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Well, the year is officially flying by, and I can hardly believe that this meal plan will take us through the first week of June!  The weather is consistently up in the 80’s, the garden is starting to take off with all the sunshine (our very first strawberry is almost ready to be picked!), and I am starting to get very unsightly tan lines from my daily walks at work.  With all the changes in the weather recently, I have been wanting to change up my cooking too, craving a wider variety of meals.  I don’t generally make multiple new meals in a week, but this meal plan includes four new meals!  Wish me luck that I won’t be stuck eating mediocre leftovers all week!

Meal Plan for May 30th to June 4th:

1. Taco Salad – Green salad (from our garden!) topped with seasoned ground beef, bell pepper, tomato, red onions, avocado, sour cream, and a spicy “ranch” dressing (which will be homemade starting with a greek yogurt base).
2. Artic Char Chowder – A recommendation from my brother
3. Parmesan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Broccoli – Pork tenderloin cut into medallions, then pounded flat and crusted with parmesan cheese, then pan fried. We’ll see how that one turns out…
4. Piperade – No relation to Powerade…this is from my French cookbook “Je Sais Cuisiner” (I Know How to Cook) by Ginette Mathiot, which I absolutely love! Piperade is an egg dish, with bell pepper, tomato, ham, and spices. I just like the funny name.
5. Steak with Grilled Mushrooms and Asparagus – The last of our grass-finished steaks *sigh*.

The last day of the week, Saturday June 5th, is our 4th wedding anniversary! That day, instead of cooking, we’ll be going to a restaurant downtown called Local 127 that serves only seasonal and locally sourced foods. I couldn’t be more excited!

I just came back from a short but wonderful visit to Arizona, where I was helping my dad recover from major heart surgery.  Seeing as my primary domestic talent is to cook, I figured that he would appreciate some help in the meal planning category of his extended recovery.  Not only was I able to feed him (and a few others!) for the few days I was there, I was even able to leave enough food for a few weeks worth of meals.  See for yourself!  This freezer started out 100% empty, and is only holding about 75% of everything that I made:

Nearly 100 meatballs, marinara sauce, spaghetti squash, salsa chicken, chicken broth, shrimp stir fry ingredients, cubed sweet potatoes, trail mix, and pulled pork fill these shelves, while a few other things fill the fridge and inside freezer.  I promise I’ll share a few of these recipes, but for now, I really want to share the pulled pork recipe as well as the accompanying salad that I love to serve it on.

Ingredients:

4-6 pound Boston Butt (a cut of pork shoulder, bone in) depending on the size of your crock pot
2 bay leaves
6-9 full cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons paprika (Spanish, Hungarian, Smoked, not smoked…whichever your favorite is)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Chili flakes to taste

1. Set Boston Butt in the crock pot
2. Cut slits in the meat big enough to insert the garlic cloves all over
3. Combine all spices and sprinkle over the top of the meat
4. Cook on low heat for 12 hours
5. Drain off most of the broth (and save it for later in a jar of course), and shred the meat with two forks. Try not to eat most of it while shredding.

This will make A LOT of pulled pork, which can be eaten as is, with scrambled or fried eggs or as an omlette, or with a “southwestern salad” using guacamole as dressing. The latter is one of our current favorite meals!

For the guacamole, start with the following ingredients:

2 ripe avocados (they should feel soft to the touch, but not mushy)
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (in place of sour cream)
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons spicy salsa (or more or less depending on your taste for spiciness)
juice of half a lime
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cut the avocado with a knife lengthwise around the entire fruit, not cutting through the pit. Pull the pit out, and spoon the flesh into a bowl (this will be very easy if the avocado is ripe).
2. Smash the avocado with a fork, then add all of the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly, and you’re done!

Use your favorite salad toppings, add the warm pulled pork on top, then as much guacamole as you like.

I added grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and sliced red onion to this salad. If you’re worried about the amount of fat in the guacamole, and therefore think the salad will be just fine without it, please think again! The veggies in the salad are fat soluble: they NEED the fat in the guacamole and pork in order to be digested by your intestines. Eating your veggies without fat means they go in and out, and your body is not able to unlock the important fat-souble vitamins including Potassium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A housed in them. So eat your guacamole, and like it, because it’s probably the most nutritious part of your meal!