Monday Meal Plan: February 25 Edition

This weekend felt like a whirlwind of activity and not a lot of productivity. I hate weekends like that. If I’m going to be busy, at least let’s get things done! It looks like the next two weeks may be following the same trend, but productivity is a key component of the busyness – breakfast meeting tomorrow, some client catch ups, clinic appointments, office hours, school commitments, etc.

Our week started off with a gong-show of a Monday morning. Ontario has been hit with some blustery (don’t-blow-away) winds and wintery whiteout conditions. Certain regions are closing ALL the roads, pulling their plough operators off the roads, and multiple-car pileups are being reported. We were lulled with winter’s ease so far and it decided to boldly remind us that yes, it is still actually snow season in Canada in February. Spring? What spring.

One of our local zones had buses cancelled and then fortuitously, I decided to check whether our bus route (not in the affected zone) had been cancelled as well. I (along with most other parents on this route) felt a little confused because we had just been sent a notification that our buses were running… but our route had been nixed for the morning. Eventually, the other routes in our zone were cancelled as well, and I say good call on this one. It’s miserable out there. It did, however, end up being a quietly accomplished day in the office (and there was no one home to tell J to turn off SpongeBob.) Win.

So keeping in mind the chaos and commitment that is our life this week, here is my anticipated meal plan.

  • Coconut Lentil Soup with veggies and toast on the side.
  • Sweet potato pork shepherd’s pie
  • Dinner Out (date night!)
  • Burgers in Toronto (weird, right? We have an appointment at SickKids, but we get a per diem to take the kid out to eat the night before and they put us up in a hotel so we’re not fighting traffic to make the early clinic time.)
  • Peanut Chicken Stir Fry or Chicken Satay – something like that
  • Salmon Burgers (because I still haven’t made them…)
  • Brocolli penne alfredo

Here’s a related question for you… what food bloggers or recipe sites do you recommend? Are you following them on Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? Share your favourite places to find new inspiration!

Meal Plan Monday: February 18 Edition

Ignore the fact that it’s Tuesday… I scheduled this post wrong.  No excuses…

We’re not doing anything too exciting this week as far as meals. I am going through one of the spurts where I don’t want to be creative in the kitchen. I want quick and easy and as few complaints as usual. Some of the recipes are new-to-us but still fairly basic.

  • Meatless: rice noodles with veggie stirfry and veggie spring rolls (I’ll shortcut these with a box of frozen PC spring rolls)
  • Green chicken & rice (from The Sugar Smart Cookbook for Kids – I was given a digital copy to review via NetGalley in exchange for my reviews – hard to review without testing out some recipes!) We’ll serve with steamed mixed veggies
  • Kaleb’s pick – soft tacos or burritos or something similar
  • Justin’s pick – salmon burgers (from the Yum & Yummer cookbook) with cucumber mango salad (these are a holdover from last week that we didn’t get to!)
  • Teriyaki boneless chicken bites, hand cut fries, veggie sticks
  • leftover ingredient day – mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes with whatever meat and veggies we still have hanging out in the freezer and/or fridge – a pretty basic variation of meat & potatoes

At some point in the week, I’ll also make a pear & cheddar crisp (recipe also from The Sugar Smart Cookbook for Kids.) We don’t often do dessert, but it’s a nice treat once in a while.

What are your go-to classics or shortcut (but still healthy-ish) meals when you’re just not wanting to put in extra effort?

Meal Plan Monday: February 11 Edition

Meal planning was soooo boring this week. I actually love trying to decide what to feed the family (in advance – not the actual day of. I hate trying to decide the day of.) This week, however, in an effort to stretch the paycheque a bit further (ahem, bathroom reno!) I took stock of everything left in the freezer. We didn’t need to buy any meat… so that’s good, but I don’t think I was as creative as I might usually be.

New cookbooks!

This disappointment may be spurred by the fact that 3 new cookbooks made it into our home over the last few days. I ordered Justin the Kid Chef book off of Amazon, I impulsively bought the Yum & Yummer one at Costco, and found a $2 copy of the Country Living Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook on the clearance rack at HomeSense over the weekend. We have new recipes to explore for days and weeks and months!

Our meal plan this week is leaving an exception for food court food on Tuesday (dentist appointment at the mall right at the dinner hour) and a possible Valentine’s excursion with Justin & Kevin if Kaleb actually makes it to ski club this week. (Praying it won’t be cancelled again!)

Here’s our menu in no particular order:

  • grilled cheese & salad (possibly some broccoli cheddar quinoa bites with these. I had plans to make them yesterday, but plans went awry!)
  • eggs, toast, bacon, and fruit salad (Kaleb’s meal)
  • broccoli cheddar soup, salad, and fresh bread (Justin’s meal)
  • Ribs, hand-cut potato wedges, and veggie sticks (“Kevin’s” meal – I made him pick this one!)
  • Jerk pork quesadillas with salad (I have jerk pork left over from Saturday to use) – our meatless Monday meal will not actually be today
  • Asian salmon burgers (the recipe is the Asian Tuna Burger from the Yum & Yummer cookbook, but Justin read that you can substitute for salmon and decided he wanted to tackle two meals this week! I think we’re on to something!)

We still have some turkey strips and some bacon-wrapped medallions in the freezer if at any point we change our mind… plus, the remains of the 15lb bag of potatoes that doesn’t seem to be getting smaller! Options… so many options.

I ran out of time to do a full grocery shop… and again, am trying to stick to a food budget of sorts. I decided to use PC Express for our shopping. Our local grocery store has some amazing staff picking and packing and it just makes life so much easier in a hurry. Another bonus is that I strictly shopped from my list without the temptation of all the sales, end caps, and clearance racks. I loaded my cart online before bed one evening and picked up the next day at a set time in a designated parking spot with a quick phone call. I opted for no bags and just made sure I had laundry baskets in the trunk for easy unpacking of the cart. Bonus, they gave me a valentine and some chocolates as thanks! (Grocery shopping is always better with a Lindor at the end…)

Meal Plan Monday: February 3rd Edition

How is it February already? Last week it was so cold and I didn’t want to leave the house. Today it’s plus 8°C and it feels absolutely spring like! It makes me want to garden… mmm, rhubarb, lettuce, and zucchini, oh my! (Pretty much the only things I grow with any success… plus the crazy walking onions that do their own thing!)

Yesterday after church we had some brocolli cheddar soup that I had picked up from a local restaurant that I love. (They freeze and sell their soups!) We paired with a fresh cheese loaf from a local bakery. So good! Comfort food…

One of my goals lately has been doing the whole meatless Monday thing… but only at breakfast and dinner. Lunch still tends to involve meat for both kids. Baby steps. My decision has more to do with hiding things like beans in food and getting more veg in without complaints than any real altruistic motives. Whatever works.

Our meal plan this week will look something like this.

  • veggie samosas and mango salad (tonight!)
  • double stuffed turkey taco sweet potaoes and salad
  • frozen pizza and veggie sticks (K’s meal)
  • roulades with garlic mashed potatoes and whatever vegetables are hiding in the crisper
  • chicken wings, bacon poutine, veggie sticks (J’s meal)
  • jerk pork, rice, salad
  • jerk pork quesadillas and veggie soup

Because we’ve been doing so well sticking to the grocery list and the plan lately, I am giving myself leeway to do convenience food if I need to. I have some evening meetings to get to right at the dinner hour and other extra commitments here and there in general. No guilt. A fed family is as high as I’m aiming some days!

Mealplan Monday: January 28th Edition

Last week, I did really well sticking to our mealplan with just one big variation. Success! Our mystery meal last night was a thai chili glazed salmon plated with a colorful baby spinach and red pepper stirfry, and a savoury rice & quinoa mix. The youngest cleared his plate in a quick blink of the eye. The eldest chose to eat leftovers from the night before. {Boring!}

This week I’m experimenting a little and have also requested buy-in from the men. They each chose a meal and will be helping to prepare them. Not all the choices are healthful, so I’ll be trying to bring some veg and colour and balance to our plates or making healthier subs where possible.

Our flavour loaded plan this week includes:

  • Creamy White Bean and Tomato Soup (vegan!)
  • Turkey Taco Salad
  • Homemade Burgers
  • Justin’s Pick – Mac n Cheese Bites with Cucumber and Cauliflower Breadsticks
  • Kaleb’s Pick – Turkey Strips, Handcut Fries and Fresh Veggies
  • Kevin’s Pick: Homemade Pizza and Salad

What’s on your menu board this week? Anything new and exciting? Any standby family faves?

Happy eats!

Meal Plan Monday – January 21st Edition

I get that it’s Tuesday, but I didn’t want to overpost last night… so you get Meal Plan Monday – a day late.

We were out of so many staples this week and I’ve been trying to use up the bits and pieces in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. Lots of improvising and substitutions. With the cold weather, I’ve wanted to make some comfort food and soups. Unfortunately, soups are hit and miss with this crew. (Mostly miss… what is wrong with them?!) I’m also putting my crockpot to use this week!

I’ve looked ahead to our schedule for the week and try to take into account our busyness as I plan out our meals. I like to keep some basics on hand in case I feel the need to just do something simple. I put together a plan yesterday and then tweaked it again today. I’m sure it will change once more before the week is out.

Here is what’s on our menu:

  • Spaghetti & Meatballs (Monday’s meal, in fact. I had frozen meatballs to clear out of the freezer.)
  • Cream Chicken & Rice Taco Soup (new recipe for us!)
  • Crockpot Enchilada Casserole (also a new one – based loosely on this one, but we’ll change it up to make it our own.)
  • Breakfast for dinner (most likely sausage, veggie omelettes, some fruit, and diced potatoes
  • Mystery meals – I fully intend on staring at the freezer and seeing what piques my interest. I’ve got some ground beef set aside, some chicken wings, and salmon that we should use. No real “plan” for these ones, but simple sides like rice and veggie medleys.

What’s cooking at your house this week? Will you be trying anything new? Feel free to share your tummy-warming cold weather favourites in the comments!

Meal Plan Monday – January 14th Edition

I don’t actually meal plan on Mondays… but Mondays are when I start the meal plan I prepared the previous week. If you’ve been following along over the last few days, you’ll realise that we had some unexpected curveballs thrown our way. Between a sick kid and exhaustion, meal plans didn’t quite go, well, according to plan. This is where flexibility is an amazing mindset!

Meal-planning may help me at the grocery store, but if I have to throw something together that’s a bit simpler or quicker to prepare, that’s just fine. If I’m on the verge of a meltdown and text Kevin to bring home takeout and we indulge in Thai basil beef, mango salad, and rice balls – that’s just fine too!

“You can have a plan, but you have to be flexible. Every day is unpredictable, and you just have to go with the flow.”

 – Jane Krakowski

I think plans and lists and order is important. I also think that they should not be burdens and you shouldn’t feel guilty or upset if you veer off course. Food is nourishment and nourishment is health; peace of mind is also vital to our health and if food is stressing you out or your plans are stressing you out, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Just my two (very uneducated) cents… a happy, healthy you is important. Figure out what that means in your individual case.

My meal plan for this week will include some revisitations on last weeks plans, plus some comfort food, and a quick meal or two. I will plan a meal for each day, but I don’t hold myself to the schedule – we may end up eating Monday’s meal on Wednesday. Wednesday’s meal may be subbed for grilled cheese and soup. Flexibility is key.

  • Monday – Tomato Lentil Soup
  • Tuesday – Italian Sausage & Creamy Spinach Pasta
  • Wednesday – Bacon-wrapped tournedos, broccoli, carrots, fresh bread, salad
  • Thursday – Boneless Chicken Bites, seasoned rice, and “restaurant veggies” (This is how my kids refer to crudites, I guess because they serve carrots & celery with their chicken wings when we go out to eat!)
  • Friday – Spinach & goat cheese omelettes with a peameal, pepper hash
  • Saturday – Peameal Spinach Pizza

My tomato lentil soup will be made using a jar of Soup Girl soup mix – packed full of locally sourced, healthy ingredients, and loaded with amazing flavour! They are vegetarian, so you can use your choice of broth or another liquid base, add in meat (we’ve used chicken in some and leftover beef in others), or just add in a handful or can of your favourite veggie.

I usually make my own cream sauce for pasta, but sometimes shortcut with a jar. The boneless bites are a box of frozen convenience food because Wednesdays are a crazy day and I’m exercising my right to make things easy… plus I usually forget to take meat out at least once a week and this gives me something easy on-hand. That last reason is also why I occasionally do breakfast for dinner. Omelettes are easy and can include anything you’ve got hanging out in your fridge. Great for clearing out your drawers and containers!

So this is my plan… and I may or may not stick to it. It’s a starting point for stocking the pantry and the fridge. It’s a foundation so I don’t have to overthink dinner if it’s been a mentally long day. It also helps me make sure we’ve got a good number of veggie servings squeezed in. It keeps me on budget and ensures I don’t rely on freezer food.

What are you eating this week? Anything new or exciting? I always have a few things pinned that I’ve seen in my web travels, but I have enough ingredients on hand that I’m trying to use what I have before stocking for something new. Happy eats this week!