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In Which I Talk about Menu Planning When Life is a Hodge-Podge

And it’s over! All the classes, all the exams, all the performances and all the rehearsals. It was our first year and it was crazy and intense and hard and good and totally worth it. I say ‘we’ and ‘our’ when I refer to school because it is like that. I’m not attending classes but I’m attending to the girls and keeping supper hot when there’s an evening class. It is our endeavour together.

And now our schedule is being completely re-vamped. There’s this transition time between seasons, of re-defining normal and the rhythms of the days. Having a menu plan is my best friend. It’s one less thing I need to think about. We created this simple weekly plan back in February when I needed simple meals. I’m coming out of my cooking rut and remembering all the reasons why I love cooking and creating art with food.

ricotta

These meal ideas are written on the giant whiteboard in our hallway. It’s our idea board, dream big board, and let the girls write on the walls (sort of) board.

Monday: fish, rice, kale Caesar salad. I love that we can get fish fresh or frozen and I know exactly where it comes from. This is one of our favourite meals and it gets us back to the basics of eating well and simply.

Tuesday: burgers, tacos, burritos. Something simple, hand-held. One of my favourites is paleo potsticker burgers, super easy to make and utilizes carrots and cabbage making it a perfect fit for March and April when root vegetables are still the focus at the farm markets.

Wednesday: ethnic (Indian, Chinese etc) I love the idea of cooking ethnic foods but it does require a little more thought and prep (at least for me), I’ve been sticking to some simple curries, pad thai and Chinese inspired dishes like this inside out eggroll salad.

Thursday: pasta. I love the utter simplicity of pasta dishes and how they can showcase the seasons food so well, like this fettuccine with kale and scallops. More often then not we will have a simple Bolognese sauce over spaghetti. Making my own pasta is on my food bucket list but for now, I’m content to play with the flavors and sauces.

Friday: popcorn, cheese, apple slices. Honestly, this is one of my favourite nights. Sometimes we’ll add a bottle of white and thrill the girls by giving them sparkling water. Cheese is one of our splurges, we like nice cheese so we don’t have it often but when we do we enjoy it. This is one of my favourite popcorn ‘recipes’.  

Saturday: roast meal. We wanted one meal a week where we took a little more time to eat and savour our food together. Something that took a little longer to prepare and a little longer to eat. It’s become a beautiful tradition. I’ll often prepare something in the morning and let it slowly cook all day. Beef shanks are super yummy, easy to prepare and we all like them.

Sunday: pizza. This can be as simple or as complex as we need it to be. This Caprese pizza was my personal favourite during the winter. I can’t wait for summer to make it with fresh basil and tomatoes!

And that’s how we eat. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it  still gives me lots room for creativity. Sometimes pasta night is just mac and cheese, sometimes pizza is a pizza brought home from Costco. But as winter is finally letting go, the green grass and leaf buds are beginning to show everywhere and I am enjoying my kitchen all over again.

Sometimes we do need to rely on the very basics, the simplicity of having a menu and sticking to it. One step in front of the other and then we can remember how to run.

Do you menu plan? How do you get out of a cooking rut?

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Laura April 24, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Happy for you all that classes are over this season! My life will switch focus and be revamped after this weekend too (our annual CH conference). I’m looking forward to it. :-)
    Good job on your menu… I love being (somewhat) organized with meals!

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 25, 2013, 5:58 am

      We definitely don’t stick to the plan all the time but it helps to have a framework! And it takes us through this next busy season of music focus. =)

  • ramblingtart April 25, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Breanne, you are inspiring me so much. :-) I love your popcorn night. Love the roast dinner. The pasta. The ethnic. I love all of it. :-) I hope so much to visit you guys simply so we can cook and eat and talk and laugh together. :-)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 25, 2013, 6:09 pm

      That makes me so happy! It seems so simple yet it works for us and simple is so good.
      I want you to come visit too so we can eat and cook and enjoy together. Someday. =) XO

  • Emily April 26, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I think we need to institute popcorn night at our house! My grandparents always had ice-cream and pretzels for dinner on Sunday evenings. It was such a magical tradition for a child visiting. I think throwing in a snack night every so often would be terribly fun for the kids…and a break for me! Thanks for the inspiration.

    And I totally agree about having a framework for meal planning. I’ve tried to start planning out meals a month at a time. I saw it on Kacie’s blog a bit ago and so far find it dramatically decreasing my nightly what-do-we-have-in-the-fridge stress. :)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 26, 2013, 8:31 pm

      I love popcorn night almost as much as my girls. I think a ‘fun’ night is needful for all of us. Here’s to more fun and grace for all of us! =)

  • Loiss April 29, 2013, 7:05 pm

    I’ve started planning my menu on Sunday nights and it’s simplified my days soooo much! Or I plan the menu on Mondays, late-morning, when I’m hungry. It’s easier to come up with ideas then! I love not having that 4 o’clock crunch of scrambling for something for supper while dealing with a cranky toddler.

    Your title made me think of an eastern dish called Hodge-Podge that Jerry taught me to make. It’s basically a thick white sauce made with milk or cream, and then fresh garden veggies — baby potatoes, carrots, beans, corn, peas, anything. It’s delicious, and we always look forward to summer and the fresh garden veggies!

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 30, 2013, 6:50 am

      It makes such a difference, doesn’t it?! I really feel it when I don’t have the week’s dinners planned.
      Planning when you’re hungry is a good idea. =)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 30, 2013, 6:53 am

      I’ll have to try Hodge-podge this summer, I’ve heard people out here talk about it but I had no idea what they were referring to. =)

  • Lois April 29, 2013, 7:06 pm

    I’ve started planning my menu on Sunday nights and it’s simplified my days soooo much! Or I plan the menu on Mondays, late-morning, when I’m hungry. It’s easier to come up with ideas then! I love not having that 4 o’clock crunch of scrambling for something for supper while dealing with a cranky toddler.

    Your title made me think of an eastern dish called Hodge-Podge that Jerry taught me to make. It’s basically a thick white sauce made with milk or cream, and then fresh garden veggies — baby potatoes, carrots, beans, corn, peas, anything. It’s delicious, and we always look forward to summer and the fresh garden veggies!

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In Which I Talk about Menu Planning When Life is a Hodge-Podge

And it’s over! All the classes, all the exams, all the performances and all the rehearsals. It was our first year and it was crazy and intense and hard and good and totally worth it. I say ‘we’ and ‘our’ when I refer to school because it is like that. I’m not attending classes but I’m attending to the girls and keeping supper hot when there’s an evening class. It is our endeavour together.

And now our schedule is being completely re-vamped. There’s this transition time between seasons, of re-defining normal and the rhythms of the days. Having a menu plan is my best friend. It’s one less thing I need to think about. We created this simple weekly plan back in February when I needed simple meals. I’m coming out of my cooking rut and remembering all the reasons why I love cooking and creating art with food.

ricotta

These meal ideas are written on the giant whiteboard in our hallway. It’s our idea board, dream big board, and let the girls write on the walls (sort of) board.

Monday: fish, rice, kale Caesar salad. I love that we can get fish fresh or frozen and I know exactly where it comes from. This is one of our favourite meals and it gets us back to the basics of eating well and simply.

Tuesday: burgers, tacos, burritos. Something simple, hand-held. One of my favourites is paleo potsticker burgers, super easy to make and utilizes carrots and cabbage making it a perfect fit for March and April when root vegetables are still the focus at the farm markets.

Wednesday: ethnic (Indian, Chinese etc) I love the idea of cooking ethnic foods but it does require a little more thought and prep (at least for me), I’ve been sticking to some simple curries, pad thai and Chinese inspired dishes like this inside out eggroll salad.

Thursday: pasta. I love the utter simplicity of pasta dishes and how they can showcase the seasons food so well, like this fettuccine with kale and scallops. More often then not we will have a simple Bolognese sauce over spaghetti. Making my own pasta is on my food bucket list but for now, I’m content to play with the flavors and sauces.

Friday: popcorn, cheese, apple slices. Honestly, this is one of my favourite nights. Sometimes we’ll add a bottle of white and thrill the girls by giving them sparkling water. Cheese is one of our splurges, we like nice cheese so we don’t have it often but when we do we enjoy it. This is one of my favourite popcorn ‘recipes’.  

Saturday: roast meal. We wanted one meal a week where we took a little more time to eat and savour our food together. Something that took a little longer to prepare and a little longer to eat. It’s become a beautiful tradition. I’ll often prepare something in the morning and let it slowly cook all day. Beef shanks are super yummy, easy to prepare and we all like them.

Sunday: pizza. This can be as simple or as complex as we need it to be. This Caprese pizza was my personal favourite during the winter. I can’t wait for summer to make it with fresh basil and tomatoes!

And that’s how we eat. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it  still gives me lots room for creativity. Sometimes pasta night is just mac and cheese, sometimes pizza is a pizza brought home from Costco. But as winter is finally letting go, the green grass and leaf buds are beginning to show everywhere and I am enjoying my kitchen all over again.

Sometimes we do need to rely on the very basics, the simplicity of having a menu and sticking to it. One step in front of the other and then we can remember how to run.

Do you menu plan? How do you get out of a cooking rut?

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Laura April 24, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Happy for you all that classes are over this season! My life will switch focus and be revamped after this weekend too (our annual CH conference). I’m looking forward to it. :-)
    Good job on your menu… I love being (somewhat) organized with meals!

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 25, 2013, 5:58 am

      We definitely don’t stick to the plan all the time but it helps to have a framework! And it takes us through this next busy season of music focus. =)

  • ramblingtart April 25, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Breanne, you are inspiring me so much. :-) I love your popcorn night. Love the roast dinner. The pasta. The ethnic. I love all of it. :-) I hope so much to visit you guys simply so we can cook and eat and talk and laugh together. :-)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 25, 2013, 6:09 pm

      That makes me so happy! It seems so simple yet it works for us and simple is so good.
      I want you to come visit too so we can eat and cook and enjoy together. Someday. =) XO

  • Emily April 26, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I think we need to institute popcorn night at our house! My grandparents always had ice-cream and pretzels for dinner on Sunday evenings. It was such a magical tradition for a child visiting. I think throwing in a snack night every so often would be terribly fun for the kids…and a break for me! Thanks for the inspiration.

    And I totally agree about having a framework for meal planning. I’ve tried to start planning out meals a month at a time. I saw it on Kacie’s blog a bit ago and so far find it dramatically decreasing my nightly what-do-we-have-in-the-fridge stress. :)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 26, 2013, 8:31 pm

      I love popcorn night almost as much as my girls. I think a ‘fun’ night is needful for all of us. Here’s to more fun and grace for all of us! =)

  • Loiss April 29, 2013, 7:05 pm

    I’ve started planning my menu on Sunday nights and it’s simplified my days soooo much! Or I plan the menu on Mondays, late-morning, when I’m hungry. It’s easier to come up with ideas then! I love not having that 4 o’clock crunch of scrambling for something for supper while dealing with a cranky toddler.

    Your title made me think of an eastern dish called Hodge-Podge that Jerry taught me to make. It’s basically a thick white sauce made with milk or cream, and then fresh garden veggies — baby potatoes, carrots, beans, corn, peas, anything. It’s delicious, and we always look forward to summer and the fresh garden veggies!

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 30, 2013, 6:50 am

      It makes such a difference, doesn’t it?! I really feel it when I don’t have the week’s dinners planned.
      Planning when you’re hungry is a good idea. =)

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment April 30, 2013, 6:53 am

      I’ll have to try Hodge-podge this summer, I’ve heard people out here talk about it but I had no idea what they were referring to. =)

  • Lois April 29, 2013, 7:06 pm

    I’ve started planning my menu on Sunday nights and it’s simplified my days soooo much! Or I plan the menu on Mondays, late-morning, when I’m hungry. It’s easier to come up with ideas then! I love not having that 4 o’clock crunch of scrambling for something for supper while dealing with a cranky toddler.

    Your title made me think of an eastern dish called Hodge-Podge that Jerry taught me to make. It’s basically a thick white sauce made with milk or cream, and then fresh garden veggies — baby potatoes, carrots, beans, corn, peas, anything. It’s delicious, and we always look forward to summer and the fresh garden veggies!

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