Monday, March 31, 2014

Menu Monday #47 with Menu Planner {free printable}

On Friday night, I was able to attend my first Girls Night Out since before Amos was born! I had a fantastic evening out with the girls. A delicious dinner at Cafe Lola (NY strip steak, asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes and chocolate soufflé for dessert!), and some fantastic company and conversation. Like I said before, I love going out with my guys, but I also love getting my dose of girl talk, too! :)

On Saturday morning, I made pancakes with a blackberry topping. We gobbled those up! For lunch, we visited The Bagel Exchange. Ethan has been requesting it daily since we ate there a couple weeks ago, while on spring break. I can't say that I blame him, as it is probably my favorite place for lunch, even though I always get a breakfast bagel sandwich! :) The boys love their blueberry bagels, topped with peanut butter and marshmallows! Yum! That evening, Josh was giving one of the new hires a tour of the area, so we met them for dinner at the Peerless Restaurant. We had to get the flaming cheese again. So fun, and delicious, too! We also tried the sashimi ahi tuna. It was great. For my entrée, I chose the rack of lamb with the sautéed sherry mushrooms. Yum! The boys did excellent through the long dinner - so well, that they were even complimented by some fellow diners! Awesome! I love when they are on their best behavior! :)

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg sandwiches for breakfast. This time they were extra awesome because we had purchased some bagels the day before at the Bagel Exchange. They seriously put all other bagels to shame!! It's possible we may have also splurged on some white chocolate cranberry scones, too. They are seriously incredible!

I also need to make sure to add that the recipe I tried last week for stuffed chicken meatballs was seriously amazing. Unfortunately, they aren't the most diet-friendly (since we wanted to eat ALL of them because they were so good!), but I'm pretty sure I'll make them again regardless. ;) You must try them!! I halved the crushed red pepper, for the boys' benefit, but probably could have cut out even more. It was perfect for us, but still a bit spicy for them.

I've had a request for the menu planner I use each week when I plan my meals and shopping trip, so I've included a free copy of it at the end of this post. Some of the items are a bit specific to our shopping needs, but I've taken out our names at least. ;) I also only have spaces for Sun-Thurs for meals, because we normally eat out on the weekends. I'm hoping to redesign this list soon, so I'll be including spots for Sun-Sat when I do. For now, you can use this list if you'd like to plan meals and make your grocery list! Please feel free to give me your input on changes I can make for the next one based on what works or what doesn't work for you.

Sunday: Grilled chicken salad
After a heavy breakfast, we needed something lighter for dinner, so we had spinach and arugula salads topped with grilled chicken strips. I also put cilantro lime ranch dressing, sunflower seeds, Romano cheese croutons, and a little shredded mozzarella cheese on mine. Yum!

Monday: Almond-crusted tilapia, brown rice, oven roasted asparagus
We haven't had this fish dish in a few weeks, so it will be tasty. I love the combo of the Dijon mustard with the almonds. Delicious! I love my fish over rice, with asparagus. Nice and light!

Tuesday: Spiced turkey burgers with peanut sauce, baked sweet potato fries
I haven't made these burgers in a loooooong time, but we decided they sounded good for what should be a gorgeous day for grilling! The recipe actually calls for ground chicken, not turkey, but they didn't have any at the store this week, so I bought turkey instead. With the spices and sauce, it shouldn't really matter much. I bought the cucumber this time, too, so we'll see how that works with it. We all love sweet potato fries, and they are a great pairing with burgers, especially with the spicy ketchup recipe.

Wednesday: Grilled pork chops, roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nut couscous with cranberries
Yep, my favorite pork meal. Sorry for the lack of variety here, but I want to enjoy this one with the squash for as long as we can. It will be nice outside again, so we'll grill the pork!

Thursday: Grilled chicken breast, savory quinoa, oven roasted Brussels sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan and pine nuts
I marinate the chicken breast all day in Kraft's Zesty Italian dressing. It gives it great flavor when grilled, and keeps it nice and moist as well. I'll make quinoa on the side, seasoning it and adding some diced onion, garlic and maybe sundried tomatoes. We also LOVED the roasted Brussels sprouts I made last week (who knew they could be so great?!?), so I'll make those again. I've found some awesome recipes, so this week I'm going to try this one.

Friday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere! The weight loss has slowed since we started 3 months ago (18 pounds for me so far, and 16 for Josh!), as we've been slacking a bit with making the best food choices, so we're trying to be more strict this week. Not sure where we'll end up, but we'll probably be watching our plates a bit closer. :)

Saturday: TBD
We'll probably go out, unless I decide to make some pizza at home. We still haven't had a chance to watch Frozen yet, so we really need to do that!! A cozy night at home sounds nice.

What's on your menu this week?

Here is a free printable menu planner for weekly meal planning. You can print it to fit an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. First, I plan out what meals we are going to have for the week, then I mark off everything I will need to buy for those (i.e., chicken breast or tenders, carrots (writing amounts in the parentheses), etc). Then, I mark off all of the other staples (i.e., fruit, cereal, baking goods, etc) I need for the week. I make one trip to the store, on Sunday afternoon, to get everything I will need for that week. I take this sheet with me to the store to do my shopping, and just cross items out as I put them in the cart. Another good tip is to print out a blank copy of this to hang on your refrigerator. As you run out of an item during the week, you can go ahead and mark it so that you don't forget to buy it the following week! :)

I've since redesigned my grocery list/menu planner, added room for each day of the week, and made it mobile-friendly! Check it out in my Etsy shop! :)

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