Category Archives: T4’s Tasty Treats

I love to experiment in the kitchen. Occasionally I get a crazy idea and it’s a hit with everyone. Here are my creations.

Back on the Meal Plan Wagon

When I quit my job, I kinda expected everything to magically fall in place and the chaos to disappear. (More on that in another post.) But, it didn’t and now that the girls are back in school, it’s become even more obvious that I needed some kind of magical “Chaos Be Gone.” Since that’s not available in my neighborhood Costco, I decided to go back to the drawing board for solutions to help give us smoother mornings and evenings. At the same time, a mom from my mom’s bible study shared a free cookbook with recipes for cheap meals. (The premise is that, on average, every meal in the book will cost about $4 per person.) At that moment a lightbulb went off and I decided to jump back on the meal planning wagon.

Meal planning takes the stress out of trying to figure out dinner each day. It also helps because I’ll know ahead of time if I need to defrost some meat or soak some beans. Once I’m done planning meals for the week, then I start cutting up and packing veggies and fruits for snacks for the week. Every Sunday, I sit down with my laptop and phone and plan a meal for each day.

About a year ago, my friend told me about an app AnyList, which is like the app of all apps. It’s a recipe app and shopping list in one. I do pay the $11.99/year for the premium version which allows me to meal plan, import recipes, access AnyList from any web browser and share my meal plan, recipes and grocery lists with T-Daddy. Once recipes are imported into AnyList, I can then add the ingredients from the recipe straight to my grocery list. I can also pick a recipe and assign it to a meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack) for any day. I use the AnyList for Mac app to import recipes from Pinterest and to copy and paste the recipes from the cookbook I found. For me personally, I like using the iOS app when I’m cooking versus trying to find recipe on Pinterest or a website (mainly because the app stops my phone from falling asleep and I don’t have to unlock it with food on my hands). So I’m spending a little time each Sunday, building up my recipe list. If you can’t tell, I’m in love and highly recommend the app.

Here are the meal plans I made for last week and this week. I normally just do dinner because breakfast is pretty standard and lunch is usually leftovers from the night before. I also included links to the sites for the recipes I used, unless they came from the cookbook (noted) or it’s something I don’t use a recipe for. I usually don’t meal plan for the weekends because we usually have things going on which will involve food:
Week of September 18:
September 18: Thai Pineapple Fried Rice and Baked Chicken
September 19: Pineapple Cucumber Lime Salad and Greek Marinated Chicken
September 20: Corn Soup (from cookbook)
September 21: BBQ Chicken Cornbread Skillet
September 22: Nachos
September 23: Pizza and Salad

Week of September 25:
September 25: Sautéed Spinach, Baked Chicken, Rice
September 26: Cold Asian Noodles (from cookbook) and Roasted Chicken
September 27: Dal (from cookbook) with rice or noodles
September 28: Chickpea Stew
September 29: Chimichangas
September 30: Leftovers

Meal planning really has helped relieve a lot of my stress surrounding dinner time and feeding the girls. Since I’ve been prepping their snacks when I meal plan that has also helped my mornings run a lot smoother. It’s one less thing I have to do in the mornings to get us out the door. And it’s amazing to me how this one little thing has already made such a difference.

BONUS: When I wrote about TD1’s birthday, I briefly mentioned that she and I made some treats for her classmates. She wanted to use the cookie cutter to give them fun shapes which meant we had to make a lot…and we had a lot left over. So I did the right thing, and I shared graciously. I hadn’t expected it to be such a hit. So for everyone that asked, here’s the recipe: Jam-Filled Granola Bars. I found this recipe looking for a variation of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars I made from the cookbook.

What’s Cookin’ Doc?


A while back, I wrote about my venture into meal planning. I’m happy to report that it’s going well for us. I create our menu for two weeks, then use the menu to lay out our grocery list. Todd likes the menu because he doesn’t have to decide what we’re eating for dinner. I like the menu because Temi’s able to sorta eat with us. Given that she hasn’t quite mastered how to feed herself without 1. Turning her plate/bowl upside down and 2. Using her hands as a fork or spoon, one of us still has to feed her. But she eats what we eat. 🙂

Our last trip to Walmart was a personal feat thanks to the meal planning…we only went over budget $9. Lately we had been super overspending whenever we went grocery shopping. It was really bad. We had a habit of grabbing stuff that wasn’t on the list. Or grabbing stuff because we may want to cook it or we haven’t had it in a while. With the meal plan, we only buy ingredients that we are going to use in the next two weeks. I can really dig this.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what’s cookin’ for T3. I’m including next week’s since this week is almost over:
9/23-9/29
Soul Food Nite – Nothing because we were travelling
Italian Nite – Baked Spinach spaghetti casserole w/ Italian sausage; pan-fried pork chops
Remix Tuesday – We had leftover spaghetti casserole because it was enough, but normally I create something from any leftovers we have, adding a twist to it. Or we just wing it if there’s no leftovers.
Soup/Salad Nite – Chicken Soup
Mexican Nite – Burritos
Fried Goodness Nite – Beer battered fish
Pizza Nite – Try a local pizzeria

9/30-10/6
Soul Food Nite – Roast w/ potatoes, carrots, celery; spinach; sweet potato cornbread
Italian Nite – Mostaccioli w/ spinach; pan-fried chicken
Remix Tuesday
Soup/Salad Nite – Chili
Mexican Nite – Chipotle burrito bowl
Fried Goodness Nite – Fried chicken; mac n cheese; salad
Pizza Nite – Try a local pizzeria

I’m super happy about my meal planning accomplishment. Cooking dinner has been a struggle for Todd and I the past year and I feel like I finally came up with a system that works for both of us. (Well mainly me since someone decided that cooking was my “thing”.) Knowing what’s for dinner and being able to unthaw any meat ahead of time (night before, morning of) has been a huge time saver and one less thing for me to worry about. One less thing on my ever-growing to-do list. It’s a small step, but it feels HUGE. Makes me feel proud. Like I’m doing something right.

Now if only I could create someone to load the dishwasher….oh wait I did….what’s the proper maturity and age for using your kids as dishwashers???

~ Posted using BlogPress from my iPad