Monday, March 18, 2013

Dinner Planning is Not Just for 1950s Housewives


To be perfectly honest with you, the stereotypical image of the 1950s housewife (see above), domestic goddess, etc. makes me cringe to my very depths. I don't get it. At all. Yes, I know, it was another time and another place, but I still don't get it. Maybe, I just don't want to get it.

Anyways, while I would never consider myself a housewife and doubt I would ever strive to be such, I do partake in many habits that I think would make the housewifiest of the housewives smile in domestic bliss.

I have started planning out our weekly meals to make grocery shopping a little more, er, successful. I hate coming home, starving and brain-dead, with an idea for dinner firmly in place only to find I have about 3 of the needed 20 ingredients. Nothing starts the night off worse than having to scramble to the store at grocery-rush-hour to dodge carts and children with nothing better to do than camp out in the cramped aisles and then wait 10 minutes in the speedy checkout line behind the person with more than the suggested 15 item limit and coupons to boot!

I have decided that meal planning is, alas, the only way to go.

Also, I am now gluten-free. I know, out of the blue, right? Well, when you find yourself curled up in the fetal position with only one pantleg on because that's as far as you got, and you're clutching your throbbing stomach and wishing for a an entire gastrointestinal transplant, while texting your boss that you are going to be late for work because of--what, severe stomach cramps (?!?)--you are suddenly ready for drastic, life-changing decisions.

Gluten free is a major life-change for me.

Bread and pasta and I go way back. And, its deep.

So, in that moment, I decided that I just couldn't live with writhing and unpredictable insides. I had actually been considering taking the leap since Christmas and this episode was just the straw that broke, well, my gut.

Its been 5 days, and I feel incredible. TMI to follow: I no longer have cramping and bloating following meals. And, after day one of no gluten, I dropped 2.2 lbs. like snap-your-fingers fast--2.2 lbs. GONE. W says that doesn't mean anything, but I think that it was my body quietly whispering thanks for ending the gluten torture.

Anyways, a gluten-free diet paired with my busy schedule has led to meal planning, and I don't plan on going back to my haphazard, disorganized ways.

Below is my menu for Monday through Sunday with links included. I sit down Sunday night or Monday morning and plan out the entire week's menu, making my shopping list of ingredients that I don't have on hand. I will freeze meat that I plan to use at the end of the week and set it out to thaw the morning I plan to use it. If we have a lot of leftovers from a meal, we will have it again for dinner a few nights later. Then, I will have a dinner already planned for the next week! W and I also like leftovers for lunch, so I usually do not cut the recipes in half.

Here goes:

Monday night:
lentil soup recipe
cornbread recipe

Tuesday night:
slow cooker sweet and spicy chicken recipe
with rice and sauteed spinach

Wednesday night:
pork cutlets with parm and lemon recipe
with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus

Thursday night:
salmon patties with creamy dill sauce (recipe from mom below)
(gluten-free note: use leftover cornbread from Monday night for breadcrumbs)
crunchy potatoes
sauteed zucchini and onions

Friday night:
crockpot carnitas

Saturday night:
smoked sausage
mashed potatoes
sauteed cabbage

Sunday night:
chicken tikka masala
(chef's note: limit cornstarch to 1 1/2 tablespoons or it is really, really thick)
with rice and broccoli

I used Martha Stewart's website for recipes as well as Pinterest.

**Mom's Salmon Patty with Dill Sauce Recipe

Salmon Patties
fresh parsley
1 can of salmon
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
bread crumbs or panko (gluten-free: cornbread)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Saute onion and celery. Mix salmon, egg, mustard together. Add celery, ionions, breadcrumbs and pepper and mix. Shape into patties, 2 1/2 in. thick. Brown in skillet and EVOO. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place browned patties on sheet and back for 15-20 mins.

Creamy Dill Sauce
Mix together the following ingredients:
1/4 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of yogurt
2 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
ground pepper

Do you meal plan?

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