Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Posts tagged ‘Meal Planning for Busy Moms’

Get it done!

As hard as I try to create a yummy interesting meal for my family. Some weeks I just have to go with the flow and stay simple. And this week is just that. Nothing new, nothing crazy, just old stand bys and easy to prepare stuff. I was a bit ambitious on the weekend but back to work and back to the let get something on the table mode. We can’t win them all!!

Saturday- Spinach three ways, Chicken Fingers with spinach puree in the coating, stove top homemade Mac and Cheese with spinach puree, (it was green but tasted like cheddar), and sauteed spinach with garlic.

Sunday- Oven BBQ chicken legs, Oven baked sweet potato fries (yummmmm!) and salad. My son eats the lettuce and leaves the stuff. My daughter eats the stuff and leaves the lettuce.

Monday- Spaghetti and Meatballs, garlic beard from the freezer, and salad. Normally I like to make a batch of meatballs on the weekend and heat them when we are ready to have them a day or two later but this time I made them around 3pm, browned them in a pan and simmered them for about 2 hours in the sauce. Oops I didn’t have a a box of spaghetti. Capellini will do. Cooked a lot faster.

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Beef Stew, sweet there is leftover garlic bread!

Wednesday- Homemade Pizza, the kids will help with this one. I stretch the dough and they put on the sauce and cheese. We have meatballs left from Monday and I’ll slice them up along with peppers, onions, garlic, whatever is around for toppings. DH will be home and we will do this as a family.

Thursday- Take Out Chinese/Sushi, the twins love to taste things like California rolls, but they go nuts for Lo Mein. DH is home and Modern Family is new, nice relaxing evening

Friday- ??? eek, I’m out of ideas, something from the freezer, there is some broccoli that needs to be eaten. No on will go hungry 😉


What to cook when you haven’t been shopping

This week a had to wait until Wednesday to food shop. Leaving two nights getting by with what’s around. I always say I could live for a few weeks on the food in my pantry and freezer. It just might not be what I want to eat. Well this week it was a requirement. So Tuesday I made a frittata. They are like a crustless quiche. I told the kids it was egg pizza. The great thing about them is like quiche you can change up the flavors to your liking or what is around. No bacon? Try ham. No onions? Try garlic. The one thing you do need is eggs. I made a big one and froze 3 slices to eat for breakfast another day. This would also be a great brunch item if you are playing hostess to a crowd.

Monday- Lasagna from the freezer I made a month ago
Tuesday- Frittata with Soup
Wednesday- Swai fillets for the kids and I, stack for DH, rice, and a veg
Thursday- Take Out (DH requested chinese)
Friday- Sante Fe Cheesy Beef (test driving a slow cooker recipe)
Saturday-Penne ala Vodka with bread and salad
Sunday- Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker (I’ll most likely make it Saturday and reheat it)

Super Frittata
about 40 minutes start to finsih


5 Slices of Bacon
1/2 White Onion, diced
3/4 of a large Red Pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
2 medium white potatoes
6-8 eggs depending on their size
1/2 cup milk
Dijon Mustard
Lea and Perrin’s Chicken Marinade
Poultry Herds
Shredded cheese
Salt and Pepper

large oven safe non-stick frying pan
cutting board
chef knife
food processor with grating blade or box grater
large bowl
salad spinner or lots of paper towels


1. Pre heat the oven to broil

2. Place your largest non-stick pan on a burner and ad your bacon to the cold pan. Turn it on to the lowest heat setting. Low and slow will give you great crisp bacon that doesn’t spit at you.

3. Dice the onion and peppers (that was all I had, squash, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, all would be great) while the bacon is cooking. Check the bacon and flip it once. Chop the garlic.

4. Wash and trim any funky spots off the potatoes. Shredded them in the food processor or box grater. Place the shreds in a bowl and fill with cold water to wash the extra starch off.

5. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels.

6. Add all veggies to the hot bacon fat and sauté over medium heat. Don’t add the garlic right away or it will burn. It may seem like there is a lot of fat but the potatoes will be joining the pool. Allow the veggies to cook about 6-7 minutes until they start to get soft.

7. While the veggies are cooking. Drain and rinse the potatoes. Dry them well in a salad spinner or with lots of paper towels.

8. Add the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and stir. They will need to cook about 10 minutes to soft up, under cooked potatoes are gross. Stir them often. I added a splash of water half way to help steam them.

9. While the potatoes are cooking beat the egg with the milk, mustard and herbs. Here is where you can get creative and add flavors you like. Don’t forget a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.

10. Taste the potatoes for doneness. Pour the whole egg mixture over and gently shake the pan to evenly distribute. Allow the frittata to cook over medium heat until you see the edges turn solid. About 2 minutes.

11. Top with some shredded cheese and move to the broiler. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Check it. If you shake the pan and it looks tight and springy you are done. If it is liquid and jello like give it another minute. There is a fine line between, raw, done, and burned.

12. Remove from the oven and run a spatula around the edge to free the whole thing. Slide it out onto a cutting board and serve it up!

Potatoes Cooking

Yum, Bacon

Before a 2 Year Old


Easy Street

Where did this school year go? This is my last full week of classes and we are leading into a weekend away. I’m going to go easy on myself and cook some tasty but simple meals. Enjoy!

Sunday- London broil marinated and slow grilled with red potato salad, and veggies mix.

Monday- Grilled chicken lettuce wraps with Asian peanut dipping sauce and veggie slaw (YUM- will post the recipe and photos

Tuesday- BBQ flavored pot roast with corn on the cob and zucchini (I’ll slow cook the pot roast Monday)

Wednesday- Whole Chicken, I might beer can it on the grill, with any leftover sides

Thursday- Swai fillets pan seared in lemon and olive oil, rice, and peas

Friday- Heading away for the weekend, we’ll grab a pizza


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.

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.

Almost Spring

Another week, another challenge of getting food on the table.  Between my work schedule, daycare and DH’s work schedule I have little time.  I can’t get to the supermarket until Wednesday night.  So we are relying on what’s around for a few days.  The cheese steaks are super easy.  The meat comes pre-sliced and frozen.  Look for packs that say 100%.  It can be purchased fresh and is labeled shaved beef. 

A short cut this week is to cook double the amount of rice and veggies on Thursday and eat them with dinner Friday.  Not that they are so hard to make but if you are cooking already why not reheat them the next day?

I’m test driving fish on the twins as well.  This is going to be interesting.  They have had tastes of fish off my plate before but this is a first as a meal.  DH hates fish so he will eat the Orange Chicken twice. 

Monday- Cheese steak sandwiches (lots of sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions!)

Tuesday- Ravioli with homemade meat sauce (frozen, dinner will be on the table in 30)

Wednesday- Chinese take out, the kids love Lo Mein!

Thursday- Orange Chicken, Rice, Veggies (make double the amount of sides)

Friday- Baked Lemon White Fish (garlic, white wine, lemon butter, bread crumbs)
Serve with sides made on Thursday

Saturday- Brinner (busy weekend, quick and easy)

Sunday- We will be home late, dinner may be a snack, leftovers, or something out of the freezer