One of the things we strive for when planning our menus is making everything fit together into one nice, neat little package. We look to use ingredients in different ways throughout the week so that we’re benefiting from the ability of do-aheads and being able to buy in bulk. We also benefit from a well-stocked pantry.
Some weeks, well, meal planning isn’t what I want to do. This is one of those weeks. My weekend was consumed by this event and that thing and running here and there, and somehow I managed to make it to the farmer’s market and buy an amazing amount of produce knowing that it would SNOW this week, and I went to a cousin’s baby shower and saw my new niece in the hospital and watched my sister’s boyfriend’s band on a stage late at night when I should have been sleeping, took my youngest sister to a movie with the middle sister and on and on and on.
Pretty soon it was Monday and I was still without a meal plan. Tuesday came and went. We ate the food in our fridge that I had purchased, but there I sat, not knowing what Wednesday was going to be. I could use a hand on getting organized on days like today, and that, my friends, is why today we’re talking about Plan to Eat. Plan to Eat is a lovely little website that will help you out with your meal planning woes (who also happens to advertise on my little blog – see their lovely button over there to the right?). Even if you’re pretty good about meal planning, shopping lists and whatnot, they can keep you organized, and on weeks when everything seems to be going wrong, having everything organized for you without the extra work can be a real lifesaver.
The best part about Plan to Eat, for me at least, is the fact that you can add in your own recipes. Easily. By selecting the “bulk add” feature, you can simply copy and paste recipes into your meal plan and Plan to Eat does all the work for you. It even automatically assigns ingredients to grocery categories, and it’s pretty good and determining where to put them without your help. If you are big on having a well stocked pantry like we are here, they let you build up your pantry and add or take things out as you use it, so you don’t have to worry about things being on your shopping list that you already have at home.
Plan to Eat offers a 30-day trial for free, so if you think you might be busy with the holidays coming up and meal planning may take a back seat, now would be the perfect time to give it a go and see just how easy it is to let someone else do the hard work for you…on a Wednesday instead of a Monday even.
I may have mentioned the snow. You’ll see that makes me crave soup and bread and maybe a bit of cheese and apparently a case of sweet potatoes. ‘Tis the season.
Monday – Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Goat Cheese Biscuits
Tuesday – Bacon Mac & Cheese
Wednesday – Baked Sweet Potato Falafel
Thursday – Sweet potato fries and chicken gyros
Friday – Squash, Bacon and Goat Cheese (and everything else) Pasta
The Preparation Shortcuts:
1. Cook extra sweet potatoes for the falafel on Monday while you make the soup.
2. Extra bacon can be fried or baked (425 on parchment 12-15 min or until crisp) and stored pre-crumbled to cut back on prep time the night of for both the bacon macaroni and cheese and the “everything” pasta on Friday.
3. Cut sweet potato fries on Monday while you’re cooking the soup and have the sweep potatoes out. Store in airtight container in the fridge with a damp paper towel.
4. Like pizza, Friday’s pasta is a catchall for bits and pieces left throughout the week. Basil from the soup, cheese from the biscuits, bacon from the mac and cheese.
The Shopping List:
1 fryer chicken
1 pound bacon
1 small ginger knob
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 bunch fresh rosemary
2 quarts heavy whipping cream
8 ounces Greek yogurt
8 pounds sweet potatoes (orange inside)
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
6 to 8 teaspoons goat cheese
2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyère cheese
elbow macaroni or other small-medium pasta shape
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
Last week from Food for My Family: