What’s Your Plan? Week 10

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

I’ve been a bad blogger. Not such a bad menu planner, just a bad blogger. I had my menu all planned for last week – even pretty much followed the plan. I just got busy (ended up working more than I had been), and well – the menu never got posted. Sorry!

John and I sat down tonight and got this week planned out. So, for the week beginning today, Monday, October 11th through Sunday, October 17th, 2010 our plan is….

Monday – Chicken Fetuccini. Made a new alfredo sauce today – pretty much the same as we normally make, only this time I added a tempered egg yolk to it. Amazing what a difference that made! Smooth, velvety, fabulous! Will decidedly do it this way from now on!

TuesdaySpaghetti with Meatballs. Pretty similar to the line linked at Williams-Sonoma. This is new for us, so we’ll see how it goes over! (Keeping in mind that William doesn’t believe in consuming any tomato products!)

WednesdayShrimp Fried Rice. I gotta tell you – we tried this a few weeks ago for the first time and – hands down – an all out fave. I see this one getting repeated often! It’s quick, tastes fabulous, and is literally about 30 minutes from start to serving. Well – you do need to have rice cooked and cooked ahead of time, but hey – I don’t mind doing that!

Thursday – Baked Fish. We’re going grocery shopping tomorrow night, so not really sure which type or how – but this is an all time fave at our house – there’s pretty much no BAD way to fix fish when John McBride is the guy cooking. Seriously – he’s got a gift! Sometimes it’s seasoned and floured and baked, sometimes fried, sometimes it’s not coated – just steamed in garlic butter and dill. Amazing stuff!

Friday – Steak & Salad Night! Steak for John and Jonathan (William will be away at Middle School Retreat), salad for me. If it’s dry, we may even heat up the grill!

SaturdayTuna Noodle Casserole. Seriously. We’re guessing Jonathan will be busy at dinner time, and William is out of town at retreat. And well, John and I really like this – we can just never get our kids to eat it. So we’re gonna! (BTW, we don’t do ANY canned condensed soups. Yeah – not okay. We just mix up a roux quickly and go from there.)

Sunday – Taco Bell after church and picking William up from Retreat.

So – that’s our plan.

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan? Week 8

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

Life is a little nutty. I’ve got this project going on. You can read about it here. What it means is that there’s lots of running from here, there, to just about everywhere. Lots of amazing people I’ve met – and have the great privilege of partnering with. Honestly – it’s been really cool. But it keeps me busy – and means we need meals that are simple to prepare – and yummy.

Today John and I sat down and strategized out the next couple of weeks – of course, always pending adjustment given life being – well, life. 🙂 So – here’s what we’ve got going!

For the week beginning today, Monday, September 27th through Sunday, October 2, 2010 our plan is….

Monday – Spanish Rice con Carne. This is the recipe that Jonathan’s dad taught me how to make years and years ago. I really need to write it down. It’s easy to do, super yummy, and full of wonderful flavors.

Tuesday – Spaghetti. Which really means John, Jonathan, and I will eat Spaghetti. I’ll break down and crack open a store-bought bottle of alfredo sauce for William to pair up with some cooked chicken that’s in the freezer over whatever noodle he chooses.

Wednesday – Beef & Potato Soup. This is a William request item. It’s pretty much beef stock, beef seasoned with onion, celery, and garlic salt, and diced potatoes. It’s super plain – which is exactly why he loves it so.

Thursday – Chicken Fried Rice. We’re trying out a new recipe. If it’s any good – we’ll let you know! 🙂

FridayPapparadelle Bolognese. This is in my Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooker cookbook that I got when I got my All-Clad slow cooker (which I absolutely adore, by the way). I’ve been wanting to try this for ages. A day with two YarnFest events is a good reason to pull out the slow cooker, don’t you think?

SaturdayDina’s World Famous Lasagna. It’s pretty close to the traditional stuff, but this is what I came up with after hanging out with my friends on the cooking side of the culinary school. I like to make it up in two smaller disposable-type tin foil pans, freezing one before baking for future use.

Sunday – Ham & White Bean Soup with Cornbread. I love this soup. It’s creamy, and warm, and yummy, and good for you. Awesome! And the cornbread – well, it’s a must-have with this soup!

How about you?

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan? Week 7

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

I’m feeling a little – well – frazzled.

I’ve done it again.

Jumped feet first into a HUGE project. It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s something I feel God is calling me to do. And I honestly could devote my time 24/7 to seeing it to completion and not have enough time. It’s gonna take a miracle – and I’m really feeling it right now!

So my menu planning for the week reflects the necessities of trying to use my time wisely!

For the week beginning today, Monday, September 20 through Sunday, September 26, 2010 our plan is….

Monday – Pizza Night. We’ve got a great coupon for pizza – and the boys love pizza – so, pizza night it is!

Tuesday – Beef Stew with Homemade Dinner Rolls. I’ve got to get this recipe written down and posted. I do! Honestly, I’m gonna. But maybe not this week… so much to do… so little time!

Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry. The boys adore yakisoba noodles, so these are always served with this meal. Lately, we’re pretty much just buying a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies and seasoning with the various sauces we have on hand. It’s such an easy meal – and comes together quickly.

ThursdayChili con Carne. Detecting a theme here? Quick and easy meals? You seeing that yet? It’s high on the list of priorities in my life right now! LOL!

Friday – Shepherd’s Pie. This is another recipe that I’m supposed to write down and post. Yeah – not happening this week!

Saturday – Burgers on the Grill. The forecast says sunny and upper 70’s. We’d better grill while we can!

Sunday – Roasted Chicken. To be honest, this is not on the boys’ list of favorites. They tolerate it. But the inside scoop is that I really need to make chicken stock, so roasted chicken is on the menu!

My big insider tip for this week is that it always pays to subscribe to your favorite grocery store or restaurant’s email notifications. More and more of them have blogs, too – oftentimes giving you a discount or buy one get one offer for subscribing.

When I subscribe to things like this I make sure to set up a rule in Outlook to direct said email notifications to the appropriate folder – i.e., I have a Restaurant folder and a Shopping folder and a folder for the RSS feed updates for New Season’s, etc. This way I get heads’ up warning if a fabulous sale is heading my way.

How about you?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan? Week 6

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

Okay – so it was a way better week than the one previous. BUT – still complex. Lots of doctor’s appointments. Lots of dealing with kids in pain. Lots of having to adjust life to accommodate special needs. And I worked Tuesday through Saturday – and well – I’m bushed.

I don’t know that this week will be any easier. There are still lots of doctor’s appointments. There are still lots of things to juggle. But – from the looks of things at the moment – I likely won’t have hours to work this week. While we’ll miss the income – frankly – I need the breather! Technically – I’m still recovering from all of the nuttiness of earlier this year.

So… here we go. Late again. Sorry.

For the week beginning today, Monday, September 13 through Sunday, Month 19, 2010 our plan is….

Monday – French Dip Sandwiches with Au Jus. The guys love this meal. It’s a total breeze to throw together, and makes for an easy evening both prep and clean-up wise.

Tuesday – Fresh True Cod with Shells and White Cheddar. Yep. Again. Yep, we liked it that much. Plus, the cod is on sale at New Seasons through Tuesday. Hard to pass up!

Wednesday – Tacos! The boys’ favorite. And probably the first time Jonathan will be able to eat something this “crunchy” since his “incident.” Here’s hoping it goes well.

ThursdaySkillet Lasagna. It got bumped last week – one doctor’s appointment too many! So – this is take two on this one.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – John and I will be away Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. This happens very infrequently, and well – we’re ready! The boys will likely get as much pizza, nachos, and quesadillas in as is conceivable. ::shudder:: They’re thankful that when we’re away they get razzed much less about eating vegetables!

My big insider tip for this week is it’s okay to repeat a meal if you like it that well. Kinda like how John and I are pretty much gonna be eating squash every night as long as the squash holds out. Just like the True Cod that’s on sale at New Season’s. When it’s that good – and fresh and wonderful – well, there’s no rule written in stone that you can’t do a repeat.

How about you? Got any insider tips? Or a meal that you like enough to eat weekly?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan? Week 5

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and chances are it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. If you think we should make it a blog hop – hey, say the word! Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

But – I just gotta say… Do you ever just have one of those weeks? You know, the kind where you come to the conclusion of the week, look back and think… “Really?! Seriously?!” Yeah, we had one of those weeks. I worked more than I have in a while. William had pre-ops at Shriner’s on Wednesday, then surgery on Thursday. Then Thursday evening Jonathan was assaulted by an adult bystander at a basketball game (who mistakenly thought Jonathan had punched his family member) – knocking him unconscious, breaking several facial/sinus bones, sending us to the ER with him twice through the night, and leaving the poor kid in utter misery. Yeah. One of those kinds of weeks. So – yes, we had a dinner menu planned for the week last week. And for the most part, we followed it. But there are those instances when you just gotta adjust when life gets a little unruly. You know?

Okay – back to the topic at hand… For the week beginning today, Monday, September 6 through Sunday, September 12, 2010 our plan is…. (Yes, it’s true – we’ve adjusted a bit. We decided we just do better when we play Monday through Sunday – shopping and mental energy wise!)

MondayAbondigas Soup. Jonathan has been asking for this, and we think we’ve finally found a recipe that will come closest to what he’s wanting. Being that his jaw is so out of whack from the events of the week, soup is high on the list of things that go down well for him. Poor kid.

TuesdaySkillet Lasagna. It’s quick, it’s easy, and quite possibly – better than the bigger production version of the same. What’s not to love? Plus – soft food – another bonus! It’s also the first day of school, so a good way to start the school year off!

Wednesday – DIY night. John & I have a meeting to go to. We’ll probably end up fixing something low key for the boys – who are still in that semi-hibernation mode of recovery.

Thursday – Chicken Parmigiana. This is kinda a “cheater” meal – in that it’s super easy, yummy, and popular with the kids. Simply: breaded chicken tenders cooked until just done, cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella, put back in the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes, tops. While all of this is going on, we typically pull extra spaghetti sauce out of the freezer, defrost, and heat. Cook angel hair spaghetti noodles, and it all comes together at about the same time. We serve it with the angel hair mixed in with the spaghetti sauce and the chicken on the side. Voila. Simple meal.

Friday – Baked Fish and Shells with White Cheddar. This is a fave all around. The fish is so quick and easy to prepare (and yummy, too!). And the S&WC provides a lovely white sauce to accompany the fish. What could be better?

SaturdayJohn’s Amazing Enchiladas. I love having a husband who is easily as good or better a cook than I am. Especially when that means he makes enchiladas. ‘Cause they’re amazing. Seriously amazing.

Sunday – Beef Stew with Homemade Dinner Rolls. This is my Mom’s Beef Stew recipe – that has never been written down, and darn it – I’m gonna do it! I’ll have to make it first and take notes as I do, though. I promise to post it when I’m done.

My big insider tip for this week is simply: be prepared to adjust if life throws you a curve ball. Whether that means putting enough egg money aside to order pizza one night, or have something ready to pull out of the freezer to reheat as a back-up plan, or even to preparing an extra “something” to have available for snacks and alternatives in the fridge each week. Whatever it is – sometimes – even though planning is commendable and a good thing to do – just being willing to take a moment to adjust – rather than ditch the whole plan altogehter – is a good thing.

How about you? Any contingency plans at your house?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan?, Week 4

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

Here’s the plan: Every Saturday (okay, and occasionally it won’t happen until Sunday!), I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

For the week beginning today, Sunday, August 29 through Saturday, September 4th, 2010 our plan is….

Sunday – Beef Pot Roast with Roasted Veggies; evening meal is DIY.

Monday – Jonathan’s Chicken Surprise with Spanish Rice and Corn. Yes, it’s true. Jonathan has volunteered to cook dinner Monday night. He’s a pretty good cook, and we’re looking forward to whatever it is he’s got up his sleeve!

Tuesday – Breakfast for Dinner. We’re gonna do omelettes and hash browns. We typically customize each omelet for each individual. It works out well, that way everyone has exactly what they want. I’m seriously leaning toward sautéing some squash fresh from the garden to put on mine!

Wednesday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Yakisoba Noodles. The boys really like this meal – I love it because of all of the veggies.

Thursday – Some sort of Soup in the Crockpot. William has bilateral knee surgery at Shriner’s Thursday. It will probably be a day surgery – but there’s no knowing for sure if it will be, and if it is, no knowing when we’ll arrive home. So this will have to be one of those crock pot recipes that holds well at a low temperature! We’ll know more at his pre-op appointment on Wednesday what to expect – and that will affect what we plan for this meal. (But this one is looking mighty good!)

Friday – Homemade Macaroni & Cheese. I can admit it. I’ve tried making it roughly a bazillion times – and well – none of them have been anything worth trying again a second time. (Although the chickens have enjoyed my failed attempts immensely!) Anyone? You got a good homemade mac & cheese recipe that I should try this time out?

Saturday – Burgers on the Grill. I’m thinking we’ll have to see if we can find some corn on the cob to grill, too. Hard to believe our grilling days are winding down…

My big insider tip for this week is a web site that I probably turn to at least three, maybe four times a week. It’s Cook’s Illustrated. It’s one of the few web sites that I feel it’s worth paying the subscription for a higher tier of access on the web site. I am – to be perfectly honest – a little put out that they’ve added yet another tier of service – requiring yet another level of subscription – to access *everything* at the site… but I’ll likely get over it. The one plus about this highest tier of service is that it includes the contents of their many – admittedly fabulous – cookbooks. (Several of which I already own – but I’m just too cheap to buy too many more, as lovely and fabulous as they may be!) I may break down eventually to bump up to that higher tier of service – but frankly, given our current economic status – it’s WAY down at the bottom of the list of possible things to fork out cash for!

And because I think it’s kinda lame that you gotta subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated – one other fabulous web resource for recipes: Epicurious. I’ve been turning to them for – gosh – at least 10 years. Their web site – even way back when – has always been a fabulous way to kind of get an idea if you’re heading the right direction with a new recipe – or if you need to learn a technique. Great place!

How about you? Any web sites you wouldn’t consider cooking without?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

I’d love to know!

What’s Your Plan, Week 2

It’s that time again – time to share what we’ve got planned for our menu for the coming week…

For those of you who may have missed last week – here’s a recap:

Every Saturday, I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

Okay?

Okay!

Here goes! With the hot weather we’ve had the past couple of days, and that which is forecasted for the coming week – we do lots of cooking on the grill. We’ve found that most things can either be done on the grill or in the slow cooker when it’s inching up toward 100 F – that’s a really happy thing!

For the week beginning tomorrow, Sunday, August 15 through Saturday, August 21, 2010 our plan is….

Sunday – DIY at lunchtime after church; Burgers/Dogs on the grill for the evening meal. (Yeah, I know, we were supposed to do that today – but, well, plans have to change now and then, and it didn’t happen. We ended up having shrimp on the BBQ and green salad – it was yummy.)

Monday – Teriyaki Chicken on the Grill. This is a modification of LeeAnn’s Killer Teriyaki Wings – pretty much all you do is have an aluminum pan to set on the grill, put the chicken inside, then pour the sauce on top, cover, and then let the grill cook away! It turns out beautifully – and we typically serve with either rice or noodles and veggies.

Tuesday – Steak Quesadillas on the Grill. We buy the uncooked tortillas at Costco – cooking them directly on the grill takes maybe a minute. We thinly slice steak that we’ve found on sale, give it a quick cook and set it aside. Then since I’m pretty much the only one who gets into the onions – I’ll throw some slices onto the grill; John will do the same with a pepper that’s been sliced up. Then assembly is easy, quick, and finished results are just a few minutes away!

Wednesday – Mom’s World Famous Meatloaf. Yeah, really. They’re saying it’ll only be 80 on Wednesday. Even so, I may opt to make this on the grill, too. Love those aluminum grilling pans! Instead of mashed potatoes (which we almost always have with meatloaf), I’ll probably put together potato packets on the grill… I’ll probably post the recipe for that on Tuesday. Super easy – but fabulous!

Thursday – Ravioli’s with Chicken in Alfredo Sauce. I’m going to make this one up as I go along. I’ve got some ravioli’s in the freezer that need used up, the weather forecast says a high of 74 F, so I think I’m safe for resuming cooking indoors by Thursday! If I’m feeling industrious – and if I don’t have to work that day – I’ll try and make garlic bread sticks, too. Jess loves them, and well – she leaves for College next week. 😦

Friday – the forecast right now says a high of 70F for next Friday. I just don’t know if I can believe that or not when it’s about 90 at 9pm in my living room right now. BUT – if it’s true, then we’ve got “Meat, Rice, Gravy Thing” on the schedule for Friday. In essence, sautéed onions, celery, garlic, browned ground beef meet a lovely beef gravy, then served over rice, or noodles, or potatoes of some sort. Since it’ll just be a couple of days before Jess leaves – and rice is her fave – then I’m guessing rice it will be!

Saturday – Jess’s request: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. We actually use angel hair pasta, and the sauce is from scratch. I’ll see if I can’t get around to writing it up and getting it posted before Saturday. I’ve had several people ask me recently how to make a meat sauce from scratch lately – and well, it couldn’t be any easier. So I’ll get that done, promise!

And now – here’s my biggest insider tip/helper on menu planning: Microsoft Outlook. I love it. I’ve been deeply attached to it for actual decades. I set my window to week view, and then we try to eat dinner at about 6pm each night. I just make my dinner plan an appointment for 6pm each evening. It works out wonderfully.

Part of what makes this so wonderful? The fact that my phone gets plugged into my CPU each night and synchs the calendar in Outlook. Then I know what the plan is no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Isn’t that great?

Now – tell me…

Any insider tips?

And of course…

What’s Your Plan?

What’s Your Plan? Week 1

As I may have lamented a time or two – menu planning is no joy ride at our house.

But menu plan we must.

Why?

Because it saves us a TON of money.

Because it spares us copious quantities of stress.

Because it brings a little bit of cohesion to what could be a very chaotic schedule.

Because it helps us factor in the different individuals needs.

Because it really is the right thing to do.

Why we buck it so much, I just don’t know. Honestly – it doesn’t take that long. Particularly if we happen to remember to incorporate the kids when we’re sitting down to plan.

So I’m gonna try something kinda revolutionary.

Every Saturday, I’m going to publish our menu for the week here – on this blog – as a means of accountability. I’ll try to give links to recipes whenever possible. I’ll share links to resources as I come across them. And if you want to join in – and please do! – leave a comment in the comments section here telling us what YOU are planning for your dinner menus for the week. Maybe if we all join in – we’ll get inspired to try something new and different – or just maybe forgotten for a while!

(Little confession here – I consider it raging success if we can get dinner menus planned, I’m not even going to go anywhere near planning breakfast and lunch menus. We’re all old and skilled enough in our household to fend for ourselves for those two meals each day.)

So – here it is – Week 1 of this resolution of sorts, and for the past week our kids have been away from home. Jess has been in Hawaii with friends. Jonathan has been at high school camp. William has been at middle school camp. John and I have used this less complex week to enjoy some peace, quiet, and quite a bit more risky menu options in the kids’ absence. It’s been quite an experience – this little foretaste of Empty Nest Syndrome. And you know what? I will miss my kids whenever and wherever they go – but just the two of us, John & I – it’s a-okay in my book!

Sunday – DIY at lunch time after church; Turkey wings & thighs on the grill at the evening meal

Monday – Chicken Stir-Fry with Yakisoba Noodles

Tuesday – Spaghetti either with meat sauce or carbonara – I can’t decide

Wednesday – Tacos

Thursday – Fish (probably on the grill)

Friday – Raviolis with chicken in Alfredo sauce

Saturday – Burgers/Dogs on the grill

Typically each meal has a vegetable dish and/or salad, and some sort of starch on the side as well. Don’t tell my kids, but I’m gonna give quinoa a spin this week – it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out and what they think of it!

So that’s all there is to it!

In coming weeks I’ll share some tidbits that we’ve learned over the years to help take some of the pain out of getting a menu planned and successfully executed.

Now – tell me…

What’s Your Plan?