Week 2: A Plan Thwarted (Preparation: Moderate)
Week two started with good intentions. After a late-night post-airport pizza run on Sunday gave me a safety net to begin the week, I sat down Monday to strategize before hitting the grocery store. The plan was a mix of leftover home-cooked dinners and easy lunch recipes, but a few unplanned events threw me for a loop.
First wrench in the plans: a co-worker’s birthday on Tuesday. I’m just a few months into my new job, and the birthday guy had come out to my birthday lunch last month, so I wanted to wish him well. Second hiccup: I forgot to defrost the meat I was planning to cook on Wednesday (and for lunch on Thursday). I still was able to throw together a yummy home-cooked meal, but there weren’t any leftovers for the next day. And because I already had plans for Thursday and Friday dinners, I’ll just keep the meat (and meals) on ice until next week.
Monday: Leftover pizza
Tuesday: Co-worker’s birthday lunch out (oops)
Wednesday: Chipotle pepper chicken sausage and basil orzo (recipe below) and watermelon
Thursday: Sandwich made from turkey, brie, and a Granny Smith apple
Friday: Leftover half of a BBQ bacon chicken burger
I spent about $22, including the cheat day, on this week’s lunches. Restaurant leftovers averaged about $5 a helping. The ingredients for my turkey, brie, and apple sandwich came to $4—more than the $1.50 simple sandwiches from last week—but the double cream brie splurge was worth it. The cheapest meal of the week was Wednesday’s lunch, which was leftovers from a homemade dinner that worked out to about $2.65.
I’m a sucker for birthdays, and because I was able to stretch the meal into two (my husband took half for his lunch the next day), my wallet didn’t suffer too much. Since I’ve started saving half my restaurant meals for lunch, my portion sizes have been much more reasonable; it’s probably psychological, but I feel my jeans fitting better already. And because I didn’t end up preparing some of the meals I purchased food for, some of next week’s lunches are now ready to go.
Chipotle Pepper Chicken Sausage and Basil Orzo
One package chipotle pepper chicken sausage (4 sausages)
1 tbsp olive oil
About 3/4 cup orzo pasta
About 1/3 cup frozen peas
A pat of margarine or butter (to taste)
Garlic salt (to taste)
Dried basil (to taste)
Grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. While it’s boiling, slice sausages and heat olive oil to medium-high in a large skillet.
When water comes to a rolling boil, add the orzo and frozen peas. Cook until pasta is al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain pasta and place back in pot or bowl. Add margarine or butter and stir in until melted. While the pasta is still quite warm, add garlic salt, dried basil and Parmesan cheese, and mix well.
While the pasta cooks, add sliced sausage to the hot skillet. Lay the slices in a single layer and brown for 4-5 minutes on each side. If you want, you can also toss some other veggies into the skillet.
Once sausage is browned, add to your pasta and mix well.
Makes 3-4 servings
Angeline Evans is an avid consumer and creator of all things wordy and written. A former nonprofit communications manager and magazine editor, Evans is a freelance writer and communications consultant and blogger (The New Professional) based in Miami. She likes to make things (anything) and is currently on a mission to find the perfect french fry. Follow her adventures on Twitter @angelineevans.More from this Author