As promised, here’s a recap of the 5-day meal plan that I posted this past week. First things first, why did I all of a sudden meal plan for 5 days (and never before? ha ha). Well, I’ve had the idea for some time, but like many things, it hit the back burner. With the launch of our new meal journal, I thought: “Welp, now’s the time!”
There’s a concept that I touch on in our cookbook… I call it “cooking backward” and it differs from many other meal planning approaches. You see, I’m not a person who plans, organizes, and preps perfect meals on Sundays before the week begins. I’ve tried to do that and have failed miserably every single time. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to prepare my meals efficiently.
So this is what I do: I start with a group of ingredients that I know will stretch pretty far. I jot down a loose plan (in this case, 5 meals) that all use those common ingredients in various ways. Bonus points for ideas that can morph straight into other ideas. Then I start the week! The most important part about this process is to allow for change to happen as it comes. For example, if you read about meal #5, you’ll see that my initial plan for a frittata became the Curried Cauliflower Soup. Instead of tossing out the whole meal when I didn’t have enough leftover veggies, I changed my plan on the fly and still used available ingredients – notably, a lonely a half-cauliflower that was forgotten about in the back of the fridge. It ended up being my favorite recipe in the bunch and it also satisfied what I was craving.
A few things you’ll notice:
– I skipped 2 days in the middle of the “plan” because one night I was too lazy to cook and another night we went to dinner for my sister’s birthday. In the past, these sort of “life happenings” would foil my well-laid plans, but not this time! I just picked up the next day and moved on.
– I didn’t prep too much in advance. My goal was to cook dinner (the grain bowls) on night #1 and use those leftovers for nights #2 and #3. After that, I still used my original ingredients, but I cooked them fresh because I don’t love eating roasted vegetables after they’ve been sitting in the fridge for more than a few days.
– These meals all serve 2 people, because it’s just Jack and me in our household and these were our real life dinners.
Meal 1: Mean Green Grain Bowls
This was the most cooking I did all week. I used the leftovers for the next recipe.
Meal 2: The Big Green Kale Salad
I made the grain bowls stretch by tossing the leftovers with massaged kale. If this isn’t enough food for you, serve it with some crusty bread. You could also add any protein you like. Feel free to make these meals your own.
Meal 3: Quinoa Kale Quesadillas
I sautéed the leftover kale quinoa salad and stuffed it in between tortillas with cheese. The recipe notes that if you’re vegan, use a slather of refried beans as the glue and skip the cheese.
Meal 4: Broccolini & Brussels Sprout Orecchiette
A classic late-week approach because pasta is easy to keep on hand in the pantry. I loved how this recipe reused the kale stems from #2.
Meal 5: Curried Cauliflower Soup
Even though I made the plan, I forgot about the cauliflower I used half of on Day #1. It was the last vegetable I had left and go-figure it ended up being my favorite recipe. I love it because it has great flavor in so few ingredients since I was working with what I had. Of course, I did run to the store for the micro green garnish because I still have to make things pretty for you!
This was everything I used for the 5 meals for 2 of us. I hope you can use this as a guide and adjust to your own family’s needs and tastes:
(download a Printable PDF HERE)
That’s it for this one! Please let me know if you find this helpful and if you’d like to see more of this in the future :). Happy planning!