Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dinners Planned for This Week

I don't make New Year's Resolutions usually, but I would like to make a better effort at regular meal planning not just for this year or because it is the new year.

Reading other meal plans online is helpful to me. My friend Renee over at Beyond Rice and Tofu plans her meals in part due to her celiac disease. I find her consistency and diligence inspiring. When I do post a meal plan, I hope that it keeps me on track but I also hope that maybe someone else decides to try something new or give the planning a try. I would love to hear from readers about what you're eating and what works for you for meal planning.

I KNOW how much easier our lives are when I plan our dinners in advance. Fortunately, I am blessed to have a husband who cooks well, so meal planning means we can decide who will cook when based on our schedules. Meal planning theoretically saves us money at the grocery because we buy what we need and we don't make unplanned extra trips in the middle of the week. Meal planning also gives my kids a chance to say what they might like to eat that week. I think giving kids some say in their food choices is important and increases the chances of kids eating well.

This week is a pretty laid back week for us because Aaron is not back at work yet and I don't have to teach until next Sunday. Nevertheless, we're making meals which are pretty easy to prepare and easy to make double portions for leftovers. I think winter is partly responsible for our menu. After all, winter screams comfort food like casseroles and soups. Plus, the kids end up indoors more than they would be in the summer, so they get a bit restless by the time I want to start cooking. As much as I enjoy cooking with kids, sometimes it really is easier to do it myself.

In no particular order, here are the dinners we have planned for this week:
  • Cheesy lentil rice casserole - This actually is baking as I type! I will be forever indebted to my friend Cathy for this recipe.
  • Soup night - I'd like to make butternut squash soup since we have a ton of squash. Caleb wants split pea soup. I also picked up a 15-bean soup mix at the grocery. All 3 are very healthy and delicious, and I'll make the so-called 5-minute artisan bread to go with whichever soup we pick.
  • Chicken - No recipe picked yet, and this is Aaron's meal. He suggested he'll bake it with Montreal chicken spice (yum!) OR fry it if I'm OK with that preparation style. I'm leaning toward the baked one of course.
  • Turkish Vegetable Stew with Israeli couscous - I made this over the summer when I had more fresh local produce, but I think it would feel better in the winter. It wasn't a huge success with the kids, but it wasn't a flop either. Besides, Aaron and I like it.
  • Whole-wheat chili mac (aka Turkey Chili Mac) - Our latest obsession. I don't think I could rave enough about this meal. It's a classic and reminds me of childhood.
Evaluating this week's plan
Needs/wants met:
Aaron wanted chicken. Caleb wants pea soup. The kids love the chili mac. All of the recipes are very Weight Watchers friendly.

Potential downfalls:
I haven't decided the order yet other than to know that I'll make the soup and bread on Tuesday when our friends are planning to visit. I'm not sure they are staying for dinner (unlikely, I think), but the smell of bread rising makes for lovely visits. Most of the meals are quite easy to prepare, but the vegetable stew requires a lot of chopping time, so we might not get to it which would mean a very sad eggplant.

Other considerations:
My son desperately wants more social time this week, so at least I have some good meals planned if we do end up with dinner guests.
I realize I probably have more meals planned than necessary. I rather would have too many meals than not enough. All of these meals leave us with leftovers, which certainly helps with lunches but also for those nights when we say "I don't wanna cook!"


  1. A good plan to start with! And thanks for the link-love! Have you checked out Org-Junkie for meal planning ideas? I do find that I throw out less food when I have a plan. I also only plan for 4 meals typically since I know there will be a leftover night or two since there are only two of us and I like to leave one night open to either eat out or something out of the freezer. Or so Nathan can order pizza and I can eat something that I am craving and he doesn't like, like salmon.
    I just realized this post was from a couple weeks ago. I am sooo behind on reading blogs. Have you been able to keep up the planning?

  2. Hi @BeyondRice!
    The week planned went well. Then of course I didn't plan the next week. :P The meal plan got us through the weekdays and weekend which is better than previous meal plans which only think about the weekdays. I'll check out the org-junkie - thanks for the suggestion!