Meal Plan Week 10 – Leftovers as an Essential Part of Balancing Life

Whew! Things are getting busy around here. Pesach cleaning is in full swing, and I’ll be honest, that means some corners are being cut in other areas of life.

Enter: leftovers.

As a busy mother trying to maintain a work-life balance, I’ve trained my family’s diet into one that utilizes its fair share of leftovers. I won’t necessarily serve the exact same menu ever time, and a new side dish, or configuration of the meal might be offered, but I simply don’t have time to make an entire meal every evening.

Leftovers can be a lifesaver, saving time, money, and sanity. Well, that is if the original dish was one your family liked first-time-round!

With Pesach fast approaching, and less time for cooking, I’ve been pulling out previously cooked dishes as I empty my freezer, and have been cooking in larger quantities to stretch meals beyond one night.

Meal Plan Week 10 – Leftovers and Life’s Balance

Friday night – Gefilte fish, spaghetti and meatballs, green beans, mushroom potato boureka roll, and whole wheat banana chocolate chip cake.

Shabbos lunch – Gefilte fish, Hawaiian wine sauce brisket, strawberry mango romaine salad with honey dijon dressing, mushroom  potato boureka roll, and whole wheat banana chocolate chip cake.

Sunday – Restaurant outing for a family celebration

Monday – Spaghetti and meatballs, green beans

Tuesday – Brisket, mushroom potato boureka roll, peas, and melon

Wednesday – Spaghetti lasagna bake, peas, and melon

Thursday – Homemade bean burritos from the freezer

What are your favorite dishes to make in big batches and serve throughout the week? How do you dress up leftovers so your family will enjoy them? Please share!

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Meal Plan Week 9 – A Meal Plan Straight from the….Pantry?

Meal Plan Week 9 - A meal Plan Straight from the Pantry

With Pesach creeping up fast, I’ve finally begun going the annual “spring cleaning” that accompanies Pesach cleaning. Perhaps it’s the mindset of the “keep or toss,” and perhaps it’s the lack of extra time to come up with creative dishes, but this week’s meal plan is all about pantry living, and loving.

Have i mentioned I love having a pantry? Growing up my mother’s pantry wasn’t just a cupboard, and even a closet. It was shelves and shelves of stocked up non-perishables. Neighbors and friends would joke with her about whose door would be knocked on first in case of natural disaster and a food crisis. Deals were carefully sought out, containers sealed against possible intruders, and you could find anything you needed.

So naturally, an Ikea bookshelf turned cabinet was one of m first purchases as a newlywed, and it became my pantry. Years later, I’m still appreciating that stock, honing and revamping systems within.

Now, before Pesach, it all comes out – every food in there, as I check expiry dates, and try to use up what chametz I can before the chag. It’s time to use it all up.  And so I bring you….

Meal Plan Week 9 – Pre-Pesach, Pantry Planning (Yes, I’m guilty as a shameless alliterator! :) )

Shabbos Dinner – Chicken soup, veggie packed meat sauce (both from the freezer), ruce pilaf (pantry), green beans, beets, birthday cake!

Shabbos lunch – invited out

Sunday – Leftover rice pilaf (pantry), green beans, and beets.

Monday – Noodles with baked beans (pantry), peas.

Tuesday – Homemade mac and cheese casserole (pantry) – by special request of the little guy, and sliced cucumber, with cantaloupe for dessert.

Wednesday – Lentil soup (finally used up my pantry stock of ageless lentils!), and paprikash potatoes with hotdogs (stay tuned for The Only Dish I Buy Hotdogs for).

Thursday – Lentil soup and mac and cheese casserole.

What system do you have for ensuring pantry items are used up on a consistent basis? Please share in the comments below!

 

Meal Plan Week 8 – Using Up Our Chametz

Meal Plan Week 8 - Using Up Our Chametz

Well, Purim’s passed, and it was a whirlwind; a beautiful whirlwind of food, family, and fun. Best food related part? I didn’t have to cook extra for Shabbos this week (just popped a gefilte fish in the oven)! And now, merely days after Purim, here’s a little peak inside the first steps of my annual Pesach prep. It isn’t exactly kneeling on the floor type cleaning – got to allow for some transition – but it’s the annual first step.

Sitting down towards the end of Purim, I set out to sort the mishloach manos that have generously been delivered to our family. After sorting for degrees of healthy / unhealth food items, I begin our annual “chametz gamur” box. A cardboard box that remains by the pantry door from Purim until shortly before Pesach. We traditionally do not sell “real” chametz, ie pretzels, pasta, etc, but rather use it up or deliver it to local food drives prior to the start of the chag. In this vein, I suggest all gluten free readers perhaps brace themselves the next coming four weeks as we purge our house of pasta and clean out the freezer. Carb lovers? Join me :)

Week 8 Meal Plan

Friday night: Chicken soup, gefilte fish, quinoa, green beans.

Shabbos lunch: Gefilte fish, dijon ribs, squash pie, roasted baby potatoes, salad, mushroom zucchini muffins, fruit salad.

Sunday: Dijon ribs, squash pie, mushroom zucchini muffins, roasted baby potatoes.

Monday: Tomato soup, elbow pasta, and breaded fillet of sole, and steamed peas.

Tuesday: Breakfast burritos for dinner :)

Wednesday: Tomato soup, and grilled cheese, sliced veggies.

Thursday: Pancakes, cottage cheese, sliced veggies.

What’s on your menu this week? Interesting ideas for using up your chametz? Please share below!

Meal Plan Week 7 – Pre-Purim!

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Um, meal plan? Pre-Purim? Yesterday while out for Shabbos lunch my hostess apologized for serving on plasticware. My response? “You mean plasticware like I used last night so that I wouldn’t have dishes to wash after Shabbos?” Yes, it’s a busy week. No, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be too frazzled because we know that it’s really just a warm up for Pesach prep.

Don’t worry if you’ve had to cut a few corners. Keep yourself relaxed and focused on your family. They’ll thank you for it.

So, what’s on the menu?? This week I’ve pushed my major Thursday shop off to later today (Sunday) so that I can start prepping and freezing for the Purim Seuda (meal plan for that coming up – stay tuned). So what’s on this week’s menu? Remember that accountability aspect I told you I love about blogging? Well, I’m going to wing it and create that meal plan NOW. :)

This week, the meal plan will begin with Sunday, not Friday as usual.

Meal Plan Week 7

Sunday: Vegetarian chili from last week in store bought taco shells.

Monday: Latkes still hanging around in the freezer (did someone say Pesach cleaning?) with cottage cheese and veggies.

Tuesday Pre-fast: Chunky squash carrot zuchini soup, whole wheat pasta with tuna, grapes.

Wednesday, Post-fast: Bagels, lox, cream cheese, veggies.

Thursday: Purim Seuda!

Meal Plan Week 6 – When There’s No Time for Meal Planning

So things have been a little busy around here. New to the blogosphere, I’ve been working on keeping balance between the blog posts (related to Purim) and real life (prepping for Purim) while looking keeping everything running smoothly in the house (in anticipation of Purim). Purim is one of the most festive times of the year, and with this joyous holiday approaching, mayyyybe I’ve let my meal planning slide a bit??

Well, as I’ve said it’s all about accountability. You folks are graciously anticipating the meal plan, and so I’ll create it for myself and the world out there. And my family will benefit throughout the week from my being that little bit more prepared.

Truth be told I did my shopping for this week with no meal plan in hand, and so this week’s meal plan is inspired by the ingredients I did pick up at the grocery store, as well as items I keep on hand in the pantry – for occasions such as this!

Friday night: Challah, chicken soup, roast chicken, brown rice pilaf, green beans, and hamentaschen.

Shabbos Lunch: Invited out :)

Sunday: Roast chicken, green beans, rice.

Monday: Big hearty vegetable soup – single bowl meal.

Tuesday: These fantastic crockpot baked beans and rice, and chopped veggies.

Wednesday: Vegetable soup from Monday

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner – eggs, pancakes, veggies.

What’s on your weekly meal plan this week? Please share below!

Meal Plan Week 5 – Spicing Things Up

Happy Sunday Everyone! I must have been thinking of warmer weather when I drafted this week’s meal plan, because there’s a distinctly Spanish feel to the menu. Please join me in turning up the heat. Many of us Northerners can use it right now!

Meal Plan Week 5:

Friday: Chicken soup, cajun salmon, roasted root veggie sticks, savory baby spinach salad, crockpot applesauceIMG_20141024_161450

Shabbos Lunch: Honey mustard salmon, cholent, roasted root vaggie sticks, spanish rice, mango strawberry baby spinach salad, strawberries for dessert

Sunday: Loaded hot dogs with baby spinach salad

Monday: Family get together

Tuesday: Squash pear soup, quesadillas with crockpot refried beans

Wednesday: Squash pear soup

Thursday: Oat cranberry pancakes, cottage cheese, fresh veggies

What are you making this week to beat the cold?

Please share in the comments below!

Meal Plan Week 4 & Why My Meal Plan Begins on Friday

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I struggled for quite a number of months to get into the flow of meal planning. I found that whichever website I was turning to for tips and inspiration, I wasn’t happy with the printables, although I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

Some ways in, it hit me – my week starts on Friday, not Sunday as for so many within the world of meal planning. I generally do a once per week grocery shopping trip on Thursday. Before I can sit down and plan meals for the week, I need to know whether we’re home alone for Shabbos, having ten people over for the meal, or we’re invited out. Since the bulk of my week’s cooking is done for Shabbos, with the most effort being put into making these meals special, I need to set out their structure before I can plan forward into the rest of the week.

Once I started beginning my week on Friday, things began to flow for me. I sit down on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning to plan my Shabbos meals, and then have some idea of whether there will be leftovers stretching into the week or not. I know how many meat or dairy meals I was to serve during the remainder of the week, and most important to me, I have the closure of Shabbos not just hanging as an unknown, but rather as an intentional, integral part of my meal planning.

Meal Plan Week 4

Friday Night: Challah, chicken soup, gefilte fish, green beans, beets, couscous, oatmeal craisin cookies

Shabbos Lunch: Challah, gefilte fish, cholent, green beans, roasted potatoes, cauliflower popcorn, oatmeal craisin cookies, cantaloupe

Sunday: Shabbos leftovers

Monday: Mexican black bean soup, french toast

Tuesday: Tomato feta pasta and sliced veggies

Wednesday: Mexican black bean soup

Thursday: Tomato feta pasta and sliced veggies

What day does your meal planning week begin on, and why have you chosen such a structure? Please share in the comments below!