One Green Thing Series: Reduce Food Waste and Save Money With This Meal Plan
Cooking Light editors are counting down to Earth Day with simple and effective ways they've eliminated waste and cut back on resource usage. In this series, each editor will talk about One Green Thing they've done in their own home, office, or general life to hopefully make our planet just a little bit healthier.
Food waste is an increasingly complicated problem for our world. If you need a quick recap of where the world stands with food waste, tune in to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Food Waste. Then, see our tips on how to reduce food waste in your home.
It's shocking and frankly overwhelming. While we certainly cannot change the situation overnight, we can each make a small change in our daily lives that will have a greater impact in the long run.
My change: Throw no perishables away. This can be tough if you just go to the grocery store and shop based on what you're craving, but if you go in with a plan, it's really quite easy. Follow along for a lunch shopping and meal plan that feeds two all week.
Lunch 1: Inspired by Chicken Gyro BowlsMy husband is a fan of chicken thighs, so I used thighs instead of breasts in this recipe and added regular red onions instead of the pickled onions. I also stretched this recipe out into five lunches by adding a little bit more chicken and chickpeas.
SAUCE:1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice2 tablespoons waterBOWLS:2 cups cooked quinoa2 teaspoons olive oil, divided1 cup baby kale, chopped1 teaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon garlic powder3/4 teaspoon dried oregano1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs1/2 cup thinly sliced red onionCooking spray1 cup grape tomatoes, halved1 cup thinly sliced cucumber1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained12 kalamata olives, thinly sliced1.5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled*Note: Recipe altered from the original
Lunch 2: Inspired by Strawberry-Chicken Salad with PecansI love this recipe! I have made it three weeks in a row. Strawberries are so delightful right now, and I love the combination with chicken and toasted nuts. The original recipe is served with pecans, but I used toasted almonds instead and served it with 1/2 of a breast per salad and held the farro. This recipe only makes two servings, so you'll see my third recipe below.
Ingredients:4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided1 tablespoon balsamic* vinegar1 teaspoon honey1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided2 cups halved strawberries, divided2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast* ( save one for the next three lunches)1/4 teaspoon smoked paprikaCooking spray4 cups fresh baby spinach1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion3 tablespoons chopped almonds*, toasted1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled* (about 1/4 cup)*Changed from the original recipe
Lunch 3: The Mix and Match(Makes 3 servings)5 cups fresh baby spinach4 tablespoons chopped almonds, toasted1.5 ounces feta cheese12 kalamata olives, thinly sliced1 red pepper, thinly sliced1 cucumber, thinly sliced1/4 cup thinly sliced red onionThe other cooked chicken breast from the Strawberry Chicken Salad
Shopping List (and how to use up or save the extra)Fresh thyme - Since you won't use up all of these in, save them by making dry herbs in the microwave.1 container of strawberries - Slice and eat with the remaining Greek yogurt for breakfast one morning 1 16-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt - Save and enjoy for breakfast with the strawberries.2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutletsFresh baby spinachRed onionAlmonds1 Lemon1 Cup dry quinoa1 Cup baby kale4 skinless, boneless chicken thighsGrape tomatoes2 cucumbers24 Kalamata olives - Buy specific amount from an olive bar, or save them—they keep for up to a year.Feta cheese1 Red pepper
Pantry Items:Extra-virgin olive oil, dividedBalsamic vinegarHoneyKosher saltFreshly ground black pepperSmoked paprikaCooking sprayOnion powderGarlic powderDried oreganoGround cuminCanned chickpeas
Make these along with our waste-free dinner plan, grab a carton of eggs and a bag of coffee, and you'll have a week free of food waste. Challenge yourself to eat in more and waste less this week.