Saturday, February 14, 2015

MY BOUNTIFUL BASKETS WEEKLY MEAL PLAN 2-14-15

Some highlights from this week's basket:

JICAMA     ASPARAGUS     Spinach     CUCUMBERS     KIWI     yellow squash


INFO ON JICAMA
[Hee-kah-mah]
This tuber is packed with many nutrients including fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.  Fun fact:  Jicama roots (The part shown here) are edible, but all of the above-ground portions (pods, seeds, flowers, vines) are toxic.  Jicama has a texture similar to water chestnuts and has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor.  Their skin is thin and can be gray, tan, or brown with a white, juicy flesh.  I saw some decently sized jicama today at my site, and heard a lot of comments like "That's SOME jicama!" (which made me chuckle).  The truth is that the best jicama are often the smaller ones.  Larger jicama will be more fibrous.  They generally weight between 1/2 lb and 6 lbs, but get this - they can weigh up to FIFTY POUNDS!!  I was fortuitous enough to find this heart-shaped jicama in my basket on this Valentine's Day morning and it seemed quite fitting to receive a valentine from the garden.  Food IS one of the great loves of my life, after all!

WAYS TO EAT JICAMA
Steam it; Bake it; Boil it; Mash it; Fry it; Slice it and eat raw; Dip it in guac or other dip; In Fruit Salad; Saute it; Stir fry it; Simmer it in a stew.  In Mexico, jicama is eaten as a spicy snack after sprinkling with chili pepper and lime juice. 

STORING IT

Jicama can be stored up to two weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or stored in a cool, dry place uncovered (before being cut up) for up to three weeks. 


EAT FOR A WEEK WITH BOUNTIFUL BASKETS

We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.


Basket Items:  Asparagus
The truth is I want to eat this asparagus as soon as humanly possible simply because I "crave it fortnightly".  Another reason is to make sure to enjoy it before it loses quality.  I'm going to keep it simple and roast it with some olive oil, kosher salt and freshly chopped garlic.  To complete the meal, I'll add a whole grain and a lean protein.  Other ideas include eggs benedict, stir fry, soup, or even throw it in a salad or over pasta.



TUESDAY 
Basket Items:  1/2 bundle of spinach, 1-2 small yellow squash
Are you kidding me? Two days in a row of absolute comfort foods like roasted asparagus and savory crepes?  This will be an even easier meal than it sounds because I make crepes in bulk and then freeze them.  


WEDNESDAY
Basket Items:  
Wednesday is my busiest day so I want something easy, preferably something I can throw in the crock pot.  I also want to keep the skins from the potatoes in whatever I make, so I get the full nutritional value.  I don't think you can go wrong where potatoes, garlic and cream cheese are involved...


THURSDAY
Basket Items:  1/2-1 bundle of spinach, 1 lemon
I'm told that eating this salad produces the sensation of chowing down on strawberry lemonade.  With the heat wave we've been having lately, my mind is already tricked into thinking that summer is fast approaching!  A little strawberry lemonade flavoring seems like the natural thing to do.



FRIDAY
Basket Items:  yellow squash
Stir fry is the easy answer to having a little bit of everything leftover.  Throw it all in a stir fry with some noodles or rice and you've got a quick, easy meal.  Most of the veggies we got this week would work in a stir fry, including the jicama, avocado, zucchini, and asparagus.


SATURDAY
Basket Items:  

My site coordinator, Shelly, shared that she loves to make black bean salsa with jicama, corn, and avocado and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.  I love the texture of jicama and I mostly use it in salsas and vegetable or fruit salads or alone with dip.  This salsa could play the role of a side dish, an appetizer, a topping on tacos, tostadas, or meat.


SUNDAY
Basket Items:  1-2 cucumber
When I was a kid, we always had family dinners at grandparents from one side of the family or the other, and often both.  It was one of the best things about life.  Everyone was there, the table was set, and you could feel the love - especially in the food.  It seems like there was always either a plate of cucumbers or a plate of freshly sliced tomato.  My "Mammaw" (grandma) is from the south and at her house we ate our tomatoes and cucumber with salt.  Heck, we even ate our watermelon with salt.  One of the great things about food is that it taps into the senses and into our memories.  It may not seem like much to some, but I'll probably just slice up the cucumber and put it on a plate.  Food traditions not only fill our bellies, but they FEED THE SOUL.  I've also included this fabulous cucumber salad recipe.  Find a way to incorporate your own food traditions in your cooking this week!  I'd love to hear about them, if you're willing to share...




REMAINING ITEMS
Lemons for warm lemon water in the morning
Tangelos for easy snacks
Sliced apple dipped in peanut butter
Kiwi cut in half and eaten with a spoon
Any remaining spinach thrown into a smoothie
Fresh fruit with cottage cheese or yogurt
Fruit salad
Homemade dressing
Fresh squeezed juice
Homemade applesauce

MEAL PREP ITEMS:
slice cucumber and some of the jicama for snacks with hummus or guacamole


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