Menu Planner – Week of October 1st

menu planner

Hey everyone, I’m back! I know, I know, you’ve all just simply been starving for the past few months since I’ve been so irresponsible with my posting. Well, take three months of summer with kids, travel, a book to write and all the other normal stuff thrown in and blogging gets tossed out the window. But I’m back and have several blog posts in the hopper, so it seemed appropriate to relaunch with another great weekly menu post.

The truth is, I’ve probably missed these posts more than you have.  I used to keep this blog post open in a Safari window on my phone to give me super quick access to my recipes for dinner each night. It’s been a crapshoot all summer. Sometimes I make up a menu, sometimes we just play it by ear. But now that school has started up again, I’m getting back into my routine with menus and dinner planning.

You’ll start to see a few new types of recipes popping up in the mix now. While this week doesn’t show it nearly as much, we’ve been eating a lot more vegetarian meals lately and I’ve been working to increase our “Real Food” quotient. I spent three weeks on a “Daniel Diet” last month during a collective fast with my church and the detox effect was simply marvelous.  The Daniel Fast is basically a vegan diet that also disallows yeast, all forms of sugar and anything chemically processed. I came off it slowly, adding dairy back in the first week, chicken and seafood in the second and finally small amounts of sugar and yeast products in the third.

All in all, I took about six weeks off from how I used to eat. For the most part, I’ve held on to the habits. (The nine pounds that fell off during that time period didn’t hurt either.) The result has been even more whole foods and real foods and way less baking in the test kitchen. And so far, we’re all ok with that.

Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

Monday (Freezer Items)

You guys know the drill, I never make it to the store until part way through the week, so Mondays are pretty much always from my pantry stock.  Since our local Sam’s Club has stopped carrying the super tasty (and reasonably healthy) Parmesean Crusted Tilapia, I’ve taken to buying frozen Tilapia filets and playing around with recipes. The results are still pretty speedy and have been tasty so far.

Tilapia Filets with Garlic Butter
Soy Ginger Noodles
Frozen Peas

Tuesday (Freezer and Pantry)

Chances are good I still won’t have made it to the grocery store by Tuesday, but thankfully we’ve got a freezer full of meat and some fresh produce laying around from the weekend. I always keep pork tenderloin in the freezer, so I’ll be calling on Mr W to grill that up for me. Hair brought us some acorn squash over the weekend, so that’s going to factor in as well. I’m also hoping to get to the bushel of apples I brought home last week from a local farmer’s market so I can get some applesauce made for the freezer.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Acorn Squash
Homemade Applesauce
Fresh Salad

Wednesday (Grocery Items)

By Wednesday, I’ll have to hit the store, if for no other reason than that we’re running low on Edamame and goat cheese and that’s simply not acceptable! Mr W’s car is in the shop and the shop happens to be pretty close to Trader Joe’s, so I foresee some good nitrate free lunch meat and several tubs of goat cheese finding their way home with us. Hair and a friend of hers are also headed our way for dinner Wednesday night, so I’ll be pulling out one of our favorite Asian spreads.

Mongolian Beef (for the adults)
Crispy Honey Chicken (for the kids)
Brown Basmati Rice
Trader Joe’s Chicken Potstickers
Edamame & Green Beans

Thursday (Grocery Items)

Summer has drawn to a close and my days of Thursday farmer’s markets are over. That’s ok though a we’ve got a well stocked freezer full of delicious grass fed beef plus tons of pork and chicken. Plus, we went on such a veggie fueled overload over the summer that getting into some comfort foods feels kind of…well…right. So on Thursday, we’ll be giving a new vegetarian dish a try.

Spinach Ricotta Pasta
Tomato and Onion Salad
Fresh Salad Greens

Friday (Pantry Items)

We’ll actually all be in town and home this Friday, so it sounds like the perfect night to make some homemade pizzas, have some fresh fruit and curl up for a movie night. With Summer and the last of the holidays in September, we simply haven’t had much time to just “exist.” As such, I don’t think I’ve made pizza and breadsticks in several months.

Homemade Pizza
Homemade Garlic Breadsticks
Fresh Fruit & Veggies

Saturday (Freezer Meal)

Per usual, the reality is I’m either going to get lazy on Saturday or Sunday. There’s pretty much always one night each weekend where I just flat out don’t cook. With the week we’ll have, there should be no shortage of leftovers on hand to keep everyone well fed. But let’s assume I’m going to take Sunday of and that I’ll be making us dinner on Saturday. It will probably look a little something like this:

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Homemade Crusty Bread
Fresh Fruit

Sunday (Pantry)

If I cook on Sunday, it will be something easy. Probably the kid’s new favorite pasta recipe, Salerno-Style Spaghetti. I discovered this one while I was on the Daniel Fast and Mr W was fasting from meat. It should have come as no surprise that the kids would love it, considering they go nuts for ANYTHING that involves “yolky eggs.” Toss some cheese and good whole wheat pasta in the mix and it’s even better.

Salerno-Style Spaghetti
Fresh Salad


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2 replies
  1. Katie
    Katie says:

    YAY! Nice to see you back, although you made me hungry with this post. It’s VERY nice to know that you get lazy and don’t want to cook at some point during the week. I’m the exact same way…mostly accompanied with guilt. Not any more. Woo hoo!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      Katie…you know as well as I do that intentions and realities don’t always match up.

      You never know when a kid will get sick, a deadline will creep up or your edit will dump six chapters on you for review in a single day. (Oh yeah, that just happened five minutes ago…)

      So going into the week with a plan makes it MORE likely (but not guarenteed) that we’ll actually eat these things. I generally end up missing one night of my meal plan, which is why I plan to cook each night. At least then we have leftovers to rely on. 🙂


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