Follow Tmuffin:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: It Gets Easier

Last week, I talked about starting to menu plan and how it had always seemed overwhelming to me. I also did a big Sunday cook-fest where I tried to prepare as many meals for the week (and the freezer) as possible. It was a lot of work, and I thought I would be burned out, but it was really great having real meals (i.e., meals that included vegetables) to eat for dinner.

I'm also trying to eat less gluten, which means instead of throwing a sandwich together for lunch, I could snack on leftovers. And there were always leftovers. There are still leftovers. I feel better feeding my kids because they are also eating more vegetables. All in all, this meal planning/bulk preparing thing seems to be working.

This is what I did last week:

The Plan:
Monday: Chicken noodle soup with gluten-free dumplings
Tuesday: Chicken, onion, pepper, and arugula stir fry with rice
Wednesday: Pizza quesadillas
Thursday: Shredded pork with roasted vegetables 
Saturday: Chicken wings with onion rings and steak fries

The Method:
I didn't have to spend as much money at the store this week. I spent maybe $70, but I probably could have spent less. I bought some short-grain brown rice because I wanted to try making rice pudding with it. I bought some coconuts, cucumbers (because they were cheap--I still have to do something with them), cabbage, carrots, rolls, cold cuts and bread (Big T likes to bring sandwiches to work, and this adds up to about $25 of the grocery bill), tortillas, a big pork loin for $5, 2 chicken breasts that I threw in the freezer, chicken wings, celery, and zucchini.

Since I had made a lot of bone broth with the chickens I had bought the week before, making chicken noodle soup was easy. I cooked up some chopped onions, peppers, and mushrooms (all purchased at Costco the week before) in some butter, poured in the stock, and added some noodles from the pantry and the dumplings that I made. On Monday, I also threw the pork loin in the crock pot dry, with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano rubbed all over it. At the end of the day, I shredded it to get it ready for Thursday's meal.

On Tuesday, I chopped up all the veggies during naptime and cut the chicken into strips and cooked it. (I also cut enough onions and peppers for sausage sandwiches, which I had originally planned for Saturday but switched it to Monday. I froze those). Then at dinnertime, it was really easy to throw it all back into the pot with some garlic, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce. I made rice at the same time. 

On Wednesday, I used some of the cold cuts in the fridge to make pizza quesadillas. I chopped up salami and cooked it until crisp--that made it taste more like pepperoni. Then, I made quesadillas with leftover tomato sauce that was in the fridge and some cheese. 

On Thursday, I cut up zucchini, butternut squash, and 2 onions (from Costco), tossed the veggies in melted butter, and roasted them in a 400 degree oven until they were caramelized and browned on the edges. I also cooked up some quinoa. Then, we layered quinoa with the veggies and pork over it, and poured on a sauce made from nutritional yeast, butter, and vegetable stock. That gave the dish a salty richness. I made enough to put one dish in the freezer.

On Saturday, Big T got it in his head that we should make chicken wings from his new Betty Crocker app. We mixed honey, cayenne pepper, and a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, marinated the wings in that, and then baked them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. We fried the onion rings and steak fries (also from the huge bags I had bought at Costco the week before) according to some recipes from my America's Test Kitchen book. We hadn't planned on that (we had planned on sausage sandwiches, which is why I bought rolls that week), but we're just going to have those tonight. 

For more meal planning obsessiveness inspiration, check out!


Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

Good for you for pulling things together ahead of time! Dinner goes together much more smoothly even if I've just chopped veggies ahead of time. Sounds like a tasty week for your family!

Judi @ Frugal Frolic said... Best Blogger Tips

I wish I had the time on the weekend to do some preparation in advance -- thanks for sharing your plan!

Magda said... Best Blogger Tips

Where can I find the recipe for the chicken, onion, pepper, arugula stir fry?

Tmuffin said... Best Blogger Tips

Well... I just kind of winged it. I cooked up some onions, garlic, red and yellow peppers (the tiny kind that you can buy in a big bag at Costco), chicken, and arugula and threw in some hoisin sauce and soy sauce and served it over rice. I used maybe 1 TBSP of each sauce. I just kind of tasted as I went along. but it ended up amazing!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...