Free Food Resources for December 2022(San Diego County)

A new month means a reminder about all of the free food options there is here in San Diego County.

Because of the upcoming holidays, you may notice that some locations will be advertising additional distributions or special Thanksgiving or Winter Holiday meal giveaway events. As information about these events becomes available, I will be sharing them.

Keep in mind there are still supply chain issues, so there may not be a lot of food at some distributions, especially those that serve a large portion of the community.

I recommend showing up a little early with a bottle of water and a book and waiting in line. Time passes quickly in these lines, and it’s a great time to learn from others about community food options. Remember to socially distance and follow local masking regulations.

You can find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

The Rock Church, which has many locations all over San Diego County has a food and diaper pantry distribution at many of its locations throughout the month. More info can be found here.

Our friends at Faith Chapel are super ahead of the game and sent out information regarding their 2022 food distributions early on in the year.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for December 2022 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such. You can learn more here about the Feeding San Diego Together Tour.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Give the Gift of the Farm with the Yasukochi Family Farms Black Friday Sale!

On Tuesday I posted about practical gifts for busy families. Little did I know that Yasukochi Family Farms was having a sale this weekend!

This is an amazing sale!

This sale is only good today, FRIDAY, 11/25, and ends on Sunday, 11/27! To learn more or order, check out their website.

One month of CSA Boxes your choice of regular box or Jumbo box. and 1 bottle of olive oil. I love this olive oil, it’s the best I’ve tried.

I get a Regular sized box each week, and it’s good for a family of 4 or smaller. A Jumbo-sized Box is perfect for larger families or for families that are vegetarians or vegans.

 

Repurposing Leftovers: Turkey Soup!

Leftover Turkey. It’s coming. Here is my favorite way to repurpose leftovers and make a really yummy soup.

The best part is that you can add anything you’ve got left over and it’s yummy.

Turkey Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups of turkey stock (I use the recipe here and substitute the turkey for chicken)
  • 4-ish cups of leftover turkey chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2-3 cups of leftover roasted veggies (Or if you don’t have any: 2 carrots, peeled and chopped, 2 ribs celery, chopped, 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1-2 cups turkey gravy (optional, but makes the soup thick and richer)
  • Optional, but yummy: 1 cup uncooked Noodles/pasta. I like Rotini or Elbow Macaroni.

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, add stock, meat, and veggies. Simmer on medium until the soup has reached a gentle boil, and if using fresh veggies the veggies are fork tender.
  2. Add in noodles/pasta, and allow to simmer 10-ish minutes, until pasta is cooked.
  3. Now it’s gravy time. Gently pour in the gravy, and bring the soup to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Serve soup immediately. It’s really good topped with reheated leftover stuffing/dressing.

This soup reheats well and can be frozen for future meals.

How to Repurpose Thanksgiving Leftovers

Everyone loves leftovers!

At this point, your 2022 Thanksgiving Meal is already cookin’. And if your dinner is anything like ours, there are leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. Which, don’t get me wrong is great, but, after a few days, you may get tired of eating leftovers.

Here are a few ways you can repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers and make something tasty (and different).

1- Let’s start with the star of the show- The Bird.  I recommend taking the carcass and a few cups of meat (I use dark meat) and make stock. Here is my basic recipe, substitute the rotisserie chicken in the recipe for your turkey. And the best part is that you can do it in the crockpot overnight! Once you have a rich stock, you can make- SOUP! I’ll have a great Turkey Soup recipe up in a bit.

When packing up leftovers, I cut all of the remaining meat up, so there aren’t HUGE CHUNKS. This makes the meat easy to serve for future meals.

2- Gravy. Don’t ditch the leftover gravy! I add my leftover gravy to my Turkey Soup. Admittedly, I make a lot (8 cups+) of gravy.  Not a thick soup fan?

  • It’s turkey pie time! It’s a take on shepherd’s pie.  Take 1 cup of gravy, 2-3 cups of bite-size pieces of turkey, and 1 cup of frozen carrots and peas (or if you have leftover veggies from dinner). Mix all together, and pour into a greased baking dish. Then, top with 2-3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. I like to top with 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese about 10 minutes before it’s done, remove the foil, and allow the cheese to melt and get all bubbly.

3-Mashed Potatoes. Don’t ditch the taters, they have lots of life in leftovers! In addition to the turkey pie above, Mashed potato cakes are a good choice, and they are super easy to make!

  • Mashed Potato Cakes start with 2 cups mashed potatoes, 1 egg, 1 cup AP flour, 1/2 c grated or minced onion, salt, and pepper. Mix all of these ingredients together and form into patties. Fry the patties in 1 cup oil (your choice), drain on paper towels prior to serving. If you like cheese, add 1/2 cup cheese of your choice.  These are great for breakfast with eggs.

4- Cranberry Sauce/Jelly. I like topping toasted leftover rolls with it, or putting it on toast. It’s also good on turkey sandwiches. Thirsty Whale has a great cocktail recipe using Cranberry Sauce.

Talk Back: How do you repurpose your holiday leftovers?

 

11/21/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgOur  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box is arriving today and I am looking forward to making a big batch of soup! The cold dry weather we’ve been having recently has me in the mood for soup!

This week we’re leaning a lot on what we already had on-hand. My grocery trip for this week is bagels, coffee, cheese, and some garlic (I’m all out!!).

The kids and I are off school/work this week, and we plan on using some of our summer reading program museum passes, visiting the zoo, going to the library, and hanging out with family and friends.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. The big kid brings his lunch from home every day and the littlest buys her lunch at school about half the time. In California, all public schools provide breakfast and lunch for free.

Dinner: This week is packed as far as appointments, so I’m leaning on stuff that’s easy and tasty. I prepped fruits and veg over the weekend and made up the last Dream Dinner and portioned it into lunch-sized servings.

  • Monday: Butternut Squash Bisque, rolls, roasted veggies

  • Tuesday: Frozen entrees,  Kale Cranberry Salad

  • Wednesday: Nuggets, fruit, crackers, and cheese (the typical Wednesday night dinner)

  • Thursday:  Thanksgiving dinner with family

  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday: Soup (I have several varieties in the freezer, I’ll defrost one in the morning), garlic bread, salad
  • Sunday:  Leftovers

Recipe: Chicken Fajita Stew

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I made soup the other morning. This stew is easy to make. It’s hearty, filling, and is a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet without much fuss.

Oh, and it’s great with crunched-up tortilla chips and cheese on top!

Let’s get into it!

Chicken Fajita Stew

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups of chicken stock (I made my own, but you can use canned chicken stock or broth)
  • 1 T. Butter
  • 2 Onions, diced
  • 2 Bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 ribs of Celery, diced
  • The kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 2-ish cups). You can also use frozen or canned (no salt added)
  • 2 Yellow Italian Squash, cut into slices and then quartered
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of heirloom beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Roughly 3 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1T. each: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder,  oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onions, bell peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in stock and remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium/low heat for 30-45 minutes, or longer if you like.
  3. Serve with quesadillas or top your soup with tortilla chips and shredded/crumbled cheese.

All of the fresh veggies came from our CSA Box! To learn more about our favorite CSA, Yasukochi Family Farms, check out my post here.

This recipe makes 10-12 servings. It freezes well, and yes, like most soups, it’s better the next day.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free.

 

11/15/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgOur  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box didn’t arrive yesterday (our main community gate was having functionality issues), so I didn’t meal prep or plan yesterday.

This week we’re leaning a lot on what we already had on-hand. My grocery trip was to pick up bagels and milk.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. The big kid brings his lunch from home every day and the littlest buys her lunch at school about half the time. In California, all public schools provide breakfast and lunch for free.

Dinner: This week is packed as far as appointments, so I’m leaning on stuff that’s easy and tasty. I prepped fruits and veg over the weekend and made up the last Dream Dinner and portioned it into lunch-sized servings.

  • Monday:  Colonial Chowder, Garlic bread

  • Tuesday: Frozen entrees, roasted veggies, mashed sweet potatoes

  • Wednesday: Nuggets, fruit, crackers, and cheese (the typical Wednesday night dinner)

  • Thursday:  Roasted brussels sprouts, riced cauliflower, bbq chicken breasts

  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Hearty Veggie Soup 
  • Sunday:  Leftovers

Recipe: Veggie Cheese Tortellini Soup

We’ve been doing a lot of meat-free nights around here lately. To be honest, meat is really expensive lately, and the kids and I don’t eat it often anyway.

I was craving soup over the weekend, so I rummaged through the cupboard and fridge and dug out some ingredients that made a super easy and filling soup.

Veggie Cheese Tortellini Soup (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 2 t. oil of your choice
  • 1 package TJ Farms Seasoning Blend (From Dollar Tree). Contains Onions, bell pepper, celery, and parsley
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced*
  • 1 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tomatoes*, deseeded and diced 0r 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
  • 6 cups of your favorite stock- I used veggie stock
  • 1 bag of washed spinach leaves*
  • 1 bag shelf stable cheese tortellini
  • 2 T Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot, heat oil.
  2. Add bag of seasoning blend and carrots. Cook until onions are clear, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cook over medium until fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer on low for 10-20 minutes.
  5. After soup has simmered and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add in spinach leaves and tortellini, cover, and cook on low for an additional 15-20 minutes. The pasta will swell as it cooks. Discard the bay leaf prior to serving.
  6. Serve topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and hot, crusty bread.

All ingredients that have an * next to them came from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. I love these boxes- Farm Fresh produce is delivered to our door once a week, no traveling to the store, worrying that I am overpaying for produce, or that I am going to pick the wrong melon or corn.

If cheese tortellini isn’t your speed, here is a shelf-stable mushroom tortellini that sounds tasty! If you want another type of filled pasta, use the suggested cooking time on the package instead of the time in step 5.

This soup is even better on the second day, and freezes well!

Penzeys Sale: $35 for $50 Gift Cards!

This deal is back, but only until tomorrow!

Penzeys is offering $50 Gift Cards for just $35.  Limit TEN Penzeys Choose Love Gift Cards per household during the run of the promotion. Cannot be used on the date of purchase. Cannot be used to purchase other gift cards. Not available for Curbside Pick-up. Not applicable to prior sales, not valid with other offers. Not for resale. While supplies last. Standard shipping rates apply. The offer ends at midnight Monday, November 7, 2022.

This is one of my favorite deals. It makes a great gift for the home cook, baker, or foodie in your life. It can be used in-store or online.

Cold Weather Means Soup! Soup Recipe Round-Up

It’s been chilly here the past few days, and that means sweaters and soup!

I love making soup, it’s easy, inexpensive per serving, and there are always leftovers.

Here are a few of my family’s favorite soups:

Veggie Soup 
Chicken Fajitas Soup 
Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
Potato Cheese Soup
Hearty Veggie Soup
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Veggie Tuscan Soup
Homemade Chicken Soup
Zuppa Tuscana Soup CopyCat Recipe
Chicken Corn Chowder
Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque
Butternut Squash Bisque
Beef Stew
Harvest Veggie Ravioli Soup