Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of February 22 (When Mom Travels)

February 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday LogoI’m traveling again this week and this time I’ll be gone for four days. In years past, travelling for me meant several nights of questionable fast food for my family, but I’ve worked hard to find ways to empower my family to eat well even when I’m gone. I’ll create a meal plan even though I won’t be at home to cook most of it, so it has to be a particularly easy and family-friendly plan. My general rules of menu planning when I’m not going to be home for some or all of the week are:

  • Make a plan and post it. I’ve found that when I make, shop for, and post a menu plan for my family they will generally follow it while I’m gone. They rely on me to plan meals regularly, so if left to their own devices they’ll end up grabbing take out not because they want to, but because it’s the easiest option. When they have a plan it’s just as easy to follow it (if not easier) than to figure out where to eat out each night. Before I leave I print out the plan, recipes, and any special reminders so they have everything they need in one place.
  • Grilling is good. Grilling is a cooking-related activity that my husband is comfortable with. I try to include a couple of different grilling recipes so he doesn’t have to fret too much about cooking. The weather in Texas may turn cold and if so, he can use the grill pan inside on the stove or rearrange the plan to wait for better weather.
  • Plan a special menu before or after I leave. If schedules allow, I like to plan a special meal that takes advantage of sale items like steak or seafood to remind my family that I’m always thinking of them. This week I get to bookend my trip with two special meals that I will look forward to making as much as my family will enjoy eating.
  • Raid the freezer stash. My freezer stash exists specifically for weeks like these. It’s convenient and easy for everyone.
  • Establish “when Mom travels” traditions. I only travel once a month or so, but to help make the disruption a little easier to bear, my family has established food traditions they only break out when I’m gone. Often they’ll have a takeout night, other times they’ll make pizza. Not only do the traditions make cooking easier on my husband, but they give everyone a little something to look forward to while I’m gone.

With all of those rules in mind, this is what my meal plan for the week looks like:

  • Monday: Phyllo-Wrapped Halibut Fillets with Lemon Scallion Sauce with steamed artichokes and long grain rice
    I know the name sounds fancy, but it’s just fish wrapped in pastry with a cream sauce. This will be my treat to my family before I head out of town – they’ll feel extra special but it’s still a practical meal for a week night.
  • Tuesday: Blue Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Burger with fries
    Needless to say burgers are a no-brainer when I’m out of town. A bit of blue cheese (or cheddar for the kids) makes the burgers special but is still easy.
  • Wednesday: Make Your Own Pizza
    This is another fun tradition my family has taken up for when I’m out of town. I buy pre-made pizza crusts plus everyone’s favorite toppings so they can gather round the kitchen island to have a pizza-making party.
  • Thursday: Lemon-Lime Soda Marinated Chicken Breasts with egg noodles and green beans (Freezer Stash)
    This is yet another grill recipe which is perfect for my husband to cook while I’m not home. Egg noodles and a can of green beans are absolutely within my family’s cooking comfort zone, so they can have a “just like Mom makes it” meal even when Mom doesn’t make it.
  • Friday: Barbecue Beef Cups with salad
    This five-ingredient dish is super easy and fun for a Friday night. A quick salad and fruit round out the meal and then it’s time for a movie.
  • Saturday: Post-Competition Celebration
    My daughter is participating in a creative problem solving competition on Saturday, so we’ll continue our tradition of celebrating accomplishments with a nice dinner out. When we tie going out to special events, it makes our meals more meaningful and a more satisfying expenditure of our money. I’m not sure where we’re going yet – they’ll figure it out while I’m gone I’m sure.
  • Sunday: Snow Crab With Diablo Butter with roasted potatoes and broccoli
    I was surprised and excited to see crab on sale this week, and I was quick to add it to the menu. This nice meal helps me end the week with a nice dinner and thank my family for their support of my professional goals.
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Entry filed under: Menu Plan Monday.

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