So. Not gonna lie. Our Pantry Challenge has been a little derailed. We decided that this weekend was a good time to start painting our kitchen cabinets (bye bye knotty pine!) and so our kitchen is a complete mess with the contents of our cabinets strewn about the three levels of our house. But, I did have 4 days of success last week, so here’s a recap.
My meal planning approach was pretty simple: defrost a protein for the next night and pick a vegetable and starch to go with the protein. Pretty simple. Here were our successful meals:
- Grilled pork loin (freezer) with Kona coffee rub (pantry), grilled sweet potatoes (pantry), and salad (fridge & pantry).
- Pork bulgogi (freezer), steamed broccoli (freezer), rice/quinoa blend (pantry).
- Shrimp spring rolls: shrimp (freezer), spring roll wrappers & noodles (pantry), peanut sauce (fridge & pantry), vegetables (store bought & fridge), leftover pork (fridge).
- Grilled chicken (freezer) with spice rub (pantry), steamed peas (freezer), bbq sauce (fridge), leftover rice/quinoa (pantry).
It was actually pretty nice to have the meals dictate themselves. We didn’t really get too fancy and the biggest timesaver was actually spending the 5 minutes the night before picking out something to defrost so that it would be ready to go the next day for dinner. The veggies that were purchased for the spring roll dinner were carrots ($0.41), an English cucumber ($2.29) and a bunch of cilantro ($1.99) for a whopping total of $4.69 spent at the store.
for the spring rolls:
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4- 1/2 pound cooked pork (loin or shoulder), cut into thin strips
8-10 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles or “rice sticks”, cooked to package instructions
2-4 cups fresh salad greens (arugula, lettuce, spinach, etc.)
1/2 English cucumber, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
Fresh herbs: cilantro, mint, basil, etc.
about 12 ( 8-inch) rice paper wrappers or rice paper spring roll wrappers
for hoisin peanut dip:
1/4 cup hoisin ( if hoisin dip is too thick, add water to thin out the dip)
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter (we used chunky)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
For the hoisin peanut dip: In medium bowl, combine all dip ingredients together. Use a fork to help blend well.
For the shrimp, heat a medium pan, add vegetable oil. Lay shrimp on pan and sear on both sides till shrimp becomes pink and cooked. Remove shrimp from heat, allow to cool and slice each shrimp lengthwise in half.
Gather all your filling ingredients on plates: noodles, shrimp, pork, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, herbs and rice paper wrappers. Add warm water to a large shallow bowl (We used a pie plate). Quickly dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for a few seconds and lay on rolling surface such as a cutting board or plate (they will still be slightly stiff). Lay your lettuce first on the soft spring roll wrapper, then add the greens, herbs, cucumber, carrots, noodles and pork. Roll spring roll until you have about 1/3 of rice paper left, then lay about 2-3 pieces of shrimp, cut side up in a row and finish rolling. The shrimp will lay on the outside of the spring roll when you are finished rolling.
Serve with the hoisin peanut dip.