Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu planning for the week

I really enjoy cooking, but when I get busy or have a big week of running, it's one of the first things I shove off my list of things to think about. I hate picking out recipes and grocery shopping, because I get so overwhelmed by the millions of options on Pinterest, have trouble finding healthy but tasty recipes that don't have numerous or odd ingredients, and feel like grocery shopping is such a time suck. And at that, I need to make sure that the guy at the Greek place will still say, "Oh, so you're trying something new?" when I get something different than my standard Greek salad. 

But, when the stars align, I do meal plan, grocery shop, and cook food that does taste good and is pretty good for us. I had some extra time this past week because of rest week, so when Friday came around and I realized how many takeout meals we'd had, I took the time to pick out several delicious looking recipes on Pinterest and make out a grocery list. I even went to the store on Saturday morning so that I could start cooking said meals that evening.

Here are the meals I picked out. I've already made the first two, so those are my pictures. I'll share my thoughts on those underneath the link.
Saturday: Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash Boats with Grilled Chicken | Skinnytaste
This takes a bit of time between roasting the spaghetti squash and cooking the chicken, but it was really good. It looks like a lot of cheese, but I used reduced fat mozzarella and probably used less than 1/4 cup between the two halves. I needed to add a little salt to the chicken, but other than that both Tim and I were pleased and ate it all up!

This was fabulous! It was super healthy and had every food group I could want in a healthy and filling dinner. It uses balsamic vinegar and chicken stock to create a base, and that is soaked up by the onions, spinach, and shrimp, adding a lot of depth of flavor. I'm not a big fan of sage, so I just left that out. Plus, fresh herbs that can only be used in one recipe for the week add a few dollars that can be saved at the store.

I'm going to serve these with lettuce wraps (instead of tortillas), avocados, and salsa verde. This should reflect our lack of following the meatless Monday plan that I set out at the beginning of the month. We essentially go meatless at least once per week anyways, and because I'm out of school today I wanted to use the slow cooker. I'm afraid of leaving it on while I'm away from the house.

I adore the peppery flavor of arugula, so I'm looking forward to that element alone.

Wednesday: Loaded Bowl
We've had the loaded bowl a few times before, and it is super healthy and flavorful at the same time. Without meat, it gains its flavor from lime juice and tomatoes and also has black beans and avocados in with the quinoa. I'm only saving it for Wednesday to put a spacer between two nights of chicken dishes.

Friday: Hmm...hopefully we'll have something leftover. I just realized I only went through Thursday.

I will update as we make our way through these meals, but I'm looking forward to all of them.

Do you meal plan? How many days in advance do you shop? Who does the cooking in your house?
And the most pertinent of all: do you leave the house with the slow cooker on?!


Beka said...

I am a huge fail at meal planning. We are both very routine and consistent in our weekly meals - especially what we eat for lunches - eating mostly the same things every week. We have been cooking more since we got our grill, and that has been awesome! And of course there is always a plethora of veggies and fruit in the fridge. Last night I had a huge sweet tooth craving hit - there was not one sweet to be found in the house. Craving aborted.

Kat @ S and F said...

Good job! I too suck at planning but I have been better about stocking the fridge so that I can throw meals together that are healthy..long as I have tons of veggies and proteins to pick from I'm gravy. Hence why we need a TJs closer!!

Run DMT said...

Those all sound delicious! I'll have to check out the recipes. I love food and recipes are like food porn for me. I love finding healthy new recipes and pinning them. I'll be sure to pin these too! I have a serious fat girl crush on Skinnytaste. :-D I love, love, love all of her recipes. They are flawless.

For me menu planning is critical. When Publix posts its weekly ad, I'll sit down and look at all the produce/meat on sale and plan my family's meal according to the sale ad. With homework and after school activities, I don't have a great deal of time for cooking a huge meal. Therefore, I try to coordinate easier, quick meals or slow cooker meals for our busy nights.

By the way, I host a menu planning blog hop on Sundays called "Pinning and Planning". You should check it out link up! You might be a few new menu ideas too. :-)

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean said...

three cheers for meal planning. i don't do it as often as i should but i try!

Linz @ Itz Linz said...

i don't meal plan. i wish i did, but i'm just not organized enough. your meals for this week look awesome though!!

Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer said...

meal planning is absolutely necessary for me. I spend way too much money and eat horribly if I don't meal plan. If you keep a list of recipes that you tried and like it is easier. I like to rotate out our favorite meals every few weeks and try a new recipe one or two times every week or two!

Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

Ooh, that shrimp dish looks fantastic. I might have to add it to our plan next week!

Melissa said...

I love SkinnyTaste! I've recently started doing freezer meals with many of her recipes, and it makes life so easy during the week! I leave my crockpot on for some days 11-12 hours and have never had a problem. As long as its on Low and a newer crock pot, you are fine!

lpnedwards said...

That shrimp meal looks so delicious! I've never tried any SkinnyTaste meals but I think you've got me convinced!

Lindsey @ Let the Light Shine said...

Oh my, I wish I could cook meals like these. My husband would NEVER eat them - he is so so picky!

Next time you fix something, ship it up north for me :)

Lauren said...

The cheesy baked spaghetti squash boats look beyond good, will have to try them!

whomerunner said...

I don't like cooking, so I have to meal plan. If I don't we either eat crap, or don't eat at all. I absolutely LOATHE grocery shopping, but one of our local grocery stores offers online shopping and that has been a lifesaver. My husband and I order groceries together, then he picks them up the next day on his lunch break - easy peasy!

The Unlikely Runner said...

I love meal planning! Love it! And I feel like such a crazy person when I tell them one of mine and Alex's favorite things to do each week is go grocery shopping but we love it. I don't like to cook very much but usually we work together and things come together pretty quickly. I like spinnytaste and have pinned many recipes but have to try many of them so I'm glad I can read how they turn out!

Katie said...

The tostadas look amazing!! And I love spaghetti squash. How the heck do you get your husband to eat meatless?? No way mine would. Lol

jillconyers said...

Your menu sounds wonderful! Spaghetti squash is a staple in our house.

Thanks for linking up with Laura and I for What's for Dinner!

I enjoy the whole process of meal planning :)

Ashley said...

i think the easier thing to do here would be to just come live with you and taste test all your delicious meals :)

Jenny said...

I love Skinnytaste :) Never a bad recipe to be found! Your weekly plan looks yummy!!

Helen Mills said...

Congrats on your Marathon! Way to go (My first was last fall!) I am loving the sound of that Spag Squash recipe - I still have a few squash from my garden to finish off so I'm always looking for different ways to use them - I'm doing a Pad Thai this week with one - we'll see how that goes?!!

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