Sunday, August 08, 2010


(photo of Ina from House Beautiful)


I've had a few people ask me to post my weekly menu plan, so I thought I'd do that here.

I love to cook....most of the time. Believe me, there are days when the LAST thing I want to do is decide what's for dinner. But that's the thing...the deciding last minute is what I hate. Actually cooking it I enjoy. (again, most of the time) :) I'm human and have lots of days where I'd be perfectly happy eating English muffins with peanut butter or a bowl of Cheerios! But there is something very satisfying to me about taking basic ingredients and turning them into something really yummy. So, to make that as enjoyable as possible during the week, I often try to plan a weekly menu. I go thru my tried and true recipes, write them on a grid calendar, then make a separate shopping list after going thru the pantry to see what I need to buy. Lately I've been bored with the same old recipes and have been wanting to try new ones, so I sat down with all of my Ina Garten cookbooks and other recipes and filled in the week on the calendar. I only grocery shop one week at a time because it's hard to buy produce in advance. Doing the meal plan makes things SO much easier for me during the week because a) I don't have to think about what we'll eat each day and b) I'm sure to have all of the ingredients. It's not about hard to make recipes. Most of these are really easy to prepare. And really....meal planning doesn't mean big elaborate meals. (as you'll see below) You can meal plan for macaroni and cheese and scrambled eggs! It's just about planning ahead. And hey....if I don't feel good one day and we get takeout, I'll just shift the days or move something to the next week. No big deal! I'm not trying to be Superwoman here. Some women scrapbook almost every day or make jewelry almost every day. For me, that's cooking.

Ok, here's our menu this week with links to the recipes. If I made any changes, I noted those:

Sunday: Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito soup (slow cooker meal)
*Changes- I cooked the onion and garlic in a little olive oil to brown them before adding to the pot. For the chicken, I rubbed three chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt, and ground pepper and roasted them in the oven (375) for about 40 minutes until they browned a little. Then I shredded them and added them to the soup about 30 minutes before eating. I don't like chicken that cooks in the crockpot...too rubbery and I like color on it. This soup was really good. We topped it with tortilla chips, diced avocado and lite sour cream.

Monday: BBQ Beef Sliders, Sweet Potato Fries, and raw vegetables (slow cooker meal)
*Pepperidge Farm makes small wheat slider buns.

Tuesday: Parmesan Chicken with greens and lemon vinaigrette dressing

Wednesday: Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin, corn on the cob, Mustard-roasted potatoes

Thursday: Pasta with roasted vegetables and mozzarella
*For this, I'm just going to roast some chicken breasts and fresh veggies in the oven with kosher salt, EVOO and pepper. (zucchini, red peppers, onions, mushrooms) I'll chunk the chicken and toss everything with some whole wheat penne pasta, olive oil, and some fresh mozzarella.

Friday: BBQ Roasted Salmon, brown rice, sauteed fresh spinach with garlic

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken (breast strips) Salad
* I'll make the buffalo chicken recipe with breasts, cut into strips. Then we'll eat those over a salad tossed with lite blue cheese dressing with celery sticks on the side.

Sunday: 15-minute Tomato and Bean Soup

Dessert: I don't buy a lot of sweets except for some ice cream and the Paul Newman cookies. Noah asked me to make this recipe this week when he saw it in the cookbook, so I told him I would. :) How could I refuse? YUM. Ina's Brownie Pudding

I hope you are inspired a little to plan your own meals this week, do one shopping trip, and be able to know what's for dinner early in the morning! Do you already do meal planning? Got any good tips?


Garden Antqs Vintage said...

You featured my absolutely favorite cook, I love Ina and try not to miss one episode. Have a great week, Theresa

Roberta said...

Thanks for sharing Jennifer...I love Ina as well and when I want to get inspired I watch her on TV ;) I sorta do the meal planning thing only with two of us it's more like "power cooking" once or twice a week and we munch on the leftovers and then I don't get tired of cooking either. I also plan my menu around what is on sale for the week as far as meats because I don't have a freezer anymore with just the two of us as well. I got rid of my slow-cooker and do a lot of slow cooking in the oven but now that have them with timers and I just might have to invest in a new crock-pot after reading all your yummy recipes! Have a great week, fondly, Roberta

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm definitely going to try the Chicken Burrito Soup. Not always a lot of time to cook but a good slow cooker recipe makes it possible. Unfortunately, today's meal plan for me = a quick salad and then a root beer float for dinner! (Long day!) :)

ginny said...

Love the menu plan, I'm always on the lookout for something new. Ina is my favorite,too & I've never had a failure with her recipes. I plan menus for the week much the way you do, but I've started planning my leftovers. With just the 2 of us at home now, I like to think ahead when I cook & do some extra that I can turn into something else later on in the week. I always grill extra steak or chicken & use it another way later or I will cook extra veggies. It saves me time in the kitchen, saves money & it's kind of fun to think up different ways to use the ingredients.

Pearl Maple said...

Fun ideas happening there.
Most of my weekday cooking is now for 1 and pretty casual about that but when entertaining friends there is a big trip to the market to find what ever is looking freshest and best on the day.

Sarah said...

I love Menu Planning. I found Menu Plan Monday on Organizingjunkie and I use that to make my menu and form my shopping list. It makes my week go so much smoother knowing what we will eat and having all that I need for those meals ahead of time. I'm going to have to try some of your recipes! They sound yummy!

Anonymous said...

Jen, it's been too long since I visited your blog, but I must have come at just the right time. Great post. About this time last year I was on a real menu planning kick, mostly using recipes from Real Simple. I would plan, DH (house spouse!) would buy groceries and often even cook, and I actually lost weight because I ate a normal, well-balanced dinner instead of grazing all evening. Of course marathon training also helped with the weight loss, which turned out to be merely temporary. But it's fall marathon training season again, and also time for me to get back into the menu planning habit. BTW, your skillet mac and cheese has gone into the annals of my all-time "tried and true" recipes! -- Carla S.