Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meal Planning For the Win!

So it's been a year since I posted this post, which continues to hold steady at #5 on the list of most-viewed blogs. However, over the course of a year, a lot has changed. For one, I can't tell you the last time I pulled weeds. Or dusted the fixtures. And then there are still several things I hold to: laundry on Sunday and Wednesday, groceries & meal planning for the week on Monday.  Although I would wholeheartedly still recommend a similar schedule to anyone feeling overwhelmed by their household to-dos, I really needed to accept some flexibility in my own schedule. Ever-changing work days, appointments, errands, and plain-old-I-want-to-spend-the-day-with-my-son kinda interruptions come along on an almost weekly basis.

There is one thing that hasn't changed in the year since I revolutionized the way I kept up with my house: meal planning. I can't tell you how much organization this has added to my week, knowing exactly what I need to get at the grocery store and having a set plan for each day's meals. Now, sitting down and planning out a week's worth of meals to satisfy the husband and toddler can be a frustrating process. I can't tell you how many times I've told my husband, "Do you have ANY input?! You are no help at all!!!!" Or I choose meals based on what protein is on sale and get home to upturned noses. Or even just the simple struggle to avoid the same meals over and over and over.

Last week, I was absolutely fed up with myself, unable to come up with a meal that didn't feel overdone and I set out to cook something new every day of the week. Finally I was going to try out all those Pinterest recipes I had pinned months and years ago. I wanted to try a few of the dishes i'd seen pinned over and over and over again. Mostly, I hoped to add some new life to our tired lineup.

Here are a few of my successes!
Chicken Lazone (Source & Recipe): This was SUPER easy, really quick to throw together and gobbled down by both my husband and son. You'll see cayenne pepper on the ingredient list, but it isn't spicy at all, in fact, I'll probably double the amount next time I make this to kick it up a little more. If you need an easy 30 minute meal, this is a winner. The recipe suggests pasta or mashed potatoes, so if you're pressed for even more time, pasta is much quicker than real mashed potatoes (no boxed potato flakes in my house). It could probably go from pot to table in 20 minutes. It's also good reheated as leftovers. I served this with a salad.
7-Up Biscuits (Source & Recipe): One of my coworkers actually brought a pan of these and I was blown away by how good they were. 4 ingredients plus 15 minutes equals delicious biscuits. I whipped these up over the weekend and between fielding a toddler, cleaning the kitchen and placenta-brain, I may have botched the first batch of these. (the same combination of distractors led to a few other new-recipe-failures I won't mention here until I can try them again) The second batch, however, was wonderful. My suggestion is to let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan to prevent them from getting too crumbly. I served them with sausage patties, butter & jelly. Yum!
Corn Casserole: Ok, so I'd never made a corn casserole before Sunday evening. Lame, I know. Always admired, never attempted, it came to mind when I was trying to think of a new side dish to serve with fried pork chops. After looking through lots of recipes, both fancy and super simple, I used what I had in the fridge and made my own pan. 1 Can Creamed corn, 1 can kernel corn, 1 box jiffy, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 stick melted butter all combined together and baked for nearly 1 hour at 350 degrees. This was also a huge hit with the husband and toddler.

Shredded Beef (Source & Recipe): I didn't get a pic of this one, even though we've had 2 meals from the one recipe. There were tons of recipes for crockpot shredded beef for tacos, but I especially liked this recipe because it didn't call for a packet of taco mix and a bottle of sauce. This means, you can customize the spices and chiles to suit your own tastes. I used this beef for tacos and quesadillas and it was fantastic- plus had I portioned out my leftovers appropriately, I could have easily gotten a third meal out of one recipe. It would also be fantastic as an enchilada filling. I can definitely see myself making this again. The recipe suggests you pour out all the cooking liquid once the meat is finished, but next time I plan on reserving the liquid and adding some or all of it back in to the shredded meat. Husband said it was a little on the dry side without the liquid.

So there you have it! Four easy, yummy, husband & toddler approved, new-to-us recipes complete with several random iPhone shots of my half eaten plates of food. I'm looking forward to working these dishes into our meal routine. Hope you can also try them and enjoy them!!!


Casey B said...

Meal planning has been awesome for us too!! It's always great to have a crock pot something once a week too to make it super easy

Angie said...

I need to start adding some variety to our meals. My Pinterest board is full, I need to put them to use. Those biscuits look yummy :)

Abby said...

These look great! I've seen those 7 up biscuits all over pinterest but never actually tried them... I think I better do it soon!

Also, have you ever considered menu planning for a month? It sounds overwhelming, but during the school year (aka busy season for youth ministers with 37 sporting games a week) it was really helpful for me to have it done. It doesn't really take that much longer to do, plus planning it all out together helped me to actually try new pinterest recipes and not do our same repeats every week. Might be something you want to try too!

Jillian said...

yummm those biscuits look so good! xo jillian - stop by, im hosting a great giveaway at cornflake dreams

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