Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meal Planning 102

This is for those of you who've passed Meal Planning 101 and are ready for a higher level of meal planning. It takes into account the basics already covered in Meal Planning 101 but adds another element to streamline the process. Please open your laptops and we'll begin.

My latest attempt to make my life easier happened over the weekend, when I was trying to make my meal plan for the week. I decided to type up all the meals that at least 3 out of 4 of my family members like, by category. That ruled out categories like Tofu, Shellfish and Pork, since we don't have a majority who like any of those. What it left me with was Chicken/Turkey, Pasta, Beef, Seafood, and Salads/Light Meals. Not too shabby. I suppose I could have used different categories, like Italian, Chinese, All-American, Tex-Mex and Thai; or Grill, Oven, Crockpot, Saute, No Cook. Hmmm. Maybe next time around.

After deciding on the categories, I quickly typed in the names of recipes from my recipe binder that qualified as family favorites. I can always add new recipes, but for now I have 80+ recipes, which should keep us fed for quite a while.

The easy part was (and forever shall be) planning the meals for the week. By glancing at the list, I could pick a tried-and-true meal from each category for each night of the week. The best part is that the family has been so happy to see some of their old favorites at the table. We've enjoyed Asian-Grilled Chicken with Pot Stickers and Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Peas.

Your homework is to make a list of meals your family likes, and see if it makes your meal planning any easier. Class dismissed.

Asian Grilled Chicken
Serves 4 - 6

One package boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 breast halves, about 1 1/2 lbs.: I used the package I got at the 5 for $25 sale!)
3/4 cup Soy Veh Teriyaki Sauce

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally so you get two equal size pieces from each breast (this is very easy to do if the breasts are slightly frozen). I do this because the thinner breast cooks very quickly on the grill.

Place the six pieces of chicken in a large ziplock bag with the Soy Veh sauce. Let marinate in the fridge for 2 - 6 hours.

Grill over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve.

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