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Category: meal planning

  1. Wednesday, May 29

    Call for Recipes: Cooking During Difficult Times

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    Megan, a new mom returning to work this week, recently emailed me with a request that inspired today’s Call for Recipes. Megan emailed asking for dinner ideas for moms and dads with brand new babies. In Megan’s own words, “I am looking for ideas and suggestions on how you get dinner on the table during the week that’s easy and relatively healthy when we’re both back at work and I won’t be walking in the door until around six-ish and more interested in lavishing attention on A than spending a lot of time in the kitchen.”

    call for recipes - cooking during difficult times | thisweekfordinner.comI was definitely in survival mode when this guy came along, but it sure was worth it! Look at that yummy face!

    I think we all struggle with this on a fairly regular basis, but there are definitely seasons of life where it is more difficult than usual to get dinner on the table. Case in point: newborn baby. Also, sickness in the family, stressful work/school, the list goes on and on! We’ve all been there and we all go through these seasons.

    Often during difficult times friends and family step up to the plate with meals. I wouldn’t have survived after Owen was born if people had not been so generous in this regard! But even with help, dinner doesn’t come every day and it doesn’t last forever.

    Time to share ideas! What meals, recipes and/or strategies do you have around getting dinner cooked even when you’re stretched for time and/or energy? Please share your wisdom because Megan is right–sometimes (all the time?) you’d rather be cuddling with your new baby than slaving in the kitchen!

    I’ll kick us off with a tip! Make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked up with basics so you don’t have to go to the store very often. That was key for me. Whether it was having cooked meals in the freezer at the ready or just a jar of sauce and a package of spaghetti in the cabinet, if I had supplies we didn’t starve and ate relatively well. One more piece of advice…don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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  2. Sunday, January 1

    Week 258 Menu…and HAPPY NEW YEAR!…and a Resolution Suggestion for You!

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    Happy 2012, everyone! We rang in the new year by drinking copious amounts of Coke and Martinelli’s and watching Karate Kid (which may have been obvious by my Instagram feed last night…see here and here and here). It was a pretty rockin’ party. That’s how we roll around here.

    Okay, so it’s time for me to do my annual spiel…you know the one telling you how AWESOME meal planning is and that you should make it your 2012 resolution? So, here we go…meal planning is AWESOME and I think you should make it your New Year’s Resolution, starting today! Okey dokey, spiel over…but if you need some reasons why you should do it, click here! And, yes, I am ‘spieling’ for purely selfish reasons…the more of you who jump on board, the more menus I get to read each week. ;)

    MONDAY:
    - Pulled BBQ Chicken (in the freezer) sandwiches, topped with coleslaw

    TUESDAY:
    - Chicken teriyaki and rice
    - Stir fry veggies

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Orange Chicken and rice
    - Roasted Cauliflower

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Eating out with friends for a birthday celebration

    SATURDAY:
    - Lasagna (in the freezer)
    - Crusty bread and veggie

    SUNDAY:
    - Waffles, fruit and home fries

    Your turn! Let’s see all of your menus! And for those of you who haven’t posted a menu before…give it a try, it’s January 1 after all!

    Also…even though I’m bugging you about the meal planning resolution…I am going to have another one for you later this week that I’m super excited about, building on my resolution theme from the last few years. Can’t wait to share it with you!

    Here’s to a delicious 2012!

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  3. Tuesday, November 15

    Thanksgiving Prep: The Menu!

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    Thanksgiving is just over a week away, so I think it’s time we all share our menu plans for the big day! Of course, if you don’t have it pulled together yet, just come back later when you do!

    I seriously have been in such a baby fog I didn’t even realize Thanksgiving was so close, so we haven’t thought much about what we’re going to do that day. But I do know we’re going to eat! I’m going for a simple menu this year with our all-time favorites.


    Please share your menu plan for Thanksgiving! And if you have links to recipes and/or can type recipes into your comment, please do! I’m certain we can all be great inspiration for one another for the best eating day of the year!
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  4. Sunday, October 2

    Week 245 Menu

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    In case anyone was wondering, recovering from an emergency c-section is way worse than a regular delivery. But there is one benefit to being forced to do nothing. I get to stare at these…

    …all day.

    My mom leaves town today, after two weeks of having either her or my dad here to help. (I don’t know what we would have done without them!) We have a bit of time before more family can get out to help us, so I’m a little nervous about what the next week or two will bring. Thankfully, between church and good friends looking out for us, we have people bringing us dinner 10 nights in a row. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I am feeling for everyone who is helping us out in so many ways.

    Anyway, here’s my meal plan for the week…sit back and let the food come to us!

    What are you having for dinner this week? Please share your menus! And have a fabulous week!

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  5. Thursday, May 5

    Confession: I Hate Grocery Shopping

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    The other day I posted the following status on my personal Facebook page:

    “I hate grocery shopping. That is all.”

    I immediately had a bunch of “Likes” and comments. Most comments were in full agreement. And Carina’s comment hit the nail on the head: “I only like to grocery shop if I go to certain out of my price range stores, with disposable income, and by myself. Every day grocery shopping? Sigh….”

    This is the problem. Sure, farmers’ markets are loads of fun! Fancy stores with fancy foods…bring it on! But that is rarely reality. Each Sunday I plan a menu. I feel good about myself. I’m organized. I know what we’re eating that week. My grocery list is ready to go. Then Monday rolls around. And things get crazy. And 75% of the time we don’t have time to get to the store. Then Tuesday rolls around, a day which is usually even busier than Monday. Finding the time to go is killer…and when I do, I have to get it done as quickly as humanly possible, usually with two grumpy daughters in tow. Between being a mom, working and watching American Idol, I simply don’t have disposable time (let alone income) to devote to the kind of grocery shopping that is in fact enjoyable.

    My friend Emily commented on Facebook that I should confess my feelings on the blog. So, here I am. Confessing. Laying it all out there. This food blogger hates grocery shopping!

    This is not the first time I’ve used the blog as a confessional. And, to be honest, when I confess things, I usually get good dirt on all of you, so I kind of love it. So, at the risk of causing you to wonder why I write a food blog, here I am…in all my grocery store hating glory.

    So, are you with me?

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  6. Sunday, January 2

    Week 206 Menu

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    Happy New Year!

    We ended 2010 on the beach in Monterey and started 2011 snug at home. On New Year’s Day morning, both girls slept in, and then Anna cuddled with me for about 30 minutes before everyone got out of bed. If that is any indication of what the year will be like, then I think 2011 is going to be great.

    It’s the first menu of the year. What shall we eat? Hmmmmm…

    MONDAY:
    - Pulled Pork (I froze last week’s leftovers to use for this week)
    - I made coleslaw to top our sandwiches, but the girls ate tons of it straight up…will have to make twice as much to keep up with them!

    TUESDAY:
    - Stuffed Shells

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Homemade Pizza

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Caprese Paninis

    SATURDAY:
    - Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    - I’m liking my recent “Breakfast for Dinner” theme on Sundays…makes for a nice, relaxing Sunday. I think I’ll keep doing it, at least for the next little while.
    - I’m going to try a yeast waffle recipe, which sits overnight, and see how we like them compared to our usual waffles

    And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my annual plea for you to make meal planning one of your new year’s resolutions! Last year I gave you some darn good reasons why this is a good idea, and all those reasons still stand (click here to read them!). And, of course, if you do make meal planning a resolution, be sure to post your menus here each week! We can help keep you accountable, and we love seeing your ideas…no matter how simple or fancy they may be. Can’t wait to see all your menus for the week!

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  7. Friday, September 10

    Just a little note…

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    Hey friends. I had a blog post planned for today. And, uh, yeah…I think it slept in or something. (Wish I got to do that!) ANYWAY…since that post dropped the ball (certainly isn’t my fault, right?), I do have two random little things I keep forgetting to tell you. So here we go.

    1. Don’t be scared to post a weekly menu. I’ve heard this many times from people…they don’t post their menu because they are scared/nervous/whatever. Know what I have to say to that? Phooey! No need to be scared. Or nervous. Or anything remotely related to that. And I honestly love ALL kinds of menus. From the fancy-dancy-uber-prepared to the we-are-eating-at-taco-bell-a-few-nights-this-week, they’re all wonderful and inspiring in their own ways! So…you have two days to psych yourself up for this week’s menu post. Go get pysching.

    2. I’m still doing my Eat Less Meat challenge. I haven’t mentioned it much. But this new way of eating has become a part of our lives quite seamlessly, actually. I even recently switched to buying organic meat, which has really helped me scale back on the amount of meat I buy. And, since I’m buying less, even though the organic costs more, I’m still spending way less money on meat each week. I’m also much more thoughtful about how I use the meat I do buy and we appreciate the meat we do eat more than we used to. Bottom line…it’s been easier than I thought, and we’re happy. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to read about my 2010 New Year’s Resolution.)

    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And, please make some of the dip I shared with you yesterday. It seriously rocks…AND it’s healthy. AND meatless. Bam! Bam! Bam! Awesome all around, wouldn’t you say?

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  8. Sunday, August 22

    Week 187 Menu

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    I visited one of my favorite spots yesterday and bought this…

    If you can tell us what spice (or, more accurately, seed) it is, you win the Spice Queen/King title for the day! And if you don’t know what it is, you’ll find out soon enough…I’m trying a new recipe this week involving this beautiful seed and you can bet I’ll be writing about it (crossing my fingers it actually tastes good!).

    Last week there was a lot of shifting with my menu. I ended up changing a lot of what we ate based upon the stores I had a chance to shop at. So, we’ve got a few repeats from last week’s menu.

    MONDAY:
    - Recipe that uses the above spice that I’m keeping a secret for some reason…I guess I’m bored? ;)
    - Fresh corn on the cob from the farmstand

    TUESDAY:
    - Homemade pizza just for Cate, who will officially be a KINDERGARTENER on Tuesday!

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Red beans and rice (Thanks for the link, butterfly wishes! And Emily, I’ll be sure to try the recipe you shared last week as well!)

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Chili

    SATURDAY:
    - Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    - Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese
    - Fresh fruit

    As always, I’m incredibly appreciative of you all sharing your menus. I love that you provide ideas for each other, and, more importantly, for ME. Yeah, this is all about me in the end. ;) Seriously, though, my brother recently asked me where I go for ideas every week. I don’t go any further than this blog…I just browse through previous weeks’ menus and look at your comments from the week before. That’s it. So, THANK YOU!

    Can’t wait to see what you’ve got planned for the week! Have a good one!

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  9. Friday, June 18

    What Do You Eat When You Don’t Eat What You Plan To Eat?

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    empty plate2 web

    It’s Friday. And Friday is all about slacking off, taking it easy, getting ready for the weekend. So, let’s discuss meal planning slackerness in honor of this the greatest day of the week. My dear friend Emily (whom I have mentioned before and is the reason I discovered and started blogging) just had a beautiful baby boy! The week before he was born, she ‘chatted’ me saying, “Can you do a post asking people what they eat when they don’t cook what they planned?” I thought this was a smashing idea, so here we are.

    Last summer, I tracked exactly what we ate versus what I planned for 4 weeks. This was a great exercise for me…but I’m still curious what YOU eat when you don’t eat what you plan. For me, every single week there is at least one day that diverges from the meal plan. That’s life, it’s gonna happen. But when that happens (which I think it does to most of us), what takes the place of the planned meals?

    Emily needs help, people. She just had her third kid. She’s sleep deprived. Let’s make her feel good about throwing her meal plans out the window…and offer up ideas (good or bad) for replacing those ditched dinner plans!

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  10. Tuesday, January 12

    Whoops Bunny Meal Planner Giveaway Winner!

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    First off, can I say how happy I am so many of you are meal planning out there?  Or wanting to get into it?  What wonderful comments you shared for the Whoops Bunny meal planner giveaway! You made me smile.

    whoops bunny2 web

    Before I announce the winner…don’t forget the super sassy frameable meal planner from Ollibird that you can download for FREE on the original giveaway post.

    And, you can buy the adorable Whoops Bunny meal planner and shopping list by clicking this link.

    Now, for the moment of truth…random.org selected CheekyChic as our winner! Here’s what she told us: “I’ve been meal planning since I got married to my sweet husband Shawn. The only flaw, which I didn’t know was a flaw until reading your post, was I was writing my meal plans on ripped out notebook paper. Wouldn’t your giveaway be perfect for me? Thanks!”

    Now you can plan the RIGHT way, CheekyChic. ;)

    Thanks to everyone who entered and happy meal planning!

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