HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Harried 'hounds: what's your get-dinner-on-the-table-FAST meal plan for this week?

Inspired by some advice I got in this "Cooking strategies for working parents of young children" thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863756 wherein I explained I've been struggling to get dinner on the table during my work week, I've been doing some more structured weekly meal planning.

I'm always curious about what other people have planned for the week. I thought we could help each other out by posting our weekly meal plans in this thread, then reporting back how it worked out for us. Also, it would be great if you could point out anything important about your recipes and plan that are essential for success. For instance, are certain elements "prepped in advance"? Does the recipe rely on planned leftovers? Is the meal a "pantry meal"? Do you double this recipe and freeze half?

You don't have to be working, or a parent, to post in this thread, just someone who is under a lot of time pressure to get meals on the table in a hurry.

I know there are a lot of very harried East coast 'hounds hunkered down right now just hoping they don't get flooded and/or lose power. I hope you folks can join us soon. Be safe!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here's my meal plan for the week. Tues and Weds are typically my super busy nights, though I have a commitment on Thursday of this week, too. Also, I have a houseguest with some special dietary needs causing a few departures from my normal approach. Nevertheless, here we go:

    MONDAY: Catfish sloppy Joe (From former COTM "Fish Without a Doubt") http://www.esquire.com/features/guy-f...

    We use frozen diced onions for this. In FWAD Moonen has you make the BBQ sauce from scratch. We use bottled sauce as per this short-cut recipe from Esquire. This dish makes surprisingly good leftovers.

    TUESDAY: Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikash http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    I've done this recipe before as a dump and go and thought it was pretty bland. This time I'm going to go to the extra effort of browning in advance as the recipe requires and hope that gives a flavor boost.

    WEDNESDAY: Slow Cooker Char Siu Roast Pork: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/slow-...

    I've done this one before. It's a fav. Serve over rice...

    THURSDAY: pizza night

    FRIDAY: Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp (from former COTM "In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite") http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/din...

    This is a pretty good pantry recipe as long as you remember to take the shrimp out of the freezer for defrosting the day before. Alternatively, you can defrost in a cold, salted water, a tip I got from one of the Grace Young books when they were COTM. Salting the defrosting water yields plumper, jucier shrimp.


    8 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I am def going to make those catfish sandwiches! THanks for the recipe!

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        These are good ideas. I'm going to give that char sui-style slow-cooked pork a try. I bet it would be great in lettuce wraps. Do you use the Boston butt called for or another cut?

        Re: paprikas - if you sautee the onions after browning the chicken and add a minced bell pepper (any color, or a cubanelle), you'll have a much more flavorful base. I also like adding a couple of bay leaves, about 3X the amount of paprika that recipe calls for, and some dried marjoram or tarragon. You could also deglaze your browning pan with a little white wine or vermouth for extra oomph, but be careful, because I'm not sure how much evaporation you can count on in the slow-cooker. I also always add a splash of soy sauce or Bragg's for umamni and a Tbsp. or so of tomato paste.

        Let us know how your second go turns out! I have found that turkey legs work out better for me in the slow cooker than chicken, since the pieces are bigger and hold up under the long cook time.

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          I use pork shoulder. Honestly, I don't know what Boston Butt is, so if I do use that cut, it would only be by chance!

          Thanks for the tips on the paprikash--we may have to save them for the next time around as I don't think I can squeeze in another shopping trip before I have to cook this dish... But they definitely sound like they'd amp the flavor up!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            TDQ, you're good on your char sui, because Boston butt = pork shoulder!


            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Whew! Thank you! I'm really bad with cuts of meat. I usually just ask my butcher...


        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          Well.. we stuck to our plan for Monday (catfish sloppy joe) and Thursday (pizza night) but the plan fell apart Tuesday morning when our houseguest followed us around chattering Tuesday morning as we were trying to get out of the house for work so that it was impossible to concentrate in the kitchen, even long enough to assemble something for the crockpot. So we tossed the roast pork instead, but just with some beer, which we ended up using for tacos, etc.

          I thought I had shrimp on hand (and apparently didn't) for Friday's dish so we ended up going out to dinner.

          I hope for better this week. Houseguest gone. We're pretty exhausted, but hope to get back on track. I'll post my menu for this week now.


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I forgot to mention that this is what we did with our chicken instead of the Slow Cooker Char Siu pork I'd planned for Weds. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem... I was poking around the new Epicurious cookbook index on Amazon and Mahogany was listed as one of their best weeknight recipes. This was the such recipe I found on their website...

            It was delicious, but it took over an hour to prepare. Not sure if that was the fault of the recipe or of the chef (my husband). Admittedly, it was overcooked...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Thanks for mentioning that Mahogany Chicken Recipe! It was a smash hit tonight at dinner. Took about 40 minutes for me and was loved by everyone. I am normally not a huge chicken skin fan, but the skin was a thing of beauty. Not a great one for a really rushed weeknight (all the splattering oil not so great for the toddlers underfoot either) but this one has been tagged as a favorite in Pepperplate!

        3. Copied from the other thread. To give background, I work 4 days a week, have a 5 year old in Kindergarten and a 5 month old in daycare those 4 days. Plus a long commute. I usually get home between 6:30-7 M-Th.

          My week begins on Fridays since I don't work Fridays, so I try to get my shopping in while Thing 1 is at school. This week is as follows:

          Friday: Chicken in basil red pepper cream sauce and cold roasted Brussels sprouts. (this was a pinterest recipe, not my favorite)
          Saturday: a sweet potato dish I made in the afternoon for my blog, pork chops with apple cider sauce ( a pan sauce is the quick cooker's best friend), salad with some doctored bottled dressing (added buttermilk and fresh dill to ranch)
          Sunday: roast chicken, polenta with gorgonzola, kale and avocado salad, pie (again, for the blog)
          Monday: meatloaf (made Sunday afternoon to reheat, roasted broccoli (roasted yesterday) and sprouts
          Tuesday: middle eastern garlic chicken with pita, lettuce, tomatoes (chicken is marinating -- I plan to pressure cook -- about 4 minutes.
          Wednesday: chicken thighs with artichokes and mustard cream sauce (this is a new recipe - I'm getting home early Wed for Halloween. It's promised as a quickie, but this gives wiggle room)
          Thursday: Cauliflower soup with cheddar (using cauliflower I roasted this weekend. ) probably a salad (I bought a few heads of romaine).

          Bought a frozen turkey this weekend - it's defrosting and I'll roast it next weekend.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Savour

            RE: your middle eastern garlic chicken on Tuesday: I'm always impressed by people who use a pressure cooker without fear. I usually have to enlist my husband's help. When you say 4 minutes, does that include the time to come to pressure and then come down from pressure? Are you going to let it come down naturally or use a quick release or that water cooling method?

            I always wonder if I'd really save time using a pressure cooker after all the time to come to and down from pressure. I'm curious to know how a person who knows what they're doing manages it and how long the TOTAL time is...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              In general, when someone says it cooks in "X minutes" that is the time it cooks AT PRESSURE. It does not include the time it takes to get up to pressure or any release time.

              If you include those, it will add an additional 20-30 minutes.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I bought an electric pressure cooker, which takes all the guesswork out of it (I say "I bought" but it was a Christmas gift one year). The 4 minutes is at pressure, but since the chicken is literally ready to go I anticipate that the chicken will be done in no more than 15 or 20 minutes (The electric cooker seems to come up to pressure pretty quickly). The cookbook "Pressure Perfect" recommends 4 minutes after cooking before you do the quick release. I'm adapting a slow cooker recipe (All chicken slow cooker recipes seem to call for 3 hours on low, which is not very convenient when you work outside the home) so I will report back on timing.

                1. re: Savour

                  Interesting! I can't wait to hear how it goes. I have a presto pressure cooker, a new one, but it seemed like there was a ton of guesswork and I found it frustrating. I suppose you just have to learn how to use it, like anything else, and I honestly haven't invested the time. But, I'd like to!

                  I'm curious to hear how your adapted recipe turns out!


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Report: My pc takes six minutes to come up to pressure. Chicken wasn't quite cooked after 4 min at high pressure, so I did another 2. Then it sat at warm for a while while bedtime came so the chicken was a bit dry Still edible with some yogurt dressing, shredded lettuce and flatbread, but next time I'd use thighs..

                  2. re: Savour

                    Wow, an electric pressure cooker? That sounds ideal for me! I've never had any success with mine and now I'm too afraid to use it. But I love my electric rice cooker.

                    1. re: sarahcooks

                      I have a Fagor 3 in 1. It's an electric pressure, rice and slow cooker. Amazing. Beans on a weeknight. Saute the onion right in the pan before pressure cooking and, walk away after setting. It's really helped me in the after-work realm

                      1. re: debbypo

                        Sounds pretty great... I might have to investigate this one.


                      2. re: sarahcooks

                        I have the Cuisinart. It gets pretty mixed reviews on Amazon, but it's worked fine for me for a couple of years and it's pretty foolproof.

                2. Order a large pizza
                  While the pizza is on its way:
                  Make a salad
                  Set the table and set out the drinks

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: todao

                    Well, that's one day. :) What are you planning on doing the other four to six dinners this week? Or, do you plan on doing pizza delivery every day (which, by the way, everyone else in my household would totally be on board with...)?


                  2. Here's my plan for this week and next. Just started working on next week's so it's not finalized yet. I do not have kids, just a non-cooking boyfriend, but I work 9-6 and commute 1 hour each way, so I don't get home til 7. I'm not a big fan of freezer meals as I do enjoy cooking and it's a nice way for me to relax after work. I do sometimes freeze a few portions though, for BF or myself to eat for lunches if there aren't enough leftovers, or for the nights when he's not around.

                    I plan my meals a week in advance and grocery shop on Saturdays for the coming week, but I have a pretty well stocked pantry/fridge so my trips to the store are mostly to get fresh ingredients, or to replenish a pantry item if I've ran out. I buy meat in bulk at Costco or or at the store when it's on sale so I always have a big selection of a wide variety of meats to choose from. I also try not to pick recipes that have a lot of ingredients I don't have, as it gets expensive to buy them all at once. Oh yeah, to make things more fun, I am limited to 1700-1800 calories a day, so I have to plan around that too.

                    Monday night:
                    Marinated London Broil (made the marinade and put meat in last night). It's not too cold today so I think I'll grill it instead of broiling.
                    Cheesy Cauliflower Bake (cut up the cauliflower yesterday so I just have to make the sauce and put in the oven tonight)

                    Tuesday night
                    Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls (It's just a cheese/chicken/pesto filling rolled up in a single lasagna noodle, then topped with red sauce (good ol' Ragu) and cheese and cooked in the oven. I roasted the chicken yesterday and already cut it up, so I just have to make the cheese filling and roll and throw in the oven).
                    Broccoli (Green Giant Seasoned Steamer bag) :)

                    Leftovers. BF plays hockey on Wednesday nights so he's not home, so I eat whatever seems appealing from the leftovers in the fridge or freezer, or I make something basic like grilled cheese.

                    Glazed Pork Chops
                    Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes

                    If we don't go out to eat, tacos

                    Mustard Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

                    Butternut Mac and Cheese w/ Bacon (still need to figure out a protein to go with this)

                    Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with spaghetti

                    A version of "pastitsio" with penne and ground turkey.


                    I'm volunteering at a Cooking Matters class until 8, so I won't get home til 830, so I will pick up something on the way home.

                    Not sure yet :)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Wow, you're looking ahead TWO weeks! Very impressive!


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I start to on Mondays, yeah ;) I just came up w/ my list for next week this morning. But I don't really finalize it til at least Wednesday, when the grocery ads come out, especially for side dishes. I should have mentioned I also do some grocery shopping on friday afternoons, since I work near a produce market that sometimes is cheaper than the grocery store near my house.

                      2. re: juliejulez

                        My Saturday already changed, going to make pizzas instead. I realized the mustard chicken dish is actually a fast one to prepare, so I'll save it for a weeknight at a later date. I try to reserve the quick prep ones for weeknights, and stuff that takes longer for weekends.

                        1. re: juliejulez

                          I've had to adapt my menu already, too!


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Changed my menu again! Sprouts has steaks on sale so I'm going to do those on Saturday night with baked potato and asparagus instead of the pizza! The pizza was going to require me to buy pretty much all the ingredients and with Thanksgiving coming, funds are a bit short.

                      3. I work 12 hour shifts every weekend and can't face cooking those nights. Plus the Duke won't cook for himself beyond microwaved oatmeal and Gardenburgers lol. So every Friday I cook for Friday night through approx Monday lunch. I make a small assortment of meats, beans, soups, sides, veggies, sauces and package up separately in transparent containers in fridge; one-to-four choices of each depending on what's in the house, the intended meal, and our preferences.

                        I leave a list of "Weekend Eats" for the Duke so he can select what he'd like for lunch; when I get home I assemble dinner and gently re-heat. The assortment means we can be flexible; if we feel like different proteins or even different meals we can have them.

                        I try not to plan too firmly because sometimes I'll just get an irrational idea that "I.Just.Can't.Eat.Chicken.Tonight" or similar. Having a variety helps avoid a fast food run.

                        A typical assortment might be:
                        roast chicken, either parts or torn up (or pulled pork; or fajita beef; or lamb)
                        grilled sausage (or hamburgers/meatballs/meatloaf; or falafel patties)
                        beans, plain: chickpeas, black beans, or red beans, etc.
                        baked/roasted veggie (sweet potatoes, squash, asparagus, etc.)
                        sauteed or steamed veggie (broccoli, zucchini, spinach, greens, etc.)
                        cold side: marinated cucumber or cole slaw or potato salad or hummus
                        raw sliced veggies (ALWAYS) (carrots, celery, snowpeas, grape toms)
                        salad greens
                        polenta (or quinoa or couscous or plain pasta)
                        brown rice (or pita or crusty bread or flatbread)
                        marinara (or garlic/butter or ginger/chili or sesame/soy or BBQ)
                        curry "sauce"

                        So a lunch/dinner meal could be:
                        cucumber salad; cold chickpeas w/greens and chopped toms/onions/feta in vinaigrette
                        sweet potato; chickpeas, broccoli and greens in curry
                        crudites; sausage w/greens and marinara with polenta
                        salad; chicken w/chickpeas and squash in curry; rice

                        Come Monday, I can pull some chicken broth out of freezer and toss in veggie, meat, and bean remnants for soup.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                          Weekends sound pretty intense for you! What's your plan for the rest of this week?


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            During the week I generally have time to indulge in more elaborate and/or spontaneous daily cooking so I leave that unplanned. I still keep salad greens, sliced raw veggies, and a lunch/snack protein around so there's always a healthy snack; I tend to crockpot small amounts of various beans 2-3 times a week also.

                            Today I was reading the "Shawarma vs Gyros" thread and decided to make some gyro meat since I had most everything. It's cooling on the counter now. :)

                            (Edited to add: The Friday cooking is actually pretty easy since we eat a lot of our veggies very simply, and I save heavier seasoning of meats/grains for the saucing. I often have 2-3 slow-cookers going during the day and the cooking is on-and-off for the rest.)

                        2. Well, I usually do my meal plan on Sunday nights. Which has truly truly saved me...not only my sanity, but financially. So often I was going into the grocery store overwhelmed and without a plan and just impulse shopping. I've been meal planning for almost 3 months and it has truly changed my life as a new mother. This is the week that things get used up. The last week of the month I start clearing out the veggie draw, the cabinets and fridge/freezer. This weeks menu looks like this:

                          Monday – Tomato Bacon Pasta
                          Tuesday – Greek Chicken w/ a feta yogrut sauce, zucchini and chickpea salad
                          Wednesday – Pan fried lake trout and delicata squash and sage risotto
                          Thursday – Pizza/Pasta (my dh is in school until 10pm Thursdays, so I''m on my own)
                          Friday – Roasted chicken legs, parsnips and squash
                          Saturday – Burgers and beans
                          Sunday – No cook day! Hooray

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: tiffeecanoe

                            Sounds like a great week. For some reason, that tomato bacon pasta is calling to me. Do you just wing it or do you have a recipe for that?

                            I love the idea of getting the fridge cleared out. Have you been using any particular tool for your meal planning or are you just doing it with pen and paper?


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Well, if you're open to condensed tomato soup - it IS good. It's my only condensed soup meal, such a guilty pleasure and my husband is in love with it.

                              I pretty much wing it - it's basically macaroni noodles, 1-2 cans of tomato soup, 1/2 a large onion chopped and 1/2lb to full package of standard bacon. Fry up bacon, chop... saute the onions in the leftover fat, drain some of you want. When soft, add back the bacon and tomato soup. Drain your noodles, put back in pot and pour mixture over. I forgot to mention in the WFD thread that lately I've been adding a little cream to the mixture some times because I'm finding the tomato soup to be a bit too tangy lately. Tonight, actually, I used multi grain penne and husband preferred it. I just grew up w/ the macaroni so it's my go-to.

                              I don't use a program at all - just pen and paper. Every Sunday night I dig through the freezer and fridge and make a list and a separate list for what I'll need to pick up for the week. Last week of the month only gets one piece of paper ;)

                              1. re: tiffeecanoe

                                I have a weakness for Campbell's Tomato Soup dating back to the summer of my freshman year in college--you don't find it too salty with the added bacon or does the cream cut that a little?


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I really don't find it to be too salty, but it does depend on the bacon that you use. I typically buy Patrick Cudahy for this dish. You could use a lower sodium bacon or any bacon you don't find too salty! The cream, of course, does help a little, but I mainly just started adding that because I'm now finding the soup to be tangy. I'm pretty sure they've changed their recipe, unless my palate has changed over the years!

                          2. TDQ,

                            I don't always have my menu ready for the whole week but this week I do, so here goes:

                            Monday: Union Square's Tuna Club Sandwich (poached the tuna earlier, will fry the bacon tonight while I panini the bread, etc.)

                            Tuesday: Bistro Cooking Roasting Chickens (p. 182) with Zuni Cafe's buttermilk mashed potatoes

                            Wednesday: Grilled shrimp with Tamarind Recado from La Parilla. Will serve these with tortillas and black beans. Plan on being home to pass out candy while my kids trick or treat with their friends. First time they are going without us. :(

                            Thursday: Grilled ribeye steaks with Ad Hoc's broccoli burrata salad

                            Friday: Probably will order in.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: dkennedy

                              I can't wait to hear about the Tuna sandwich. I've got that Union Square tuna sandwich flagged, too. Big night for you on Weds. Good luck!


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I'll make a full report later on COTM thread but suffice to say I was not overly impressed with the taste of the tuna itself. It was a bit bland, maybe because it is poached in a stock base rather olive oil. I have another recipe that poaches the tuna in oil so I will try that next time. The sandwich overall was delicious. I served it on a baugette toasted on the panini and the combo of the tuna, mayo, lettuce and bacon was heavenly. The other thing to note about the recipe is that it makes a ton of tuna and a ton of mayo. Next time I would 1/2 both recipes. Even if my entire family wanted seconds, there would have been too much. As it is, because my family did not love it, there will be a lot to throw out.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  Oh such a bummer about the underwhelming tuna and the crazy excess! How disappointing.


                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  The Bistro Cooking Roasted Chix was outstanding. Not too much work for a school night if you make the marinade the night before. I would also opt for removing the backbone and flattening it before broiling, rather than cutting it up. It calls for making two chickens, so this would be a real workhorse for a second meal during the week. The backbones could also be used to make a chicken soup later in the week so really 3 meals from this one dish. Love, love, loved it!

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      No, this is a different recipe. I'll try to see if I can find it online and post it later.

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen


                                        I looked online and there are a lot of adaptations of the Bistro recipe noted above but none that set out the recipe as it was intended. Some add potatoes or take away the last minute finishing touches and I think if you are trying it for the first time you should make it the way he did so you get the full effect. I will have to post it at some point but not today. It would take a lot of time which I don't have right now. If you need it before then, email me and I'll be happy to send you a photo of the recipe.

                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                          Hi dk, I would love a paraphrase of the recipe but only when you have time. In fact, now that I think about it, this book is in my library system, so I can always check the book out of the library and have a look at the recipe if you find yourself running out of time.


                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          At Hamersley's Bistro in Boston, this chicken is served with roasted potatoes and onions.

                                          Marinade/Wet Rub:
                                          1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
                                          3 garlic
                                          3 shallots
                                          2 teaspoons kosher salt
                                          2 teaspoons Coarsely ground black pepper
                                          6 tablespoons olive oil
                                          3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
                                          1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
                                          1 teaspoon dried rosemary
                                          zest of 1 lemon

                                          2 whole chicken (3-pounds each)
                                          black pepper
                                          1 Garlic head (unpeeled)
                                          1 tablespoon olive oil

                                          1 1/2 cup chicken broth
                                          1 lemon, 1/2 juiced, the other 1/2 sliced
                                          1 tablespoon butter

                                          To prepare marinade:
                                          Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process to a paste.
                                          To prepare chicken:
                                          Coat chicken with marinade.
                                          Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours.
                                          Preheat oven to 350F.
                                          Season chicken with salt and pepper.
                                          Place on rack in roasting pan.
                                          Separate cloves of garlic but do not peel them. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap garlic in foil and place alongside chicken to roast. Take out after 1 hour.
                                          Roast chicken for 1 1/4 hours.
                                          Remove from oven and let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 30 minutes.

                                          To prepare the sauce and finish the dish:
                                          While the chicken is resting, pour off the pan juices and degrease the pan with the chicken broth.
                                          Quarter the chicken and return to the pan, skin side up. Top with lemon slices.
                                          Broil for 7-8 minutes.
                                          Meanwhile, prepare a sauce pan for the pan drippings. Put the lemon and butter in it.
                                          When the chicken comes out of the oven, put them on a plate and pour off the juices into the saucepan.
                                          Reduce the sauce by 1/2.
                                          Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into broth mixture.
                                          Serve with chicken.
                                          Garnish with parsley.

                                          Recipe adapted from Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley (Broadway Books, 2003).

                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                              I made this for dinner tonight. It's definitely a weekend dish - takes some time unless you marinade overnight, but oh, is it ever delicious! The sauce is divine, the chicken is wonderful. Next time I will butterfly the bird before broiling, and I will only make one instead of two. But there will be a next time as this recipe is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it!

                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                        Just reporting back to say the Tamarind Recado fro La Parilla was another success. I used it on grilled shrimp but it can also be a wet marinade for a roasted chicken. The recipe says you can refrigerate the recado for 5 days but I have a ton left over so I am going to try to freeze it. The black bean recipe was simple but tasty, and we are making black bean soup out of it today to serve with chicken sandwiches (also leftovers).


                                      3. OK. Silly me. I plan WAY ahead. Then have lots of wiggle room to adjust things around depending on what happens and also sales going on. We also plan Mondays and Wednesdays as "leftover/clean out the fridge" days and Friday's are either out or take-out. There is just DH and I 90% of the time. We will also shop ahead or plan for what is in our well stocked pantry and freezer. Shopping day is usually Saturdays. So here is the rest of this week and my November menu to date:

                                        Saturday – Dinner out with MIL
                                        Sunday – Pot Roast/Potatoes/Carrots
                                        Tuesday – Fish & Chips/coleslaw
                                        Thursday – Beef Barley Soup/Grilled Cheese

                                        Saturday – Chicken Stir Fry
                                        Sunday – Meat Loaf/Mashed Potatoes/Country Gravy/corn
                                        Tuesday – Spaghetti Carbonara
                                        Thursday – Chicken Noodle Soup/Sandwich

                                        Saturday – French Dip/Cottage Cheese
                                        Sunday – Swiss Steak/Gratin Potatoes/Spaghetti Squash
                                        Tuesday – Garbage Grinder Hot Sandwiches
                                        Thursday – Butternut Squash Soup/Sandwich

                                        Saturday – Nachos
                                        Sunday – Steak/Sauteed Mushrooms/Shrimp Salad
                                        Tuesday – Salisbury Steak/Mac & Cheese/Green Beans
                                        Thursday – Thanksgiving
                                        Mashed Potatoes
                                        Cranberry Sauce
                                        Candied Sweet Potatoes
                                        7 layer salad
                                        Pumpkin Pie/Whipped Cream

                                        Saturday – Taco Salad
                                        Sunday – Turkey Spaghetti Casserole
                                        Tuesday – Breakfast – Hash Browns/Bacon/Egg Fritatta
                                        Thursday – Turkey Soup/Sandwich

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                          What is a garbage grinder sandwich?

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            A hot sandwich with salami, pepperoni, ham, melted cheeses, pickles, green peppers, tomato and LOTS of sweet onions. I posted a recipe here:


                                            They are sooooooo yummy. Definitely a full meal sandwich! Takes 2 hands to eat it without everything falling out!

                                          2. re: boyzoma

                                            Wow, an entire month ahead blows my mind.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Funny thing is, I keep a running list. So if you asked me what we had 2 years ago to date, I could tell you!

                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                I love that! How long have you been keeping the list? There's a cookbook/memoir out, "Dinner: A Love Story" (and she has a blog too) where the author kept a meal log for a decade or so and she turned it into a book.

                                                I'm hoping that pepperplate will help me keep a record of all of my meals so that I have it to refer to, not because I really care what we eat, but because I'd like to be able to easily recycle menus.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I started on 10/17/10!!!!! It's just a MS Word document, but it works. I also use Grocery IQ for my shopping lists. Then on Saturday mornings, I double check sales, make any adjustments and then enter my buying info into the computer. Then use my phone at the store for my "paperless" shopping list. If I miss something, even DH can check the shared app on his phone and pick something up for me on his way home. I love that app.

                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                    10/17/10 means over 2 years. That's fantastic! And, wow, yet another software/app I've never heard of http://www.groceryiq.com/Default.aspx...

                                                    I'm not sure I can be torn away from pepperplate.com, though, because it has my recipes, meal plan AND grocery lists all in one place.


                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      I'll have to check out pepperplate.com. Heard of it, but never looked into it. Is it an app both DH and I can share?

                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                        I'm not sure about that because I haven't shared mine with my husband yet (I've only been using it for a few weeks...). Maybe other pepperplate users can chime in on that. I think someone said she had to give her husband the login so he could do the grocery shopping...

                                                        If you use a lot of recipes from the below-listed "supported" recipe sources, it's pretty fantastic because then you can import them into pepperplate with just a couple of keystrokes. If the recipe is from elsewhere, you can "manually" import it by cutting and pasting and/or typing. Once the recipe is in pepperplate you can add it to a mealplan/calendar and/or grocery lists that can be customized by grocery store aisle. You can also scale the recipes up or down easily, as well as edit them.

                                                        Here's the list of supported sites:

                                                        Allrecipes.com Allrecipes.com.au Better Homes and Gardens Bon Appétit Chow Cooking Channel Cooking Light Eating Well Epicurious Food & Wine Food Network Food Network Canada Food Republic Food.com Food52 Health.com Kraft Recipes La Cucina Italiana Martha Stewart MyRecipes.com Rachael Ray Rachael Ray Magazine Real Simple Recipe.com Serious Eats Simply Recipes Skinnytaste Smitten Kitchen Taste of Home Taste.com.au Tasty Kitchen The Crockin' Girls The Pioneer Woman Vegetarian Times


                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I could not agree more! I am really so jealous of everyone on this board! Everytime I work up a meal plan for the week, DH goes and ruins it with "oh by the way I am leaving for Kentucky tomorrow for 4 days", or "by the way vendor so-so is taking me out for dinner tonight" or "by the way I invited 10 people over for dinner". Yes I know, welcome to my world. My friends at work think this is outrageous. I say, hey we have been together for 15 years. I don't sweat the small stuff. :-)
                                                I used to get all wound up about it. Now, I just go with the flow, and much happier. 10 people over for dinner? No problem. I got it.
                                                Plus, I freelance, so my schedule is wack-a-do. I am so jealous of folks that work 9-5, come home and cook a nice meal every night, and spend evenings with their family. Wish I could go back in time and pick a different major in University! THEN I would be able to do a meal plan. :-) I have to go with the flow. Works though. We never order takeout. I eat all homecooked meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), DH dinner, and we go out only once every other month. Crockpot is awesome. Freezer cooking helps. Have fun!

                                            2. Nothing is faster than the slow-cooker. Nothing. Unless you bring dinner home with you.

                                              3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                    +1, plus having the added bonus of torturing my SO all day long as he works from home. :D

                                                  2. Since we're home bc of Sandy, I'm making breakfast/lunch/dinner for the next few days.

                                                    Today (Monday)
                                                    Breakfast- Pumpkin pancakes
                                                    Lunch- scrambled eggs, noodles, spinach (daughter), Hugo's pasta mama (husband), arugula salad with oven roasted tomatoes (me)
                                                    Dinner- chicken matzoh ball soup, butternut squash

                                                    Breakfast - poached eggs or waffles
                                                    Lunch- falafel, hummus, Israeli salad, pita (will make extr falafel to freeze)
                                                    Dinner - beef stew (will freeze leftovers), green salad

                                                    Hopefully everything will be back to normal!!
                                                    Fish, Israeli couscous, shakshouka, broccoli, salad

                                                    Dinner out (if possible)
                                                    Otherwise.. Homemade pizza, salad

                                                    Roasted chicken, potatoes, string beans, rice, salad

                                                    Leftovers from Friday night

                                                    Taking advantage that husband is home today and tomorrow to watch DJ Lance and color pictures of Elmo.
                                                    Today- potato puffs, spinach tofu dumplings, sugar cookies (1/2 dough baked with dd, froze the rest)
                                                    Tomorrow- Nutella cupcakes, butternut squash ravioli, cornbread croutons

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                      Heh, Elmo.

                                                      Saturday is dinner out or you're just not planned yet?


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Saturday we don't really have dinner since we have such a big lunch. For daughters dinner it's usually fri night leftovers or cottage cheese, fruit, noodles. Sometimes DH and I will go out, otherwise we eat someone from the fridge.

                                                        The falafel came out great- I used a recipe from vegetarian times magazine. DD ate two, with yogurt and cucumbers. Elmo had a few bites too :)

                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                          <otherwise we eat someone from the fridge.>

                                                          Hey. That's illegal.

                                                          (Does it taste like chicken?)

                                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                              Hahaha oops :)
                                                              Blame it on the loss of power in nyc

                                                      2. I tend to cook huge amounts twice a week, and then alternate leftovers. For example, I made a nice chicken dinner for Friday night, and a chili earlier in the week. The following week we will have chili one night again, and the next night will be chicken. Thank G-d Mr. Potatopuff is happy to eat the same thing a few times without getting bored.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                          We use our leftovers for lunches, too, so we have to have at least 3 dishes to rotate during the week, otherwise this approach often works for us, too.


                                                        2. I start the week by roasting a big mix of veggies Sunday or Monday...it makes feeding a little one during the week much easier, and I just love roasted veggie wraps with fresh mozzarella cheese for lunch.

                                                          Buying produce at the farmers market (it's year-round where I live- and cheap) instead of the grocery store has made my life so much easier because things don't go bad as quickly.

                                                          Sunday I will also prep something like veggie cream cheese for bagels at breakfast during the week and make a cake or some other baked good. Yesterday I made a triple chocolate cream cake, dangerously delicious. It's basically a chocolate cake, baked with semi-sweet chocolate chunks, topped/filled with a milk chocolate boudine, served with unsweetened, unvanillad whipped cream. It's better the next day once the boudine sets.

                                                          Sunday - usually something heavy and complicated that I am randomly craving, with plans to use the leftovers Monday. Roasted chicken(or a batch of italian chicken cutlets) or meatballs/meatloaf are the fallback.

                                                          Monday - leftovers or something made with leftovers. BBQ chicken pizza (Pre-made dough, leftover roast chicken, BBQ sauce, fresh mozzarella, red onion, garnish with cilantro). Make extra large to eat cold from the fridge late at night.

                                                          Tuesday - Open-face turkey sandwiches (craving thanksgiving). You can use deli-meat I suppose if you're really pressed for time but I cook and slice fresh turkey breast for this and make a quick pan gravy. It's still a pretty easy meal. Serve with baked (or microwaved) potatoes and some of the pre-roasted veggies.

                                                          Wednesday - Pasta night. This week penne with ricotta, tomato sauce, julienne carrots and zucchini, lots of basil and finished with a splash of cream. Sometimes I make this with shrimp, sometimes not. Must be served topped with a scoop of fresh ricotta.

                                                          Thursday - Roast something easy. This week a pork tenderloin with parsnips and carrots.

                                                          Friday and Saturday - I don't really cook unless I am craving something specific.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. re: olyolyy

                                                              What is boudine? I assume it's not boudin, the Cajun sausage, as I doubt that would go well in your heavenly chocolate cake. LOL

                                                            2. Made chili con carne on Sunday. Cook 1 cup of rice every evening. Eat chili over rice every day.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                You don't get bored? I love chili con carne, but I don't think I could eat it for every lunch and dinner for a week, nor could I convince (or want for nutritional or developmental reasons wrt to my toddler) my family to.


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I love chili, but can't eat it more than once every few weeks. Daughter and husband will eat chili or tacos every single meal. That's why I'm always in the kitchen - I just don't like leftovers.

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    It's not an ideal plan, but work is picking up as the holidays get closer. And I can almost convince myself that it's nutritionally complete:

                                                                    Vegetables: loads of fresh and dried chile peppers, onions
                                                                    Protein: beef shank, meat stock, pinto beans
                                                                    Starch: Rice

                                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                      You know, it's not a terrible plan from a nutritional perspective. I completely understand what you're saying about how busy things get coming into the holiday season. And if boredom is not a problem for you, then you should be fine. Another possibilty is to find a second one pot meal that you can prepare on Sunday and then alternate with the chili through the week... Maybe some kind of grain dish with protein and veggies...


                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        I'd do a stew with all kinds of veggies, beef and potatoes. And I love stew over rice too if you gotta have the rice. Just make your stew really thick. Then you can alternate with the chili.

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          That's a good idea. I think I'll do two pots this week: chicken and mushroom stew and braised beef short ribs. Then just alternate serve with potatoes and salad made day by day.

                                                                  2. I'll bite. I plan Thursday/Friday, shop Friday/Saturday, and usually cook Sunday through Thursday or Friday, out or takeout one or two nights/week. This week:

                                                                    Sunday: ham loaf (from Saveur on state fair eats) and baked beans; also crock'd a chili I thought would be for Tuesday, our late-getting home night. Weekends are baking days - two loaves of cajun cinnamon bread and one batch molasses cookies.
                                                                    Monday: ate said chili because we had extra folks in the house due to the storm, and planned dinner would not have fed us all. Was not crazy about the chili, kind of dull. I now think it is a waste to crock a good kielbasa.
                                                                    Tuesday: which means that smoked trout cakes (from a Food and Wine of a few years ago) will be tonight
                                                                    Wednesday: Halloween special mac and cheese that I can make while kids trick or treat.
                                                                    Thursday: an Andalusian potato soup from a recent food52 notice
                                                                    Friday and Saturday remain to be seen.

                                                                    Usually we have fish on Mondays, since we visit our great fish market on Saturdays, but that didn't happen this week. Trying to keep it meatless one or two nights a week.

                                                                    I love the crock pot, but have yet to find many really excellent recipes for it beyond pulled pork and short ribs. Just got the ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, so hope that will help. I find that getting stuff in the pot in the morning before work/school is a challenge, so am trying to crock on Sundays and then keep in the fridge for the late night that week. Also, working the pressure cooker more and more, good success with recipes from Lorna Sass there.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                      I hear you on the crock pot. All of our favorite recipes are pork too.

                                                                      What makes your mac and cheese especially Halloween'ish? It's orange, I'm sure, but what else do you do to it?

                                                                      I"ll have to have a look at that ham loaf recipe!


                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        Nothing remotely Halloween-ish about mac and cheese, just that it takes a while to bake, so it requires more time than I like to spend on a weeknight. I pop it in while the kiddies are out, and then we have something hot and (in their opinion, being mac and cheese mavens) celebratory when they return.

                                                                        1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                          Gotcha! I was thinking maybe you put black olives in it or something like that...


                                                                        1. re: lilmomma

                                                                          This is a few-years-old Mark Bittman recipe, short ribs with chinese flavors: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/29/din...
                                                                          Quite reliable, and tasty, requires lots of rice!

                                                                          And this was more recently, I'd put it a second to the Bittman recipe:http://www.dinneralovestory.com/korea...

                                                                      2. We aren't really harried this week, as we are trapped at home by hurricane sandy. Plenty of time fr cooking!

                                                                        Monday: roasted bluefish with olives and sage (cook this now), served with addictive Parmesan roasted carrots (gilt taste) and baba ganoush (Moro)
                                                                        Tuesday: green soup (love soup), bread and cheese

                                                                        Still to come this week:
                                                                        Braised Berkshire pork chops with sage and tomato(Marcella's essentials), w polenta and broccoli
                                                                        And one or two things from 660 curries (still have to decide which ones to make)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                          Gilt Taste has recipes worth trying, eh? I'd never heard of it before Ruth Reichl was a judge on Top Chef Masters. Is this Crisp, Chewy Parmesan-Roasted Carrots Recipe by Francis Lam the recipe? http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/4655... Sounds fantastic! I really liked Francis Lam as a judge on TCM. I think I'm going to have to try this one...


                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            Yes, that's the recipe. These were really good! They turned out exactly like the picture (I love that!). They took a lot longer than 18 minutes though in my slow oven.

                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                              Into pepperplate it goes. It just looks so delicious!


                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                            I had to change plans this week too. We had an unexpected guest on Wednesday, so we had pasta with sauce from the freezer, and frozen peas and artichokes cooked with olive oil, scallions and mint. (had to make freezer space quickly for my guest, whose power was out and needed to store some items). Last night (Halloween) was pizza night. I have a bit of a cold so haven't decided what to make tonight yet.

                                                                          3. I am so full of admiration for how organized you guys are. I hope to learn from you - but I don't have high hopes!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: prunefeet

                                                                              prunefeet, not to worry, I am pretty much a complete beginner at planning dinners a week at a time. The people who are planning for two weeks to a month at a time are in the advanced group! HA! Feel free to post your weekly meal plan, such as it is and ask for input if you think it would help!


                                                                            2. No children but a fairly long commute and evening commitments. I plan the menu over the weekend, usually Friday evening if I'm at home, or Saturday morning over breakfast. I used to be much better at planning and making food to bring to work, but that was before my commute was so long. I usually find that I've planned too much food

                                                                              Sunday is a roast of some kind which helps because you can then always get the same stuff in. My boyfriend always cooks Monday evenings. For the rest, I try to have one or two dishes which will be able to be reheated (chickpea tagine this week - chickpeas are soaking now, and they were weighed out this morning) so that a few nights are sorted out. Also something fairly mindless, easy and hands-free (sticky roast shallots with goat's cheese on toast tonight). We also usually have a packet of something like ravioli which can be thrown into a pan for contingencies.

                                                                              I think the main thing to accept is the rule is that you can pick two of three: a) healthy, b) quick or c) cheap. Also it doesn't always work out.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: limoen

                                                                                "I think the main thing to accept is the rule is that you can pick two of three: a) healthy, b) quick or c) cheap. Also it doesn't always work out." So true.

                                                                                Ravioli is terrific back-up.

                                                                                Is the sticky roast shallots with goat's cheese on toast a creation of yours? It sounds very appealing.


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  It was really good, but not exactly fast - the shallots had to roast for an hour. I got the recipe from a magazine put out by a posh supermarket chain; it's a recipe from Skye Gyngell.

                                                                                  16 peeled, halved shallots, combined with a tablespoon of sherry vinegar [I used red wine vinegar], 150ml stock, salt and pepper and cover with foil and roasted at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil, roast a further 15 minutes until stick (it took me about 20 minutes actually, and I turned up the oven and used the fan function for a bit). Toast bread, rub with garlic, and serve the shallots on toast with the goat's cheese. Not exactly a family meal - I would double it for 2-3, but then the shallot-peeling is fiddly, unless you use banana shallots!

                                                                                  I had some leftover roast shallots actually and folded them and some leftover chicken through couscous today, to serve with the veggie tagine.

                                                                              2. I love this thread, thank you TDQ!

                                                                                My budget has recently been dramatically reduced thanks to a career change, so I've found that I really need to plan out my weeks to stay on target. I'm inspired by the creativity of other posters. I like to cook, but have had the luxury and/or necessity of eating out a lot and am only recently getting used to cooking most nights.

                                                                                M: Grilled chicken, homemade mac & cheese and arugala, green bean and tomato salad

                                                                                T: Leftover chicken, quinoa and green beans, corn on the cob

                                                                                W: Tomato soup and grilled cheese

                                                                                H: Frittata with arugala, chopped Israeli salad, sausage

                                                                                F: Black bean chipotle chili (and leftovers for weekend lunch)

                                                                                I have next week half planned, I know I'm going to attempt to make chicken tikka masala and cauliflower curry soup, but I haven't figured out what else yet.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                  Sounds like a great plan. Delicious, healthful and budget friendly. Really smart all around.


                                                                                2. Anyone always include a takeout/delivery night in weekly meal plans? In our house, it's always Chinese delivery Sundays :)

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                    fldhkybnva, I usually plan meals on Friday and Saturday nights that can be pushed off to another day, because often we decide that day to go out for dinner on one of those nights. But no dedicated night for eating out.... if we lived in the city or closer to our town center we might do it more, but we kinda live out in the middle of nowhere so not a lot is available nearby.... we have to be in the mood to leave our day clothes on (versus house "comfy clothes") and go out :) Our only delivery options are pizza hut or domino's pizza.

                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                      Sunday is now my no cook day - it used to be Saturday, but recently changed to Sunday for Football related reasons ;) I shouldn't say no-cook, because I do typically cook breakfast on Sundays. We usually have pizza or chicken during the game... and then hit an inexpensive restaurant for either lunch or dinner depending on when the Packers are playing ;) Usually Mexican or Vietnamese.

                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                        Yep, pizza night is a requirement at my house.


                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                          That is what my Friday's are for. We either go out or get take-out. Our favorite pizza place doesn't deliver so we have to go get that as well.

                                                                                        2. Fun post, TDQ! I also need inspiration, particularly at this time of year when our CSA is over and we go dairy-free for about 6 weeks (helps with fall allergies). I do best with a weekly approach, and I love getting a box of veg from the CSA- it gives me a place to start. Alternatively, I look at what proteins I have in the house (from farmer's market meat purchases, crockpotted bulk bean cookups, or Trader Joe's weekly buy) and go from there. Let's see....this week:
                                                                                          Monday- thank goodness we didn't lose power with HSandy, so we had BLATs on rye (A for avocado) while I started cooking beef stew for our Halloween party
                                                                                          Tuesday- panko tilapia (TJs), leftover mashed potatoes from last week, steamed broccoli
                                                                                          Wednesday- beef stew (excellent Food and Wine recipe from 2004), and egg noodles
                                                                                          Thursday- DD will "cook" tacos, most likely using precooked black beans from the freezer (love that she is getting old enough to take on one night a week! It's more work now to supervise her, but I hope it will reap dividends very soon)
                                                                                          Friday- OUT
                                                                                          Saturday- probably leftover beef stew
                                                                                          Sunday- maybe we will break our dairy fast with homemade mac and cheese. Still thinking about that one.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: powella

                                                                                            I love that your daughter is getting some responsibility in the kitchen. Those skills will serve her, and you, well for years to come!

                                                                                            Is this the beef stew recipe (under 25 minutes!)? http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/be...

                                                                                            There's also this "make-ahead" one from Pepin, which I'm sure is spectacular http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/be...

                                                                                            Also from 2004 is an Asian-y one from JGV and one with celery root where the time estimates say 1 minute! Something's surely amiss there...


                                                                                          2. I love to cook and, like hyacinthgirl, am finding it more of a necessity lately for budgetary reasons. Until recently my DH and I had been eating out a bit too often, or eating convenience foods, because, on top of demanding work schedules, we'd also just moved. For now, at least, my work load has lightened, and the kitchen is finally unpacked.

                                                                                            My loose plan for this week:

                                                                                            -Callaloo (probably Monday to use up some kale needing attention). I use this recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Traci-Bs... and increase the spices.

                                                                                            -Refried bean quesadillas (using up canned storm provisions) with mozz. and cheddar, salsa, and homemade guac (avocados are ripe). I haven't figured out a vegetable side for this yet. We've been pretty bad about balanced eating lately!

                                                                                            -Japanese curry w/ seared or breaded tofu - curry is my go-to meal for using up vegetables in the crisper

                                                                                            -Packaged ravioli (Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti), probably with jarred Tuttorosso marinara and grated pecorino romano. I will probably buy a bag of spinach and make my twist on LindaWhit's balsamic-maple vinaigrette

                                                                                            -Roast pork loin with local sauerkraut, probably with apples, onions, and potatoes in the roasting pan. I'd like to make a pan sauce to serve with, and maybe also red cabbage (have half a head that needs love) if I'm feeling industrious.

                                                                                            -Leftover chicken cacciatore with freshly cooked ww egg noodles. Leftovers are a little scant, so I'll probably serve a side of fresh green beans almondine alongside.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                              I just remembered that a different tofu recipe has been sitting in my inbox for ages: http://guiltlessplate.com/featured/le...

                                                                                              I'm tempted to try it instead of the curry. Will have to figure out sides in that case---maybe mashed potatoes and...and...and...?

                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                Christina, that tofu with lemon, soy and white wine from Flexitarian table is my all time favorite tofu recipe! You must try it! I think you can cut back on the butter a smidge, too, if you want. Just something simple like steamed broccoli would be fine. Berley had you serve it with Quinoa salad with green beans, corn and tomatoes. Some pages of Flex Table are available via google books. The quinoa salad is page 128.


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  Thanks! I do have some quinoa on hand, so maybe I'll try that. I'm a little skeptical of the ginger in the recipe, but I'll give it a go.

                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                    Based on my experience (I also love this recipe and have made it many times), I recommend not skipping the ginger (it works great with the lemon, soy, and wine), but think that you can easily skip the fresh herb sprigs, which don't leave much of an impression. I always flip the tofu when the pan goes back from oven to stove, so the top side goes in the sauce.

                                                                                                    I definitely would go for a grain side over potatoes, because of the sauce. Any sauteed, steamed, or roasted vegetable you like works with it.

                                                                                                2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                  Oh yes I concur, this is a good tofu recipe

                                                                                                3. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                  a little late but an idea for a side for the refried beans quesadilla - basic lettuce and tomato salad with avocado on top and dressed with lime juice? going off a soft taco idea...

                                                                                                4. It's a very busy week here with all the Halloween hubub. I made this pantry staple tonight (I always eat the onion that poaches in the sauce): http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/0... Ridiculously easy and delicious. Also love this crockpot cashew chicken: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/1... And I recently did this salmon dish in the crockpot-- was very skeptical, but it basically slow-poaches the fish. I'd do it for more like 2 hrs. next time, but worth perfecting since it took about 5 minutes to throw together and the whole family ate it: http://getcrocked.com/2011/10/02/croc... Fun thread!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Procrastibaker

                                                                                                    Great ideas. I think these two crockpot dishes would have to be weekend dishes for me since they don't take all day and would be overcooked by the time I got home from work on a weekday. But, we need some easy weekend eats, too, especially with the busy holidays and snow shoveling season looming. But, that cashew chicken dish sounds like a must do!


                                                                                                  2. Great thread idea!

                                                                                                    I start my commute at 5am M, W, Th, and Friday, and return home at 10:45 PM (two jobs); Tuesday is my early day--home at 6pm. DH is a diabetic recovering from a stroke, so my meals have to be quick and healthy.

                                                                                                    Monday evenings are usually leftovers from the big, leisurely Sunday dinner. Leftover turkey or beef or chicken join onions and roasted peppers in wraps, with a simple green salad on the side.

                                                                                                    Tuesdays I have more time to cook, so I like to grill a couple of chicken breast or steaks. I put eggplant on the grill with the meat.

                                                                                                    Wednesday is a crockpot day. Most recently I did Brunswick stew, omitting the corn and lima beans and adding extra tomatoes and okra. This recipe from food.com

                                                                                                    is the one I modify.

                                                                                                    Thursday it's leftover stew with a green salad.

                                                                                                    Friday is veggie omelet night! I clean out that crisper.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                      Geez Pinehurst - what an awfully tough schedule! You're doing great to cook anything! Kudos to you!

                                                                                                    2. OK, this week's menu. I hope to prep a bunch of stuff today after my grocery delivery arrives.


                                                                                                      Greek Pasta with Sausage and Cheese http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20... (to use up leftover italian sausage and blue cheese)

                                                                                                      John Besh's Simple Meat Ragout For Any Pasta (to use up leftover pork): http://hautepinkbham.com/Food/my-fami...

                                                                                                      Overnight Slow-cooker pumpkin steel cut oats (for breakfasts through the week) a modified version of this: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-coo...

                                                                                                      MONDAY: Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/din...

                                                                                                      TUESDAY/ELECTION DAY: baked ziti from freezer

                                                                                                      WEDS: Pork Chops in Savory Grape-Mustard Sauce, some vegetable out of the freezer

                                                                                                      THURS: pizza night

                                                                                                      FRI: leftovers and/or soup from freezer


                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        Let us know how that greek pasta turns out... I have some similar ingredients that I need to use up!

                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                          We tried the greek pasta (and, as usual, I made some tweaks--used fusilli instead of the recommended noodle shape, didn't use the wine because my sausage was leftover from a previous dish and did not need to be sauteed, just eyeballed the blue cheese instead of measuring, etc.) and...add some steamed peas to make it a one pot dish. I thought it was good (and easy! and quick!) and would only be improved by following the actual recipe.

                                                                                                          My husband said he loved it even more than JO's "Proper Blokes Pasta" (gasp!)


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            Cool, I saved it on my Pinterest and will have to make it soon. Probably after thanksgiving when we get tired of turkey :)

                                                                                                      2. Here's my update for this week:

                                                                                                        Monday: Leftovers from the weekend and some sort of pasta to use up the ricotta I have that I don't know what to do with (suggestions welcome!)

                                                                                                        Tuesday: Pork chops and butternut squash apple soup

                                                                                                        Wednesday: restaurant, hurray

                                                                                                        Thursday: Tomato soup and mozzarella en carozza, spinach salad

                                                                                                        Friday: Curried cauliflower soup and a baked chicken tbd

                                                                                                        Planning meals is so much more difficult than I thought, but I guess I'll blame my own indecision and tendency to suddenly crave random meals.

                                                                                                        1. I don't usually plan my meals ahead, but I like to cook some things on Sunday - like a crock pot item/dish, some rice or pasta, and a few proteins. I like to have pizza one night per week, stir fry one night, Hubby likes a "junk food" night for himself & that's when I usually have a protein/veggie meal. That way, my Sunday prep allows me to put together a meal very quickly with some minimal reheating.

                                                                                                          I also always keep chili in the freezer or I'll freeze some sort of crockpot creation as well. And there's always soup night with bread/rolls or crackers for Hubby, extra veggies/protein in mine.

                                                                                                          1. We were only mildly successful at following last week's plan, but hey, flexibility is a good trait to cultivate, too ;) Buffalo wings for dinner was a low point, though.

                                                                                                            This week we may have:

                                                                                                            -Roasted herbed pork loin w/ roast potatoes, apples, and onions and German-style sauerkraut, cucumber-dill salad
                                                                                                            -Leftover butternut squash soup, butter lettuce salad w/ pickled eggs and beets from the farmer's market, crumbled goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, and sourdough croutons made from leftover bread (LindaWhit's balsamic-maple dressing)
                                                                                                            -Quinoa and kale salad w/ goat cheese, lemon, and toasted almonds (adapted from Food52)
                                                                                                            -Char sui-style slow-cooker pork in lettuce wraps?
                                                                                                            -Lightened-up chicken marsala w/ lemon green beans and rice pilaf

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                              The soup/salad dinner sounds great, but my husband wouldn't go for it! Not substantial enoug for him, he'd say.

                                                                                                              This week we're having:
                                                                                                              Monday - vegetable tortellini soup, salad, vegetable TBD
                                                                                                              Tuesday - brisket chili, cornbread, salad
                                                                                                              Wednesday- chicken schnitzel, mushroom rice, cauliflower
                                                                                                              Thursday - not sure. Need something that can be prepared dry quickly. Need to be out of the house by 9:30 and won't have any time to cook. Husband has 20 min from when he comes home till he goes back out

                                                                                                            2. Last week we ended eating at my mom's ( where we did Trick or Treating) on Wednesday night, so we had Tuna Noodle Casserole and then Friday we did Chinese food, and Saturday we had the braised chicken with artichokes (thumbs up). The rest of the week looks like this:

                                                                                                              Sunday: (Food Blogger Thanksgiving wherein I make all my Thanksgiving recipes to photograph and post on the blog this month): Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Chutney

                                                                                                              Monday: Ritz Cracker Turkey -- a "Cream of " Casserole.
                                                                                                              Tuesday: Pappardelle with Pumpkin Poblano Cream Sauce (kidlet will eat at her Grandma's)
                                                                                                              Wednesday: White Turkey Chili (Food blogger Thanksgving = lots of leftover turkey) - Going to try this in the crockpot
                                                                                                              Thursday: Leftovers.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                OOhhh! I'm especially curious about your crock pot white turkey chili!


                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                  Well, we'll see how it actually turns out! What I know now: It will contain pickled jalapenos. I love those things.We have a lot of experimentation in our house.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                                                                    Stuck to the plan mostly last week, only Tuesdaybended up being too busy to cook, so we had leftovers then.

                                                                                                                    The week looks like this:

                                                                                                                    Friday: we went to a fundraiser, ate beer and chips for dinner, kiddo anDbabysitter had myo pizzas
                                                                                                                    Saturday: Thing 1 at her grandma's, adults meal of cream chicken with poblano and greens.
                                                                                                                    Sunday: breaded chicken cutlets, adults up with a lemony arugula salad
                                                                                                                    Monday: Mushroom bourguignon, probably over polenta.
                                                                                                                    Tuesday: Roast Shrimp with broccoli
                                                                                                                    Wednesday: Tater Tot casserole
                                                                                                                    Thursday: leftovers or egg sandwiches.

                                                                                                              2. OK here's this week's final, and next week's tentative:

                                                                                                                Last night:
                                                                                                                Butternut Mac and Cheese w/ Bacon BF HATED it, like only took a few bites. I thought it was great and could have had seconds LOL. I knew he didn't like butternut squash but I was hoping that pureeing it and adding lots of cheese would help, apparently it didn't. I have it for lunch today, hopefully it will reheat well. I feel bad wasting it, the cheeses alone were almost $15!

                                                                                                                Also made a very delicious apple crisp w/ oatmeal streusel for dessert, it's a recipe from Chow. BF had lots of that so hopefully I redeemed myself :)

                                                                                                                Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with spaghetti - this is ground chicken with cheese stuffed in the middle of the meatball. The recipe calls for frying them in true chicken parm fashion but I think I will just bake them to save on the mess/calories. Using whole grain spaghetti.

                                                                                                                A version of "pastitsio" with penne and ground turkey.


                                                                                                                Eating out somewhere

                                                                                                                Put tacos on the menu but we'll see what actually happens

                                                                                                                Out - have 2 birthday parties to attend, 1 is at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                This next week is a CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE/FREEZER week in order to prepare for Thanksgiving. Also we're heading out of town Friday morning to go to Las Vegas for the weekend for a football game, so I don't want a lot of food left in the fridge.

                                                                                                                Bacon topped turkey meatloaf - I've made this before and BF loved it (yes I'm feeling guilty over the mac n cheese haha)
                                                                                                                Garlic mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                Some kind of veggie, whatever's on sale and purchaseable in a small amount, prob broccoli

                                                                                                                Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin (have had one sitting in the freezer for months, hopefully it still tastes good
                                                                                                                Cheesy Zucchini Rice

                                                                                                                Chicken Cheesy Pesto Pasta Bake


                                                                                                                Leftovers if there are any, otherwise hamburgers. I grind my own and have a bunch of patties in the freezer, along with buns that I froze when I bought too many. Probably will do sweet potato fries too since I two almost empty bags of them in the freezer, along with an almost empty bag of sweet potato puffs.


                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                  I'll be curious how your meatballs turned out. I did a cheese stuffed Swedish meatball a couple of years ago... The cheese practically evaporated, leaving just a hollow center. I also stuffed some with lingonberry jam.


                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    I'll keep you posted... they sure look good in the photo :) http://traceysculinaryadventures.blog... I know mine won't get that nice crust on the outside since I don't plan on frying them, but I'm looking forward to the cheesy goodness on the inside :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                      Ah, I looked back at my hollow meatballs thread and am reminded that it was cream cheese I stuffed them with. That explains why the cheese vanished, I think. I didn't love the cream cheese ones, but the lingonberry ones were really, really good.

                                                                                                                      Actually, this is one of my all-time favorite threads because people really got into the spirit of the thing and several of them tried making the hollow/stuffed meatballs just for the heck of it. Someone (chowser?) had the idea of doing turkey/cranberry ones, which might just be perfect to try right now!

                                                                                                                      The thread:

                                                                                                                      Link to the actual recipe I tried (MMRuth's Swedish meatball recipe--it's fantastic if you haven't tried it) and how I "stuffed" it:

                                                                                                                      Chowser actually put frozen gravy and jam in hers... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5910...

                                                                                                                      ANd here's MMRuth's attempt: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5910...

                                                                                                                      The funny thing is, when I found out lots of people were bringing Swedish meatballs to this potluck, I switched my dish. But I have no recollection as to what it was. I know I brought cookies in addition to a main dish. I can even visualize my crock pot sitting on the counter of the dining hall where the party was held... But I cannot for the life of me remember what was in it!


                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        The lingonberry ones do sound good... I have to go to ikea to buy some cheap dining chairs for thanksgiving... might have to grab some lingonberry jam to try it :) turkey and cranberry would be good too!

                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      Just finished eating... the meatballs were good! HUGE... I guess I never thought about how big a meatball made out of 4oz of meat would look like LOL I only had pre-shredded mozzarella for the cheese, but it worked out fine, just took a bit more effort to wrap the meat around it to form the ball. I'm sure using fresh (or even some bocconcini!) would be even better. I also ended up browning them on the stove with some cooking spray, so they ended up a little cube-like from all the turning to get them browned all over, but I'm not one to care about appearances as long as it tastes good :)

                                                                                                                      Also for anyone who cares, 1 meatball, with 2oz (uncooked weight) of thin whole grain spaghetti and .5 cup of sauce (just jarred ragu :() was only 521 calories... not bad in my opinion considering what it is.

                                                                                                                    3. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                      Last night's dinner, the lightened up pastitsio, was pretty much a bust. Had no flavor at all. It's the 2nd or 3rd recipe I've tried from this particular blog that was very bland, so I'm thinking I should stop cooking recipes from there as the blogger (and some of her readers based on the comments) must have very different tastes than me. But, since I already have TONS of leftovers, I get to have it for lunch again today... I guess I'll just add a ton of pepper to it or something haha.

                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                          www.melskitchencafe.com. Her pictures are good and the recipes always look good, but I dunno, none of them have tasted that good. She cooks for 5 kids so that might explain the blandness.

                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                            Well, I shall avoid, then, thank you!


                                                                                                                        2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                          I hate when that happens. But at least it was pasta, and not something very $$$$$

                                                                                                                      1. I had a really hard time coming up with meals for this week. Because of the storm and it's aftermath, I never found quiet time to sit down and focus on meal planning. Anyway, this week is something like:

                                                                                                                        Monday: mushroom frittata or omelettes, roast delicata squash, leftover spatzle, possibly green salad.
                                                                                                                        Tuesday: roasted buttermilk chicken (nigella Lawson via smitten kitchen), potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes with lemon and sage (ottolenghi), green salad
                                                                                                                        Wednesday: kabocha squash and kale curry (food52) over rice
                                                                                                                        Thursday: sardine, fennel and tomato pasta (food52)
                                                                                                                        Friday: rice, dal and/or lamb curry (660 curries)

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                          Sounds good. Even a little bit of a plan is better than no plan. It gives you something to refine all week. Sorry about the Sandy nuttiness.


                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                            You know what happens to the best-laid plans, right?

                                                                                                                            Last week Monday went according to plan. Tuesday there was no chicken available so we had Thursdays meal (pasta). Wednesday I was tired after staying up late to watch election returns, so we had takeout. Thursday I made a huge, and I mean huge, batch of chili for hurricane sandy survivors, kept a bit for ourselves and I made some cornbread to go with it. Friday was pizza night. Saturday we tried to clean out the fridge a bit. Leftover chili, bread salad made from stale cornbread, and kale chips. Tonight we finally got around to the kabocha squash and kale curry, served with rice and panfried tofu. This morning I went to the farmers market with no clear plan and succumbed to too many gorgeous fall vegetables! Now trying to wrangle them into some sort of plan for this week.

                                                                                                                          2. It's Monday and I just got back from the market. I have the beginning stages of Beans, Greens, and Pork Stew on my stove (p. 156 of The Santa Monica Farmers Cookbook) but since I did not plan well the beans need to pre-soak for 6 hours so this one will need to be finished tomorrow. This is a favorite recipe and I usually double or triple it so a container can make its way to the freezer.

                                                                                                                            While the pork stew was brewing, I had time to whip up the sauce for Tacos of Tomatillo Chicken with Wilted Greens and Fresh Cheese (p. 146 Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen). Since I picked up a rotisserie chicken, I am ready to go for tonight. Good thing because my DH is working late and I have to get the kids from school, make my way to and from tutoring, and then get dinner on the table.

                                                                                                                            That gets me through Tuesday night. For Wednesday, I am hoping to make a Savory Pancake for the DOTM thread. I bought the ingredients for a Risotto Pancake recipe set out on p. 82 of Enoteca by Joyce Goldstein.

                                                                                                                            If I have managed to make all three of these dishes, I'll move onto rabbit on Thursday. The Coniglio in Agrodlce alla Siciliana, p. 224, from Trattoria Cooking is the dish I have in mind. I've made three other dishes out of this book with fantastic results so I am hopeful about this recipe. This is a sweet and sour rabbit dish made with red wine vinegar and golden raisins. I will likely substitute a fruit vinegar for the red wine, as I prefer them over the red wine type.

                                                                                                                            Friday is my cleaning lady's day helping at our house, so I don't have access to my kitchen until after 3:30. Dinner will be something quick and easy.

                                                                                                                            1. Meal planning is a challenge, because both myself and Mr GG have erratic work schedules. Plus my shopping is a little bit random because I mainly go to the farmer's market and buy what takes my fancy. As a result, the freezer is jam- packed so I really need to impose some discipline. This thread might help! Here's the plan so far for this week:

                                                                                                                              Mon: chili con carne meatballs with lemony bulgur wheat ( Jamie's 15-minute meals)
                                                                                                                              Tues: pasta with chorizo and wilted rocket (0ff the Shelf by Donna Hay); green salad
                                                                                                                              Weds: home alone so leftover meatballs in a wrap with some broccoli that needs using
                                                                                                                              Thurs: quick beef stroganoff and rice (Jamie again)
                                                                                                                              Fri: tbc but probably fuchsia Dunlop's black bean chicken and kohlrabi salad
                                                                                                                              Sat: haven't decided yet. Friends are coming over
                                                                                                                              Sun: not sure

                                                                                                                              1. I am inspired by everyone's organization and planning. I am usually flying by the seat of my pants but will try to do better this week. One new tool that I love: Pepperplate! I am hopeful that this will be the little bit of extra help I need to make meal planning really work.

                                                                                                                                SO this week-- worked over the weekend which meant that the usual big grocery shopping didn't happen. Have to work late Wednesday night and won't be home for dinner and am working Saturday. The good news is my DH has more time at home than usual. He can cook, but needs pretty simple recipes.

                                                                                                                                Sunday-- Braised Ligurian Chicken with braised tuscan kale. This is pure comfort food for me and pretty quick to prepare. Just what I want to eat on a Sunday night after working all weekend.

                                                                                                                                Monday- ATK Beef and Barley Soup in the Slow Cooker (from Slow Cooker Revolution). This was left for DH to do today with plan for leftovers available for Wednesday night. Well, he made a double recipe and we have enough Beed and Barley to feed an invading army. I'm not complaining though. It was good, kids all ate it and I put 2 quarts in the freezer for another day.

                                                                                                                                Tuesday- I will stop by the store on my way home from work. If they have nice fish I will make Bittman's fish with garlic, lime and cherry tomatoes (can't remember the official name, but in the red NYT cookbook) and a family favorite. If no fish looks good,... improv time

                                                                                                                                Wednesday-- leftover Beef and Barley for DH and the kids

                                                                                                                                Thursday--- Roast Chicken thighs with oven roasted potatoes and leftover braised greens

                                                                                                                                Friday -- may defrost some lamb and make a 660 CUrries lamb recipe. Not sure whether to do the Rhogan Josh or try a briyani

                                                                                                                                Saturday -- we were invited over to a neighbor's house for dinner so I'm off the hook.

                                                                                                                                Sunday -- (day off, yay! BUT DH is working so home with the 3 kids-- not much time for cooking/shopping). not sure. I am loving soup this time of year so may make a Turkey wild rice soup or possibly a cabbage soup from Smitten Kitchen that I saw 2 years ago, but now with Pepperplate, may actually make.


                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                  midweek update. fish looked a little sad at the market, so went with Mahogany Chicken tonight instead (referenced upthread by TDQ) with rice, an Everyday Harumi Eggplant dish and stir fried bok choy. A big hit, but now the Roast chicken thighs on Thursday may be too much of the same thing (used thighs for the mahogany chicken). Also, my son decided he loves "mushroom meatballs" based on a sample he got at TJ's so maybe meatballs thursday night?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                    May I have your eggplant dish recipe?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                      Sure! I'm at work right now and working late tonight, but when I get a minute at home I will post it...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                        Hi Lilmomma,

                                                                                                                                        Here's that eggplant dish finally! Sorry it took so long. It's from Everyday Harumi.

                                                                                                                                        Eggplant in spicy sauce, page 162

                                                                                                                                        1 lb 3 oz eggplant (I imagine that that is 500 g). You are supposed to cut eggplant into 1 inch thick disks and then quarters, soak for 5-10 minutes and then pat dry, then deep fry in medium hot oil (340 degrees). I instead cubed the eggplant in 1" cubes, skipped the soaking and roasted it with some oil until it was brown and soft.

                                                                                                                                        1/3 cup soy sauce
                                                                                                                                        1/3 c mirin
                                                                                                                                        2.5 T superfine sugar
                                                                                                                                        1/4 c unseasoned rice vinegar

                                                                                                                                        2-3 T minced leek or scallion
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp minced garlic
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp minced ginger
                                                                                                                                        1-2 red chiles, seeds removed and finely sliced

                                                                                                                                        Once you have your cooked eggplant, dress it with the dressing, and then stir in the garnishes.

                                                                                                                                        I thought this was very good. The dressing made way more than what was needed for this amt of eggplant I thought. I would make again (with roasted eggplant instead of fried again)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                          Thanks. Let me know how it tastes with roasted. :)

                                                                                                                                  2. The problem I have is that typically at least two nights of the week Mr GG will be at work (this week it's today and Saturday). Some weeks, I will be at work for between one and three nights of the week (next week, for example, I'll be at work Mon, Tues, Weds nights). These nights may or may not coincide with Mr GG. I try to take leftovers to work for dinner, but that's not always possible. If I'm working a day shift, I won't be home until 7pm at the earliest (having been up since before 6am). If we're both off, we may decide to go out.

                                                                                                                                    The upside is that neither of us works a five-day week and we get lots of holiday time!

                                                                                                                                    So my planning is more complicated than most and I always have too much food in the fridge. I need to look ahead at our google calendar, and work out exactly how many nights we will both be at home, and shop accordingly. The joys of shift-working!

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                      I like this as a fast meal
                                                                                                                                      It works with non Chinese cabbage too and canned tomatoes. I like beef tomatoes best in this recipe personally.

                                                                                                                                      My I am too tired to cook meal is omelette with a meat or cheese filling.
                                                                                                                                      It helps everyone in my house likes omelette.

                                                                                                                                    2. Monday it was mussels with pasta. Last night I pounded out some room temp chicken breasts, slathered them with well seasoned mayonnaise and coated with bread crumbs. I baked those in the oven on a baker's rack then browned in a hot skillet. Served with stir fried left over yellow rice. It was really good.

                                                                                                                                      1. OK due to some scheduling changes, I sort of revamped my whole plan. I went ahead and planned everything all the way through Thanksgiving, as we will be out of town next weekend and I don't want to have to go to the store after we get back on Sunday since I'll be having to go Tuesday night to get the last of the Thanksgiving stuff. I'm still trying to clear out the freezer/fridge/pantry to prep for thanksgiving.


                                                                                                                                        Saturday 11/10:
                                                                                                                                        Out -birthday party at a restaurant (Ace) downtown

                                                                                                                                        Sunday 11/11:
                                                                                                                                        Bacon topped turkey meatloaf
                                                                                                                                        Garlic mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                        Some kind of veggie, whatever looks good at the store tomorrow

                                                                                                                                        Monday 11/12
                                                                                                                                        Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
                                                                                                                                        Cheesy Zucchini Rice
                                                                                                                                        Frozen "Mediterranean Blend" Veggies

                                                                                                                                        Tuesday 11/13
                                                                                                                                        Out, got invited to a Colorado Avalanche event downtown

                                                                                                                                        Wednesday 11/14
                                                                                                                                        My single girl night, either leftovers or some raviolis, or a sandwich, whatever I feel like :)

                                                                                                                                        Thursday 11/15
                                                                                                                                        Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese
                                                                                                                                        Not sure on veggie, may just be bad and skip it since the chicken is super filling.

                                                                                                                                        Friday 11/16
                                                                                                                                        Saturday 11/17

                                                                                                                                        Sunday 11/18
                                                                                                                                        Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti (uses up the random amounts of spaghetti/fettuccine I have left in the pantry)
                                                                                                                                        This frozen corn blend thing I have in the freezer

                                                                                                                                        Monday 11/19
                                                                                                                                        Hearty Italian Sausage and Potato skillet meal, using chicken sausage

                                                                                                                                        Tuesday 11/20
                                                                                                                                        Scrounging whatever's left to clean out the fridge :) Maybe raviolis, maybe grilled cheese w/ soup, maybe hot dogs, who knows.

                                                                                                                                        Wednesday 11/21
                                                                                                                                        My folks (arrive on Tuesday night after dinner) are taking us out to eat.

                                                                                                                                        Thursday 11/22
                                                                                                                                        The big event!

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                          My plans have been foiled yet again! :)

                                                                                                                                          Last night, the turkey meatloaf, didn't happen. Turns out I didn't have any ground turkey in the freezer after all. So I did a chicken and pesto pasta bake. I was a little short on the cheese in the recipe, but it was still very delicious.

                                                                                                                                          Tonight, BF informed me he won't be home for dinner, a friend is in town and they're going out. So I'm going to have a mini meatloaf that's in the freezer and some broccoli. Maybe a baked potato if I'm feeling like it.

                                                                                                                                          Thursday night, we have to drop the dog off about 45 minutes away at a friend's house as they're watching him for the weekend, so we're going to meet up with the "in town" friend for dinner while we're in the city, so no cooking that night either. Basically, no real cooking all week long!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                            Sounds hectic, but that you still managed to adapt readily enough. I'm totally off my schedule here. I picked up a rotisserie chicken and a premade lasagna from a local grocer to get me through the next couple of days, then I'll re-assess from there.

                                                                                                                                            I might have some meat I need to throw in the freezer.


                                                                                                                                        2. I spent some time today cooking.....we don't have children, so our Sundays are spent going to BJs first thing, cleaning & watching football. I like to cook a couple of things to have on alternate days of the week. My schedule can change on a split second where I end up working OT unexpectedly.

                                                                                                                                          So today I: cooked some ground turkey (may add to some chili I defrosted for nachos Friday nite), cooked a pork loin, made crockpot applesauce, sauteed a head of cabbage, made porcupine meatballs (which fell apart - so will re purpose somehow). I still have some green beans in the fridge & copius salad mix which will be our lunches for the week. Hubby baked some potatoes for himself & I also made a bit of rice for him for the week. He can make a quesadilla out of it or I'll serve to him with stir fry (which is a quick make evening meal).

                                                                                                                                          1. Just made a batch of chana masala with canned tomatoes and chickpeas (Smitten Kitchen's recipe). I live alone, but I will still enjoy this over rice or with TJ's naan for several days. I may make Ina Garten's stewed lentils and tomatoes or Madhur Jaffrey's lentils with garlic and onions later this week. Legumes and beans are delicious, hearty fare as nighttime temps are dropping quickly here and I want cozy food that will keep me full for a long time.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                                              Can you post the recipes for some of these dishes? Could they be made in a crock pot?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                                Just saw this request now. I have no idea about making anything in crock pots, since I don't own one and have never really used one before... but here are the recipe links:

                                                                                                                                                Chana masala: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/0...

                                                                                                                                                Lentils and onions: http://www.recipeslib.com/ethnic/indi...

                                                                                                                                                Stewed lentils and tomatoes: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/1... (Smitten Kitchen's adaptation of Ina's recipe


                                                                                                                                                I actually have made the chana masala and the lentil/onion recipes regularly over the past few months... at least 3-4 times each. I haven't tried the stewed lentils and tomatoes yet, mostly because I'm still too obsessed with the other lentil recipe and can't bring myself to stray from something so delicious.

                                                                                                                                            2. For myself, I like the hash browns in the bag from T.Joes. Cook on medium low heat about 25-30 min. No need to stand over the stove. You can also put a couple pieces of bacon or what ever you like in the same pan. Easy. You can be doing other things, or just relax. When cooked remove from pan. Turn heat up and fry a egg. If you have a salad with it even better.

                                                                                                                                              1. I 100% stuck to last weeks menu plan and have cobbled together this weeks:

                                                                                                                                                1) Roasted chicken -- using a kosher salt dry brine for a few hours ahead of baking and then baking it in the bundt pan with potatoes and onions.

                                                                                                                                                2) Lemon and Dill Chicken(http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/lem...


                                                                                                                                                3) Italian sausage and peppers orecchiette pasta (http://www.marthastewart.com/337629/o...


                                                                                                                                                I usually only make 3 meals since I can't wrap my mind around doing more on this schedule. We usually have leftovers and quick meals for the rest.

                                                                                                                                                We're home all the time (both work at home) so that makes food planning more challenging but .. you do what you can do!

                                                                                                                                                1. I made chili yesterday and plan to have the leftovers tonight, perhaps augmented with another can of beans to made them go just a little bit farther. I got a bag of pre-cooked lentils at Trader Joe's this weekend, which I plan to use on Tuesday to make a quick mudjadara. On Wednesday, we'll have roasted chickpeas with cherry tomatoes (I haven't found a good seasonal replacement for those cherry tomatoes). Thursday and Friday are too far out to think about!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Thought it time we revived this thread in the new year.

                                                                                                                                                    On tap for this week:

                                                                                                                                                    -pan-fried ham steak w/ raisin sauce, Lydia's (sweet) potatoes and Swiss chard, probably drizzled with syrupy balsamic http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de...
                                                                                                                                                    -Colombian braised chicken with vegetables, probably with riced cauliflower
                                                                                                                                                    -Hoisin chicken lettuce wraps w/ water chestnuts and broccoli slaw
                                                                                                                                                    -Rachel Ray's unstuffed cabbage roll soup, except I plan to make mini meatballs with lean ground beef and rice and skip the scoop of rice. I'd like to try some of my new "Krakow Nights" seasoning from Penzey's in this dish. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra...

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                      Ooops, I missed the link for the chicken braise: http://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/pol...

                                                                                                                                                      I will either add some sliced zucchini to the braise or slice it into ribbons with my julienne peeler and serve on the side.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Since we're reviving this, here's my plan for this week (I work 60-hr week, have a 3-yr old and 8-mon old, so I have about 30-mins from arriving home to get food on the table and still make 7:30 bedtimes!). My chicken all got moved to the beginning of the week because of a late meeting yesterday, so all the seafood is at the end.
                                                                                                                                                      Sunday - pasta, frozen peas, sauteed chicken breast (2 left in open pack from prev. week), pine nuts, parmesan, lemon-olive oil (needed something light after Papa Johns at kid parties all weekend)
                                                                                                                                                      Monday - late meeting, so quick pantry dinner: sauteed chicken (again) + steamed broccoli and 90-sec microwave rice/quinoa packet (from Costco), and grapes for the kid
                                                                                                                                                      Tuesday - panko-crusted trout, butter-sauteed carrots + parsley, either egg noodles or biscuits (let the toddler choose)
                                                                                                                                                      Wednesday - seared scallops or shrimp (frozen-can't remember which I have on hand), cheese grits, sauteed onion & peppers (chopped on Sun)
                                                                                                                                                      Thursday - Pizza night - boboli whole wheat crust, bell peppers (same as used on Weds), 3-cheese blend, leftover jar of marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni
                                                                                                                                                      Fri & Sat - eat out!!

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jboeke

                                                                                                                                                        This week is:

                                                                                                                                                        Monday: Pot roast (crockpot) and a green salad (both the 5 year old and the 8 month old liked the pot roast)
                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday: Oeufs en meurette (5 year old eating at Grandma's) and kale salad
                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday: Leftovers (in addition to the pot roast, we have leftover meatloaf from Sunday night)
                                                                                                                                                        Thursday: I haven't actually planned this, but maybe pasta or a spinach omelet?
                                                                                                                                                        Friday: Shopping again.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jboeke

                                                                                                                                                          I am in love with those 90 second rice/quinoa packets and even better, so is my 18 month old!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Glad this was revived :)

                                                                                                                                                          My plan this week got sort of thrown off, last night we ended up going to the bar to watch football, and tonight I'm going to be staying at a friend's house so I can help her w/ some medical related things in the morning (her husband had to go out of town last minute). And, I don't cook Wednesday nights anyway :) But, I think I have my next week's plan pretty much finalized through Thursday night though, so I'll share that:

                                                                                                                                                          This Thursday: Cajun Chicken Pasta (moved from tonight)

                                                                                                                                                          Friday: Not sure yet, I'll either whip something up on the fly or we'll eat out. Hopefully eat out :-P

                                                                                                                                                          Saturday: Not sure yet either. Broncos are in the play offs so we might be at the bar again.

                                                                                                                                                          Sunday: Pioneer Woman's Steakhouse Pizza

                                                                                                                                                          Monday: Chile Mustard Pork Kebabs with a Snap Pea Chopped salad and Thai Vinaigrette (this was moved from this week)

                                                                                                                                                          Tuesday: Creamy Taco Mac. Sort of a homemade version of hamburger helper. BF loves stuff like this and it makes for good leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                          Wednesday: whatever I decide, no cooking!

                                                                                                                                                          Thursday: Baked Pesto Chicken with Orzo, haven't decided on a veggie yet, maybe sauteed zucchini because they're on sale this week at my produce market. A very green dinner!

                                                                                                                                                          1. Still love this thread!
                                                                                                                                                            Difficult week for me, I just started a new job and won't have a paycheck until the 15th, so I need to use only things on hand, no new purchases. Also my 18 month old just started daycare and I need to pack lunches for him which, if possible, should be leftovers from the night before.

                                                                                                                                                            Tues: Spinach, feta & quinoa soup; Oven-baked chicken legs
                                                                                                                                                            Wed: Leftovers
                                                                                                                                                            Thurs: Tomato & spinach omelet, bacon
                                                                                                                                                            Friday: Pork chops, some sort of cheater version of red beans and rice tbd
                                                                                                                                                            Saturday: Black bean stew
                                                                                                                                                            Sunday: cross fingers that relatives will feed us and/or eat more stew
                                                                                                                                                            Monday: Persian chicken kabobs with orzo
                                                                                                                                                            Tuesday: Leftovers if available, frozen egglplant lasagna if not

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                              How do you prepare the spinach and feta soup?

                                                                                                                                                              A suggestion for Saturday- cook extra beans and make tacos/burritos

                                                                                                                                                              Have not been cooking that much, but tonight we are having breakfast for dinner.
                                                                                                                                                              Highlights of the past few weeks- carrot soup (smitten kitchen), butternut red lentil soup, vegetable soup with corn, tacos (daughters favorite), shakshouka & butternut purée (ottolenghi), baked ziti (husbands favorite)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                I love breakfast for dinner. And good call on the beans!

                                                                                                                                                                I'm taking the soup recipe from one I came across on Chow, I haven't tried it before (it got pushed back to tonight as my meeting ran long last night and husband and son just ate the chicken and made some quick rice):

                                                                                                                                                            2. Sunday: cooked a ton of food including chicken with clementines and butternut squash purée from Jerusalem
                                                                                                                                                              Monday: leftovers
                                                                                                                                                              Tuesday: pasta with yogurt, peas and chili (Jerusalem), le betelmen (Alsatian pudding with apples - don't ask how this got on the weeknight meal plan!)
                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday: takeout
                                                                                                                                                              Thursday: lamb stew w spinach sauce over basmati rice (660 curries)
                                                                                                                                                              Friday: probably take-out again

                                                                                                                                                              1. oooh, I love this thread. I work, commute, and have two stepsons (11 and 17) who have wildly varying tastes. I try to do the shopping and some prep over the weekend, and also incorporate the leftovers into work lunches.

                                                                                                                                                                This week.
                                                                                                                                                                Saturday: pork chops with leftover collard greeens and a wild rice salad with sweet potatos. Youngest was at his mom's, oldest only ate the pork chop and some froyo for dessert.
                                                                                                                                                                Sunday: started a slow cooker tomato sauce before heading out for a hike. Used the pasta sauce to make a cooking light eggplant parmesan (for the grownups) served with pasta (for the kids) and a caesar salad with homemade dressing. The leftover eggplant became work lunches.
                                                                                                                                                                Monday: orange chicken stir-fry with Trader Joe's frozen dumplings. Dinner was very quick to prepare, so after dinner I put some chicken on the grill to have Tuesday.
                                                                                                                                                                Tuesday: Sunday's leftover caesar salad with grilled chicken.
                                                                                                                                                                Wednesday: chicken fajitas.
                                                                                                                                                                Thursday: out to dinner for a birthday
                                                                                                                                                                Friday: pick up a pizza

                                                                                                                                                                The weather is supposed to be nice this Sunday, so I'm hoping I can do some pre-grilling for the week.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Planning for this week (wed, thurs, fri and all of next week)

                                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday - chicken burgers, carrot slaw, sweet potato fries, broccoli

                                                                                                                                                                  Thursday- carrot soup with tahini/crispy chickpeas, pasta with sautéed veggies

                                                                                                                                                                  Friday- chicken (cutlets) in lemon/mushroom sauce, rice, Brussels sprouts

                                                                                                                                                                  Saturday- takeout

                                                                                                                                                                  Sunday- leftovers from Friday night. Might add roasted potatoes if there's not enough rice.

                                                                                                                                                                  Monday- no idea. Something meatless. Maybe black bean/ sweet potato stew with a poached egg. Or soup. Lentil and veggie with cheesy croutons

                                                                                                                                                                  Tuesday- Asian sloppy joes. Cucumber salad. Miso glazed eggplant or stir fry veggies

                                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday- no idea. Something chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                  Thursday- ravioli. Steamed veggies. Subject to change

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Some "quick meals" we do... I am a cook and usually work nights, so I have these ready and mise'd out for my husband to finish cooking/reheat when he gets home.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Instant ramen set up: make a soy based marinade and plop into a bag with some soft boiled eggs. You can also add some boiled pork belly to this marinade to make charsiu. Let that soak while you're at work. Have some vegetables stir fried (usually carrots, cabbage, scallions with white pepper and sesame oil). Leave packets of instant ramen and instructions on counter, hope for the best.
                                                                                                                                                                    2. If you have leftover rice, make fried rice! Usually diced onions, carrots, ham/bacon, eggs, splash of soy sauce/maggi, which doesn't take too long, or you can buy prechopped mirepoix mix and use that. Serve with what I call "chinese soup", or really, can of chicken broth + white pepper + random veggies + scallions. Done once everything comes to a boil.
                                                                                                                                                                    3. Make pasta sauce over the weekend (usually marinara or amatriciana, they keep well) and freeze in batches. The night before, I defrost a jar in the fridge. Cook pasta and serve with salad. Alternatively, oil based (pepperoncino/alio e olio) pastas with vegetables work well too.
                                                                                                                                                                    4. On days of morning shifts: Before I go to work, I have the rice cooker on timer and have a small pot of water with kombu and dried bonito flakes ready. When I get home I bring this pot to a simmer (5 minutes), remove the stuff, throw in veg and bring to a boil, and make miso soup. Fifteen minutes tops. I will usually have this with some sort of stir fry (pork and kimchi is a favorite), a small salad, and some pickles. Or just a fried egg when I'm lazy.
                                                                                                                                                                    5. Make a big batch of Japanese curry and eat it for DAYS. As in... Day 1, eat "normal". Day two, throw some curry on udon/ramen noodles with stir fried vegetables. Day three, mix curry and rice, throw in casserole dish, top with cheese and bake till cheese is bubbly (called a Doria in Japanese).

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nomnomnoms

                                                                                                                                                                      Great ideas, thank you! I'm really starting to rely more on my appliances, rice cooker (for grains), slow cooker, hard boiled egg cooker... And definitely my coffee pot!


                                                                                                                                                                    2. Thank you, everyone, for keeping this thread alive. I'm still struggling to do a weekly plan. Towards the end of 2012, I was trying to plan a whole week at a time and do a big grocery shop, but it just seemed to me that resulted in a bunch of food going to waste. My plan wasn't really refined enough.

                                                                                                                                                                      Now I'm trying to do some baby steps and do just a few days at a time, develop some new habits and routines, and see how it goes. Before I was trying to do everything on the weekends and I'm realizing I just can't do that--I need to spread more of the work throughout the week. (This includes laundry, by the way, too.) I seem to have the most energy in the mornings, so I"m trying to take better advantage of weekday mornings, although that is cutting into my exercise time (not to mention my sleep!) so I still need to work on that...

                                                                                                                                                                      Here we are so far this week:

                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday pizza night, made a big batch of chili for the week, mostly for lunches.

                                                                                                                                                                      Monday rotisserie chicken, frozen peas, frozen rice
                                                                                                                                                                      Tuesday morning:

                                                                                                                                                                      -roasted broccoli (from frozen! I will let you know how it goes)
                                                                                                                                                                      -put a butternut squash in the crock pot to bake while I'm at work
                                                                                                                                                                      -baked mini meatloaf muffins (from a mix from my butcher)
                                                                                                                                                                      -cooked a batch of quinoa in rice cooker

                                                                                                                                                                      Tuesday night: noodles & broccoli from leftover rotisserie chicken

                                                                                                                                                                      Wedsnesday: put homesick texan pork roast in crockpot for dinner, can have it with squash & some kind of quinoa salad

                                                                                                                                                                      Will put chicken carcass in crockpot to make stock

                                                                                                                                                                      Thurs: something with pork leftovers, not sure yet...

                                                                                                                                                                      Friday: fish from the freezer...


                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                        This used to happen to me too. I think what cured me was planning meals whose ingredients can be frozen later in the week. For instance, I will do a pork shoulder with green beans (the pork being a pain to defrost, and the green beans going bad quickly) on Monday, but on Friday, I will do frozen peas with turkey burgers or oven chicken tenders. If our plans change, Friday's meal goes into the freezer to be used in the next week or two, no loss.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Doing better this week! No deviations so far, but I'm focussing on cleaning out the freezer (making room for baby food) and made some good plans with 2.5lb of prawns from Costco:
                                                                                                                                                                        Sunday: grilled prawns, arugula salad (not used last week) and frozen wheat rolls + banana for son (no salad)
                                                                                                                                                                        Monday: chopped all veg Sunday for this easy weeknight stew, which assembles in about 25-mins while my rice cooks and which my 2-yr-old loves: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
                                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday: leftover chicken bourguignon from Christmas guest cooking (frozen) + fresh egg noodles
                                                                                                                                                                        Weds: grilled chicken (done Sunday when grilling prawns), pear slices, mac & cheese (will make up sauce that day with whatever cheese is on hand
                                                                                                                                                                        )Thurs: leftovers - Monday's stew, chili from 3 weeks ago (frozen), ground beef/yellow rice casserole from last week, + misc. fruit that is getting old as a side
                                                                                                                                                                        Friday/Saturday/Sunday: out of town

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jboeke

                                                                                                                                                                          Love moqueca! Do you use the palm oil? I've been debating buying some.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                            No, just used the olive oil I had on hand. It still needs something else to cut the sweetness though, so I'm thinking about reducing the coconut milk and adding more lime juice next time.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I am a professor and staff member at a college (so I have a varied schedule and some long days,) and I have a train commute, a boyfriend in school, and a gym schedule I am saying I will stick to.

                                                                                                                                                                          I find that planning all three meals for the week and shopping (Stop and Shop and a farmer's market) each Sunday, along with prepping or cooking one night ahead works for us. Unfortunately, this cuts down on the amount of fish we eat, since we do not shop daily.

                                                                                                                                                                          This week: (all meals served with a salad of spinach, carrot, tomato, scallion, and asparagus that I make at the beginning of the week)
                                                                                                                                                                          Monday - chicken legs marinated in sriracha and spices and then roasted
                                                                                                                                                                          Tuesday - chipotle turkey meatballs and plantains
                                                                                                                                                                          Wednesday - couscous and poached eggs
                                                                                                                                                                          Thursday - baked ziti with ground buffalo
                                                                                                                                                                          Friday - pan fried haddock
                                                                                                                                                                          Saturday - out
                                                                                                                                                                          Sunday - we eat with one of our families

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Here's this week's plan:

                                                                                                                                                                            Monday: spinach and lamb curry, basmati rice, yogurt (held over from last week; cooked Sunday night)
                                                                                                                                                                            Tuesday: cod with miso butter, broccoli with lemon butter, butternut squash salad (Jerusalem)
                                                                                                                                                                            Wednesday: take out
                                                                                                                                                                            Thursday: pasta with tomato, fennel and sardine sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts (will cook pasta sauce wednesday night, maybe prep sprouts too)
                                                                                                                                                                            Friday: pretzel chicken, cheesy millet, frozen peas

                                                                                                                                                                            This is my third week back at work and I am finding it helpful to cook ahead sometimes to make things easier when I get home. I'm also able to stagger my work hours so sometimes I leave earlier and have more time to cook. I can stay later on take out nights to make up for it (my husband is responsible for relieving the sitter so I have some flexibility there).

                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: my daughter has started solid foods now and I've made it easier on myself by not making her special foods. I just try to make sure there's at least one thing she can eat at every meal. Last night, for example, she ate broccoli, roasted squash (reserved from the salad before I put all the other stuff in) and fish. She fed herself the broccoli and squash, and I fed her little pieces of fish. It's a modified baby led weaning approach, as I don't insist that she manage everything herself.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Next week is an experimental week for me. I mentioned in the WFD thread that my boyfriend will be starting a new job at the beginning of February where he'll be out of town Monday-Thursday. Next week, he is going to Arizona to wrap up his current job, so it gives me an opportunity to "practice" for later on when he's gone every week. So, now I'll essentially be cooking for one during the week. Plus, I will be going to a number of hockey games on weeknights too. So, I guess I'm not that harried anymore :) But, I did find it to be a challenge to find things that I could make for 1 person, or stuff I wouldn't mind eating for 2-4 meals in a row. I tend to have food ADD and don't like eating stuff more than once or twice in a row, so it should be interesting. BUT, this will also allow me to be a bit more experimental with my cooking, since I don't have to worry about pleasing him.

                                                                                                                                                                              So next week, I only had 2 meals to plan for as I have hockey games on Tuesday and Thursday night.

                                                                                                                                                                              Monday I am making some chicken paillards that have a Moroccan flavor to them, they are seasoned with cumin, paprika, and pepper, and then will make a sauce with orange juice, honey, lemon, juice, cinnamon stick, crushed red pepper, and butter. I have tons of chicken in the freezer, and some oranges and lemon to use up. I'll serve w/ cous cous and some sauteed zucchini.

                                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday will be a pasta dish with spicy italian chicken sausage, and a sauce made from pureed butternut squash (which BF hates), shallots, a bit of butter, and garlic. Oh and there is supposed to be some baby spinach mixed in too. I might just eat that as a salad as I'm not that fond of cooked spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                              I also have the makings for a recipe I found for "jalapeno popper" mac n cheese, that I will make either this Friday night or sometime over the weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                The Moroccan chicken sounds fantastic. Please let me know how that works out"!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Can I play? This would be so good for the health of my body and my wallet! Plus, I like to eat a variety of things so this will help me make sure I'm not eating chicken for three days in a row.

                                                                                                                                                                                YESTERDAY: Tuscan shrimp with white beans, spinach, and feta

                                                                                                                                                                                TODAY: Italian wedding soup

                                                                                                                                                                                FRIDAY: meeting some friends out for drinks after work so it will need to be something quick and easy to make afterwards. Thinking chicken burgers from the freezer, topped with jack cheese and avocado. Side TBD

                                                                                                                                                                                SATURDAY: Crock pot bolognese with pasta. Salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                SUNDAY: Roast chicken, mashed taters, veggie TBD.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'll make next weeks plan on Sunday as that is when our sales flyers come out.

                                                                                                                                                                                Love reading everyone's plans!

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                  Please do jump right in! Do you have a recipe for that Tuscan shrimp? Sounds delicious!


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                    I sure do! It couldn't be easier, healthy, and low carb. Although I'm tempted next time to serve it with a nice crusty bread because the juices from it are so tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. The quickest meal I can do is to get something out of the freezer that I already cooked. Lasagna, moussaka, chili, chicken & noodles, goulash soup, or a casserole of the leftover Christmas turkey, stuffing, and gravy can zap while I am setting the table and making a salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                    I do this too - double your recipe if it's easy to do so, then freeze half for a second round. Then I give it a week or two before I pull it out again so it's not like eating it 3 times in 1 week. I did that a lot when I was single too and would cook for 4 and freeze in single portions to eat over the month.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Wow. I actually managed to stay on plan last week. This week is harder as hubby left on Tuesday and is gone on a boy's ski trip until next Wednesday. I have a really hard time convincing myself to cook and a lot of the time wind up at my local watering hole spending too much on money on food (and booze) that's really not healthy for me. So...

                                                                                                                                                                                    Monday night we had leftover spaghetti bolognese from Saturday's dinner. Tons of sauce left over - into the freezer it went. Also, the chicken carcass from Sunday night's dinner went into the crock pot for stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tuesday, I took out a container of thai style pulled pork, added Sunday's leftover veggies to it, cooked up some rice. There was enough that I could take some of it to lunch today. Stock was strained and placed in my very cold garage so that I can skim any fat from it today.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Today, I'll make white chili with some of the leftover chicken and my chicken stock. Any left over chicken and stock will be portioned and placed in the freezer.Some chili will be set aside for lunch for tomorrow and Friday, the rest will be frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomorrow - out with the girls

                                                                                                                                                                                    Friday - veggie burger with avocado, cheesy spaghetti squash with spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                                    That's about as far out as my brain will go at this point. I'm sure I'll give in at some point over the weekend and eat at the pub. Can't be perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                                                                                                                                                                      I did not stay on plan this week, at all. We felt like going out Thursday, so we did (shame on us! especially since we were gym deviants this week too!) and I had to work late unexpectedly, so we reheated frozen leftovers we were not supposed to use. Anyway, we are really trying to stick to it this week!
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday: cod in foil packets, broccoli, mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                      Monday: poached eggs, chicken sausage, wilted spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                      Tuesday: chili lime shrimp, rice, broccoli
                                                                                                                                                                                      Wednesday: raviolis, pesto, green beans
                                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday: sriracha chicken legs, salad
                                                                                                                                                                                      Friday: fried halibut, salad
                                                                                                                                                                                      Saturday - leftovers (like all lunches)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday - my birthday dinner at Jean Georges!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. For this week:

                                                                                                                                                                                      Quick panang curry with tofu, kale and pumpkin over jasmine rice
                                                                                                                                                                                      Braised escarole and white beans with tomatoes, bread and cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                      Either Carroty Mac and Cheese or Pretzel Chicken with cheesy millet, spinach salad
                                                                                                                                                                                      And need to work in the roasted beet and yogurt salad from Jerusalem.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Haven't decided yet which meal goes on which day.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Monday: Julia Child's Salade Nicoise, with beets instead of potatoes http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe/juli...
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday: We're having dinner guests, so I'm making a more involved meal than usual: homemade pita bread and crudite, Frizzle's Syrian eggplant w/ yogurt, roxlet's Green Goddess dip, and roasted olives; then this lamb pasta dish http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8413... (I'll have mine over zucchini); then yogurt panna cotta w/ honeyed apricots for dessert http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gr...
                                                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday: Curried chicken and vegetable pan roast, cutting way down on the oil http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cu...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thursday: Navy bean, Italian sausage (maybe chicken/turkey sausage), and kale soup http://www.kandktestkitchen.com/2012/... minus the bacon

                                                                                                                                                                                        Friday: Jerk chicken, sides TBD (maybe green pepper, tomato, and fresh pineapple kebabs) http://recipetools.gotdns.com/mags/CC...

                                                                                                                                                                                        A friend of mine is coming over for cooking "lessons" Wed. afternoon, so we'll make all the food for Wed.-Friday that day.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                          oops, that link after "pasta dish" is actually for the eggplant. the pasta dish is this: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/st...

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I just got an email discount for this service that gives you a recipe, shops for you and sends you the food pre-prepped. If I could afford it, it almost looks tempting: http://www.hellofresh.com/?utm_source...

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm at a bit of a loss this week.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Tonight will be pork chops, but I have no idea what to do for a side. I have a zucchini, but very limited time (maybe 30 min) between walking in the door and serving food.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Tues: Frozen eggplant parm

                                                                                                                                                                                          Wed: Fried brown rice with tofu

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thurs: OUT HUZZAH!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Friday: Some sort of Italian chicken dish with tomato and basil, tbd

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is my favorite zucchini side.... SUPER easy and quick to make... the 20 minutes listed is on the high side: http://www.chow.com/recipes/29698-sau... I cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then just cut into little half circles, to save even more time. The sticks take longer :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                              Awesome, thank you! I'll probably try that out :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                I love preparing zucchini this way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                Or cut into sticks, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them. When almost done, turn the oven to broil and let them get blackened in spots

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My next week is a little odd as we think SO will be traveling for work, but they haven't really told him where he's going yet. If he goes it will be Sunday night through Thursday night. So I'm basically planning things that can be made for both of us, or that I would be happy to eat on my own with extra leftovers. I plan for Saturday-Friday so hopefully we'll know by the end of this week if he's going or not, I do my shopping Friday nights or Saturday morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Saturday - OUT. It's our 1 year on Sunday so we're recreating our first real date on Saturday... hockey game at 1pm then out for pizza at the same place we went to last year after the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sunday - Super Bowl! We're attending a party at a friend's house, I'm taking a few different items over. If SO has to travel, we'll leave early, and hopefully I'll be full enough from all the treats to not want dinner. If I do want dinner, probably something simple like a baked potato.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Monday - This orange and mustard chicken: http://www.chow.com/recipes/30560-ora... Based on the responses to my other thread about what sides, I think I'll do some rice and some sauteed green beans, assuming they look ok at the store, sometimes they're a little "off" looking. I miss having trader joe's when I could get those frozen haricot verts :(

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tuesday - Trying this out: http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodie... SO hates peas and I like them, so it'll be good to eat this when he's gone. If he's here, I'll just do broccoli instead. I might even add some chicken sausage if I can get it on sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday - Out. I'll most likely be going to a hockey game w/ a friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thursday - These chicken sandwiches http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20... I'm thinking it's something I can make ahead earlier in the evening, then go pick up SO, then warm back up after I get him from the airport. Will serve with some kind of frozen fries, probably sweet potato since I think I have some in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Friday - not really sure yet... maybe something simple like steak and baked potato w/ a veggie. We'll see.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I plan, shop and make ahead for the week as much as possible, and what I make depends on my anticipated work and social schedule.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Sunday – cooking and baking day for the week ahead. This day I had pot roast. Made 4 portions, froze 3.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Monday – work night, so it’s usually soup or sandwich. Tonight is chicken penne pasta soup and a garden salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Tuesday – work night: curried chicken salad wrap, banana parfait.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Wednesday – pork and hominy casserole, homemade applesauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Thursday – crockpot day since I work from home and can watch the pot. Cincinnati Beef Chili, poached pears. Will freeze leftover chili in 1.5 cup portions for future meals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Friday – Seafood day. Grilled maple glazed fresh-caught salmon, stir fried spinach salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Saturday – Moroccan lamb sausage, spicy carrot salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                Sunday - Homemade french onion soup, blueberry mini pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Great thread, I'm getting some good ideas, here. I'm a stay-at-home-mom so I usually have the time (and the inclination) to plan meals and do most of the prep work while the kids are at school, but some days do get away from us and I find myself in the kitchen at 5:30 with nothing ready and no ideas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  My big fallback is soup. Baked potato; nuke the potatoes while you soften up some onions & garlic in butter, add some flour to make a roux, thin it with milk & chicken stock, and then peel & smush the baked potatoes (while saying 'ouch.ouch.ouch' because they're still pretty hot) into the soupy stuff in the pot & finishing with salt, pepper, and dried dill), or roasted tomato soup; saute chopped onions & garlic in butter, dump in a bag of roasted tomatoes from the freezer (last summer's madly productive garden tomatoes), add vegetable or chicken stock, and take the additional step of blending it together with an immersion blender, and then pouring it through a colander because the husband doesn't like the bits of skin, and finishing with cream, milk, or a can of condensed milk and oregano instead of dill, or even (the horror) canned chicken noodle. Usually if I make soup I'll make grilled cheese or tuna melts alongside. My all-time fallback is two bags of decent ravioli (Maria & Sons here in St. Louis), one cheese and one meat, boiled, drained, and mixed with a can of cheap-o spaghetti sauce, dumped in a casserole, and covered with a bag of shredded Italian cheese & baked for twenty minutes or shoved under the broiler (if I'm really rushed) until the cheese bubbles and browns....I make sure I always have ravioli, a can of sauce, and a bag of shredded cheese hidden way back in the freezer...it takes just minutes and everybody is happy. The cheese on top makes it look like a much bigger deal, somehow. I usually have some sort of salad fixings, even if it is just sliced cukes & carrots to dip in a quick mayo/dill/salt/pepper dressing. The irony is that baked ravioli is probably the kids' favourite meal, they would love it if we had baked pasta five nights a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great ideas! Sounds like your family keeps well fed :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I always have cooked noodles in my fridge. On rushed nights, it rally helps get dinner moving

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My loose plan for this week:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mon: chiles rellenos stuffed w/ cooked chicken, cheese, beet greens, kale, mushrooms, and zucchini and topped w/ mole sauce, curtido
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tues: almond-crusted pork chop, dilled cucumber salad, sauteed apples w/ currants
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wed: chicken saltimbocca, lemon and brown butter green beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thurs: eggplant, mushroom, and zucchini marinara bake, maybe garlic spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Friday: meatloaf, cauliflower mash

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Just finalized my plan (I think) for next week. It's been frustrating, SO has technically started his new job, and according to his offer letter, he is supposed to be traveling 90% of the time, Sunday night through Thursday night. But so far no travel has been set up, and he has been told it can often be last minute. Makes it hard to plan what we're going to eat! But, I'm trying to pick things that can either be cut down to less servings or I wouldn't mind eating for more than 2 meals (dinner, lunch) in a row in case he isn't around. Also money is tight this month, SO is basically going 5 weeks with no paycheck due to the transition and the new company's pay schedule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Saturday - Going to try out my first COTM recipe, I'm going to do the split roasted chicken with herbed butter, the mashed potato cakes, and maybe a salad with the Bistro Vinaigrette, or the one w/ the walnut-crusted goat cheese. The sides I'm not as sure about, especially because of my budget, I need to go through the book again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sunday - Chicken enchilada casserole: http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/2012/0... I was going to make this last week but didn't, so I have pretty much all the ingredients on hand, and it reheats really really well so I can have it for lunch on both Monday and Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Monday - No cooking. Hockey game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday - The infamous Halal Cart Chicken http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20... I'm excited to try this, it's a bit "out of the box" for me. I also have lots of chicken thighs to use up as they were on sale a few weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday - Leftovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thursday - It's Valentine's Day, and we're not that into it. But if he does travel, he'll come home this night, and I think I'm going to be dorky and get a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's LOL If he isn't traveling I'm going to try out this pretzel chicken: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mu... Not sure on sides yet, I've been deciding on veggies last minute at the store because prices have been totally wacky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Friday - Probably leftovers again, or I'll make the Pioneer Woman chicken sandwiches that I made last Friday (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...), they were quick and easy for a Friday night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ha! That pretzel chicken has been on my list for the last 3 weeks! I keep jettisoning it in favor of other things. However I took the chicken breasts out of the freezer yesterday morning, and I'll be making it tonight or tomorrow night. It's kind of weird that I even have chicken breasts as I don't like them much, plus they're expensive so I rarely buy them. Here's hoping they are transformed by the mustard sauce and pretzel crust!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The chicken recipe sounds great, definitely on my list for next week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Let me know how it turns out for you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turns out I won't be making it next week after all, just found out SO will be traveling Wednesday night through Friday night. Happy Valentine's to us! :) He gets to spend it alone in a hotel room in Boise. I will get to spend it with the dog haha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ooh Boise... culinary wasteland. DH used to travel for work, was so frustrated in Boise trying to find a late dinner that wasn't in a strip club! haha. hopefully things have improved there in the last few years. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to have to check out this pretzel coated chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I'm hoping SO will only have to worry about one dinner... I think he's going to take a very late flight on Wednesday and then he'll come home on Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A friend of mine used to be the groupon rep (ie it was her job to find places to do a groupon for) for Boise, and I picked up from her that it was a very frustrating job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FYI this one didn't work out so well for me. I think it may have been my fault though, not the fault of the recipe. I really liked the mustard sauce and the pretzel crust was tasty too. My problems arose from inexperience cooking chicken breasts. Mine were pretty big (about 1/2 pound each) and my oven is slow. So there was no way they were going to cook through in 25 minutes at 400. (I should have known this but didn't think of it due to lack of experience with this cut.) After half an hour in the oven they were not close to done. I cranked the heat up to 475 and they still took about an hour ... so not a quick weeknight meal ... and in the end they were still chicken breasts. I would have preferred boneless skinless thighs, which are smaller, juicier, and cook faster. If you normally make chicken breast dishes and like them, though, I think you would like this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah the big fat chicken breasts are hard to do in the oven. Just for future reference, when a recipe says "chicken breast halves" they mean to cut them in half, lengthwise, so they end up being thinner. Not sure why they don't explain that in the recipe since I've never seen "chicken breast halves" in the store. But, having them thinner makes them easier to cook evenly and more quickly. Same for cooking on the stovetop too. Plus, having them thinner helps the flavor... more flavorful "stuff" less meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also tend to prefer thighs though! Better flavor overall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Doh! Thanks for explaining that about the chicken breast halves. I had no idea. Since I usually encounter chicken breasts on whole roast chicken, I think of each breast as being a "half". I was thinking that I should have cut them in half lengthwise for quicker cooking and now I see that the recipe actually calls for that. Oh, well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So I made it tonight. I didn't care that much for it, I felt like it was kind of dry, even though I only cooked it to about 135 degrees then let it sit. SO had a fatter breast (I didn't cut mine in half like I mentioned below) and he seemed to like his. Just not sure I'll make it again, I'd rather use panko and save the calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. last week was aaauuuggghhh!!!! way to much eating out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                this week is all about the leftovers. yesterday I made a lovely Beef Barley soup, as well as a crock pot chicken and black bean soup. Since I mis-managed the times and neither was ready for dinner, I also grilled some chicken on my stovetop grill pan. So tonight, DH can choose from a number of options, and all I need to do is steam some veggies or make a nice salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Sunday: Pan sauteed salmon and french lentils, roasted beet salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Monday: pretzel chicken, cheesy millet, buttery frozen peas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tuesday: shakshuka, spinach salad, bread (recipes from Jerusalem)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday: take out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thursday: sausages or duck confit with leftover lentils, green salad, kale salad or roasted brussels sprouts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Friday: take out

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Making use of Costco this week! On plan so far...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sunday: chili & salad (football food!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Monday: Rotisserie chicken reheated (Costco), sauteed carrots, steamed broccoli (Costco HUGE bag), whole wheat rolls.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tuesday: crock pot Korean short ribs (Costco boneless short ribs), jasmine rice and broccoli (again) http://joelens.blogspot.com/2010/04/k...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wednesday: spaghetti with chicken and tomato sauce (last half of Costco rotisserie chicken), arugula salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thursday: leftovers! chili and ribs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Friday/Saturday: takeout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This week it's:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mon: Cook's Country jerk chicken legs, parsnip-rutabaga gratin, maybe a green salad w/ leftover grapefruit-dijon dressing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tue: something from the fish counter--maybe cod. I think I may cook it en papillote with herbs and lemon and serve with leftover gratin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wed: spicy roast chicken with tomatoes and majoram http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... ; probably with jasmine rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thurs: tapas at a local restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Friday: vegetable beef soup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Weekend: TBD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Çmbo of gratin and salad is a favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This week we had:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mon- bag of chips on JetBlue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tues- grilled chicken (soy marinade), brown rice pilaf (short grain with onions, garlic, tart cherries), spinach, green salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wed- whole wheat linguine with meatballs (husband), whole wheat linguine with sautéed zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, nutritional yeast. Green salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thurs - quesadillas (filled with sweet potato, sautéed shallots and peppers, cheese). Sides- sliced avocado, jicama slaw, red cabbage salad (with jalapeño, apple cider vinegar, mango honey)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fri- out, eating by a relative

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          En papillote is my new favorite way to make fish. Herbs and lemon are a great combination, though my favorite is ginger and scallions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Sun: Turkey paprikas w/ jasmine rice, steamed broccoli w/ butter and ground coriander

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mon: Kashmir curry soup of okra, roasted squash, onion, spinach, and tomatoes (use remainder of broth and coconut milk)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tue: Balsamic chicken in crock pot w/ jasmine rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wed: Pickled green beans w/ ground pork, jasmine rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thurs: Coconut shrimp over salad greens w/ creamy chipotle dressing, fennel, tomatoes, and avocado

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fri: Leftovers or go out for Peruvian chicken and salad/slaw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sat:(bro with us) roasted b/s chicken breast stuffed w/ turkey pepperoni and mozzarella w/spicy marinara sauce on side; mixed greens w/ vinaigrette; Parmesan roasted cauliflower; garlic bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sun: (bro and dad w/ us for dinner) pistachios in their shells; salad w/ blue cheese dressing, tomatoes, and toasted walnuts; lemon roast chicken; cauliflower rutabaga mash; broiled green beans; molasses oat bread w/ butter; mixed berries w/ whipped cream and pistachio cake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds like a great plan. Do you prepare the rice at the beginning of the week and reheat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's my week-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sunday- brisket chili (for husband, it was in the freezer), ginger/shallot rice with sautéed tofu (for me), salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Monday- shells (whole wheat) with ricotta, basil, spinach, pine nuts. Green salad with shallot vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tuesday- steaks, parsnip fries, spinach salad with roasted corn and avocado

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wednesday- no idea, but something with mushrooms. Bought a big carton from Costco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thursday- leftovers for me, husband will be out

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Friday- lentil stuffed cabbage, string beans, rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nah, I prepare it fresh. It only takes a few minutes to steam while everything else is cooking, and I think it tastes better (also easiest, as we don't have a microwave). :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like the sound of those parsnip fries! Have you tried rutabaga?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With the mushrooms you could make stroganoff, salisbury steaks, bourguignon, a filling for stuffed veggies, kebabs, chicken marsala, cream of mushroom soup...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like to have brown rice in the fridge bc my daughter likes it with Greek yogurt. Someone gave me a tip to reheat rice in oven or micro with ice chips. Keeps it moist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We like rutabaga roasted with beets and carrots. It's cheap and it stays a while, so it's usually something I keep on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ended up roasting the mushrooms and tossing them in a spinach salad with raspberries, avocado and basil vinaigrette. The rest of the meal was miso bok choy soup and sushi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I cannot do everything in advance as our weekly schedule changes too frequently. So, I do most of my shopping the day of. My favorite 10 minute, well balanced meal is: Seared Ham Steak (5 mins), steamed broccoli with lemon (5 mins), orzo with butter and parmesan (10 mins). Kids love it. Takes nothing to plan or cook. www.mcnackskitchen.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. We are on a major $50 a week budget because my husband lost his job and I am pregnant. Luckily, he starts subbing at my school this week. Thus, our meals are simple and based around the cabbage/potato sales this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I portioned out a bunch of on-sale beef and chicken into freezer bags with seasonings just now. Bbq sauce/fajita spice/rosemary garlic.Tomorrow (Sunday) I will also bake oatmeal cookies and prep yogurt cups for breakfast. I have frozen strawberries, bananas and grapefruit for that. I will also boil potatoes and eggs for ingredients this week. Two of our chickens are laying so I have about 25 eggs accumulated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sunday: Steak fajitas and guacamole, pico de gallo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Monday: Colcannon bake with baked rosemary split chicken breast (save some for Wed.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tuesday: lemon deviled eggs, bbg chicken drumsticks, colcannon leftovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday: chicken pasta with alfredo from a jar, broccoli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thursday: My birthday, so we will get pho takeout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Friday: Maybe pizza if I get home early enough to make the dough.I have goat and mozzarella cheeses in the freezer, artichoke hearts, pepperonicini and pepperoni. Otherwise, chicken drumsticks with Frank's, possibly some oven fries, carrot sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bettyfable

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi bettyfable- your situation sounds similar to mine (pregnant and a $50/week budget). My big challenge has been making sure we get enough vegetables, so I've found big batches of veggie and bean stews are very cost-effective and healthy. I'm very impressed by what you're able to do on your budget! Maybe you can teach a class :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frozen veggies can be a lifesaver, especially when fresh get super expensive and nothing good is on sale!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I ate a lot of roasted corn and edamame salad (over romaine) when I was pregnant. Healthy, and just flavorful enough so I could keep it down without gagging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bettyfable

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Very nice for a limited budget. Planning ahead definitely helps!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I started a new gig that's significantly cut into my free time for cooking, so I'm doing more planning ahead w/ braises on weekends or evenings after dinner, as well as brushing up on recipes that can be pulled together quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This week I really want to make a Brazilian fish stew called moqueca (I think someone else mentioned it here, too). I found palm oil, which is supposed to give it its distinctive color and flavor. I like using shrimp plus whatever firm white fish looks good at the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've also been craving pizza, so I think I'll try my hand at a cauliflower-crust pizza. It'll be topped with chipotle sauce, tomato sauce, roasted red peppers, and smoked gouda, a la this recipe: http://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/be...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tonight I'm making poblano peppers stuffed with rice cooked with cumin, mexican oregano, garlic, chipotle sauce, and fire-roasted peppers, plus pulled pork, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, cilnatro, and onions and topped with green enchilada sauce enriched with a little cream, plus a sprinkle of cheese. Those'll be for lunches, but we'll probably have the leftovers for at least one dinner this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also want to make kimchi jjigae one day this week, maybe when we have friends over: http://topchefkorea.com/2011/04/11/ki...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My schedule and my budget have been limiting my creativity lately. I've been getting home with barely a few minutes before food is demanded. This week will be:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Monday: tomato/mozarella salad, spinach tomato stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tuesday: vegetable biryani (frozen vegetables and maybe I'll make the rice tonight?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wed: Grab and go night for everyone, so it will probably be scrambled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thursday: Pork chops, black bean stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Friday: on the road!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I tend to pre-cook and bake on the weekends, so that come the weekdays I just throw things together and heat. It's been working great.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MONDAY: moroccan chicken sausage, almond/rice couscous, filled dates. (The sausage and couscous are cooked and in the freezer; just need to throw together the rest of the ingredients and heat!) Soy milk to drink.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TUESDAY: Spinach, potato, cauliflower curry. Curry has been made and frozen, just need to take 10 min. to cook the others and 5 min. more to thaw and simmer the curry. Mango smoothie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      WEDNESDAY: Cooked ground beef, Chi Chi's medium salsa and spaghetti squash for a light and lean casserole. Again, just throw together the ingredients already made and heat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      THURSDAY: Homemade tomato soup with silken tofu. Throw tomatoes and tomato paste, herbs, etc. in a saucepot. Use an immersion blender and this cooks up in less than 10 minutes!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FRIDAY: Eat on the run dinner. Turkey breast sandwich on 12 grain bread loaded with tomato, lettuce, cheese and mustard. Applesauce, homemade cheesecake brownie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This week I'm making:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mon: slow-braised brisket (made Sunday), served with cauliflower puree and baby carrots w/ ranch dip

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tue: asparagus and shrimp stir-fry w/ jasmine rice: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wed: chicken w/ 40 cloves of garlic, green beans w/ toasted walnuts and walnut oil; I think my hubby is making some kind of crab and roasted red pepper soup using leftover romesco sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thurs: chicken marsala w/ rutabaga mash, blue cheese wedge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fri: dinner out...hopefully

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sat: might be cooking for friends; haven't figured out the menu yet. Maybe seared tuna or NYT chicken adobo with coconut milk or the Trini-Chinese chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sun: good question, haven't gotten that far yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm stir frying tomorrow night also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monday night- kale quiche, pasta with Meyer lemon/asparagus/wild mushrooms, roasted baby zucchini with Greek yogurt dipping sauce. ( hubs was hungry! Thought I'd have leftovers, but only enough for kiddos lunch)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tues night- sliders in buns, healthy coleslaw, baked fries, mâché and avocado salad (it's gonna be 80 today!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wed- chicken and snap pea stir fry, lime and scallion rice, broccoli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thurs- not cooking, hubs is out. If I do cook, veggie pizza and salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fri- chicken matzah ball soup, challah, olive spread, red cabbage salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Here's my tentative plan, through the end of next week:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tuesday (tonight) - Crockpot Italian Sloppy Joe's. Serving with homemade buns and store-bought sweet potato fries. This was thrown together because the weather is prohibiting me from making the turkey pesto burgers I planned on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wednesday - I'm on my own, so leftovers or some raviolis from the freezer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thursday - Flank steak with a summer squash and potato hash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Friday - not sure yet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Saturday - hopefully out as we are going to a hockey game in the afternoon downtown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sunday - Chow's recipe for Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli. It makes 6 servings so we'll have lots of leftovers for lunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monday - Going to a baseball game

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tuesday - Asian Style BBQ chicken, rice, spicy sriracha snap peas, makes 4 so we'll have more leftovers for lunches and Wednesday dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wednesday - Leftovers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thursday - Chipotle and Citrus Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Glazed Carrots, and... not sure what else yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Friday - not sure yet