Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday; 2-in-1

I decided to start doing two weeks of meal planning at a time. The week goes so quickly and, before I know it, I'm staring down Sunday with a dwindling produce selection and not a lot of inspiration. The meals for the following week that can be made ahead and frozen will be, and grocery shopping will be more streamlined. With a five person family, I still try to stay under $800 a month in groceries, and most of the time I'm able to, with some flex for the months of heavy meat purchases. Once I made the commitment to buy only organic and/or free-range meat, I also had to concede that we'd have less meals that included meat so I've been delving into my queue of vegetarian meals. A lot of people shy away from vegetarian meals because they think they'll lack flavor or substance, but that's just not true, it's all in the seasoning and the selection of produce and protein.

I've been pretty salad-heavy in my lunches lately, but will be trying these Eggplant Pizzas from Julia Child as a way to change things up. There are so many good, healthy and hearty options, there's no reason to be left eating your kids' cast-off crusts, or a crappy protein bar on the run. It takes a little more planning and prep time, but once you get in the habit it just becomes part of your day.

For the week of February 17th:

Monday: Quinoa Burgers, using the shredded zucchini in the recipe instead of carrots

Tuesday: Make-Your-Own Taco Bar

Wednesday: This Chili (yes, again-It's good! Making multiple batches by prepping the meat and then dividing into gallon sized bags, ready to thaw and cook next time) and Skillet Cornbread

Thursday: Meaty Lasagna, Salad and Bread (yet another that I'll make multiple of-in 8x8 pans-and freeze)

Friday: Pizza Playdate Dinner-For all the mamas whose husbands work late or travel, it's one night a month that we don't have to worry about dinner alone.

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner; WW Waffles with Berry sauce and bacon. I love Marc Bittman's Quick and Easy waffles-I've used How To Cook Everything to death!)

Sunday: Minestrone (I make this a quad batch by browning enough meat for four batches and then continuing on with only one quarter of the meat for one batch and portioning the others into gallon-sized freezer bags with the remaining ingredients per the freezer instructions), Green Salad and Artisan Bread

For the week of February 24th:

Monday:  Quinoa and Spinach patties with eggs

Tuesday: Fish Tacos with Simple Slaw (cabbage, sour cream or greek yogurt, lime juice, salt and cilantro)

Wednesday: Brisket with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Risotto

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Mom's gone-Boys rule (I'll be having a delicious kid-free dinner in Portland with my bestie to ring in another year for her)

Saturday: Ditto (more kid-free loveliness, including some pampering with girlfriends to celebrate babies and birthdays)

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner; Protein Banana Pancakes and Bacon

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