Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Healthy Eating and Menus!

In an effort to feed my family more nutritious meals, save money, and to lose the headache of coming up with ideas for dinner, I decided to plan weekly menus. My daughter asked me to send my menus to her, so instead I am posting them on my blog. I could have set this up on a spreadsheet program, but for me it was just easier to sit down for a few minutes at the beginning of each week and plan out a few meals. After a few weeks, I will be able to start repeating my menus.

I picked up a 5 X 7 journal at the local craft store from the $1.00 bin. I divided the first page into grids and planned one week of breakfast and dinner menus. I rarely fix breakfast for my 17 yr-old son and 21 yr-old daughter anymore (they are out the door at different times of the day and take care of themselves as far as breakfast goes) and Jim rarely eats breakfast except on the weekend or holidays, but this gave me a basic plan for myself. I always eat breakfast and it is just nice to have a plan. (You might also notice, I don't eat cold cereal for breakfast. It doesn't fill me up so I end up eating several bowls to be satisfied; it is expensive; I never feel very well after I eat it so it is a rarity that I eat it; I also can't stand it unless it has tons of added sugar.)

I added little notes on each day if there is something out of the ordinary that I need to figure in to my plan. I didn't include lunch since I usually eat something simple or use up the leftovers in my refrigerator. On page two I made a shopping list. My plan is still flexible enough that if it ends up that I don't feel like making what is planned, I can swap it out for one of the other meals. It has helped to avoid the unhealthy foods and the last minute, "Let's order Chinese Food!" So we are eating more healthy and saving money too. Also note that Fridays are Pizza night so we always have pizza. It might be French Bread Pizza, or regular pizza, or on some occasions we will pick up or order a fast food pizza. Here are two weeks worth of my menus.

Monday FHE
Whole Wheat English Muffin w/ Peanut Butter & Banana

Homemade Minestrone Soup Whole Wheat Bread


Hawaiian Haystacks

Oatmeal w/ fruit & almonds

Yakatori Noodle Bowls, Green Salad

Eggs and Toast

Friday--Pizza Night!
Oatmeal w/ fruit & almonds

French Bread Pizza

Taco Salad


Ham, Baked Potatoes Green Salad, Corn
Eggs and Toast

Hamburgers, French Fries, Green Salad

Tuesday MUTUAL
Boiled egg

Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Oatmeal with Bananas & almonds

Corned Beef Hash, Green Salad, Carrots

Whole Wheat English Muffins with P/B & Banana

Chili Sauce Chicken, Yams, Green Salad, Green Beans

Friday--Pizza Night!
Omelet with veggies

Homemade Pizza

Eggs & Toast

Tacos (Make sure we have avocados!)

Whole Wheat Eng Muffin with P/B & Banana

Baked Chicken Breast, Sour Cream Potatoes, Green Salad, Veg

Here are a some of the recipes I use for these two weeks of menus:

Spray fry pan with nonstick spray
Fry boneless skinless chicken pieces until brown and cooked through
(You can use either breasts or thighs. Thighs come in smaller portions and are less expensive. A breast is usually large enough for two portions.)
Pour 1 pint jar (or less) of chili sauce or salsa over chicken pieces
Heat thoroughly
Top with Mozzarella or pepper jack cheese
Heat until cheese is melted
(This makes a big pot and some can be frozen to used at another time!)
1 quart tomatoes
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 large potato, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 qt. water
2-3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 16 oz can green beans, drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 can beef or chicken broth
1 1/4 cups macaroni (whole wheat) or penne pasta, uncooked
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2-3 dashes cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicier! I like it to be on the spicy side.)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp Dried parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (opt.)
Puree tomatoes in blender. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine all ingredients except macaroni and cheese. Bring to a boil, then add macaroni and cook 15-20 minutes until macaroni is tender. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Rachel Ray's Yakatori Noodle Bowls
Cook 1 pkg Whole Wheat Spaghetti or Soba Noodles.
In a large frying pan or wok:
Spray pan with Nonstick spray or use Canola oil to stir fry:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Cut into Bite size pieces
Peel fresh ginger then grate and add to chicken (I bought a big piece--it had three fingers. Rachel said to peel and freeze, It can be pulled out of the freezer and grated and it works better than fresh. I used one finger of ginger.) When Chicken is done, add:
2 bunches green onion cut into approx 1 inch pieces
1 Can Chicken broth
1/3 Cup Tamari (aged soy) I just used soy sauce
Drizzle with honey (I used about 3 tsp)
Reduce Heat and let thicken a little, then drizzle with Sesame Oil. Pour over drained noodles and mix together. Top with Toasted Sesame Seeds.
This was really good! Rachel Ray had this on her television show. She claimed it was healthy and appealing to children. My family enjoyed it! You can check this and other recipes out on http://www.rachelray.com/
Even though Homemade French Fries are still filled with fat, they are delicious and easy!
Wash large potatoes thoroughly. I don't peel my potatoes, I fry them with the skins. It is just much easier that way! Cut potatoes into wedges or if you like them smaller go for it. Put potatoes into a dutch oven filled with hot oil. Do not stir too much at first. Wait until fries are starting to get a little crispy or they could fall apart and won't be as appetizing. When they are getting lightly browned remove fries. Drain on a paper towel or napkin. Sprinkle with Salt immediately. Serve. Note: Be cautious. The oil is very hot and can cause serious burns. Also make sure you don't leave while the fries are cooking. If grease spills, it could cause a fire.
These have a fraction of the calories of the original!
Wash and cut potatoes into wedges
Spray potatoes with nonstick cooking spray
Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash or Salt
Place on cookie sheet
Bake at 400 degrees until potatoes are done
Sliced potatoes
Sliced or chopped onions
1 Can Corned Beef
Salt & Pepper
Use amounts that will make enough for your family. Slice Potatoes, onions, add chopped up corned beef, salt and pepper. Add a little water, Bake covered in a heavy pan or dutch oven until potatoes are tender. Serve.