Cooking, Just Stuff

Weekly Menu Planning

Kitchen Collaboration

60652212215__55b1d9af-541a-4861-8569-4c3da5ea37af-1Working well together takes communication.  Some things can be done on the fly as long as everyone is in sync with what is going on and can adapt as things change.  Other things, I’ve found go more smoothly with a little advanced planning. 

Weekly meals are one of those!

On the Fly

My typical chaotic week includes a daily 45 minute commute to and from work.  That cuts significantly into my ability to make meals on the fly.  The result of that is the “what’s for dinner” question and 4:30 PM when we are all getting hungry (and cranky).  With no plan in place, convenience food is typically the answer… fast, expensive and not always healthy.

Planning Ahead


When we plan ahead, everyone knows what’s for dinner. Sometimes I plan out the week on my own, but I usually get input from my family on what they want to see on the menu.  When everyone has ownership in what we’re eating, everyone seems happier.

All on One Page

I have used many different templates over the years.  I created a meal planner with a supply list, a shopping list for the items I don’t have, and a place to track my leftovers. Click below for my template.

Weekly Menu Planning

Having everything on one page keeps me organized.  It consolidates my shopping list so I make less trips to the store (which is essential during this COVID-19 social distancing). Hanging the menu in the kitchen keeps everyone informed, and nobody has to ask “what’s for dinner!”

It leaves me time to contemplate our toilet paper supply, and enjoy a glass of wine and a piece of cake!  Happy meal planning everyone!


Around the house, Cooking

My Steel Cut Obsession: Pineapple Upside-Down Oatmeal Surprise

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. I’m not a morning person, so it’s not easy to squeeze in breakfast most days. I get up with enough time to get ready, get everyone to school on time, and get out the door myself.  There’s no time to make breakfast.

We always have boxed cereal on hand, and a box or two of granola bars to grab and go. If I plan ahead, there may also be fresh berries, yogurt and granola for a quick parfait.  The kids get something for breakfast, but it’s not warm, delicious comfort food.

Then I discovered steel cut oats.berry-oatmeal

Steel cut oats isn’t the normal, mushy oat meal I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, I like rolled oats…but I love steel cut oats! The warmth, creamy nutty flavor and texture had me hooked the first time I tried it! It’s a “stick to your ribs” type of breakfast that keeps you happy and full for a long time!

I’ve experimented with quite a few ways to prepare them (I’ll blog about that another day), but my favorite is making them on the stove top.

On the stove top

I start with almond milk.  I bring it to a boil and then stir in the oats.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Getting up 20 minutes early is worth it! (…or just save this meal for weekends) I follow the instructions on the box for proportions of milk/water to oats.

A small amount of oats goes a long way.
I use 1/4 cup oats for each cup of milk.

Then it’s time to get creative with toppings!

Sometimes I toss in apples and cinnamon, and other times fresh raspberries and blueberries.  The great thing about oatmeal – It goes great with anything! I add whatever I have on hand.

This morning I went to the pantry looking for canned peaches – I found pineapple slices. I knew I had maraschino cherries on hand…add a sprinkle of brown sugar and voila – pineapple upside down surprise oatmeal!

If you haven’t tried steel-cut oatmeal, you should!

Do you make steel cut oatmeal?
How do you prepare yours?
What do you like to top it with?