meal planning: week 4

Well, the holidays are coming to an end and I can imagine that many of you set some kind of new year’s resolution about eating healthier or exercising more. Here’s week 4 of the simple meal plans + grocery lists I put together. Hopefully it’s a good jumpstart into a healther 2015! As an added bonus, when you have your meals all planned out and do some prep in advance, you have more time after work to fit in a trip to the gym or go on a walk!
For recipes and grocery lists from weeks 1-3, be sure to scoll back through previous posts or do a search for “meal planning” in the search bar over on the left hand side of the page!

southwestern steak, corn, + black bean wraps

week 4 shopping list
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meal planning: week 1

cookbooks[source]

I talk a lot about meal planning, mostly because it is a great way to set yourself up for success when you’re trying to eat well and/or save money. But I get it – actually setting aside the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is HARD. When you have some spare time, you might not want to spend it browsing recipes. Plus, there are billions of recipes out there and it can be overwhelming.

So, I thought I’d do a series of posts with actual short meal plans for the week ahead. Since today is Friday, you’ve got the weekend to head to the store and get everything you’ll need – and the shopping list is included! I only included three recipes since not everyone eats at home every night or you might have leftovers, etc.

The shopping lists include every ingredient needed for all 3 recipes, so take a quick glance in your pantry to see if you can cross anything off that you already have before heading to the store. Things that people might already have (olive oil, spices, etc), I put in the “other” section at the end of the list and I assumed everyone has salt and pepper, so they’re not included; everything else is arranged by general section of the store.

Let me know if you try it out and be on the lookout for another week of meals next Friday!

week 1 shopping list

spotlight

It appears that winter is upon us. I am not a fan of being cold, so prepare for lots of recipes that will warm up both you and your home! Also, if you like checking out all the recipes but just can’t quite get yourself to put them into a meal plan, you are in luck. Check back here on Friday for the start of a 5 week series of meal plans complete with shopping lists!

sometimes you  just want warm food the second you walk in from the bitter cold and I can’t think of many things better than slow cooker chicken fajitas to have ready and waiting for you

healthier (but still delicious) oat + pistachio crumble topped sweet potatoes for your thanksgiving menu

shepherd’s pie, but easier

this maple bourbon pumpkin butter would make a fun holiday gift! or you could add it to these pumpkin spice overnight oats.

roasted broccoli is a staple in my house. it is such a quick, easy, flavorful way to make sure you have veggies on the table. plus, broccoli is usually only 99 cents/lb this time of year!

simple roasted carrots with salt + pepper are also a favorite of mine, but here is a slightly fancier version if you need a little more flavor. or you could always make some carrot fries

I guarantee that this homemade pineapple chicken is much healthier than anything you’ll find on the chinese buffet

if you haven’t tried homemade applesauce, I highly recommend it. you barely even need a recipe. my most recent batch was: 3 lb bag of jonathan apples (peeled + cored) in the slow cooker with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or apple cider, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a dash of ground nutmeg. set on low and it was done within 5-6 hours. it’s good by itself, on pancakes, on yogurt, on oatmeal….on ice cream? you should make some.

this one isn’t a recipe, but if you like looking in people’s refrigerators, you will probably also find this photo gallery incredibly interesting

spotlight

Fall foods and veggies dominate this week’s recipes. The pumpkin recipes are unavoidable at this point too. I did a lot of cooking last week (peanut butter cream pie, homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookie cake…..). It was so refreshing to be back in the kitchen & I hope to keep it going! Hope you’re able to do the same with some of these recipes. Enjoy!

trick those taste buds during the upcoming eating holiday season with this cobbler turned juice or maybe these pumpkin cheesecake bites

how to make oatmeal ahead of time. there are really no excuses for skipping the most important meal of the day!

everyone will find something to love in this white bean tortellini soup

this tuscan vegetable stew looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g

don’t let the title of this creamy vegan herb salad dressing scare you. homemade dressing is way healthier than store-bought. and I think I could totally get on the tofu train if it were blended up into a salad dressing.

I have a feeling even veggie haters will be able to get on board with these roasted vegetable stuffed shells

make your halloween dinner fun with these halloween stuffed peppers

italian provolone pull-apart bread would make a perfect snack for watching football (or baseball! GO ROYALS!)

make your lunch time carrot sticks festive with spicy pumpkin chipotle hummus

pecan spiced buttermilk pancakes make for a perfect fall morning

instead of butter, you can spray this pumpkin spice popcorn with a little cooking spray to help the spices stick and you’ve got a healthy, whole grain fall snack!

 

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I’ve found a pretty wide variety of recipes in the past week! I tried not to go heavy on the pumpkin recipes since they’re everywhere – hope you find something to try! Also, I’ll be putting together some posts for the coming weeks soon, so don’t forget to let me know if there is a topic you’re interested in learning more about [realfoodfirstRD at gmail.com OR there’s a comment form on my about page]!

roasted cauliflower + chickpea salad

slow-cooked tomato + herb white beans

steel cut oats + cinnamon stewed fruit

easy chicken pad thai

spinach artichoke pesto tortellini soup

roasted red pepper tortilla soup

raspberry bread

loaded power salad

slow cooker sweet potato, chicken, + quinoa soup

spotlight

Fall foods are taking over my kitchen in full force lately! There are some on today’s list that you don’t want to miss – like homemade applesauce! It’s so easy! Enjoy!

if you’re not sure how to use all the spices in your spice cabinet or just want to be more creative in the kitchen, this infographic is perfect for you. so much great info!!

if you don’t mind a little spice, you’ll probably love this sriracha roasted chicken

do you make homemade pizza? I used to make it at least once a week but I’ve gotten out of the habit. this thai chicken pizza would be a nice change of pace

I think I have my favorite pizza crust recipe on this blog somewhere from back in the day, but this whole wheat pizza dough is even faster. now you have no excuse NOT to make pizza this week! 🙂

did you jump on the kale chip bandwagon a couple years back? I know…it sounds like major hippie food but they’re pretty darn good and these masala kale chips look incredibly addicting.

I’m not a fan of tomato soup, but this one actually looks pretty incredible

a souffle pancake with cinnamon apples sounds like the perfect fall Saturday morning treat

fried chicken is high in unhealthy saturated fats but if it’s a routine part of your dinner menu, you can make a lighter version like this oven fried chicken

nachos are one of my favorite foods and they don’t have to be unhealthy. load them up with fiber-filled black beans, healthy fats from avocado, and veggies like bell peppers and corn for a filling meal you can enjoy and feel good about.

fall is full of all kinds of squash. if you haven’t tried it, what better way to start than squash covered in sweet and sour sauce?

everyone in the family will like easy cheese baked tortellini. bonus – it can easily be frozen so make a couple batches at once!

if you have a slow cooker and you haven’t made homemade applesauce yet, you are missing out. it is so incredibly delicious and EASY….and makes your house smell amazing.