Starting the New Year Back on Track

Mama's meal planning journal.

I've posted about our meal planning before, true. However, my resolutions this year are: meal plan every month, get more greens into our bodies, and use this blog more often. I know there are many many meal planning, cooking, Mommy-blogs out there, but I still like sharing and maybe our amateur ways can help someone take a step to more cooking at home. Nothing we make is super crazy hard, and rarely do we have to go outside the local Giant Food Store to find an ingredient. We have simply found a way to make eating (semi) healthy throughout the week work for us!

In late 2014, I started REALLY meal planning. Like, arming myself with calendar, cookbooks, game plans...everything. What we found was twofold. One, we ate better and two, our grocery budget for the month was never used up. We actually spent way less when we planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner via opposed to grabbing even a cheap cup of soup at our respective cafeterias. 

All I do is sit down with the family calendar, all in one place now, thanks to my learning about Cozi, and write out the week, along with important planning notes. For example, on Daisy Scout weeks, I know dinner needs to either be simple that night, or a reheat so we can get out the door quickly or have dinner on the table in short order after the meeting. That night's meal will not be a "hey! Let's try a new Tim Allen recipe!" night.  (However, I really recommend trying his recipes when you do have time...YUM!)  Sundays are a BIG cooking day, a large meal that will form the base protein for the week and cooking for lunches.  The whole family gets involved, and it is kind of fun! 

Family cooking selfie!

With all that (rambling) said, here is the plan for the first full week of 2015:

Breakfasts are (almost) always the same: green smoothies for Mama and Daddy, cereal for Evie.

SUNDAY: Dinner: Roast Chicken with rice and sprouts.  Week Prep: see below

                  Roast 2 Chickens
                  make enough Brown rice for tonight, lunches, and beans and rice night.
                  saute Brussels Sprouts in olive oil, lemon juice, and kosher salt

                  Take two full chickens, remove organs, place in roasting pan.  Mix olive oil, lemon juice,
                  rosemary, and garlic.  Rub over chicken, in cavity, and under skin.  Cover chickens with a
                  healthy sprinkling of kosher salt.  Place quartered onion in cavity, put chickens in roasting
                  pan.  Roast for 2 hours at 375°.

                  While chicken is roasting: make brown rice.  Hard boil eggs for daughter's lunches.
                  Make peanut curry sauce for husband and wife's rice/veggie/chicken lunches.  Julienne
                  carrots and cucumbers for those lunches.  Make gravy from pan drippings before serving

                  After dinner, de-bone chicken, save meat for week's lunches and meals.  Use bones to
                  make stock for same.

Lonely stock pot awaiting more goodies

MONDAY: Chicken Tetrazzini

                   Trying this recipe, it was delicious when an awesome awesome friend made us a group
                   of dinners after Evie's health scare.  We're kind of really excited for this meal AND it
                   will use up leftover chicken and the stock we made! Waste not...want not.

                   MONDAY UPDATE/Notes: This was pretty good! Next time, more spices, more salt
                   and we're adding garlic. Evie ate almost all of her portion though and most of her green
                   beans, so, win!

Monday night's tetrazzini

Lunches: Mommy and Daddy, the chicken curry rice bowls.  Evie, sandwich, cut up
                   cucumber, hard boiled egg, some sort of "treat"

Curry bowl lunches

TUESDAY: "TAKO" Tuesday (a nod to the LEGO movie, a current fave around here)

                  Pretty self explanatory.  We'll make Mark's beans (soak one pound pinto beans in water
                  and a teaspoon of baking soda over night the night before.  Day of, rinse beans, place
                  rinsed beans in crock pot with enough water to cover them and two teaspoons of kosher
                  salt.  Cook on high for at least 4 hours), use leftover chicken, warm some corn
                  tortillas, dice some avocado, maybe dice some pineapple, and definitely use some
                  cilantro.  Lime wedges will make an appearance, along with a few dollops of sour cream.

Always a hit.  Can you guess which family member made each taco?

                   Lunches: Mommy and Daddy, the chicken curry rice bowls.  Evie, sandwich, cut up
                   cucumber, hard boiled egg, some sort of "treat"

WEDNESDAY: Leftover Tetrazzini

                  Too much of a good thing?  I think not.

                   Lunches: Mommy and Daddy, beans and tortillas.  Evie, sandwich, cut up
                   cucumber, hard boiled egg, some sort of "treat"

THURSDAY: Beans and Rice  Chicken and Rice

                  We'll have leftover beans from Tuesday, and we'll still have the rice from Sunday.  Any
                  leftover toppings from taco night will be used up at this point.  Depending on how hungry
                  we are, a poached or fried egg will be included. 

                  THURSDAY Update/Notes: Daddy ended up with a late work meeting, so to make
                  Daisy night easier, and for less waste, Tuesday night's leftover beans went to the freezer,
                  and Evie and Mommy will finish up the rice and chicken that didn't go to Mommy and
                  Daddy's lunches.

                   Lunches: Mommy and Daddy, chicken curry rice bowls.  Evie, sandwich, cut up
                   cucumber, hard boiled egg, some sort of "treat"

FRIDAY: Leftovers - your choice.

                  This night, we each get to pick what leftover we want.  Generally, we all eat the same
                  thing, but in the name of making sure nothing is wasted, we'll each pick a favorite. 

                   Lunches: Mommy and Daddy, treating ourselves to lunch out, as a reward for following
                   the week's plan!  Evie, sandwich, cut up cucumber, hard boiled egg, some sort of "treat"

SATURDAY:   Plan out (the next week is already planned!) Shop for the next week.  Eat whatever is leftover and/or what can be cobbled from the pantry.

From $22 worth of roasting chickens, we made a pretty good week's worth of dinners and lunches.  Looking forward to feeling and being back on track!  


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