Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Talk # 7: Meal Planning and a Pinterest Fail

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday Talk! We're glad you're here! Check out all the fun posts from friends on the link-up and add your own, too!

Any chance you know what you're making for dinner tonight? A few weeks ago I would have answered that question with a sad shrug, painful grimace, or with my head inside the freezer or pantry desperately searching for options. Yet now I'm actually excited to answer that question. 

The miraculous change? Meal planning. I've jumped on the meal planning bandwagon.

I'm still pretty casual about it. I'm not using printables, or systems, or excel charts. I'm must using a cute notepad that is divided into the days of the week on each sheet. On the front of the sheet (with the days of the week), I write out our schedules so that I know which nights P. will be working (which equals simple dinner for one while I watch some episodes!!). Then under each day I write what recipe/meal I plan to make (sometimes "leftovers" gets written in, and that's okay!). I'm usually browsing my Pinterest boards or perusing a cookbook while I'm making out the meal plan so that I can see what ingredients I'll need to buy. Turn the meal plan sheet over and bam! You've got yourself a blank sheet for a grocery list. (I know. Fancy. But it works.)

This small routine has done wonders for me. I feel less pressure on busy work days because I've planned healthy, hearty meals on the previous weekend or my days off so that we'll have leftovers those days. I end up making about 3-4 recipes a week, and the other days we are eating the leftovers or something more simple (hello, frozen pizza). Ideally, I'd like to eventually stock the freezer with meals for those busy days, but hey. It's a journey.

Ready for some winning recipes from the past couple weeks??

Autumn Lasagna -- This baby was amazing. Know that you will be in the kitchen all afternoon, so if you don't love a cooking adventure, this is not the recipe for you. I made it on a Sunday afternoon, pulled up a marriage podcast on my computer to listen to, and thoroughly enjoyed time in the kitchen. Three HEADS of roasted garlic and two butternut squash go into this bad boy. Word of advice: it's so unique I didn't want leftovers over and over, so I froze individual portions for when I'm hungry for it again.

Holy Yum Chicken -- We had dinner guests last Friday night and this was my main dish. I highly recommend it for entertaining! It's elegant yet simple-- and very little last-minute cooking with it. You throw it together, pop it in the oven, and the only thing just before serving is some cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I served it with roasted veggies, multigrain French loaf, and apple-walnut salad. (And the Pinterest fail...more on that later.) 

Kung Pao Chicken -- This is an ideal weeknight dinner. Chicken in the crockpot with your favorite Chinese sauce, add some veggies an hour before serving and cut up the cooked chicken. It was delish. 

Pumpkin Penne -- I made this for myself while my husband was in D.C. for work. I figured he probably wouldn't mind since a few days prior he had asked me, "When is pumpkin cooking season over?" with a hopeful face that it was soon. (I think he had had his fill of that delightful fall bounty.)

What's that you say? Oh. Right. I promised you a Pinterest fail. Alright, friends. No laughing. It can happen to the best of us. (Okay. You can totally laugh. It's hilarious.)

Ever tried making "Cookie Cups" for ice cream using cookie dough and an upside-down muffin tin?

Um. Don't.

 But there's a happy ending. I cut around the mess and they made decent cookie cups and the guests loved them. (And we had some extra laughs.)

Have a great week, friends! I'd love to hear about your favorite recipes lately-- and any Pinterest fails!!

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  1. Pinterest fails, I have a few up my sleeve as well. ;)

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog this morning =) Ohhh I can't even begin to tell you just how many pinterest fails I have had! LOL
    The Kung Pao Chicken you have posted here sounds really good. I think my oldest daughter would love it, and my husband too =) Thanks for sharing these!!!

    1. The Kung Pao chicken was definitely the easiest recipe, which is nice for a weeknight! Much cheaper and healthier than Chinese takeout, too! :)

  3. I know all too well about the Pinterest fail....hey that rhymed. As long as they tasted good, that is what really mattered.

    1. Yep. If I had to pick out of looking good or tasting good, I'm all about the taste! ;)

  4. Cookie cups for ice cream sound like such a good idea in theory!! I love that. Laura, I am so with you on this post-meal planning is the best! I first started doing it for Lent last year; at the beginning, I meal-planned for the entirety of Lent, and it saved me so much time & hassle later on! I've since gotten more disorganized, and now meal planning usually happens week by week haha. In fact, that's what I'm supposed to do this afternoon (when I can get myself to stop watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, haha). One of our favorite go-to meal planning items is sushi. Super simple, super delicious, and adaptable to a variety of tastes! (We usually make ours with canned tuna, but one time I had a teensy bit of BBQ chicken leftovers, so that's what we put in the sushi rolls)

    1. Ooh, very cool. I'm always impressed when people make sushi!! Do you have a mat for rolling it up?

      And what is the Lizzie Bennett Diaries?? I'm a huge PandP fan!

    2. Haha no, we're not that professional-in fact, our sushi usually winds up falling apart. So we don't have a mat-we just make sushi rice (you make normal rice and put in a rice vinegar mixture), put it on the sushi, add whatever ingredients we have on hand, and roll it up! It's pretty fun, but not nearly as pretty as what you can find in the store or restaurant!

      The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Youtube show (100 episodes, each is anywhere from 3-6ish minutes long). It's a modern-day adaptation of P&P, about a grad student (Lizzy) who creates a vlog of her diaries to talk about her crazy family and the rest of the characters of P&P. I actually watched all of them in four days (they are quite addictive) and I really enjoyed them-especially because the character of Lydia is not as one-sided as she seems in the actual P&P book; her character development is really good. As a forewarning, there is some language (these are about secular college kids, so expect references pertaining to casual sex occasionally), but overall, it's a really good show. Now that I've finished it, I've moved onto Emma Approved, which is a youtube show made by the same people, about a life coach/matchmaker named Emma! So far, it's really clean, super adorable, and the chemistry between Emma and Knightley is adorable, as is the storyline of Harriet and Mr. Martin) So I recommend that show, too! (It's helpful that I can multi-task and exercise or do other things while watching these, it helps me justify the youtube binges haha)

  5. Gotta love pinterest fails! As long as it tasted good!

    1. Yes, it cracks me up how many times I've seen that pin on Pinterest. People should start posting the fails to warn others. ;)

  6. Made some potato/corn soup last night. Blasted it out and it was amazing. Now I'm trying to remember how I did it so I can copy it onto the blog. I'm so use to throwing this or that into a pot, surprising myself on how it comes out and then I can't remember how I did it.

    1. Oh, that sounds like a corn chowder I had one time...mmmm...sounds like comfort food!

  7. The Kung Pao Chicken looks sooooo good! :)