Sunday, July 31, 2011

meal plan: first week of August + lasagna recipe

Last Week's Retrospective: um, did anyone notice that I'm missing Thursday in last week's plan? Well, neither did I. All week something felt off in my planning and we ended up having one night where we just winged it. I imagine that's why. Otherwise, we stayed close to the plan except for Friday. Instead of pizza we had salads at Central Market, courtesy of my parents being in town (a hastily planned visit). Aside: we also had the pleasure of eating at Threadgill's for lunch Saturday, also courtesy of my parents. I really love Threadgill's veggie plate and all the vegan and vegetarian options that can be combined for that. (shhhh, I snuck a few fried okra bites off of my mom's dish so that I didn't have to order that for myself!) They also brought us a home-grown watermelon all the way from the Pine Belt.

Next Week: We have another guest this week, my husband's mother, who will be here for three weeks. So the next three plans will be for a family of 3 adults and 2 children. She's a joy to have around the house and she seems to appreciate my cooking more than anyone.(hooray!).

And now, I seem to have lost the list I made for the week. Seriously. It went something like this:

Monday: Lasagna, since I know it's a meal our houseguest enjoys. I have included my cherished lasagna recipe below, one I can't find anywhere on the internet and that I've been making for years. I don't even know where I got it.

Tuesday: veggie and bean tacos with fixin's. I will attempt fresh salsa/pico de gallo b/c I love it so.

Wednesday: Greek lentils with field roast sausage and salad. I made the lentils weeks ago and froze them just for this purpose.

Thursday: summer peas and maple cornbread with fruit. Last week I made a pot of zipper creams, up this week? baby limas. My dad also stocked my freezer with pintos and purple hulls. (whee!)

Friday: pizza night, though I'll serve it with a quinoa salad since pizza hasn't been on my personal meal plan of late.

Meaty Vegetarian Lasagna


the equivalent of 1 lb ground beef (any meat substitute will do, my favorite is Quorn, which is not a soy-based substitute, in case that matters)
2 T. veg. oil (split)
1 1-lb can of tomatoes
1/2 c water
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 c diced celery
1 pkg spaghetti sauce mix
1 T. sugar
1 T. prepared mustard
salt to taste
1 8oz pkg lasagna noodles
2 bay leaves
1 lb cottage cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan
6-8 oz thinly sliced or grated mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Brown ground meat substitute in 1 T of the oil and add next 8 ingredients (can of tomatoes, water, tomato paste, celery, spaghetti sauce mix, sugar, mustard, salt). Simmer 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions, adding 1 T oil and bay leaves to boiling water. Drain and remove bay leaves.

Oil a 12 x 18 inch baking dish. Layer noodles, sauce, 1/2 of the the cottage cheese, 1/2 of the Parmesan and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat layers. Make top layer of noodles and sauce. Decorate with strips of mozzarella. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meal Plan: week of July 25

This week, some neighbors of ours went out of town and unloaded (much to our delight) their CSA box on us. So, in addition to planning meals for the week, I wanted to take advantage of our extra bounty. We have lots of great salad supplies, so in addition to the meals below, we'll sprinkle the week with salads.
  • Today: I am making zipper cream peas and vegan cornbread. We have a giant honeydew melon from the neighbors to dig into as well. This is a meal from my childhood. There's almost nothing I like better than fresh boiled peas and zipper creams are one of my absolute favorites.
  • Monday: this used to be our build-a-bowl night and I'm going back to that routine. I serve a whole grain (often quinoa), a protein (tomorrow it will be chickpeas or leftover peas) and a green for mixing up into a bowl with toppings. The girls can eat the items separately and I often offer them whole-grain crackers or veggie straws along with the meal. Husband and I add Sriracha or toasted sesame seeds.
  • Tuesday: this is our taco night. I've got Quorn ground round sitting in the freezer; I'll take advantage of that by adding taco seasoning and sauteed onions to make a veg "beef" filling. I'll serve with beans for the girls and traditional taco toppings.
  • Wednesday: This chickpea salad. I am taking another batch into work for our staff luncheon on Thursday. I'm also making a batch of Heidi Swanson's amazing chocolate chips cookies to send in for the luncheon and some extra as an end-of-summer camp surprise for the girls' teachers. These are my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies. They are not healthy, FYI.
  • Friday: pizza night. E and I went through cookbooks yesterday to see what pizza dough recipe options we have on hand. If we get inspired and have the time, we may try to make our own dough. If not, we'll fall back on pita pizzas.
This weekend has been incredibly productive so far. I made about 8 cups of fresh cooked garbanzos last night and today I have already made two batches of fresh hummus, one plain and one with a roasted pepper. One will go in the freezer. I also made a batch of Swanson's Grandma's Grain hot cereal which I will eat from all week (sadly, I was out of walnuts this morning). And I used some overripe bananas in this recipe for vegan blueberry banana muffins. I can't eat them b/c I'm allergic to bananas (though I can say they smell divine!), but they'll go in the girls lunches (and an extra dozen will go in the freezer). I made them with ww flour because it was all I had on hand. And I added about a quarter cup of almond milk because they seemed a little dry.

I am pretty sure today's incredible productivity was the direct result of starting my day with a run.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Suppers

I totally forgot that yesterday I was picking up the girls, which meant we had a later start to dinner than usual. So much for my sticky rice and baked tofu idea.

What I did last night is what I do a lot of nights in the summer. I basically went through the fridge and pulled out an assortment of (mostly cold) items to serve. Last night it was hummus with whole grain pita chips, cantaloupe, the last of our steamed broccoli, yogurt and salad. The girls have fun little compartmentalized plates and they enjoy putting a food item in each one. I also served them strawberry frozen fruit bars for dessert.

This feels a bit like cheating, but it's often too dang hot to cook and as I look at the array of food being served - they're clearly getting the right kinds of nutrients: healthy proteins, fruits, veggies.

If I planned ahead for these nights, I could offer a little more variety - perhaps making a wider array of cold salads or dips that could sit in the fridge for a few days. So, I might be hunting down some ideas for that. I know that Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new cookbook Appetite for Reduction contains a lot of creative salad ideas.

I'm curious: what are other folks' go-to quick summer suppers like?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meal Plan

Here is our meal plan for next week. Sometimes additional food will be made if one of the boys is having a rather particular being picky sort of day.

Our menu plan for next week…
-ShuMai/SiuMai dumplings filled with broccoli & zucchini in garlic sauce! (This is a recipe from a friend’s blog)
-Veggie sushi with a side of miso veggies & udon noodles (in case one of them decides they don’t want sushi)
-Chana Masala with a side of roasted cauliflower
-Corn on the cob, grilled squash, & vegan apple sage sausages
-Pizza night

Chickpea crunchers
Kale chips
Dried fruit
Chcolate chip quinoa muffins

Welcome to Nourish the Family

Hi All,

First post!

What's this blog about? Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm struggling a bit with food. I miss my dinner coop (families cooking for families on a weekly basis) which fell on hard times and I've been working on my diet this summer and trying to make plans for stuffing the most nutritious and yummy food possible into my growing girls (2 and 4). I love browsing the web for recipes, poring over cookbooks and making grocery lists. But I struggle with weekly meal plans and feel like I wing it a lot at night.

Enter the new blog. I thought I'd start this as a space to share weekly meal plans. I'll try to share my own and I hope to add other posters who'll do the same so that we can share ideas (with recipes too). Because I know I need inspiration.

So far, our week has looked like this:

Monday: this was an odd day. E was attempting a piano lesson at 5pm so husband and R stayed home and snacked on black beans and strawberries and crackers. When E and I got home, she wanted mac and cheese so (sigh) I utilized an Annie's microwave pack of mac and cheese (plus black beans and crackers and strawberries). Husband and I had big salads, which we're loading with greens and a veggie protein source - this is part of our summer eating plan.

Tuesday: bean tacos served with Greek yogurt and salsa, tortilla chips, carrots, grapes. Husband and I had our salads.

Wednesday: again the clamor for mac and cheese! I had purchased a frozen variety (supposedly whole grain and healthier) and I took the time to bake it in the oven so it would be extra yummy. The kids ate that while husband and I ate salads. Alongside the mac and cheese, I served steamed broccoli and apple slices. I also made a pot of curried sprouted lentils while the mac and cheese was baking. I have lentils for my lunch today.

Thursday: That's today. I don't have plans yet, though I had thought of doing something with baked tofu and sticky rice, plus the leftover broccoli.

Friday: is typically our pizza night.

The weekend is up for grabs.

We will try a) not to eat out and b) limit mindless snacking.

Going forward, I'm going to try to post our meal plans here and give them more thought.