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Apparently, planning and executing an extravagant dinner party does not mean you get to SKIP making dinners for your family the rest of the week. Shock!

We are having a lot of vegetables this week:

Notes: This is just lettuce with avocado, bell peppers, and corn. I will put black beans on mine for protein and my husband will do chicken “marinated” in taco seasoning.

 

What’s on your menu plan for the week?

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This Saturday is The Dinner Party. I am sure as hell not planning much of a regular menu when I am so pre-occupied with Not Losing It. I am making things as easy on myself as possible, Internet.

So here’s my meager menu:

Dinners for the Week of April 16-21:

  • Today: Mulligatawny Soup
  • Wednesday: Tacos
  • Thursday: Crockpot BBQ Pork with Baked Potato
  • Friday: Out
  • Saturday: DINNER PARTY
  • Sunday: Crap, it’s Easter do I have to do something special? Maybe beef tenderloin.

 

I know YOU aren’t fretting about my dinner party, Internet. What’s on your menu this week?

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Who has time to plan REAL dinners when all one wants to think about is Dinner Party Planning?

Well. Unfortunately, one’s family still needs to eat.

Here’s the menu for the week:

Dinners for the Week of April 9-15:

Follow Up: This was DELICIOUS. I used 1/16 of a teaspoon of five spice powder and it was exactly the right amount. I love how this sauce goes well with pretty much any veggies. You can throw in bell peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, pea pods — whatever! Anything goes! My only complaint was that I didn’t make enough vegetables. Make more veggies next time!

Follow Up: We did not actually make the shrimp portion of this meal (I think I made the broccolini with the vinegar chicken). The broccolini was fine, but I think I just don’t really LIKE broccolini. The stems are too tough for me to enjoy and the fluffy part is too small to make it worth the EXORBITANT price. I think I will stick to broccoli.

 

Follow Up: This was delicious. I made it with zucchini noodles, but I think it would be yummy to stir fry some bell peppers and/or broccoli with the sauce.

Follow Up: This was delicious. I “marinated” the chicken and shrimp in a teeny bit of olive oil and a good heap of homemade taco seasoning. Very yummy and satisfying.

  • Black Bean Burritos

 

  • Out

What’s on your meal plan, Internet?

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Welcome back from spring break! It is now time to meal plan, once again! Fortunately, the time away has (temporarily, I’m sure) reinvigorated me!

Here are some recipes I am actually looking forward to making this week:

Dinners for the Week of April 2 – April 8:

Notes: I will be adding bell peppers to this recipe for veggie appeal. Maybe chickpeas.

Follow up: This was decent. It tasted nothing at all like the kind of butter chicken you get an Indian restaurant, let’s be clear on that. But it was pretty good. And it was pretty easy. I did end up adding bell peppers and chickpeas, which were a good complement to the sauce.

Follow up: This salad is THE BOMB. The dressing is delicious and the pickled onions are SO GOOD. I never knew arugula could be so yummy!

Follow up: This batch of fire fry turned out to be WAY over-seasoned, when I was pretty sure that I had fixed my over-seasoning issues. (What I do is use an entire large container of yogurt, then increase the spices/herbs to 1 tablespoon where the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon.) My husband and I determined that it is the YOGURT that may be at fault. I use the cheapest, lowest-calorie fat-free plain yogurt I can find, which is Dannon. Next time, I am going to get a Greek yogurt instead and see if that helps. (I know that using a full-fat yogurt helps, because I did that accidentally recently and it was DELISH, but I am not really into using full-fat yogurt every time we eat this.)

Notes: Probably doing the yum yum sauce with the tuna is overkill, since it will be marinated already… but I have been wanting to do the sauce for a while, and this seems like a good fit.

Follow up: The yum-yum sauce was good, and I didn’t feel like it was overkill exactly. The marinade for the tuna was pretty mild. My bigger problem was overcooking the tuna. It is NOT EASY to get tuna to that perfect cooked-on-the-outside, -pink-on-the-inside level. Maybe next time I will use a different type of fish.

Follow up: This was very delicious.

  • Out

In addition to buying the ingredients for the above, I will be buying food to replace some of the items that were lost to our extended power outage. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been – it only affected one outlet, which had to be reset when we got home. The outlet happened to be the same one that powers both our wireless internet and our downstairs fridge. The wifi is now rebooted, and now communicating with our security system so our security company can stop calling us (they are on top of things, at least), and the fridge is up and running again. But everything in it was room temperature by the time we came home, so everything perishable had to be thrown out. The saddest things to toss were a) two miniature cakes I made with leftover cake batter from Carla’s last birthday; although my experience with eating the top of my wedding cake after a long stint in the freezer should have been enough to deter me from keeping them quite so long; b) a brand-new box of chicken dinosaurs, which have been Carla’s Entrée of Choice lately; and c) three packages of pork chops I got on sale. UGH. Oh, and a three-pack of butter from Costco. I held onto that a little longer than the rest of the stuff. BUTTER.

Oh well. Aside from the regrettable tossing of what was once perfectly good food, I am also kicking myself for not leaving the freezer unplugged long enough to clean it. Some ancient boxes of popsicles leaked and there are now greenish icebergs in the back of my freezer. Ew.

 

What are you having for dinner this week?

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I am not even going to preamble, today, Internet. Here are some meals I scraped together. But I refuse to enjoy ANY PART of the dinner process this week. I REFUSE.

Dinners for the Week of March 19 – March 26

 

Then, next week, we are going on Spring Break which is good because it means I don’t have to plan any meals… but bad because it means that I have to live with someone else making meals for me, which is stressful in its own way. I know. I am impossible.

What’s on your menu this week, Internet?

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It is heartening – well, maybe not heartening so much as making me feel like I’m not the only one who finds meal planning to be excruciating lately – to read that other bloggers are having the same Meal Planning Dread that I am. The ENDLESSNESS of it all is really getting to me right now. Even throwing up my hands and saying, “let’s get take out!” more often than usual is having less of a bolstering effect than it should; because I am well aware that this is just one meal I don’t have to plan/make and tomorrow there will be another one, waiting for me, and then a limitless parade of meals after that until the sweet release of death.

At this point, even the idea of slotting in a bunch of Meals I Love isn’t helping. And when not even spaghetti with meat sauce can cure a problem, you know it’s serious.

Anyway, here are some joyless options for the coming week.

Dinners for the Week of March 13-March 19, 2019

Note: Yes, I am aware this recipe is for chicken. Yes, I am using pork chops instead. Yes, I am still avoiding chicken. Yes, my husband recently said in a cheery voice normally reserved for our five-year-old, “I think it’s time you started eating chicken again!” Yes, I treated him to a little lecture about not policing other people’s food preferences. No, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing with the quinoa; maybe I’ll mix the veggies into it. Although plain, unembellished quinoa seems like a fitting metaphor for how I’m feeling about meal planning lately.

Note: Not one thing about this meal is remotely exciting. I mean, it tastes good. And it’s really easy. But I am Not Feeling It In The Least.

Note: This is good, but not a meal really designed for calorie counters, just FYI. I plugged it into MyFitnessPal and — even HALVING the recipe — it comes out to something like 700 calories a serving. That’s using light, unsweetened coconut milk! And not including the avocado! Why must so many delicious — and arguably HEALTHY — foods be so antithetical to weight loss? WHY? Ahem. I am making it anyway. In the past, I have recommended to myself to cut the fish sauce in half for the marinade and only use 1/3 of the suggested amount for the dressing. But that’s because I don’t like fish sauce and even being in the same city block as an open bottle of fish sauce is enough to make my nose wrinkle.

Note: I make a double serving of this, and round it out with TONS of veggies. Bell peppers, broccoli, onions, zucchini — the ratio of veg-to-meat is at least 4-to-1.

Note: This is, as per the “firecracker” designation, spicy. So any accompaniments must be nice and bland, to offset all the spice.

  • Taco Pizza

Note: I spread a lightly-baked pizza crust with refried beans, then top with taco meat and cheese, then bake until the cheese is melty. Then I top with onions, lettuce, and tons of hot sauce; my husband adds tomatoes and sour cream to his half, and omits the onions.

  • Out

 

What are you eating lately, Internet?

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We had a lovely dinner party this weekend. Both chilis seemed to go over well, we had plenty of things to talk about, and our new friends’ kids were AMAZING. They were older than I thought they would be (middle school age rather than upper elementary), but they were super nice to Carla. And they were engaging and fun to talk to and super polite – helping clear the table and asking for things very nicely and just in general being the kind of children that make you want to know the parents’ Secret Magic.

This week, we have no exciting plans, which is fine and good. We have one rollover meal from last week, which we will eat tomorrow.

Note: We haven’t had this in a while. I probably won’t eat the chicken, but I can load up with chickpeas.

Here’s the rest of this week’s menu:

Dinners for the Week of March 6-March 12

Note: This is an old standby. The marinade is SUPER easy to make, and you just… put the fish in the oven. Very easy and tasty. I will steam broccoli and drizzle some of the broiled marinade over the top of it. Maybe there will also be some rice.

Note: I have had some zucchini in my crisper for… weeks, I think, and I really need to just MAKE IT before they finally get cranky and mush-up on me. They’ve been so patient and stalwart. I OWE IT to them to eat them. Also I owe it to my wallet and to my desire not to waste food. Have I mentioned what I do with zucchini? I chop them into half-moon shapes. I rough-chop a bunch of red onion or shallots. Then I sauté the zukes and onions together in a little bit of olive oil until they are cooked through and getting caramelized on the edges. YUM.

Note: We haven’t had this in a while, and I love it. Because I don’t eat the beef part of the dish, I amp up the veggie factor by tossing in some red and green bell peppers. We end up doubling the sauce, to account for all the veggies.

Note: Yes, I know we literally had this dish last week, but I am SO TIRED OF MEAL PLANNING and also it’s good and easy. The only problem is that the packages of zucchini noodles at my grocery store today were all WET. Ew. So I didn’t buy any. My grocery store also didn’t have any sandwich bread, so I will have to pop back in later in the week. Also also, the zucchini noodles are $6.99 a package. That is STEEP. I haven’t priced it out but I am pretty confident that buying the actual zucchinis would be MUCH less expensive. So I am strongly considering getting a spiralizer. This highly-rated spiralizer is (currently) $29.99 on Amazon… which is a LOT for a tool that will probably also require a ton of work. But it would only take two “Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles” meals to make up the price. (Oh. I didn’t mention that I buy two packages of zucchini noodles for this meal, did I? Yes. It is a lot of zucchini and a LOT of money.) But what if it is a Huge Pain to make the zucchini noodles myself? And $29.99 is expensive enough that I could just try it once and then give up on the thing. Plus, I don’t think I would use it for anything else, so it would be a one-trick pony, and you know the rule about buying single-use items for the kitchen… But I really enjoy zucchini noodles! And I also enjoy not paying $14 for a single vegetable for a single meal! Although… now that I am thinking of it, I might pay $10 for a pound and a half of hamburger, for tacos… and you add in the shells and the veggies and the sour cream, and it probably comes out to about the same on a cost-per-person basis. Maybe $6.99 for my own portion of zucchini noodles is TOTALLY REASONABLE. But then again… Ugh. I could go on waffling about this totally inconsequential topic ALL DAY, apparently.

Note: Yes, yes, this is another meal that we just ate. Whatever. It’s so yummy and so full of veggies and FLAVAH. I am now starting to worry a little whether I have enough shrimp for this AND the scampi though… Oh well! We shall power through! Maybe I will take a little trip to Costco and see if I can buy shrimp THERE. (Why am I so all-capsy today?)

  • Crockpot BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Baked Potato for Me, Green Beans for My Husband

Note: I feel a little guilty making this when I know it’s not my husband’s favorite… But I like it so much and it’s SO EASY. I have some little rolls I can defrost, and maybe I will pick up some coleslaw from… somewhere so he can make little sandwiches. He seems to prefer that. But I am not in the mood to make a huge container of coleslaw that he will eat a teeny portion of and then will languish in my fridge until I angrily/guiltily throw it out.

  • Out/Leftoevers

 

That’s it for the week! Next week, I am sure I will be suffused with tons of Meal Planning Enthusiasm and Creativity! 

What’s for dinner in your house, Internet?

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