Weekly Meal Planning: Jan 16-20

meal planning

As an avid cook, planning a menu of food and groceries for the week is great fun, so I thought I’d share my plan for the week plus a feature recipe. Please do share your own tips and tricks for your weekly meal planning too – I know people are always looking for new ideas and inspiration!

– Big pot of steel cut oats cooked Sunday night and in the fridge all week for quick reheating in the morning
Apple & walnut puree for stirring into yogurt or oats (or by the big spoonful, as my 14-month old ate it today!)
Banana Wheatgerm Muffins  for grab and go breakfasts (I add blueberries & ground flaxseed, and skip the banana garnish on top)
– Lots of fresh fruit (finger food for my son or turned into a smoothie by my husband)

– For my husband, it’s dinner leftovers. For my toddler, it’s dinner leftovers plus steamed veg and fruit, or an omelet, or already prepped food from our freezer.

Dinner ~ I am currently reading the lovely cookbook Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, so some recipes are extra healthy this week!
Baked pasta with ham, broccoli, and a cauliflower cheese sauce. Tastes great and the cauliflower cheese sauce makes this lighter and healthier than you’d think. See feature recipe below.
Tuesday: Rustic vegetable and polenta soup, fresh bread, salad
Wednesday: Millet fried “rice” with tofu, ginger, soy (from Super Natural Cooking)
Thursday: Salmon & green beans with a dollop of pesto, all baked in a foil package, served over quinoa
Friday: Barley “Risotto” with lemon zest and spinach (from Super Natural Cooking)

Feature Recipe: Baked Pasta and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
Adapted from recipe in Martha Stewart Living, February 2012 issue
And here’s a great play by play by Our Best Bites

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small head cauliflower, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 medium shallots or 1 onion, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk (any kind. Recipe calls for skim, but I used a combo of 1% and 3.8%)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 ounces grated Pecorino cheese, grated (2 cups)
1 pound whole wheat pasta shells (or shape of your choice. I used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white rotini)
1/4 pound smoked ham, chopped
1 medium bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko (Japanese bread crumbs)- whole wheat preferably

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add cauliflower, garlic, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until softened but not brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with flour; stir to coat well and let cook for a minute.

Add milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; gently simmer until cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer all to a blender, and puree with nutmeg and half the pecorino until smooth, creating your cauliflower cheese sauce. Blend in batches if necessary – don’t overfill your blender. An immersion blender also works great.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions (or to al dente). Add broccoli for the last 2 minutes of cooking the pasta. Drain pasta & broccoli, return to pot, and add ham and cauliflower sauce; tossing to combine. Transfer to a 13×9 baking dish (or whatever fits all the pasta).

Toss remaining pecorino with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil (a couple teaspoons should do it). Sprinkle over the pasta and place in oven. Bake until bubbling and topping is brown and crispy, 30-35 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes and serve.

Happy eating! Next week I’ll give a timeline of when I do things, how I prep food, etc.

And, we’re planning an event on baby nutrition on Feb. 23rd! Details will be posted shortly.

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