weekly menu / prepping

I like a plan. An agenda. A schedule. A timetable. All of these words make me happy. Basically, I feel that way because I like to be in control. I like to know what’s going to happen. I want to know what to plan for and what kind of wardrobe I’m going to need. When I travel, I like to research the restaurants and activities beforehand, to make sure we eat at the most delicious places and see all the cool stuff. I like to know where I’m going, who I’m going with, what time we’re leaving, and oh, you have an itinerary? You shouldn’t have! Welcome to my happy place. Take my schedule away: what’s going on?!? What kind of unit you running around here!?

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Margo’s agenda: take naps.

It’s cool guys, I’m getting help.

I realize that all aspects of life cannot be planned. I haven’t found those aspects yet, but I’m sure they exist. JK guys. Again, I’m getting help. In all reality though, something that we strive to plan for at our house are the meals. This means we can stick to a mostly balanced meal plan and not spend thousands of dollars on take out. Usually on Saturday or Sunday we talk about what we want to eat and look at how much money we have. I make a menu on an index card and then a list of ingredients. And then Aaron does! the! shopping! I’m not sure how I tricked him into going to two different grocery stores and sometimes the farmers market for me, but it works. I still get to choose what we eat and plan the menu, and he gets to exercise some “control” over how much money we spend on food. The love potion I brew must be strong.

Here is what we’re eating this week:

Monday: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Tuesday: Green salads with shredded grilled chicken, croutons, boiled eggs, vinaigrette
Wednesday: Turkey Stew and focaccia
Thursday: Turkey Stew leftovers / Grilled Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Friday: Greek Nachos
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are gluten free and have options to be dairy free. If you’re into that.

How to prep for this:
Boil your eggs.
If your meat is frozen, make sure it’s thawed and then brown your beef (spaghetti) and grill your chicken (salads)
Make croutons
Chop veggies for stew
Make mayo for tuna salad
Bake focaccia bread for sandwiches/to serve with stew

Our grocery budget for all this was right at $100 and that includes several things like peanut butter, milk, coffee, granola bars, raisins, etc. that aren’t a part of this list. Meal planning can be hard but it’s definitely worth the time and effort: you know what you’re eating and it helps you stick to a budget. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but honestly, we eat the same things all the time in a rotation. If you have a few meals/recipes that you don’t mind eating frequently, you can use those and it’s not much work to get the hang of things.

You got this!

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what we eat this week / if all goes according to plan

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monday’s dinner in bad light

Short, and to the point. Here is what our food life looks like this week, for people who might need some menu inspiration:

Monday: Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Bowls (sautéed kale and garlic, tossed with olive oil, shredded grilled chicken and cooked quinoa, top with hot sauce and parmesan cheese)
Tuesday: Tuna salad + green salads
Wednesday: Cheap and Fancy Mac and Cheese
Thursday: Balsamic glazed chicken and roasted carrots
Friday: Roasted Garlic and Coconut Soup with Focaccia bread (Does anybody know about that coconut soup at Surin of Thailand? This is my attempt to re-create. I’ll let you know how it goes!)
For interested parties, we spent less that $90.00 on food for this week, so file this under budget! Also, M, T, Th meals are gluten free, T&Th are also dairy free. Leave out the cheese and so is Monday.)

How to prep for this (I usually prep on Sundays):

Grill your chicken. I grill mine in olive oil with salt and pepper.
Cook your quinoa. Quinoa cooks just like rice. I use 2 cups of water, 1 cup of quinoa, splash of olive oil and salt.
Make your mayonnaise and then assemble your tuna salad: I add a few spoonful’s of mayo, a little mustard, some pickle relish, and a grated boiled egg
Make sure your salad greens are washed and sorted.
Make your salad dressing. I find a basic combo of olive oil, vinegars and mustard to be a good start. But honestly, we buy lots of this.
Chop the broccoli and carrots for use later this week

The rest I’ll do the day we eat it, but that’s a really good head start if you’re looking to save some time. I work until 5 every day but Friday, so it’s nice to have a few things done so I don’t spend allllll my free time in the kitchen. Cause, you know, gotta live life!

focaccia bread! recipe coming soon!

focaccia bread! recipe coming soon!

more cheap eats / enchiladas

what are those words? i'll never know.

what are those words? i’ll never know.

Two recipe posts in one week mean they both need to be quick and to the point. Kind of like this dinner. Our lives have been full of living lately- but in the best way. That also means that what we eat needs to be quick and easy to make, as well as sustaining. This meal is just that – you only get one pan dirty, it takes 30 minutes or less from start to finish, and it’s packed with protein and delicious flavors, and if you want them: Chips! Another favorite food of mine.

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cheap eats / weeknight favorite / fool me fancy mac and cheese

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It’s the end of the month. (Where the heck did July go?!) Which means the bank account is dwindling and the monthly budget is looking tight. “Budget” is one of those adult words that wasn’t previously in my vocabulary as a non-adult. Once I got a job and a mortgage and bills and married and “oh look! pretty clothes!” it became a very common vocab word at our house. And then you factor in things like health insurance and trying to exercise and working on the weekends and what the heck is all this about?! None of those things make you an adult, but maybe added together you get adult-like responsibilities, so the title of “adult” is sort of forced on you with no option to abdicate.

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