Hello! My name is Danielle and I have a confession to make.
***I have a love/hate relationship with cooking***
I love to cook.
I love it not!
I hate to cook.
I hate it not!
and so it goes 'round and 'round
with our busy family life
in full swing.
While I am always planning meals for our family, since it saves money and time in the long run, I'm not very good at sticking to my meal plans sometimes, because frankly, I fall out of the mood to cook what I've decided in advance for that day to eat and prepare as our meal. Most of the time, I can muscle through my lazy 'I don't want to cook' moods. To those of you who appreciate both planning and spontaneity in the kitchen, this post is for you! I am someone who is always on the lookout for healthy, kid-friendly, delicious and cost-effective meals to feed my family and I hope that by sharing some of my discoveries here, you too find practical ways to feed your families too.
Here is an outline of our meals for next week, along with some tips I've incorporated to save time. You'll notice there are only 5 meals listed, as I always leave room for 2 meals that are either leftovers, or "own man meals"...the family term for 'everyone's on their own tonight' for supper since we're all going different ways.
1. Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, and Cinnamon Baked Apples with Icecream for desert. My mother is in town so tonight's meal was extra special. My mom is super health conscious, so I try to cook as healthy as possible for her when she's in town, no heavy cream sauces or butter laden recipes. She skipped the icecream over the apples, (so heavenly as the icecream melts over the steaming warm apples).
2. Yellow Curry Chicken with Chopped Vegetables Over Rice - This meal is my family's favorite! I've never been a big curry fan, but this recipe has won me over. About the spice the recipe calls for...yellow curry paste...I found it in the Asian aisle at Whole Foods. One small container was $4.75. This meal is a 'one dish wonder' since it contains all the main elements of a well-rounded meal in one bowl full: protein, starch, and vegetables.
*3. Southwest Salad - A great vegetarian meal and one I make and mention often. It's easy-to-make in the winter, sans tomatoes. Just load it up with roasted peppers and avocado. Be sure to use fresh limes for the juice vs. the lime concentrate you often find in the produce section at grocery stores. The latter will kill your delicious dressing!
4. Tomato Basil Soup with Homemade Breadsticks (Kitchenaid mixer friendly) - A simple meal of vegetable-laden soup and bread. Homemade breadsticks are always the highlight with my children! Can't get enough, and that Kitchenaid makes it super easy. I split the cookie sheet pan of breadsticks into two sections - cinnamon sugar breadsticks on one half, and garlic/herb with cheese breadsticks on the other. Both varieties are a hit and make for a pleasant dinner all around.
5. Homemade Pizza Night -I chop vegetables that are left over from the week, such as onions, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, just whatever I have really. I mix the dough in the Kitchenaid, let it sit on the counter while I chop the veggies and make the red sauce. Once the sauce and topping prep is done, I divide the dough into equal portions for everyone, then have them roll it out and make their own pizzas. One important tip - brush olive oil over the rolled pizza dough, then sprinkle the whole thing with garlic salt. So delicious. It's fun to see how everyone's pizza turns out, each time being different.
So there you have it. One week's worth of meal planning. It makes a big difference with how well evening dinner time flows smoothly or not. If you have tips on how to meal plan, please pass along! I love hearing from your wisdom.