I'm so excited to introduce meal plans to the site! Last year, one of my intentions was to be more organized and thoughtful in stocking our refrigerator and pantry, doing some bulk cooking, and planning meals throughout the week. Obviously, some weeks, this just didn't get done. But, as a former (and by that, I mean pre-mama) 'I don't plan meals but just go to the co-op every day and cook what I feel like having that day' kind of person, I was surprised at how relatively easy it was. A little prep done in the evening or during nap time goes a long way.
Now, I'm going to share what I learned with you. If you missed my original post on meal planning, you can find it here. I share lots of tips on how to make it do-able.
My intention for this series is to give you a menu each Friday for the following week, along with some ideas for where to find recipes and a few tips on shopping and/or prepping over the weekend to make getting dinner on the table the following week a little easier. I imagine this will be a work-in-progress, and I will get better at it as I go along. But, I got such a great response last year from the meal ideas I shared on Instagram stories, I wanted to make this a regular feature on the blog.
If you remember from my meal planning post, I suggested having a theme for each day of the week, to make coming up with new dinner ideas a little easier. I think I'll stick with this method (at least for now), and create a meal plan that follows this theme:
MONDAY: meatless Mondays
TUESDAY: taco Tuesday or enchiladas or similar
WEDNESDAY: rice/grain bowl
THURSDAY: pasta/noodle bowl
FRIDAY: pizza/cauliflower pizza
SATURDAY: roasted meat/chicken/fish/burgers
On Mondays, I intend to share one of my original recipes that is included in the weekly meal plan. But, other recipes will come from other blogs I love or other sites I use regularly. I may or may not have cooked those recipes, but they will come from sites I trust.
In future weeks, I'm planning on sharing additional tips for the meal plan on Instagram stories, so you can tune in for those. However, this week, my family and I are on vacation in Mexico, so I won't actually be making these recipes this week. But I wanted to go ahead and get this series started, so I thought I wouldn't wait until I got home.
I hope you like this! And if you have any feedback or suggestions on how to make this more useful, please let me know.
So here goes!
Meatless Monday (Put an egg on it) Huevos Divorciados, which is fried eggs on tortillas with a green salsa on one egg and a red salsa on the other. It's a favorite dish from the last time we were in Puerto Vallarta, a few years ago, and I make it a little more substantial for dinner by adding black beans. You could add a little cabbage or herb salad to this, too. I will be sharing the recipe for this one on Monday, so come back then!
Taco Tuesday Braised Chicken Tacos with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries and Cabbage Salad. The recipe for the braised chicken tacos is mine, and it's one of our favorites. Make a double-batch of the chicken and use it for tomorrow night's rice bowl. You could also serve a side of rice instead of the sweet potato fries, and then use the leftovers on Wednesday.
Wednesday (Grain Bowl) Chicken & Rice Bowl. Make a pot of black rice (also called forbidden rice) or brown rice and then serve it with leftover black beans from Monday and leftover braised chicken from Tuesday, plus a variety of toppings. Both kids and guests love these kind of make-your-own dinners. Here are a few ideas for toppings: sliced avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, shaved fresh vegetables (like red pepper, cabbage, green onions, radish), roasted vegetables (leftover roasted sweet potatoes from last night would be delicious) or sautéed greens (like kale), leftover salsa from Monday or chile oil.
Thursday (Pasta/Noodle Bowl) We'll change things up a little with this Fettuccine with Walnuts, Lemon and Herbs. Every recipe I've made of Ashley's is delicious, and I'm sure this is no exception. I've had this one bookmarked for a while.
Friday (Pizza Night) Maybe this is the night to order in?
Saturday (Burger Night) We're planning on taking Theo to Israel in the fall, so I've had these Lamb Meatballs in Pita with Tahini Sauce and Herb Dressing on my mind. You can make all of the components over the weekend or earlier in the week and then just heat the meatballs and serve. Add a side salad or cabbage salad (in the summer, a tomato salad would be delicious). You can find my recipe here, on Salt & Wind, which is one of my favorite sites for food and travel. Note: I do contribute articles to this site, but I am not compensated. I just love the site.
Sunday (Soup) Chinese-inspired Chicken Noodle Soup. I have Tara's cookbook, Seven Spoons, and I love her beautiful, flavorful recipes. This one sounds like exactly what I would be craving on a gray, rainy Sunday evening.
If you have time over the weekend, make a pot of the forbidden rice and a pot of black beans. You can use the beans for dinner Monday and Wednesday nights, and you can use the rice on Wednesday (and on Tuesday, if you like). The rest of the rice and beans can be used in breakfast and lunch dishes in the week, or they freeze beautifully.
The braised chicken can be made ahead and reheated. It also freezes really well.
All of the ingredients for the lamb meatballs can be made ahead.
You could make the broth for the chicken soup early in the week (up to five days ahead) and store it in the refrigerator. If you have leftover broth from Sunday's chicken soup, store it in the freezer. Having chicken stock in your freezer is like winning the lottery. An easy dinner is only minutes away.
I hope you like this series! Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions!