Summer Meal Plan // 4

I got back on the meal prep train this week, and it made a huge difference in my after-work frame of mind. When I’ve planned and prepped ahead of time, cooking can be relaxing, even if I come home from work super-hungry. It’s when I don’t have a plan that I spiral into a hangry snack attack monster the second I walk in the door.

Having a plan was extra-necessary last Friday.

Friday: I got home from work starving, but had done some brainstorming on my drive home, and walked into the kitchen with a plan: saute all the veggies in the fridge (which ended up being a pound of baby bella mushrooms YUM) with garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, toss with linguine, slightly smashed white beans, and vegan parm (My boyfriend has a dairy allergy, for those of you that don’t know). I added frozen green peas to the pasta at the last minute and served it with broiled salmon.

It was on the table in thirty minutes and it was the perfect Friday meal: quick, didn’t require a trip to the store, and a little fancy-tasting. I ate it with a side of Real Housewives.

Saturday: I’ll often make a big meal for lunch on the weekends with the intention of leftovers carrying us into workweek lunches. I made my own riff on this awesome street chicken and rice recipe from BuzzFeed. I served the chicken and rice with shredded romaine and sliced yellow tomatoes on the side, and instead of the yogurt sauce, I thinned hummus with cashew milk and red wine vinegar.

For dinner, I had a ✨magical✨ slice of pepperoni pizza at Pizza Bar. (Also, I ate this pizza before I saw 98 Degrees perform. Yes, you should be jealous. They were incredible.)

Sunday: For lunch, I had the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. Promise. Romaine, green onion, avocado, yellow tomatoes, nectarine, pistachios, pepitas, leftover salmon, and balsamic vinaigrette.P1000057

My sister and I tag-teamed a taco bar dinner. Ground turkey, black beans, flour tortillas, and all the extras. She made brown butter blondies that KILLED. I brought this single-serving flourless peanut butter cookie for G, as brown butter is one of those things that doesn’t have a dairy-free alternative.

Monday: After a heavy weekend (hello pizza, tacos, and dessert), I wanted to start the week with lots of veggies.

I made corn and zucchini chowder (subbed the half-and-half for full-fat coconut milk and smoked paprika for the bacon), grilled chicken breasts, and sliced cantaloupe.

Tuesday: leftovers! I was exhausted after a stressful day at work, and G didn’t get home until 7:30 or 8, so it was seriously the best feeling to have a fridge full of prepared food that I could just reheat.

Wednesday: I made Potsticker Noodle Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats, and, wow, it was yummy. I used brown rice noodles and ground turkey instead of ground pork.

For a side, I roasted cauliflower and okra until they were brown and crispy, and whisked mayo, sweet chili sauce, and chili garlic sauce together for a dipping sauce. I found a red bell pepper in the depths of the produce drawer and sliced that up too. That sauce, though, was the real star. G stirred some into his noodles.

🌟Hot tip🌟: When I really have my planner hat on, I’ll prep the kitchen for dinner in the morning: group ingredients together in the fridge and lay out the pans and dishes I’ll need. It probably doesn’t save me a lot of actual time, but it streamlines the process in the evening, which I usually need post-commute.

Meal prep tip: In the morning, gather all of the ingredients for dinner together in the fridge. For more, visit TheFruitfulBlog.com

Thursday: I went out with some girlfriends for sushi and drinks, but wanted to be sure Grant had Thursday dinner and Friday lunch, so I made this tandoori quinoa and chickpeas in the morning before work. It was so quick, maybe 30 minutes, and a lot of it was simmer time. I ate breakfast and enjoyed my coffee while it finished.

Breakfasts: Breakfasts were good this week, you guys. (Besides the usual Ezekiel toast and green smoothies, which were obviously tasty.)

Sweet potato “oats”: On Sunday afternoon, I shredded a few raw sweet potatoes in the food processor. In the mornings, I threw a big handful of the shreds, cashew milk, and half a banana into the microwave for five minutes, then topped the bowl with sliced banana, hemp hearts, coconut shreds, jelly or honey, nuts, etc, etc, etc.

Banana-egg pancakes: Yep, just mashed banana and eggs whisked together and fried up like pancakes. I’ve made these forever, but I tried this recipe, which adds almond meal and baking powder to the egg and banana. These ingredients added a little more structure.

Lunches: leftovers and salads, nothing too exciting, except for a perfect farm stand cantaloupe.

Have a good weekend, friends!

What did you eat this week? Any recipes I need to add to my rotation? Are there other things I could share to make these posts more useful?

For seasonal meal ideas from The Fruitful Blog, click here!

Summer Meal Plan // 3

I missed out on my normal weekend grocery shopping and meal prep this week, since we were out  of town until past my bedtime on Sunday. I felt off-balance all week because of it, but I made it through. Barely.

Saturday and Sunday: Junk, junk, and more junk in Breckenridge! My friend Nichole and I tag-teamed a homemade dinner Saturday evening, though: baked salmon and trout, balsamic sauteed Brussels sprouts, and a risotto with white wine, garlic, and onions. I didn’t use a recipe for the risotto, just stirred my little heart out until it was creamy and delicious. Let me know in the comments if you want the basic proportions and method I used.

Monday: I went grocery shopping after work since we got home so late on Sunday. Hot tip: I made the grocery list before we left for our trip. #lifesaver

After the store, I made Chicken Tinga Tacos from How Sweet It Is. So much flavor and so quick. I served the chicken in blackened corn tortillas with mashed avocado and pico de gallo (with garden tomatoes!). On the side, we had seared bell peppers and canned refried beans. I didn’t use a recipe for the pico, per say, but The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is a great one to learn the ingredient proportions. (Holy vintage Pioneer Woman photos, guys.)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Our favorite daal with sweet potatoes and green peas. I use this yummy recipe, but sub 2 cups of the water for a can of full-fat coconut milk. YES, full-fat. It’s worth it. We had quinoa and watermelon on the side. And, no, daal is not pretty, but it gets the job done.

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Thursday: Leftovers again! I went to a happy hour after work with the goal of not ordering any food. I would like to report that I was successful — but I did make a quesadilla when I got home. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Breakfasts: Lots of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with nut butter and green smoothies. I did make eggs for myself once or twice (and served them on an Ezekiel English muffin with leftover tomato sauce from the chicken tinga. *party horn emoji*).

I made extra quinoa Wednesday night, so G and I both had breakfast quinoa Thursday morning. There are several ways to make this, and I definitely took a shortcut: adding cashew milk, mashed banana, nut butter, and fruit, then stirring and microwaving. Like oatmeal, but more protein.

Lunches: The regular: salads with leftover protein for me, dinner leftovers for Grant.

See you next week for a better-planned meal plan! I considered not posting this week’s, since it was so sparse. But I think it could be helpful to see what a week with less planning and less prep work looks like — we still ate well, but with a little more weeknight stress for me.

If you need more seasonal meal inspo, check out other summer meal plans here and here.

summer meal plan 3

Summer Meal Plan // 2

This upcoming week is a weird one. We’ll be eating out a lot at the end of the week with friends, so this summer meal plan is short, clean, and simple.

When I know I’m going to be eating a lot of restaurant meals, I try to be “good” where I can. Lots of protein and veggies, less extras like carb-heavy sides or sugary sauces. While there are carbs like rice and potatoes in these meals, I may skip them. And eat pasta and pizza (and beer) later in the week.

Saturday:

Sunday:

  • Grilled and Greek-seasoned chicken breasts and thighs, chickpeas, rice, cherry tomatoes, and sauteed green beans. I’ll likely chop the chicken and green beans and halve the tomatoes, so that we can eat this bowl-style.

Monday:

  • More bowls! Ground turkey, grilled sweet potato slices (heat the grill to med-high, slice sweet potatoes thinly, and grill ~5 mins a side), sauteed broccoli and bell peppers, and avocado.

Tuesday:

  • Meeting with my monthly book club. (We’re reading this history of Wonder Woman, if you’re interested. It’s a three-star read for me right now. But I’ve got half of the book to go.) The lovely host will provide wine and food.

Weekend prep:

  • More rice pudding for G! We’re trying to assess whether he’s allergic to eggs or not, so I’m kind of in a rut with make-ahead breakfasts. He says that he likes this pudding, so I’ll run with it until I hear otherwise.
  • Eggs and greens for me to eat for breakfasts. I plan to wilt a mix of chopped spinach and kale, and then mix the greens into slow-scrambled eggs. I’ll leave the eggs a little loose so they can finish cooking in the microwave when I reheat them. After reheating, I’ll top with hot sauce and maaaybe some avocado.

Breakfasts and lunches:

  • G will eat leftovers for lunch and the rice pudding for breakfast.
  • I’ll have salad and protein at lunch and eggs and greens for breakfast. Since we’ll be eating so many restaurant meals, I want to keep my diet fresh and clean where I can.

Like I said, this list is short and sweet. But it will keep our bellies full.

Summer Meal Plan // 1

I have a full week ahead, with the BACHELORETTE finale (#TeamNoOne), yoga and movie date with a friend, and a sister date, so I need to front-load food prep on the weekend.

Saturday:

Sunday:

  • Baked falafel from Oh Ladycakes! with brown rice, sauteed zucchini, caramelized onions and tomatoes with turmeric, and a basil/mint tahini sauce I made on the fly in the food processor.

Monday:

  • Potluck snack dinner with friends while watching the Bachelorette! I will make hummus (modified from this recipe) and a salad.

Tuesday:

  • Dinner on the fly on the way to yoga — I’ll have deli turkey and hummus roll ups with a dab of jelly (I know it sounds weird, but think of it like cranberry sauce!) and carrot sticks.

Wednesday:

  • Grilled salmon, my riff on Minimalist Baker’s Asian quinoa salad, green beans, and corn on the cob

Thursday:

  • Sister date! We’ll most likely make something simple.

Friday:

  • Ground turkey tacos with homemade taco sauce (trying this recipe), black beans, and grilled zucchini

Weekend prep:

  • This peanut chicken from Bev Cooks with brown rice in the rice cooker. I’ll keep this on hand for lunches and dinners during the week.
  • A variation of Christina’s brown rice pudding for G to eat for breakfasts this week. I make the rice in the rice cooker, and I add a handful of shredded zucchini, some golden raisins, and cinnamon for a zucchini-bread flavor variation.
  • Black beans, using Heather Christo’s recipe. I froze 3 16-ounce jars and kept 32 ounces or so in the fridge for an easy side for taco night this week. (Or easy protein to add to salads!)Breakfasts and lunches:
  • G will eat leftovers for lunch and the rice pudding for breakfast.
  • I eat a salad every day for lunch, usually topped with whatever leftover protein we’ve got, or with a couple of hard-boiled eggs, or hummus. My breakfasts vary, but I’ve been really into nut butter, spinach, and frozen banana smoothies lately. I often add powdered egg white for protein.