A Super Easy Weekly Meal Plan
It’s one of those weeks! Between Sunday and Friday, I have five cooking classes, a photo shoot, three blog posts to write, multiple recipes to edit and a pop-up dinner for 100 to finalize. So many of you have the same schedule in a different capacity. I just ran into a friend who recently went back to school to get her doctorate in nursing (Go Amy!) and I have friends who work as successful bankers, doctors and lawyers and also make dinner every night. Somehow, it’s usually the mom’s job to feed the people. Don’t get me wrong, I love that job and have made it my life’s work. But if I didn’t have a meal plan to keep me on track, it wouldn’t get done. I recently had the urge to count up the hours I’ve spent meal planning to see if they add up to the “10,000 hours” that, according to Malcolm Gladwell, signal expert status. But you know what? That doesn’t matter. Every one of you is an expert at “feeding your people,” and you know what works best for your gang. But whatever you put in your weekly meal plan, and whether you’re feeding six or one, I promise that writing down your meals will save you time, money and calories.
Yesterday at the Memorial Villages Farmer’s Market down the street from my house, I bought some beautiful fresh purple runner beans. I thought they were fresh black-eyed peas (which look very similar), but they’re actually purple hull peas. After I posted a photo on Instagram stories, all my Southern girls were chiming in with recipes and tips. Suggestions ranged from Cowboy caviar, to simmered with bacon and onion or simply cooked all day in water and a generous amount of butter and salt. I’m going with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Hoppin’ John. It’s cooked with a heap of garlic, onion, celery and green pepper, plus a ham hock for good measure. I didn’t want to bother with the ham hock, so I’m substituting a couple pieces of bacon. Serve over rice or cauli rice. I’m following Ree’s tips for the non-traditional addition of torn kale and chopped tomatoes to the pot (Louisiana friends avert your eyes). Roasted okra would be a good veggie side.
I posted this recipe not too long ago, but we’re at it again. Sesame noodles with cabbage, carrots and peppers (because I have ALL the ingredients already and it will use up tons of the veggies in my crisper). Use udon noodles or your favorite gluten-free Japanese rice noodle.
I’ll be working the concession stand at our school tonight, so I want something I can throw in a slow cooker at 5pm before my last lap to school. That way, if half my family stays home for dinner, everyone can eat at their leisure. We sit down together as many nights as possible, but some nights are a revolving door. Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup can be thrown together at some point in the afternoon and kept warm until dinner. Top each bowl with your toppings of choice: Fresh or pickled jalapeños, grated cheese, cilantro, pico de gallo or sour cream.
I had a request for lasagna from one of my kids, but I’m making it without the Italian sausage and replacing one of the rows of “no-bake” lasagna noodles with thinly cut zucchini (or butternut squash or eggplant). Need to sneak in more veggies and make this a one-pan meal!
I have a private class teaching some of my favorite weeknight family recipes, so why not use one of those! Honey hoisin pork tenderloin to the rescue, either on the grill or a grill pan. I made a video (thanks to Memorial Hermann) to show you how easy this is! We will probably do steamed broccoli and sushi rice on the side, but you could also do coconut lime cauliflower rice. Here’s a video for how to make it!
We made it! I’m not cooking tonight. No way, no how. You feel me? If you’re “in it to win it” try these Friday Night Nachos.