Tag Archives: meal planning

Noms 02.25.2013

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We had an interesting weekend. Josh and I had a date night planned Saturday night, which we ended with two hours of grocery shopping (totally necessary, thanks to our conflicting schedules). Then I spent most of yesterday destroying the kitchen with flour and oats. But the good news is we now have delicious scones and whole wheat blueberry bites. Lets just ignore that we had to eat fast food for dinner because I forgot to set out chicken, ‘kay?

Cool.

bitesAnyway, Josh and I have discovered a new thing that works for our meal planning: shopping at multiple locations. I have a feeling this is nothing new to plenty of people, but then again maybe it isn’t. We do most of our shopping at Target, but I realized that with my Winn Dixie card (which was free, by the way–if you have a Winn Dixie nearby, it’s worth getting a card, even if you don’t plan to use it often), I can get ground turkey for about half the price of Target’s. we also haven’t been impressed with Target’s produce lately (which is weird, since that used to be my go-to store for produce), so we usually go to Publix for that, though I’d love to start giving the farmers market a go once it opens again.

Well, the point of all that was to let you know that if you don’t do this already, shop around. You don’t have to go to one place for all of your groceries. Look for the best quality and the best deals, and choose places that will work for your needs.

Alright. On to this round of meal planning. Josh and I found some really interesting meals, and it seems like most will be super easy to make. Keep in mind this is for two weeks.

The Meals

The Sides

The Snacks

The Treats

  • Whole Wheat, Dark Chocolate Chip Scones with Oats & Almonds (recipe coming soon)

Notes on the last round of meals:

chxpotroastWe tried a gluten-free, yeast-free pizza dough for our Valentine date night pizza, and it was, well, exactly what I expected. I’ve had gluten- and yeast-free rolls from Chebe before, so I figured the tasted would be similar. It was exactly the same. I don’t recommend that pizza dough unless you absolutely have to have it gluten- and yeast-free. (If you need a gluten-free dough but can handle the yeast, this dough from Gluten-Free Goddess looks like it would do the trick.)

The chicken pot roast dinner was everything I hoped it would be. It was so easy and delicious, and it lasted us for two meals each! I made a few changes when I cooked so I could use things I had on hand rather than buying a lot of frozen things I probably wouldn’t reuse. The biggest difference was the gravy: I used fat-free turkey gravy instead of chicken gravy because I couldn’t seem to find pre-made chicken gravy anywhere. I think it changed the flavor, but that definitely wasn’t a bad thing. Instead of frozen small whole onions, I cut about half of a large yellow onion into thin strips and measured out about a cup of it to use (and stored the rest of the cut strips in the fridge). We always have yellow onions, so this was way simpler than buying the bag of small frozen onions. Probably the least effective change was the veggies. I didn’t have a full 1 ¼ cups of peas, nor did I have a full two cups of carrots, so I subbed in the missing ½-cup or so with corn. (Josh loved the addition!) I don’t think it made a major difference in taste, but I’ll probably do it again anyway.

garlicfriesThe cheeseburger pasta was okay. I think it’s because we use almond milk, but the texture wasn’t quite right, and we both felt kind of gross after eating it (it was far too much cheese and pasta and not enough good-for-you stuff). Again, I may have just done something wrong (it’s likely, since I threw it together within the hour between work and Josh’s lunch break), but I doubt we’ll be eating it again.

The garlic fries: ohmygosh they were so much better than I imagined! I made them last weekend and paired them with baked chicken tenders, and I invited my sister and her fiance over for lunch. I had a small problem with the fries sticking to the pan, despite that I greased the pan before putting the fries on it. However, it didn’t affect the taste, so I’m not too worried. The biggest problem was that I hadn’t fully read through the instructions before starting, so a 1 p.m. lunch turned into a 4 p.m. early dinner. (So if you make these, give yourself a solid 2 hours for prep–including peeling and cutting the potatoes–and cook time.) But everyone agreed it was totally worth the wait–then they went back for seconds.

The snacky black beans still haven’t happened. I keep forgetting to make them! They’re on the list again for this round of meals, so we’ll have to see how that goes.

Check out Instagram for photos of these recipes and more!

Noms 02.11.2013

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The last meal plan Josh and I made didn’t go as well as we originally thought. We ended up running super low on ingredients for full meals before the end of last week. But I feel like this week went a little better.

Also, I totally forgot to make any of the snacks I planned, so some of them are going back on the list this week.

Here are some of the meals we have planned for the next two weeks:

The Meals:

The Sides:

The Snacks:

Notes on the past two weeks:

crepeThe crepes were just awesome and so easy to make. I tried them with spinach, mushrooms and honey goat cheese but wasn’t a huge fan. Josh loved filling them with chicken and topping them with sugar-free syrup. I ate the leftovers plain, some of them cold. (It’s my favorite way to eat leftover pancakes too.) I’m a total weirdo. I know.

The cowboy pot roast didn’t happen. The night I wanted to make that for dinner, we ended up eating chicken tortilla soup instead, which was delish. Josh looooved it (it’s his favorite canned soup, so of course I had to try it homemade), so I’ll probably make it again soon. While I definitely recommend making this, I’d suggest prepping everything the night before; doing that saved my night.

And the lemony tuna and olive oil pasta was okay. I liked the taste, but it was pretty dry. And Josh tried his best to eat it, but he couldn’t even finish a serving of it. And it was a lot more effort than I expected. So that’s probably not happening again.

Keep an eye on Instagram for photo updates of the meals I have planned!

Meal Planning 101

Last night, as Josh and I sat down to eat dinner at 8:30 (for a meal I promised would be ready by 7 p.m.), I realized I still don’t have this meal planning down pat. It was kind of a bummer, considering how successful I thought we had been over the weekend.

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So, I guess needless to say, I learned some things about meal planning that I probably should have already known. Sometimes I don’t use my brain (clearly).

  1. Read instructions thoroughly before deciding to make something.
  2. Make sure you have all the ingredients (this means grabbing them at the grocery store during your regular shopping trip if you don’t have it at home).
  3. No, seriously, read all the damn instructions.

No-brainers, right? I thought so too.

Until Tuesday night, when I was about to start prepping the pot roast I had planned for Wednesday’s dinner. I found a recipe that calls for eye of round roast (something I don’t eat, since I stick to seafood and poultry for my meats), and thought I’ll just sub in chicken! Wrong.

As I read over the recipe, I realized most of the six-plus hours the meal would spend in the slow cooker had nothing to do with any of the beans or veggies and everything to do with the meat. I worried that leaving only chicken (tenderloins, at that!) in the slow cooker for six hours, I’d end up with ash in the slow cooker–or maybe even a house fire.

I looked over the recipe again to see if I could alter it some more (maybe dump in everything at once?), but I realized many of the ingredients just wouldn’t taste as good with chicken as they would with beef.

chopTo Google I went. I decided to ditch the Cowboy Pot Roast and search for a chicken pot roast. I found this, and decided that’s what we’d have instead. I skimmed the ingredients and… nope. We didn’t have everything. (Seriously, potatoes were the big missing ingredient–well besides gravy–and we usually have potatoes.) It was starting to look like dinner would be a bust.

In the end, I decided to move around some of the meals we had planned for next week. So, instead of pot roast, we had Chicken Tortilla Soup. (I was only missing cornmeal, which Josh was kind enough to pick up on his way home from work.)

I guess it’s worth mentioning here that this was supposed to be a blog post for last night, and the story was supposed to end there. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Probably because dinner took 2 1/2 hours (that time includes the tantrum I threw like a child, along with lots of pouting). Oh, and maybe a little because I didn’t read the friggin’ directions.

instructionsWhen I decided on Tuesday night that the soup would be Wednesday’s dinner, I thought I had thoroughly read the directions. Again, I was so wrong. I had it stuck in my head that–other than chopping veggies, measuring spices and cooking the chicken–dinner would only take 45 minutes to cook. I guess I missed the part where I add a teensy bit of cornmeal and let it simmer for another 30. (I was  glad I had prepped everything the night before when I realized how long dinner would actually take!)

It actually wasn’t too bad, though. The extra 30 minutes gave me enough time to make a pan of cornbread to go with the soup!

Anyway, the point is to know what you have in your fridge/pantry and fully read the recipe before you decide to start prepping a meal at 9 p.m. (and before you start cooking it). It’s probably also worth keeping potatoes on hand, since you never know when you’ll need them.