Over on the Lunch with Lauren Facebook group, I occasionally post my weekly meal plan to give recipe ideas, but also to show the importance of meal planning in creating some ease in your week and cross utilizing products to help with budgeting.
I always try to look at what is going on the week ahead, as far as evening activities, to gauge how much time I’ll have to cook and if anyone will be around to eat. Then I spend about 20 minutes combing the internet looking for recipes to draw inspiration and piece together buying the least amount of products.
Knowing Sunday would be exhausting, I planned build-your-own poke bowl. Always use fish and seafood first. This meal requires minimum cooking (basically only rice). I gather sushi-grade fish, pulled rotisserie chicken, and firm tofu as proteins. I thaw a bag of shelled edamame, cut cucumbers and radishes, and have things like spinach, masago, seaweed and soy sauce for everyone to add.
The next night, I planned for white pesto pasta with the leftover rotisserie chicken. This recipe doesn’t require a food processor and is basically walnuts, ricotta and oregano tossed with pasta. HERE is the recipe.
I went to Northern China Eatery with friends last week and immediately remembered how much I love cumin lamb skewers. I wanted to splurge both with budget and time and make these for my family. I cut and marinated the meat the night before and served with green beans tossed in soy sauce and some dumplings I had in the freezer. This was the culinary highlight of the week. HERE is the recipe for cumin lamb skewers.
Wednesday night, I made French Onion soup because there were no ingredients that I worried about going bad in the fridge. I used THIS recipe from Bon Appetit but used the traditional gruyere cheese.
Last night was the Homecoming parade and I knew we’d be short on time and energy, so I planned for a Stouffer’s lasagna. I love it; my kids love it; it’s obviously easy; still a hot, family dinner.
Finally, we’ll have leftovers and start the whole thing over again. HERE is a link to a list of pantry and other ingredients that I like to have on hand to make meal planning easy.
Lauren Townsend for The AHA Connection