A few weeks ago I set out to simplify cooking and shopping by creating a Capsule Kitchen list. Each week I buy the essentials plus a few fresh ingredients that I re-use throughout the week.
I'm impressed by how much this simple list is helping streamline shopping and cooking. For example:
- It's saving me time. If I don't have time to write out a list, I take a few photos of the fridge for reference and go to the store knowing my list is online and easy-to-access.
- I'm not worried about forgetting things. Considering I'm usually shopping with at least one kid (and I'm just not as sharp as I used to be) this is a big deal. It's nice knowing all the essentials are already listed so I don't come home without what I need.
- I'm not worried about wasting food. Since I'm only buying things on the list, and I'm focusing on ingredients that are versatile, I'm saving money and not wasting food.
- I'm easily able to make delicious, fast meals.
Let's look at last week, for example. Here's what I bought or already had in the fridge:
Note: you can assume all vegetables have health benefits so I called out a few reasons why these items made the cut other than just because they're good for us.
- Purple Cabbage - my three-year-old eats it because it's purple, it lasts several weeks, it can be prepped ahead
- Cauliflower - lasts a long time, can be eaten raw or cooked, it's in-season and less expensive right now
- Potatoes - on sale at the farmer's market, delicious, a great food for my 1-year-old since they're soft and loaded with good stuff
- Limes, cilantro, and jalapeño - I already had limes so I added cilantro and jalapeño to make one of my favorite flavor trios
- Onions and garlic - I had these on hand already, they easily add flavor to everything and last a long time
- Bell Pepper - already had this in the fridge, also beautiful, and easy-to-prep
- Greens (Swiss Chard and Kale) - I already had a little Swiss Chard and added some kale, both are hearty and versatile greens
- Ground turkey - easy-to-prep and cook, my kids usually will eat it
- Salmon - easy-to-prep and cook, freezes well, defrosts quickly
- Italian butter beans - I passed this booth at the farmer's market and had to try them (these meals would work with any beans)
I started the week by making two reusable components:
1. A Purple Cabbage Slaw - I prepped the slaw but didn't add the oil or lime juice until mealtime so it lasted all week. I left out the scallions and it still tasted great.
By having these components pre-made, I was able to easily throw together a number of meals for breakfast and lunch such as...
I was also able to turn a boring dinner into something fantastic, like these turkey tacos:
And once that ground turkey was already made, why not re-use it in a skillet?
About halfway through the week, I realized I still needed to use the potatoes and cauliflower. So I roasted them in a little avocado oil (I like avocado oil because the flavor is neutral and it can be used at a high-heat) and used them in a few ways like these:
Overall it was a good week. Easy, colorful, meals, not a lot of wasted ingredients and I tried a few new combos (for example who knew potatoes and cauliflower in an omelette could be so good?!).
So tell me, is this process helpful for you to see? Please leave a comment and let me know.