Meal Planning Monday: 4 Weekly Staples for Easy Meal Planning

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm new to this whole eating clean, meal planning business. In college, most of my meals came from the dining hall or the sorority kitchen - the rest came from Pizza Xpress or Jimmy Johns. My senior year of college I started to make food on my own but I mostly survived on eggs and prepackaged meals and snacks. Growing up we didn't do a lot of cooking either - it was just my mom and I. She worked hard and I was busy with my activities - many of our meals were in restaurants and boxes.

My point is, I'm still learning to cook and bake well. Our meals are simple. No four course dinners here! Still, I really enjoy cooking and learning new recipes and I try to add a new recipe to my repetoire every week.

In order to stick to our newlywed/med student budget and eat healthy, I rely on a few simple staples to get us through breakfast and lunch for the week - sometimes dinner if I'm feeling lazy or we have a lot of leftovers.

The following are NOT fancy recipes that should be featured on Pinterest but rather a quick guide on how I keep us fed and watered on a budget. 

1. Breakfast Cassarole 
We eat A LOT of eggs in our house! They are cheap, full of nutrients, and keep me full until lunch time. Cooking eggs is certainly less convienent than pouring a bowl of cereal - especially if I'm pressed for time. That's why I started baking an egg cassarole ahead of time so that all I have to do is pop it in the microwave and top with salsa or avocado! It's a super simple recipe that you can customize however you please!


Depending on what ingredients you add and how big your serving size is, you can get this for 150-200 calories typically. Add some avocado, salsa, hot sauce, etc. and a piece of fruit (LOVE prunes) and you have an awesome breakfast that will fill you up 'til lunch! Lots of protein, low carb if you skip potatoes, and a great way to sneak your veggies in!

2. Roasted Vegetables
I hesitate to even label this as a recipe but roasted veggies are a staple in our house - I like to make them in big batches and reheat them later - some people might not like that but the texture and flavor is just fine to me. Name a veggie and you can roast it - drizzle with a little olive oil and season to taste. I try to limit the amount of salt I use - instead use Mrs. Dash, fresh italian herbs, pepper, etc.

I love asparagus! Paired with chicken and orzo, potatoes, and squash.

Roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes with a turkey burger.

This one is really a no brainer - I typically roasted on 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on the type of veggie. Just monitor them until golden brown. You can even throw them into your breakfast casserole, meatloaf, or a variety of other recipes!

3. Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
I introduced the recipe I use (from Jamie Eason) HERE. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these! Lately I've been experimenting with different veggies and toppings. Right now, I love topping the muffins with a little sauerkraut and spicy mustard. Is that super weird? Probably but it's delish.

I like to freeze half of the batch (typically yield 18 muffins) so I don't have to eat them all at once.

Everything I eat is covered in hot sauce/salsa. Quinoa, turkey muffin, and broccoli.

4. Salsa Chicken
Another no brainer recipe that is PERFECT for so many meals - I make a batch in my crockpot and then freeze half of it.

The recipe is simple. Chicken breast & salsa. BAM! Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hrs), shred, and die of happiness.

Salsa chicken is AWESOME in tacos, salads, paired with veggies and rice, in eggs, etc. Just do it - it's the easiest thing ever.

To add a little variety and flavor, I just change the salsa - medium, hot, salsa verde, etc. If I don't want that salsa taste, I season it with whatever sounds good and add low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. 

I imagine you could also do this with turkey breast or another similar meat. Just change it up.

Stay tuned for next week when I share my favorite sweet treats and snacks to keep on hand!

1 comment:

  1. Love the Egg casserole dish! I'm going to make that this week!!!