Sunday, January 28, 2018

What's Cookin'? When Life Happens and Plans Change

If you read my last article you may recall that two weeks ago I had planned to make quinoa with roasted squash and balsamic brussel sprouts.  However, there was a bit of a teen crisis that needed my attention.  I ended up running out of time to cook and ordered a pizza.  The benefit of meal planning and prepping is that when things like that happen it’s ok.  It’s not like we already ordered out three time that week.  The kids considered it a welcome surprise.  I like Pizza Oven too--once in a while.  

Because I already had the squash peeled and cut, I did have to do a little switcher-roo later in the week.  Saturday I had planned to make oven rice (risotto) and chicken for Craig.  The only preparation that requires is cutting a few veggies and getting the chicken out of the freezer.  Neither of these things had been done yet so it was an easy switch to make.  The other advantage is I was able to put that meal into the next week since it was already on my mind and I knew we had the ingredients.  

The rest of that week and the next, dinner went as planned.  Aside from some typical complaints from the picky two, it all went over well.  

Here’s what last week’s plans looked like:

Broccoli, Cauliflower, cheese sauce and pasta shells
Leftover cheese and shells become mac and cheese for kids’ school lunches
Breakfast for dinner
It ends up being made to order which the kids like.  It’s easy clean up on an extra busy night
Risotto with carrots, peas and chicken for Craig
I have a great recipe for risotto in the oven.  I leave it plain and have extras on the side to be mixed in based on personal preference.
It was really good with the leftover roasted squash and broccoli too.  
Soup and Sandwiches
The craziest night of the week
Homemade Pizza
Crust from scratch is not as hard as one might think.  The kids like to top their own--family fun and dinner in one.
Plus, extra pizza dough makes great cinnamon rolls for a lazy weekend morning.  
Dinner out
We have a family day planned and decided we’d all go out to dinner.  With four kids, this doesn’t happen often (too much $$ not enough sanity) but it is my birthday weekend.  
Sweet and sour veggies with tofu and chicken
One of my oldest likes to cook--she’s good at it too.  She found and tried this recipe a couple of months ago.  It was so good I asked her to make it again.  This time doubling the sauce to marinate Craig’s chicken and the tofu too.

This week:  I’m hoping to go grocery shopping and do my meal prep Sunday morning after my workout. (I’m actually writing this on Thursday, trying to get a head start since I know we have a lot going on this weekend.)

Pork in crockpot
Mashed potatoes
Carrots, peas, broccoli

Pasta sauce in crockpot
Craig puts the tomatoes and herbs/spices in the crockpot. It cooks all day, all I have to do when I get home is blend it up with the immersion blender and cook the pasta. Fast, easy, yummy and the house smells great when we walk in.  
Mexican Rice
Taco’s--Craig likes his simple beef tacos.  
Mexican Rice: 1 cup rice, 1 can each:  chopped tomatoes, salsa, corn, black beans
Cover, bake 350oF for 1 hour.  Optional, mix in mexican blend or cheddar cheese.  Serve with sour cream and whole grain chips
The only night we typically can’t sit down as a family for dinner.  
Veggie Chicken, Mac and Cheese and green beans
I try not to do box stuff like this, but the kids like it, CC has an appointment, and Craig has hockey.  I will probably just have a shake or a salad.
Family Brunch:
Pancakes, eggs, and fruit
Dinner: Leftovers
Craig has another hockey game, so we will eat as a family after dance and bowling.  There will likely be leftovers still too, so we'll be using those up.  
Homemade finger foods:
French fries
Sweet potato fries
Pretzels (with sweet and sour mustard)
With Salad
Super Bowl: finger foods while watching the game.

It’s now Sunday morning.  My workout is done!  I just finished these plans up and have started my shopping list.  I know we need the usuals: lettuce, milk, bread, eggs… I do need to check the freezer and pantry--I’m not sure how much chicken Craig has left and we might be running low on black beans, chick peas, and ketchup (that would be a catastrophe for these spoiled charges).  

Prep this week will be easy, too.  I will hard boil some eggs, wash the lettuce and cut up some veggies.  The twins and I can make salads to our preference in a minute or less, making packing lunches fast and easy.  I’ve been itching to mix up some granola bars too, but the kids want to bake me a birthday cake, so I may have to put that off another week.  

Wendy Bacon ay not be an acrobat but is no stranger to the balancing act: healthy food vs they will actually eat it food and time vs the crazy family schedule.  Lookout Nic Wallenda, you have competition.