Welcome to the first installment of my Meal Plan Mondays series.
This week for dinner the plan is: pork loin, black bean soup, lasagna, waffles, & steak.
I’m not very advanced when it comes to cooking. So if you are looking for gourmet meals you likely won’t find them here.
It’s January and I’ve got my resolutions made for the year. One resolution I really want to stick to is planning at least 5 dinners each week. I want to eat more whole foods – less with the preservatives, processed, & prepackaged food. I grew up in a big family (ten kids) and we had a HUGE garden so the concept is not foreign to me. However, I feel like I have a tendency to slip away from whole foods when I’m not as organized with a meal plan.
Also, for most disease processes nutrition is a key component to managing it. Cooking at home gives a person more control with portion sizes & content like sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and fat.
Here’s what the family is in for (sorry family, my resolution involves you):
When I fix a pork loin I generally just follow the instructions on the package for the oven temperature and time per pound and throw it in the oven (in a dish of some sort, of course). Sometimes I might rub it with some ginger, occasionally I buy the pre-seasoned loins, or lots of times I just leave it plain. About 40 minutes before it is due to come out I peel my potatoes, dice them up, and get them on to boil. I put my green beans (usually frozen) in my steamer pot or in a saucepan with water & have them ready to be turned on when the potatoes are almost done. I usually dish up individual servings of applesauce (and maybe sprinkle with some cinnamon) and set them by each place setting when I set the table. I like this meal because I can make it with my eyes closed and it’s usually a crowd pleaser. I also like it because if I buy a big enough pork loin there will be left overs to make into pulled pork BBQ sandwiches later in the week – not this week though.
I don’t really have a black bean soup recipe that I follow to a T. I usually just look at a few recipes online and look for the commonalities (is that a word?) between them. Sometimes I use dry beans and soak them and sometimes I’ll use canned black beans. If I’m using canned I always buy the lowest sodium, least preserved can of beans on the shelf. I take my beans, add some chicken broth, maybe some diced tomatoes, some spices to taste – like curry powder & cumin, chop up some onion and bell pepper, mince some garlic, and cook it all up. I can do it all in the crock pot and let it cook for the day or I can do it later in the day on the stove. Whip up some corn bread and a few tossed salads and I’m all set. If I want to be fancy 🙂 , I serve it with sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, and/or tortilla strips for toppings. If I want it a little thicker I might put about a half of a cup of the soup in the blender for a few seconds and add it back into the pot.
Lasagna night: I follow any old recipe or buy a Stouffer’s prepared (now preservative free). I’ll throw some garlic bread in the oven when the lasagna comes to stand, and make up a few tossed salads. Done.
Breakfast for dinner is something I like to do although my family gripes a little when I do it. I love breakfast foods, but unless it’s the weekend my family doesn’t stop at Go for breakfast in the morning. This week we are having waffles. Now for my waffles I do have a recipe that I love. It came along with many others in the Kenmore Belgian Waffle Maker (I can’t help it. I love Sears. Always have, always will.)
“Mom’s Waffles” (from the Kenmore Belgian Waffle Maker Owner’s Manual)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour, all-purpose
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all dry ingredients. Combine all wet ingredients. Mix well. Add wet ingredient mixture to dry mixture and mix until the batter is smooth. Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter per waffle. Cook 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, or until light, golden brown. Makes 8-10 waffles.
Top with warm vanilla custard and sliced bannanas.
Obviously you can top them with whatever you want. I am getting ready to read Everything on a Waffle for the book group I’m in – that’s why we are having waffles this week and we’ll be using “Primrose Quarp’s Favorite Waffles” recipe instead. I sometimes add some eggs and breakfast meat to the plate if I feel like it – or not. This might not be the healthiest meal, but with some fruit toppings or fruit on the side it’ll pass for me.
Steak, baked potatoes, & broccoli with a little shredded cheese on top. Totally easy. Sometimes I add a tossed salad on the side and sometimes I don’t. It’s one of my favorite meals, because it fills everyone up and it is easy for me.
Grocery list (might not be all inclusive, but it should be pretty close)
bag of salad or whatever you want for tossed salads
Hunt’s diced tomatoes (or you can buy whole and dice them yourself)
chicken broth (if you don’t make your own)
corn bread fixings (a mix or cornmeal)
shredded cheddar cheese
lasagna fixings if you are making from scratch or your favorite frozen least preservative frozen lasagna – noodles, ricotta cheese, meat if you want it, spinach if you want it, Italian spices, etc.
garlic bread frozen or bread to make it yourself
That’s the plan and I’m sticking to it.
People are always telling me it’s more expensive to eat healthy. I don’t really think that is true. Coming down the pike I will try to keep track of my grocery expenses for each meal plan and see how it pans out.
Please let me know if you notice anything missing from my grocery list.
Have a great week!