How many times have I meal planned the same 5-6 meals each week (or maybe eaten from 12 standards for a month)? It is tough to break out of habit and pattern especially when you are busy. One thing we find helps with this is to try shopping at some different places. Shopping somewhere different forces you to go look harder at the shelves, try new brands, and hopefully inspires you to try something new. This week's inspiration came from just that, a trip to another store.
My husband is part Chinese and as I have said in the past - the passionate cook in our family. Last week he made a monthly trip to a large Asian market in our area to pick up rice and few other family food staples. We always get more for less on our Asian items direct from an Asian food market rather than the standard American grocery store chain - And...every time he goes he tries something new. The produce and vegetables there are different. The noodles and pastries inspire new dishes that aren't your typical pasta dinner.
So this week he picked up black beans with a determination to make a black bean stir fry from scratch (not using a jar of black bean sauce). Onions, garlic, large dark brown mushrooms, tofu and a combination of a few recipes he found online sizzled in a wok and we had an excellent dinner.
But, I have to confess here that our meatless meal this week will be Deonne's red lentils from last week (I can't wait to try them) and we put a little chicken in this dish - but with plenty of black beans leftover this will be a meatless favorite in the future soon (yea, one of those 12 I suppose for a while). One note, my husband used the black beans whole and the fermented flavor was a little strong for our older child (nearly 4) who was eating with us - apparently if you mash and mix the beans before using you can cut down on this a bit... or if you are like me and don't have a clue how to make black bean sauce from scratch, just pick up a jar of black bean sauce for your first attempt.
If you want to try to make it yourself there here is the recipie he used: http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/asia/chinese/black-bean-sauce1.html