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Weekly Vegan Meal Plan {Week 3}

Check out this week’s vegan meal plan. With pictures, recipe links and reviews, hopefully you will find something tasty to make! This week’s menu includes a pizza, ramen soup, a veggie burger and more….and a lot of fries!

Sunday: Nacho Pizza – Our Nacho Pizza was inspired by this recipe, but we really didn’t follow it all. Instead of homemade guacamole, we used prepackaged guacamole from Aldi’s. We topped the guacamole with the leftover quinoa taco “meat” from earlier in the week instead of using the taco meat recipe. We were due for a grocery trip and didn’t have many veggies left, so we topped it with some bell pepper and olives (on half – for Dana and me). Overall, this was just “eh” for us. It was more of a use-it-up recipe. However, with more toppings, I think it has potential.

Monday: Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes with Cheese Sauce and Avocado Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad – I chose these two recipes from the same blog. While the potatoes were baking, I made the cheese sauce and started the salad. I used frozen broccoli that didn’t roast very well in the oven. I recommend using fresh broccoli. The recipe made a ton of cheese sauce. The potato recipe was just okay. The kids don’t like sweet potatoes, but with the broccoli and cheese didn’t complain too much about eating it. The salad was a great complement to the potatoes. We all loved the salad and I see it being made a lot over the summer. I only used one carton of cherry tomatoes and one avocado, instead of the recommended two of each, and I thought the salad had enough “stuff.”

Tuesday: Spicy Sofritas Tofu Bowls – Have you had the Sofritas from Chipotle? This recipe is supposed to be a copycat of that. I was cautious in not making the sofritas too spicy, since I wanted to make sure the kids could eat it. I only used one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and one tablespoon of the adobo sauce in the sofritas sauce. This ended up being the perfect amount of heat for them. I may have broken the tofu up too much, as it looked like mush. But it was very flavorful! I made rice bowls with black beans, lettuce, tomato and salsa. Guacamole would have been a great addition, but we used it up on the Nacho Pizza.

Wednesday: Asian Chick’n Wrap with Spicy Tahini Sauce – This was a quick and easy, barely any cooking type of recipe. The original recipe called for Beyond Meat “Chicken” strips, but I have never seen these at my grocery store. I used Franklin Farms Chickenless Seitan. We realized only when putting the wraps together that we should have gotten two packages. So, these wraps were heavy on the salad and light on the “chicken.” Shoprite was out of tahini when we went grocery shopping and we never made it back this week to try and get more. We made the sauce with peanut butter instead and it was still delicious. We served the wraps with fries.

Thursday: Coconut Curry Ramen – Dana took a trip to HMart this week and picked up the noodles, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy that I used for this recipe. While the tofu baked, the rest of the recipe came together. So, this was made in about 30 minutes. We have made ramen before, but the addition of curry powder gave this ramen a unique flavor profile. We all enjoyed this dinner!

Friday: Lentil Sloppy Joes – Dana chose this as his recipe for the week. Neither me nor the kids really like lentils. But, when it’s your night to cook you get to pick the recipe. Dana made this in the Instant Pot, but there are also directions for cooking it in a slow cooker or on the stove top. We do not have liquid smoke so ours were missing the smoky flavor. When we did the grocery shopping Shoprite didn’t have coleslaw mix, so our sloppy joes were missing that as well. These weren’t bad, but we weren’t raving about them, as 3/4 of us don’t like lentils. We had these with some kettle potato chips.

Saturday: Veggie Burgers – We have eaten A LOT of veggie burgers over the past couple of months. However, my son was the first of us to tackle making homemade ones. This recipe was easy to make with a black bean base. Since any diced veggies of choice can be added, we added sauteed onion and zucchini. The recipe says it makes 4-6 burgers. However, we only got 3 burgers out of it. Luckily, we had enough ingredients to double it, so we ended up with 6 burgers. The burgers are good. They are soft and were falling apart a bit. But, they were tasty! We served these with fries.

Recommended Dinners of the Week: Coconut Curry Ramen, Asian Chick’n Wraps and the Avocado Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad.

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Weekly Vegan Meal Plan {Week 2}

Check out this week’s vegan meal plan. With pictures, recipe links and reviews, hopefully you will find something tasty to make! This week’s menu includes meatballs, tacos and breakfast for dinner.

Sunday: Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce, Tostones, Sauteed Zucchini and Rice and Gandules. This was my requested Mother’s Day Dinner that the family cooked for me.

Monday: Vegan Burritos – This was my son’s recipe for the week. I helped him, but it was actually easy to make. He made the seasoned corn and beans while I made the pico de gallo. We used store bought guacamole and cooked the rice in the rice cooker. We did not make the sundried tomato basmati rice and used plain white rice. These were easy and tasty!

Tuesday: Vegan Cauliflower Meatballs with Pasta – My daughter’s favorite meal before becoming vegan was spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve tried a couple of different meatball recipes but still haven’t found, “the one.” These required a bit of prep work and I thought I’d be turned off by the use of oats. The kids said that it reminded them of stuffing, which was a result of the Italian seasoning blend that we used. Overall, these get a not bad. I served with pasta and marinara sauce.

Wednesday: Vegan Breakfast Hash – Another breakfast for dinner recipe! The only change I made was omitting the vegan sausage. This was easy to cook. Vegetarians can add an egg on top. I served this with buttered toast. Everyone enjoyed this.

Thursday: Sticky Orange Tempeh with Maple Thyme Roasted Vegetables – Dana had to run out to the store Thursday morning to find some tempeh for me to make this. This was an easy to make recipe for those who like tempeh. However, after tonight we won’t be making tempeh again. It has nothing to do with this recipe. I may even try the sauce on tofu. It’s just that we’ve already tried tempeh several times and finally agreed that none of us actually like it!

Friday: Quinoa Taco Meat – This was Dana’s recipe of the week. I have to say, I’m not a fan of quinoa, as I find it to be a bit mushy. But after the quinoa is cooked in this recipe, it gets baked, which firms it up a little bit. Plus, it gets mixed with salsa, which gives it some flavor. Once we added all the toppings, it was a tasty taco. He made a cilantro lime rice to go with it.

Saturday: Tofu in Indian Simmer Sauce (Vegetarian, Not Vegan) – So, we didn’t actually “cook” tonight. We simmered tofu in a store bought, jarred sauce. And the sauce wasn’t vegan since it contained milk. We served it with naan, samosas and leftover cilantro lime rice for a super easy, lazy weekend dinner.

Recommended Dinners of the Week: Vegan Burritos and Vegan Breakfast Hash

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Weekly Vegan Meal Plan {Week 1}

Our family has been vegan now for almost 5 months now. Way back when, I used to post our weekly meal plans. I’d share them a week behind, so I could post pictures and give a short review – did we like the recipe?, what changes we made, etc. During this pandemic, besides working from home, most of our time has been spent in the kitchen cooking. So, I thought that I’d start sharing our weekly vegan plan. With the current meat shortage, I feel like more people will be cooking meatless dinners a little more often. I am not here to convert anyone. We became vegan for health reasons. If you are already vegan, maybe you haven’t tried some of these recipes. And if you’re not, maybe some of these vegan dinners will appeal to you and make you want to try one for your next Meatless Monday!

Sunday: Mediterranean Vegan Eggplant Roll Ups – This meal was pretty labor intensive, which is why I chose to make it on a Sunday. I served it with a side of pasta. In my opinion, the end result wasn’t worth all of the effort. My daughter didn’t like the cauliflower rice (and she usually likes everything!). Not worth repeating.

Monday: Simple Crispy Vegan Falafel Bowls -This was my son’s recipe for the week. Our family loves falafel and probably have it at least once a month. This particular recipe called for red pepper flakes which gave the falafel a little kick. We cooked these in the air fryer. They came out crispy on the outside but a bit mushy on the inside. I think we may have to try frying the falafel to get them really crispy.

Tuesday: Vegan Caramelized Mac n’ Cheese – We are huge cheese fans, and it’s definitely one of the foods that I have been missing since becoming vegan. I’d rather omit the vegan “cheese” in a recipe since it does not taste anything like the real thing. This particular recipe intrigued me because it uses eggplant as the base of the sauce, with the promise of the sauce not tasting like the vegetable. Well, we did not agree. We all could taste the eggplant, which wasn’t bad, but it doesn’t pass for mac and cheese. The kids were not fans at all. Not worth repeating.

Wednesday: Vegan Bombay Potatoes – We have made a variety of different Indian inspired dishes since becoming vegan. This dish is made of chickepeas and potatoes in a spiced tomato sauce. I served it over rice with a side of naan. This was one of my daughter’s favorite meals of the week and she’s already asked me to make it again!

Thursday: Vegan French Toast – My daughter does not enjoy finding recipes, nor does she enjoy cooking….baking is a totally different story. We are such opposites! On her nights to cook she tries to find the easiest recipes she can. Breakfast for dinner has always been a hit with the fam. This week she chose french toast. Instead of the ciabatta the recipe called for, I had her use a regular loaf of white bread. While she cooked the french toast, I made sauteed apples that we served on top. This was the first time that we had french toast in months. It was tasty and we will be making it again.

Friday: Black Bean Vegan Empanadas – Dana chose this for his recipe of the week. The recipe made enough for each of us to have two empanadas….although we all could have eaten at least two more! These were really tasty and we can’t wait to try different types of fillings using the phyllo dough as the empanada dough. He served these with sauteed garlic spinach.

Saturday: Taco Pasta – I switched dinners on the meal plan mid-week and didn’t realize that I ended up with two dinners back-to-back with similar flavor profiles. I also didn’t realize when I went to make this that I was out of taco seasoning. So I used fajita seasoning instead, which definitely changed the flavor a bit. Overall, this was an okay dish and one of the few taco pasta recipes that I found that didn’t call for some type of plant-based “meat.”

Recommended dinners of the week: Black Bean Empanadas, Vegan Bombay Potaotes and Vegan French Toast.

What’s Cooking? – A Weekly Meal Plan {Week 5}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool for me, and ensures that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Spanish Beef Stew from Every Day with Rachael Ray.  This is one of those “Make This, Then Make This” type recipes.  Of course, I didn’t read the recipe through and when I went to make it at 5 PM, noticed that it has a 2 hour cook time.  There was no way we were eating after 7 PM, so the Instant Pot to the rescue.  I put everything in the Instant Pot and then cooked it on the stew setting for 35 minutes.  It took a little bit of time to prep and then have the Instant Pot get to heat.  But it was a lot less than 2 hours!  Unfortunately, we thought the stew lacked flavor and we weren’t big fans of it.  I served the stew over white rice, instead of with the yellow rice that the recipe suggested.

Tuesday – I made Beef & Pepper Jack Enchiladas from Every Day with Rachael Ray, as the second recipe of the “Make This, Then Make This.”  I used the leftover beef stew and turned them into enchiladas.  I put the leftover white rice into the tortilla along with some shredded cheese.  However, I didn’t use pepper jack.  I used taco mix cheese and cheddar jack.  The enchiladas weren’t bad and were different than the usualones we eat.  I served these with yellow rice and veggies.

Wednesday – My husband and I went to his company awards dinner, so no cooking for me.  We made the kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.

Thursday – My husband made Ricotta Naan with Fried Eggs and Sweet Potato Fries from Half Baked Harvest.  The sweet potato fries took some time to cook (about 40 minutes).  But otherwise, there was relatively little cooking, just making the ricotta mixture and frying the eggs.  This was a tasty vegetarian meal that was easy to put together.

Friday – We made our usual homemade cheese pizza.  Quick, easy and tasty!

What are you having for dinner this week?

What’s Cooking? #4 {A Weeky Meal Plan}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Here’s another edition of What’s Cooking?, a weekly meal plan providing you some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool, ensuring that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday – I made Easy Beef Picadillo from Savory Tooth.  This was easy to make and was really tasty!  I had never made, or even eaten, beef picadillo before, but this was good!  The kids really liked it as well, minus the green olives.  I served it with rice and veggies.

Tuesday – I made Leek-y Chicken and Couscous from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals.  I’ve made this dish before and we enjoyed it.  Since it’s quick, easy I decided to put it on rotation again….a couple of years later!

Wednesday – I made Philly Cheese Steak Burgers from Dinner Then Dessert.  I omitted the rib eye steak from the recipe.  I thought that with the beef patty was a bit much.  I discovered that you need a heartier roll than a regular hamburger roll.  Ours got a bit soggy and was difficult to hold the burger with the onions and peppers. After making this, I realized that I’ve made a burger like this before, just not this particular recipe.  In my opinion, the burger needs more seasoning than just salt and pepper.  Burgers tend to be a fairly quick and easy meal.  They’re even quicker when the burgers are pre-made the night before and just need to be cooked.  I served these burgers with fries.

 Thursday – I made 15-minute Sesame Ramen Noodles from How Sweet Eats.  This is one of the quickest meals I’ve made and it’s tasty!  I used four packages of ramen noodles for the four of us and there were no leftovers.  I could have probably used one or two more packages of ramen, since there were hardly any noodles left for seconds.  I served this with edamame.

Friday – We had a ton of fries left over from Wednesday’s burger night.  My husband decided to make Nacho Fries for dinner.  Unfortunately,  they weren’t that great.  It was a great idea, but I guess poorly executed.  He add shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped tomato and sour cream.

What are you having for dinner this week?

What’s Cooking? {Week 3}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Check out this week’s edition of What’s Cooking? for some dinner inspiration.  Meal planning is an essential organization tool, ensuring that I get dinner on the table each night.  I try to find new-to-me recipes that are quick and easy.  Hopefully, you will get some ideas for your dinner this week, based on the pictures and reviews of what I made this week!

Monday –  Have I mentioned how my son hates leftovers?  Well, we had a lot of leftover ham from Easter.  I froze a bunch of it. But, I saved enough to make a couple of recipes with it so we weren’t eating straight up leftover ham.  Monday I made Instant Pot Ham & Broccoli Mac and Cheese.  I will be posting a recipe soon for this!  Super quick and easy and enjoyed by the family.  I LOVE using our Instant Pot!

Tuesday –  I made Instant Pot Butter Chicken from Damn Delicious.   Technically, butter chicken is not the same as chicken tikka masala.  However, it tastes very similar.  This is another easy Instant Pot recipe.  However, I find when cooking in the Instant Pot, it is essential to have all of your ingredients prepped and nearby, including spices, etc.  I served this butter chicken with Basmati rice, string beans and naan. The naan is super useful in mopping up all the sauce.   This was another dish that was enjoyed by us all.

Wednesday – I made Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Joy Food Sunshine.  They are allegedly better than P.F. Chang’s, but I’ve never had the original, so don’t have anything to compare it to.  These were really easy to make and super tasty.  The sauce was especially delicious! I served the wraps with edamame.  I wasn’t sure that they’d be filling enough so I had my husband walk over to the local Chinese take-out restaurant and pick us up some egg rolls to go with it.

Thursday – I made ham and pineapple fried rice to use up the leftover ham I had saved.  I don’t have a recipe for this, since it changes with what I have on hand. I used diced onion and red pepper, soy sauce, egg and diced, canned pineapple.  I also added the leftover edamame from the previous night’s dinner.  Fried rice is always a family-approved dinner and it’s so easy to make.

Friday – My husband stopped at HMart on the way home from work since we needed a restock on rice, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.  He also picked up some bulgogi and pork belly for us to cook.  I was a bit disappointed with the marinated bulgogi and thought it lacked flavor.  However, the pork belly was delicious as usual.  We had this with rice and kimchi (or at least I had the kimchi, which was super spicy!).

What is on your dinner menu this week?

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What’s Cooking? {Week 2}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

Do you have your dinners planned for the week?  If not, hopefully you can get some inspiration from this week’s edition of What’s Cooking?  Since I’ve been back to work full-time, my goal is to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible.  As you can see from this week’s meal plan, sometimes it means a mix of already prepared foods and dinners from scratch.  You can read more about our meal planning process if you’d like to see how I create my weekly meal plan.

Monday – I adapted this Lamb, Feta & Couscous Stuffed Peppers recipe from Rachael Ray Every Day, September 2014.  I couldn’t find ground lamb at the grocery store so used meatloaf mix instead.  This turned out to be pretty tasty!  I enjoyed getting extra veggies in with the chopped zucchini.  I served this with some veggies.

Tuesday – I made Pierogies.  Not the homemade kind, the frozen, Mrs. T’s Pierogies kind.  I boiled them first and then sauteed in a pan with butter.  I served the pierogies with sauteed onions and a salad.  I hadn’t made pierogies in awhile but will be making them more often.  I made two boxes of the loaded baked potato variety. Both kids had seconds and I had to cut them off so there would be enough for my husband to eat when he got home!  Next time, I will have to make three boxes!  I served these with veggies.

Wednesday – I made One Skillet Chicken Parm from I Wash You Dry. I liked that the chicken is not fried and that everything is cooked in one skillet. I ended up cooking cheese tortellini instead of pasta and I served it with a Caesar salad.

Thursday – I made Chicken Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce.  My husband bought Ortega Blue Corn taco shells and this recipe was on the back.  I used a chicken taco seasoning packet.  For the creamy cilantro sauce I used mango salsa, which gave the sauce a nice sweetness.  The sauce really made the tacos and was delicious.  (Sorry, the pic isn’t great!).   I served this with some salad.

Friday – My husband made regular cheese pizza.  Always a hit and so quick and easy to make using store bought dough.

What is on your dinner menu this week?

What’s Cooking? {A Weekly Meal Plan – Week 1}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for more details.)

Back in October I stopped posting a weekly meal plan on the blog.  However, since I started working full-time I’ve realized what a useful resource this can be.  Although I occasionally post recipes here on the blog, I don’t consider myself a food and recipe blogger.  So, I’ve decided to bring back a weekly meal plan, called “What’s Cooking?”  Expect a Monday through Friday meal plan where you find mostly new-to-me recipes that I’ve cooked along with photos and my family’s reviews.  I’m hoping that this weekly meal plan will help you find new recipes to add to your dinner rotation! If you are interested, you can read all about my meal planning process!

MONDAY– I made Apple-Cheddar Turkey Burgers from Everyday with Rachael Ray, December, 2011.  This is actually a recipe that I have made before.  I used regular-sized english-muffins and only a little over a pound of ground turkey.  I ended up with five smaller-sized burgers.  My son doesn’t like whole-berry cranberry sauce, so I bought a can of regular cranberry sauce.  I think the flavor of the burgers depends on the grill and poultry season you use.  I used this poultry seasoning and a dash of Old Bay and  I served the burgers with seasoned curly fries.

TUESDAY – I made Corned Beef and Hash with the leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t use a recipe.  I sauteed an onion in some oil in our cast iron skillet.  Then I added some peeled, diced potatoes and cooked for about 20 minutes, flipping them a couple of times.  Once the potatoes were cooked and browned, I added the diced corned beef.  I heated through for a couple of minutes and then topped with some fried eggs.  This was a quick and easy dinner.  It used up leftovers and the kids loved it.

WEDNESDAY – I made Egg Roll in a Bowl from my own blog.  I make this once every couple of months but should make it more often.  It’s so quick and easy and it’s really tasty!  I serve it over rice, but you can eat it as-is for a low-carb meal.

THURSDAY – I made Sausage, Egg, Cheese and Croissant Bake from Diary of a Recipe Collector.  This recipe takes an hour to cook, so not a quick recipe.  However, it can be prepared the night before.  I actually made this on a snow day, when we were all home, so I prepped it in the morning.  It was nice not having any dinner prep later in the day and just had to stick this in the oven.  This wasn’t bad, as far as breakfast casseroles go.  My husband even mentioned this dish as a possible Christmas morning breakfast.

FRIDAY – My husband and I had dinner plans with our Supper Club and my daughter was eating with her troop at a Girl Scout event.  It was just my son who needed to eat dinner and he wanted grilled cheese and ramen.  Yes, we made him the store-bought, super-cheap ramen packets.  We always put in half the seasoning packet to cut down on sodium. They are just so quick and easy!  While I don’t have a picture of his dinner, here’s a picture of the duck fat seared octopus I had as a starter at our dinner out!

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A Peek Inside our Meal Planning Process

 

Check out how I make our family's weekly meal plan.

Meal planning is crucial in making our family dinner time run smoothly.  It also helps keep our grocery bill within a reasonable range each week.  There are many ways to meal plan and there is no one tried and true method.  You honestly have to figure out and do what works best for your family.  I am showing you how I create our weekly meal plan which will hopefully give you some tips and inspiration. IMG_1090[1] 1.  The Calendar:  You can find fancy, online printables if that will help motivate you.  In our house we don’t go the fancy route.  As seen above, I use the back of a piece of scrap paper and set up a monthly calendar.  I plan our menus weekly and write the meals in pencil, so I can erase and move things around if needed.

2.  The Day:  The grocery circular for Shoprite, where we do most of our shopping, comes on Saturday with our newspaper.  Over the weekend I write out the menu and make the grocery list.  Then I do the actual shopping Monday.

3.  Time:  I’m not going to lie.  Meal planning takes time.  Especially in the beginning if you have never done it before.  Even now, it sometimes takes me about an hour, but that’s because I enjoy it.  I rarely, if ever make the same recipe twice.  So, it can take me awhile to go through all of my recipe resources (see below) and pick out the new recipes I want to make for the week.  Once you’ve been meal planning for a little bit and have found some recipes that your family enjoys, you can repeat them throughout the month.

4.  Resources:  So, where do you find recipes?  Well, you can start here on my blog, at the recipe index!  Really though, there are so many food blogs out there, ranging from family focused, quick and easy meals, to more involved recipe blogs.  It can actually be quite overwhelming!  I subscribe to several food blogs and get new posts e-mailed to me.  Here are a few blogs that I use often and recommend:

Closet Cooking – Some of the recipes can be a little more involved but Kevin posts recipes for dishes with a variety of flavors and different cuisines.

Damn Delicious  – For quick and easy, family-friendly dishes.

Melanie Makes – For more quick and easy, family-friendly dishes.

Half Baked Harvest and How Sweet Eats are both great blogs with consistently good recipes.  I’ve rarely made a recipe from these blogs that wasn’t delicious.  However, some of these recipes can be a bit involved or require a bunch of ingredients.

Try cooking recipes from several different blogs.  You will eventually find you like certain bloggers’ recipe choices, presentation, photographs, etc. over others.  You don’t need to subscribe to all of them! I have two folders in my web browser favorites.  One is titled “Recipes” and anytime I see a recipe I want to make I bookmark it there.  If I decide to make the recipe, I bookmark it in the “Cooking This Week” folder, so it’s easier to find when needed.

I also subscribe to Cooking Light and Every Day with Rachael Ray and highly recommend both magazines.  Instead of keeping piles of magazines lying around, I rip out the recipes that interest me and stick them in a folder.

For beginner cooks I highly recommend the website Allrecipes.com.  You can search for recipes by a number of different factors, including ingredients or name.  I’ve found most recipes that I’ve used from the site easy to make.  It’s especially helpful since there are tons of ratings and reviews.  If a recipe has lots of five star ratings, it’s probably going to be good.

Several bloggers post a “Meal Plan Monday” where they share their upcoming weekly menu, often with links to the recipes that they are making.  While you probably won’t follow a blogger’s exact weekly meal plan, it can be helpful for inspiration.  I recently stopped posting my weekly meal plan, but you can find over 85 of my past weekly meal plans for some ideas!

Here are some blogs that I’ve found that share a weekly “Meal Plan” post:

I’m an Organizing Junkie – Not only does Laura provide her weekly menu plan, she also hosts a link-up where other bloggers can link up their weekly menu plan.  Check this blog out for loads of inspiration!

Skinnytaste – for some lighter, healthier meals.

And let’s not forget about Pinterest.  There are millions of recipes posted on that site.  Start creating boards of recipes that you see that interest you and you can refer to your board for inspiration when meal planning!

I’ve found that as much as I enjoy reading cookbooks, I don’t use them very often, since most recipes can easily be found online.  I do have several older editions of the Cooking Light Annual Recipe collection cookbooks.  They have the whole year of recipes from the magazine bound nicely into one book.

Again, the recipes you choose will really depend on your family’s food and dietary preferences.

5.  The Planning:  If you are new to meal planning, it might be easier to start with some recipes that you know your family eats and enjoys and maybe aim for one new recipe a week.  I recommend you use your grocery store circular to start your planning.  If chicken is on sale this week, I recommend making at least one chicken dish and buying some extra chicken that you can freeze for the future.  Some people prefer to have a themed dinner for each day, like Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday.  This helps in keeping a consistency to meal planning.  My meal plan varies from week to week.  I try to have a meatless meal, a chicken dish a pasta dish, a burger/sandwich, etc.  Other weeks I sometimes plan by cuisine.  I will plan to have a Mexican-themed dish, an Asian-themed, breakfast for dinner, pizza, etc.  Sometimes, if I find a bunch of interesting chicken dishes at one time, I will pre-plan and space them out throughout my monthly calendar.  Once I find a recipe that I decide I’m going to make, I write it in pencil on the calendar, along with the name of the source (blog name, magazine, website).  Although I will have my five recipes for the week written in, I won’t necessarily make them in that order.  When we eat each meal depends on factors like which dishes have produce that may spoil or how busy our schedules are.  I will then write in each box, what day I actually plan on making that dish.

6.  Grocery List:  I then take my grocery list and go through the recipes I plan on making for the week.   I write down the ingredients that I need for each recipe on the grocery list.  I circle the recipe on the calendar to know that I made sure I had everything I needed for that recipe.  Like I mentioned previously, I will stock up on proteins, chicken, ground beef, pork chops, etc. when they are on sale so I have them for the future.  I recommend stocking up on other staples when they are on sale as well.  There’s nothing like having to buy something at full price for a recipe, when it was on sale last week!  Pasta, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, etc. are all items that you will probably use a lot of.

I hope this helps give you a better idea on how to meal plan, if this is new to you!  Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or e-mail me.  I’d love to hear how others meal plan and am always looking for tips on how to make the process easier!

 

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 89}

2017 calendar

Monday, Monday, back so quickly!  Time to start another week and another weekly meal plan. If you’re new to meal planning, you can read all about my meal planning process.  This is the last week of my weekly meal plan posts. You can still see my more photogenic dinners (and other tasty eats) by following me on Instagram.  Plus, there are 88 other weekly meal plans that you can check out on the blog! I look forward to posting a wider variety of food and restaurant related posts.

Saturday:  I had spent the day at my parent’s house with the kids visiting my nieces.  My husband stayed home, sick with a cold.  My mom sent me home with some homemade chicken soup which he enjoyed.  The rest of us had leftover calzones.

Sunday:  My daughter requested tacos for dinner.  My husband made ground beef tacos which he served with yellow rice.

Monday:  This week I tried another Make Once, Cook 3x recipe from Cooking Light, September 2016.  I made Sheet Pan Swedish Meatballs.  I made 42 meatballs that were then divided up into three different recipes.  I made my meatballs with just ground beef, since the grocery store didn’t have ground pork the day I went food shopping.  The meatballs weren’t super flavorful but the sauces and recipe variations helped.  I served these Swedish meatballs over mashed potatoes, as recommended, and with some veggies.

Tuesday:  Using some of the leftover meatballs from Monday, I made Greek Stuffed Pitas from Cooking Light, September 2016.  I added some sliced cucumber to the pitas.  Unfortunately, the pitas that I bought were thin. When I put all the “stuff” in them, they fell apart as soon as I picked it up.  So, we ended up eating these with a fork and knife! Cucumber yogurt sauce can make anything taste good!

Wednesday: The last recipe using the meatballs was this Banh Mi Bowl from Cooking Light, September 2016.  Quick pickling the carrots and radishes is a game changer!  I didn’t realize how easy it was to do and the flavor is amazing!  I seriously could just eat these veggies.  This was my favorite meatball dish of the three.  I think I’d make this again using a more Asian flavored meatball.

Thursday:  I made Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry from Chef Savvy.  Would you believe that I forgot to buy the broccoli for this recipe and only realized it when I was starting to cook?!!  This was a tasty sauce and it actually thickened like it was supposed to!  This is a quick, easy and tasty recipe.  I served it over rice.

Friday: Mr. NY Foodie Family went fishing Friday morning with some guys from work.  He caught eight Porgies on his fishing trip.  When he got home he fried up the fish and made us FLT (Fish, Lettuce, Tomato) sandwiches for dinner.  He served them with fries.

What is on your dinner menu this week?