Our discussion this morning with friends centered around finding some balance amongst the everyday things in life. One way that we’ve found some balance in our home is by doing some meal planning. It takes a little bit of time over the weekend, but the payoff during the week makes it well worth it. Here’s our menu for this week:
- Pan-Fried Porkchops – this one from the Pioneer Woman. Can’t wait to try it!
- Mashed Potatoes – Make your favorite recipe, or pick up the refrigerated kind (just nothing boxed).
- Roasted Cauliflower – this one from Food Network is so good and easy! Even if you think you don’t like cauliflower I think you’ll like this.
- Sliced Tomatoes – They’re in season right now and add great color to your plate.
- Mexican Meatball Street Tacos – Don’t these just sound good? Looking forward to Tuesday. Here’s the recipe.
- Mexican Three Bean Salad – This is great and you pretty much just dump some cans of beans and a few other things together, then mix. Here’s the recipe.
- Corn – Take some frozen and saute it in some butter until lightly browned. If you really want to jazz it up add a little garlic and chopped red pepper.
- Take-out night or Leftovers
- Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta – Another tasty dish from the Pioneer Woman.
- Bread – Think you can’t make homemade bread? Thing again! Baguettes in 30 minutes. Trust me. These guys are easy and so tasty. You will love the smell in your house. Here’s the recipe with pictures and video.
- Pizza Night – make it at home and you can control the ingredients. There are some really easy crust recipes like this one, or you can buy the dough ready made (not the canned stuff). The trick for pizza is to pre-bake the crust until just golden, add just enough sauce (but not covered in thick sauce), cover in cheese (but still leaving room that you can see through the cheese to the sauce), then the toppings. If you put a lot of veggies on it, consider baking them first to remove some moisture so you don’t get soggy pizza.
- Veggie Sticks
Every week it’s my goal to have our family’s dinner menu prepared on Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it happens as planned and sometimes it’s a work in progress. Here’s our menu for this week. You definitely need to try out the easy to make spaghetti sauce from Sunday another day this week.
- Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce from Giada De Laurentiis. This was great. My only recommendation to tweak the recipe is once you’ve sautéed the veggies, puree them with a stick blender if you have one or mash by hand (if you don’t have one, put this on your wish list. They come in super handy).
- Roasted turkey breast. Make this or any other meat to have with your pasta or make it a vegetarian night and omit it.
- Green beans. I used 16 oz. frozen cut green beans. Sautee them in a pan for a few minutes until thawed and warm. Add a tablespoon of butter and lightly brown. Dump in 1/4 cup or less of white wine, 1 small tomato chopped, dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Let cook on low until desired tenderness.
- Olive oil, rosemary bread. Just like the bread from Macaroni Grill but better! Plus it has mostly whole wheat flour. I did the dough in my bread machine on the dough cycle, then let it rise on the counter before baking.
- Quick chicken tacos. Stop by the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, a package of small tortillas (flour or corn), lettuce, salsa, greek yogurt (did you know you can replace this for sour cream and get 23 g of protein per serving?) and maybe some black beans. Pull the chicken off the bones and heat if needed. Fill up your tacos and enjoy!
- Fresh Raspberries. While you’re at the grocery store, stop by the produce section. If your family doesn’t like berries, serve some sliced apples or some other fruit.
- Steak. You can go all out with your cut of beef and get a Ribeye or NY Strip, but some top sirloin will do just fine. Here’s the trick. Put your steak on a plate and season well with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or any other of your favorite blends). Rub it into both sides. Let sit in the fridge on the plate for at least an hour up to overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, let sit on the counter. Preheat your grill at Medium / Medium-High depending on your grill. If the steak is about 1.5 inches thick grill it for about 5 minutes per side max. Use the poke test (shown in this short video) to see if it’s done. Put onto a clean plate or cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest before slicing at least 5 minutes, but 8-10 is good. Slice against the grain and serve.
- Braised Fennel with White Beans. My son picked out fennel one day while shopping at Whole Foods with me, so we found this recipe to try. If you’ve never had fennel before, you have to try this. If you don’t eat meat, this is perfect too.
- Eggplant Chips with Basil Yogurt Dip. Who knew eggplant could be this good?! If you don’t have yogurt, use a little sour cream instead.
- Shrimp and Grits. There are a lot of good recipes for this out there. You can find at least 10 on Food Network alone. My biggest recommendation is to use good quality grits. Never use instant (repeat to yourself) and look for whole grain grits that have at least a couple of grams of fiber. My favorite are from Bob’s Red Mill. Publix sells them. Variations on all of the recipes include using milk and / or chicken stock in place of some or all of the water, using peppers or tomatoes in with the shrimp, etc. Find a recipe you like and play around. Here’s one from Bobby Flay.
- Roasted Okra. Slice them, drizzle, sprinkle and put in the oven – no more sliminess! Voila.
- Roast Beef. I always wanted to make roast beef so that it sliced thin for sandwiches at home and was juicy. One day I found this recipe from a newspaper in Oregon. It works! Only ingredients are beef and salt. You need a couple of hours at home to cook it and plan to start it the night before by letting it rest in the fridge. Check out the recipe.
- Salad. Bored with the same old thing. Try this. Chop up some romaine lettuce, onion, semi-ripe pear, goat cheese crumbled, tomatoes, cucumber and this balsamic vinaigrette that is my family’s go-to dressing.
- Bread / French fries / Potato Chips. Enjoy something fun here. It’s Friday!