Well, it has finally happened. I’m down to the last few freezer meals that friends made me, after trying to stretch them out for weeks, and I’m back to cooking full-time! So far I have been doing a lot of planned-overs to minimize my time in the kitchen prepping dinner, and especially time cleaning up after dinner. Minimal cleanup is my favorite part of eating leftovers!
I read a great blog article on the power of review, and was motivated to start reviewing my 20-minute meal – menu-planning this year. So here goes my menu review for the last couple weeks of January:
Breakfasts: alternate oatmeal, granola, and eggs/toast. Oranges and grapefruit every morning.
Lunch: leftovers once, pbj sandwiches twice, sardines and crackers once a week, and lunch with Daddy once (mommy eats leftovers or salad)
S: Grilled chicken and veggies
M: poached eggs and chickpeas in tomato sauce (I halved the recipe and added Russian kale from the garden – it’s the only thing other than chives that the rabbits haven’t eaten)
T: Spaghetti squash with meat sauce (reserve half the browned beef for tacos later) with steamed mixed Normandy blend frozen veggies
W: planned overs
Th: tacos (with leftover chicken and ground beef), homemade tortillas, salsa, and tomatoes
Fri: bean soup from the freezer
Sat: I like to keep this open, since I usually grocery shop either Friday night or Saturday morning.
S: This menu sounded good – until I remembered that Sunday my dear hubby would be at AWANA and I didn’t want to grill the chicken by myself; so we grilled on Saturday and enjoyed the lovely weather. That meant leftover chicken on salad for Sunday dinner.
M: The eggs and chickpea recipe was a new one – and we were pleasantly surprised. Even the kids liked it!
T: Didn’t get the squash in the oven on time, so I just did regular noodles for spaghetti day.
Th: tacos were a hit! I hadn’t made homemade tortillas before, and while the flavor was great, they were pretty time-consuming. Next time I’ll just buy them fresh from HEB
Fri: we lucked out when a neighbor brought over some leftover lamb roast. Hubby also completed his final round of leadership classes at Rice University, which was cause for celebration! Forget the soup – we had lamb with spaghetti squash tomatoes, and spinach salad with chopped dried apricots, gorgonzola, pecans, and orange marmalade dressing. Yum!
Sunday through Wedneday I met my 20 minute goal – but Thursday the tortillas put me over the edge, and Friday, well, the fabulous meal was worth it.
Does anyone else find that menus don’t always go as planned?
The next week was a little better:
M: freezer meal
W: Roast chicken and roasted veggies
F: date night at a Thai restaurant
I actually followed it exactly! And because none of the recipes were new, I knew they were quick and easy to prepare. An azure standard trip Tuesday and a Costco trip on Friday night also made for a variety of healthy snack and lunch foods: dates, carrots, spinach, grapes, and twenty pounds of organic apples.
This week I’m keeping it a little more simple:
M: turkey, rice and salad
T: chili (reserve some of the ground beef for later)
Th: tacos (with leftover ground beef)
And somewhere in there I’m going to try my hand at homemade applesauce – I’ll let you know how it works!