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Monday, July 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 7/6

Meal planning is an art. Done well, it can make life so much easier. But who wants to spend a long time planning meals? Not me! I've been simplifying things by having my calendar handy when I'm planning my meals. That way I know exactly what's going on during the week, and I can plan accordingly. I'll show you what I mean as I share this week's meal plan. You'll see how I plan around life, making meal prep fit the rest of our schedule.

Pita Pizzas
*Just use the pitas (uncut/unopened) as pizza shells, and add sauce and toppings. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and slightly browned. You end up with personal pizzas that each family member can top as they like. Bonus: Use whole wheat pitas for extra fiber.

Thought behind the meal: We traveled this weekend, and I work today. I want something quick to prep for dinner. This doesn't require any thawing, browning, or anything time-consuming. Perfect!

Bean Casserole (recipe HERE) in the Crock Pot
*I didn't get to make this last week, so we'll schedule it for this week.

Thought behind the meal: I'm working again today, and I will most likely spend Monday night catching up on laundry, unpacking, and blogging. I don't want to spend Monday evening thinking about getting dinner items ready for today. Plus, Jason needs to be out the door by 6:00. He'll be home with Emma during the day, and he's always willing to throw everything in the Crock Pot for me. I love my husband and my Crock Pot, even more when the two are working hand-in-hand to keep me from cooking dinner!

BBQ Chicken on the Grill
Grilled peppers & mushrooms
Green beans or leftover bean casserole from Tuesday
Homemade biscuits or rolls

Thought behind the meal: I'm off this day, and we don't have any evening plans. That means that we can hang out in the backyard while my husband grills. It's an enjoyable way to spend the evening together. We might even have a friend over for dinner. Grilling night is a great time to do that, because it's very relaxed. I also don't mind making homemade bread or rolls when that's my only responsibility.

Note: We will be grilling twice as much chicken as we need. See Friday's menu for the reason.

We're having dinner out as part of a mystery shopping event we signed up for. So, no cooking this night!

Thought behind the meal: I had a choice of three dates for this event. I chose this date because I'm working this day. I won't even have to think about dinner, because it's being provided as part of the mystery shop.

Grilled chicken salads (made with the extra chicken from Wednesday)
Leftover homemade biscuits or rolls from Wednesday

Thought behind the meal: I work this day too. It's one of those rare four-day weeks for me. I'll be home around 3:30 this day, so we'll have time to make quick salads before Jason needs to leave for his event at 5:30.

Homemade Pizza

Thought behind the meal: We have a couple of friends we need to invite over. This is a great share-with-friends meal. Everyone can choose their own toppings, and it's informal. People like to help with dinner prep, and adding their own toppings is a way to involve everyone.

Church Small Group Meeting - Just bring a side dish or snack to share.

Thought behind the meal: Our small group is one where everyone just brings a little something to share. We don't usually coordinate and make a complete meal. But we know each other's likes and dislikes, and we try to each bring something we think everyone will enjoy. There's usually enough food there that we don't eat a full meal at home. I usually make a snack or side dish from whatever we have on-hand. Very nice for the budget!

Hopefully you can see how our menu is tailored to fit our lives. Cooking healthy dinners shouldn't be a drag, but it sure can be if you're not planning with life in mind. I like to keep our calendar handy when I'm planning. I'm more willing to stick to our menu plan when that plan works well with our schedule.

For more great menu planning ideas, stop by Menu Plan Monday sponsored by I'm an Organizing Junkie.