Menu, Meal Plan, Whatever You Want to Call It!

Hi friends and Happy New Year! It’s been a very long while. I’ve been very busy being a mom, wife, full-time employee, and everything in between. Cooking has always been my way of feeling creative and in some ways I feel like it is my love language. Even though things are crazy busy and hectic, cooking helps me feel “normal” – if that even exists in motherhood.

Before I can cook, I have to go *dun dun dun* GROCERY SHOPPING! Those dreaded two words can be so daunting to people, but I’ve actually come to enjoy it. It takes some time each week to come up with a meal plan and shopping list, but it is worth it to have my kitchen stocked with healthy food for the week. I typically do my shopping on Sunday afternoons so that we can start the week off right.

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My method is pretty easy – I write down each meal I want to cook for dinner each night, add the ingredients to the list, and it’s done. My list is categorized by grocery store department to help me navigate quicker. We usually have the same thing for breakfast and typically eat leftovers for lunch, so those things are just added at the end. However, I know some of you like to mix it up, so I included this one on the menu template. To get a better picture of how I map this out download my Weekly Menu Template and Weekly Shopping List Template. You can certainly do this on scratch paper, but sometimes it’s nice to have a pretty layout! As you can see above, I write mine down on whatever I can find and it’s not always pretty.

 

 

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Easy Teriyaki Chicken

One of the many reasons that I love any type of Asian food is because you can throw so many different veggies in to make it a complete meal! Typically, I make a lot of Thai food, but last night I thought I would switch it up a bit. This was so easy to prep before heading out to the gym and then it was ready to throw in the wok to cook when we got in. Beyond chicken, you could use flank steak, shrimp, salmon, or just veggies! It is a very versatile dish.

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1-2 lb chicken breast, cut in cubes
2 cups fresh broccoli
2 cups snow peas
2 garlic cloves or 1 tsp minced garlic
4 carrots, sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil

Teriyaki Sauce

2 Tbsp ginger, chopped
1/3 cup aminos or soy sauce
1/3 cup cold water
2 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
1/3 cup honey

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl mix the Teriyaki sauce ingredients. In a small sauce pan, over medium to low heat, heat the sauce until thicken stirring occasionally. About 5 minutes. Then remove from heat until adding to chicken mixture.

In a large wok or skillet, over medium to high heat, add coconut oil. Add the chicken and carrots and cook stirring occasionally until almost tender. Add the garlic and cook further for another minute.

Reduce heat to medium and add broccoli and snap peas and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the Teriyaki sauce to the chicken mixture and stir until it thickens. Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or rice noodles.

Tight Budget? No problem!

If you’re like me, you’re working with a budget every time you step into the supermarket. Cooking at home can be healthier and save money, but sometimes it seems like buying all of those ingredients to make delicious healthy meals isn’t too economical.vegetables

“Putting good food on your family’s table on a $5-or-$6-dollar-a-day budget is tough, but it’s possible,” said co-author Dawn Undurraga, Environmental Working Group (EWG) nutritionist and registered dietitian. EWG researchers assessed nearly 1,200 foods, comparing national average food prices and 19 different nutrients in order to identify the most nutritious foods that are easy on the wallet and the planet. They factored in pesticide residue rankings and environmental impacts to help consumers lower their exposures to toxic chemicals and reduce their carbon footprints.

I combined their findings with some of my own tips:

  • Raw cabbage is a top-ranked vegetable based on nutrition and price. At less than a 10 cents a serving, it’s cheaper (and less calories) than potatoes and can be served as a salad, stuffed, or used in stir-fries, stews and soups.
  • Carrots, bananas, frozen broccoli, pears and watermelon receive high marks for nutrition and ring up at less than 30 cents a serving.
  • Pears have more fiber, potassium and folate – and fewer pesticide residues – than apples.
  • One of the most nutritious and budget friendly animal proteins is whole chicken. Cook a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and use it in various meals during the week.
  • Fresh isn’t always more expensive. And canned isn’t always cheaper. Fresh carrots are cheaper than frozen. Frozen corn can be cheaper than canned. Think about that when making your shopping list.
  • Love Salmon, but think you can’t afford it? Canned Salmon is always wild caught and is much cheaper than fresh. Canned salmon is great on salads and in wraps.
  • Boil, bake or roast three servings of real potatoes for the same cost as a single serving of hash browns.
  • Queso blanco costs less than processed American cheese…like Velveeta, YUCK! I don’t even consider that cheese.
  • Boil half a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and eat them as a snack or in salads for an extra boost of protein.
  • Use meat as a side dish rather than the main course.
  • Buy in bulk. Costco carries organic chicken, grass-fed beef, goat cheese, almond butter, and many other healthy products at wholesale prices.
  • Shaklee180 smoothies for breakfast. $3 per meal!