My friends often ask me what we are eating for dinner. My boy is incredibly picky, my husband doesn't consider anything a meal without meat, the baby eats EVERYTHING (and will likely eat us out of house and home!) and I try to eat mostly healthy and very little meat. Jarrod's also gluten intolerant, so we tend to eat meals that are gluten free or can be adjusted to be gluten free. We've been menu planning for years and have lots of recipes we know and love. With a husband in ministry and seminary, a full-time job, and two little ones, having quick and easy meals is crucial.
Jarrod and I menu plan about 2 weeks in advance. We look at the calendar while we're deciding what to make and who will make it. We plan 3-4 meals per week and eat leftovers the other nights. We both take leftovers to work several days a week as well. We also take into consideration events, family meals, church events, and nights out when planning the menu. Once we've decided on who is cooking what and when, we add it to our calendars. If it's on my calendar, I'm cooking. If it's on Jarrod's calendar, he's cooking. If there's nothing on the calendar, it means we're having leftovers!
This plan has worked well for us for several years. We used to plan weekly and that got too overwhelming. When we plan for 2 weeks we can stock up on things at Costco at the beginning of the month, make those meals for the first two weeks and then plan the next couple of weeks based on what we have left over. We usually get one or two meats, cheese, spinach, butter, and other baking goods at Costco monthly.
Here's our menu for this week:
Monday - Leanne makes mac and cheese with broccoli
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday - Jarrod makes chicken tacos from frozen chicken
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Leanne's out, Jarrod and the kids have leftovers
Friday - Pizza night - we both make our own crusts and top the pizza with whatever we happen to have.
Saturday - Wedding for Leanne and Jarrod, pizza leftovers for the kids
Sunday - Leftovers or sandwich night
It's the end of the month so we're using what we have. We buy chicken, broccoli, and cheese at Costco, so we still have a lot of that. We also have lettuce, so I'm taking salads to work for lunch. Jarrod made peanut butter so he's having that for lunches. This stretches our leftovers.
Some of our favorite recipes from this month are:
Bacon Broccoli Cheese Pancakes - we make these about once a month. We usually have everything on hand in the fridge or freezer. Both kids LOVE them and they make decent leftovers. We use tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs to make them gluten-free.
Caprese chicken - Again, always have cheese and chicken. We use shredded mozzarella and it was delicious. We also buy balsamic at Costco and it's incredible. The kids didn't eat this, but Jarrod and I LOVED it on lettuce. It would also be delicious with pasta.
Tex-Mex Cheese Fries - This one takes a little bit more time because you have to boil and then bake the potatoes, but it's SO worth it. Leftovers aren't great, but this is still a great meal. I usually make a huge pot of black beans each month in the slow cooker and then freeze them, so we always have black beans on hand.
Green chile enchilada quinoa bake - A winner times 4! Both kids ate this and loved it. I felt good about it because they were getting great protein from the quinoa, yogurt, cheese, and beans, great flavor from the green chillies, and LOTS of spinach! Leftovers are delicious and this makes a ton. Which is great, because it's SO good!
Hash cups - I think this was actually new last month, but it was really good. I think we could have cooked the hash browns longer - they were a little mushy, but it was still good. I loved that everything was mostly cooked when it went in the oven, so the cooktime was low. This is also super versatile and can use a variety of veggies and meats.
King ranch chicken - This was a find by Jarrod and it did not disappoint! I had a recipe from years ago for king ranch chicken, but love that this one specifically called for corn tortillas. We left out the jalapeno and Eloise LOVED it. Wesley picked at the cheese and tortillas. I think he would have been more into it had Jarrod shredded the chicken with the kitchenaid instead of by hand. Wesley's a picky kid and he's not into big chunks of chicken. #crazykid
What are you eating? What's your favorite new recipe?