Katie's Musings

A blog about cooking, knitting, books, and parenting

Meal planning

My life feels really hectic right now, with my full-time graduate course load on top of my music work, as well as being a full-time/stay-at-home mom. I take care of Emmett during the day, trying to squeeze in some housework or homework while he takes a nap, and then I teach lessons and do homework in the evenings when Scott is home from work. On weekends I do more homework, teach lessons, and occasionally play gigs. So, I’m finding that I’m becoming more and more organized in my meal planning each week, out of necessity. Having a weekly meal plan takes away some of the stress from my day, so that I don’t have to worry about what I’ll make for supper. It also makes my grocery shopping more organized. And, maybe it’s the librarian in me, but it’s actually really fun to be super organized!

My routine now is to do my meal planning on Saturday, and do the grocery shopping either on Saturday or Sunday. We subscribe to a CSA, and they post the contents for next week’s box on their website on Friday. When I start to look at what meals to plan for the week, I look at what we’ll be getting in our CSA box, and also look at my calendar and the weather for the upcoming week, to see if there are any special things I need to pay attention to. (Such as, if I’ll be really busy one afternoon, I can plan to make something in the slow cooker that day, or if it’s going to be a really cold/rainy day, I might plan to make a soup.) I generally only plan out the dinners I want to make; I just do whatever I feel like for breakfast, and usually eat leftovers for lunch. I also make a list of what foods we have in the fridge and pantry, and try to make sure to use a lot of the things that we already have on hand, so that we won’t have to buy as many groceries. Also, if there are veggies that are left over from last week’s CSA box, I plan to use them on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, before our next box arrives.

Another consideration I have right now, is that I’m pregnant, and occasionally I have cravings for particular foods! Of course, the cravings may happen randomly (like waking up at 3am one night, craving M&M cookies!!), but in my meal planning I try to take into account what foods I think I’ll probably want to eat (such as comfort foods, casseroles, soups, etc.), as well as thinking about having a healthy, balanced, nutritious meal plan.

During the week, I often end up switching around my meal plan, making something on one day that I’d planned for another day, or making something different altogether on the spur of the moment. But, just having the structure of having a plan (even if I feel free to alter it later) just makes things easier and less stressful.

Anyways, here is my current meal plan for this week:

Week of Oct. 17:

  • Sunday: BBQ tofu, sauteed greens, and rice
  • Monday: slow cooker macaroni and cheese, and salad
  • Tuesday: vegetable-beef soup, and biscuits
  • Wednesday: veggie lasagna with kale and spinach, and salad
  • Thursday: pierogis, salisbury steak, and green beans
  • Friday: chicken paprikash with egg noodles, and salad

October 17, 2010 Posted by | food, meal plans | , | Leave a comment

Spinach dip

I took this spinach dip to our church fellowship hour this morning. I’d never tried this recipe before, but it turned out great! I made it last night, so that it would have time to cool overnight in the refrigerator. I used this recipe for spinach-parmesan dip, and it was great! The only changes I made were to double or triple the recipe (I didn’t measure, just added what felt like the right amounts!), and I added 1/2 finely chopped leek to the garlic and spinach.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , | Leave a comment

Black Bean Chicken Chili

Today is a chilly, rainy day, so it felt like the perfect day for having chili for lunch. I threw this together with what I had in the pantry/fridge, and it was delicious! I used leftover chicken from a roast chicken I made the other day, but you could use leftover rotisserie chicken, or cook some chicken before adding it to the soup.

Black Bean Chicken Chili

  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, not drained
  • about 1/2 to 3/4 cup leftover chicken, broken into bite-sized pieces or shredded
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (use more or less, to taste)
  • sour cream and cheddar cheese for garnishing

Heat the beans and the tomatoes in a medium pan, and add the chicken, salt, pepper, cumin, and water. Right before it boils, turn it off and remove from heat. Stir in the cilantro, and some cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

October 17, 2010 Posted by | food, recipes | , , , | Leave a comment