Meal Planning (Intro + menus)

menu

I have recently taken up meal planning.  I am one of those people that spends a small fortune at the grocery store.  I found myself going every other day, filling up my cart with crap when all I really came for was an avocado, and all the sudden I check out and I am paying $65.  I would call my husband on my way home from work and we would go back and forth about what to drum up for dinner.  It was all becoming exhausting.  I know meal planning is nothing new and I have recently found some blogger inspiration to get me going but so far I have been pleased with the process.  Yesterday was a little rough, SJ literally screamed all morning for no apparent reason (toddlers).  My husband is sick and we got in an argument in the ethnic food aisle of Whole Foods because he wanted to leave and I wanted to finish my list (can I PLEASE get the carob chips??). So yeah, it’s not always perfect and can be an investment in your time one day a week, but I still say it’s a win.

I am hoping I can pull it together and start making this a weekly feature on the blog.  I am hoping it will also hold me more accountable to continue to do this.

A few quick notes for how I am finding success.

1. I only plan Sunday – Friday because those are my “work nights” where I like to be at home and prep food.  It is easier for the whole family.  Saturdays we don’t always eat out, but we don’t always cook a meal.  Sometimes we go out for a late lunch and just eat mac and cheese for dinner – it’s a crap shoot.

2. I usually take one night off during the week (Fridays) because since I am a working out of the home mom, I am exhausted and need a break.  Sometimes we get take out, sometimes we have quesadillas. We try not to stress.

3. I try and do a lot of the prep work the night before so it’s ready to go when I get home for work.  This also keeps me on track because you know, I already chopped the carrots and lettuce and we can’t let that effort go to waste!

4. I try to keep things well balanced and easy.  A veg, a grain, a protein – tried and true.

5.  Make a list.  A grocery list that is.  Find your recipes, check your cabinets and fridge and then make your trip to the store organized and relatively painless.  I also find that my cart is now filled with veggies and meats instead of crap and more crap.  I am not aimlessly walking the aisles and leave the store thinking, “did I even get anything to make for dinner?”

So this is what we are making this week.

Sunday: Pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery.  

*Tip for success: make sure to slow cook it on low for the full 8-10 hours.  It is completely necessary for a good roast.

Monday: BBQ chicken wraps with roasted sweet potatoes.  

I had some chicken that was going to go bad, so Saturday night I through it in the crock pot with some BBQ sauce and bam- pulled BBQ chicken.  I want to use this up so I am going to put it in a tortilla with some chopped lettuce, red onion, tomato, avocado, and a little BBQ sauce or salad dressing.  I made roasted sweet potatoes for the first time a week ago and SJ couldn’t get enough so I will be making this as a side dish. (recipe below)

Tuesday:  Cilantro lime shrimp with rice and avocado salad

Wednesday: Asian turkey lettuce wraps

Thursday: Baked chicken Parmesan with rice and salad.  

This is a Laura recipe and easy, bread chicken breasts, bake at 375 degrees, add tomato sauce (I like Arribatta) put a little bit of cheddar or mozzarella on top until melted

Friday: Break night!  I have some cheese tortellini in the fridge as a back up.

I tried to make some baked goods last night for the week.  We had some wins and some loses.  I will share my win, and keep working on my loses.  Stay tuned.

Blueberry bran muffins I made these before when my Dad came into town and they are delicious!  They are also low fat and my toddler loves them.  Winning.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

Chop sweet potatoes into small squares.  Put on a baking sheet and add a little olive oil, red onion, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Bake at 400 degrees until roasted and delicious.

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