Or, what to cook in your combi steam oven, March 6-12, 2023
Welcome to my new blog post series, The Steam Oven Meal Plan for real people. Think of this as a loose interpretation of what I cook in my combi steam oven, and my kitchen in general, each week.
I use my combi steam oven pretty much every day, but we aren’t exclusive. I do cook using other appliances, and sometimes I don’t want to cook at all! Still, I’m calling this the steam oven meal plan because that’s mostly what it is, and what I want to get you thinking about.
Things to note about how I do my meal planning and cooking each week
Firstly, I’m not very good at keeping to a regimented meal plan. You’re unlikely to find Instagrammable bento boxes or color-coded meal prep stacked in my fridge, but we do eat very well.
Three little kids plus a shift worker husband means things are frequently chaotic at mealtimes. My husband often isn’t home for dinner, and needs dishes he can take and eat cold or heat in a microwave. The kids all like different foods, which is normal and also very annoying. And I get bored if I have no flexibility to change up the dinner I planned a week ago but no longer feel like making.
As you can tell, a standardized meal plan just doesn’t work for us. Instead, I set out a list of recipes which cover the week, but can be (and often are) shifted around from day to day. I also keep it minimal, opting to mostly just plan dinners. Lunches are often leftovers, salads or sandwiches. And if inspiration strikes, I’ll happily cook a new dish, knowing I haven’t got every meal scheduled within an inch of its life.
As far as my kids’ preferences go, I make them taste everything, even if they’ve had it before. But every week, I make sure there’ll be at least one meal that each of them is happy to see on the table. Some nights they love dinner, some nights they don’t. In that case, they’ll eat cereal or yogurt or toast after tasting what’s on offer. That’s life.
I hope my steam oven meal plan gets you inspired and you take away a couple of dishes each week that fit into your cooking life.
Happy cooking, see you here again soon.
Time to use up the green veg I’d planned for the weekend’s cooking but never got around to! Broccoli, zucchini and spinach soup, aka green soup, is one of my favorite ways to do this. I get delicious and fast lunches and dinners, plus that virtuous feeling of maxing out my veg intake with every bowl.
Because my kids are guaranteed to complain about the green soup, tonight I’ll cook something we all love. Soy sauce chicken! This tastes so much more complex than it is. Serve with noodles, rice, bao buns or straight up steamed vegetables for a hearty but easy dinner. It’ll be noodles and veg here, because that’s our most widely eaten combination.
There’s going to be leftover chicken from last night’s dinner, and one of my kids is fascinated by my own new craze for lunchtime salad jars. So I’ll put together a few for him and I, with an Asian style dressing and the soy braised chicken. Hopefully he’ll love them, and be the envy of his classmates at lunch!
At dinner, I’m pulling out the freezer big guns and serving up mini quiche with salad. I baked a double batch last week for ‘lunchbox dinners’ at my son’s sports practice, so they’re ready to heat and eat.
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Time for some red meat. I don’t usually cook my steak with marinades or sauces, but I’ve been wanting to try the fajitas from Chelsea Cole’s lovely book, Sous Vide Meal Prep, for ages. So I’m going to sous vide both steak and vegetables in the sauce, all in one. Seems weird but I trust Chelsea’s advice! If it’s a hit you’ll see me adapt this to loads more dishes, because it’s super hands off and perfect for make-ahead meals.
If you just want the basics of sous vide steak, try my how-to post here instead.
Steam oven meatball curry tonight, which I’m hoping to have cooked and refrigerated ahead of time on Wednesday or Thursday. The flavors are better if you can give this dish time to sit, though it’s still good served immediately.
I’ll keep some meatballs aside without sauce, because my toddler and 7 year old are likely to eat them unadorned but almost guaranteed to turn their noses up at the sauce.
Always baking on the weekends, sometimes with the kids and sometimes not. This week I’m due a batch of chocolate chip cookie making with the toddler (I’ve never been able to improve on Deb’s salted chocolate chunk cookies, they’re a frequent go-to). And I’ve been craving apple cake, so there’ll be a loaf of apple walnut bread in the steam oven.
Also on the agenda is sourdough bread and homemade yogurt, because my kids are mowing through so. much. yogurt. and it’s so easy to make in your steam oven that I’m feeling guilty for buying it.