As of late, I have slacked off to the max on the meal planning. A combination of energy level, disorganization, and a reluctance to acknowledge that my cooking needs have shifted have made a different strategy a must. Instead of developing that new strategy, I’ve just avoided menu planning entirely.
And how’s that working out for me?
Not good. Not good at all. There have been more than a few nights of scrounging around for something suitable for dinner (not always a successful venture).
Being that there are only nine days left in the month, I think I can handle scrabbling together a menu plan for the rest of the month. After some contemplation, here are the factors I’m working with:
- I like to cook, and I enjoy complicated recipes. I don’t mind cleaning up, but at this moment, I have neither the time nor the energy to clean up a massive mess if it’s not for Shabbos prep. So, good-bye fancy recipes, for now.
- We can (and should) do leftovers, and if I can get two nights of dinner out of one day of work, that is fantastic.
- The slow cooker is my new favorite kitchen gadget
- I still need to work on doubling recipes for later use. I also need a second freezer, since the one attached to my fridge is teeny.
- Wiggle room is something I need. This means I’m searching for the balance between planning things out (saves time, money and sanity), and being able to improvise (feeds my creative spirit, takes some pressure off planning and shopping). I’m still working on that part, and any suggestions would be much appreciated.
- I want to switch my shopping day from the beginning of the week (Monday) to the middle of the week (Wednesday), but am firmly entrenched in my current shopping mindset. The idea of shopping for the days after Shabbos is just beyond me at the moment, but I’m working on it.
And so, with those musings in mind, and a determination to use easy, healthy recipes, I give you…the plan.
- Sunday, the 22nd ~ Leftovers from Shabbos
- Monday, the 23rd ~ Zucchini Lentil Soup (Kosher by Design Lightens Up). I love this soup, and will freeze whatever we don’t eat.
- Tuesday, the 24th ~ Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie (from the February issue of Real Simple). This actually a slow cooker recipe, and I’m using chicken leftover from a big batch of chicken soup. I have to kosherize the recipe (it calls for heavy cream with the chicken, a kashrus no-no. I’ll probably make roux from Earth Balance margarine, flour and soy milk).
- Wednesday, the 25th ~ Leftovers from Tuesday!
- Thursday, the 26th ~ Noodles with Sautéed Veggies, which I will try to do in the morning as to reduce dinnertime pressure. We’ll probably also have cheese on the top, ’cause that’s how we roll.
- Shabbos, the 27th & 28th ~ Tuna Croquettes (Kosher by Design Short on Time); Salads (made from random veggies I shall pick up from the store); Heart of Palm; Chicken (I’ve taken to making chicken on the stovetop and simmering it with various sauces and vegetables. It’s working for us for now), Potatoes (cooked with the chicken). Dessert will probably be something I cobble together from the fillo dough in my freezer and strawberry jam in the pantry. And ice cream in case that’s a flop. :)
- Sunday, the 29th ~ Leftovers from Shabbos
- Monday, the 30th ~ Cheese Sandwiches, but awesome ones with lots of yummy veggies, condiments and on multi-grain bread. Cut-up Veggies (red peppers, cucumbers, celery) plus homemade dip for a side. The dip will probably be something along the lines of mayo, olive oil, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley (basically like the dressing in Quick and Kosher’s Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad).
- Tuesday, the 31st ~ Noodles with Pasta Sauce and Salad.
And that’s where we’ll stop for now. I’m hoping to make a monthly plan for February. Will keep you posted.
How often do you tweak your planning? Have you found your rhythm?
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