Meal Plan for March 29-April 4

19105_10103947439991092_6035852761800559667_nNo food photos in this post, so here is a picture of Punc on a hike with M last week to make up for it!

First and foremost, let me admit that I am pitiful after my first attempts at PiYo class yesterday.  As mentioned, I have dabbled in yoga and Pilates, but never tried the new combo class dubbed “PiYo”.  Phew!  There were so. many. squats.  My poor quads and glutes.  I never noticed how many times I stand and sit until today.  It is torture!  I am groaning and hobbling around the house, much to M’s amusement.  Thankfully, I can spend most of today parked on the couch, prepping scripts and paperwork for my company’s spring break camp.

I started to meal plan regularly in January, 2014, in hopes of simplifying my dinner prep and decreasing our grocery budget.  I have been mostly successful in both goals.  When I created my own planner, I included a meal planning section, which has proven to be very successful in prompting me to create a plan each week.  In fact, the meal planning section was the least modified when I updated my planner for 2015.  I am still sitting down each weekend to plan for the week ahead, but I’ve noticed that I am deviating from my plans more and more often.  Instead, we go out or I scrap a more complicated meal and then try to piece together one that feels more simple from whatever we have in the fridge.  Truthfully, most of our deviation stems from laziness.  I’m hoping that documenting my meal plans here will: (a) help me stick to the plan I make, (b) help me notice trends in our meals, and (c) allow me to check on my plans when I forget my planner.

We made a huge Costco run last week. It’s the best place in our area to pick up organic meats and other items (goat cheese, olive oil, Kerrygold butter, etc) for cheap.  So this week, I am starting to make a dent in our jam-packed freezer.  I also want to focus on meals that are easy to prepare: either quick or in the slow cooker, so I don’t have to think too much after my camp days.  My mother’s friend, Joana, also gave my a jar of tomato jam.  I promised I would come up with some recipe inspiration to help her use up her own jar, so I started on that as well.  My breakfasts rotate pretty evenly between egg dishes, oatmeal, and fruit or avocado smoothies, and I usually end up with leftovers from the previous night’s dinners for lunch.  M does not often eat breakfast.  Occasionally, he will take some leftovers for lunch, or go out with his coworkers.  With all that being said, here is my first weekly meal plan:

Sunday: Honey Roasted Whole Chicken with Roasted Cabbage, Potatoes, and Asparagus  This is based on a recipe from my Game of Thrones cookbook.  All the veggies are ones we’ve had hanging around since last week, so it will be an easy way to use them up.  After dinner, I will pick off the rest of the meat to make Chicken Taquitos and Chicken Salad to use for some of my lunches (and our dinners) later this week.  Finally, I’ll freeze the bones to make stock after we use up our current supply of broth.

Monday: Tomato, Egg, and Goat Cheese Tart with Grilled Artichokes  The first dish to use my tomato jam–it will add a really nice kick to the tart and pair nicely with the goat cheese.  Plus, Joana is a pescatarian, so I want the dish to be fish or veggie based so she can recreate it.  Hmmm…now I’m thinking about tomato-jam-glazed shrimp….  Anyways, I’m still deciding what veggies to add to the tart…maybe onions and mushrooms.  Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables.  I’m buying them almost weekly now that they are in season!

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Chili with Cornbread and Artichokes  I’ve been working on finalizing a chili recipe, and this will be another chance to adjust.  M’s mum made us some spectacular chili when we moved into our apartment.  Hers has chickpeas and tomatoes, which were awesome additions!  I’m going to try adding them to my current recipe.  The cornbread is the Old-Fashion Cornbread from Gluten-Free On a Shoestring.  And I definitely have two meals-worth of artichokes.

Wednesday: Chili Mac Skillet with Salad and Peas  One of my quintessential childhood dishes was chili mac served with buttered crackers.  In true childhood fashion, we’d spoon the chili and macaroni onto the crackers, often eating the whole sleeve at one sitting. Now, the investment of so many GF crackers and GF noodles is too much for one dish.  I’ve been working to transform the tastes of my childhood into a more wallet-friendly dish that I hope to share soon.

Thursday: Brie & Bacon & Tomato Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Salad  One of my favorite flavor combos is tomato jam + bacon.  Sorry Joana, this one would not be for you.  But we’ve had a wedge of brie since last week and these sandwiches will be easy, but indulgent at the end of a long week.

Friday: Chicken Taquitos (or Chicken Salad or BBQ Chicken)  More or less, whatever is leftover, after my week’s lunches, from the chicken roast on Sunday.  I’ll pair it up with any unused vegetables in order to clean out the fridge.

Saturday: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, French Fries, and Salad  I’m working to incorporate more meat-free meals into our week.  I’ve noticed that I have been relying far too much on grains and/or dairy to make up for the lack of meat, so this dish is the perfect way to break up that trend.

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