Plan It- Don’t Panic Meal Planning Challenge (And Recipe for Okonomiyaki)

Welcome to the 3rd week of the Plan It- Don’t Panic Meal Planning Challenge!

How are your meal plans coming along? Is it getting easier to put them together? Do you find that you are saving money? Time? Dinnertime sanity? I’d love to hear how the challenge is going for you!

Our Favorite Japanese Recipe: Okonomiyaki (As-You-Like-It Savory Pancakes)

Although I promised more grocery budget tips, I found that I had so much to say on the topic (yes, that’s why I wrote the book- which is still 50% off with code MEALPLAN50!), that it really deserved to be a post of its own. You can look forward to those money-saving tips on Thursday!

I’m sharing a very nostalgic recipe (by popular demand) from the year that my husband and I spent in Japan when we were first married. We were introduced to Okonomiyaki (pronounced oh-cone-oh-me-ya-kee) by friends who said we had to try it. We thought it was, well, alright. But the second time I tried it, I liked it better. And then better the next, until it had become my second favorite Japanese food, next to sushi (I love me some raw fish).

Okonomiyaki is a unique dish that really grows on you, so I hope that I can encourage someone to give it a try! Our children thoroughly enjoy it, and guests have always liked it as well.

I’ll note here that we use bacon in this recipe, even though 98% of the time we eat according to the Biblical clean food laws (no pork, shellfish, etc.). This is one of the very few meals for which we make an exception. We do occasionally use beef bacon instead, though it isn’t quite as good. Instead, we buy nitrate-free bacon from clean-fed pigs raised at a local farm and keep it a once-in-a-while treat.

You can also make this with other leftover meat, like ground beef, chopped chicken, or shrimp/prawns (very popular in Japan). However, we personally think bacon tastes the best, but since Okonomiyaki literally means “grilled/cooked as you like it”, I’ll allow you to choose your meat of choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 package cooked nitrate-free, clean-fed bacon (cut up in small pieces)
  • 6 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 2 cups flour (you can use any whole grain/sprouted flour, I even use brown rice flour sometimes)
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (I don’t usually have this, but it is a nice addition)
  • 1 1/3 cup water (if using gluten-free flour, try less water as it won’t thicken the same way)
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • Optional- dried bonito flakes (a form of dried, flaked tuna), dried seaweed sprinkles (Aonori). Both are available at most Asian food stores.

For Okonomiyaki sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup (organic or homemade- anything without high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (we like San-J’s fermented, wheat-free Tamari)
  • 1/3 Worcestershire sauce (this adds good flavor, but I don’t usually buy it, so I often make it with only the ketchup and soy sauce and it still tastes good)

Whisk together well or stick in a blender for a few seconds.

Cooking Method

1. Cut bacon into about 1 inch pieces (I like to use kitchen scissors to make this a fast job). Start frying these up so that they will be cooked by the time you need them.

2. Chop cabbage into fairly small pieces. Use a food processor to make it faster if you like, or just do it by hand.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients, and mix together until you have a nice slightly thick batter (similar to the consistency of pancake batter).

4. Add chopped cabbage to the batter and mix well.

5. Heat 1 or 2 frying pans to medium heat, with your choice of oil (leftover bacon grease is nice, but you can also use butter, coconut oil or tallow).

6. Sprinkle a small handful of cooked bacon onto the pan. Then, using a large ladle, pour out a plate-sized “pancake” on the pan (like the size of a side plate, not a dinner plate). If needed, use your spatula to push the cabbage so that it lays a bit flatter.

7. Once you can see that the bottom is clearly browning and the top looks slightly cooked and less doughy, carefully flip it over. I can almost guarantee you will break a few as you first learn to flip such large and heavy pancakes, but after a while it becomes easy. They still taste good, broken or not.

8. Leave for another couple minutes, until lightly browned on the other side, and then remove from the pan.

9. Put one pancake in the middle of a plate. Drizzle with mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, and if you have it (traditional, but totally optional), sprinkle with bonito flakes and dried seaweed. The Japanese buy their mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki sauce in squeeze bottles, so they can make beautiful sauce drizzles on top. I usually use a spoon or knife to spread mayo, then use an old ketchup bottle to squeeze the sauce over top. It’s not as pretty, but it tastes the same!

Oishii desu! (Delicious!)

Our Menu Plan for the Week

Monday

  • Breakfast: Pancakes with fruit sauce and breakfast meat
  • Dinner: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed broccoli and cauliflower
  • Prep: Soak oatmeal, thaw ground chicken.

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and toast
  • Dinner: Garden Chowder with bread.
  • Prep: Thaw meat, soak beans.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: French toast and fruit
  • Dinner: Soft tacos with meat and beans, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, salsa, etc.
  • Prep: Start baked oatmeal to soak. Thaw roast. Soak brown rice.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Baked oatmeal
  • Dinner: Roast with gravy, oven roasted seasonal veggies (potatoes, beets, carrots), brown rice.

Saturday

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Breakfast wraps using leftover eggs, potatoes, sausages.
  • Dinner: Roast beef sandwiches (using leftover roast beef), homemade pickles, raw vegetables.

What’s on your menu this week? And how is the challenge going for you? Are you finding it easier? Saving time or money? I’d love to hear an update on how the challenge is going for you!

 

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Hi there. Thanks for sharing the okonomiyaki recipe! I’m a 3rd generation Japanese-American and it is one of my *favorite* dishes.

    You had mentioned not having green onions handy; I wanted to share a tip with you:

    The next time you purchase a bunch or two and are left with extra, slice them up into 1/4-1/6″ pieces, put them in a plastic container and freeze them. If they freeze clumped together, just give the container a good, hard shake!

    You won’t be able to use them in recipes that call for fresh scallions or green onions (as in garnishing a dish or in salsa because they’ll be soggy when defrosted), but you will be able to cook with them. We love making scrambled eggs with scallions for breakfast :o)

    Happy Eating!

  2. Looks delish… but when does the bacon get added? Is it just sprinkled on top? Thanks!

  3. Our family is eating a more whole-foods diet than ever before, but I have had some challenges with getting settled into eating more seasonally. I have the Simply In Season cookbook so that helps, but I have really enjoyed/appreciated your menus for October! I had been thinking in September that I really would liked to have seen what some of you whole-foodies who are more locally focused eat, so thank you for this! We have had some good and some not so good days, especially when we are doing birthdays with extended family and such. Overall it has helped us plan much better!

  4. This is my first week linking up my meal plan. Although I didn’t know about your challenge, I’ve been posting my meal plan on my blog (and thus keeping myself accountable) for the past 3 weeks. I also use it as a way to help people with food allergies see that there are foods to eat. And good foods!

    Thanks for the chance to share it here.

  5. I’d never thought of putting bacon in Okonomiyaki. We like grated carrot or zucchini and spring onions in the mix and softened soba noodles too sometimes.
    I really need to get back on the meal planning wagon we ordered pizza tonight because I just couldn’t face it.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  6. So much that sounds great! I also vote that you continue to have giant pictures of bacon in your posts….:)

  7. beccachan says:

    I. love. okonomiyaki. Truly, it is so easy and so delicious and can be quite healthy. Now I’m going to need my Japanese food fix… so many good things!

    But planning? Not going so well. :P

  8. Hi Stephanie,
    Just an FYI – if you are concerned with your health – which I know you are :-) – don’t buy the Japanese mayo! It is loaded with MSG. Being extremely sensative to MSG I learned this the hard way.

    Best Foods/Helmans is our staple, even in the Japanese cooking.

    I also make a simple sauce that does WONDERS on any Asian type meal (fried rice is awesome!): half mayo, half ketchup and a teaspoon of sesame oil. Sometimes I even add in some sesame seeds. Yummo!

  9. I just found your blog and was happy to link up my menu plan for the week. It sure has been a big help to think about dinner in advance! :)

  10. I forgot to mention that the recipe you posted looks good. I’m saving it to try next week when things are a little calmer.

  11. October has been a crazy month, and this week is no different! I’m trying to stick to real food and unprocessed food, and I just have so little time to cook. I also had one child sick last week, and another 2 sick this week. It looks like they’ll be okay to go back to school tomorrow, though I haven’t gotten enough done today, and it’s just about lunch time.

    http://alifeinbalance.net/menu-plan-monday-10-10-11/

  12. Those actually look really good! I might have to figure out how I can modify them to be wheat-free but I think that would be doable. I try not to eat much wheat! It does bad things to my tummy.

    As far as the meal planning, I’ve been doing it a while now so nothing new except yesterday I did my shopping (I do 2 weeks at a time) and I am so exhausted still! I don’t know how I’m going to continue doing 2 weeks at a time when I have the baby. I don’t want to bring the family because then it takes twice as long and I end up with WAY more stuff than I needed ;)

    On our menu this week we have potato pancakes with bacon and eggs, coconut chicken curry, pot roast, potato chowder, pork green chili with homemade tortillas on Friday and pizza for my daughter’s birthday on Saturday. Next week we’ll start with beef and bean burritos, baked ziti with rice pasta, harvest veggie soup (pureed with acorn squash, parsnips and turnips) with grilled cheese sandwiches, a sausage/peppers/potatoes skillet, creamy pesto chicken with rice, my brother-in-law’s chili on Friday and I’m going to invent a hot chicken/artichoke/spinach dip for next Saturday that I’ll serve with crudites and homemade flax crackers.

  13. last week, i mostly stuck to our plan, but a couple unforseen events had me stray a bit. I am hoping this week I can stick to our plan!

  14. I’ve posted a link to my meal planning at Echoing Footsteps.

    Every time I think it’s “getting easier” I seem to find a way to make it more difficult. We’re going grain & sugar free at our place for a while, and I’m new to figuring out how to make a filling soup without grains or beans, making what feels like a complete dinner without rice or quinoa, and not feeling anxious about grocery budgets or making sure the hubby has enough to eat! All in all we made it through last week relatively “on plan” – and this week’s plan came together relatively easily. Maybe its almost getting… dare I say is… fun?

  15. Ok Stephanie, what is clean fed bacon?

    • @Becky @ Our Peaceful Home, Pigs that are actually fed real foods and not a lot of leftover, processed, industrial foods like what the conventional pigs get. I’ve heard stories of pigs getting all sorts of horrendous leftover “food” type items, including GMO corn products, other dead pigs and candy, in their feed. But a clean-fed pig would eat things like leaves, grass, insects, roots or tubers, etc. from their time rooting outdoors, as well as things like vegetables, fruits, nuts or acorns. They also shouldn’t be eating a whole lot of grains or corn, although many still do (even organic ones).

      • @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, We tend to not eat pork because of what they are fed and that they typically carry a lot of parasites. I hadn’t even heard of clean fed bacon. That is really interesting. I wonder how you find out if the bacon is clean fed… My husband would really like it if we ate pork again. Lol. I know he would really like to eat pork bacon again more often. I typically feed us beef bacon (if I can find it or turkey bacon) because of my fear of eating pork. I find us following a lot of the Jewish dietary laws for many reasons and typical stay away from animals that eat leftovers like pork and shellfish.

        The last time I ate pork I was at back in Tennessee with my in-laws and I got sick afterwards. I hadn’t had it in months. This would be very interesting to research.

        • @Becky @ Our Peaceful Home, We typically don’t eat pork for exactly the same reasons. We read The Maker’s Diet and were convinced that it was a good idea to follow Jewish food laws, so by and large, that’s what we do. The pork bacon is just the occasional splurge, but we still try to be careful about where it comes from because part of what makes pork more dangerous it that pigs are scavengers who eat, well, anything.

          We were referred to this local place by a nutritionist that I used to know, and so that’s where we go for the few times when we do want to buy it. Otherwise, we eat predominantly beef and chicken, fish, and sometimes turkey.

  16. This recipe for Okonomiyaki sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it out at our house!

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