Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday Meal Plan

This is last week's meal plan.  As you can see, it suffered some revisions.

I started my 9 week contract at Microsoft, which means that every Tuesday/Thursday I'm working 11-hour days, not including the awesome commute between Seattle and Redmond.  Monday/Wednesday I teach at Bastyr and see patients at FoodWise.  Fridays are "off", which means I catch up on grading and administrative work and generally drool on myself while clothed in yoga pants.  It's an insane schedule, but it's only for 9 weeks.  At least, that's what I tell myself.

Anyway, I've started cooking again, and I'm loving every minute of it.  I feel like a small piece of me has finally returned.  The world is once again a happy, ordered place.  Along with my new, all-consuming schedule, Ben has started tutoring again, and he's also starting his quarter at the community college this week.  The result?  We either become incredibly organized with our meals and make use of the slow-cooker... or we eat out every single night of the week.

I chose option A.

Let me tell you a little about our meals and how they evolved throughout the week.  Sadly, there are no pictures because I ate my food instead of photographing it.  Maybe I'll do better this week.

Sunday:  The lasagna came off without a hitch.  I cribbed off a recipe (that I can't find now, naturally) that used cashew cream mixed with eggs, salt and parsley for the ricotta.  I made a lovely meat ragu with lots of veggies and layered it with par-boiled Tinkyada pasta and the cashew cream.  We've been testing out Daiya Cheese, so I threw a bit of the "mozzarella" on top but can't say I loved it.  Ben thought it was OK, but somehow it ended up with a hydrogenated taste.  Once I scraped off the "cheese", the lasagna was delish, and fed us for lunches for a good part of the week.  Bag salad on the side and we were good to go.

Monday:  Green Curry, loosely based off of the recipe from the Thai Kitchen curry bottle.  I just read the Saveur article on curries, so instead of just using a can of coconut milk, I put a second can in the fridge and added the coconut cream to the pan as well.  The addition of the coconut cream created an extra-thick curry, more similar to those found at Thai restaurants, and I'll definitely be repeating the technique.  So: coconut milk, coconut cream, green curry, brown sugar, tamari, organic tofu, lots of veggies and red rice.  This created several left-over meals.

Tuesday:  I forgot to defrost the chicken, so instead I made pea soup loosely based on this recipe, except with a potato and 3 times as many vegetables.  I put the soup together (minus the liquid) the night before and put it in the fridge.  Ben put it on the next morning at 9 am and voila, warm dinner!  And more leftovers!

Wednesday:  The fish was frozen and we had SO MUCH FOOD, so we switched to leftovers for Wednesday evening.  It was great, because I was exhausted after work.

Thursday:  I did defrost the chicken, but Ben and I were both catching colds so I switched to soup.  I didn't precook anything.  Into the slow cooker went: skinless chicken thighs (bone in), carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, basil, and Better Than Bouillon.  Again, I had Ben add the liquid on Thursday morning before putting it on the heat and again, put in 3 times as much veggies.  I'm all about one-pot meals.

Friday:  I had no frozen pizza dough.  I then attempted to make it, but we were out of eggs.  Whoops.  Fortunately, I discovered this several hours before dinner and was able to defrost some gyoza filling from the freezer.  I love my freezer.  I threw together the gyoza with sautéed broccoli and spinach.

Saturday:  This baby loves tomatoes, but we were out of lasagna.  I needed another red sauce!  Put together a simple beef ragu with pasta in the afternoon and froze some for a later date.  Yum!

This was our week.  Yes, Virginia, you can have yummy, home-cooked food while working full time, you just have to plan like crazy - and be willing to improvise when the plan fails!  I'll admit, the lasagna was work, but it was Sunday and I wanted to put in the time.  The green curry took about 20 minutes, though the rice was a little longer.  While the green curry simmered, I put together the pea soup, which took about 10 minutes.  The fish tacos would have taken about 20 minutes to put together and the chicken soup took about 20 minutes, mostly because I had to peel the skin off of partially frozen chicken thighs.  The gyoza and ragu took a little longer but hey, it was the weekend!

What are your favorite quick meals?  Any great slow-cooker suggestions that don't take much time to prepare?  I have 8 more weeks of this craziness, and I need suggestions!

Disclaimer: I have received no compensation monetary or otherwise from the companies listed above. The opinions stated above are my own.


  1. I've had great success using my iPad/ iPhone for menu planning. I just created a new event for breakfast ,lunch and dinner and I set reminders to thaw or soak items. I have tried many different ways, including your menu planner, and this one seems to keep me on track the best. I also agree that planning two weeks at a time is a Big time saver. I am working on doing that more regularly. The great thing about having it on my phone is if I am at the store for a quick trip, I can look at my phone and see my menu, to make sure I didn't leave something out. It's also nice to look back over the last few months to get ideas for the upcoming week.
    Thanks so much for your site! I love your ideas and recipes.

    . Nutrition

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