Wednesday, August 5, 2009

meal planning

Yes, I am a meal planner. Not only that, we try new things all the time (which is a good thing only half the time). When I plan my week, I am very conscious of the nutrition facts in my meals, however I have at least one meal where we make something that we really like and ignore how bad it is for us. Where do I get my recipes? I go to Cooking Light Magazines, the Biggest Loser Cookbook, Everyday Food magazines, a few other cookbooks, old recipes and anyplace else I come across great stuff. But I don't use recipes unless they have the nutrition facts at the bottom, just so I know what we are getting and so I can keep my portions sized right. So important!

So below is an example of a week's worth of meals. I plan 5 meals per week and the other two days are either something out of the pantry or we go out!

Monday: Chili Mac
Wednesday: Pasta Primavera
Thursday: Grilled Chicken w/ Green Beans & Tomatoes
Friday: Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

I have a ton of recipes so there are never two weeks in a row where we have to have the same thing! 

Two of the meals above have links to the recipes that I have already blogged about. The other three recipes are below!

Chili Mac
from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes


8 servings (serving size: 1 cup beef mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese)


  • 1  pound  ground round
  • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green bell pepper
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  cooked elbow macaroni (about 4 ounces uncooked)
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 1  tablespoon  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1  (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1  (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1  (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1  (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1. Cook first 4 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble beef. 

2. Drain well; wipe drippings from pan with paper towels. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in macaroni and next 9 ingredients (macaroni through tomato paste). Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon onto each of 8 plates; top with cheese

Grilled Chicken with Green Beans & Tomatoes
from Real Simple Magazine

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1  clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4  6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  •   kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 4  plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise


1. Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the oil.

2. Rub the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large bowl, toss the green beans and tomatoes with the remaining oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

3. Grill the chicken until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Grill the green beans and tomatoes, turning the green beans often and the tomatoes once, until tender and charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with the vinaigrette.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
from the back of the Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix

2- lb. boneless beef chuck steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
10 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream

Toss beef with flour in slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients except sour cream. Cook covered on LOW 8 to 10 hours or HIGH 4 to 6 hours until meat is tender. Stir in sour cream. Serve, if desired, over hot cooked noodles.


Vanessa said...

So, EVERYTHING on your menu sounds DELISH!!!! Very much "my style" of cooking:) I make that beef stroganoff about once every couple's so good! Oh, and Cooking Light is one of my long time favs, too! Thanks for sharing your menu- it gives me some ideas! xo

Lauren and Michael said...

Thank you sooo much!!! I do less cooking in the summer but will be getting back on the bandwagon in no time at all!!

The Shaft's said...

I do this too. And since there is only two of us, we eat the other portion (usually four portions per meal for lunch. This cuts down on spending too.

Noel said...

Thanks Amanda I am going to try these dinners out!!!!!!