Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I have an admission to make.  I was raised by an expert menu planner.  She is a pro at scheduling an entire week worth of meals, shopping for the ingredients, and executing her plan.  I inherited from her an ability to plan and shop for a weeks worth of meals.  Somehow I manage to fall short in the execution department.  Sigh.  I like the idea of menu planning.  I like knowing that I have everything I need on hand to create a week's worth of amazing, nutritious meals.  Yet when it comes time to make those meals, I sometimes (okay, at least twice a week) find myself in the mood for something else entirely, or not in the mood to cook.

This never stops me from doing my darndest to menu plan though.  I have adopted somewhat of a looser version of my mom's plan.  Instead of assigning specific meals to certain days, I try to pick 3-5 meals for a week that sound good, and then I fit them in throughout the week as I see fit.  It also gives us the option of going out.  The problem is, at least once during the week I end up making a run to the store, because I finally decide on a meal (not listed on the plan), have to buy the ingredients, and then cook.  Since I am limiting our eating out for January to 2 meals/week (not just 2 dinners), I know that I am going to need to plan for 6 dinners.

This week I am pulling my recipes from three sources.  The first is Quick-Fix Vegetarian:
I love this cookbook.  The recipes are simple, and really tasty.  They are also really easy to adapt to your personal preference.  Even since starting to eat meat again, I still find myself reaching for this cookbook for ideas.

Secone, I am going to be trying out a new cookbook that A got me for Christmas.  It's called How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen):

The premise is all about sneaking healthy foods into dishes that are known for being unhealthy.  A loves vegetables, so I'm pretty sure he just thought the title was funny.

And last, I picked up the Creative Slow Cooker recipes special edition magazine from the makers of BH&G at Barnes & Noble right before Christmas.

Meal #1:  Linguine with cherry tomatoes and 5-herb pasta (from Quick-Fix Vegetarian), with optional baked chicken thighs if we are really hungry.

Meal #2:  Mushroom Bulfur Pilaf (from Quick-Fix Vegetarian) and sauteed kale with garlic and onions

Meal #3:  Japanese Cabbage Stew (from Creative Slow Cooker recipes)

Meal #4:  Barbell Burgers (from How to Cheat on your Man in the Kitchen) with all the fixin's, chipotle mayo, and baked fries

Meal #5:  Not His Mother's Meatloaf (from How to Cheat on your Man in the Kitchen) with green peas

Meal #6:  Fearless Fried Chicken (from How to Cheat on your Man in the Kitchen) with steamed broccoli and salad

I picked the most recipes from my new cookbook, because I am anxious to see how they stack up against my more tried and true recipes.  I am intrigues especially by this book, because they heavily encourage the use of fruit and vegetable purees in every recipe.  While it seems somewhat time consuming to make, if they work it might be well worth it!  Make sure to check back next Sunday to see how our meals turned out!

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