in the kitchen

Monthly Meal Plan

Greens from Earthbound Farm Stand

While, at this time of the year, more of the vegetables we’re eating are coming from the grocery store or market and not our garden, we’re still eating what’s in season – even if we didn’t grow it and pick it from our little urban garden. Changing what I cook happens naturally because what’s at the market is what’s in season. This can be a money saver, too. Usually what’s in season means there’s an abundance of it. Farmers and grocers alike would rather sell their produce than have to compost it. By purchasing what’s in season you’re most likely saving money because that’s usually what’s on special, too.

Cooking with what’s fresh and in season is easier if you look for ways to switch out ingredients in recipes. Instead of garden fresh tomatoes in our scrambled eggs, I’m adding squash and zucchini. Instead of fresh berries for after school snacks, we’re eating apple slices and apples, walnuts, and cinnamon. Instead of lettuces from our garden, we’re adding tender greens to our salads. Swiss chard and kale leaves picked when they’re young and tender are “baby greens” and you can dress them just like you would lettuce leaves.

Healthy Meal Plans

If only I lived in Carmel Valley, California and near the Earthbound Farm Organic Farm Stand, where I had the pleasure of visiting last week. The gardens located at the farm stand are so inspiring and still producing. I loved seeing (and smelling!) all the fresh vegetables being used in their kitchen to make their homemade soups and sandwiches. You’ll read more about my trip soon but suffice it to say, it was an organic love fest of eating good for you food! For now, you can enjoy their newly launched blog.

Monthly Meal Plan

Meal planning saves money, minimizes food waste, and ensures healthy, home cooked meals for the upcoming week. Meal planning is my frame work or agenda of what home cooked meals we’re going to have for the upcoming week. It only takes about 10 minutes to meal plan and involves a quick view of the week ahead and checking to see what staples I already have at home in the refrigerator, in the pantry, and the freezer. Once the meal plan is made, then I make a grocery list of what items are needed.

With weekly meal planning, there’s an efficient plan of cooking for the week, I know what nights we’re having leftovers and I can keep track of what nights my kids are scheduled to cookand clean up! By eating at home, we’re able to avoid unhealthy, processed foods. If we have a plan, we eat healthier at home – skipping fast food restaurants.

Weekly meal plan from Monday, September 2, 2013 to Sunday, September 8, 2013

Monday: pork burgers with bean and corn salad and pickles from garden cucumbers

Tuesday: egg strata with cheese and Swiss chard from the garden

Wednesday: pizza with spinach, mushrooms and artichokes (my son made dinner this night)

Thursday: pan seared salmon, parmesan risotto and greens from the garden

Friday: pinto beans, brown rice and fresh tomato salsa bowls

Saturday: garden fresh pesto with whole wheat pasta and green salad from the garden

Sunday: spinach salad with boiled eggs and bacon

Healthy meals to cook at home
This is not my kale or Swiss chard. Slugs enjoy my greens too much!

Weekly meal plan from Monday, September 9, 2013 to Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monday: spicy hummus, fresh tomatoes from the garden on bruschetta toast

Tuesday: egg in a basket (with fresh eggs from the backyard chickens) and fruit smoothies

Wednesday: whole wheat pasta with squash and onions

Thursday: fish, quinoa and green salad from the garden

Friday:  pinto beans, brown rice and fresh tomato salsa bowls

Saturday: salmon salad sandwiches and veggies – carrots and celery

Sunday: gazpacho soup – all from the garden! (my son made dinner this night)

Weekly meal plan from Monday, September 16, 2013 to Sunday, September 22, 2013

Monday: tri-tip steak, brown rice, garden fresh green salad (Free-gatarians strike again! Our neighbors left on a 3-week trip and gave us the tri-tip steak they didn’t eat. Thank you very much!)

Tuesday: pizza with spinach, mushrooms and artichokes

Wednesday: shrimp, brown rice, veggies

Thursday: pinto beans, meat (leftovers from Monday), cheese and fresh tomato salsa burritos

Friday: scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, apples slices (my daughter made dinner this night)

Saturday: seared pork chops, quinoa, green salad (my son made dinner this night)

Sunday: oven roasted whole chicken, quinoa and green salad (my son made dinner this night)

Chicken, quinoa, and green salad
Standard weekly meal – simple and healthy – and easy enough for teenagers to cook!

Weekly meal plan from Monday, September 23, 2013 to Sunday, September 29, 2013

Monday: eggs, hash browns (leftover potatoes chopped and pan seared), greens from the garden and bacon – all mixed together in our cast iron skillet and then baked

Tuesday: pinto beans, chicken (leftovers from Sunday), brown rice, fresh tomato salsa bowls

Wednesday: whole wheat pasta with fresh basil and garden fresh tomatoes

Thursday: ground pork and kale from the garden (we harvested so much and it was pretty tough – it needed to be sautéed for a while with onions and garlic but it was delicious!)

Friday: whole wheat pasta with garlic sauce (my kids both made dinner because my husband and I went to dinner group – frugal, fancy and fun entertaining!)

Saturday: pan fried fish, brown rice, green salad (my son made dinner this night)

Sunday: chicken noodle soup (my daughter made dinner this night)

What’s your strategy for getting a healthy meal on the table?

Go Gingham related links:

New to cooking at home? Fear not!
11 reasons to meal plan every week – save money, save time and save resources by reducing food waste
How our freezer gets used – what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space
Lentils and pork – lentils are similar to beans but there’s no soaking
After school snacks that involve beans – and no small packages
How our freezer gets used – what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space

Disclosure: I received salmon from The Prince William Sound Salmon folks and my family and I completely enjoyed every single morsel of it. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s guidelines.

2 thoughts on “Monthly Meal Plan

  1. Look over the grocery ads before you make your meal plan. This is one of the ways I save.

    Re: apples and honey. There is an apple orchard not too far from here. They fertilize their crop with bees, and sell the honey, both in their on-site store and in the supermarket.


    1. Karen, you are so right! While I look at the Sunday coupons that are in the paper – and rarely clip a thing – I always find something in the grocery ads for the week.
      The honey sounds like a sweet deal – pun intended 😉
      Thanks, Karen. So great to hear that you’re supporting local farmers and bees. We need them both!


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