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meal planning

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Not sure if this is the right place for thus, but i just figured since we are often the family cooks that there mught be some good ideas here. I am in a bit of a slymp. I'm tired of makung the same dozen or so meals all of the time (and i'm sure dh and the kids are too). We also have the issues that our oven is currently on the fritz. The stovetop does work, and we use the bbq and the crock pot alot. Anyone have any good suggestions?
post #2 of 32

im making albondigas tonight :)



post #3 of 32
Originally Posted by CherryBombMama View Post

im making albondigas tonight :)



That looks really tasty. I've never heard of it before!


Our dinner plans for tonight are pretty dull- roast chicken, twice baked potatoes and peas. However, I actually tend towards things like souvlaki, soup (we're going to try a Zuppa Toscana type soup tomorrow), salads, stir fries etc.  It's not all that common for me to do anything with potato- but they are on sale this time of year.  We also keep tortillas on hand and turn leftovers into quesadillas, or grilled wrap sandwiches- depending on what is on hand. 

post #4 of 32

This week we are kind of boring too...but I am making shepherds pie tonight, then tomorrow we're doing turkey loaf, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls, and then I think we'll probably do enchiladas Friday night...I do a big batch and then we can have them on the weekend as a lunch or something.  This weekend I'll probably do goulash on Sunday, and Saturday is always our eat out night.

That's just what I'm doing.  Next week is totally up in the air! LOL

post #5 of 32
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
I got deboned turkeys today for 99¢ a lb! I am super excited. I borrowed my grandma's pressure cooker and am cooking them as we speak. I plan to slice them up and freeze in meal sized bags for sandwiches, stir fry etc. Should be tasty..perfect for babyfood too!
post #7 of 32

It helps me to look through food magazines or cookbooks or to try to duplicate something I've had at a restaurant. I also like to think of categories of meals, like Braise, Stir Fry, Pasta, Soup/Stew, Casseroles, Pie, Beans, Skillet, and Sunday Dinner, for example, to make it easier to think of dishes. Here are some ideas that work for me. The main thing is to know in the morning what I'm having for dinner.



French Onion soup with or without beef shank


Cream of Tomato

Cream of potato and leek

Split Pea

Winter Squash soup: Roast Hubbard, and/or Acorn or Kombucha in oven (rub with oil first). Mix roasted squash with coconut milk, and maybe some chicken or vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds. 



Short ribs or lamb shank

Short Ribs

Roasted Mixed Vegetables

Beets served with horseradish sour cream.


Stir Fry

Bok choy, scallions, carrots, mushrooms, mung beans, tofu, peanuts or cashews, Pork or shrimp (optional). Flavor with soy, tamarind, ponzu, Thai chil, or fish sauce. Serve over rice noodles or rice. Add sunomono salad (cucumbers in rice vinegar)



Spaghetti (make a sauce with chopped zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, onion and tomatoes), caesar salad, garlic toast. It's easy to make garlic toast by crushing fresh garlic and mixing it with salt and butter. Just butter some toast with it.


Mac and Cheese

Pasta Salad



Enchiladas with beans and rice

Tuna casserole

Scalloped Potatoes 




Mushroom Yogurt Pie




Lentils as soup or side dish. Try French Lentils with finely chopped onion and carrot as a side dish. Add some greens, maybe a tad of tomato. 

Pasta with beans

Bean Soup

Pot of Beans

Bean Dip with Pita Bread or Tortilla Chips



Pork Loin, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach


Sukiyaki: Rice noodles, tofu, spinach, onion slivers, mushrooms, steamed together in a skillet and served with tempura.


Salmon patties. Mix cooked salmon with celery, onion, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise and an egg. Form into patties and fry in butter. Serve with rice and a steamed artichoke.


Eggplant Steaks. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then flour, then sesame seeds and fry in oil. Serve with a tomato sauce, salad and green beans.



Left over meat and veggies with aioli

Cheese crisps/Quesadillas

Mushrooms on Toast

Breakfast for Dinner

French Fried Sweet Potatoes with Curry Mayonnaise.


This is making me hungry. Gotta go eat!















Edited by Peggy O'Mara - 10/13/11 at 10:19am
post #8 of 32

I have 7 categories with a list of 4 meals per category equaling 28 meals. I use this list for a couple of months and then I change a few items. I don't list every side dish.


My current list-

Maultaschen (stove top)

Minestrone (stove top)

Potato soup (stove top)

Chicken noodle soup (stove top)

Autumn Vegetable Patties- recipe from Saveur magazine issue #142

Baked Macaroni and Cheese (oven)

Pancakes (stove top)

Nachos (can use a variety of methods to warm ingredients)

Pizza- I have made pizza on the grill and it is very good

Hamburgers or veggie burgers (grill or stove top)

BBQ sandwiches- plan to use leftover meat (stove top or slow cooker)

Spaghetti (stove top)

Fish with Rosemary (oven)

Baked chicken breast (oven)

Steak (grill)

Meatballs with tomato & zucchini (stove top)

Thai Vegetable Stir Fry (stove top)

General Tso's Chicken (stove top)- My family would eat this every day without complaint.

Gyudon (stove top)- Oyakodon is very good too and has a similar preparation

Potstickers (stove top)

Ham (slow cooker)

Turkey breast (slow cooker)

Roast beef (slow cooker)

Whole chicken (slow cooker)

Chili (stove top)

Lasagne or stuffed jumbo shells (oven)

Corned beef sandwiches/Rueben

Gyros (oven/stove top)


Hope it gave you some ideas!



post #9 of 32

Great ideas, onlyzombiecat. I want to try the Saveur Veggie Patties. What's in General Tso's Chicken?

post #10 of 32

We had soft shell tacos tonight with all the fixings and greens on the side:

white corn tortillas

black beans with roasted bell peppers (I roasted them on the stove top, peeled and diced)

cheddar (goat cheddar for me and ds)

grated jicama


guacamole (avocado, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, salt, etc.)

salsa (none for me and ds)

lime wedges for squeezing over top

shredded spiced pork (left over from the freezer for those who wanted meat)

hot sauce

steamed collards


I've been loving this Thai chicken recipe I found in a cookbook.  It calls for a whole chicken, but we like it better with wings.

Grind in mortar and pestle or food processor -- small bunch cilantro, several cloves of garlic, 1-2T turmeric (recipe calls for both fresh and dried, but I can't get fresh here), salt

Rub it on your chicken (put it in a casserole with a lid)

Squeeze a lime over it and place the lime halves and several bruised garlic cloves in the pot

Bake at 375F, basting every so often with the juices, cover to begin and uncover the last 10-20 min to let it brown up a bit.

It's amazing, and our kids love it.  I made a version for us with a few chiles from the garden in the rub -- yum!

I've served it with salad, roasted potatoes or yams, and roasted green beans.

post #11 of 32
Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara View Post

Great ideas, onlyzombiecat. I want to try the Saveur Veggie Patties. What's in General Tso's Chicken?

General Tso's Chicken ingredients are:


I use chicken breast instead of chicken thigh sometimes and it doesn't really change things. I serve it with rice and stir fry vegetables.

post #12 of 32

Do you marinate the General Tso chicken in the ingredients and then bake or fry or what? Sorry to be so dense. 


I love the Thai chicken recipe too, sunnygirl. I can get dried turmeric root at my co-op, but have never seen fresh.


I've been making a new fangled taco lately to try to duplicate one I get in a restaurant in Santa Fe. I make the taco shells and fill them as usual with the salsa, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and then pop them back in the over for a bit. If you serve them on the same place with enchiladas they can get some of the flavor from the enchilada sauce as well. 


post #13 of 32

Here's the directions for the General Tso Chicken


  1. 1
    In a large bowl, thoroughly blend the 1/2 cup of cornstarch and the eggs; add the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. 2
    If the mixture is too thick, add some vegetable oil to separate the pieces.
  3. 3
    In a small bowl, prepare the sauce mixture by combining the 2 tsp cornstarch with the wine, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
  4. 4
    First-Stage Frying: Heat 1-2 inches of peanut oil in a wok to medium-high heat (350-400).
  5. 5
    Fry the chicken in small batches, just long enough to cook the chicken through.
  6. 6
    Remove the chicken to absorbent paper and allow to stand (this step can be performed well in advance, along with the sauce mixture, with both refrigerated).
  7. 7
    Second-Stage Frying: Leave a tablespoon or two of the oil in the wok.
  8. 8
    Add the pepper pods to the oil and stir-fry briefly, awakening the aroma but not burning them.
  9. 9
    Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until the pieces are crispy brown.
  10. 10
    The General's Favorite Sauce: Add the sauce-mixture to the wok, tossing over the heat until the sauce caramelizes into a glaze (1-2 minutes).
  11. 11
    Serve immediately.
  12. 12
    Serves 4, along with steamed broccoli and rice.

o Chicken

post #14 of 32

Yum, Chicky2, that sounds great. Thanks so much.


I was looking under the Hot Threads and found a related thread where people are talking about What's For Dinner? I see several of us are over there, but a link for those who aren't. Another resource. We should publish a community cookbook? Has that been talked about before?

post #15 of 32

My kids really like pancakes for supper for a treat. Sometimes I'll do sausages, hash browns & fruit with them and make it a gourmet meal.


I like to do assemble-your-own type meals... things like tacos or wraps with various ingredients... DH has food sensitivities and DD is a picky eater has a refined palate so this makes everyone happy. Omlettes can be a little short-order-cookey but are worth it once in a while because at least they're fast.


Soups are good because you can use whatever you have on hand, they're not usually exactly the same as last time. 


Changing out one of the sides on a regular old meal can freshen it up, maybe look at some new salad recipes for inspiration? I tend to do things that way because if I present something that's all brand new it's a little overwhelming for She Who Will Not Be Named Here (again).


Have you asked the family if there's anything they can think of? I know DH wants me to make risotto soon because he hid the quinoa behind the arborio. I know DS wants me to make meatloaf soon because... well, he always wants that. He says "This is so good I'd eat it off the floor!" every time I make it. And DD is on a greek salad kick lately so I know I've got to include that in our meals this week because if nothing else, at least she'll get her veggies!


post #16 of 32

oops, wrong thread.  Peggy's link from the other thread got me turned around, lol.

post #17 of 32

Oh, Oh, sorry. I like DIY meals too. I call them Hodgepodge meals. Steamed veggies and meat (optional) dipped in a garlic aioli is great. Maybe an assemble a salad meal would be fun. And, breakfast for dinner is a great treat. 

post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for a ton of great ideas..breakfast for supper is a great hit around here that i had forgotten about! My oldest dd calls it brupper lol since its for supper not lunch lol
post #19 of 32

Everyone's lists are giving me some more good ideas for things to add to our lists. Thank you. 

Onlyzombiecat- Can I get your recipe for potstickers?  My boys love potstickers, but any time I try to make them at home they never come out right. They either taste all wrong or fall apart.


Here are some of our favorite.

My DH loves pasta so we do pasta quite a bit.  A very easy but yummy on we do is homemade Alfredo.  You just mix heavy cream, some butter, and cheese together.  Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with Parmasian cheese, but we love to use Asiago cheese, and also sometime use Romano cheese. I am not sure if it is called something else if you use a different cheese, but our family just calls it all Alfredo.  We also like to add a little garlic.  I usually serve this with some sort of chicken, and some sort of green salad.


I have done lasagna in the crock pot, just make sure to oil the sides or the noodles stick. 


I love to make different soups, but only 1 of my 3 kids eat soup so I don't make them as often as I would like to. One of my favorites is taco soup.  We also do cream of Mushroom a few times over the winter.  My DH loves chicken Gnocchi soup, but I don't enjoy making Gnocchi and none of the stores around here carry it. So he only gets it a few times a year.


If you own a deep frier or a deep pan to fry in some other favorites(though not extremely healthy) of our family are Chimichanas, Deep fried pizza, and "Utah" scones.

For the "Utah" scones and the deep fried pizza I make up a batch of sweet type bread dough in my bread maker and then roll it out and cut into usable pieces.  For the pizza you cover one half of the piece of dough with the ingredients you want then fold it over and seal it up.  Drop in oil fry for about a minute then turn it over and fry the other side.   They are similar to the pizza pockets you get at gas stations in look only these are yummier.   For the Utah scones you take pieces of dough a little smaller then your palm and drop them in the oil. Fry on one side till they start to brown and puff up then flip and fry on the other.  When they are cooled a bit you can cut them open and fill with your favorite toppings such as butter, peanut butter, nutella, honey. jam, powdered sugar, or cinnamon.

post #20 of 32

I realized last night, just as I'd finished assembling a shepherds pie, that we needed to run an errand, so we ate out and supper tonight is ready to go! Anyway... I didn't see shepherds pie on anyone's list so I thought I'd add it. We're having greek salad with it and home made apple sauce for dessert.

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