rough only being able to get produce every two weeks. Do you have to plan your meals around eating the more perishable things first?
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« Reply #62 on: June 27, 2014 06:09:28 AM »

I generally have to cut out a few black spots on my cauliflower no matter where I get it...

but, I cut mine up right away and freeze it in baggies...or else just cook it and chop it up and then put it in the fridge to use in a day or two...

I made cauliflower crust the other night...it was quite yummy even with no toppings on it!  I am going to make more and then freeze the crusts...

I have a whole bunch of kale to use and also four zucchinis...I bought some ponzu to make "noodle" tofu soup this weekend.
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calliemae
« Reply #63 on: June 27, 2014 07:16:43 AM »

Something like cauliflower that seems to go bad really quickly I only buy when I want to use it in a very specific meal, and that will have been planned for the first couple of days after the grocery shop. A lot of recipes that call for cauliflower I tend to substitute broccoli instead as that does last me a lot longer. But yes, I plan meals that use perishable produce first, just sometimes I forget when I haven't used up all of that veg in the first couple of days meals. For example, I made a cauliflower and potato curry last week, put the cauliflower that didn't get used back in the fridge and promptly forgot it was still there. Then I notice it a few days later and it's unusable. Nothing to help with that, I'm generally forgetful. I prefer to buy veg I know will last longer. I guess the other alternative would be to  budget my money better so that I can get groceries every week, but I live 30 mins from the nearest city which is an hour round trip just to get groceries. If I use the store in my town it is triple the price of the grocery stores in the city so I can't justify that either. When I move back to the city it will be easier to get things on a more regular basis, just right now it is what it is.
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« Reply #64 on: June 29, 2014 08:43:19 AM »

Plastic is a terrible way to keep produce, it collects water and accelerates mold. You can try wrapping the whole, uncut cauli/broccoli in paper towels and set it upright in the bin so any moisture doesn't get stuck in the heads. Put paper bags & towels in the bottom of your fridge bins and take your goods out of their plastic prisons and let them breathe!

However, a good meal plan is your best defense in all cases. Plan your meals, buy what you need, cook the majority fresh and either put an extra serving or two in the freezer or collect the leftovers in a freezer container with broth or stock to make soup later.
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« Reply #65 on: June 30, 2014 09:09:12 AM »

I managed to use up most of the veggies I posted on the fridge!!  I am going to freeze the blueberries after picking out the bad ones...hubby is going to cook the kale for a meal later this week...picked a cucumber from the garden last night, so that is still good and fresh...

New week, new veggies...I am catching on how to do this!  Planning really helps a lot...thanks everyone!
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« Reply #66 on: June 30, 2014 10:53:38 AM »

Yay for the list on the fridge trick! I still need to prep some salad/veggies for the week. I guess I really prep them Monday night instead of Sunday, but for some reason I feel behind if I don't do them Sunday.
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« Reply #67 on: June 30, 2014 12:38:26 PM »

I am planning on using up some sweet potatoes...I am only cooking for one this week, so it will be a lot easier...looks like a lot of salads in my meals this week...or soup...or maybe take out! Grin
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« Reply #68 on: June 30, 2014 05:10:01 PM »

Eat everything the hubby doesn't like while you can! Cheesy

We're going easy tonight, sandwiches and chips and maybe some corn on the cob. Too hot to cook.
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« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2014 09:22:44 PM »

I know just what you mean!! What part of the country are you in, CLM? I'm in the PNW where a 90 degree day KILLS us (or me, at least!). 73 degrees is about my max Smiley.

I don't like to turn the oven on either so we've mostly done salads this week or things we can do on the stove top. Here's my dinner plan.

- Thai zucchini noodle salad
- Southwestern Chopped salad
- Asian tofu tacos
- Squash noodles with ricotta and roasted veggies (this one required the oven and I regretted it!!)

For hot stuff, I think we'll mostly use the bbq for the rest of the warm months.
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