Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly planning...or putting it together

In reading my friend Erin's blog, organizednowplease, I'm recognizing that it may be a challenge to pull all the meals together every week. Erin is starting a system with rotating a few plans throughout the year. I'm a bit more haphazard than that just because I like trying new recipes. Certainly different things work for different people and for different times in our lives and even for different weeks/months. Today's blog will a week in preview and review at my house.

I like to have something substantial on Sunday evening....kind of a meat, potato, and veggie meal. Our weeks are a bit crazy, so if we can have something that requires time to be at home while it cooks...then it's a good bet for a Sunday meal. I like to fully use an ingredient, say cilantro, so I'm not wasting 1/2 bunch of something. And I like to rotate some vegetarian, chicken, beef, and pork meals. And I like to have a soup thing, a pizza thing, and a sandwich thing. And I like to have a Tex-Mex thing, and Asian thing, and an Italian thing. Sometimes I can get all of this in the same week....and sometimes not. There's always another week! And I like to use what is in season.

Planning does help. I try to minimize the grocery store trips to save money and time. It's really hard to get to the store during the week. And some nights dinner seems overwhelming if I have to shop as well. As I have said before, a well stocked pantry and freezer can save the day. I can't have it too well-stocked though because I do need to be able to see things. There are a few things I need this week....that's why my grocery list is in the picture (items organized by the store aisles...a bit obsessive, I know). My new favorite quick beverage for variety at work...Crystal Light with stevia. I'm liking that for a mid-afternoon sweet craving:)

I'm also making a few batches of pumpkin muffins for Eleanor's birthday treat this week as well as a couple batches of chocolate chip cookies for the two pre-meet spaghetti dinners she'll be attending. I'm hoping to make a batch of granola too. I have rice pudding in the oven to use up some of the milk...that's gotten away from me this week, so I need to reduce the supplies of it.

OK. It sounds way harder than it is!

For the week I'm talking about we are planning:
Sunday: salmon and potatoes on the grill with sandwich slaw and green beans
Monday: squash and arugula pizza (I have time to let the dough rise on Mondays)
Tuesday: bean soup in the crockpot (ready when we get home from the swim meet late)
Wed: chicken pitas (quickly comes together after meet the teacher night). And I can get the chicken ready when I'm off on Tuesday
Thurs: veggie panini sandwiches (it's CSA box night, so I may have things to use right away)
Friday: both Paul and Eleanor at pasta dinners for their athletic endeavors the following day

That's a pork thing(bean soup), one chicken, one seafood, and two veggie dishes, if you're counting. It's opening a jar of roasted peppers for the pita and the panini sandwiches. I will have celery left from the bean soup, so I will plan something with the remaining bunch next week. It's a nice variety of flavors and should provide some leftovers for lunches. If the veggie panini doesn't happen until Sat..that's OK too. I try to use more perishable things early in the week. My plan is for these to have some type of green from the CSA box (we'll see what we get), goat cheese, roasted red peppers from a jar, and something else from the box. Stir fry is always a good bet on the weekend following the CSA box. I do like to have a meal idea in reserve....for this week it's a can of marinara sauce in the pantry and a pound of ground turkey in the freezer. I can always pull a quick spaghetti dinner together if needed.

This menu should provide quantities for lunches too. Sometimes I don't stick to my planned menu each night...but it's a start. Hmm....I am buying a loaf of Breadsmith bread for panini sandwiches. I often will make my own bread but thought a loaf of this in the freezer for sandwiches may be a good idea.

Athletic endeavors....Eleanor is swimming in an invite at a nearby high school. Paul is doing the Potosi Brewery Bicycle Tour. He's meeting up with some friends from Green Bay and they are planning on riding the metric century....that's 61 miles or thereabout through hilly Mississippi terrain. Yea, good for them. I opted to stay home to go to the swim meet. He's wanted to do this ride for a couple years after hearing about it from my uncle, the mayor of this town. My uncle really is the mayor and has really contributed to making this a destination along the river. The ride is just one more reason to check out this town if you're in southwestern Wisconsin.

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