Posts Tagged ‘meal plan monday’

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. She chose a theme of “Blogger’s Choice”, so I guess we each get to chose our own theme. Cool! My theme this week is ‘Cooking for One’. The hubby is at a conference all week and I won’t need to cook for him, so I am on my own.

Do you eat differently when you eat alone? I know I do. There is even a book of this title, from one of my favorite cookbook authors and fellow New Mexican, Deborah Madison. “What we Eat When We Eat Alone“.

So, this week I don’t really have a plan as of yet but I have a few things in mind based upon what is in the frig and freezer. Apologies to the vegetarians, when I eat alone I often chose meat since I don’t eat it often and my body needs it. So I will focus on upping my B-12 levels and getting some fish/seafood in my diet this week.

Here’s some of the ingredients I have hanging around to use:


Pulled Pork

LaTortilla Teff Wraps

Kale, tomatillos, basil and cherry tomatoes from the garden

Leftover Three Bean Taco filling

Leftover brown rice

Fresh broccoli and bell peppers

And I am eyeing this recipe with shrimp in it.

So, we’ll see what I can come up with. I find that when I am only cooking for one, I do tend to be more off-the-cuff in my cooking.

When you cook for only yourself – are you more or less creative – or more or less healthy (cake for breakfast?). Or?

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I am hosting this week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap and the theme I have chosen is “light and easy” for summer. Here in New Mexico, it has been brutally hot. Surprisingly, we normally don’t hit triple digits, except for maybe a couple of days in July or August, but we have had many triple-digit days already this year. And now other parts of the country are dealing with hot temperatures too. So I thought we should highlight some of our light and easy favorites for summer, to give us all a break from the hot stove and oven, and even the grill, which is even too hot to stand over.

Here are a few of our light and easy favorites:

Spicy Ginger Noodles – you only have to boil some pasta.

Wild Rice Tabouli – you only need to cook the rice. Try a rice cooker to avoid turning on the stove.

Lentil Salad Provencal – turn on some lentils to simmer and then walk away from the hot stove. Or you could use canned, rinsed lentils or cook some up quick in your pressure cooker.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad – one of our favorite no-cook meals, minus the pita, of course.

What are your favorite no-cook or light-on-cooking recipes?

This week, we are having:

Three Bean Tacos – this is one of those meals that you make once and eat on it all week. Perfect.

Three Bean Taco Salad – using the leftovers from above to make taco salad.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad – cook up the quinoa in your rice cooker for no fuss.

Tofu Fried Rice – subbing in whatever leftover vegetables we have on hand. Cooled rice is best, so cook the rice the night before in the rice cooker and let it cool in the frig.

Here’s what everyone else is up to this week:

Heather over at Celiac Family says that they try to keep it light and easy ALL summer. Check out her tips on how to do it. And check out her menu. I am digging her Seven-Layer Salad – it’s been ages since I’ve made that – and she kicks it up a notch with a dill dressing. Sounds light and refreshing to me!

Over at Celiacs in the House, Wendy is trying to keep it cool too since the temps are forecast to be rising during the week. Her Asian cucumber and carrot salad topped with salmon sounds right up my alley (hubby would have to fend for himself – sorry, dear!). As well, her menu reminds us that omelets are a quick, delicious and light summer dinner. She also reviews Stephanie O’Dea’s new Totally Together Journal, which covers menu planning. Check it all out.

Claire over at My Gluten Free Home is trying to stay cool in the Dallas heat. She went light and easy this weekend and hung at the pool! Sounds nice to me. And she’s doing the light and easy thing by eating down the freezer – her tamales sound delicious to me!

For plenty of inspiration, check back later in the week to see what everyone else will be eating. Or head over to OrgJunkie (but hosted this week by Finding Joy in My Kitchen) on Monday for (literally) hundreds of menu plans (not necessarily gluten free or veg).

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This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Celiac Family and the theme is pineapple.

Yum! We love fresh pineapple. It is one of my husband’s favorite fruits and I always try to buy him one when they are on sale. I will have to see if they are on sale this week. We usually don’t do anything special with pineapple, just cut one up and eat it, mainly because my husband isn’t one for sweet fruits in his savory food. We have grilled it once before and that was pretty good. So I will be interested to see what others do with their pineapple. Maybe I can convince him to try it as part of a dish one of these days!

This week’s menu:

Red Kidney Beans and Tomatoes with Rice and Steamed Broccoli – and perhaps some dosa, if I can get my act together! The kidney bean recipe is new-to-us and from one of our favorite cookbooks, Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad.

Chickpeas in Tomato, Ginger and Garlic Sauce with Rice – one our all-time favorite recipes from the same cookbook above, Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad.

Quick Summer Pasta – this is one of my very simple, make-it-up as I go along recipes that I will attempt to document for you.

Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Rice and Cucumber Salad – one of our go-to quick summer recipes.

Be sure to head over to Celiac Family later this week to check out everyone’s menus for some inspiration.

I am hosting next week’s GF Menu Swap with a theme of “Light and Easy for Summer”. What are your favorite, quick and easy, don’t turn on the oven (or even the stove) meals? I hope you’ll let me know next week!

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It took me a while to get my meal plan together this week. I can get so lost out there on the interwebs looking at other blogs and recipes that sometimes it is hard for me to focus in and finish up my meal plan! In the end I ended up going mostly with meals we already have in our repertoire. Oh well. It’s always fun looking, and some things were bookmarked for later!

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Wendy at Celiacs in the Houseand the theme is olives! Over the past few years I have grown to love kalamata olives. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care for them at all. This week I think I will add them to the pasta with goat cheese dish below. Yum!

Here’s the plan:

Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing – salad with black beans, cheese, tomatoes and a creamy avocado dressing.

Tofu Stir Fry with rice – a nice and easy stir-fry with some fresh farmer’s market baby bok choy and some shitaki mushrooms.

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Goat Cheese (and olives!) with a massaged kale salad – we have fallen head over heels in love with massaged kale salads! I’ll probably add in a can of chickpeas for extra protein too, or add some avocado to the kale salad.

San Marzano Deep Dish Pizza with salad – have you seen this recipe from Pete over at No Gluten, No Problem? This will be my second round of making it. It is very tasty and now that I have all of my taste buds back, I hope it tastes even better! Last time I had a nasty cold and couldn’t taste everything. And we have lots of lettuce in the garden still and the grape tomatoes are coming on too.

Chickpea Curry with Rice – a back up, pantry meal in case plans change and we need something.

We have multiple cookouts this weekend to attend and I need to come up with things to bring along for those. One will be a quinoa salad – which one, I am not sure – and the other dishes are yet to be determined! I still need to confirm with the hostesses what I can make that will complement their other offerings.

What are you taking to your holiday gatherings this weekend?

Or do you have a pantry meal that you always keep on hand for back-up?

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This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is ‘Grilling’ and it’s hosted by Angela’s Kitchen. We’re planning to escape up north for some camping in the mountains (and hopefully get away from this darn Wallow Fire smoke), so we’ll be grilling!  Or, rather, campfire cooking (did you see Pete’s recent post about their camping trip and the food they ate?). Luckily we are headed to one of the three parks in the state where you can still use a campfire (due to fire restrictions). Otherwise, cooking on a camp stove is too much like cooking at home and you have to admit that campfires are one of the best things about camping, right?

Here’s the plan:

Pasta with Fava Beans, Sage and Garlic – recipe from Vegetarian Feasts by Martha Rose Shulman.

Ma Po Tofu with broccoli and rice – we’ll be omitting the sirloin from this recipe.

Chickpea Curry Simmer Sauce with rice – this will probably be our just-got-home-Sunday-night-and-I-don’t-wanna-cook meal.

Campfire Roasted Sausages with Potato Packets – veggie sausages for the hubby, meaty ones for me. As well, foil packets with potatoes, carrots, onions and bell peppers roasted over the fire (we do these on the grill at home too).

Pie Iron Pizzas with Salad and Pie Iron Fruit Pies – we haven’t used our pie irons in ages! I will be using either Udi’s or Rudi’s bread – can’t remember what is in the freezer, maybe both (Costco now carries frozen Rudi’s!). For the pizza pies we’ll stuff them with sauce, cheese, bell pepper, onion, sausage, etc. For the fruit pies we’ll just use canned pie filling. There’s also the possibility of S’more/Rocky Road pies, with chocolate, marshmallows and nuts inside – and maybe some banana. Yum! I can’t wait!

Pie Iron info for those of you who haven’t experienced them. We have the traditional square ones.

What is your favorite campfire food?

Be sure to head back over to Angela’s Kitchen later this week to see all the links to the other meal plans. And for even more inspiration, check out OrgJunkie for hundreds of meal plans, literally (not GF or veggie but always some that are adaptable!).

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I am getting back on the wagon this week – the meal planning wagon, that is. Not that I ever really fell off. I mean, I always have a plan when going shopping. But lately it hasn’t been all that inspiring for multiple reasons. This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Wendy at Celiacs in the House and the theme is “what’s in season?” Here at our house we only have kale, lettuce and cilantro ready for picking, all cool season plants. The warm season plants are now finally all planted and already growing! I happily sat outside a bit over the weekend in the morning, sipping my tea and  watched our bees buzzing around, pollinating the tomato plants and such. And the chickens pecking around at their scratch. So bucolic. I only need my dream goats! What have you planted this year to enjoy later in the season?

I knew we should eat up some of the kale since it is getting pretty warm and it won’t be growing for much longer. And I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market this weekend so I don’t have anything else very seasonal this week. Well, some snap peas for my lunches. And lettuce and cabbage for lunch salads. That said, here’s our plan.

Pasta with White Beans and Kale – a new-to-us recipe, which I will double to make sure we had enough for two entrees and leftovers.

Bean Tacos with Spanish rice

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

Veggie Burgers with Red Rice, Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice and Steamed Broccoli – instead of chicken, we will use two cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas.

San Marzano Deep Dish Pizza with Mediterranean Salad – have you seen Pete’s new deep dish pizza recipe? It looks delish! I can’t wait to try it!

And if the weather cooperates with us better next weekend to where we can actually keep the grill lit – Yummy Grilled Tofu and Vegetables.

What’s your plan this week?

Be sure to head over to Celiacs in the House later this week to check out all of the other Gluten Free Menus for some more inspiration!

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Trying to keep it simple this week, nothing new on the menu plan, just some old favorites.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap theme is ‘borrowing inspiration’ and well, mine are all borrowed! I almost always borrow, but then modify to fit our needs. Be sure to head on over to Gluten Free Goodness and check out the other meal plans that get posted throughout the week too…

Black Bean Chili from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass

Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Rice from The Complete Book of Thai Cooking

Thai Tomato Soup with grilled cheese

Miso Vegetable Noodle Bowls

For the rest of the week, we’ll have leftovers one or two nights and then probably one night of eating pantry staples like spaghetti and salad, chickpea curry, etc. This allows us flexibility but also makes me use up what I buy and not waste food.

What do you have planned for the week?

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Hello, hello!

It’s been a while since I have posted but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been meal planning – or eating! But my meal plans have been pretty lame and more off the cuff than usual. We returned from vacation last night to an empty frig and thus today I was inspired to get together a better meal plan.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness and her chosen theme is sugar-free delights in honor of the upcoming  sugar-laden holiday(s)! Be sure to stop over at Cheryl’s later this week when everyone has posted their meal plans for a lot of inspiration.

As I was writing up my plan this afternoon, I thought that perhaps some of you would like to know more about how I menu plan for the week.

Generally my husband and I eat the same mix of breakfasts and lunches throughout the week, so I don’t really ‘plan’ those, per se. But as I start writing up my grocery list, I check the frig and freezer for the ingredients and foods we eat. Here is what is typical for us both on the average work-day.

Renee’s Breakfast:

Fage Greek Yogurt with berries, honey and Udi’s Gluten Free Vanilla Granola – Greek yogurt is high in protein and we both need that here at our house, and since I can’t do scrambled eggs…

Chai as my mid-morning snack on work-days, made with non-fat milk and Oregon Chai Slightly Sweet Chai Tea Latte concentrate

Renee’s Lunch:

Cheese and a couple of gluten free crackers (Crunchmaster, Nut Thins, etc)

Instant Miso Soup on the days when I need a little something else or just need warming up at the too-cold office

Carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes

Fruit of some sort (whatever is on sale)

Apple with peanut butter as a late afternoon snack

Hubby’s Breakfast:

(He is not gluten free!) English muffin with egg and cheese, or vegetarian sausage patty (none of it is gluten free) OR a smoothie with yogurt, milk, fruit and protein powder

Hubby’s Lunch:

(He is not gluten free!) Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Cheez-It’s, carrots, apple and a granola bar for a morning or afternoon snack

We are a reduce, reuse, recycle family, so we save a lot of scrap paper. In particular, I save those extra envelopes that come in bills or what have you and put them in the kitchen junk drawer. I use these envelopes mainly for my grocery lists. When we used to eat a lot more items that were processed, I would also place the coupons for the week inside the envelope so I had them at my fingertips. But as we have evolved away from fewer and fewer processed foods, we have found that there are not too many coupons for fruits and vegetables and other whole foods! This use of the envelopes is one of the habits I have learned from my own mom over the years, although my own system has evolved too.

One key to keeping a well-stocked frig and pantry is to keep a running grocery list. So I keep one of these envelopes clipped to the frig and when I run out of something, I just write it down. That way I don’t go to the cabinet expecting something to be there in the middle of cooking and find I have run out. This is the start then of next week’s list.

So, I do a quick scan of the cabinets and frig for the breakfast and lunch items above. Then I take a general look in the frig and pantry to see what in there needs to be eaten up. Half a head of broccoli or some green onions or some such ingredient. I write these items on the bottom right of my envelope to keep in mind. I hate to waste food, and even with our own laying hens, I don’t like to “waste” certain scraps on them!

Then I grab my latest issues of Cooking Light and Sunset magazines, and some favored cookbooks, and come up with a couple of ideas. As I come up with ideas, I use the back of the envelope to write the ideas down ( see below). I typically don’t attach days with meals, although sometimes I will depending on what the week holds for us. Or I may just write the days down and then meals next to them while not necessarily planning for them to match up, as I’m just looking at quantity of meals. I do plan for leftovers since there are only two of us in the household. And I write down the cookbook and page number if it is in a magazine or cookbook. If it is in my recipe binder or box, then I will flag it with a post-it or pull the card out and hang it on the frig.

(Click to make it larger.) Meals listed on the back of the envelope. Yes, a horrible job of whiting out our address...sorry about that!

As I add the meals to the back of the envelope, I am adding grocery items to the other side of the envelope. I typically hit up three grocery stores in my weekly trip – Costco, Trader Joe’s and Smith’s (traditional grocery store). So I do separate out my list slightly. As you can see below, I have the main list for Trader Joe’s and Smith’s on the left side while the Costco stuff is at the top right. Then about mid-way down on the right is the Whole Foods list – I do not go there very often, maybe twice a month. This week it says shaving soap and R pizza crust (meaning a GF crust for me). Typically I would place the list of items languishing in my frig at the bottom right also but since we have been on vacation there wasn’t much of anything in my frig to make note of today.

Typical Grocery List

You can also see on the right side, about the middle, my ‘check’ list. These are the items I need to check my pantry or frig for, but don’t want to check for while I am coming up with the plan. Once I am done planning, I get up and rummage through the freezer and cabinets once more to see if I have these items and can cross them off or if I need to add them to the main shopping list.

Then I am set to go! I typically try to do my shopping once a week, on Tuesdays. I do NOT like going to the grocery store on the weekends nor do I like going to the store multiple times during the week. I take this list with me and I mark off the items as I put them in my cart. If I don’t mark them off, I always forget something! Some people (my mom!) are even so organized that they know where things are in the grocery store and so write their list out so that the items are in (approximate) order in which she travels through the store. I’ve tried, but just can’t do that.

Then the list comes back home and gets hung up on the side of the frig with the meals showing, so that I can see what the options are for the week.

One more tip – if you use reusable grocery bags, be sure to put them right back in your car after you empty your groceries. That way they are there when you need them. It may take a while to program your head to remember to bring them into the store, but in time you will remember. I hate plastic grocery sacks!

So that’s how I do it. What are your tips for meal planning and grocery shopping?

After typing all that I was ready to hit publish. Ha! But I still need to add my meal plan! And a couple of other meal planning thoughts for you…I try to keep our tofu consumption to once a week, although there is none below in this week’s plan.

As well, I typically only plan to make 4-5 meals a week, counting on leftovers as well as potential changes in our plans.  And I still try to make sure there is at least one meal that is a  ‘pantry/freezer’ meal, meaning that if we don’t get around to making it this week, a bunch of produce isn’t going to go bad. This allows for flexibility if something comes up or we end up with more leftovers than we expected, etc. This week we have more meals planned than is typical as I will be having a medical procedure later this week that will keep us at home. So here’s the plan:

Bean Tacos and Spanish Rice

New Mexico Pinto Bean Soup with Salad and/or leftover Rice – this soup recipe is great, it’s from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. I will use some of my Anasazi beans instead of pinto for this as they cook very similarly.

Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley – a new-to-us recipe from this month’s Cooking Light magazine. I will add a can of chickpeas or eat with veggie burgers for protein.

Spicy Ginger Noodles

Pizza and Salad – non-GF, vegetarian for my husband, gluten free and meaty for me

Yellow Chickpea Curry with Rice

Spaghetti and Salad

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This week’s theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is “quick and easy” over at Gluten Free Goodness. We’ve been doing quite a bit of quick and easy lately too.

This week’s plan:

Anasazi Beans with Poblanos, fresh-baked crusty boule and salad

Tex-Mex Lasagna and salad – this is a go-to recipe for us, we vary it a bit and make more than the recipe calls for so that we can eat on it for a couple of days. Plus I have a lot of discounted Tinkyada lasagna noodles that need to be eaten up.

Ma Po Tofu with rice and steamed broccoli – we will omit the meat in the Ma Po.

Chickpea Italiano Stew over rice with salad – this recipe is from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure cookbook

Chickpea Curry or the last two Green Chile and Cheese Tamales

I would also like to make some Irish Soda Bread this week, either from my go-to recipe from a Bette Hagman cookbook that I have been making for years, or one of these new ones from Amy or Karina.

Be sure to head over to Gluten Free Goodness later this week to see everyone’s inspirational posts. You can also check out OrgJunkie for hundreds more meal plans, literally, although you will need to adapt them to fit your families needs and taste buds.

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This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. I am still paying close attention to the little leftover things in the frig and pantry. Like this week, a couple of sweet potatoes and part of a bag of regular yellow potatoes. They’re outta here!

This week’s  Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Michelle at Gluten Free Smiles. The theme is garlic. I don’t have anything exceptionally garlicky this week but it is in almost every dish I make. I also grow my own garlic which is super easy, it’s all about timing and watering. I have three different varieties growing this year. (Yes, you grow garlic over the winter and harvest in June/July.)

Be sure to head over to Gluten Free Smiles later this week to catch all of the menus once they’re posted. And you can try OrgJunkie too, if you’re looking for more inspiration.

Without further ado:

Spaghetti and Salad – the basic I’m getting home late meal

Cauliflower Potato Curry with basmati rice – in the pressure cooker from a Lorna Sass cookbook

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder from Vegetarian Planet

Quinoa Taco Salad

Breakfast Risotto – for breakfast though, not dinner, great for when you have house guests

How do you make sure you don’t have anything growing legs in the pantry?

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