Menu Monday: 9/24/12

Last week got away from me.  I had a plan, posted it on my fridge, then stuff happened…..good stuff, but stuff that messed with my plan.  So the plan was ditched and we kind-of rolled with the punches.

This week I’m planning to stick with my plan!  We’ll see how long it lasts…..

Monday:  Stuffed Peppers (from Practical Paleo) and Pazoggi (roasted spaghetti squash with tomato sauce)

Tuesday:  Steak Tacos and Spanish Cauli-rice

Wednesday:  Bacon-wrapped Chicken and Sauteed Spinach

Thursday:  Chili with Cauli-rice

Friday:  Left-overs

I have high hopes for the stuffed peppers on Monday….not sure my kids will like them so I’m making the spaghetti and sauce as back-up, as well as to have on-hand for lunches throughout the week.

What’s for dinner at your house???




Menu Planning: Why and How

First off, let’s tackle the why part of menu planning:

First of all, eating a home-cooked, nutritious meal with my family most nights is a priority for our family. When we started our family, my husband and I decided that for us, eating at home, all together, around the table, without distractions, most nights of the week, was important to us.  This was much easier when we had fewer kids and homework and extra-curricular activities weren’t a factor. But as the kids have multiplied and have gotten older and busier, this is no less of a priority.  We fight for dinner, and will continue to do so. We are intentional about the activities our kids participate in, as well as the scheduling of those activities around the dinner hour.  This is a sacred time for us, and we protect it. If I didn’t plan my menu ahead, taking into account our schedules for each day, the dinner hour could be lost to indecision about what to cook, not having the right ingredients, and/or frustrated runs through a drive-through.

Second, I love to cook.  I love chopping vegetables (weird, I know), browning things in a pan, stirring large pots of soup.  Yum.  Love it.  Taking into account my family’s schedule and planning ahead helps me know which evenings I can try something new or cook something more complicated, and when I need to throw something in the slow-cooker so that I can have my evening free to act as chauffeur or help with homework.

Third, I hate wasting food.  I spent too many years buying ingredients that sounded good when I saw them in the store, only to have them rot at home because I didn’t have a plan for how to use them. Wasting food is like throwing money in the trash (just ask my kids……I say that to them many, many, many times each week).

Fourth, and this goes along with my third reason, it saves money.  If I’ve planned ahead, I only buy what I need, and I need everything I buy.  My grocery lists are well thought out and very specific.  I tend to shop once every week or so, and very little goes to waste because it all fits into my menu plans.

Finally, I plan because I’m a planner.  I like to plan things, to know when things are going to happen, to not be caught with my pants down so to speak.  I like that when I get up each morning I know what I’m cooking for dinner, that there is one less decision I have to make that day.  If I had to make that decision at 5pm when all heck is breaking loose around here, we’d be eating grilled cheese or ordering pizza every night.  Not ideal for our health or bank accounts.

Whew, that was a lot of words…..I think we’ll tackle the how part of menu planning in another post.

What about you?  Do you menu plan?  Why or why not?

Menu Monday: 9/10/12

We missed a few dinners last week so there’s at least one repeat for this week.  My youngest starts school Tuesday so I’ll finally have all four kids in school, at least for two days each week.  I’m looking forward to settling into our school and extra-curricular activity routines!

Monday:  Balsamic Pork Chops, Roasted Cauliflower

Tuesday:  Asian Chicken Wraps, Roasted Carrots

Wednesday:  Steak Tacos (from the freezer-yay!), Guacamole, Salad

Thursday:  Chicken in the slow cooker, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Friday:  Taco Salad and/or leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?



Menu Monday: 9/3/12

Here’s the plan for this week:

Monday:  Garden Meatballs, Spaghetti Sauce and Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday:  Balsamic Pork Chops and Cauliflower Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday:  Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thighs, Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Thursday:  Crazytown**

Friday:  Leftovers and Big Salad

**Thursday is Crazytown because I am supposed to be at about 4 different events at the same time, all during the dinner hour, and my husband will be out-of-town.  Not sure how we’ll manage dinner, but it’s probably going to be a grab and go whatever you can, whenever you can.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I will double (maybe even triple) the meatball and chicken thigh recipes to have left-overs on hand for lunches.  I may also roast a chicken and make some chicken salad.

What’s on the menu at your house?

Paleo Challenge Recipes

My gym is starting a Paleo challenge on September 3rd.  Great timing right?  I got a week off from my Whole30 before diving back in!  I’ve had an ok week, but definitely have had some consequences after eating too many cookies one day (5?  6?  I lost count), and a big Coke another day.  Both indulgences weren’t worth the fatigue and stomach-ache, so next time it’ll be just one cookie and I’ll skip the Coke.

Anyway, at our nutrition night we had a few requests for more recipes, so I compiled a list of recipes/links for some breakfasts and dinners.   I didn’t list lunches because my lunches are almost always left-overs, or a lettuce wrap with deli turkey or home-made chicken salad.


Egg Cupcakes  (my kids don’t care for peppers so I omit them.  You can add grated carrot or sweet potato if you like)

Scrambled Eggs (I like mine with kale and onion)

Frittatas (Everyday Paleo has multiple recipes for these.  So easy to make and customize.  Make ahead and reheat throughout the week)

Sweet Potato Hash

Hardboiled Eggs

I am not a huge fan of breakfast foods, so sometimes I eat leftovers from dinner.  I know….weird.  But I need to eat an left-overs are easy and I like them.  If you’re getting tired of eggs, then give it a try.


Southwest Meatloaf

Garden Meatballs  (the peppers can take over these meatballs, so if your family doesn’t like them leave them out)

Chili Verde

Balsamic Pork Chops

Grilled Chicken Breasts, Thighs or Drumsticks (make extra to have on-hand for lunches)

Roasted Chicken Breast, Thighs or Drumsticks (see above….same idea, just roasted in the oven)

Crockpot Ropa Vieja (Cuban-style pot roast)

Chicken Tacos (slow cooker)

Steak Tacos (slow cooker)

Easy Chili (slow cooker, skip the cheese and fritos)

Burgers (skip the bun, wrap in lettuce, add lots of toppings:  tomato, onion, avocado, salsa, etc)

Roast Chicken/Crockpot Chicken (great for dinner, or make on the weekend, pull apart the meat and use for lettuce wraps or chicken salad for lunches)

Tacos (use ground beef, chicken or turkey and taco seasoning, wrap in Romaine or iceburg lettuce leaves and top with salsa and/or avocado)

Mexican Soup  (make this with ground beef, or add shredded, cooked chicken.)


Do you have a tried-and-true Paleo-friendly recipes?  Share them below in the comments!