When I shop for food, I rarely know what we'll be having for dinner in advance (unless I'm there with a recipe). Produce-wise, I shop based on what's on sale (which is also usually what's in season). In the meat and seafood sections, I always look for the "manager's special" stickers first (the ones that they have to sell that day or throw out). I never worry about it being "bad" because I'll be cooking or freezing it that night, which is still within the expiration.
I was particularly lucky on a recent shopping trip. New York Strip steak AND fresh shrimp for amazing deals! This was Joe's self-admitted favorite recent meal.
I cooked the steak in the broiler with a dash of "magic dust" on it to medium rare (recipe for "magic dust" at the end of the post). I cooked the asparagus in a lidded pan with a small amount of chicken stock that I had in the fridge -- this worked out really well! For the shrimp, I sauteed some garlic and crushed red pepper in butter and EVOO and then tossed the shrimp in a few minutes before I wanted to serve them. I served the shrimp and garlic sauce over brown rice.
Next, a frozen fish meal. The veggie side dish here was a melange of some "must-go" items from the produce drawer (green pepper, carrots, onions, mushrooms) and a can of chick peas, all cooked in chicken stock. For the salmon, I seared it in a pan with EVOO then glazed it with red pepper jelly and finished it in the oven. Fresh lemon brought everything together.
And another frozen fish meal! I made a simple tomato sauce (can of tomatoes, green onions, capers) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I seared the swordfish on both sides in EVOO. I added them to the tomato mixture to finish cooking. Served atop brown rice with a side of chicken stock steamed asparagus.
Recipe for Magic Dust (this is a dry rub from a pulled pork recipe -- I've found its good sprikled on other things as well -- green beans, grilled meat, frozen dinner rolls prior to cooking, etc.)
Mix together: 1/2 cup smoked paprika, 1/4 cup fine sea salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup powdered mustard, 1/4 cup chili powder, 1/4 cup ground cumin, 2T black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder (not garlic salt), 2T cayenne pepper. I keep mine in a spice shaker.