It’s amazing what a little planning can do. I used to be a better meal planner, like when I used to have a lot of time to cook dinner, grocery shop, and read magazines or blogs to get ideas. That seems so long ago!
For the last 6ish months, we have picked up more food than ever before. I really miss home cooked meals and dislike spending money on picking up food when I have a pantry/fridge/freezer full of food and actually enjoy cooking. But for many of those months, finding the time to plan, grocery shop, and actually cook and then clean was just not high on the priority list. A shower or holding baby was higher up.
Finally though, homemade dinners are back on the table. Now that I’m back to work, I have more structured days. Logan is also more independent, takes semi-predictible naps, and best of all, he can put himself to sleep at night. That means by a little after 7 p.m., the baby is asleep and the adults can actually eat together.
I am trying to plan a rough menu for the week over the weekend, shop for the ingredients, and then stick to it during the week. I am trying to be simple and logical about it–detailed dinners aren’t going to happen, and neither are too many new recipes. We are sticking to tried and true that we know we like. 2-3 weeknights of cooking in is probably realistic.
So two weeks ago, we did a Cooking Light baked chicken tender recipe (if I had more time, I’d find the recipe for you!) with a side of 90 second rice and sauteed green beans. Then one night we did Gazpacho and Arugula Salad. Last week, I planned Tex Mex Soup (this link is really old), Falafel Burgers that I ended up not making, and Pita Pizzas with leftover chicken from the gazpacho that I didn’t put in the soup. Planning and buying the ingredients, and having the recipe tagged ready to go makes all the difference. I am telling you, I have gone back to the very basics.
This week, I planned a crock pot chicken taco recipe and another recipe from Cooking Light for Pasta Carbonara with tomatoes and asparagus.
In addition to weekday dinners, I have been busy baking too. One day after work, I even made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! (recipe on the flipside of the Quaker oatmeal jar.) Last weekend, I made morning glory muffins (picture above) and banana bread for a neighbor.
For me, finding time to plan the week is most important and that is what I am working on!