Prep and Plan

Whew. Today was my first day back at work, after a very relaxing break. The transition back went pretty well, and I think the preparation and planning we put into our meals helped.

I like having a meal plan for the week, but I also try to keep the plan somewhat flexible. You never know what everyone will be in the mood for on any given day, so it’s nice to have meal choices that we can easily switch around, plus a few extra easy reserve meals in the wings.

Here’s the plan we made for this week (along with our stars so far!):

  • Sushi rolls (from DK Children’s Cookbook by Katharine Ibbs) – 1 star
  • Chicken Satay with Rice (from Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld)
  • Crispy Parmesan Pork with red potatoes (from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine) – 4 stars
  • Pasta with Pea Pesto (Double Delicious)
  • Noodle Soup (DK Children’s Cookbook)
  • Meatless Meatball Subs (Every Day with Rachael Ray) – 4 stars

We’ve already moved the order around, based on ingredients we wanted to use sooner in the week.

We did the shopping on Sunday, and some of the prep work on Sunday and Monday, when I didn’t have to work. I used the PDF I made, but didn’t end up doing my shopping list on that form.

Instead, the shopping list went into Evernote via my laptop (still divided by sections of the store). I like Evernote because any list I type on my laptop automatically transfers to the app on my phone. I was able to easily use the list on my phone when we got to the store – no wrinkly sticky-notes to lose in my purse.

As I mentioned before, we’ve found some interesting cookbooks for this week. These are the three that we’re using this week:

DK Children’s Cookbook by Katharine Ibbs

Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

EveryDay with Rachael Ray – October 2011 Issue

Earlier this school year we did about a month of make-ahead freezer meal ingredients, from Every Day with Rachael Ray (September 2011). Almost all of the recipes worked well for our family, so they’re ones that I’ll repeat in the next few months. Those recipes would be a little harder to modify for a vegetarian diet, since most were based on roasted pulled pork and roasted chicken, but I still think her magazine is worth checking out, for the variety of flavors and spices she uses in her recipes.

We’re also working on implementing some of Jessica Seinfeld’s ideas for adding pureed veggies to various meals. We had cooked some of her recipes from her first cookbook before Bella was born, so I was excited to see her second book on the library shelf. Sam is most intrigued by the Mint Chip Ice Cream made with a secret green ingredient – we’ll share how that turns out soon!

How is meal planning going at your house? Are you able to make a plan and stick with it? Are there certain cookbooks or menu-planning services that have been useful to you?

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