Monday, April 11, 2016

What we've been eating lately...

Meal planning, it's so much work, and yet it also saves so much work in the long run. For a couple of months now I've been trying a new meal planning strategy. At the beginning of each month I come up with the menu for the entire month. I also make four grocery lists based on this giant menu. One big list for the first shopping trip of the month, which includes everything I'll need for the first week's menus, and also all of the non-perishable ingredients for the rest of the month. The other three grocery lists are short: just the perishable ingredients I need for each week. As other items come up I can easily add them to these lists later on.

It is a lot of work at the beginning of the month, but I've noticed that it saves me so much stress and so many trips to the store later on. Also, I think it is saving us money... but I am not absolutely sure about this. And Greg has commented that he thinks we've been eating more variety since I started doing this.

Here are some of the things that have been on the monthly menus in the last few months. Some of the meals belong in more than one category (for instance there are more vegetarian dishes in the crock-pot and ethnic categories).

Pasta dishes:
Tomato Basil Chicken over pasta (this was super yummy and easy!)

Pasta Carbonara

Tortellini with pesto (both pasta and sauce from Costco, we don't get a lot of convenience food but this is one of Greg's favorite things)

Hearty Pasta, Beans and Greens (p22 of Nov/Dec 2014 Cooks Illustrated magazine)

Spaghetti and salad

Crock-Pot dishes:
Crock-pot Mexi-chicken (boneless/skinless chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, a block of cream cheese, a can of black beans, a can of corn, a can of diced green chilies, combine in slow cooker and cook until chicken is done - 4ish hours on high. Dice or shred chicken and serve over rice or with tortilla chips. Will be saucy.)

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Also a super easy recipe! Combine boneless/skinless chicken breasts with a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce, and half a bottle of basic (not low-fat) italian salad dressing. Add a little black pepper and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until cooked through. Take out chicken and dice or shred. While you're cutting up chicken, pour sauce into a pot or pan and reduce on med/high until thickened, about 10 minutes. Put chicken and thickened sauce back into slow cooker to serve. Serve on buns with coleslaw)

Crock-pot black beans, rice & quesadillas

Meat-centric dishes:
Teriyaki Chicken (easy peasy - just boneless, skinless chicken thighs baked in teriyaki sauce, served with rice and veggies)

Flattened Chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies (I love making the chicken this way, brining it helps it turn out moist and flavorful. I usually use the uncooked backbone and any other cooked bones available to make chicken broth for chicken noodle soup later in the week)

Hamburgers with grilled onions and mushrooms

Shepherd's pie (from Sunny Anderson)

Pollack burgers, oven fries, frozen veggies

Ethnic Food:
Indian Tomato Chicken over rice, raw fruit/veggies (this was a hit)

St. Patty's Day Feast (Corned Beef and Cabbage with roasted root veggies - Greg made this) and Irish Soda Bread

Fried Rice and spring rolls with various dipping sauces

"Mexican" food:
Fish Tacos (I just used some good quality fish sticks and topped them with salsa, sour cream, and cabbage/carrot slaw in my tortillas), black beans, chips & salsa on the side


Soft tacos

Enchiladas with verde sauce

Chicken Tortilla soup

Vegetarian meals:
Yum Bowls (rice, beans, olives, avocados, tomatoes, chips, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, cheese and Yumm sauce (we buy ours at Cafe Yumm but here is a link to make your own)

Pancakes & smoothies (we love this pancake recipe, definitely needs to be doubled or tripled!)

Red Beans and Rice, Kale

Spinach Frittata, toast, smoothie

Toad in the Hole (something like this recipe)

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, green beans, and fruit salad (made this for Easter)

Ham and Split Pea soup with bread

Quiche (a favorite around here)

Homemade Pizza and salad

Chef Salad (served with all ingredients in separate bowls - build your own)

1 comment:

Mom said...

You mentioned Yum Bowls; well anything that I've eaten at your house has been YUM! In fact I, loved the Indian style chicken with tomatoes that you served us. Like I told you, I'm not all that fond of chicken and tomato dishes but I certainly want to try the one you made. YUM.