I feel like everything has been in utter chaos for the last half year, and my life shows it. I feel like everything has had a “fly by the seat of your pants” quality to it. My house is a mess, my business is behind, and I’ve been throwing together meals at the last minute with no kind of plan.
That’s about to change. One big source of chaos (Eldercare for my Dad) was resolved a couple months ago and I’m starting to catch up a bit on everything that fell behind as I dealt with that. School is getting ready to start again (we don’t go back until after Labor Day) and my days will have a bit more of a pattern to them. It’s time to get my life, family, house, and meals back under control. So let’s start with a Meal Plan!
1. We just got back from a week in the mountains on Saturday, and then I spent Monday driving down and back from NYC for an event. While Yankee Bill is back to work, the kids are still home on summer break…but sports have started up so I’ve got both kids going in different directions with different drop off and pick up times. Thank goodness that I work from home!
2. I have appointments in town on Wednesday and will be out and about all day, so not much cooking time that day. Luckily there isn’t as much going on in the evenings this week as there usually is–Yankee Bill has pool one night but that’s basically it. There is a wedding we are attending on Saturday, so the kids will be eating at home but Yankee Bill & I won’t.
3. I’ve got some things in the fridge I want/need to use up. There are two pork chops, cooked greens and some scalloped tomatoes left over from the weekend. There were beans, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes from the garden that were picked last week and really need to be used from the fridge. There is also a poor lonely store bought pie crust that has been hanging out in there. In the cupboard I have a bottle of Orange Sauce I was given that I’d really like to get out of there as well.
4. Out in the garden there are two kinds of summer squash, more beans, more cucumbers, more tomatoes, chard, onions, dill, chamomile (not really for a meal but I need to pick and dry it) and possibly some broccoli (although that may have gone to seed)
Taking all that into account here is my game plan:
Monday: Dinner at Grandma’s
I was out of town so dinner was Yankee Bill’s responsibility. Somehow he talked my mom into cooking.
Tuesday: Pork Soup with Dinner Rolls
Soup is one of my favorite ways to use up a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The two pork chops and several large spoonfuls of scalloped tomatoes weren’t enough to feed my whole family, but add some chicken broth, shelled beans from the garden, extra onion. . . next thing you know you’ve got a soup that will feed everyone and have leftovers to boot. I just tossed everything into the crockpot on low in the morning and have let it cook together all day. Finally I threw the ingredients from my Homemade Dinner Roll Kit into my bread machine, and when it was done I just had to pop it in the oven and bake in just a little over an hour. Yum!
This is my soup meal for the week.
Wednesday: Zucchini Parmesan, Orzo and Broccoli
Well, Eggplant Parmesan is eggplant sliced, breaded fried (or oven baked) and then layered in a casserole with spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. I don’t have eggplant, but I DO have zucchini so I decided to try it out. It worked pretty well (although I still like the fried eggplant better). I served it with orzo (that I tossed with some garlic powder, butter and salt) and a half used bag of frozen broccoli I had in the freezer.
This is my meatless meal.
Thursday: Cheese, Tomato and Greens Quiche with Fire and Ice Salad
I have about a cup of cooked mixed greens in the fridge that really need to be used. I’ll combine that (well drained of course) with tomato slices in the store bought pie crust, make my egg/milk/cheese/spice mixture for the quiche and then pour it in. Bake and supper is almost done. I’ll just add the Fire and Ice salad, which is a nice easy marinated salad of cucumber, tomato and onion that I put together ahead of time and let marinate for a few days in the fridge.
This is another meatless meal.
Friday: Orange Chicken over Rice with Roasted Green Beans
I’ve got that bottled orange sauce to use up, so I’ll chunk up and brown some chicken in the morning and add it to the slow cooker with the sauce. I’ll make sure a meals worth of green beans are trimmed and de-stringed. To get dinner on the table I’ll just have to get the rice going in my rice cooker, and then I’ll toss the beans with some oil, salt & pepper and roast them in a hot oven.
Yankee Bill and I are attending a wedding, so the kids can eat leftovers, make themselves a sandwich or scrounge in the pantry for Ramen, Mac ‘n Cheese, Ravioli or some such.
Sunday: Venison Loin with Gravy, Grilled Squash, and Mashed Potatoes
Venison loin is so tender and flavorful you don’t really need to do much to it. I will just salt and pepper it and cook it in my cast iron skillet with some butter (you have to know How To Cook Venison–it needs the fat!). I’ll use the drippings, a bullion cube (beef) and some water to make a quick gravy. For sides we’ll toss slices of summer squash with a bit of sesame oil, hot chili oil, salt pepper and maybe a dash of soy sauce and vinegar and then cook it on the grill. Finally I’ll just use up some of the boxed mashed potatoes in the cupboard for a side.
This is my venison meal for the week.
Well–I didn’t get a fish meal, a beef meal or a bean meal in this week. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, out!
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .