Back to Life, Back to the Menu Plan

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Heather says:

Back to life, back to reality, not the whole song, just that one line is on repeat in my head. In the last 45 days I’ve been all over the country attending work events, conferences, meeting bloggers for my day job, and visiting family. While I had some fantastic meals (and wine) on these work trips, I am ready to eat a bit healthier. Currently in the fridge I have almost half a box of produce to use up and more to pick up tomorrow.

Last night I made a sausage and squash soup, it was quite possibly the ugliest thing I have ever eaten, but it tasted good. I am just glad that everyone trusted me to just try it, don’t look at it. I am quite certain that soup will be the butt of jokes for years to come.

It happens.

Menu Plan Monday

After a long couple of years, I’m finally in a place where I have good lighting, a nice kitchen set-up, and I have some mental bandwidth to spare. I’m excited to break out my camera and seriously begin shooting pictures again. As I’m able, these recipes will be linked to the versions I use for this site. In the interim, I’m linking to my starting points.

  • Monday -Squash and Zucchini Carbonara: Place holder Carbonara Sauce Recipe  I’ll be tossing the sauce with the sauteed vegetables
  • Tuesday – Chicken tacos in lettuce wraps with a radish slaw – lime, honey, and cilantro in place of the normal shredded lettuce
  • Wednesday – Lentil burgers with tzatziki, vegetables marinated in homemade Italian dressing
  • Thursday – Vegetable fajitas – don’t tell the kids, I’m just not going to add any meat – guacamole 
  • Friday – Hamburgers and sweet potato fries
  • Saturday – Some kind of grilled meat on skewers, over rice, with lots of vegetables… I’ll get it figured out
  • Sunday – Clean Out Refrigerator Night

What are you having this week?

Do you need a printable to start planning your menu?

Have you tried anything new lately? How did it turn out? More interestingly, have you had any failures? What did you learn?

Do I ever stop asking questions?

Why would I?

Quick Use Up The CSA, More Is Coming or Menu Monday 30

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Heather says

For years I’ve wanted to join Pinckney’s Produce, our local CSA. This year the stars aligned and there was a pick up point close enough to my weekly route that I could make it work. Oh happy day, right? Well, life is life and I’ve been out of town* pretty much since the CSA shares started happening. Pick up #3 happens tomorrow and there is almost half a box of produce in the fridge.

The good news? Food doesn’t really go to waste arond here with six people.

Menu Plan Monday

My gut says that this week’s produce will be similar, with maybe less lettuce and more bok choy. This menu is subject to change based on life.

CORN – Clean Out Refrigerator Night
**riffing on this with different spices, no Thai Peanut Sauce tonight

Next week, I head to Denver, but after that things will be back to *ahem* normal.

What are you planning this week? Here’s a free menu printable to help make that chore a little easier and if you have no clue where to start with menu planning, I have help for that, too.

Menu planning saves time, energy, and money. You don't have to wait until you are an accomplished cook to start. This is the couch 2 5k of feeding yourself healthy, budget conscious food.

*It was a wonderful trip, I got to go two work events / conferences, one in Salt Lake City and the other in Phoenix. Rather than fly home on a red eye and right back out, I rented a car and meandered down via Zion National Park and Flagstaff. I took some scenic driving tours, met relatives for the first time, had a glorious solo picnic in a hotel room and just generally enjoyed a little bit of down time.  If you like Instagram, here’s my stream.

Zion National Park This country really is beautiful and I am so glad I had a chance to explore a corner of it.


Menu Monday 29

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Menu Plan Monday

Heather says

Ah, Spring  when a young man’s fancy when Heather’s schedule explodes and she wonders if cloning technology could please step things up a bit.

This week I’ll be headed to Atlanta, I’m speaking at WordCamp and I’ll be helping out in the Happiness Bar (think Apple Store version  not martini) at least for the hour(s) I’m assigned and more likely as long as they’ll let me be useful. It’s my time speaking on a topic not grief related since everything fell apart and I’m so glad to feel like I’m hitting my stride once again.

That said over the next few weeks expect a few gaps in the menu plans.

How did last week work out? Did you stick to your plan or fall off the wagon. I didn’t stick to the plan, but we didn’t resort to the drive through, so I’ll call it a sorta success.

What are you looking forward to making? Are you trying anything new?

Monday – L/O Chicken Gumbo over rice 

Easily Make Gluten-FrAee Chicken Gumbo

Tuesday – Buffalo Chicken Tacos and Salads

Wednesday – Meatloaf,  Macaroni, Collard Greens

Easy Recipe and Technique for Making Meatloaf


Macaroni and Cheese - Stove Top


Thursday – CORN – Clean Out Refrigerator Night

This probably means I’ll be making breakfast skillets or maybe Mustgo Soup, either way, if it’s leftover it needs to get used up so it won’t need to get thrown out when I get back on Monday.

Those of you who read this far? I have a little treat for you.

A meal planning printable / shopping list creator. I find it easier to create the shopping list as I plan. Let me know what you think.

Menu Monday 28

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Heather says

Let’s kick off with an important Home-Ec 101 housekeeping note: I selected the winner of the $100 Amazon Gift Card via random drawing and notified (her?) yesterday morning. I am waiting for a response. If the email address starting with kweiss looks familiar, please check your spam folder, it’s important.

And back to your regularly scheduled, if a bit late, Menu Monday.

Last week was a very busy week with a fair amount of overtime.. On Friday I decided instead of going the Spanish and tapenade route that I needed to just be creative and made fish tacos while we binged on House of Cards Season 3.


I’ll make them again this week just to confirm the recipes / technique, but it’s been requested to go on the frequent flyer program and it will. Thankfully fish tacos really aren’t a labor intensive meal: I used grouper, but any firm white fish will work, Chef Prudhomme’s Red Fish Magic seasoning, a thin coat of olive oil, and baked until just done. The shredded cabbage was just tossed with a tiny bit of honey, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. What made the tacos though was the sauce. I used just a couple of canned chipotle peppers, just like I do to make chipotle mayo, equal parts mayo and sour cream, a minced garlic clove, a squirt of lime and a little cilantro.

We may or may not have eaten ourselves into food comas. Which completely defeated the point of abstaining from meat, but sometimes after a very long week, good food and better company is the answer. Unfortunately, stress is delicious.

What’s on the menu for this week?

  • Monday – clean out refrigerator night As soon as I get off from work, we’ve got some yard work to tackle. As annoying as Daylight Savings is, I’m thankful for the brighter evenings.
  • Tuesday – Sausage Peppers and Onions over Cheese Grits
  • Wednesday – French Toast, Bacon, Fresh Fruit
  • Thursday – Pork Chops with Raspberry Sauce, Okra, Rice and Peas
  • Friday – Fish Tacos (you’re not surprised, right?)
  • Saturday – Salads with steak – I’m craving red meat, I’m thinking I’ll do blackened beef tips, but I reserve the right to completely change direction
  • Sunday – we’re attending a thing with food, yay!

So tell me, Home-Eccers, what did you do that worked last week? What failed (my ability to stick to the plan).

Did you try anything new? Will you be trying anything new this week?


If you’re just trying to get started with menu planning, this series may help:

Menu planning saves time, energy, and money. You don't have to wait until you are an accomplished cook to start. This is the couch 2 5k of feeding yourself healthy, budget conscious food.


Menu Monday 27

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Heather says

I’m writing the menu this week from a hotel room in Charlotte, I was up here for business. I’ll be packing up and heading home shortly and when I get there, the minions will want to be fed.

Having a menu plan makes life easier. Tonight’s dinner is simple, fast, and flexible enough that if I’m missing an ingredient I can substitute with another. While I can’t know how I’ll feel on a given day, I can take a look at the calendar and know if I’m going to be short on time and when life throws a curve ball, we can suck it up and have sandwiches, or as the kids have dubbed it a snacky dinner.

What does your week look like? Will you be trying anything new?

How to menu plan

  • Monday Sausage Skillet, I’ll be substituting in kale and bell peppers in lieu of the cabbage in the recipe.
    Sausage Skillet
  • Tuesday Taco Tuesday- on Tuesday! + salads
  • Wednesday – Brinner or Breakfast for Dinner Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Pancakes, we’ll ruin that healthy with some bacon, and fresh fruit
  • Thursday  – Chicken Picante, I need to redo the pictures, but the recipe is solid (in other words, please don’t pin this one, yet)
  • Friday -Spanish baked cod with olive tapenade, roasted brussels sprouts (no bacon this time)
  • Saturday – To Be Determined it may be clean out the refrigerator night (CORN) or it could be a recipe I need to photograph, it’s going to depend on my energy and enthusiasm, I think a stuffed flank steak might fit the bill.
  • Sunday – Chili rubbed honey pork chops, rice and peas, roasted broccoli