meal planning, july 12-18

We have a few birthdays coming up this week, which is really exciting! We have been keeping meals SUPER SIMPLE with lots of grilled meats and vegetables. This week will be no different.

Friday: Shrimp fajita pitas — this is a really simple recipe and I will try to post it. We’ve been doing a lot of chicken/shrimp fajita pitas and they’re a big hit with everyone in the house. We will likely serve this with Greek yogurt ranch dip.

Saturday: Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus & zucchini.

Sunday: My birthday! We originally planned to go into Boston but the high is 86 and it’s supposed to be sunny, so we may hit the beach and do dinner someplace local (probably TexMex).

Monday: Probably more fajita pitas but this time with chicken; more raw vegetables.

Tuesday: Shrimp scampi — this is a recipe my MIL gave me. It has spinach, roasted red peppers, and uses chicken broth.

Wednesday: Black bean crunchy tacos and raw vegetables & beets.

Thursday: Thursday is my husband’s birthday, so we are lining up a sitter and going out to a nice date-night dinner.

meals, june 10-13

We spent the weekend at my in-laws’ house, celebrating my BIL’s 50th birthday. It was a busy weekend but everyone had a good time and it was quite the celebration. It’s been a bit chaotic because my husband was traveling last week for work. He came home Friday, the kids did their chores and we decided to leave on Saturday morning so that I could take a yoga class and regroup after a week of solo parenting without my typical schedule and before a weekend with the in-laws. We stayed until after lunch today; then we all loaded back into the car (Brutus, too) to drive the five hours back home.

This is a short, busy week of meal planning and we are still in the school year, so school lunches are still necessary.

Tonight, we are going to order delivery when we get home. I think we will try to keep things healthy with salads — we have a $15 coupon for GrubHub and, frankly, after a day of traveling, it seems like the best possible day to use it.

My school lunch definitely goes down hill by the time June hits. We have a few corn tortillas that I’ll use for quesadillas and some meatloaf my MIL left in the freezer. Otherwise, I’ll likely pack salads for the kids and just keep things super simple. Breakfasts are basically on par with lunches — we have a few frozen breakfast sandwiches and mini muffins; I’ll probably get back to making smoothies to go with these just to round them out nutritionally/ensure there are some nutrients besides sodium…

Monday night, We are going to recreate CAVA’s bowls — rice, romaine, chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta, hummus, banana peppers, and tzatiki. We will serve this with Joseph’s oat flour pita. Should be good.

Tuesday night, we are going to do nachos. 3 has a 9-hour clinic appointment and I’ve been stressed out for WEEKS over it. I know that he and I will be exhausted and I figured we could either order food or make something convenient and comforting. I’m opting for the latter to try and at least nourish our bodies after such a stressful day. We will make nachos with shredded cheese, jalapeños (for us, not the kids), black beans, tomatoes, and salsa with some plain Greek yogurt to top is all off.

Wednesday, I’m concerned that I’m just going to be spent still from Tuesday’s appointment and will be craving comfort foods. (I’m basing this off of every single clinic appointment we’ve had. So, I’m just planning on leftovers/nachos.

We have a date night and it’ll be nice for us to get out of the house. We are hoping that the weather cooperates and that we can just make Greek salads from the week’s leftovers and head to the beach to enjoy them. We will make the same for the kids — we have some chicken in the freezer specifically for days like these so that we can grill it in a hurry and have a quick, healthy meal on hand.

meals, june 1-6

After a VERY long weekend of indulgences (cupcakes, brown butter rice krispy treats, orange cake), it’s time to get back on track.

Yesterday, I had: a string cheese; two boiled eggs; cherries; SmartPop cheddar (1c); and some water. We did bunless Bubba burgers (+cheese) on the grill tonight with lettuce, tomato, pickles & Primal’s thousand island dressing, plus grilled corn on the cob and raw vegetables/salads. They really hit the spot.

Today, I had plain Greek yogurt with 1t honey, strawberries, and almonds for breakfast and for lunch, boiled eggs, string cheese, honey wheat pretzels, and a nectarine. We are making shrimp scampi with EVOO, red pepper flakes, garlic (lots and lots of garlic), chickpea pasta, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, and grated parmesan for dinner.

For the weekend, we will do egg & cheese English muffin sandwiches for breakfast; followed by grilling a whole chicken Saturday and serving with grilled potatoes, beets, and salad and then on Sunday, grilled chicken and Bolocco-inspired buffalo chicken bowls for dinners. These are a big hit — rice (Banza chickpea rice), chicken, Noble’s buffalo sauce, celery, carrots, lettuce, and tomato. My husband and the kids like bleu cheese dressing on theirs; I typically opt out of it.

I wanted to keep meals simple next week, so I’m planning turkey sandwiches for weekday lunches alongside salads; chickpea pasta with tomatoes, spinach, red wine vinegar, and parmesan or homemade fish sticks, Annie’s mac & cheese, and raw vegetables for dinners. Nothing really exciting. We may head to Chipotle one night to mix things up a little but stay on the simple path.

We have a birthday party coming up and with the end of the school year to-do, this is just easier to maintain. I plan on using this planning idea through the summer — lots of vegetables to have salads, bowls, and pasta and a few packages of meat to grill when desired seems like the best way to go about things.

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

meals, may 10-16

Last weekend didn’t quite go according to plan. I missed yoga on Saturday and Sunday due to a sore throat and ear ache (thanks, rain) but I’m felling better now and I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead: Mother’s Day brunch & surprises; back on track with yoga and working out. Monday is my last class of the semester (and the upcoming year, thanks to a sabbatical), so once my final grades are submitted, 3 and I are heading out on our first adventure of break!

I started using Instacart last week for groceries to save some time/money. I can get groceries from multiple stores without running around. We are trying out the Express membership for two weeks and then will decide if $99/year makes sense. The fact that they can deliver from BJ’s makes me think it will be worth our while, but we’ll see.

We are going to keep our at-home meals simple and quick (and mostly healthy).

Friday — BBQ chicken legs, potatoes, and a spinach salad.

Saturday — What a busy day we have planned: 3 has soccer and from there, I’m heading to yoga. We are going out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day early with 11/13 since they will spend Sunday with their mom. Breakfast will be quick — cereal.

Sunday — Happy Mother’s Day! We are having brunch in Boston after yoga at one of my favorite places — blueberry gin may be calling me name. For dinner, we are going to stick with something easy — buffalo SHRIMP skewers on the grill and beets.

Monday — It’s my last day of class and 13 is having a tooth extraction, so I wanted something easy, nutritious, and soft: Unstuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday — Taco Tuesday and we’re switching it up this week with taco mac: quinoa pasta, ground turkey, black beans, peppers, shredded cheddar, and Greek yogurt.

Wednesday — It’s just my husband, 11 & 13, and I know that H is in the throws of the busy season at work (meaning, he will likely have more work to do after he picks the kids up from school). I want to make things easy, so I figured on a crockpot meal that I can put in before I head out on 3’s and my adventure. I figured on meatballs and lentil pasta. I know that it’s pasta two days in a row but it’s easy and there are zero people in my house who complain about eating pasta; a salad kit can round this out nicely.

Thursday — Leftovers / sausage stir-fry.

I went really easy/lazy this week to help my husband get out the door quickly and grabbed some pre-made breakfast sandwiches. It’ll be easy to pair them with an applesauce or some fruit and call it a day before school. My husband will take his usual lineup of Greek yogurt, string cheese, boiled eggs, Kind bar, and a banana. Lunches are equally as simple: slow cook chicken breasts and shred over salad kits. My husband has work meetings all week, so he’ll be eating there and this will make things as simple as possible for him once 3 and I are on our trip.

meals, may 3-9

Well, it’s May now! I have two weeks of classes to go and the day after my last class, I’m taking my toddler on our first summer adventure. My husband and the older two will meet us for a fun post-school swim before heading home and back to school/work the next day. I’m so excited!

I was exhausted this past week. I missed my beloved Tuesday night yoga class and Wednesday’s run/weight training. I just had no energy to give. I’m hoping to get back to normal this coming week. Over the weekend, my husband and son are doing a 5K walk together (likely in the rain). I’m going to meet them after yoga for brunch at a place in Boston we’ve never tried. If we’re being truthful here, I’m dying a slow death waiting for the rainy season to end and am really just trying to stay as positive as possible.

Friday, we are going to take it easy and make a casual meal with steak frites with chimichurri and serve it with a tomato-mozzarella salad. Simple and delicious.

Saturday, we are going to be home and I’m looking forward to making something healthy and different. We will start our morning with yoga/soccer and then follow it up with stuffed acorn squash from True Roots (P11) for brunch. For dinner, we are going to stick with goat cheese stuffed jalapeños (True Roots, P150), buffalo shrimp, and something else that is yet to be determined (but possibly buffalo chicken/spinach artichoke dip).

Sunday, we are meeting for brunch after the 5K & yoga. I know that we are going to indulge (hello, pancakes or crab meat hash!), so I wanted to keep dinner easy and healthy: Tumeric-glazed mahi mahi (True Roots, P67) and a healthy side of beets.

Monday is Monday. I have two classes left and this class starts our presentations. I am going to make Chrissy Teigan’s sesame chicken noodles recipe (Cravings, P89) to eat in my car before class. 

Tuesday is always tough to plan because I have yoga and I’d like to get in two yoga classes. This means that I’ll probably try to eat a substantial lunch and take a small snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the way home. I’m not sure that this is sustainable but I’d like to try it. I came up with chicken sausage, spinach, and potatoes. I’ll take crackers as a snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the car-ride home.

Wednesday, finally! Family dinner night! Buffalo chicken salads — I know this is no surprise. This week, we are going to try to remake SweetGreen’s buffalo chicken salads: pickled celery & carrots, blackened chicken thighs, tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, and caesar dressing.

Thursday is typically our date night but we won’t really have any this month due to travels of our sitter and then us, so we will make something date-night worthy at home: 3 requested Chrissy Teigan’s Cacio e Pepe (Cravings, P79). I use chickpea pasta, shredded parmesan and will probably add more arugula to the mix. This recipe is a big hit in my house.

Breakfasts during the week will be easy: Eggs & fruit. (If you’ve not noticed, we eat eggs with great frequency.) Lunches for all will be chicken sausage, potatoes, and spinach.

Here’s to a great week of eating ahead!

meals, april 26-may 2

April has flown by! We’ve done a fair bit of entertaining with houseguests and Easter and I just can’t really believe that May is just around the corner. We are trying to get back into the swing of eating better and relying less on takeout. We definitely go through phases where we don’t feel like cooking and then order food and with guests in town, we definitely weren’t making the best food choices. For example, my mom brought these pizzas you can only get in western PA: I put American cheese on my sauce pizza and I broke out into a rash after eating it — this did not slow me down, as I ate the entire thing. Myself. I have one left in the freezer that I’m trying to have my brother take.

This week, we did a lot of vegetables and salad. Since I somehow deleted the post for this, I’ll give a quick run-down:

Monday — True Roots roasted chicken with roasted carrots & potatoes. I ate this like a savage after class. This is one of my favorite recipes from TR and it’s so simple.

Tuesday — We used leftover chicken from Monday to make chicken salads and topped them with Primal’s Mild Buffalo sauce, Alexia fries, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and boiled eggs leftover from Easter.

Wednesday — Sauerkraut and turkey kielbasa in the slow cooker, plus mashed potatoes to round it all out.

Thursday — Date night.

For lunches, my husband threw together quinoa, frozen peppers, and sausages in the rice cooker. I sautéed 365 spinach-chicken sausage and had them for lunches with tomato salads; I also had tuna with Simple Mills rosemary crackers as another lunch/snack option.

This week, we are going to keep with the simple cooking ideas. I wouldn’t mind getting into the habit of doing something a little special on Saturdays for dinner since we are all together and have the time to make something a little more elaborate. This week, I figured I’d go with a Tex-Mex theme and am really looking forward to what I have planned.

Weekend breakfasts will be simple: Saturday and Sunday, I am doing yoga so we are going to hold off on big breakfasts. We have acai bowls from TJ’s that will account for one day and I am going to make chocolate chia pudding for the other.

We are also going to do some large-batch cooking/grilling so that we aren’t having to spend a lot of time making dinners nightly. For the weekend, we are going to grill three pounds of chicken thighs. We are going to use them for Friday & Saturday dinners and lunches on Saturday & Sunday. I’ll do the same on Monday before class with three pounds of ground beef.

Friday — Skewers with BBQ chicken thighs, red pepper chunks, and pineapple plus foil-packet-potatoes.

Saturday — Chicken fajitas with frozen peppers, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and avocado; Siete queso, salsa, and guac.

Sunday — Buffalo chicken salads with the remaining chicken thighs, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, boiled eggs, fries, and carrots.

Monday — 11 has a field trip and I have class, so planning something easy is key: Slow-cooker Taco Soup (from Pinterest). I’ll grab sour cream to go with this and some tortilla chips.

Tuesday —  Taco Tuesday with ground beef, frozen peppers, crunchy shells & Spanish rice

Wednesday — Asian meatballs (basically, dumplings without the wonton) served with stir-fried bok choy and Chinese potatoes.

Thursday — Leftover taco soup while my husband and I are out for date night.

Lunches during the week — chicken sausage, spinach, and tomato salads for me; my husband will do sauce, peppers, and sausage with rice. The kids will have sandwiches or kielbasa, peppers, and rice.

Breakfasts for the week are egg cups with prosciutto.