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.
- 1 package cooked nitrate-free, clean-fed bacon (cut up in small pieces)
- 6 cups chopped green cabbage
- 1½ Tbsp baking powder
- 1¼ 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)
- 1⅓ cup water (if using gluten-free flour, try less water as it won't thicken the same way)
- 8 free-range eggs
- dried bonito flakes  (a form of dried, flaked tuna), dried seaweed sprinkles (Aonori). Both are available at most Asian food stores.
- 1 cup ketchup (organic or homemade- anything without high fructose corn syrup)
- ⅓ cup soy sauce (we like San-J's fermented, wheat-free Tamari)
- ⅓ 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.
- 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.
- Chop cabbage into fairly small pieces. Use a food processor to make it faster if you like, or just do it by hand.
- 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).
- Add chopped cabbage to the batter and mix well.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Leave for another couple minutes, until lightly browned on the other side, and then remove from the pan.
- 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
- Breakfast: Pancakes with fruit sauce and breakfast meat
- Dinner: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed broccoli and cauliflower
- Prep: Soak oatmeal, thaw ground chicken.
- Breakfast: Soaked oatmeal  with raw milk  and honey (I’ll do mine with some fruit and cinnamon since I can’t have honey right now)
- Dinner: Squash casserole  (I’m going to try this recipe, adapted to not use crackers, so we’ll see how it turns out) and Chicken Apple Sausages .
- Prep: Thaw beef broth .
- Breakfast: Eggs and toast
- Dinner: Garden Chowder  with bread.
- Prep: Thaw meat, soak beans.
- 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.
- Breakfast: Baked oatmeal 
- Dinner: Roast with gravy, oven roasted seasonal veggies (potatoes, beets, carrots), brown rice.
- Breakfast: Eggs, fried potatoes, sausage (I’m cooking extra for Sunday)
- Dinner: Chicken pot pie  with this millet topping 
- 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!