Last week during my shopping trip, I was looking for the Thai seasoning called for in the coconut shrimp soup recipe. I visited two local Asian food stores for the first time. The first one didn’t have any spice mixes, but I found the fish sauce that I needed. I didn’t even know what fish sauce was until I looked at the ingredients: anchovies, salt, and sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever had an anchovy, except possibly on a seafood platter in Greece that I ordered off of a menu that didn’t have any descriptions in English. All I ever heard about anchovies was how gross they were, and those comments probably came from people who had never eaten them. Anyway, the bottle was large and very cheap. Also, if you need a gallon of soy sauce, I know where to find it.
The second Asian store was a bit more fun. The couple, who I assume own the store, greeted me along with their friendly, little dog. When I asked for Thai seasoning, the man said, “What kind of Thai?” There are different kinds? I said, “I don’t know.” He asked what I was making, and I told him. He handed me a packet of seasoning paste, but the list of ingredients included soybean oil and MSG. I asked for something without MSG, and he said I would need to make the spice mix myself. He said I needed lemongrass and some word that I had never heard before. As I followed him to the back of the store, he said, “Are you Thai?” I managed not to laugh as I told him no, that I had just found the recipe online.
From the fridge, he pulled out a large stalk of lemongrass, and then he pulled the mystery word ingredient out of the freezer. It was like ginger, he said, but different, and he insisted that I needed it. He placed them in my hands, and I followed him to the front of the store wondering how much lemongrass and mystery roots cost. $6, it turned out. Higher than I would like to pay, but the ingredients were almost certainly imported.
At home, I peeled the lemongrass as he had instructed, expecting to find some kind of compact section in the middle. I peeled layer after layer, until all the layers were gone, and I realized of course, this is grass, I’m supposed to eat the leaves. I found some directions online that said to cut the grass into thirds and then crush it before adding it to the soup. It also said to remove the grass before serving the soup. I took the frozen mystery root, which I had since looked up and found to be galangal. Using a knife, I scraped off part of the skin, and then I grated the inside. I froze the leftover lemon grass and galangal, which the store owner said I could do.
The soup was delicious, of course. Using unfamiliar ingredients intimidated me at first, but I’m glad I got them and learned how to use them.
This week’s meal plan features some new recipes for me. I have leftover kale and coconut milk from last week, so I’m going to make the vegetable frittata. To add more variety to breakfast, I’m going to make berry almond overnight oats. And since I want to treat my parents, who are coming to visit this week, I’ll probably also make some chocolate chip pumpkin bread to treat them. Happy eating!
- Vegetable frittata
- Overnight oats (1 day)
- Hard boil eggs (2 days)
- Yogurt fruit snack (2 days)
- Chicken taco salad (2 days)
- Microwave sweet potatoes (2 snacks)
- Overnight oats (1 day)
- Thaw chicken, as needed
- Make overnight oats
- Assemble yogurt fruit snack (3 days)
- Assemble tuna stuffed avocado (wrap the avocado halves separately)
- Microwave sweet potatoes (3 days)
- Bake spaghetti squash
- Make pasta sauce
- Thaw burger meat, as needed
Vegetable frittata, from Clean Food Crush.
Berry almond overnight oats, from Clean Food Crush.
Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing, from Clean Food Crush. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe the most this week!
Tuna stuffed avocado, from Clean Food Crush. These were in last week’s meal plan, but I didn’t get around to making them.
One pan crispy coconut chicken & veggies, from Clean Food Crush.
Fiesta stuffed bell peppers, from Clean Food Crush. I’m making it with lean ground turkey instead of chicken for variety since I’m eating chicken for lunch.
Spaghetti squash with quick homemade lean meat sauce, from Clean Food Crush.
Almond crusted tilapia & roasted Brussels sprouts, from 30 Days of Clean Easy Recipes by Clean Food Crush.
For Friday’s meal, I’m making basic burgers. For the fries, you can peel a large potato, cut it into fries, and toss it with olive oil or coconut oil and salt. Bake at 450F for about 30-45 minutes. I bake the fries on aluminum foil to avoid spending an hour scrubbing the “nonstick” baking pan, and I don’t stir them unless they’re starting to burn. They seem to stick less with this method.
Greek yogurt with fruit – Fage 2% plain is delicious. I like adding a banana or chopped mango. You can add honey, but it really doesn’t need it. Sometimes I mix in some unsweetened coconut and dark chocolate chips.
Leftover veggie – Whatever I ate for dinner the previous night.
Sweet potato – I like the tiny ones. Poke with a fork. Microwave for 3 minutes. Turn over. Microwave for 3 minutes or less. That’s usually all it needs, unless you’re cooking a batch of them.