What’s for supper?

What’s for supper? August 21, 2015

food irene

One of two things is happening here today. Either

(a) I’m launching a recurring feature sharing my family’s weekly dinner menu. While I’m no cooking jainyus, I do manage to feed twelve people, seven days a week, without spending a million dollars and without anyone getting rickets.

I’ll list our dinners and include any recipes that might be interesting, and I hope readers will share their menus and recipes, too, so we can all get some good ideas from each other. If there’s enough interest, I may start a weekly blog link-up;

or

(b) I’m launching a dumb, useless thing that everyone hates, and in a few weeks I’ll sheepishly kick some dead leaves over it and hope everyone forgets it ever happened.

Come onnn, (a)!

***

 

Our deal:

We’re busy people. I work from home, I have two pre-schoolers and eight other kids in three different schools, my husband works late most nights and has a long commute, the kids all have clubs and activities and jobs, and I spend two hours in the van on a good day.  I don’t expect myself to cook like someone who’s home all afternoon, or someone who has leisure in the evening, or someone who cares deeply and intensely about optimal diets. We can’t afford the farmer’s market, and our garden stinks.

I stay within a certain budget, but I no longer have to shop as cheaply as possible. It’s worth it to me to pay a little more for convenience or variety. We now have an Aldi nearby, which means that foods that used to be luxuries are now staples.

I don’t have a crock pot or a microwave, because I’m stubborn and I enjoy suffering.

I started making a weekly menu several years ago, planning and listing and buying only exactly what we needed to eat, because we were super broke and I had to make, say, $30 stretch for seven days. The menu habit stuck after our situation improved, and I’m glad it did. I hate hate hate grinding out the menu on Saturday morning, but I love always knowing what’s for dinner each night, and always having all the ingredients on hand.

General goals:

  • I try not to make any main dish more than twice a month.
  • I try not to serve chips more than twice a week.
  • I try to serve a vegetable with each meal. I am for produce in season, but frozen veggies are still veggies.
  • I try to serve three things at dinner, but two happens a lot.
  • I try to provide a balanced diet over the course of the week, rather than over the course of a day.
  • I try to make sure there’s always yogurt, cheese, pretzels, and fresh fruit in the house, so the kids can get themselves healthy snacks. This is especially important for kids who are picky about dinner, because I refuse to stress out about everybody eating dinner. 
  • I try to serve meals that at least half the family enjoys eating.
  • I try to get the kids involved with cooking when possible, even if it’s just peeling carrots or measuring out water for rice.
  • I let them have straight-up dessert, plus candy and maybe soda, on weekends, but loosely limit sugar during the week.
  • I try to make at least a few actual homemade-from-scratch meals each week, but don’t beat myself up for filling in the rest with semi-homemade or box-and-bag food.
  • I fail in each of these things repeatedly, but I try again next week, or next next week. It’s a constant slide and correction, slide and correction.
  • I try to remember that it’s just food.

 

How I make my weekly menu:

On Saturday morning, I write the days of the week on a piece of paper, and I make note of any upcoming events that will affect what food I buy (a birthday, which means the kid picks dinner; or lots of dentist appointments, which means I’ll be out of the house during the day; or an evening concert, which means we’ll need to eat early and clean up quickly; or a radio spot right at dinner time, so the kids need to be able to just heat and eat; etc.).

I write in easy meals for whichever days seem like they will be trickiest.

Then I look up online supermarket flyers and add a few meals based on what’s on sale.

At this point, kids start swirling around me, and, seeing food on my computer screen, they start shouting out meal names. I yell at them to leave me alone and let me drink my coffee, and then guiltily fill in at least one meal that they shouted for the loudest.

Then, if I can’t think of anything else easily to fill in the rest of the days, I go to Budget Bytes, AllRecipes, the NYT food pages, Epicurious, Good Eats, and Pioneer Woman for inspiration, if not for actual recipes. (Sometimes I’ll be like, “Oh yeah, chicken! I forgot about chicken.”) Most of my staple recipes are from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, which I recommend highly as a comprehensive, clear, and encouraging resource.

Then I make a list.

Well, you guys know how to make a list.

***

Suddenly I’m nervous that you’re going to think, “Why is she telling about these dumb, boring, obvious, yucky foods?” Well, maybe I’m just trying to make you feel better, you fancy person.

Okay, here goes. This past week we had . . .

 

Saturday: Corn dogs and frozen french fries. We had an insane-o busy day and it’s a miracle I managed this much. Anyway, I like corn dogs. We had rice krispie treats for dessert because I was afraid someone might mistake us for people of good breeding.

Sunday:  Sesame chicken* (quadruple recipe) and white rice (5 cups uncooked rice).  I usually make sesame chicken with steamed broccoli, but I forgot to buy broccoli. This recipe is much easier than it looks, but don’t crowd the chicken! Also, put on the air conditioner, or else you will get hot and frazzled and will accidentally just throw the chicken in the garbage when you meant to transfer it onto a tray.  P.S. the most expensive part of this recipe is the sesame seeds. I’m going to look into growing my own sesame tree. I’ve made this recipe with inauthentic white vinegar, vegetable oil, and powdered ginger, and it still tastes fine.  Dessert: fancy Aldi cookies and orange sherbet, much to my husband’s dismay. (Whoever’s shopping turn it is gets to choose dessert.)

Monday:  Hamburgers, fried red onions, potato chips, and raw sweet peppers and baby carrots with hummus. (This is a “kids heat and eat” dish, because I was on the radio.) We use about 3 lbs. of 70/30 ground beef for the 11 of us. I’ve found that the easiest way to make hamburgers is to make the patties really flat, season them, and lay them on a two-piece broiler pan, so the fat runs off. Put the broiler on “high” and flip the burgers once.

Tuesday: slow-cooked pork tenderloin* (about 5 lbs), two loaves of beer bread, and an enormous basin of salad. I don’t have a slow cooker, so I just put the pork in the oven at 250 and covered it with tin foil. I also ran out of baking soda, so I used this baking powder+cream of tartar substitution, and it turned out great. The pork sauce is savory and fantastic, if you like salt, which we do. When it gets colder, I’ll make this dish with mashed potatoes.

Wednesday: Giant Pancake with chocolate chips, and scrambled eggs. The chocolate chips are because it’s still summer vacation, hoop de doo.  I had plans to cut up a pineapple, but I got mad and tired, and went to bed with a handful of eggs, instead.  The pineapple went bad, too bad. Giant Pancake is just pancake mix, you add water, you throw it in a shallow pan and chuck it in a 350 oven until it puffs up. Everyone gets a giant wedge and they tell Daddy “DUESS WHAT? WE HAD TATE FOR SUPPER.”

Thursday: Nachos!!! Three giant trays of tortilla chips, layered with ground pork and beef cooked with a few envelopes of taco spice, refried beans, corn, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole*. (Our guacamole is: avocados, fresh garlic and tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.)

Friday: Tuna noodle casserole and salad. This is the guilt dish that some kids were begging for, although I will admit, I like tuna noodle. I got a frozen pizza for Damien, who never did become reconciled to this dish.  Our tuna noodle is: cooked egg noodles mixed with six cans of drained tuna and a three cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup. Put the mixture in a buttered casserole dish, and top with crushed potato chips and corn flakes. Bake at 350 until the topping is toasted. Serve with dressing made from ketchup, mayo, and vingar. Tell people online that this is what you eat. Take a bow, you prince among chefs.

*I recently discovered that you can crush garlic without peeling the individual cloves. I can’t believe I didn’t know this. You have to pick the peels out in between crushing cloves, but it’s SO much faster than peeling first.

***

 Now you know! And I’d love to hear what you’re eating at your house this week. Remember, everyone has different priorities and situations, so don’t feel like you need to be fancy or fascinating. Whatcha got?

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  • Angelie Roth

    First, my cooking situation: Since the wedding in May, it’s been me + my husband, no littles to cook for yet and no job for me, but I come from a large family and balk at expensive meats. I am on the look out constantly for sales/manager specials for meat and produce, and I like to cook something different as much as possible. This week:
    Monday- calzones made with dough from scratch, green peppers, sausage, and sauce from crushed tomatoes.
    Tuesday- Fajitas with sauteed peppers, onions, black beans, rice, and cheese.
    Wednesday- Marinated pork chops (on sale, huzzah), rice pilaf, snow peas
    Thursday- Asian turkey meatballs (I put ground ginger, garlic, and a little turmeric in with chopped green peppers, salt and pepper, and make teriyaki sauce) with leftover rice, beans, and grated squash sauteed in butter
    Tonight: Probably an instant pizza as we’re making a road trip this evening to see my parents, and we’ve eaten most leftovers.

  • Kathryn King

    I love this idea. What a huge help to see how other families are feeding themselves! I keep my freezer stocked with on-sale meat, use Aldi for staples and shop local stores for specialty items. We have a budget, so we eat meatless-ish 3X a week. Here’s what we had (roughly) this past week, in which we had meat every day because my parents came to visit, and that wouldn’t go over with them.
    Sunday: Red Robin. My parents were coming: what can I say? My husband picked.
    Mon: Italian sausage with peppers & onions over couscous; garden salad
    Tue: steak, mashed sweet potatoes, pickled beets
    Wed: Ikea meatballs, mashed potatoes & gravy, salad
    Thu: oven-fried chicken, brown rice pilaf & steamed broccoli
    Tonight: homemade pizza with spinach, garlic and feta, salad
    Sat: Chili with tortilla chips.

    I make copious use of my pressure cooker and slow cooker!

    PS–Kudos to you for not repeating more than 2x a month. No way am I that creative!

  • This is my meal planning strategy most weeks (although sometimes it’s more often “fly by the seat of my pants”): http://www.catholicworkingmother.com/2015/05/06/a-working-mothers-guide-to-meal-planning/

  • Amanda

    I love meal planning discussion! Right now, it’s just me, my husband, and our 2 year old. She is beyond picky so I don’t even take her into consideration when meal planning; I *try* to make sure there’s at least one element she’s been known to eat in the past, I put something I am fairly confident she’ll eat like a cheese stick or something on her plate as well, and I usually give her a bit of whatever we’re having just in case pigs fly and she actually consents to try even the tiniest taste. I am a devotee of store circulars and coupons and like to stock up on sale meat to keep in the freezer so I pretty much never pay the outrageous regular prices for meat just to fit into a recipe; I plan my recipes around what I have on hand and what is on sale for the week. I used to use myrecipes.com for inspiration because it had a great search by ingredient feature but I went on yesterday and the website was different and way worse. *sniffs* So I guess I’ll have to try allrecipes.com, which also has that feature, I just don’t like it as much. Even though it’s just the two of us eating (the toddler doesn’t really count, as I said), I try and make enough so there is at the very least leftovers for my husband to take for lunch the next day to avoid eating out. Here’s what he had this week for dinner:

    Saturday–carryout pizza deal from Pizza Hut (any style/toppings medium for $6.99)

    Sunday–loaded baked potato chicken casserole

    Monday–meatball subs using this recipe: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/09/meatball-sandwich-submarine-grinder-hoagie-torpedo/ I have never been a fan of meatballs personally until I tried these. I love this recipe because I can freeze half the meatballs and still have enough for dinner, lunch the next day, and another dinner down the road (I freeze what’s left of the first half of meatballs in the rest of the sauce; the sauce recipe is really only enough for half the meatballs so when I pull the bag of frozen meatballs out later on, I have to make the sauce recipe again)

    Tuesday: Crockpot Mexican Pork Roast (I add in stuff here and there; usually extra canned beans and diced tomatoes with green chiles). This recipe also is pretty plentiful. http://www.stacymakescents.com/crock-pot-mexican-pork-roast

    Wednesday: Crustless bacon, spinach and cheddar quiche with homemade crispy diced potatoes

    Thursday: Cream cheese jalapeno chicken over rice

    Friday: penne pasta with a (jarred) vodka sauce) and sauteed mushrooms

    Side vegetables are my big struggle. I do my best to incorporate them somehow into the meal itself because that’s the best way I’ve found to get my husband (and myself) to eat them, so a lot of times we don’t really have very many side dishes.

  • I love this feature! I think a linkup would be fun and I’d definitely participate. Here’s our last week in meals:
    –hot dogs, tater tots, salad, raw vegetable platter
    –Chicken Caesar sandwiches, salad
    https://cookandcount.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/slow-cooking-chicken-caesar-sandwiches/
    –Chicken drumsticks, stuffing, mixed vegetables https://cookandcount.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/miss-jills-chicken/
    –Sausage and pepper sandwiches, salad
    https://cookandcount.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/cast-iron-cooking-sausage-peppers-onions/
    –Chicken Swiss Melt over rice, mixed vegetables
    https://cookandcount.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/chicken-swiss-melt/
    –Burgers, corn on the cob, salad, raw vegetable platter
    –Vodka pasta, salad, garlic bread
    https://cookandcount.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/vodka-pasta-sauce/
    I am feeding 4, including 2 teenagers, one of whom is type 1 diabetic.

  • Helen anderson

    1. Recycle / disguise your food. For instance, this week we had a massive saucepan of savoury beef mince that we just couldn’t use up. Everyone including myself whined that they were tired of it. Tonight, we microwaved potatoes (would bake in a perfect world) covered them with butter and had the mince on them with cheese on top. If it looks different, it is different!
    2. Use different dishes and add toppings to trick your children. Soup in a mug instead of a bowl with croutons (fry stale bread in oil or butter) eaten cosily in front of the TV I mean fireplace is far more acceptable than the same slop eaten around the kitchen table.
    3. Add pretty accessories. Lemon slices in the water will distract anybody.
    4. Enclose the food. The jaffle maker is a godsend. For those who don’t know, (is this an Australian thing?) a jaffle is a toasted sandwich with sealed edges. You can put anything in there and they will eat it.

    • lauren

      I think the name is Australian but not the concept 🙂 I have a Panini maker that I like – somehow having a toasted/grilled sandwich seems much more satisfying than the same Sammy cold.

      • Helen anderson

        I like cold toasted sandwiches believe it or not. They don’t go soggy.

  • Add a bag of frozen peas to that tuna noodle, and be amazed at the difference.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      My pre-schooler loves peas. She calls them “spider eyes”.

  • Carolyn Perpetua Astfalk

    I hate meal planning, but life is much better when I do it, and I also think the Fannie Famer is a great go-to cookbook.

    My husband has been using his new smoker this summer, so Sunday he smoked a TON of pulled pork (with boiled potatoes and salad) and some chicken, so we’ve had that as well as some leftover brats he smoked. I mixed the leftover brats with fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, and squash over spaghetti. Last night was ham, pierogies, and zucchini.

  • I think I’ve shared my dinner preparation secrets before:

    1. Ask kids what they want for dinner.
    2. When they don’t know, give them choices.
    3. When they don’t like any of the choices, ask them, “Well, do you kids just want to make yourselves some mac ‘n’ cheese?”
    4. Let kids make their own dinner.
    5. Pour a glass of wine for yourself.

    Fin

    • Elizabeth Nichols

      Hahaha Thank you for this!

  • Leeandra Nolting

    Get a crockpot (or two). They’re like $15-30 each and they are life and time savers. Probably, when cooking for twelve, more so than a microwave.

    Tonight we’ve got lentil soup going. A 1 lb bag of dried lentils, 8 cups of water, 8 chicken broth cubes, two tablespoons butter, maybe four tablespoons dried onions (I don’t measure, just dump in), 2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic, some dried thyme, dried cumin (again, didn’t really measure), and black pepper. Mix in all in the crock, cover, put it in the heating element on low, let sit for 6-8 hours.

    Five minutes prep, no standing by a hot stove in this heat.

    • Rosa Robinson

      My mother-in-law gave me her lentil soup recipe. It’s similar, but she adds shredded collard greens and baby carrots. I usually throw in some sweet pepper slices, too.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I’m trying to wrap my head around life without a crock pot (or two . . .).

  • Beth Richards

    My general strategy is : one chicken, one beef/pork, one pasta, one meatless meal each week. During the school year, we may have breakfast for dinner once a week. As I was a homeschool mom and needing a night off, I got into the habit of not cooking on Friday, while my husband and kids watched a movie and hung out together. It was nice to say “figure it out yourselves.”
    This week’s menu:
    It was Chilly on Monday: mix cream of chicken soup with sour cream and soy sauce, pour over browned chicken with 8 oz wild rice, diced potatoes, sliced carrots, diced onion. Bake 30 minutes, shredded cheese on top. Salad.

    Still Cool Tuesday: browned pork chops, stuffing, salad. Lemony dessert.

    Had to be somewhere Wednesday: Ground beef with Italian sausage, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese plus eggs- make into patties and brown in the oven. Pour off grease, add jar of spaghetti sauce and heat. Eat as Italian sandwich on Italian bread with a slice of mozz. Fruit salad.

    Restaurant Night Thursday: this is our name from left overs.

    You are on your own Friday. My sanity night.

    Eat together Saturday: when everyone is home we grill.
    Sunday: My husband makes breakfast (most Sundays) and dinner may be homemade pizza, traditional dinner or BLT’s.

  • Tori

    I’m trying to get back into meal planning. It really does take away a big chunk of my daily stress if I do a whole week in one go. In fact, I’m trying to see if I can make a (somewhat flexible) monthly meal plan to make it even easier. And I love seeing how others feed their big families on a budget. Here’s what our week looked like:

    Saturday: Pigs in a blanket and fries
    Sunday: Dinner at my parents (a weekly thing for which I am very grateful!)
    Monday: Curry Chicken with rice
    Tuesday: Tacos
    Wednesday: Dinner at a family event (not typical, but I’ll take it!)
    Thursday: Taco salad
    Friday: Broccoli Cheese soup

    This week was lighter on cooking than usual for me. I actually love to cook and will gladly spend a couple of hours in the kitchen as long as I have the energy and the kids aren’t killing each other. I’ve been trying to balance more elaborate meals with easy meals in between so I don’t get burnt out.

  • Eileen

    Here’s where I reveal myself to be the most boring person on the planet. (See if you can catch the theme).

    Sunday: Grilled chicken and veggies and corn on the cob.

    Monday: Chicken Tacos

    Tuesday: Sauteed chicken and vegetables

    Wednesday: Leftover chicken and veggies and leftover tacos. Maybe make some potato skins if the kids are whiny or there isn’t too much leftover.

    Thursday: Lightly breaded chicken and roast asparagus

    Friday: Frozen something, probably pizza

    Saturday: The husband and I usually go out to eat. Kids are on their own to forage for leftovers or frozen food. Or cereal or peanut butter. Or cookies. Whatever. One night one each week without my culinary oversight won’t kill them.

    That’s pretty much our menu in a nutshell most weeks. Some weeks it’s sauteed chicken and veggies every night, but I’d say the menu I’ve given is pretty standard. Other times, I’ll switch up the menu a little with the occasional pork roast and veggies, burgers and dogs, beef tacos, chicken pot pie, quiche, meatballs, chicken salad, chicken wraps, chicken and broccoli in a white sauce, meatloaf, and nachos. I have a few other meals, but not that many. Cutting back on refined carbs and limiting starches has pretty much turned dinner into meat (usually chicken) and vegetables at our house.

  • You are a superhero. (I suspect your husband is too.)

    That is all.

  • Virginia & Paul Ortega

    I can’t even remember the entire week in meals, but I was happy to get three meals this week from one chicken. 1) Roast chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and cole slaw, 2) Chicken enchiladas with spanish rice, 3) Chicken soup.

  • ” I got a frozen pizza for Damien, who never did become reconciled to this dish.” The man has taste! Seriously, I could never get into these casseroles no matter how many I tried. Cream of mushroom soup ranks up there with green beans and mayonnaise as my most hated foods.

    I have “only” three kids and a husband who eat massive amounts of food, and an extremely tight budget, and a crazy schedule, so I haven’t been planning meals much recently. The kids need to eat by 5:30, Mr. Beadgirl doesn’t generally come home until 8 (and I never know if he is going to be later, or hungry enough that he eats at the office), and who knows what my mood will be by the end of the day. My goal with the kids is to give them a protein, two veggies (one green) and a starch for dinner. The oldest will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him, and the youngest is outgrowing toddler pickiness, but it’s Beadboy2 who drives me nuts with hierarchies of food and the rule that different foods can’t touch each other and his refusal to try avocados or tomatoes (“mom, this time can you make the tomato sauce without tomatoes?”). I shouldn’t complain, though, because based on what I hear he has a much more varied diet than most picky kids.

    Saturday Mr. Beadgirl grilled burgers and hot dogs, and we ate it with cukes, tomatoes, and corn.

    Sunday I don’t remember — assorted leftovers? Oh, and gazpacho! The kids don’t like that, but yay more for me.

    Monday I made what my mom calls “un buen arroz,” wanting to use up the homemade chicken stock I had. I usually add garbanzos to it, but I forgot to buy them; I did add chopped up green and cubanelle peppers, and gave Beadboy2 raw peppers on the side. I didn’t have enough meat for everyone, so I supplemented with red beans. Carrots for the younger two and tomatoes for the oldest.

    Tuesday was fish sticks for the kids; I keep bags of fish sticks and chicken nugget thingies in the freezer so I can have a quick dinner for them. Same veggies. Mr. Beadgirl and I scrounged. Our car was in the shop, so no groceries.

    Wednesday we had KFC five dollar fill up thingies, which was a whole saga. Beadboy2 kept pestering me all summer to get them, and I finally agreed to do so Monday, but then the repair shop took forever to fix our car and we didn’t get it back until late Wednesday afternoon, and of course the KFC near us closed so I had to drive all over Queens looking for another one.

    Thursday I made this recipe for pork carnitas in the crockpot — http://damndelicious.net/2014/10/10/slow-cooker-pork-carnitas/ YUM. I served them in taco shells, with cukes and orange peppers. this was risky of me — our car, our cat, and my computer all got seriously damaged/ill this week, and my mom told me to stay away from anything else that began with “c.” We had the leftovers for lunch today with the leftover rice. (Beadboy2 ordered me to pick out all the green peppers. NO.)

    Tonight, who knows. I’m exhausted from the week and Mr. Beadgirl is sick (food poisoning or virus? we won’t know if/until someone else gets sick). Maybe a roast chicken. We eat a lot of those because they are relatively cheap and easy to cook.

    I also like to keep on hand cans of beans (black, especially) and crushed tomatoes so on a night when I have no other ideas or ingredients I can make rice and beans or a simple sauce with pasta.

    • We share a survival strategy: keep some raw peppers/other veg aside before cooking so the kids who don’t like them cooked will still eat veg!

    • Amanda

      damndelicious.net is one of my favorite food blogs! Everything I have made from her site has been amazing.

    • JoAnn

      I perked up when you said you “had to drive all over Queens” looking for a KFC. I’m in Queens, too! OLQM parish (if you read The Deacon’s Bench by Deacon Greg Kandra — that’s the parish). Hello to you!

      • I used to go to your church when visiting my now-husband; he grew up in Forest Hills! (He’s not Catholic, though.) The kids and I attend St. Anastasia’s.

        • JoAnn

          That’s my parents’ parish! Small world.

    • Anna

      Cream of mushroom soup from a can ruins anything. I learned that if I just make a white sauce, it improves the dish greatly, but that adds more prep.

  • Patti Sheffield

    This coming week:
    Sunday: Roast chicken, pan gravy, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, basic salad, crescent rolls, lazy daisy cake (I don’t fix dessert except on Sunday)
    Monday: Quick jambalaya, cheddar-green onion biscuit sticks, marinated vegetable salad
    Tuesday: Sauerbraten, potato dumplings, German red cabbage, dill pickles (only because I have to test the first three dishes out for a friend)
    Wednesday: Chicken quesadillas*, guacamole, rice with corn, tomato salad
    Thursday: Ham steak, baked sweet potatoes, coleslaw, cheddar-garlic biscuits
    Friday: Salmon loaf, sour cream sauce, rice, carrots, green pea-cucumber salad
    Saturday: Heidelberg stew*, sauteed apples and onions, pumpernickel or rye bread

    (Sorry not to do the last week thing, but I honestly can’t recall half of the evenings. I know we had a big get-together on Sunday with beef brisket, hot dogs, coleslaw, German potato salad, and baked beans, and somewhere along the line I made meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, carrots and broccoli for dinner, but the rest is just a blur of leftovers, and nobody remembers when the weeknight dinner was cooked, including me.)

  • Patrick Tramma

    Hmmm..starting last Saturday, eh?
    Saturday – Wife gone, Fried tomatoes and boiled corn
    Sunday – Carryout: cheese steaks, chili-cheese fries, mega salad
    Monday – Red beans and rice
    Tuesday – Frozen pizza (Costco brand)
    Wednesday – Grilled hot dogs
    Thursday – I had chicken and salad, wife out late with kids, had McD’s
    Friday – Tuna sandwiches

  • Mrs. Amen

    Here are two of my posts with tips for meal planning:
    http://thecypressshallgrow.blogspot.com/2015/08/5faves-favorite-meal-planning-methods.html
    http://thecypressshallgrow.blogspot.com/2013/10/habit-forming-day-7-menu-planning.html
    Here’s a menu plan from last week: http://thecypressshallgrow.blogspot.com/2015/08/miam-miam-monday-menu-plan-v4.html
    I didn’t even publish this week’s menu plan because my husband came down with a suspected case of diverticulitis so my entire menu plan had to be quickly overhauled so I wouldn’t be cooking multiple meals. This week has been a HUGE fail in so many ways. But there’s always next week – and I know it’ll be better.

  • Lesley Maren

    Great for feeding a crowd & fairly fast: 1 box cooked pasta, any kind; 1 lb browned ground turkey or ground beef; 1 jar spaghetti sauce. Stir ingredients together in a large casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Broil for 3 min in the oven to melt cheese. Voila! Cheap, fast, and also makes a hearty meal to bring to mamas of newborn babies. Serves 5-6.

  • Katie F

    This sounds like fun, I’m not a very creative cook so I love
    getting ideas from other people. Right now it’s just me, husband, and baby girl,
    but it’s a challenge finding something that both husband and I will like. I
    grew up in a meat and potatoes family and love to eat that way, he grew up in a
    family that didn’t eat much meat and he doesn’t really like it all that
    much. He would eat pasta every day for the rest of his life if he could. We have
    a pretty strict budget so I try to do meatless several days a week and if we
    have meat it’s usually chicken or hamburger. I buy a bountiful basket weekly
    and so I do my weekly menu every Saturday after I pick it up and can see what
    kind of produce I’m going to have to work with that week. Saturday is also what
    I call fridge mining day, we either eat leftovers or I make something out of
    what we have left in the fridge. Then I do my grocery shopping for the next
    week Sunday morning after mass. Most of the recipes I cook come from the blogs Budget Bytes, Jamie Cooks It Up, Pioneer Woman, Mel’s Kitchen Café, and Simply Food.
    This was the menu for the past week. 🙂

    Saturday – grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
    Sunday – homemade pizza with salami and black olives for
    toppings
    Monday – hamburgers, pasta salad, veggies (broccoli, sugar snap
    peas, carrot sticks) with ranch dip
    Tuesday – black bean enchiladas, salad
    Wednesday – sautéed chicken thighs, angel hair pasta mixed
    with olive oil, lots of garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and Parmesan
    cheese, steamed broccoli
    Thursday – Creamy tomato and spinach pasta from budget bytes
    http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/07/creamy-tomato-spinach-pasta/
    Today – French toast, scrambled eggs, sliced cantaloupe

  • Lani

    I don’t own a crockpot either (I’ve never liked the way the dishes turned out), but I do own a microwave. (I don’t enjoy suffering as much as you do!) I’m obsessed with discovering new recipes, and subscribe to several food sites and blogs. I make at least 3 new recipes a week, and it can sometimes be years before I make a recipe again. (Sometimes I’ll ask my husband, “Is it too soon to make (some dish) again? And he’ll say, “Well, you just made it three months ago.” So spoiled!)

    I also love meal planning. I don’t understand people who don’t like doing it, but then stress out/complain that they don’t know what to make for dinner, or that dinner is so tedious/unenjoyable, etc.

    Thanks for setting up this log of meals. I’ve been wanting to do this, but was too lazy. Here is what we ate this week:

    Sunday: Dirty Rice with ground turkey and spinach

    Monday: Hawaiian pan fried pork chops with Jasmine rice and kimchi

    Tuesday: Rotisserie Chicken with Mexican Green Rice

    Wednesday: Caramelized baked chicken with Jasmine rice and edamame

    Thursday: Chicken salad sandwiches with pecans, cranberries, and celery

    Friday: Linguine with sauteed tuna, garlic, and Spanish olives (I made this for the priests in our parish)

    For us, tonight we plan to eat Keralan-style Tilapia with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro and Jasmine rice

    I didn’t realize we ate so much rice this week!

  • Michelle

    Thank you. This is the first meal plan I’ve ever seen that uses regular food.

  • anna lisa

    Summers are weird. The kids get up at all different times, and I end up feeling like a short order cook.

    I make them crepes a lot with strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream. Sometimes it’s homemade waffles or french toast instead. On weekends I get to let my hair down a little. The kids go over to grandma’s kitchen for cheese blintzes every Sat. morning. We go out to breakfast, and either split a salmon benedict with mixed greens, or split a croissant and a sauteed mushroom/tomato egg sandwich on brioche with mixed greens. We get the kids In-n-Out burgers or Habit burgers and then maybe have a beer for lunch. I usually have leftovers like homemade beans or soups or stews in the fridge that keep well and are easy to throw together for different tastes that evening. My husband is a sauce and salsa virtuoso, so even if it’s just mini tacos that I do a few batches of in a fry pan, there’s the adult version and the wimpy version for kids who will only have baby carrots with them. We usually see a movie after that. Sometimes we sneak a bottle of wine in.

    If we’re hungry late at night, we’ll go to a bar and order “nasty fries”, which is our favorite guilty pleasure. They make them with truffle oil and shaved Parmesan topped with parsley, raw garlic and shallots and your choice of Aioli sauce–you can taste it still in the morning. No guilty kisses because we’re equally infused with it.

    I think my kids could practically live on tortillas, Mexican cheese, homemade beans, and whatever meat is on sale, for burritos and tacos.

    I make a ton of variations of soup by blending veggies into homemade chicken broth, and adding chicken, and sometimes sausage. They like quesadillas with whatever soup it is. This week my homemade pasta sauce was predominantly eggplant and tomato with onion , garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms. They have no idea what they ate because I blended the sauce and then added it to the ground beef sauteed with onions. I sneak whole wheat pasta occasionally.

    The only veggies I don’t have to disguise are corn, broccoli and carrots. I keep fresh fruit stocked in the fridge and on a plate in the living room.

    All of them like homemade burgers.

    I keep mixed baby greens and arugula in the fridge, and make lots of salads with balsamic and garlic infused olive oil, and variations of veggies (only age 16 and up eat those.)

    Yesterday cut up chicken was on sale for 99 cents a pound, so I simply doused them with bbq sauce and threw them in the oven for their lunch. (that lasted for two lunches) Simultaneously, I cooked a beef stew in the big Dutch oven. When it was done I blended half of the veggies and potatoes. All of the meat was high quality but half off in the manager’s special bin. They’ll have that tonight when we go to the movies. If I’m not lazy I’ll make brown rice.

    I never plan meals. I just see what inspires me when I go shopping.

    We usually go to the beach on Sunday. My husband has the most charming habit of cooking something different on our portable barbie. (He’s a only real coal snob). He relaxes to cooking. (Heheh)
    Last Sunday it was Tandoori chicken with mint, basil, cucumbers and basil in pita bread with Tandoori sauce. The week before it was steak and chimichurri on Mexican rolls with arrugala.

    I know.
    Makes me feel like a simpleton at times.
    He usually feeds at least fifteen other people, and then basks in all the love they shower him with. We bring the cooler stocked with wine, and stay for hours.

    Sometimes I have to puncture his ego a little and promise the ladies that I cook M-F.

  • I would be totally down for a meal planning linkup. I love talking about food almost as much as I like eating food.

    I’m cooking for me, my scrawny husband, and our decidedly not-scrawny toddler. Things are made more fun by the fact that we’re super broke AND both adults have metabolism/digestion-related health problems that mean we can’t just live off rice and beans.

    Our meals in the last week:
    Saturday: Spaghetti with meat sauce.
    Sunday: Leftovers
    Monday: A pork stir-fry experiment with rice a bunch of random leftover veggies. It turned out pretty good but there was a crap ton of it and it didn’t really leftover well.
    Tuesday: Chicken pot pie that did not have nearly enough salt.
    Wednesday: Disappointing leftovers. (I learned how to cook for 4-5 people so I don’t scale down and we have lots of leftovers.)
    Thursday: I was tired of disappointing food so I made a pasta dish that has beef, tomato sauce, pepperoni, and two different kinds of cheese. It’s expensive so I almost never make it, but you can’t mess something up when it has two different kinds of cheese.
    Friday: I made stuffed shells. (Pasta, stuffed with cottage cheese/mozzarella/parmesan/egg mixture, topped with tomato sauce, baked.) The baby ate three jumbo shells by himself. Then for dessert I made a brownie in a mug and shared with the baby. The husband had already retreated to his man-cave so he didn’t get any.

  • Anna

    I like corn dogs too and if you can admit it, so can I.
    I’ll see if I can remember the past week. Had twins in Jan; still not really back in the swing of things as far as cooking or meal planning goes…
    I forget last Sunday. Oh yeah, husband grilled steaks since we get our beef by the half steer.
    Monday and Wed. were taco casserole: easiest ever, freezes well, and expands as much as you need it to. 1 lb ground beef, browned and mixed with a taco seasoning packet. Mix with a large can of refried beans, a jar of picante sauce, and 8 oz or so of cheese (I use a mix of cheddar and monterey jack, mixing most in but leaving some to sprinkle on top). You can add olives if you have enough people who like them. Bake for 30 min at 350. Spoon onto plates and use tortilla chips or fritos to eat it; you don’t even need forks. This recipe amount heartily feeds the 5 eaters in our house for a couple days plus dinner for a couple kids who don’t like whatever we eat a different night.
    Tuesday was Fazolis for kids’ night. Turns out none of my kids like Fazolis much these days so oh well.
    Thursday was breakfast: link sausages, fried eggs, and baked oatmeal which is super yummy.
    Friday: mac and cheese, corn on the cob b/c ’tis the season.
    I try to add in raw baby carrots, or steam some broccoli or some kind of veggie, but that’s hit and miss; almost always I manage to serve apple slices or peaches or something for fruit. I used to make muffins at least once a week; that was mainly B.T. but I’m assuming
    I’ll be able to do that again someday. Pro tip: if you get princess emulsion (found at Hobby Lobby), you can put it in muffins instead of vanilla and they taste like bakery cakes, but with way less effort and sugar.
    ETA: just b/c I didn’t list dessert doesn’t mean we didn’t have it. There was the pumpkin pie we made b/c of visiting relatives, the rhubarb bars b/c we have rhubarb, the brownies b/c I wanted to try putting my Crio Bru grounds in them, the ice cream from a neighbor, and the Fazolis Nutella cheesecake. I know, too much sugar…

  • lissla_lissar

    Last night we had something which we eat with boring frequency- Things Roasted on Trays. That’s typically a Costco pack of sausage, a Costco pack of chopped broccoli, some parboiled potatoes chopped up, and a lot of baby carrots (or whatever kind of carrots), all covered in oil and salt and pepper and dried thyme, and then cooked for about forty minutes at 400F.

    If there happen to be any leftovers, they’re good sliced finely and then toast with pasta, more olive oil, and Parmesan.

    One of our very much fallback meals is chili on rice with toppings. I make a stockpot full of chili whenever I notice we’re running low, and then put it in tubs and freeze it. Defrost, fish out the bag of frozen corn, hunt around for some lettuce to chop, cook some rice, and find the jar of salsa. Probably grate cheese. Put it all on the table and try to stop the toddlers eating the sour cream straight from the container. Dinner.

  • sarah

    It is winter here New Zealand so our meals are a bit different. Also, I had to google Aldi’s and Corn dogs!

    Monday: Rice Risotto – chicken, ham, pea and mushroom
    (day before groceries, one chicken breast and small amount of ham and four mushrooms left in the fridge…things were grim but I like to think I was a hero on this night, feeding four boys with one chicken breast…why did I even buy one singular chicken breast?…so weird)
    Tuesday: Sausage meat and cheese quiche (a new recipe that ALL my boys ate!) Used pre-made pastry. Salad.
    Wednesday: Butter chicken and rice (sauce out of a jar)
    Thursday: American hotdogs and coleslaw (husband away so easy dinner.)
    Friday: Pan-fried Fish, frozen chips and salad (we are lucky to live by the ocean and near a fresh fish market)
    Saturday: Corned beef, mash, cabbage and carrots. Milo and biscuits.
    Sunday: Pumpkin soup and toast. Rice pudding and peaches.

    Also, my husband usually cooks on weekends and our boys love it when he roasts beef, slices it thinly and drenches it in gravy. Then we make white bread sandwiches with it. Gravy beef sammies. Recommend for boy families!

    Simcha, I have tried your sesame chicken recipe, ages ago and it was successful in our house too. Had forgotten about it. Will try again. 🙂 I like this idea of sharing meals, I plan our meals two weeks in advance, I hate it too, but man is it helpful once its done.

  • Sine Stabosz

    Here’s what’s cooking at my house this week. http://lifeasatrigonometricfunction.blogspot.com/2015/08/whats-cooking.html

  • What I remember us eating for dinner this week:
    Saturday: shrimp (on sale) w/ pasta, butter and olive oil.
    Sunday: Turkey club sandwiches
    Friday: no one wanted leftovers, chinese take out
    Monday: leftover grilled burgers and sausages, salad, homemade rolls
    Tuesday: Stir fry chicken, zucchini and onions, leftover rolls
    Wednesday: Maybe pizza? We ate too much take out this week. Oh but it made lunch the next day easy
    Thursday: Sausage pasta w/ marinara sauce. Made a triple batch and froze some. 2/3 of us did not like it, and the one who did is two years old. Maybe she’ll have a lot of sausage pasta lunches.

    This week…. meal planned for half an hour this evening. Figured out about a day and a half worth of meals. Shucks.

  • Newp Ort

    “…went to bed with a handful of eggs, instead.”

    Wait, is about NFP?

  • Elizabeth Nichols

    I’m joining the conversation a little late, but here’s what I do with my family:
    Sunday is “double dinner” which used to mean making anything and doubling (or tripling the recipe) so we would have leftovers. Now it means that I make a large meat item like a roast or turkey or ham, etc. (which I usually buy at Sams Club or on special and freeze) and a few sides of versatile veggies like corn on the cob, sliced raw bell peppers, peas, spinach with garlic, etc. and then a salad maybe or fruit, potatoes or rice, rolls if I’m being fancy
    Monday is left overs. Tuesday is “something with chicken” meaning, the rest of the veggies from Sunday or rice and some other frozen veggie or chicken with salsa dumped on it (in crock pot, which I don’t love to use, but I was given a really nice one as a gift so I try to use it) over rice, stir-fry. Wednesday is “quick meal” meaning a pizza and salad or peas from the freezer, ravioli or tacos with fruit salad or just some canned fruit or apple slices
    Thursday is soup and sandwiches in which I make soup from all the veggies I have laying around, beans or pasta and a small amount of meat I have stashed from other meals plus salsa or cream or sour cream or shredded cheese to garnish, and maybe chips or pb&j or grilled cheese or just buttered bread
    Friday is always pasta and sauce or fish with rice or potato wedges. If something fancy falls on a Friday, I make crab cakes which my kids, oddly (I think), all really like, but are a little pricey. I do sometimes sneak extra dices tomatoes or spinach (and even pureed carrots) into tomato sauce. The carrots, truly, are not noticeable unless you add a lot.
    Saturday is up for grabs. That’s either leftovers or something on the grill or maybe we go out sometimes or order a pizza. I made chick pot pie and a taco casserole with left overs and I freeze those, and I freeze leftover soup, so sometimes we just pull out those things. Also, there is the ever popular breakfast for dinner…
    I have celiac disease, so we mostly all eat gluten free, except when it is easy to make a pot of regular pasta (that costs 1/2 to 1/4 the price of gf pasta!) or something. We eat ice cream and/ or other desserts on Sunday and Wednesday always and feast days and any other day we can find a good reason to indulge : ) My friend, a mom of nine kids, told me she felt like she needed a way to manage dessert, so she picked the days that were the glorious mysteries (Sunday and Wednesday) so her kids could eat dessert and think of Heaven. I decided there are worse ways to manage a family’s’ desserts, so that’s what we do, too.
    I love reading what other families do. I think it is a great idea Simcha! Thank you for your blog. I’m a newer reader and really enjoying it and you. God bless!

    Oh and…like I need to keep writing…
    I make a menu for the month since Sams club is far from my house and I try to go there once a month (and get other groceries weekly or maybe every other if I can). Since I can go down the column for Fridays, for example, I can pick four pasta dishes based on leftovers from other nights (like if we had broccoli then I could make a lot and have pasta with cream sauce and broccoli) and it doesn’t seem as stressful. I hate making a menu for the month, but once it is done, I am so happy. I keep old menus if I get stuck for ideas and I have a list my kids helped me brainstorm of meals we like/ fast meals/ “guest meals”.