Weekly Meal Plan: 11/21 – 11/27

Thanksgiving salad

Thanksgiving week is upon us leading into approximately 5 weeks through the new year of FAR too many opportunities for over indulgence.  Ugh… On one hand I love this time of year for the family time together, traditions, etc., BUT the struggle to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid my pants getting snug stresses me out.  Such a balancing act…

ANYWAY!  It looks like I am only cooking one night this week – aside from Thanksgiving!  WOWZA!

Friday: I have six 9-10 year olds coming over after school through dinner to prepare for 4th Grade Kids Night Out.  They are planning manis and various other “make-overs”.  Oh boy… We’ve taken the last two Fridays off from pizza, but I think this evening definitely calls for pizza night.  I’ll pick something else out for myself at Whole Foods.

Saturday: Dinner out TBD.  Unless entertaining I’m opposed to staying in on a Saturday night and cooking. ;)

Sunday: Cranberry Maple Orange Pork Chops using the pork chops that came in my monthly meat delivery from Walden Local Meat.  After reading the recipe instructions and comments in the reviews, I’m already planning some changes. ;) If it works out well, I’ll post a recipe review.

Monday: My 9yo and I will be on our own.  Perfect opportunity for eggs for dinner!  Last week we had eggs for dinner on Tuesday and I made mine with caramelized onions and tomatoes.  It was great!  I really enjoy caramelized onions.  I think I’ll make that again.

Tuesday: My bestie will be in town for the night on her way from Brooklyn to NH for Thanksgiving.  What an unexpected treat!  I’m picking her up at the train station and taking her for dinner for a good catch up session.

Wednesday: We head to CT for Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law typically gets pizza for all on the eve of the holiday for the simplicity.  I usually bring something else for me to eat.

Thursday:  THANKSGIVING! We all contribute things to the meal.  Typically I provide a salad (which I serve with the appetizers so I can have something to eat and avoid the cheese trays) and my mom’s version of mashed potatoes (which is by no means healthy as it includes lots of butter, cream cheese and sour cream).  This year I’m planning to make this salad which looks awesome: Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate & Candied Yams.

Friday – Sunday: We head to VT for a fun weekend of getting ski equipment for the upcoming ski season, seeing a good friend’s new baby and new home, visiting with other friends and family and Sunday we cut down our Christmas tree and bring it home with us.  I love this weekend in VT!

SCHOOL DAY BREAKFAST & LUNCH: The girls only have school Monday and Tuesday, but I’ll make this recipe and either freeze what is left over or bring it along for our trip.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

White Bean, Ham & Spinach Soup

ham white bean spinach

I signed up to make a meal for a family tonight through the Medfield Neighborhood Brigade which “establishes and mobilizes community-based networks of volunteers to provide immediate and free assistance to neighbors experiencing sudden crises such as cancer treatment, illness, accident, or other tragedy.” It’s a great organization with many chapters across Massachusetts.

The individual who is ill in the family I made the meal for is having difficulty swallowing so I thought a hearty soup would be appropriate.  I remembered a soup my friend Debra made for me years ago: White Bean, Ham & Spinach Soup.  I had a copy of  the recipe printed out from an email she sent me in 2009!  I asked if she knew where it came from to give me a link to it, but she said it dated back even further than 2009 and couldn’t recall it’s original source.  So, given I made some changes to it (of course ;) ), I created a page for the recipe on my site for your reference.

This is a great recipe for this time of year when it’s getting a little chilly.  It would also be good for leftover Easter ham.

 

Recipe Review: Jenny’s Sweet Potato Hash

sweet pot cubes

My Reebok CrossFit Medfield friend Jenny introduced this recipe to me during the 4-Week Fitness & Nutrition Challenge I facilitated in October.  It got rave reviews from participants, but I had yet to try it myself until last night.  It got a thumbs up from everyone at our house!  It takes 30-45 minutes to make between prep and cooking.  You could cut that time down if you cube the potatoes the night prior or in the morning.  Jenny says it freezes well too!

I think it’s an excellent recipe for the cooler weather we are headed into.  Brr…..

Weekly Meal Plan: 11/14 – 11/20

rustic tian

Only four official nights of cooking next week!

Friday: No big Friday plans again this week.  Last week I made dinner rather than getting the typical Friday night pizza and I preferred not being tempted by the pizza.  So, I’m cooking again this week!  I am going to grill steaks (from my Walden Local Meat delivery), sweet potatoes and some wilted greens on the side.

Saturday: We’ll be eating out somewhere.  Maybe dinner and a movie???  TBD!

Sunday: I was supposed to make Rustic Zucchini Tian last week, but 1) I needed to switch things around due to something that came up and 2) I realized this is not ideal for mid-week due to how long it takes (baking for approx. an hour after assembly).  This is a recipe for when you have a little more time! I am going to purchase a rotisserie chicken and add the chicken into the mixture before baking to make it a meal rather than a side.

Monday: I’m finally trying Jenny’s Sweet Potato Hash! Jenny is a Reebok CrossFit Medfield pal.  She shared this recipe with the participants of the 4-week fitness and nutrition challenge I facilitated in October.  Everyone really loved it, but I didn’t try it yet.  I’m looking forward to it! ;)

Tuesday: Tuesday night dinners are going to be a little bit of a scramble for a while since my 12yo really wanted to play indoor soccer and she also has dance.  So, I’m thinking of leftovers and/or eggs.

Wednesday: I signed up to make a meal through the Neighborhood Brigade which is an organization that arranges to deliver meals to families/individuals experiencing some kind of medical issue.  The description for this meal request mentioned the individual was having difficulty swallowing.  I am making a Ham, White Bean & Spinach soup that I’ve made before and originally had at Debra’s.  I asked her where the recipe originated to try and track down a link, but she isn’t sure.  So, if you have a burning desire to try it, send me a note. :) I’ll also drop off the soup with a loaf of bread from Blue Moon Bagel Co.  I’ll make Pamela’s brand GF corn muffins for our family.

Thursday: The weekly night of non-meal planning when the husband is out playing soccer.  We’ll see what’s still kicking around and wing it!

SCHOOL DAY BREAKFAST & LUNCH:

I’m always on the hunt for new GF school lunch options for my 12yo and my 9yo just likes to try new things for breakfast and lunch!

This week I’m trying: Paleo Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Last week I planned to make two recipes: one was new (Almond Date Bars) and the second (Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars) I’ve made before.  I only ended up making the Almond Date Bars.  I thought they were OK.  I didn’t love the dried apples component and the crispy cereal didn’t stay very crispy.  I’ll make the Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars for next week.

Recipe Review: Quinoa & Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

quinoa stuffed peppers

I made this recipe on Monday.  I thought it would be an interesting alternative to the typical stuffed pepper AND I thought I would try to embrace Meatless Monday. ;) In addition to my family of four, my mother-in-law was with us for dinner too.  Four of us liked it (including my 9yo), but not surprisingly, my picky 12yo turned her nose up at it and asked why there was no ground turkey or beef in it.  Sigh…

I wasn’t planning on posting a recipe review because I was thinking it’s not a typical family-friendly meal, but the leftover options have really grown on my through the week and I changed my mind (It’s my blog and I can do that if I want to!).  When packing up the leftovers Monday I decided to dice up the bell pepper and mix it right in with the quinoa and black bean mixture.  This week I have enjoyed it that way for lunch and today I also mixed in some leftover chicken (YUM!).  I think you could make this recipe as a side with some chicken (skip the pepper stuffing and dice it into the mix instead) or enjoy it as a meatless casserole.

My adaptations to the recipe: I excluded the jalapeños (too spicy), cheese (too cheesy), cilantro (requires purchasing 3x the amount needed in the recipe) and red pepper flakes (again, too spicy).

Recipe Review: Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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We tried this recipe on Friday night and everyone liked it.  Aside from the time it takes to bake a potato, the rest of the recipe is is really quick to make.  The recipe originated from PaleOmg which is a great site to check out if you haven’t yet.  Her blog posts are pretty amusing and I’ve found some good recipes on her site.

Of course, I couldn’t make the recipe exactly as stated :) and made the following changes:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 sweet potatoes (or you can miss out on the tremendous amount of nutrients and yumminess and use regular potatoes instead)
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lb of ground turkey or beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 7 oz. jar of tomato paste (or equivalent sized can)
  • 5-6 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
 INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Wash and put the potatoes in the oven to bake (using whatever method you like best).  I like to microwave for 5 min. first, wrap in foil and then bake at 375 for 30-45 min.
  2. While potatoes are baking add olive oil, chopped onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add ground meat and continue to sauté until meat is no longer pink.
  4. Add garlic powder, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add handfuls of spinach in batches and stir them in as they wilt from the heat.
  6. When the potatoes are done cooking, cut open and mash insides up with a fork and add the meat mixture to the top.

Weekly Meal Plan: 11/7 – 11/13

turkey stuffed sweet pot

Last weekend of soccer season!  While I love to watch the girls play, I do enjoy a little less chaos on Saturdays.

Friday: No big Friday plans and I don’t feel like being tempted by the rest of the family eating pizza, so I’m making Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.  Instead of ground turkey, I will be using ground beef from my monthly meat delivery from Walden Local Meat. I’ll also be substituting olive oil for the bacon fat and I’m going to add tomato paste to the turkey mixture.

Saturday: I’m co-hosting a local fundraiser and my co-host and I, along with our husbands, are going out to dinner beforehand.

Sunday: We are headed to dinner at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.  We are all looking forward to seeing their 3 children we see far less than we would like.  I think they are throwing some things on the grill and I will be along Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Cranberries (note the reference to a variation with the butternut squash at bottom of recipe).

Monday: I’m embracing Meatless Monday with Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers (Don’t worry Wini, if you are reading this, I will be excluding the jalapeños!)

Tuesday: We have about 20 minutes between an indoor soccer game and my 12yo getting picked up for dance to squeeze in dinner.  I’m planning on scrambled eggs!  There aren’t many options quicker and more nutritious than eggs for dinner.  Don’t worry, of course there will be a vegetable too!

Wednesday: Rustic Zucchini Tian is a recipe I’ve made before (I believe Debra first shared it with me).  I am going to purchase a rotisserie chicken and add the chicken into the mixture before baking to make it a meal rather than a side.

Thursday: The weekly night of non-meal planning when the husband is out playing soccer.  We’ll see what’s still kicking around and wing it!

SCHOOL DAY BREAKFAST & LUNCH:

I’m always on the hunt for new GF school lunch options for my 12yo and my 9yo just likes to try new things!  The recipes we tried last week were “OK”.  We ate them, but I don’t expect to make them again.

The two recipes I decided to make this week are somewhat similar, but oh well!

Almond Date Bars – This is a new recipe

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars – These I have made before and we really liked them.