In my last post I mentioned that we started getting bi-weekly boxes from the Alaska Food Network (AFN). These boxes are full of goodies – fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, coffees/teas, etc. It’s been a great service for us for the last six weeks and we plan to continue it. As we’ve started getting these boxes though, our meal planning has definitely changed a bit. We’re not used to having access to so many fresh foods in the winter, but now we can actually count on having them on hand!
Every week I make a meal plan and post it on this little dry erase board near our kitchen. I don’t usually post expectations (for example – Monday we will have tacos) because Cody and I do like a little bit of flexibility in our meal planning. We use these plans as more of a guideline and basis of creating meals. It also helps us make sure that we use up foods that we know that we need to use up before they go bad too.
However, when our first produce box arrived we realized that we were definitely going to have to start making some adjustments. The picture I posted above was a meal plan I created shortly before our first box showed up. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, so I hadn’t factored in any of our new foods. I pretty much only planned to use fresh carrots and sweet potatoes because I already had those on hand from a previous trip to Anchorage. When the box arrived though, I was surprised with the quality and how nice everything was, so I had to switch a few things up. Here’s a look at how our meals changed:
Blue Cheese & Spinach Frittatas —> I was able to add lots of sweet potatoes and fresh spinach to this meal instead of a minimal amount of sweet potatoes and frozen spinach.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches and Sweet Potatoes —> I added fresh spinach to our sandwiches and used the regular potatoes that came in our box to make home fries instead of using sweet potatoes. (Plus, I used up the sweet potatoes in the frittatas the night before.)
Vegetable Soup & Homemade Bread —> I ended up pretty much scratching this meal and making stir-fry with the fresh veggies instead. We’ve had plenty of vegetable soup with canned veggies this winter, but had both been craving stir-fry made with actual fresh veggies. It was a good swap and we didn’t waste any of the veggies.
Salmon Patties —> I ended up scratching this meal from our plan altogether. I am able to easily make it without any fresh foods, so I thought I’d save it for a week when we were low on fresh stuff. We ended up having tacos instead and Cody made fresh salsa using the ingredients we’d gotten in the mail. It was fabulous!
NYE Leftovers —> We did still finish these off, despite all of our other tasty arrivals. It was easy to spice them up with fresh ingredients though and it made eating the leftovers much more enjoyable.
As you can see, we still managed to use up things that we needed to use (like the NYE leftovers), but at the same time we got the chance to switch up some of our meals to incorporate all of these great fresh foods we’d received in the mail. Now that we know the AFN boxes are reliable, we are able to meal plan with them in mind in advance and that’s been super wonderful.