Thursday, May 3, 2018

What we've been eating lately.

  Meal planning at our house seems to go in consistent waves and seasons. Spring always seems to be an easy time to stick with meal prep and intentional eating. About the time summer vacations and the start of Fall roll around we've slipped out of a routine and try to get back to it for a few month. Then we use the holidays to lighten up a bit and the cycle starts over again when spring hits. I used to beat myself up that- the whole not-sticking-with-it no matter what. Enough years and time behind us now, and I see that is normal and actually works for us!

  So, per our usual cycle, we've been back into meal planning lately! (Hi, spring time! You're great in every way.) I thought I would share a few favorites we've discovered lately. I sit down over the weekend and plan out three meals for the upcoming week. Any more and we're likely to be throwing unused food away. Three is the magic number for our family! With random meetings, nights out with friends, late nights at work, or just not being in the mood to cook a full meal- we've found that planning for only three meals is perfect. If one meal in particular usually has lots of leftovers, I'll try to make it earlier in the week to have for lunches, etc. Other than that, I just decided each day which meal to make instead of being really specific when I'm meal planning (ie. jalepeno chicken on tuesday, spaghetti on thursday etc). I've also started printing out the recipes that aren't in cookbooks I have on hand. THIS HAS BEEN HUGE. I'm always just bookmarking recipes on my phone and have to have it handy when I'm cooking. In general, I try to not have my phone with me all the time and trying to read a recipe on it while cooking just bugs me. Printing them out is wonderful because I can see them all at once, grocery-list making is simpler, and then I can file it away to use again if we end up loving the dish. Maybe everyone else has been doing this forever? I'm probably late to the game, but printing my recipes has been a dinner-prep game changer!

Ok, enough babbling. Here are some of our recent favorites (you'll see a theme- we're clearly working through all of Gina's recipes and we mainly eat chicken):

Jalapeño popper chicken: SO STINKING GOOD. Justin and I both love this dish.

General Tso's chicken: I don't like Chinese food, but Justin really likes this lightened up version of a classic.

PW breakfast pizza: I hadn't made this for years until a bible study breakfast a few weeks ago. A great dish to share!

Lemon garlic sheet pan chicken & veggies: We cut the amount of garlic butter in half, but otherwise its amazing. The chicken is the best baked chicken we've found!

Spinach dip: another party favorite! Really fast and simple to make and gets devoured.

Brussel sprouts: it's not really a recipe, but I've been obsessed with cooking a few pieces of center-cut bacon and then pan-frying a pound of brussels sprouts in the same skillet. I eat it for lunch at least a few days every week lately!

Stovetop popcorn: Slowly but surely, we're cutting out overly processed stuff in our house when it makes sense. That includes microwave popcorn! My kids LOVE popcorn, so every few days we make a big batch on the stove with olive oil and salt (we use a WhirlyPop). SO good and simple.

 With summer on the horizon, I can't wait for grilling season and more fresh veggies! Give me all your favorite summer recipes! Also, can we talk about kid lunches/snacks? I want to round-up some new ideas (anyone else get a rut with those things?) so give your go-to's!

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