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Introducing 2021 Meal Planning

December 29, 2020

by Joe Cowan
Director of Operations

New for 2021: Weekly Meal Plans, including weekly prep and shopping lists! Beginning in January, our email subscribers will receive a weekly meal plan at the end of the week, in time for weekend shopping and meal prep for the week ahead. Planning family meals just got a whole lot easier!

Inspired by my own family

I have a pretty busy life; my wife is a full time physician, we have a 20 month old son, and I have a full time job. The food that we eat is something very important to us. We do not wish to compromise on the quality and composition of it, regardless of time restrictions.

So, in the past, we have had to be creative. It simply isn’t feasible to cook a complex and difficult recipe on its own. A chicken pot pie is a good example of a dish that I don’t have time to make. Baking or frying chicken, sautéing vegetables and adding flavors to it. Making bone broth, as well as making a buttermilk crust, which all needs to come together and sit in an oven for an hour or so before cooling and finally eating. This is not possible to execute in one day; however, if I plan and prep this meal in conjunction with other meals during the week, then it becomes possible.

In using meal plans for our family, we have become relatively adept at creating some pretty advanced and ambitious dinners, while simultaneously maintaining our busy schedules. Admittedly, I work from home and have experience in the kitchen. So, if something in our weekly meal plan seems too complex, simply modify the recipe with an easier ingredient or process, or something different altogether.

Please feel free to send me questions regarding meal planning directly at joe@drcowansgarden.com, and follow me on Instagram @joecowan83, where you will find behind-the-scenes photos, prep photos, and additional recipes, with the occasional picture of my son, George.

Assumptions:

  1. You are buying or growing the best possible ingredients that time and money permit. Assume that all listed ingredients should be local organic vegetables, pastured meat and dairy, and grown without contaminants.
  2. You are doing some food storage, freezing tomato sauce, making sauerkraut/kimchi or other fermented vegetables, and keeping a sourdough starter. If you need a refresher, check out our blogs, and if you have questions regarding any of these, please contact us or me directly.
  3. If you belong to a CSA or have other seasonally available produce, you should substitute those for what I am using. I live in North Yarmouth, ME; the farmers here grow different crops than other places around the country. Generally, substitute similar vegetables (e.g., leafy green for leafy green, or root vegetable for root vegetable. Be creative, and send us photos of your renditions.
  4. You have the basics covered and already in your pantry; staple foods such as corn, wheat, rice, beans, powders, spices and oats.
  5. Some ingredients for ethnic recipes are omitted. I am limiting the ingredient list to what you can easily obtain at any grocery store or farmers market. Expensive and rare sauces are not practical to use in everyday cooking. Due to this, the authenticity of dishes may not be exact, but I will try to come as close as possible.
  6. You love food and are willing to try new flavors from around the world.

Objectives

In writing these meal plans, my goal is that I learn from your feedback, as we journey together on this culinary adventure.. This is also meant to make your food prep experience easier, less time consuming, more efficient, and less expensive, while simultaneously more delicious. If these objectives are not being met, I welcome feedback on how I could improve this program.




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