recipes

Planning Ahead and Meals

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So, how do you handle meal planning? My ideal way is to take a moment on Sunday and formulate a plan for the week. Then, I pick the recipes I’ll use and make a list of the ingredients needed. But, there’s times when life gets in the way of my weekly meal planing and prepping.

The Market

I stopped at my favorite grocery store, The Market, on my way home from another appointment yesterday. I really like this smaller, personalized store for a number of reasons. They have a great selection of specialty foods, their deli is extensive with an area of gourmet cheeses, and they have a wide variety in their meat department. Perfect for my cooking style.

The Market isn’t in my neighborhood, so I usually only go there once or twice a month. While I was there there yesterday, I did some mental meal planning for the week ahead and bought what I needed.

I like to plan my meals and a create grocery list based on them. For some reason, though, I’ve gotten out of that planning habit lately. When I have a meal/dinner plan, it feels so good to put it in writing and share it with you, and on Instagram and Facebook.

So, I’m sharing this week’s meals with you.

Dinner Tonight

I started prepping the Black Bean and Kale Soup, the night prior by soaking the beans overnight. But, a pressure cooker will let you cook the beans in minutes. I share how in this post: https://thefeatherednester.com/lighter-dinner-menu-march-4th/.

This morning, I put them in the crockpot, along with chicken stock, smoked ham shanks, carrots, shallots, lime zest and juice, and spices. They’ll stay in the crockpot all day.

This afternoon I’ll add the kale, a little more lime juice, and check on the seasoning. I love fix-it and forget-it meals. A little organization goes a long way with them.

planning

Black Bean and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 500 ml of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1-2 smoked ham shanks
  • 7 oz. can of mild diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)
  • A bunch of kale, chopped or ribboned
  • For garnish: Cilantro, diced tomato, hot sauce, grated cheese, sour cream

Preparation:

After rinsing the beans that soaked overnight, place the beans in a crockpot and add 500ml of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Add diced vegetables, smoked ham shanks, green chilies, lime zest and 1/2 of the lime juice, and spices. Set on low for 8 hours.

Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Remove ham shanks, cut off the meat and discard the bones. Add the kale and let cook about 1 more hour.

For a thicker soup, use an immersion blender. Just before serving, add the last of the lime juice. Place in bowls with your choice of garnishes, and serve.

Dinners This Week

Here are the meals I came up with during my mental planning session:

Wednesday: Pasta Bolognese, Green Beans, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Stuffed Pork Chops, Farmhouse Salad, and French Bread

Friday: Skirt Steak, Baked Potato, and BBQ Ranch Salad

Saturday: Grilled Chicken Breasts, Rice, and Green Beans

I know our veggies look awfully redundant. Sadly, salads and green beans are usually the only “greens” we eat around here, though I did add kale to our bean soup. I try to sneak kale and spinach in where I can. Eating better and healthier is always a work in progress in my house.

How do you plan your meals? Do take an organized approach? Or shop on the fly while you’re at the grocery store?
Share your method with us in the comments below.

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