meal planning & pin recipe reviews: January 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

I don't want to jinx myself, but it appears that I am going to be able to overcome a very big obstacle in my motherhood/wifehood ambitions:  meal planning.  After years of struggling with getting the motivation to plan out our weekly dinners, I have successfully made it through an entire month of planning our Monday-Thursday meals.  It's a flipping miracle, my friends.

I'm not doing any kind of fancy meal planning like I have aspired to in the past.  (Like this, this, or this).  Puhlease.  I finally just got real with it and owned up to two things about myself:

1. the only thing I am intrisically invested in maintaining order within is my planner
2. I get very bored with food rotations

The first notation is why fancy meal planning systems (like the aforementioned) have not worked for me, because I try to be all fancy until it loses its luster.  However, I have maintained a personal planner since my freshman year of college (nerd alert).  You best not mess with my planner, ya'll.  fah reals.

The second point of interest is why meal planning seems a daunting task after a few weeks because in my brain I'm all like, "chicken, beef, pasta, chicken, beef, pasta, chicken, beef, dear sweet angels above release me from this monotonus existence."  (okay, I'm overly dramatic when it comes to this subject).

Alas, after complaining about my inability to get my sh*t together meal plan with my friend Jessica (hi, JP) who appears to have meal planning down like it ain't no thang, she flat out was like, "why are you being a drama queen? write it out on a piece of paper and be done with it, fool."  (okay, I embellished that a little because Jess is way to sweet to call me a fool, but you get the picture).

So, I've been jotting down our daily dinners in my planner and then getting my grocery list together and having all my supplies by Monday night's meal.  And to be quite honest, it really isn't as hard (or dramatic) as I have previously made it out to be.  And thanks to the magic of Pinterest - I have so far steered clear of my monotonous ranting about repeating foods.

And can I just be the 1 bajillionth person to tell you - it has made a drastic positive change in my motherhood/wifehood to not be last minute stressing about what we are eating each night.

And now for the fun part - from our pinterest recipes tried this past month - I'm going to give the low down on how they fared in our house from our cast of characters:
open to new things (OtNT) mumma
meat&potatoes (M&P) dadda
picky toddler
Lovestoeat (LtE) baby

Pin recipe #1:  Garlic Baked Shrimp

Basics:  this recipe was quick and easy to make, which for a mumma with kids hanging off her legs is a pretty great combo.
OtNT Mumma:  YUM.  love it, of course I love shrimp...and garlic.  this was delicious and easy!
M&P Dadda:  good, but I'm not going to be asking for it by name in the future
Picky Toddler:  blech!  gross.
LtE Baby:  loved it, and it was a successful introduction to shrimp!

(i don't know what "they" say about babies and shrimp -okay, fine i just googled it - but no one in our family is allergic to shellfish so we always introduce our kids to as many different kinds of foods and tastes as possible.)

Pin recipe #2:  Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Basics:  easiest thing on the planet to make.  we are big supporters of the slow cooker, so we regularly use it about once a week for dinner.

OtNT Mumma:
M&P Dadda:  more please!!
Picky Toddler:  Yummmmmmmmy!
LtE Baby:  only one who didn't like it.  and she was teething and cranky, so we're blaming it on that.

Pin recipe #3:  Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Basics:  takes a little time to get everything assembled and ready to go.

OtNT Mumma:  really enjoyed all of the tastes blended together and felt sort of a like a 'fancy' dinner for our family.
M&P Dadda:  totally obsessed and ate like 2.5 boats.
Picky Toddler:  picked out all the sausage and cheese to eat and left all the zucchini in little piles all over his plate
LtE Baby:  not crazy about the zucchini, but loved the sausage, cheese, & sauce

Pin recipe #4:  Balsamic & Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Basics:  We had to roast it as it was sort of a blizzard (directions for that too in the link) and I wasn't about to make B go out in the snow to grill.  We love grilled pork tenderloin though so we'd love to re-try during grilling season

OtNT Mumma: Yum.  the balsamic marinade was the perfect tang.  I followed up the next afternoon with leftovers and made a quasi-pulled pork sandwich - just as delicious on day2
M&P Dadda:  ate a lot of it.  like a lot.
Picky Toddler:  thought it was chicken and dipped it in ketchup.  ate a 'mom-satisfied' amount
LtE Baby:  ate some.  liked the accompanying mashed potatoes more though.

Pin recipe #5:  Blueberry Muffin Bake

Basics:  holy use of supplies, batman.  I loathe washing dishes, so when a recipe calls for me to blend and mix things in lots of separate bowls it irritates me #firstworldproblems.  This one was all sorts of fancy to make -like use of lots of utensils and lemon zest

OtNT Mumma: Despite the prep mess, it was delicious.  took a little while to bake which is hard in the morning with hungry gremlin children (and it was still undercooked in the middle, but the kids were screaming for breakfast so we ate around it).
M&P Dadda:  it was good, but not really a big breakfast guy
Picky Toddler: ate, and ate, and ate, and ate.  and is still asking when I'm making 'Blueberry marshmuffin' cake again  (he confuses marshmallows and muffins...strange child).
LtE Baby:  liked it but prefers stand alone blueberries more

Pin recipe #6:  Skinny Baked Potato Soup

Source: via Tabitha on Pinterest

Basics:  fairly easy to make (although I need to youtube 'how to cut cauliflower' so I don't make such a huge mess - okay fine, here just did) and we definitely didn't feel guilty over eating loads of cauliflower instead of potatoes & cheese

OtNT Mumma: Really good and perfect on a cold day.  I didn't chop the cauliflower all the way up (it was still sort of chunks) and that was the RIGHT decision.
M&P Dadda:  loves cauliflower = super loved this soup
Picky Toddler: nope.  didn't like it although loved topping it with 4 lbs of cheese and chives
LtE Baby:  could not feed her fast enough.  She loved it that night and then for two days after for lunch leftovers.

So it has been a taste-tastic month (hah!) and we are still going strong.  I'm hopeful that we can keep it up - and keep it from getting boring.  Between the pinned recipes, we sprinkle in some of our oldies but goodies like lasagna, sloppy joes, chicken fajitas, etc.  We try about 1-2 new pin recipes a week and we are having fun trying them out.

What are some of your favorite recipes - pinned or not?  I need all the help I can get to keep this up!


  1. I loved this post! I have been doing the same thing at our house....blowing off the dust on the cookbooks and checking out all of the 300+ recipes I've pinned. I hate eating the same thing all the time too :)

    I just posted my menu for this week on the blog if you need more ideas. All from Pinterest this week :)

  2. Buffalo crockpot chicken lettuce wraps?!?! My mouth is watering. That's going in my planner for next week!

  3. Pinterest is like my favorite recipe finding place. Here are all of the things I love from Pinterest -

  4. I think my husband is pickier than your toddler...