Posts filed under ‘Menu Plan Monday’

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of May 3

Menu Plan Monday LogoHave you ever noticed how a child’s big school project inevitably turns into a family affair? I suppose in the end it’s a good thing because it’s one of the best ways for the whole family to get involved in the education process and pass along valuable life skills. Our household is in full production mode for a huge project that my daughter is working on to present at school on Thursday. It involves a tri-fold display board with a host of visual aids as well as sample dishes from Italy because the project is all about Italian food. And while we’ve tried to be diligent about working on the project regularly each week, this week is still the final push so we’re going to be very busy for the first three nights of the week. To make things easier, I’m raiding my freezer stash two nights this week so we’re still eating at home but I can focus most of my energies on helping her. The rest of the week we’ll spend as much time on our porch as possible as the weather heats up in Texas and I want to heat my kitchen less-and-less.

I hope everyone has a great and productive week – that’s the goal in our household.

  • Monday: Lemon Butter Cod Filets with Alfredo pasta and Brussels sprouts
    I’m continuing to try and get more fish into our diet. These cod filets are easy and I’ll use a high-quality jarred sauce for the pasta and frozen sprouts that will cook up quickly in the microwave to make this a simple meal.
  • Tuesday: Coffee-Marinated Steak with long grain and wild rice and steamed vegetables [freezer stash]
    My husband can grill these steaks on Tuesday night while the wild rice and vegetables cook so we can split dinner duty and still help with the project. I’ll send everyone out on Wednesday with steak sandwiches for lunch.
  • Wednesday: Mexican Style Meatballs with cilantro rice and black beans [freezer stash]
    All of the elements of this menu pretty much cook themselves with an occasional stir and a time to prevent burning, so we can focus all our energies on completing the final aspects of the project. Leftovers will be great for lunches the rest of the week.
  • Thursday: Breaded Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic with roasted potatoes and asparagus
    Lamb is my daughter’s favorite meat and lamb chops are on sale this week, so we’ll celebrate her presentation success with a special dinner. Lamb cooks quickly and the potatoes and asparagus are dead simple, so while this meal will be fancy, it won’t be difficult.
  • Friday: Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with grilled vegetables
    We’ll relax a bit on Friday night with a simple dinner of shrimp tacos and grilled vegetables out on the porch. After a long week, we’ll be looking forward to some down time.
  • Saturday: Chicken Sausage, Pepper And Onion Hero Sandwiches with raw veggies and baked chips
    I’m a big fan of sandwiches on the weekend because they come together quickly and can flex around our schedules. My daughter is going out with friends on Saturday so she can have her dinner early and the adults can relax with dinner a little later in the evening without my having to make two different meals.
  • Sunday: Grilled Jamaican Pork Loin Chops with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables
    We’re having friends over on Sunday for a relaxed dinner on the porch. This chop recipes features big summer flavors and will be a great way to start the final countdown to the end of school.

May 3, 2010 at 6:34 am 1 comment

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of April 26

Menu Plan Monday LogoI am very happy to report that this week is a completely normal week for me. There are no out of town trips, races, or other big events. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to a few regular nights with the family. While I enjoy the occasional variation on a theme, too much of it becomes a burden instead of a respite from the usual. Because last week’s dinners were almost entirely from my freezer stash, this week I’m going to try some new recipes. This week’s menu plan looks like this:

  • Monday: Oven-Fried Buttermilk Halibut with mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans
    We haven’t been eating as much fish as I’d like so I’m making it a priority for the next few weeks to take advantage of summer fish sales. The family will enjoy this fish because it’s crunchy and reminiscent of fried chicken.
  • Tuesday: Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Roast
    Chicken sausage is always fun because it cooks quickly and is healthy. I’ll make some extra on Tuesday to use in sandwiches on Saturday.
  • Wednesday: Make your own Pizza night
    The whole family loves make your own pizza night and it’s been a while since I’ve been home for it. This will be a fun way to break up the week. We’ll probably pull out a board game or two to add to the fun.
  • Thursday: Foil-Barbequed Trout with Wine with brown rice and roasted asparagus
    I really enjoy cooking fish in foil because it’s easy and the clean-up is a snap. I’ll make extra brown rice to use in the fried rice on Sunday.
  • Friday: Red Glazed Pork Loin Chops with soba noodles and steamed broccoli
    We’ll enjoy these chops out on the porch on Friday night to celebrate a laid-back week. I’ll make extra pork for the fried rice on Sunday.
  • Saturday: Chicken sausage hero sandwiches with baked chips and raw veggies
    This dinner will come together quickly for a no-stress meal. I’ll reheat the chicken sausage in some jarred marinara sauce and serve it with some mozzarella cheese in fresh hoagie bread.
  • Sunday: Pork Fried Rice
    It’s been a while since we’ve had my fried rice stand-by. This week I’ll mix it up a little with pork as the meat and brown rice instead of white. I’m also going to use edamame instead of the usual peas and carrots.

April 26, 2010 at 6:50 am 2 comments

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of April 19

Menu Plan Monday LogoI’ll be brutally honest, last week kicked my butt. Four days of travel hot on the heels of running my first 10k in five years just about did me in. I spent a good amount of this weekend just recovering. I enjoyed time with family and friends, and did some fun shopping with my daughter. I have two goals this week:

  • Prep for another 10k (yup – another one): I’ve discovered that signing up for races helps me stay motivated in my training, so I have another race this weekend and one the weekend after. I’ll be enjoying those carbs once again but am already more relaxed for this race than the last one.
  • Continue to restore my energy: If I’m not careful, I’ll end up wiped out again next weekend because I tried to do too much this week, but it’s not like any of my responsibilities are magically reduced, so I’ll be working hard all week to take care of me while I take care of everything else. To that end, I’ll be raiding my freezer stash pretty heavily this week so my time in the evenings can be largely devoted to family and relaxation.

With all that said, this week’s menu plan is shaping up nicely to help me prep for the coming race and to keep my sanity.

  • Monday: Tilapia Soft Tacos with Chipotle Cream Sauce with black beans
    A healthy fish dinner is a great way to start the week for everyone in my family. This recipe comes together quickly so I won’t be stressing dinner on a Monday night.
  • Tuesday: Lemon-Lime Soda Marinated Chicken Breasts
    with white rice and sautéed broccoli [freezer stash]
    This recipe continues to be a family favorite, and all I’ll have to do is toss the chicken breasts on the grill while the rice and broccoli cook.
  • Wednesday: Orange-Glazed Pork Chops with baked potatoes and green beans
    Let the carb loading begin with a big ol’ baked potato. Leftovers will be great in lunches for the rest of the week
  • Thursday: Mexican Style Meatballs with cilantro rice and black beans [freezer stash]
  • Friday: White Chili with Ground Turkey with cornbread [freezer stash]
    The chili is nutrient dense with lean proteins, making it a great pre-race meal that everyone enjoys. I’ll keep some Fritos around for impromptu Frito pie making over the weekend.
  • Saturday: Greek Pasta with Bison with cucumber and tomato salad [freezer stash]
    This race is on Saturday so I’ll want to end the day with a dish that’s easy to make and will replenish what my body used that day. This casserole from my freezer has high-protein but lean bison along with pasta, and the fresh vegetable salad will be an easy side to put together while the casserole reheats.
  • Sunday: Bacon-Wrapped Barbeque Shrimp
    with grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes
    Everyone can get into the fun of wrapping shrimp for the grill, and the vegetables and potatoes almost cook themselves. We’ll have a casual al fresco dinner to celebrate the successes of the week.

April 19, 2010 at 6:54 am 1 comment

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of April 12

Menu Plan Monday LogoThis week is another travel week for me so the family will be on their own for the better part of the week. I had a great race yesterday but was a little tired so menu planning and packing for my trip almost got the better of me. I’m happy to report that I manage to get everything together, but I relied on some easy filler like tacos and hot dogs because they were easy to plan and are easy for my family to make. When we used to have them every week they dropped off of our favorites list, but now that they only show up every once in a while, they are fun treats when mom is out of town. I’m short on time, so without further adieu, here is this week’s menu plan:

  • Monday: Tacos with fixin’s, rice, and beans
    Tacos are easy to make and everyone can build their own at the “taco bar”. This communal dinner is a great way to get the family together on the first night of the week.
  • Tuesday: Lemon Thyme Chicken Tenders with pasta and steamed Brussels sprouts
    While there’s a bit of chopping and marinating involved, this recipe is very simple and they can manage well while I’m gone. Leftovers will be great for lunches during the week.
  • Wednesday: Hot Dogs and fries
    Who does love a good hot dog dinner now and again? I’ve suggested that the family eat on the porch or throw a picnic on the living room floor to make the evening even more fun.
  • Thursday: Make your own pizza night
    Yet another favorite for everyone involved, pizza night is easy and everyone can have just what they want on their own personal crusts.
  • Friday: Blue Cheese Strip Steaks With Seasoned Grilled Potatoes and artichokes
    To celebrate my first night back in town, we’ll have a lovely steak dinner with some beautiful artichokes I picked up at the farmers market this past weekend.
  • Saturday: Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction with asparagus and long grain and wild rice
    Lamb is a family favorite and I always put it on the menu when it’s on sale. This Saturday evening we’ll share our meal with friends and celebrate the continued coming of spring.
  • Sunday: Honey Pork Tenderloin Kabobs with soba noodles and sautéed green beans
    I’m bringing back the ever-popular food on a stick to end the week. I’ll make extra and we can have it for lunch next week as I settle back into the grove of work.

April 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of April 5

Menu Plan Monday LogoAustin’s annual Capitol 10k race is one of the largest 10ks in the country and I’m running in it this year for the first time in five year. I had a great 7 mile run this morning and think I’m in a good place to have a great race. I enjoy 5k and 10k races as fun adventures, but I’m certainly not a competitor for any awards. Even so, I like to set myself up for the best possible run the week before the race. A big part of that preparation is eating right including getting plenty of carbs starting mid-week. This week’s meal plan is crafted around the race on Sunday. There will be plenty of lean proteins to go with my carbs, and we’ll end the week with steak sandwiches, a family favorite.

  • Monday: Dijon-Crusted Halibut with artichokes and long grain and wild rice
    The breadcrumb crust on this halibut makes it an easy fish dish for everyone to enjoy.
  • Tuesday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar with steamed broccoli and fettuccini Alfredo
    I’ll be visiting my freezer stash this week on the evening of my last long run before the race on Sunday. I’ll have able to have a healthy dinner even with an extra hour given over to training.
  • Wednesday: Spicy Broiled Steak with Garlic with Brussels sprouts and baked potatoes
    Carb loading begins in earnest mid-week and there’s no better way to do that than with baked potatoes. The whole family will enjoy a steak dinner along the way. Leftover steak will become sandwiches on Sunday evening.
  • Thursday: Spicy Asian Grilled Shrimp with edamame and steamed rice
    As I get closer to race day I like to eat lean and easy to digest proteins, along with the necessary carbs. Shrimp are easy and the rice will be great with lunch on Friday.
  • Friday: Orange-Scented Grilled Lobster Tails with grilled vegetables and soba noodles
    I was excited to see lobster tails on sale for race week. They will be a fun treat for the whole family and help me continue with my lean proteins.
  • Saturday: Pre-race dinner at a local pasta house
    The whole family will enjoy my final pre-race carb loading fest at a favorite local restaurant.
  • Sunday: Steak Sandwiches with salad
    I’ll be tired the evening of the race but will still want to have a healthy meal. Steak sandwiches will be easy and fun.

April 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of March 29

Menu Plan Monday LogoLast week’s freezer restocking effort was a success! I’m starting to feel like I’m better prepared for weeks when schedules are hectic or I’m out of town. It’s also nice to be able to plan a “Mom’s night off” evening from cooking so I can spend more time with my family after work. To keep feeding the freezer karma, I’m going to devote most of this week to filling the freezer. Grilling season is approaching, so I’ll be making recipes that are grill-friendly and perfect for eating on the porch. I continue to use the Food on the Table site to help make menu planning and grocery shopping easy. It’s particularly helpful when I’m buying extra of most ingredients to fill the freezer because I base all of my main menu items on what’s on sale. Between the grocery store savings and the fact that we don’t eat out as much, particularly when the freezer is full, we’re really seeing an impact on our bottom line budget.

Now, without further adieu, here’s this week’s menu.

  • Monday: Sweet-and-Sour Skewered Shrimp with soba noodles
    I made these for the first time a few weeks ago and cooked them on a grill pan inside because it was a little too chilly to be grilling. Now that the weather is better I’ll toss them on the grill and we’ll enjoy dinner on the patio. I’ll make extra skewers and have the vegetables for lunch later in the week and the extra shrimp in the fried rice on Wednesday.
  • Tuesday: Lemon-Lime Soda Marinated Chicken Breasts
    with white rice and sautéed broccoli
    This dish continues to be a hit in our house and the chicken breasts freeze beautifully in the marinade. I’ll triple this recipe and freeze two batches. I’ll also make extra rice for Wednesday’s fried rice.
  • Wednesday: Shrimp Fried Rice
    The leftovers from dinner on Monday and Tuesday, along with a bag of frozen edamame will come together quickly for a fried rice this week. I keep thinking my family will get tired of my go-to fried rice, but because I mix it up each week (no pun intended) they seem to enjoy it as a regular menu item. It’s just like the Chinese take-out we used to have every week only less expensive and better for us.
  • Thursday: Coffee-Marinated Steak with Alfredo pasta and artichokes
    This is another great recipe for the grill. I’ll make a quadruple batch, cook two batches and freeze the other two. The leftover cooked steak will be perfect for steak sandwiches this weekend.
  • Friday: White Chili with Ground Turkey with cornbread
    This chili doesn’t have to cook all day so it’s practical on a weeknight. I’ll quadruple this recipe as well and put two batches in the freezer. Leftovers will be the topping for Frio pies on Sunday night.
  • Saturday: Steak Sandwiches with bean dip, corn chips, and fresh veggies
    Saturday night is movie night and there’s nothing more fun that settling in with trays of sandwiches and munchies. Bean dip is surprisingly healthy and adds a little more protein to our world. Fresh veggies are always a hit as finger foods with ranch dressing and we’ll much on them throughout the movie.
  • Easter Sunday: Frito Pies
    This is another menu staple that my family truly enjoys. I’ll be able to use the extra corn chips from Saturday night so they don’t go to waste but we’re not snacking on this special treat all week either. We’re enjoying Easter with friends so our mid-day meal will be filling. Frito pies are a great way to have a light and easy dinner after a long day.

March 29, 2010 at 6:56 am 5 comments

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of March 22

Menu Plan Monday LogoSpring Break is over and spring is in the air here in Texas. We’re prepping for the final sprint to summer and even though it seems like 10 weeks is a long ways away, I know June will be here before we know it. Over the last few weeks I’ve completely decimated my freezer stash so now it’s time to restock. This week’s menu includes four recipes that I can make in big batches to replenish the freezer. I’ll do the same next week and we’ll be nicely squared away for the rest of spring. This week I’m making three different kinds of freezer-friendly dishes:

  • Casseroles that only need to be thawed and heated. These are perfect for nights when I’m home later or not home at all because the family doesn’t need me to put a pan in the oven and set a timer. Throw in a quick back of steamed veggies and dinner is done.
  • Meats that I freeze in their marinades so they are ready to toss on the grill or in the oven after they thaw. Storing the meat in the marinade helps protect it from freezer burn and it absorbs the flavor from the marinade as it thaws on the counter.
  • Meatballs that have 101 uses in the kitchen. From pizza toppers to sandwich filling to appetizers on a skewer, meatballs are a versatile freezer friend that I like to keep on hand. While I prefer to make my own because I know exactly what’s in them, and can take advantage of grocery store sales on ground meat of all kinds, I have been known to buy a bag or two at SAMs club when I don’t have time to make them myself.

What I like best about making extras of my freezer-friendly main dishes is that it takes hardly any extra effort at all. While I do have to use large containers and take the time to properly freeze and label the food, it still takes less time to make four batches of any recipe at once than it would be total time to make those same four batches four different times. With all of that said, this week’s menu is shaping up nicely.

  • Monday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar with long grain and wild rice and steamed broccoli
    I love “the other white meat” because it gives us a break from chicken but is still very healthy. I’ll make 2 extra tenderloins and freeze them in their marinade.
    Tuesday: Greek Pasta with Bison with cucumber and tomato salad
    As I’ve mentioned before, I buy bison when I can instead of hamburger because it’s healthier all around. This pasta casserole will reheat nicely and is a fun twist on the traditional ground beef and pasta dinner. I’ll make two extra casseroles for my freezer stash.
  • Wednesday: Pineapple Chicken Tenders with lo mein noodles and grilled vegetables
    Who doesn’t love food in a stick? My family certainly does. I’ll make four batches of this recipe, freeze two, and cook two. I’ll use the leftover cooked chicken in a fried rice on Saturday night.
  • Thursday: Mexican Style Meatballs with cilantro rice and black beans
    Meatballs in a Mexican-inspired sauce over rice are fun and unexpected. I’ll make four batches of the meatballs without the sauce, freeze two, and cook two. I’ll use the extra cooked but un-sauced meatballs in meatball sandwiches on Sunday night.
  • Friday: Make your own pizza night
    I was inspired by last week’s Life as Mom Frugal Friday post to have a pizza night this week. This is a fun family activity for a Friday night because everyone gets in on the fun making their own pizza. If the weather is good we’ll probably grill our pizzas and eat them al fresco on the porch.
  • Saturday: Chicken fried rice
    Wednesdays chicken becomes quick fried rice with leftover rice from Thursday, a can of pineapple tidbits, and a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and dinner is done.
  • Sunday: Meatball sandwiches with a tossed green salad
    To bring the Italian restaurant home, I reheat the meatballs I made on Thursday night in some jarred pasta sauce. I line sub sandwich rolls with fresh mozzarella, spoon on the meatballs, and run the whole thing under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the rolls are heated through. A nice salad plus a nice glass of wine for the grownups rounds out dinner nicely.

March 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm 1 comment

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