Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside - And Meal Plan for the Week

Brrrrr... It's cold in Minnesota today!

Here's the forecast for my Minnesota Monday:
Bitterly cold. Sunshine and clouds mixed. Dangerous wind chills may approach -35F. High -7F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

So this is where my family will be cuddled up:

The one time I need to leave the house today is to do my weekly shopping.

I try to create a menu plan each Sunday night (with my grocery store insert in hand). As I looked online for meal ideas today, I didn't have good luck finding ones my family will eat. So after I made my menu plan for the week, I thought I'd share it, in case it inspires you!

If you're interested in the recipes for any of these dishes, let me know and I'll share them on my blog.

I usually plan five meals a week. It allows us to be flexible two nights a week for leftovers, eating out, throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or eating at someone else's house.

Without further ado, here's my menu for the week:

Monday: Beef Stir-fry & brown rice (a recipe from a good friend who learned it right from LeeAnn Chin!)

Tuesday: Chicken Corn Chowder (my mother-in-law's recipe and one of my hubby's favorites!)

Wednesday: Lemon Garlic Chicken for the Crock-Pot (new recipe I've never tried from I'll serve this over egg noodles with glazed carrots.

Thursday: Fiesta Wild Rice Soup (I received this recipe from an old co-worker at one of my bridal showers - another favorite of my husband's)

Friday: BBQ Ribs in Crock Pot (SUPER easy recipe my mom used to make) I'll serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans.

What about you? Do you make a weekly menu plan? What's on your menu for the week? If you don't have a plan for the week, what's for dinner tonight?


  1. mmmm....yummy! It cuts down on my stress & my shopping budget to have a weekly plan - I found that monthly plans are not for me, but weekly plans work awesome along with some freezer cooking! That new book was Not Your Mother's Make Ahead & Freeze Cookbook - wowzer, so far so good!

  2. While I have yet to try the freezer cooking, at least WHOLE meals, I do cook hamburger meat ahead of time and freeze it in half lb chunks for meals later. I, also, freeze left overs of veggies I have cut up to use in other recipes. And I have, from time to time, meal planned for a single week ahead of time. I do keep some quick things on hand for simple meals, i.e. mac n cheese, frozen pizzas, and the frozen chunks of cooked hamburger meat (I use those for spaghetti, tacos or sloppy joes). I do spend a bit more on the convienience of the way meat can be packaged, although I do watch for sales at meat markets as well. (I buy hamburger meat at Theilen's, because I spend $10 less on 10 lbs of hamburger when I buy it in bulk and package it in 1 lb chunks for the freezer. I buy boneless / skinless chicken breasts in larger quantity to save money, and package it in smaller quantities for meals as well. It also saves on time when I get ready to prepare a meal too.....just a couple of examples on the Bailey food plan...LOL)

    I love finding new recipes that my family will enjoy. I'd love to get your Chicken Corn Chowder recipe!! And Beka....your new book sounds interesting....I'll have to look into that one! I would like to try and make a few meals for the freezer that are easy to pull out when we have crazy days around here~ good to hear that you've found it helpful!

    Tonight's meal was homemade au gratin potatoes with ham. I used 8 large potatoes, peeled and sliced. Half of a ham chunk (presliced), 1 large carton of heavy whipping cream and cheddar cheese. I used 4 of the sliced up potatoes on the bottom, layered the ham slices in the middle, and covered them with the remaining 4 potatoes (sliced)...then the cheese (roughly a cup...cup and a half) then poured the whipping cream over the top (used the entire carton, recipe calls for the potatoes to be covered, but I only go up as far as tips of the tops) . Baked at 350, uncovered, for 2 hours 15 minutes. I used my largest baking dish so that they were layered thin to cook through.

    Great post!

    Jennifer Bailey

  3. Monday Chipotle burritos in the crockpot

    Tuesday Homemade Chili (must remember to get it out of the freezer!)

    Wednesday Turkey burgers & baked fries

    Thursday Fish, rice & broccoli

    Friday leftovers

    Gotta have a plan. ;-)

  4. Beka - I'd love to see your book! Next time I'm over you'll have to show me some of your favorite recipes. I haven't done freezer meals since the boys have been born (other than the ones we bought at My Dinner Connection) - I'd love to have some in my arsenal.

    Jennifer - lots of great tips! You're always a great resource for good tips. :) Thank you for sharing your homemade au gratin recipe - sounds so good on a cold winter night. Mmmm...

    Jennette - love your meal plan for the week! I'd love your Chipotle burritos for the crock pot recipe! I'm always looking for new crock pot recipes.


      unfortunately, I forgot to take the chicken out, so I can't do them in the slow cooker today. But this came highly recommended from a friend, but I have yet to taste it.

  5. I do the weekly plan, too. Can't think much beyond that! I'm intrigued by ribs in the slow cooker.

  6. All I could think as I read your meal plan was...can I come live with you? :) I've been trying to plan my week's meals. I did okay for about two weeks but have to admit that I haven't even thought about what I'll eat for lunch today. But I think your blog has inspired me to take some time this evening to think about the rest of the week's meals. :)

  7. Yum. I need that chicken corn chowder recipe. I usually make a menu and then do my shopping. But our schedules are so hectic with Karate two nights a week,church on Wednesdays, that I don't cook every night.

    I am making chicken fried rice, homemade oven-fried chicken nuggets with garlic/cheddar potatoes and mixed veggies. I see leftovers and pizza on Friday night in our future. :) Keep warm!

  8. I want that chicken corn chowder recipe too!! :)

    I've been trying to meal plan more. It's actually helped us to lose weight, because we're being more intentional about what we eat. I made this black bean chicken chili the other day that was pretty good if I do say so myself. ;)

  9. Sarah - I'll be sure to share the rib recipe next Monday. It's practically as simple as setting the ribs in the crock pot and pouring bbq sauce over it! I'll share my mom's sauce recipe.

    Melissa - have you ever tried buying frozen meals? There is a place close to us (it's a restaurant) that makes homemade meals you can buy, pop in your freezer, and then pull out and put in the oven or crock pot. They are so simple and so delicious. You can buy them in any serving (for one, two, three, four, etc.) I would be really surprised if there wasn't a place like that in the Des Moines area. And, I'm happy you're inspired to make a meal plan for the week! There is some time commitment up front, but in the long run it saves time, money and calories!

    Jessica - I'll share the Chicken Corn Chowder recipe next Monday (complete with pictures after I make it this week!). Yes, I know how hectic and busy life is and that's exactly why I'm being more disciplined about making a menu and shopping at the beginning of the week. It eases my stress and prevents us from stopping at the fast food restaurant! But pizza and leftovers are always good, too!

    Lindsay - mmmm... that black bean chicken chili sounds yummy! I don't have a good chicken chili recipe. I'll share my chicken corn chowder recipe next Monday! And yes, I have also found it helps us to cut calories by planning meals and sticking with the plan. Working on losing a few pounds before Florida!

  10. Mmmm, sounds delicious! I have a pork loin in the crock pot (with BBQ sauce) for pulled pork sandwiches tonight. I have just recently started to make a meal plan, but invariably I veer from the plan because I am too tired at night! LIke Jennifer, I cook up a bunch of hamburger meat and freeze them in bags so that I can easily make chili or spaghetti or tacos when I'm tired. :)

  11. Gabrielle,

    I'm with Melissa. Can I come live with you? The fireplace is calling me.......

    And DO post your chicken chowder recipe! LOVE me some chowda!

    What a great post - I think I might just print this out and copy you.


  12. The menu sounds great!

    It got cold here yesterday. Single digits. I love to warm up the house by baking. I'm making a pumpkin pie today. For dinner, a round roast w/potatoes and carrots.

  13. Sherrinda - pulled pork sandwiches sound so yummy! My mother-in-law has a pulled chicken with ranch dressing recipe and I love putting it on a ciabatta roll...maybe I'll have to put that on my menu for next week! I love crock-pots. :)

    Becky - I was hoping the menu would be helpful! Since I take the time to make it every week (okay, I TRY to make one every week) I thought I might as well share it to inspire others or give them ideas. Meal planning is not one of my strengths - I usually draw a blank. And I'll be sure to share the chowder recipe next Monday!!

    Loree - I always get an itch to bake when the weather first turns cool in the fall - by this time of the winter I'm starting to get Cabin Fever and ready to start grilling outside again!! Your pumpkin pie sounds so good - I hope it's warming up your house. :)

  14. I stopped by to tell you that you were a winner in Seekerville-then got caught up with all the food. You're killing me. YUM.

    Anyhow, email us at

  15. Gabrielle, I swan (WV for "I swear") that I am in awe of you! I can't believe you write books and have toddling twins and children AND you have a meal plan!!! Just want you to know I'm praying for your writing career to take off--I know what a sacrifice it is to carve out that writing time when kiddos are small.

    And that chicken corn chowder sounds like a great recipe! It's cold here in WV today, but it's not -7 for sure!

  16. Tina - yay!! I'm so excited to be a winner! I'll email you as soon as I log off here. :)

    Heather - I actually thought of you when I wrote this. I've seen a few of your Facebook posts about being stumped for supper ideas. I've had one too many stressful afternoons trying to figure out what's for supper - so I have been trying to discipline myself to make a meal plan and stick to it. In the long run, it really does save me time and energy. Thank you for your prayers. It is hard to sneak in that writing time - but it fills me up and I'm so thankful I can find it.

    1. So sweet of you to think of me! My parents live next door, so they do help out with meals many times. You know how many times I've resorted to scrambled eggs or waffles! Ha. I did try meal-planning once, but I wound up getting waaaay too many groceries b/c I'd planned breakfast, lunch and supper. I like the idea of working around soups. But hubby is South Beaching it right now, so I have to work around that too! AGH!

  17. Gabrielle, I'd love the beef stir-fry recipe.

    I do couponing/sale shopping. I buy a lot of sale items that we use and then see what's in the fridge or freezer each week and make my list from there. It's very nice for when those winter storms show up before I can get to the store.

    Not that we get many winter storms here in Kansas--or much snwo--but they also don't believe in plowing roads. So winter driving can be, um, fun. :)

  18. I don't plan unless it's a for a special occasion. I have a rough idea of what I'll be making, but I wing it most of the time.


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