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Meal Planning: Reconciling Convenience and Good Eating Habits

Posted By Jessica Fisher On August 14, 2011 @ 2:12 pm In Meal Planning | 41 Comments

So, last Sunday as soon as I hit publish on this post [4], I pulled that turkey from the freezer, all 13.5 pounds of it. Last night, it was still icy. Not sure what gives! But, this morning, before I’d even had my coffee, I popped that bird in the oven. Several hours later and much goop on my hands, I have 10 cups of chopped turkey meat, 2 sliced turkey breasts for sandwiches, and a full crockpot of homemade stock cooking. Yeah for turkey!

Since I didn’t have the stress of a big Turkey Dinner to serve — we’d already had lunch — I was more patient with the carving and got a lot more meat off it than I might normally have done. I’ll make chili, soups, enchiladas, and maybe a pot pie [5] with the chopped meat. But, for now, it’s chilling in the fridge while I decide.

Turkey is rarely photogenic. Just saying.

Now that that’s off my list, I can move on to our meal plan for the week. Yesterday I mentioned how we’re at a crossroads [6] of convenience, quantity, quality, and cost, as regards to the foods we eat.

  • My family’s appetites are growing and I will need to be more creative in keeping snacks on hand and in serving “enough” food at mealtimes.
  • I don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, so I’m strategizing my freezer cooking this month so that we have a lot of ready-to-eat choices.
  • While I am leaning more toward unprocessed foods, I just can’t do it all and I don’t want to — or feel that I have to. I’m trying to be wise about the store conveniences I do buy. Hello, Trader Joe’s?

I am in the process of reconciling convenience with good eating habits. As such I need to step up my game a bit when it comes to make ahead meals. That pantry challenge last month [7] made me a little lazy. I see a big freezer cooking day in my future, sales on meat or not.

I also have a kitchen list to work my way through this fine Sunday afternoon:

  1. Clean out the fridge.
  2. Prep veggies for snacking.
  3. Prep cheese sticks and cracker cuts and grated cheddar from a large block.
  4. Bake cookies and zucchini bread and zucchini cake.
  5. Roast poblano chiles.
  6. Make more granola.
  7. Make waffle mix.

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me. But I know that if I do it tonight or tomorrow, I’ll have a smoother week when it comes to feeding the hobbits that call me Mom.

(Edited to add: I didn’t realize I’d actually do this today. But, I’m doing it, so I thought I would chart my progress. I’m thinking this is the way to go for Sunday afternoons/evenings.)

Here’s my meal plan for the week:

Breakfasts

served with fruit

Smoothies [8]
Fried Eggs [9] and Toast
Yogurt and Toppings [10] (like honey, maple syrup, granola, nuts, or fruit)
Rice or Oatmeal with Toppings [11]
Cinnamon Zucchini Waffles [12]
Maple Granola [13]
Pancakes [14]

Lunches

served with fruit and veggies

Sunbutter Sandwiches
Grilled Cheese [15]/Quesadillas [16]
Cheese and Crackers [17]
Sandwich Bar [18]
DIY Pasta Salad [19]
Beans and Rice [20]
Salads for me

Dinners

served with a green salad

Turkey Sandwiches
Turkey Taquitos [21]
Pasta with Red Sauce [22]
Meatloaf [23] and Rice Pilaf [24]
Grilled Fish and Israeli Couscous
Poblano Enchiladas [25]
take-out (let’s be real)

Snacks

Farm-style Oatmeal Cookies [26] (egg-free)
Trader Joe’s Dunkers
Veggies and Trader Joe’s Hummus (yes, I know I could make homemade)
Crackers and Cheese
Sunbutter and Celery
Zuccchini Bread [27]
Chocolate Zucchini Cake [28]

How do YOU reconcile a busy life and good eating habits?


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URL to article: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/meal-planning-reconciling-convenience-and-good-eating-habits.html

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[3] my free seasonal newsletter: http://eepurl.com/q47Vb

[4] this post: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/meal-planning-turkey-in-the-summer.html

[5] pot pie: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/09/ultimate-recipe-swap-favorite-fall.html

[6] we’re at a crossroads: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/grocery-geek-at-a-crossroads.html

[7] pantry challenge last month: http://goodcheapeats.com/2011/07/pantry-challenge-check-in-final-week-or-not/

[8] Smoothies: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/diy-smoothie-bar.html

[9] Fried Eggs: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/10/how-to-fry-egg.html

[10] Yogurt and Toppings: http://goodcheapeats.com/2011/03/maple-yogurt-parfait/

[11] Oatmeal with Toppings: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/03/ultimate-recipe-swap-whole-grains.html

[12] Cinnamon Zucchini Waffles: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/cinnamon-zucchini-waffles-urs-zucchini.html

[13] Maple Granola: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/03/maple-granola-with-oats-nuts-and-seeds/

[14] Pancakes: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/01/pancakes-easy-pantry-staple/

[15] Grilled Cheese: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/10/grilled-cheese-sandwiches-for-busy-nights/

[16] Quesadillas: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/10/easy-quesadillas-busy-night-dinners-an-ultimate-recipe-swap.html

[17] Cheese and Crackers: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/06/snacky-lunch-its-whats-on-menu.html

[18] Sandwich Bar: http://goodcheapeats.com/2011/08/creating-a-sandwich-bar-on-a-budget/

[19] DIY Pasta Salad: http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/04/diy-pasta-salad/

[20] Beans and Rice: http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/06/good-cheap-eat-beans-and-rice/

[21] Taquitos: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/08/beef-taquitos/

[22] Red Sauce: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/04/homemade-croutons-shredded-chicken-and-red-sauce.html

[23] Meatloaf: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/05/meatloaf-on-the-grill.html

[24] Rice Pilaf: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/11/simple-rice-pilaf/

[25] Poblano Enchiladas: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/poblano-chile-enchiladas-and-an-ultimate-recipe-swap.html

[26] Farm-style Oatmeal Cookies: http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/09/farm-style-oatmeal-cookies/

[27] Zuccchini Bread: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/bulk-baking-zucchini-bread/

[28] Chocolate Zucchini Cake: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/04/ruths-chocolate-zucchini-cake.html

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