Posts Tagged ‘you have to make dinner EVERY DAY’

You would think that having basically covered two meals each week (Wednesday crockpot, Thursday microwave meals) for the foreseeable future, that menu planning would be much easier. I suppose it IS a bit easier. But I am still feeling like every week’s meal plan is such a SLOG.

Part of it is that winter has resettled itself over my city. We have been having intermittent Days of Snow and Days of Rain. The snow is pretty, until the rain turns it into a sloppy mess. And every day the sky is as heavy and cheerless as wet cement.

Part of it is that I have serious Crockpot Limitations. First Limitation: I am really picky, and, it seems, especially so about what I will entertain crockpot-wise. I have been googling and going through many long lists of Healthy Crockpot Options! and Easy Slow Cooker Menu Ideas! and What to Make in Your Slow Cooker! and Crockpot Favorites! and so few of them appeal. SIGH. Then I grow very impatient and irritated with myself, because why can’t I have a broader, more accepting palate??? And then I get snippy with myself, because I am nearly 40, so it’s unlikely that my tastes will change and I refuse to make something that I know I probably won’t like just out of principle and then have to throw away perfectly good (for someone else) food. Just stick with food you KNOW you like! What’s wrong with that?

It’s exhausting and fruitless to argue with yourself, especially over something as ridiculous as what to make in the slow cooker.

Looking back, where I listed “First Limitation,” it seemed like I had multiple limitations. But I am too tired/annoyed with myself to remember what they are.

Well, let’s trudge together through some dinner options, shall we?

Dinners for the Week of January 28-February (!!!!!) 3


What are you eating this week, Internet?

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We have not yet decorated our tree and this – plus a massive FAIL on an attempt to make matcha truffles– is making me hyperventilate a little bit. Of course there is also a MOUNTAIN of laundry to climb fold and there is cleaning to do in preparation for my parents’ arrival and I have not wrapped a single gift to go under the tree (I HAVE wrapped and sent gifts to all family members and wrapped gifts for various instructors and mail carriers etc. so I am justified in feeling that I have ALREADY done quite a lot of wrapping, with nothing to show for it!) and the chocolates are not made and there are cookies to bake. Pant! Pant!

At least I have finalized ALL of my present and stocking-stuffer purchases!

I am CHEERFUL, please understand that. I love this time of year, and our house (aside from the poor naked tree) is decorated and I have been playing Christmas music nonstop and I am really excited to see my parents and spend two weeks with Carla. But I am still hyperventilating. You understand.

And let us not forget that my family still requires food. Daily. So let’s talk about what I shall feed them.

Dinners for the Week of December 17 – December 25

What are you eating this week? Are your holiday plans under control?

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Well, thanks to your encouragement, I have persuaded my husband that we should try a meal delivery service. I did some research (looking at reviews, clicking through some of the menu items), and in the end was choosing between Sun Basket, Hello Fresh, and Home Chef… and then went with Hello Fresh purely on price. The first two meals – which arrive next week – cost $10.95, which includes shipping. Worth it, just to try. And I am really excited to see what it’s like!

In the meantime, I must plan out the entire week’s menu myself. This week is all about de-toxing from the carb overload that was, basically, two weeks of Holiday Eating. Did I make a second batch of garlic goat cheese mashed potatoes, just for myself and my husband? Yes, yes I did. Did we have a family pizza night? Sure thing. Did I also maybe eat some Thanksgiving Nachos? Yes indeedy. Time to reset.

My body is already wondering where all the carbs have gone. I am distracting myself from my dearth of mashed potatoes with vigorous shopping.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Dinners for the Week of December 3 – December 9

What’s on your menu?

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You know what really grills my cheese today, Internet? People who don’t follow the rules. Why? What is it about some people that makes them so confident they are ABOVE the rules? Or that the rules don’t apply to them? See ANY NEWS ITEM ANYMORE for plentiful, deeply disheartening examples.

Today, specifically, I am directing my rule follower rage at the woman who not only brought her cart out into the parking lot – which is strictly forbidden at my grocery store – but then LEFT IT THERE, on the tiny concrete divider between the parking spaces.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is some physical disability at play. But, honestly, that excuse ain’t gonna cut it, sistah, because our grocery store offers – purely because of the no-carts-in-the-parking-lot rule – courtesy bag loading into your car. It’s totally free! There are even signs everywhere that say NO TIPPING (although I still tip; people tip and I don’t want to be The Woman Who Doesn’t Tip, especially given that I go there every week), so she can’t even blame the lack of cash in her wallet.

Okay, okay. I KNOW there could be other perfectly valid reasons – like maybe she has an emergency that she learned about exactly at the moment she was done checking out and can’t fathom waiting in the bag loading zone for the two extra minutes it takes the cheery bag loader staff to load your bags into your car. Or maybe she just got some terrible news and, completely gobsmacked (why is gobsmacked not a word, Word?) by the terribleness of it, she is floating through the store forgetting her eggs and not really paying attention to her cart.

But my overall experience with people is that there often ISN’T a reason, besides an inexplicable certainty of being the center of the universe and therefore able to flout rules whenever the whim takes hold.

See also the people who go zooming down the shoulder of the freeway when everyone else is stopped, waiting for an accident to clear. Who ARE those people? And why do THEY get to decide THEIR needs take priority over everyone else’s needs and safety?

Well. I am in A Mood, apparently.

It’s the week before my family’s Thanksgiving, so I’m a wee bit anxious about that. Pre-exhausted, still, even though I was pre-exhausted two weeks ago.

And I am yet again faced with planning and making meals for myself and my family. Whatever shall we eat?

Dinners for the Week of November 12-November 18

Note: I went to three different grocery stores to find the haloumi, which is a firm cheese that this recipe recommends pan-frying and turning into croutons. I DID find the haloumi at the third store, but it was $9.99, so I did not buy it. I will do a lot for the sake of an interesting-sounding recipe, but it turns out I will not spend just shy of $10 on a block of cheese. Instead, I bought something called bread cheese, which sounds similar to haloumi, although I guess we’ll never know, and was a much more reasonable $6.35. Sigh. That is STILL too much to spend on cheese, but I did it. I will report back on whether it was worth it.

Note: We did not eat this last week, even though it was on the menu. So I am making sure we eat it THIS week. Also, I do not particularly like roasted carrots but I saw a bag of rainbow carrots at Trader Joe’s and I was powerless to resist it. 

Note: This is an old standby. Good when I have no inspiration.

  • Chicken with Zucchini

Note: Speaking of no inspiration — this is like… just the basics. I have chicken in the freezer, a plethora of marinade possibilities, and a pile of zucchini, so I’m ready for whatever day requires a super easy meal. 

  • Pork Chops with Broccoli

Note: Same as above, but with pork, obvs. And I even splurged and got pre-cut, bagged broccoli this week. Maybe this will help me stick to my menu plan and not make a last-minute decision to go eat Mexican food. 

Note: I made the MOST AMAZING impromptu pizza this weekend, and I am going to make it again for dinner on Friday.

  • Breakfast for Dinner

Note: Breakfast is one of the few foods that Carla eats reliably – and she will even eat scrambled eggs if I bribe her with pancakes. A few commenters suggested this last week, and I never do it, even though it is SO easy, and relatively healthful. Well, now I have bacon in my fridge and I’m stocked up on eggs and freezer pancakes and READY TO GO.



What are you eating this week, Internet?

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Thank you for your Thanksgiving advice, Internet. I am going to (TRY TO) treat it like an unusual day and just… delegate. The logistics of delegating are boggling my mind right now, but I think I can figure it out. (Just… ask my mother-in-law if she will take over X and Y and I will cover A and B and then… tell her when she has free rein in the kitchen?) (She is coming in from out of town, so will have to do actual cooking in my kitchen rather than bringing something she made at home.) (Making some things in advance will be KEY. Definitely I can do cranberry sauce and gravy a few days before, and maybe even the mashed potatoes…? Well, maybe not, but the mashed potatoes aren’t hard.) I am happy to let go of the traditional stuff and let her have at it; I can try Swistle’s idea for cajoling her into making my husband’s favorite dressing, because he IS her Darling Baby, so she probably will want to do what he wants. And then I can make whatever my husband and I missed for Actual Thanksgiving. We’ll see if I can make it work. I will report back.

Well. That’s enough Thangstgiving talk. Ha.

Let’s talk about the more immediate necessity of feeding myself and my family, shall we?

My mood regarding meal planning remains grim. Nothing – not even TACOS – sounds appealing. Can we somehow blame this on the end of Daylight Saving Time? Or maybe on it being NOVEMBER already?

Whatever it is, we must just grit our teeth and get through the week. Here’s what I’m grudgingly planning:

Dinners for the Week of November 5-11

  • Tacos

Note: The return of Taco Tuesday and I’m not even a little bit excited. What is my DEAL? 

  • BBQ Pork with Baked Potato

Note: I don’t know if I can drum up enough cooking enthusiasm to make coleslaw for my husband. Maybe I can get away with some roasted green beans on the side instead?

Note: I probably won’t include the steak here, just chicken. By the way, I heard about this recipe from Jenna Fisher on her The Office Ladies podcast, which I am enjoying IMMENSELY. My husband and I are re-watching The Office, and even though we are way ahead of where Jenna and Angela are on their show, it’s fun to experience each episode again through the lens of two people who were there. And who talk about it so charmingly.

Note:This is fairly easy and relatively healthful and I know it’s good, so. You know. As little effort as possible this week, folks.

Note: This is a new-to-me recipe, but it sounds easy and tasty. I do need something green to eat alongside it… Maybe I will try to sneak a side salad onto the table…

  • Something else that’s easy?

Note: I have hundreds of recipes bookmarked and hundreds more recorded in these pages or in my “dinners this week” emails to myself and NOTHING SOUNDS GOOD. Not even leftover Halloween candy. I am sick, aren’t I? That’s the only possible explanation.

  • Out

What are you eating this week, Internet? Hit me with your foolproof favorites.

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What is my deal? The sun is shining, the trees look spectacular, there is SNOW in the forecast. I should be in a good mood. And yet I am CRANKY. Part of the reason is that I cannot figure out how to paint Carla’s face for Halloween (she is going as a tiger and all the “easy” videos seem Very Hard). Part of the reason is I am staying up late working, and so I am not getting a whole lot of sleep.

Right now, meal planning is making me cranky. I am full-on into I Hate Dinner Planning mode. I hate it. Every food is awful. Nothing sounds appetizing and everything requires too much work. Blah. And yet, my family has to eat!

Let’s try to scrape together something resembling a meal plan, shall we?

Dinners for the Week of October 29 – November 4 [Ed Note: NOVEMBER?!? Are you seeing this???]



  • Pizza (for Halloween Night)

Note: I am also making this veggie tray that will supposedly look like a candy corn and these ghost brownies for Carla’s class party.



  • Burritos


  • Out

What are you eating this week?

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