I've come to the conclusion that I love to cook but hate to plan. If I was gainfully employed, I'd be all over food subscription services, like Blue Apron, Plated, or Hello Fresh, but since I'm not and food prep falls under my list of responsibilities, it's high time to start making this chore less chore-like. By doing a little work up front and making a menu on Sundays for the week ahead, I figured it would make the rest of the week go a little smoother. Anyone else with me?
There's no question that what makes this hard is finding recipes that everyone will like and we're a tough crowd to please. The kids prefer foods that aren't mixed together (which makes casseroles, soups, and crockpot meals iffy), I don't eat red meat or pork, but will eat some chicken, and we have nightly activities, so dinners need to be quick and/or kept warm so that it's ready to go when we return home late. Crockpot meals would be ideal but it's tough to find ones that are appealing. I've learned to use the "delay start time" feature on my oven but it makes me a bit nervous. I feel I should add that I still make things that I know aren't the kid's favorites, but I offer other foods they do like to offset them. For example, when I make Tortilla Soup, I'll make quesadillas to go with so they can dip them into the soup and at least try a few bites. It's my plan to wear them down and finally get them to eat soup!
It should also be said that of course hiccups always happen and some plans might need to be changed last minute for something else. Always good to be flexible!
I know I'm a couple days behind, but here's the menu for this week.
Monday's soup can be found HERE. I'm not a huge fan of cooking with "cream of ...." soups but it was surprisingly good and really easy. (I used stock instead of water and used more of it and also threw in a can of Rotel because it's been in the pantry way too long and needed to be used.) Two of my avocados were bad, so no guacamole. I sliced up the remaining one and divided it amongst the four of us.
Tuesday's salads start off with romaine lettuce and everyone adds what they want to theirs. Toppings included tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and white beans. Dressings are by choice as well. (Here's a really good Dijon vinaigrette The store I was at on Tuesday was out of spaghetti squash, so I nixed it and might try it again next week. All the toppings are prepped beforehand and are ready to go for dinnertime. I bake the bread right before we have to leave the house to get to gymnastics, wrap it up, and put it back in the (turned off) oven, and slice it when we get back and are ready to eat.
Wednesday's are our craziest nights of the week. Everyone eats on their own schedule and it's a hunt and gather sort of night.
Thursday's sandwiches are great on mini ciabatta rolls. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the cut bread, smear with goat cheese, layer the turkey, spinach or lettuce, roasted red peppers, and salt and pepper. Smoosh together and cut on the diagonal. I'll pass out some Kettle Cooked Salt and Vinegar chips along with the sliced apples and veggies. (I never used to like those chips but Justin has made the entire family fans over time!) These sandwiches can be packed up and are good for eating on the go!
Friday will be busy too, so I'll make the pasta, then add it to a crock pot, and turn it to it's lowest setting right before leaving the house so that it's warm when we get back to the house and are ready to eat.
Saturday is all about take-out pizza!
Sunday's salmon glaze can be found HERE. I brush it on the fish when it's halfway done on the grill and then drizzle a bit more before serving. The green beans are actually haricot verts and I sauté them.
Check back on Sunday for next week's menu.
Let me know if you have any fast family favorites!