Weekly Meal Plan #4: Back to Work

“Teachers are so lucky–they get three whole months off every year!”

This, my friends, is emphatically NOT TRUE. There have been years that, due to snow days, we barely got out before the 4th of July. And teachers always have to go back for meetings in August–the length and hideousness of said meetings to be determined by (a) your professional responsibilities outside the classroom (b) the requirements of your contract.

This week, I’ll be doing a week-long Kagan Workshop. My dear husband will have his first week as Mr. Mom, while simultaneously job-hunting and studying for a computer certification. Yes, I suspect you’ll be hearing lots more about that later…

But in the mean time, I need to make a no-frills menu plan for the week that takes into account our CSA goodies. And so, without further ado:

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Freezer Stocking: first of all, I just need to organize the darn thing and take inventory of what we already have (which probably isn’t much… but I have bags of stray carrots all over the place in there). Then, I plan to make Lazy Day Stew (scroll down for the recipe, which makes two full meals). I will also stock up on supplies for 8-Can Taco Soup.

Meal Plan #1chicken broccoli quinoa casserole (with cut veggies and/or fruit on the side)

Meal Plan #2 – BLT chicken salad with ranch dressing (scroll down for recipe–I also highly recommend the cookbook!)

Meal Plan #3 – Cabbage Beef Soup (yes, again–more cabbage in our CSA!)

Meal Plan #4 – Thai curry (my husband makes this, and it’s different every time. So sorry, no recipe.)

Meal Plan #5 – summer squash and eggplant lasagna

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Weekly Meal Plan #3: Fast and Fresh

Resolution: spend as much time with this kid as possible!

Resolution: spend as much time with this kid as possible!

Sigh. This is my last real week of summer. Students don’t come back to school until September 4th, but starting next week I’ve got meetings and trainings to attend. My goal is to spend as much time with Sweet Pea as possible–pleasant time, mind you, as opposed to “get off my leg so I can cook” time.  The principles guiding my meal plan this week:

(1) The aforementioned quality time with Sweet Pea.

(2) A desire to begin freezer cooking for upcoming back-to-work stress.

(3) An acknowledgement that I never actually make seven planned-out dinners. There’s always a night that we end up pulling something out of the freezer, making tacos, or having breakfast for dinner.

Breakfast treat: Blueberry Buckle (I found a recipe in my Country Cooking book, but this looks very similar)

Dinner #1: Italian-Style Steak, Mushrooms, and Onions (with green beans on the side)

Dinner #2: quiche with sautéed kale and red onions (I’m omitting the bacon from this recipe, plus using skim milk instead of heavy cream). What’s that you say? Quiche is just breakfast food? Well, I like pie crust so I’m not making frittata. Call me a rebel!

Dinner #3: Make-Ahead Lunch Wraps (these are a Diamond household staple: we’ve been known to eat them for every meal: eat a few for dinner, freeze the rest!)

Dinner #4: Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes, and I’ll serve green beans on the side

Dinner #5: “summer in a bowl” spaghetti

Dinner #6: BBQ at my parents’ house (probably salmon; Dad’s an epic fisherman–yay!)

Weekly Meal Plan #2: Already Behind

Does anyone else have this issue? You plan out the meals for the week, but then you get a call from an old friend… she’s in town and hosting a barbeque. Or perhaps your in-laws stop by for an early celebration of your wedding anniversary and they ask to take you out to dinner.

Such was the case for me last week. And I’m never going to say no to (a) a chance to socialize with loved ones while (b) snarfing down free food that I don’t have to prepare. But such unexpected windfalls, coupled with the sheer size and volume of last week’s lasagna, means I’m still working with the Week 1 menu plan.

So this week’s plan is considerably more… modest. Especially since my husband and I recently worked out a deal: I get two nights out a week to write, so he’s responsible for some dinners! (His cooking requirements: fast and easy.)

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Breakfasts: Greek yogurt with sliced fruit and honey, or pesto cream cheese on bagels (We are blessed to live four blocks from an excellent bakery, which is where I get the bagels. For pesto cream cheese, I just make Mark Bittman’s classic pesto and then add two 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese to the food processor.)

Dinner #1: homemade pizza with pesto sauce, topped with shrimp (pre-cook), chèvre, artichoke hearts, and sliced red pepper

Dinner #2: BLTAs with tossed green salad (The added “A” in the BLT is for avocado–delicious!)

Dinner #3: Grilled Flank Steak with corn, tomatoes, and chimichurri sauce (an eats-like-a-meal salad)

Dinner #4: Tater Tot Casserole (I add shredded vegetables to mine, and I also use a homemade “cream of whatever” soup mix)

Weekly Meal Plan #1: CSA catch-up

CSA veggiesSo, several of the blogs I haunt feature a regular meal-planning post. And I’ve decided to follow suit… mainly for my own sanity (so nice to have all the week’s recipes linked in one place!)

A caveat: we are doing a CSA this summer, and I’m behind on using all the gorgeous produce. I’ve been struggling to freeze as much as possible, but you just can’t go there for some veggies (Swiss Chard comes instantly to mind).

And thus my theme for the week: CSA catch-up. Must eat the chard (and cabbage) before it spoils!

Snacks for the week: yogurt-herb dip and veggies, jicama salsa and tortilla chips (for the dip, I just mixed yogurt with some dried rosemary, chopped Italian parsley, and diced garlic. I added salt and pepper, then let it chill overnight.)

Sunday: pork chops with Swiss Chard fritters (I just sauté the pork chops in oil with a little South African Smoke seasoning on top. The fritter recipe comes at the end of the blog post.)

Monday: Lasagna Primavera

Tuesday: squash wraps (Dice garlic and onions. Slice up zucchini and summer squash. Sauté until soft, adding some red pepper flakes and/or Salt & Spice. Add some form of protein if you so desire. Serve in tortillas with pepper jack cheese.)

Wednesday: cabbage beef soup and beer bread

Thursday: herbed potato salad with sautéed beet greens and tilapia (For beet greens: wash and chop. Sauté with minced garlic until wilted. For tilapia: season with lemon pepper spice and sauté until done. Serve with lemon.)

Friday: our fifth wedding anniversary! Woo-hoo! My husband and I will be going out (or getting take-out, if we can’t find a babysitter).

Saturday: Apricot Mustard Chicken with Beet Roesti and a tossed green salad

Don’t-know-when-we’re-going-to-eat-it-but-must-use-up-cabbage: Udon noodles in squash broth with shredded Napa cabbage (maybe for lunch if we run out of leftovers?)