Meal Planning: Making Our Produce Box Work For Us

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I love it that I’m getting a load of fresh produce each week. While it can be a little awe-inspiring to unpack the box, it’s been fun to enjoy such wonderful tasting fruits and vegetables each week.

Last year I tried out a CSA share and it was overwhelming. I felt pressured to find a way to cook a lot of strange vegetables that seemed really expensive in comparison to what I could buy at the store on sale.

But, this produce co-op has provided “normal foods” that we recognize. Also, grocery prices have risen enough to totally justify this expense. Funny how that works.

Still, I have to be on my toes to make sure we don’t waste it. One thing that helps is that Abundant Harvest posts the contents of our box by Friday afternoon. This helps me plan our meals for the coming week. This week, we’ll have: grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, melon, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, oregano, sorrel, and hot peppers. And since I know this halfway through the previous week, I know how to pace myself with the items I already have. We’re on our last tomato!

While I don’t have any experience with sorrel and oregano, everything else is pretty familiar to me. So far, we’ve enjoyed salads, crudites, vegetable stews, stir fries, fruit salads, lots of fresh salsa, and roast potatoes. It’s been quite delicious.

Another thing that has helped has been to process vegetables for freezing. I blanched lots of corn and green beans. I also cooked up several vegetable stews to freeze. In this way we don’t feel pressured to eat it right away, but it will be there for a quick fix on another night when corn or beans aren’t so plentiful.

Here’s how the meal plan is working out for us this week:

Continental Breakfast

My continental breakfast plan didn’t work out as well as I hoped last week. The kids looked at me a little confusedly. So, I’ll be making up some kind of menu for them to read — maybe post it on the fridge? And make sure we walk through it together a few more times.

  • hard boiled eggs
  • quick breads and muffins
  • fresh fruit
  • juice
  • smoothie fixings
  • cheese sticks
  • granola
  • yogurt and toppings
  • oatmeal or rice and toppings


  • Turkey or sunbutter sandwiches
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Pasta salad
  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetable dippers and hummus


served with seasonal produce

What’s cooking at your house this week?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. This post is extremely helpful, seeing that I also have a fresh batch of produce delivered to our house weekly from the organic farm. Sometimes I never know what to expect, and I am forced to improvise with the veggies I have on hand. I like the challenge though, and I have actually become somewhat of an expert at meal-improv, LOL!

    I’m loving your menu and meal ideas. My veggie basket is quite different, seeing as I live in Asia, but I can still make lovely native and Western meals from my produce. For example: I’ve learned to incorporate a local leafy green called “talbos kamote” into a lovely pesto dish. I wouldn’t have thought of that if I was still buying vegetables at the grocery store, where everything is predictable (and sadly, less nutritious).

    Looking forward to more yummy posts like this!

    A new reader,

  2. I’ve had such a hard time finding a CSA that has more normal foods so we have been sticking with a local chain that buys their produce from local farmers.

    This what we are eating this week:

  3. I’ve been waffling on getting a CSA box. Last year our neighbor gave me hers once or twice when they were out of town and there were things I didn’t know what to do with either. I stuck some of the stuff in my chili, husband hated it but my son’s girlfriends dad (that was a mouthful!) loved it. Oh well, I’m planning on buying just what I need for now.

    Here’s our menu plan, little different from my original but as they say “life happens”.


  4. I love sorrel! I used to have a few plants next to my garage until my dh pulled them by mistake. Ugh! The French use sorrel in the spring to make a soup used as a spring tonic.

    The lemon roasted potatoes look good. I think I’ll try them instead of our standard roasted potatoes.

  5. Okay … what is SUN BUTTER? I’m intrigued by sun butter sandwiches 🙂

    • Jessica Fisher says

      My daughter is allergic to nuts, so we can’t use peanut or almond butter. But, we CAN use sun(flower) butter, made out of sunflower seeds. Trader Joe’s sells it and there is a brand name called, “sunbutter” as well.

  6. I have been using a similar sounding service here in the DC area for the same reason — normal produce! The one I use even lets you switch things out if you want. Last time I eneded up with beets though which I don’t think DH likes. I have to figure out something.

    Here’s my meal plan. I’m trying to clean out the pantry:

  7. Oregano also goes great in anything Italian-ish (spaghetti sauce, meatballs, lasagna, pizza sauce, etc.). I add it to almost all my soups, too–unless it’s supposed to be specifically Asian-flavored, it seems to work really well. I bet you could freeze that too and use it throughout the winter.

  8. Today was first day of preschool so we are having 4 yr olds favorite meal- bbq meatballs and probably mac & cheese, homemade cookies.

    Rest of the week-
    Chicken parmesan
    Mexican casserole
    Homemade pizza
    Rotissierie chicken

    And on Friday its only supposed to be a high of 65, I cant wait after such a hot summer. I am making crockpot potato soup, rolls and spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. 🙂

  9. Here is my menu plan for the rest of the week….
    Wednesday: At my sister’s…..

    Thursday: Ham and cheese panini with tomatoes

    Friday: Baked dutch pancake with peaches

    Saturday: Plans got changed….so I am not sure!

    Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

    Monday: Yogurt Parmesan Baked chicken, Creamy mac and cheese, tomatoes with basil

    Tuesday: Sweet and sour sauce with chicken and vegetables over rice

    Do you make your own hummus?

  10. FYI – I think your “Abundant Harvest” link in this post needs to be redirected – it took me to a church’s website.

  11. The Pioneer Woman has an Italian Chicken Soup recipe on her site today that uses fresh oregano. It immediately made me think of your produce box 😉 Tomorrow I’m going to our local farmer’s market to find oregano and basil

  12. Jessica, I would love to hear more about your vegetable stew. Do you have a recipe? Did you precook it or just prep it for the crockpot?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I will be posting it soon. It’s just a stovetop recipe, but it comes together in about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your knife skills.

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