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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    996

    A week of dinners

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    I've grown tired of going to the grocery store every other day, so I've decided I'm going to plan dinners ahead for a week and make a list before I go to the store...

    Looking for recipes myself is boring, and I'm not very creative... does anyone have a certain thing they do on a certain night of the week every week? Ex: Mondays are chili night... etc. Bonus points if you have such a night then use the leftovers (or leftover ingredients) for something else the next night.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

    Brick House Blog

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,853
    After cooking every meal we consume for the last almost 19 years I've decided to stop cooking. I'm sick of it and my SO would eat wallpaper paste if I put it in front of her.

    So, we now have:
    - Pizza Monday and others nights a choice of...
    - Quiche and edamame
    - Fishsticks and corn
    - Pierogis and broccoli
    - Salad
    - Cereal and toast

    Life is so much simpler now!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    We don't follow a schedule (except for sometimes Monday night football and pizza in season), but I'm a big fan of one-pot meals, or at least stews or casseroles that can be served over or with rice, pasta or tortillas.

    Pasta e fagioli can accommodate pretty much whatever veggies are in season and/or around the house, it's a nutritious meal with complete protein, and it's really simple and inexpensive if you pressure cook the beans. (In my house there's no bright line between pasta e fagioli and minestrone .)

    Pressure cooker risotto can also receive a variety of vegetables and/or mushrooms, and it's quick and easy.

    Cook red lentils or split mung beans with diced onion, celery, carrot and tomato, add curry powder and salt, puree with a stick blender if you wish or leave it chunky, garnish with yogurt if you like and a little chopped cilantro.

    Once you get used to pressure cooking beans, a whole lot of things become quick, easy and inexpensive - chili with various seasonings, black beans Cuban style with seasonal greens, Cajun red beans and rice, etc.

    Any of these will keep and become more flavorful for at least 3-5 days, leftovers make a great lunch in the Thermos or microwave.

    Depending on where you live, there may still be loads of fresh basil - make up a big batch of pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays and use as needed. Green beans, carrots, broccoli go well with pesto.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 10-16-2008 at 09:48 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    271
    I have the best French Dip recipe in a crockpot. My kids love it, and they are very picky brats.

    3-4lb rump roast (I use whatever looks good, and inexpensive)
    1 packet dried Au Jus (I can't find this anymore, so don't use it and it is still very good)
    1 Packet dried Italian Dressing
    1 c. Beef Broth-14 1/2 oz can ( I have also used vegetable broth)
    2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce
    1 tsp. Garlic Salt
    1 1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet Merlot works wonderfully)

    Cook 10-12 hours on low, serve with Au Jus from crockpot, on Deli Rolls. I also saute onions, and melt Swiss or Provolone cheese on the bread. This is a wonderful recipe, I can't rave enough about it.

    I don't do specific foods on certain days, as I have to be in the *mood* for certain things. I am weird that way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    268
    Last winter I had to build out a generic plan to follow, or else I'd get stuck in the trap of having no clue what to make. I had 6 planned, then one fun, and each in a topic that allowed variety week to week. Within each meal is a focus on balancing protein, vegetable diversity, and appropriate carbs.

    Stew or Chili
    Pasta - Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti meatballs, Ravioli, etc
    Soup & Bread - home made, broccoli or tomato basil or chicken corn chowder or...
    Mexi-something - Tacos, Fajitas, Enchilada Casserole...
    Stir Fry - so many options!
    A New Recipe - Opportunity to find new favorites - dig thru books, blogs, etc
    Mystery Meal - flexibility to go out, use up leftovers, have home-pizza, whatever

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    Homemade pizza has become a staple in our house. I buy the pre-baked whole wheat shells, and there's always sauce in the pantry and shredded cheese in the freezer. Throw any available veggies, maybe some sliced olives or turkey pepperoni on top, and dinner's done.

    We eat a lot of pasta too. I must have 50 recipes for pasta dishes. Real Simple magazine always has tasty, unique pasta recipes in each issue, and many have become favorites.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,932
    We also plan our meals for the week on Saturday and shop on Sunday usually. We also decide who cooks when at the same time. Usually on Thursday I go back to the grocery store to pick up a few missing items or produce that I want to be more fresh, or to the meat shop for fresh chicken. We usually cook 5 or 6 nights a week and either eat out or go to his parents' place on the other 1-2 nights.

    Usually we do a combination of:
    one meat dinner (usually beef)
    one or two chicken dishes
    two vegetarian dishes
    one or two pasta dishes
    one slow cooker meal
    one fish dish

    Of course it doesn't add up because the chicken can be a slow cooker meal etc.

    We sit down with the cookbooks and make our picks and write the grocery list. I'm thinking of getting our "successful" recipes on index cards or in some sort of a program to be able to quickly prepare a week of meals if we're too busy to do it from scratch on a given weekend.

    The slow cooker meal and the pasta dishes usually yield lots of leftovers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    1,460
    I LOVE my crock pot. I make a lot of stews and chilis. No matter how little I try to make it always comes out to a full pot. We munch on that for a few days and then freeze the rest in meal sized portions. Works great.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    271
    Roadie Gal, post one of your favorite crock pot recipes please! I love my crockpot, but need to use it more for things besides roasts!

    And you need to get off your # '666' post. Or not, as Halloween is coming up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    996
    Quote Originally Posted by roadie gal View Post
    I LOVE my crock pot. I make a lot of stews and chilis. No matter how little I try to make it always comes out to a full pot. We munch on that for a few days and then freeze the rest in meal sized portions. Works great.
    You have any vegetarian recipes? I'm trying baked beans this weekend.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

    Brick House Blog

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    236
    OK...two things that are easy (I'm typically a 4 ingredient cook) and tasty and pretty healthy.

    Crockpot pulled pork:

    a 4lb pork roast (lean)
    2 cups of apple juice
    1 capfull of liquid smoke
    salt to taste
    * optional is a teaspoon of crushed red peppers (we like HOT!!)
    put everything in the crockpot and cook on high for about ten hours. The pork will be falling apart so just separate it all with a fork and serve by itself, on buns, or tortillas. Ymmmmmm....


    Roasted pepper hummus:

    Take a large red bell pepper, slice in half and get rid of the insides.
    Smash it (by hand)on a tinfoil lined cookie sheet and blacken it under the broiler for about 8 -10 minutes. Put the blackened peppers in a plastic zip bag for about ten minutes and then peel.

    Meanwhile drain a can of garbonzo beans and put that in a blender or food processor along with a tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed butter), two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, a little salt, four sliced garlic cloves and for a little zip, several jalepeno slices. When the pepper is peeled, throw it into the blender or food processor and blend till smooth.
    Serve on pita bread, chips, or eat with a spoon like me.
    Vertically challenged, but expanding my horizons.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Oh yeah, hummus! Chickpeas (for hummus and falafel) are pretty much the only thing that goes into our food processor. That's another thing that's really inexpensive if you pressure-cook the beans. Plus, you can cook the garlic along with the chickpeas so you don't have to use raw garlic or roast it separately (not that there's a single solitary thing wrong with roasting garlic! - just if you don't happen to have any on hand). And you have the cooking water to adjust the consistency (and use any left over for your next batch of bean soup).

    I like my hummus with a lot of parsley (pulse it in the food processor before adding the cooked chickpeas) - some recipes use mint, but I don't much care for that myself.


    ETA: since you mention baked beans, one thing about beans in the crock-pot, DO NOT put any tomatoes, ketchup or other acids in until the beans are fully cooked. Acid toughens the bean skins and keeps them from absorbing water, so they will never cook. That's true whatever your cooking method, but it's easy to forget in the crock-pot where you're used to throwing all the ingredients in at once. Doesn't work with beans. Learned that one the hard way
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 10-18-2008 at 05:09 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    1,460
    Very easy vegetarian chili:

    I used dried beans that I soak for about 24 hours. Last time I used one package of pintos and one package of mixed beans. Throw into crock pot and cook until almost done. Add 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes, with the juice, one well chopped onion and 1-2 packages of chili seasoning depending on your taste. Cook some more. VERY easy. You can also brown some turkey or beef hamburger and then add to the chili. My SO voted for vege, so I didn't.
    Last edited by roadie gal; 10-18-2008 at 06:37 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Some of you folks run your meal planning with such military regimentation...amazing. Not sure I could regiment myself, without gettting bored with cooking. I don't mind cooking...simply because it is abit creative to me/my partner... so there must alot of flexbility and nice surprises for meal planning.

    Ummmm..we are more fly-by-the-seat of your pants in terms of meal planning and grocery buying. Thankfully. He and I consult a recipe..uh...every 3 months. Everything else we prepare has been a collaborative effort of recipes and cooking techniques from both sides of our families..plus each of us has tried certain recipes, each of us have casually memorized certain recipes initially but later transform/embellish/contort the recipe. It does help solve problems of varied, nutritious meal planning if we can already draw upon Asian and German (quality) recipes that we knew from childhood.

    And voila, we make our meals. We do the reverse..we just buy fresh veggies and fruits with usually buying first whatever is in season/is cheap, then add on whatever else we need, usually 1 load of artisan fresh bread, fresh herbs, etc.

    Then it's shoved into our fridge and cupboards. Then we do the reverse, we just look in the fridge /cupboard and make up the meal for dinner..

    Maybe once or twice a wk. we consult..he says: "I'm making salad. You want salad?" Sometimes I say no or yes. If no, I make my own thing...it could be s stir-fried noodle dish, fishead soup, whatever. And I do the reverse too...except he never wants fishead soup. Approx. 50% of our meals are shared. Other times we are eating dishes separately because that's what the person felt like cooking and eating it for dinner.

    IN the end, all I can say is: we have meat 1-2 times per wk., I eat more rice than he does, he eats certain pastas that he/I prepare... we both eat tons of fresh fruit, ...

    Makes sense??? I assure you, we have some good recipes. In the past few months, he has done some lovely gourmet meals that come from his head ..take-offs of real recipes.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 10-19-2008 at 07:38 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    1,460
    We do mostly "wing it" meals.

    Last night we tried something that's probably a "duh" to lots of you: Bobolis. We got the 2 pack of 8" Boboli whole wheat premade pizza crusts. I put pesto and veges on mine, with cheese and my SO made pepperoni with tomato sauce and cheese. It was easy, fun and relatively healthy... and very importantly, fast.

 

 

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