(Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash)

While the heat is still toying with us in the last days of summer afternoons here in the Pac NW, the mornings are already starting to get cooler. Jamie is one of those rare creatures who is never happier than when layered up in clothing. Her first cardigan morning in L.L. Bean slippers last week sparked her brain back to stewping weather and stocking up the freezer after the long summer of exhausting schedules depleted our backup supply. So with the weekly menu she begins to build her fall reserves, as we plan a work trip to New England end-of-the-month.

Meal Plan – Week #29 (Written by Jamie)

Cost: $86.98 week for 3 people // $1.38 /serving* (*NOTE: These numbers are calculated off what we actually spend each week, which may include occasional supplements of grain, starch, or beef for Drew and Jamie which Charlie cannot have. Week-to-week fluctuations in cost are more reflective of the times we need to pick up staples like olive oil and vinegar, or weeks where Jamie is prepping three weeks’ worth of cauliflower rice, rather than one week’s meal plan costing extra. Overall, we believe this offers a more accurate reflection of what this diet might look like financially for others.)

Meal Plan Diet Categories: (Gluten-Free, Lactose/Dairy Free, Diabetes Diet, Low Fat/Low Cholesterol, Cardiac Diet, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Meals: (Click on the names to go to the recipe) (1) Tuscan White Bean Soup / (2) Chicken Soup / (3) Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry / (4) Pork Meatballs / (5) Black Beans (variation 9) / (6) Fresh Salsa / (7) Garden Salad / (8) Brown Rice / (9) Steel Oats

Snacks:  Chopped Veggies (for dipping) /Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn

Fall is Jamie’s absolute favorite time of the year, and right now, with the promise of seeing Boston and Old Lyme, Connecticut in early first color changes she is about busting with joy. (As much as Jamie can “bust,” that is. Which is mostly a both-brows up, contented smile kinda deal, but basically equals the same thing.) Also, the leaves are already starting to color and drift downward here, so our walks have that crunchy, musty leaves smell in a good way — like an old library. And with our schedules back to their old used-to-bes before the summer craziness began, this also means she can let things sit at the back of the stove on low for 4+ hours without any time crunch.

Without a doubt, our most used kitchen goods at the moment are the extra large baking pans for the chicken varieties, Staub pot, her various Lodge pans, and our slow cooker. Often, all are running at once, adding about 4 culturally different food smells into the air. Yet, at the same time, somehow she can totally keep straight which meat browning where goes in which sauce in which container for further cooking with whatever mixes of beans and greens later. I’ve seen a LOT of cooking show friends, and all I’m saying is that when the production gets this elaborate, I’ve never seen it happen with less than 3 people helping the chef, and here it is just Jamie doing it — start to finish.

…Which is a LOT of freakin’ work. So this is my PSA to start prepping for the rainy and windy season ahead. Make sure as you cook your weekly meal plan to save some time for your stock-up, or throw in an extra soup, stewp, or meat roast for use later. It’s also great stock-making time for your veggie, beef, and chicken starters…which all freeze like a dream as well.

Fall is practically here! Get cozy, and get cookin’ with an eye to the future meals ahead.


P.S. Check out Jamie’s weekly Q&A piece here