Tag Archives: menu planning

A Short Menu

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One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to menu planning, and I want to dive right in now, rather than waiting for Sunday, when I usually do my weekly planning. The kids are at their dad’s, so this isn’t a super-detailed plan, but at least I have a plan to go with.

Thursday: Bacon and eggs

Friday: Spanish cod (without the marinated veggies, probably)

Saturday: Italian sausages and peppers in marinara sauce

This gets me to the official menu planning day on Sunday. I am kind of excited about getting back to the menu plan–it makes at least one part of the week smooth, and without having to make decisions.

Menu, Week of 3/11

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I have been missing in action the past few weeks–emphasis on action. I spent a lot of time and energy catching up from my last training trip for work, and then last week I had to travel again. I did make menus for the first two weeks, but last week I was mostly gone, so I didn’t even bother. Next week, we are going on a spring break trip, so I am determined to cook this week. I want maximum of nutrition and minimum of spending money, so no eating out.

Sunday: Peanut coconut chicken curry, rice, salad
I used reduce fat coconut milk rather than the half and half and coconut extract, and I replaced half of the chicken with chickpeas. I also added spinach to make it nice and healthy.

Monday: Butternut squash risotto, honey and hot sauce chicken strips, salad
My mother and daughter will not want the sauce, I am sure, but they can have some plain chicken strips.

Tuesday: Greek-style lima beans with poached eggs, turkey sausage
This is going to be my attempt to recreate a dish I made once, years ago, that I remember was really delicious. Darn kids and their non-lima-bean-loving ways. If if turns out well, I’ll try to post the recipe so that I can do it again.

Wednesday: Salmon burgers, sweet potato and regular fries, steamed broccoli
Easy food the girl can make while I am commuting from the office.

Thursday: Pasta with Tuna, Capers and Tomato, salad
I make a sauce based on the ideas in this post, but a bit more tomato saucy. I do love the capers, lemon zest and small amount of kick from the red peppers, but I like to use tomato sauce to add extra veggie power to the dish. I’ll use corn pasta.

Friday: Pizza
I keep planning on this, but we haven’t actually done it for a while. Friday will be the start of a one-week vacation for me, though, so we are going to go for the pizza–I think one pepperoni, and one goat cheese with veggies.

Saturday we leave to head down to our local YMCA camp. We go every year at spring break time, and it is a fun trip. My daughter usually brings a friend, and we are hoping to bring one of my son’s friends this year, too. He feels left out when Sabrina has a friend and he doesn’t, but he is at the age when boys don’t want to be away from their families for so long. We usually meet up with other kids, though, so he has friends to play with for at least some of the time.

I should have enough leftovers for lunches, but I will need to get some more cereal, soy milk and orange juice for breakfasts. If we get it together and start making smoothies again, we will need another banana run during the week, too, but I am trying to avoid buying things we won’t use before we leave for our trip.

This post will be linked to Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com–lots more ideas over there!

Starting to Plan for Thanksgiving

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I go a little crazy at Thanksgiving time. I love to cook for people, and I tend to cook for my family on the day itself, then do another meal with friends soon after.  I make an insanely huge amount of food, too.

This year, I am thinking about skipping the friend Thanksgiving meal. I do love it, but I may be taking on too many things for the holiday season. I need to ask the kids what they think and do a small poll of my friends to see if they will be available on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I have taken on so many other things, though, I am not sure about taking on a full day of cooking. I am not sure about skipping it, either, though, because it makes me sad to think about missing it.

Regardless, I need to do some planning about the upcoming Thanksgiving time, both food-wise and time-wise. I am taking some time off leading up to the big day, plus the day after, so I want to make sure I am using the time wisely. I will be off this Friday, and every day except Tuesday next week, but I will be working at home on Tuesday, so I could do some baking, in theory. I like to spread the cooking out for a few days so that I am not running around like crazy on the day itself, especially since I like to do a late lunch-time meal. I also want to make sure I use my time off wisely to do some other tasks. So this is another post of lists.

Food for Thanksgiving day (subject to change after I consult my family—or not)

  • Dill dip and rye bread with veggies
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Butternut squash risotto (or possibly cornbread stuffing)
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Turkey
  • Steamed green beans
  • Tropical sweet potato casserole

I have no idea how I am going to do the turkey. I am not sure I have ever made a full turkey, between a spotty history of vegetarianism and just having other people make it (my ex-husband or my dad, usually.) However, the boy is excited to make the turkey this year, so I said we would. My dad did offer to come over and do it on the BBQ grill, though, and I may take him up on that.

I am thinking about doing the risotto instead of my usual stuffing this year for a couple of reasons. First, I have been experimenting with going wheat free lately, and I am thinking it is going well. I have eaten wheat a few times and felt that I was having symptoms related to that, although I have not been systematic about it. A much bigger factor, though, is that I am the only one who likes the stuffing I usually make. I love it, and eat enough to make up for everyone else, but I am thinking I may be better off going to the risotto that I know at least 4 of the 6 of us love. I am considering trying out a cornbread stuffing recipe though, so we’ll see.

I am not sure what to do about dessert this year. I might do a crustless pumpkin cheesecake, or some kind of pudding. This gluten free and dairy free pumpkin pudding looks good. I may have to try that out this weekend to taste test.

Things I can make ahead

  • Dill Dip
  • Cranberry sauce
  • The pumpkin pudding up to baking
  • All the chopping
  • Roasting the butternut squash

Writing Tasks I would like to do in my time off

  • Complete Gaming Angels Holiday Guide
  • Complete The Cult of Lego review
  • Posts for ever day
    • Another budget set up post
    • List of gifts to make
    • Menus
    • <More planning needed here>
  • December Convention post for Gaming Angels
  • A few other Gaming Angels things—featured web magazine, featured web comic, talk to other Pulp Angels team members for ideas and schedules

 Crafts I want to work on

Does this seem like too much? I hope not, because I haven’t even gotten to cleaning and reading and gift shopping.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Menu, week of 6/26

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This week I am focused on greens in the garden. I am sure the kids are going to be thoroughly sick of greens soon, but they are so healthy, and we have a ton of them growing now. I don’t want to waste them.

Tonight:  chili pasta (which is like that boxed helper meal, only made with actual ingredients), broccoli
This was the boy’s suggestion. I haven’t made this in a long time–not since before I started eating meat again.

Monday: Minted lamb burgers with hummus and feta, beef barley soup, sweet potato fries, sauteed greens
I know, two meat dishes is not something I would normally do, but I need to use my leeks, and I would like to have beef barley soup for lunches and stuff through the week.

Tuesday: polenta with sausage and mustard greens
The kids will be at their dad’s on Tuesday, so it is the perfect time to have a dish that calls for hot Italian sausage–something that might cause the girl to spontaneously combust.

Wednesday: beets and greens curry with chickpeas, chicken curry, aloo paratha, basmati rice, chopped salad
I am having my Indian-food eating friend over for dinner this night, which will be fun!

Thursday: layered chicken casserole, rice, broccoli
This is from Cooking for the Rushed, and involves a casserole of pre-cooked chicken, grated cheese and cream of chicken soup. Not my favorite idea, but it involves the girl willingly eating something with a sauce, so I do like that.

Friday: beet green risotto, various leftovers
The risotto will be based on this recipe, but not totally the same– I am thinking that I will roast some beets to add to the dish. I wanted to make this on a night the kids were here, because they will eat almost anything in risotto, but this is where it seems to fall in the planning.


Overall, this should be good–healthy and varied enough to keep me from being bored.

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Update on writing goals:

Once again, I met my goals at the last minute. Here is my third post, I submitted one Pulp Angels post, and I wrote 1090 words in my fiction story. I even did some work on my statistics on women in SF project. All in all, not bad, but I am thinking I need to do more to really make progress as I would like. It is hard to fit it all in, though, with work and kids and friends and the need for some downtime. I am working on it, though.

Menu, week of 6/12/11

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Menu for this week:
Sunday: Gazpacho, salmon burgers, sweet potato fries
I made the gazpacho and the girl did the rest; nice and quick.

Monday: Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, broccoli, Quick Flatbread
I made this last week, and the girl loved it so much that she wanted to cook it for her grandmother tonight. I added onion and carrot last week, and I am going to try to get the girl to do that plus zucchini tonight, because I forgot about the zucchini, and it needs to be used. I made a big pot of navy beans to use in this and other recipes this week this morning.The flatbread batter, made with chickpea flour, is already sitting in the kitchen, waiting for baking time.

Tuesday: French lentils with walnuts and goat cheese, frittata, more flatbread
I didn’t end up making this last week, because I had about 10 minutes for dinner last Tuesday due to a late night at work combined with the need to go to a jewelry party. I love it, though, so I am trying again. The frittata will likely be mostly greens from the garden, because I have a lot of those.

Wednesday: Salmon noodle casserole, peas, unless we go to my dad’s house for dinner
The kids’ favorite. Basically a white sauce with curry powder, Mrs. Dash, canned salmon, soy cheese and egg noodles. They eat the heck out of this dish.

Thursday: Beef barley and leek soup
I will probably add a bunch more veggies to this, depending on what I have on hand, including garden greens.

Today I am going to make Cassoulet with a lot of Vegetables for lunch, probably without meat, since I am just throwing this together with the beans I made this morning, and I don’t think I have any meat on hand for this. I feel so healthy!

Quick menu

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I have been working on a blog post about cooking and menu planning with past menus as illustrations, but it is taking me forever. I keep not wanting to hunt down the links, and then I don’t want to put up newer menus, because I should catch up first. Today, I just decided to start where I am, so here is a quick menu for this week:

Last night: Grilled goat cheese, arugula, and kalamata olive mayo sandwiches, salad, butternut squash soup
I need to use up the arugula and lettuce in my garden, as we are getting past the spring stage now. The kids will had plain grilled cheese, by my mother and I had the full flavor sandwich, based on this idea I got from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn blog.

Tonight Rosemary chicken with white beans
I will be adding sauteed zucchini and carrots to this, and possibly some onion and garlic, because everything seems to be better with onions and garlic

Wednesday: French lentils with walnuts and goat cheese, broccoli and carrot frittata, sliced peaches or apples

Thursday: Meatballs in applesauce with rice and broccoli
We will use about half the amount of beef, but maybe the same amount of sauce; I like the sauce over the rice. We will also probably mix rice and quinoa for the base.

Friday: pizza
I am going to use the Easy Whole grain flat bread recipe from Food Matters as the base, and make a couple of different kinds of pizza–maybe one pepperoni and one goat cheese with veggies.

Nothing too exciting, but it should get us through the week…

A new menu pannning challenge

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I am officially done with vegetarianism.

As you may know, I decided not too long ago that the whole vegan thing is not for me. That led me to read about Tasha over at what used to be Voracious Vegan and is now Voracious Eats, and that led me out to a whole world of ex-vegans on the internet. I have been on the internet regularly for over 14 years now, so I shouldn’t be surprised that there is an online community for practically anything you can think of, but I hadn’t even thought to look for this before.

I have been looking at reducing the amount of carbs that I eat for a while now. I am not looking to be super low-carb, but it seems clear to me that grains are not the best foods for health and weight maintenance–even when they are whole grains. I can’t even point to everything I have seen to lead me in this direction, it’s just something I gradually seemed to see everywhere. I am not interested in policing the carb level of all my foods, but I have been trying to eat less grains, getting rid of as much refined grain food as possible, and limiting whole grains to smaller portions. This is somewhat hard to do on a vegetarian diet, even if you do eat eggs and fish, but I was trying to avoid that. I wasn’t interested in eating meat.

Then I started reading through the interviews with ex-vegans over on Let Them Eat Meat. I was astonished to find how many of them referred to dental problems associated with veganism! I have all the dental problems I was seeing mentioned, from brown spots at my gums to soft, easily broken teeth. In fact, one of my front teeth has completely broken off, and now I have to go to the dentist to get an implant to replace it, something I am not looking forward to doing at all. Now, I am the first to admit I am not a particularly good flosser, but I have always had good strong teeth, so I did not understand the problem. I had read all about the evils of calcium-leaching animal proteins over at Not Milk, so I could not figure out what was going on. Reading these interviews, seeing how many of them mentioned dental problems was really all I needed.

I wasn’t really excited about it, though. I had a lot of my self-image tied up in being vegetarian, which seems kind of silly when I think about it. As I kept reading, I began to be more worried about my overall health. For a couple of months now, I have been feeling more sluggish and even dizzy, which was kind of frightening. I was so careful to eat healthy, I thought. But I was becoming more and more convinced that I have been wrong about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet all along.

Even when I ate meat as an adult, I still thought it would be healthier to be a vegetarian, but I am now thinking I was a victim of extreme thinking. I thought you either ate a high meat diet or a high fruit and veggie diet. I mean, I obviously know that it is possible to combine these ways of eating, and even that many people do it successfully, but it wasn’t something I did very often. Although, as I thought about it, I realized I did do that one time in my life–eat meat, but also eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. That was back when I lost a lot of weight a few years ago–something like 40 or 50 pounds over the course of a year or so, without really trying that hard.

So, the evidence was becoming clear. I was wrong about meat eating, and my health was suffering because of it. It is time to be done with it.

My children are thrilled. Fortunately, they never completely stopped eating meat. They ate it with their father, and at my parents’ house, and when we would eat out at restaurants. They are glad that they will be able to eat it here now, too.

It took a long time to make a menu today, though! I had to find some new recipes, and get back into the habit of including meat in the plan. I am a little bit nervous about my grocery store bill coming up, but surely it won’t be too bad since I am doing the list and trying not to overbuy. Here is what I came up with:

Saturday: Amazing chicken stew on rice (The Healthy Family, p. 114)–this has a lot of veggies in it, and the boy says he is very excited about it, so I am sure this will be a winner

Sunday: Salmon patties, creamed corn, steamed green beans–this is the recipe I learned from my mother as a teenager, so it is comfort food for me

Monday: Pork tenderloin with artichokes and capers, mashed red potatoes, steamed broccoli–as I started thinking about eating meat again, this recipe popped to mind, because it is so delicious; I didn’t even know I missed it

Tuesday: Chicken and Biscuit (Rachel Ray’s Big Orange Book, p. 210)–from the cooking for one section, again with lots of veggies, and quick and easy in one pot

Wednesday: Gnocchi with fresh chicken sausage and broccoli rabe (Rachel Ray’s Big Orange Book, p. 179)–the kids love gnocchi, so I am hoping this will help them to reconcile themselves to combined foods and flavor and all that (by which I really mean the girl–they boy likes flavor)

Thursday: Hurried goulash with egg noodles and peas (The Healthy Family, p. 106)–the girl is cooking this, even though it has a sauce!

Friday I have belly dancing, and I am thinking there may still be some leftovers, so I am not planning a meal. I hope this goes well!