Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Posts tagged ‘Meal Planning’

Cheese Please!

Grilled Cheese for dinner, yes please!

But a grown up version made in the panini press. I bought a nice loaf of Italian bread in the bakery department. Some ham at the deli counter. A few plum tomatoes, apples, and soup fixings. Plenty of cheese at home.

When I got home from work I chopped up the veggies for a quick soup. Onion, carrot, and green pepper in the pot to sweat with in some olive oil. Peeled a russet potato, washed and chopped a broccoli crown. Once the onion was soft I threw the rest of the veggies. A sprinkle of salt and stirred. Add about 3 cups of chicken broth. I brought the soup to a boil and simmered about 30 minutes. Added some favorite herbs, pepper, more salt to taste, a splash of milk. I puree the soup right the pot with a stick blender leaving it a bit chunky. Stirred in a handful of shredded cheese.

For the paninis I heated up the press. In the meantime I sliced tomatoes and apples. I sliced the bread in wide pieces. Lastly I prepped two kinds of sandwiches. Tomato, mozzarella, and basil. And ham, apple, and cheddar. Brushed the press with a little butter and put the sandwiches in. Carefully removed them to a cutting board and sliced them into wedges. Served with a balsamic dressing on the side and a bowl of the soup.



This week I thought I would would list each night’s meal and a brief description of how it was made along with some short cuts and tips. Instead of writing out a whole recipe step by step.

Monday- Pesto Stuffed Shells, recipe from last year, I made a huge tray for a friend who had a baby. I made a second smaller one for my family. We had it with frozen garlic bread.

Tuesday- DH and I went out with friends. Kids ate leftovers.

Wednesday- Chicken, Ham, & Cheese Roll ups, Mac and Cheese, Broccoli. I bought cutlets in a big family pack. I then trimmed them and removed the tender from each one. Those will be dinner Thursday. I cut 3 cutlet in half and pounded them flat coated one side in bread crumbs. I placed a slice of honey ham on the other side and filled with mozzarella cheese. Rolled them up. I covered the bottom of a glass backing dish with cream of chicken soup and placed the rolls in it. Then baked at 350 cover about 40 minutes and uncovered for 10. While they baked I steamed fresh broccoli in the microwave and made a package home style mac & cheese. Enough leftovers for two lunches.

Thursday- Chicken Stir Fry, chicken was cut up the night before. Vegetable prep takes a lot of time but it is worth it for a health stir fry. I will chop double the peppers and onions for Fridays dinner. They will go in a zip top bag. And all good stir fries start with GGG, garlic, ginger, green onion. I’ll start those in some oil in a large frying pan. Then throw in onion, peppers, broccoli, snow peas, water chestnuts, and carrot. I’ll coat the chicken pieces in corn starch. Move the veggies to the sides and stir fry the chicken. Last I’ll throw in sauces like soy, teriyaki, orange ginger. A bit if water. And thicken with corn starch slurry. Serve with rice.

Friday- Cheese Steaks, I sauté veggies and mushrooms prepped the night before. Steak meat is frozen in thin pieces. I cook it up on a flat griddle with season salt then I place slices of cheese on at the end. I load up the veggies and meat on hero rolls and serve with a side salad.

Saturday- too busy to cook take out it is.

Candy Hangover

Snow for Halloween!?!? This is a first for the northeast in my memory. After battling power outages, sick kids, and a foot of snow we dressed the twins up for some trick or treating. The sugar high has settled and I feel some what back to normal. But I fear this we be a long, long winter. This week I am food shopping on a Wednesday so the start of the week was make do with what was around. And the end will be back to fresh produce and more thoughtful meals. It’s pretty busy, but isn’t every week busy when you are a working mom?

Monday- After a cold damp outing to Trick or Treat I threw together an dinner of ready made stuff. A slab of heat and eat ribs and broccoli cheddar pasta steam in the bag out of the freezer. Dinner was ready in 10 minutes.

Tuesday- I had to go to Sam’s Club to pick up something for work. Grabbed a roasted chicken, DH made boxed mac and cheese while I was on my way home, and I threw stem in the bag green beans in the microwave. Another slap together meal.

Wednesday- Food shop and a school event. DH is on his own with the kids, he is making pasta with red sauce and garlic bread.

Thursday- Moms group at 4pm, Chicken Thighs braised in the slow cooker over apples, squash, and potato. The veg and apples will be turned into a mash with a little butter and nutmeg. The liquid will be drained off and reduced into a sauce. I’ll do salad on the side. Normally I don’t do one large tossed salad but line up the bowls next to the cutting board and make individual ones.

Friday- Nothing going on!!! Taco Night!! I don’t buy the taco kits or seasoning. I buy the shells or tortillas on their own and make up my own taco meat with chili powder, cumin, and other stuff I have around. I find the seasoning packets too salty. And I love lots of toppings, avocado, tomato, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, yum!! Spanish rice on the side.

Saturday- Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and a green veg TBA, the leftover chicken meat will go into a pot pie for the next snow storm.

Sunday- Cheese burger and oven baked sweet potato fries. And I *hope* to have some time during naps to make a big batch of soup for the freezer too.

Update: the rice on Friday was one you microwave for 90 seconds. We had asparagus on Saturday with the roast chicken. I had enough time on Saturday during nap to make a tray of stuffed shells for a friend who had a baby last week. Tomorrow I have the stuff to make Spilt Pea Bacon soup. I never made it before. I’m going to wing it.

Indian Summer

Ah bliss! A week after declaring cool weather it’s going to 80 today. So tonight is a chance to use the grill. Maybe one of the last. I’ve mentioned before my DH doesn’t like fish or seafood. I’m not normally into cooking two meals but for tonight I will grill two different proteins. The effort to do so is minimal. DH will have a steak and I will have salmon or whatever looks good at the fish counter today. I’ll put the steak on a few minutes earlier and just have to watch my timing.

Last week the slower cooker was a huge success. I’m using it twice this week. First I have parent night at school on Tuesday and that will be a life saver. I’m making a beef barley soup and as an easy side frozen rolls or bread that can be baked in the oven. I’m also going to use it for a pork chop dish that has apple cider in it. So even though it’s warm today. The rest of the week I have fall food on my mind.

Monday- Grilled Steak and Fish, Fries, and Green Beans

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup with bread

Wednesday- Orange Chicken, Rice, and Peas

Thursday- Homemade Soup (no school!)

Friday- Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pork Chops over Egg Noodles, Veggies and Dip

Saturday- Away

Sunday- Leftovers or Brinner

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

1lb Stew Meat cut into small cubes

1 onion diced

2 handfuls of baby carrots chopped

2 ribs of celery chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic smashed

1 bay leaf

1 cup of pearled barley

6 cups of liquid (beef or chicken stock, water, some beer)

1 beef stock concentrate or bouillon

salt and pepper

Place everything in the stoneware of your slow cooker. Stir. Set the timer to 8 hours on low.

other items you can add to this soup, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips, hard squash like acorn, worcestershire sauce.

Update:This was so yummy, even better leftover, I served it with sourdough rolls. For the liquid I did 5 cups of chicken broth and one cup of beer. The beer flavor was a bit sharp so next time I’ll use only 1/2 a cup.

Cool Down

There has been a noticeable chill in the air most mornings here in the northeast. Sweat shirts for the twins every morning and pants for me for work. Summer clothes have pretty much been packed away. And with this weather cravings for soups and stews have begun. I have always wished I could have dinner waiting for me when I got home from work but my slow cooker has never worked right. It was too big (6 quarts) and too hot. Stew would burn to the sides have 4-5 hours on low! I’d have to soak the crock and scrub it with lots of force to clean. I was baffled, was I doing something wrong? After some research it seemed I wasn’t the only one with this problem with that brand. So I bought a new one, to replace my too large too hot slow cooker. I got a 3.5 quart, with settings, High, Low, Simmer, Keep Warm and a timer.

I bought it on Sunday cleaned it and on Monday night filled the crock with 1.5 lbs Chuck beef cubed, 3 russet potatoes peeled and cubed, about a cup of baby carrots cut in 3rds, half an onion diced. One can tomato soup, 3/4 of that can chicken broth, one Knorr beef stock pack, some black pepper and herbs. I put it in the refrigerator over night. Before leaving for work at 6:30am I put it the unit set it to low for 8 hours.

At dinner that night I portioned the stew out into bowls and the meat was falling apart tender but not dry. The sauce was bread dipping delicious. Kids and DH enjoyed it! I knew DH would, this is one of his favorite meals since I first made for him in college.

Only two cons I saw were the outside of the pot gets very hot. So I need to keep it far back from small hands. And the potatoes near the top were a bit crunchy so next time when I get home from school I’ll give it a stir and while it sits on the keep warm setting the last few hours they should be good.

Friday I’m going to try sauce with meatballs. And here is our week.

Sunday- Whole Chicken in the dutch oven (from the recipe a Bird in the Oven)

Monday- Chicken Cashew Casserole made from leftover chicken, cream of chicken soup, some veggies, bread crumb topping, raw Broccoli spears with ranch
Tuesday- Slow Cooker Beef Stew with bread

Wednesday- Take Out! (Modern Family premiere at home date with DH)

Thursday- Cheese Steaks, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and mozz cheese

Friday- Slow Cooker Red Sauce with Meatballs over Pasta & Salad

Saturday- Away

Sunday- Leftovers, Mini frozen quiches, and pizza bagels

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