Monday, August 10, 2009

On Meal Planning...

With this new year of school, I am shuffling up some of my routines in order to find what works for us in this season of life. I love planning and I love order, but I do hold onto my plans with somewhat of a loose grip. I do know that life with young children frequently changes, and it only makes sense that routines would have to change as well.

I have been doing my meal planning and grocery shopping on Tuesday afternoons. I got my produce box on Mondays, so I really couldn't make a meal plan until I saw what was in my box. However, it now seems that I will not be getting the box for a while (sigh). The co-op may start up again, but for now, I am buying my produce along with my groceries. And, after school activities that we used to have on other days are now all on Tuesdays.

All that said, it looks like Saturday morning is becoming my time to plan and shop. Some things will stay the same... like making yogurt on Tuesday mornings... that still fits. And baking on Wednesday afternoons... that still fits. My meal prep time in the mornings will stay the same... and our lunches will be pretty consistently similar as well.

So, here's what I'm planning for this week:

Lunch -- Quesidillas, Grapes and lots of raw veggies
Make Granola and Banana Nut Muffins.
Supper -- Use leftover homemade Gyro meat in a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and a feta cheese dressing. Garlic Smashed Potatoes on the side. Limeade Popsicles for dessert. (I picked up a bottle of organic limeade at Kroger for 50 cents!)

Pot Luck lunch at church -- take Black Bean Chili and Corn Muffins
Supper -- popcorn and smoothie

Use meat pulled from a whole cooked chicken in Chicken Burrito Skillet. Serve with a whopping side salad with homegrown tomatoes (thanks to dear friends!!!). Our side salads are often bigger than the main dish!

Make yogurt in the morning so it can culture all day.
Supper -- Homemade Pizza made with preservative-free ham I picked up on sale with a coupon for almost nothing! We don't usually eat ham, but this was a terrific opportunity. I make a whole wheat crust and my own version of pizza sauce. I'll prepare Green Beans, just because my kids love them... and I am going to be trying Spinach Balls on the side too, a recipe from my new fave cookbook. I hope they're a hit because they look so simple!

Bake bread and another breakfast item, maybe Morning Glory Muffins from the same fave cookbook.
Supper -- Beans and Rice

Supper -- Beef Stir Fry over rice. I have lots of grass-fed beef in the freezer, which is really nice because I have so many different cuts for a major cheap price. I see stir fry as a good excuse to cook A LOT of veggies. I will use onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage, kale and whatever else I have on hand... maybe squash or zucchini too.

Supper -- Pakistani Kima, which is a curried beef, peas and potato dish from this cookbook. We will have another mega side salad and another portion of Green Beans with this skillet meal.


Cara said...

Your menu is great! We used the meat from our whole cooked chicken on Mondays too :) It's funny to see the trends in other's menus...

Tonya said...

I loved reading your meal plan! I'm seriously considering stealing your popcorn and smoothie idea for Sunday night dinner! I just need one of those cool "thingy's" that you have to make healthy popcorn...and coconut oil...and the kind of salt you used. It was yummy! Maybe you can teach me a different way?!?! Hope your family is having a good day! Did you see me waving at you this morning????

Margaret said...

Hi. I'm new to reading your blog and am really enjoying it. What do you put on your salads? I see them listed frequently on your meal plan. I eat mine plain, but can't get my kids to do that unless there is some sort of creamy dressing (they don't like the oil/vinegar kind). Do you have any good recipes for homemade dressings?

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Margaret,

Welcome to Health Begins With Mom! It's nice to meet you.

Here is what we normally do for salads:

And here is a version of ranch dressing that we like:

Also, I buy a "greek feta" dressing from Earth Fare every once in a while... the kids LOVE it! It is very dilly/ranchy... and it is healthy too. We don't eat it very often because of the soybean oil, even if it is non-gmo and organic.

Hope this helps! ae

busymomof10 said...

I enjoyed looking at your menu plans. I make Pakistani Kima too! :) I would like to make some right now -- but I'm trying to avoid carbs, especially potatoes, rice, and pasta.

Would you mind posting your recipe for the Chicken Burrito Skillet? Sounds like something my family would like.


Amy Ellen said...

Hi Elizabeth,

My Chicken Burrito Skillet is really simple. It is a quick meal that I make when our evenings are full of activity.

Take 1 can of Crushed Tomatoes (you can buy organic). Open the can and put the tomatoes in a large skillet. Fill the can 3/4 full of salsa (look for one with no added sugar) and add that to the skillet. Add two cans of kidney, black or pinto beans (or the equivalent of your own soaked and cooked beans). Add meat from 1/2 a cooked chicken. Add about 2 cups of frozen corn. Let that simmer for about ten minutes.

Then, chop up a package of whole wheat tortillas, mix them into the chicken mixture. Cover with grated cheddar cheese and put the lid on the skillet. With the burner on low, let the cheese melt and the tortillas heat for about five minutes.

Serve with a salad or veggies on the side.

When the chicken and beans are leftover from previous dinners, this meal only takes about 20 minutes start to finish.

Hope you like it!

busymomof10 said...

Thanks for posting your recipe! I will have to try that for my family this school year.

I have a question for you -- do you have any information about lactose intolerance? what it is, how to diagnose it, what to do about it? My oldest daughter has been experiencing a lot of bloating, gas and tummy rumbling, which she thinks may be related to her consumption of dairy products, which she loves.

Thanks for any information you might have on this topic.


Amy Ellen said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I don't know a very lot about lactose intolerance, not having experienced it. However, I do know that many people do much better without dairy. It is best to remove it entirely from the diet for two months, then add back in yogurt to see if the body handles that okay. Often, people find that they can handle raw milk products when they cannot handle commercial dairy. However, it is best to start by eliminating all milk products and then adding them back one by one starting with yogurt, then possibly raw milk or raw milk cheese. (Raw milk products contain natural enzymes that do not survive the pasturization process.) I have also read that taking some digestive enzymes can help a system digest the difficult milk proteins. Let me know if you want more information about digestive enzymes. Hope this helps! ae