Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Archive for May, 2011


This week I have a challenge in front of me. My husband’s (DH) work schedule will require some extra creativity and planning to make my life easier. So the food isn’t anything special or new. This week is packed with old standbys and make aheads. I’m going to break down each night and explain why we are eating that then. I do this often, I plan certain meals for certain nights to insure a good flow of variety but also ease.

Sunday- Grilled Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli- DH is working this night and he leaves around 6:30pm. Steak is his favorite meal and since this is his dinner leading into the last 12 hour shift this weekend I’m cooking him a treat. He will be home and playing with twins while I cook allowing me to make something that needs a decent level of attention. Dinner will be on the table in a bout 30 minutes.

Monday- Beef Stew (see A Tale of 2 Stews in February)- since it’s been rainy a chilly here this wintery dish will good over well and it tastes better the next day. In fact I have it cooking as I type this on Sunday. DH accepted some overtime hours Monday night and he needs to leave at 5:30. Having a heat and eat dinner will be ideal.

Tuesday- Baked (or grilled if the weather clears) Chicken Legs and Thighs, Homestyle Mac and Cheese, and a Veggie- DH will be off work this evening for the first time in 4 days. Planning something that requires some time and energy makes sense for Tuesday. I will also cook almost double the chicken I need for Wednesday good thing it was .99 cents a pound this week.

Wednesday- Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas- DH will away over night for work. Dinner will be just me and the kids. The chicken will be already cooked and making a quesadilla takes about the same attention and time as a grilled cheese sandwich. I’ll have dinner on the table in 15 minutes, add a few minutes if I chop up some peppers and onions in there.

Thursday- Frozen Pizza- Night 2 of DH away. Yup totally selling out to the “it’s not delivery” people.

Friday- Cheese Burger and Sweet Potato Fries- DH will be off work, home, and in charge of picking up the kids. I’m cashing in my mother’s day massage gift certificate after work and by the time I get home I’ll be short on both time and desire to cook. So burgers it is! I bought an unripened avocado Sunday to use on them. My kids love avocado.

And now my head is spinning.


The End is Near

I’m about a month from the end of classes at school and I have been debating if I will continue to meal plan over the summer. We are still on a schedule but it’s a whole different kind of focus. I’m sure I’ll still rough plan for my shopping trips.

On top of meal planning I have been couponing as well. It’s fun and addictive to see the total on my shopping bill go down. Today was one of my best. I saved $70.74 (32% of my bill) at my favorite supermarket. That was a combo of store sales an coupons. It included a free back of juice boxes, laundry detergent for $1.50, and six pizza dough rounds for $6. Plus my store does gas rewards. I’ve gotten up to over $1 per gallon.

Here is what will be on our table this week:

Sunday- Roast Chicken (the bird in the oven recipe) with veggies

Monday- Leftover Chicken shredded and made into wraps with cole slaw, lettuce, carrots, and cheese and spaghetti squash! Big favorite!

Tuesday- Cheese Burgers with potato salad (sides like potato and pasta salad are a good place to hide veggies, shred carrots, cucumbers, peppers, all kinds of things, I love to add shelled soy beans)

Wednesday- Something with chicken cutlets, green beans and rice. The weather is calling for a lot of rain, if it’s nice I’ll grill them, if it’s raining I’ll pan fry them in a lemon or orange sauce.

Thursday- Pasta in a light cream sauce with zucchini and peas

Friday- Take Out

Licence to Grill!

At last some decent weather and I can fire up the grill! Throughout the spring and summer I use it as much as I can. I hate to turn the oven on in hot weather. I’m using it 5 nights this week. All the meals can be made indoors if needed.

Sunday- BBQ Chicken with cucumber salad and corn on the cob

Monday- Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with salad

Tuesday- Country style grilled spareribs and pasta salad

Wednesday- Grilled Chicken Fajitas with veggies, salsa, and avocado

Thursday- Cheese burgers and fries

Friday- Pasta in a light sundried tomato cream sauce and caesar salad

Saturday- Pork Loin with mashed potatoes and snap peas

Sunday- Take Out (Mother’s Day, now way I’m cooking!)

Sunday’s BBQ Chicken Legs
I can call this recipe BBQ because it is a low and slow method of using my grill. Most things I make out there are hot and fast, burgers, chicken cutlets, etc. But these Chicken Legs take about an hour to cook so plan ahead. I use a gas grill for multiple reasons. Control over the heat, lights in seconds, and easy clean up. Propane baby!!!


Chicken Legs and Thighs- about 8 pieces (I did all legs this time)

Vegetable oil

Grill seasoning

1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce


Gas Grill

Spring loaded Tongs

Work bowl

BBQ Sauce Brush

Wire grill Brush

Small mixing bowl

My Favorite BBQ sauce:

I fancy up a bottle kind.

½ cup ketchup

½ cup BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)

Then a splash of the following


-Balsamic vinegar


-1 garlic clove chopped up fine


1. About 30 minutes before you are going to start grilling take the chicken out of the refrigerator and place in the work bowl.

2. Coat the chicken pieces with a little vegetable oil. And sprinkle with grill seasoning. Toss with your hands.

3. And hour before you are going to eat light the grill and put all burners on high heat for 5 minutes. Take your wire grill brush and give the grill a scrub. A clean grill will help to prevent flare ups.

4. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting on all of the burners. Place the meat evenly on the grill. Close the lid.

5. Set a timer for 10 minutes. After ten minutes turn the meat and rearrange as needed for hot spots. If things seem too hot turn off the center burner. You want to be cooking at around 300 degrees.

6. Turn the chicken every 10 minutes for the next 30. In the mean time prepare the sauce.

7. Coat the chicken well on one side with the sauce. I really like a silicone brush because it cleans easily and the bristles don’t fall out. Allow to set for abut 5 minutes.

8. Turn the chicken and coat the other side with sauce. Give it another 5 minutes to let the sauce set but keep the heat low because sauce can burn quickly.

9. Remove from the grill to a serving plate. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite sides. I did corn on the cob and a fresh cucumber salad.