We are off to another week here at the Frugal Upstate Village Homestead. It’s a relatively typical week for us. . . if such a thing actually exists. As usual we are busy with the daily activities of life. Kids have various clubs meeting and rehearsals for the school play. Hubs has his regular meetings. Besides my homemaking and blogging, I’ve got the elder care duties/visits I make during the week, errands to run, and I’m in a local community theater play that has me out of the house in the evenings 4 nights a week.
Another meal planning challenge to add into the mix is that Yankee Bill and I have both gone on the new version of Weight Watchers–Freestyle. Would you all be interested in hearing more about that? If so, please comment at the end of the post. Otherwise I’ll try not to bore you all with it.
There is a lot going on this week, here’s what I’m thinking about when it comes to meal planning:
1. I’m trying really hard to work all my “in town” (which is 30 minutes away) errands and elder visits onto a single day. When it works, it’s a long, long day. . . and I don’t feel like cooking when I get home. Plus this week that same day happens to be when I’m meeting a girlfriend out for dinner. So that day at the very least I need a either slow cooker meal or an electric pressure cooker meal. This week I also have a meeting with the lady who arranges all the Cooperative Extension canning classes–she wants me to speak with her at an upcoming small farm and homestead conference. So I’m getting together with her one day in late afternoon to plan our session. That will need to be a day when dinner is also ready to go. On top of all that as I mentioned above I’ve got play rehearsals from 6:30-8:30 four nights. So even though I’ll be home to cook on most of those nights I’ll need to have it all done before I leave.
2. Saturday night I don’t need to make dinner as the entire family is heading to a friend’s house for a party. I’ve got the teens heading to several meetings, clubs and work shifts–I’ve kind of given up on that as a planning factor. I make dinner and either they are here or they eat afterwards. . . but I do try to make sure supper is done early enough so they can eat before they head out for anything starting later than 6pm.
3. In the fridge I have leftover turkey meatball marinara sauce, some turkey ham, potatoes and carrots I cooked up last week, cooked hamburgers & Kielbasa (leftover from the guys ice fishing extravaganza this weekend) and some salad fixings. (I’ve also got taco flavored lentils–but those are for a Weight Watchers friendly “taco salad” lunch during the week). In the breadbox I’ve got about half a skillet worth of corn bread that also should be used.
4. I still have a good amount of beef, venison and pork in my freezer from the bulk meat purchases I made this year. I also stocked up on some frozen chicken breasts and ground turkey last week. In the pantry I have a good supply of homemade tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, various dried beans, rice etc.
With all that in mind here is what I came up with:
Monday: Cheeseburgers with Coleslaw
Yankee Bill had a bunch of guys up to the lake to go ice fishing this weekend. I had defrosted some ground venison and ground beef and mixed them together with some homemade “Montreal” style steak seasoning and made a dozen or so burgers. Several of the other guys brought stuff to throw on the grill, so a good half dozen burgers came home again. I’ll just warm them up and throw them on some toasted buns.
I have a little bit of cabbage left that I’ll mix with carrot and daikon radish (that I bought intending to make a particular kind of pickle that I haven’t gotten to yet) and make a cole slaw to go with. I kind of want to make french fries too but probably will resist.
This is my beef and venison meal for the week.
Tuesday: Split Pea Soup and Pan Toasted Cornbread
This is a meal that can go into the slow cooker and just bubble away all day. I’ll use a ham bone I’ve been saving in the freezer for flavor, along with onion, garlic and carrot.
To kind of jazz up the cornbread, I’ll take the wedges, slice them, spread them with butter, a bit of garlic salt and pepper, and then toast them in a dry cast iron skillet. That should give them a bit of “Texas Toast” type flavor and add back some moisture.
This is my meatless meal for the week.
Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatball Bake, Green Salad and Homemade Applesauce
There is a lot of leftover spaghetti sauce with meatballs (made from ground turkey mixed with sausage spice I bought at the local bulk food store). I will just make up some spaghetti, toss it all together and sprinkle some cheese on top in the morning. Then I can refrigerate it until I get home from my afternoon meeting and just toss it into the oven to bake. I’ll pair it with a salad and I’ll make a homemade chunky applesauce from some of the apples that are getting a tad bit wilty in the fruit bowl.
Thursday: Dijon Salmon, Rice and Sauteed Carrots
There are some nice Salmon filets that my friend gave me in the freezer (Her step father loves to fish & has plenty, so I traded them some venison steaks for the fish. It’s a win-win). I make a yogurt mustard sauce to spread over the fish then I bake them in foil packets. Just simple rice & carrots as side dishes. Simple but tasty.
This is my fish meal for the week.
Friday: Teriyaki Turkey Burgers with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
The new Weight Watchers Freestyle plan has ground turkey breast (99% fat free) as a zero point food, so you’ll be seeing us eat a lot of it until our weight gets down where we want it to be. I’m looking for variety in the way we are serving it. These burgers looked like they would fit the bill. You make a burger with teriyaki and spices, then you top it with a grilled (or in my case broiled) ring of pineapple and a slice of cheese. I’ll oven roast broccoli and cauliflower as a side.
Saturday: Party Time!
We are going to a friends for a winter blah’s party. I will make some points friendly snacks to bring–probably some kind of turkey meatballs and a fruit platter.
Sunday: Garlic Pork Balsamico, Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Green Beans
These pan roasted pork chops are cooked with a lot of garlic and a balsamic vinegar sauce that’s reduced in the pan. I’ll mash some potatoes myself and use fat free yogurt instead of milk and reduce the amount of butter I usually use. Hopefully that will taste pretty good. Finally, I tried a method of green bean preservation where you freeze them raw (I know, the sacrilege of not blanching) and then you stir fry or saute them straight from frozen when you use them. We’ll see how that works.
This is my pork meal for the week.
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .