New to meal planning and need meal ideas - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-05-2010, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've only recently started meal planning, about a month ago. I really like doing it, it makes cooking so much easier! But I don't have a lot of meal ideas-which is part of why I started meal planning, actually. I got extremely sick of making the same worn out easy to prepare dishes. I can't tell you how much spaghetti or how many tacos I've ingested in the past couple of years!

But in the past month, I've really gone through all the meal ideas I have and I don't want to just repeat over and over. Does anyone have any good recipes, meal ideas or cookbooks??

Thanks!!

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Old 11-05-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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We have a monthly meal planning thread, here is November's.

I recently began posting my meal plan on my blog and then linking back to the recipes so (very recently, only October's has recipe's linked so far).

Are you looking for anything specific? Vegetarian, Vegan, Soups, Roasts, etc.?
I use a lot of recipes from Cooks Country magazine and have loved everything of there's that I tried but some of them tend to be more involved, so not great for quick dinners.

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm pretty much looking for any ideas that outstrip baked chicken, rice & a veg, or tacos and spaghetti. But since I'm not a great cook and don't really enjoy cooking, nothing that's hugely involved. Plus with two kids, one of whom is just about a yr old and refuses to leave me alone while I cook (DH works mostly evenings/nights), I don't really have an option to mess around in the kitchen a lot.

Note: I'm not opposed to chicken, but I'd like to do more with it than salt, pepper and bake it. Marinading it in something would be a nice change.

Thanks for the links. I did check out the Nov meal plan thread, I'll have to go back and look for a few past months as well. IDK what I didn't think of that before!! lol BTW, the chicken and broccoli looks/sounds really yummy! It went on my list right away!

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Old 11-06-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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If you are looking for simple recipes, perhaps check out your library to see if they have any 30-Minute cookbooks.

Sometimes I get more opportunity to cook earlier in the day, before the pre-dinner meltdowns begin, so I do things like chop up all the veggies I'm going to need later, or I'll even prep/make the whole dinner while the kids are sitting at the table eating lunch (I'll eat mine while I'm cooking, and the kids are occupied with their food so they harass me less) or taking their naps.

If it is something that is easy to reheat, or might be better from a long simmer I'll make it in its entirety (soups, stews, sauces tend to go this route) either assemble it and throw it in the crockpot or to sit on the stove. Other things do better hot (casseroles, lasagna's, zitis, marinated meats, etc.) so I'll make them and then cover them in the fridge. That way at dinnertime I only need to preheat the oven and pop it in in a timely manner. No stress while the kids (and therefore me!) are at their most fragile time of day behaviorally, well, next to bedtime.

I find that salad dressings make good, easy marinades. There is one that I use as my quick stir-fry base, it is a sesame ginger one I think it is a Wegman's store brand, but other brands may have something similar. Dice up the chicken and put it in a bowl with a good bit of the dressing for a few hours (sometimes I forget and it doesn't get marinated at all just cooked in the dressing and it still turns out well). Dice up whatever veggies you'd like to eat it with like peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, etc. (or get a package of frozen stir fry veggies) and cook the chicken and veggies together with the dressing and perhaps a bit of chicken broth to make it saucier. Serve over hot rice.

Or marinate chicken in BBQ sauce all day then pop it in the oven at dinnertime with a few washed and pricked potatoes and let them bake away until they are done. Serve with a steamed veggie or salad.

I found I'm liking cooking more when I have a plan and I don't try to wait until the last minute to figure out what to make and start it. The more I cook, the better I get, the better I get, the more I enjoy it (and the outcome!)

Sorry for the novel Enjoy the recipes on the blog, it's a new venture but I'm liking it so there will be more. The meatloaf, minestrone, fish, and zuppa toscana recipes should be going up this week as I take them off the camera and input the recipes.

(And even if you tend to make the same meals, you can change them up a bit. Pasta and sauce can be marinara, vodka sauce, alfredo, with meatballs, with sausage, with peppers & onions. Tacos can be hard shell, soft shell, taco salads (we call them haystacks because it is over a pile of Fritos and then topped with cheddar) with beef, with beans, with chicken, with ground turkey, or even on a pizza crust (I sometimes just use whole wheat pitas, sometimes I make my own crust).

There I go again, lol, I need to stop so you can process and not get overwhelmed! Good Luck!

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Old 11-06-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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Check out allrecipes.com, I love that site. You can search recipes by ingredients, which I really love, and I love all the feedback on recipes.

I could NOT cook when dh and I got married (I was 18 and my mom can't cook, either!) My SIL got me Betty Crocker's New Cookbook for Christmas, which has a lot of instructional stuff (what cooking terms mean and how to do everything) and I used that to help teach myself how to cook. Now I LOVE to cook.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post

Check out allrecipes.com, I love that site. You can search recipes by ingredients, which I really love, and I love all the feedback on recipes.

I could NOT cook when dh and I got married (I was 18 and my mom can't cook, either!) My SIL got me Betty Crocker's New Cookbook for Christmas, which has a lot of instructional stuff (what cooking terms mean and how to do everything) and I used that to help teach myself how to cook. Now I LOVE to cook.


I LOVE allrecipes! One thing I do each day is check out their "daily recipes" section. I've found several jewels this way. And the feedback is great because so many of the people make awesome modifications to simple recipes.


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