Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Menu Planning 3/11

Howdy! I know I've been away for awhile and I'd like to say I've totally been busy with lots of important projects but really-- not so much. I'm not going to give a bunch of excuses because really I've just been tired and completely unmotivated. I've got a sewing project collecting dust on my work table for the last 2 weeks and the very end of that knitted pillow has been sitting for at least 2 weeks as well. Haven't been doing much of anything inspiring in the kitchen either. Not sure if its just the end of winter blahs or what. But I'm going to try to get it together here and I thought having a little accountability- to you!--would at least shame me into action.

One of the things that has been particularly lackluster has been the meals around here. Unmotivated and tired, my hubby and I have spent many an evening looking at each other (around 4:30) and asking, "what's for dinner". While I always have "options" many of them require long preps or just too much effort (like peeling potatoes, sigh)-- leaving us with poorly planned, partial meals that we can either slap together or...... give up on and go pick something up. Lately there has been a LOT of pick up. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Now, I'm not saying a dinner out is a bad thing but really once a week (or every other week) should be sufficient. Its supposed to be treat, not a lifeline!

So I've decided to start getting serious about my menu planning. I need to make sure that I have all of the ingredients for each recipe and that I'm being honest with myself about the effort involved and whether I'm really going to do it (or not). Going along with that is planning a meal (or 2) that the hubby can do or help with, so I'm not having to do it all by myself. I know he's willing to help but if the whole week is fancy new recipes or complicated preps, that's just not going to happen.

So first of all, I always plan more than 7 meals because, well, um, I'm kind of a picky eater and sometimes I'm just not in the mood for certain foods-- so I need to have "extra" meals for backup to swap out. That is one of the many reasons my freezer is my favorite appliance at home!

Got this super cute spring menu planning form from:
Search their site for other cute seasonal forms!

The shopping trip:

This week I've gone to Trader Joe's but most of these items are available at any grocery store (although you might have to go with non-organic).

  • Milk- organic, whole
  • Cereal- Trader Joe's shredded wheat- plain
  • non fat organic greek yogurt cups x4
  • cantaloupe spears
  • 2lb of strawberries
  • (already have eggs, frozen homemade whole wheat waffles, will make zucchini muffins)

  • mini whole wheat pitas (for the little dude's homemade pizza lunchables-- I add a disk of frozen org. tomato sauce and a small baggie of shredded cheese)
  • Loaf of whole wheat tuscan pane (4 ingredient whole wheat bread similar to sourdough but not sour)
  • sliced provolone
  • sliced black forest ham
  • sliced turkey
  • organic bananas
  • organic tangerines

1) Italian chopped salad:
  • Organic romaine hearts (chopped fine)
  • Can of sliced black olives
  • Jar of yellow/red fire roasted peppers
  • sliced pepperoni (chopped fine)
  • Organic shredded mozzarella
  • Organic sugar plum tomatoes (quartered)
  • [uncured salami left over from last week's sandwiches, chopped fine]
  • [croutons, left overs if not stale or make fresh]
  • [balsamic vinegar + olive oil vinegarette]

2)Seared Tuna + Fried Rice + Stir fried veggies:  going for a teppan style dinner here
  • frozen ahi tuna steaks (about 1 lb for 3 eaters)
  • frozen org. microwaveable Jasmine rice pouches (3, 2 cup pouches in a box)
  • [veg on hand: zucchini, carrots, onion]
  • [seasonings, rice add-ons: soy sauce, egg, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, butter, lemon, jarred crushed garlic]
3)Salmon + Baby potatoes + Creamed Chard
  • Wild coho salmon- frozen (about 1 lb) (bake or grill)
  • Bagged kaleidoscope (rainbow) chard (see previous post for recipe)
  • 1lb bag teeny tiny (fingerling) potatoes (roast or boil)
  • [butter, milk, flour, garlic, salt]
  • 1lb grassfed 80% ground beef
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 jar organic basil marinara
  • romaine salad (leftovers from 1st dinner)
  • garlic bread (use tuscan pane)
  • [garlic, olive oil, butter, balsamic vinegar]
5)Grilled Chicken + Broccoli + Smashed sweet potatoes
  • organic chicken breasts
  • bagged organic broccoli
  • [bagged frozen smashed sweet potatoes-- 1 ingredient! purchased last week]
  • [if steaming broccoli, add butter, if roasting, add olive oil + parmesan]
A) Crockpot chicken curry (already in freezer!) see for recipe. Add rice or whole wheat noodles for serving.
B)Cilantro shrimp tacos (uses leftover 1/2 lb of frozen shrimp from last week, corn tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cilantro)
C)Tacosagna (requires batch of crockpot refried beans that I really need to do this week anyways...) See previous post for recipe!
D) Butternut Squash Lasagna: I've got a recipe pinned and I've got the squash (boy do I have a LOT of butternut squash right now!) and lasagna noodles. Just depends on if I have the time, effort to pre-roast the squash and if the preshredded mozzarella doesn't get used up.

Okay. So I'm all planned out! That's 5 definite meals plus 4 more swap out options. That ought to get me through 7 days. My grocery total (just the items I bought new this week) was $111.60. Perfectly reasonable IF I STICK TO MY PLAN!!!! I will also have some leftovers (both bulk items like the extra rice bags and chicken breasts) and individual meals for hubby's lunches.

I don't know if this will help anyone but me. All I know is that just wishing for a healthy, delicious meal to magically appear on the table at dinner time just hasn't been working out! I'll let you know next Monday how the plan worked and if I really stuck to it (or got lazy).

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