Meal Planning: May 20-26

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A great read has inspired me to keep on cooking and to remember the value of meal planning, eating from the pantry, and simple, homecooked fare.

Queso Fundido

I just finished reading The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn. It’s a great book about learning to cook simple, wholesome fare, but more importantly it’s a memoir of a food writer teaching others to do just that. I was in a cooking lull when I started reading it — and it was just the ticket to help me get re-energized about working in my kitchen.

‘Cause somedays it is work.

The book is full of data about what’s actually in processed food as well as contains a shopping guide of sorts to point you in the right direction in terms of sourcing the best food for you and your family. It reaffirmed the value of home cooking, simple ingredients, and eating outside the box.

It may have been the impetus for my jam-making, bread-baking, yogurt-incubating, ice-cream churning fit of last week. Here’s to more good eating this week!

20. Hot Dogs on Homemade BunsMacaroni Salad, Green Salad

21. Bday dinner: Bday Boy’s choice

22. Pasta Night, Good Bread, Green Salad

23. Queso FundidoRice, Beans, Salad

24. Sandwich Bar with FocacciaVeggie Dippers, Fruit

25. Pizza Night

26. Roast Chicken and Potatoes, Salad

What’s cooking at your house this week?

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Menu Plan Monday each week.

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    There’s my menu for the week. I hope to make some sort of new bread and dessert while I have a few days off of work.

  2. Charlene says:

    What kind of hot dogs do you use? I wasn’t expecting to see that under wholesome and unprocessed. Maybe you found a “good for you” kind?? Just checking on that. Some of my family would appreciate knowing about that! 🙂 Thanks for the menu plan. It usually gives me an idea or two to incorporate!

    • Jessica says:

      @Charlene, we have always bought kosher hot dogs, but I’m looking at trying some of the nitrate-, nitrite-free ones. I know, seems odd. But the buns were homemade! 😉

    • Applegate Farms has some really good grass-fed, all beef, uncured, nitrate, nitrite free hot dogs. We eat them once a week, delicious!

  3. I am definitely going to try the queso fundido. Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing your plan. I always get inspired to keep on going whenever I read what others are eating. It is so easy to get caught in a rut.

  4. I love applegate farms organic hotdogs. They are Little pricey but they taste great

  5. Michele says:

    I was able to borrow the e-book version of that book from the library! Thanks for the recommendation.

    I appreciate your menu plan… several times I’ve found myself in a rut and thought “I wonder what Jessica is eating this week?” 🙂


    I’ve found some yummy, natural casing hot dogs processed locally that are “fairly” healthy. Buying local (which I know you do a lot) helps you to understand what’s in the food that you’re eating. While we still buy more processed food than I would like, meat is one area that I focus on buying higher quality, less processed.

  7. I have been wanting to ask you this for awhile, and I apologize if you’ve covered it elsewhere, but how do you get inspired/what is your approach each week for meal planning? I get hung up trying to think of ideas. My freezer is not always as well-stocked as I’d like it to be with meats (and we try to not have meat a couple of times a week anyway) and other than making one thing that I know will have great leftovers (like a whole chicken that I make enchiladas or pot pie) and using what’s in the fridge/pantry, I just don’t know where to start sometimes.

    Do you have certain rules you follow each week, like Monday is meatless or one night is pasta, or anything like that? I’d love specifics on what your approach is when you sit down to make the plan each week. Trying, trying, trying to do this! Thank you!!

  8. Michele says:

    Okay, I’m over halfway through that book – WOW! It’s rocking my world. Great Sunday read 🙂

  9. Well, I’m on my second week of earnest meal planning, and I have to admit, I’ve saved money and spent less time shopping and cooking. The hardest part is getting motivated when I really don’t feel like making something on a particular day, so I’ve chucked the plan a few times. Also, I get nitrite-free hotdogs at TJs and Vons. I also get nitrite-free bacon and lunch meat at TJs when we have it. I don’t want to us to eat nitrites and it also causes digestive problems for me.

    • Jessica says:

      @Stacy, I’ve been assigning meals to certain days, but if one day doesn’t work, I have no qualms about flopping it for another day. In fact, some weeks, I just have a list of seven to ten meals, then we get lots of choices without having to be TOO spontaneous. You’ll find what works.

      • @Jessica, I was just thinking about that today–just have a list of meals and pick the day on the day or the day before. Some days I just can’t get into a certain thing. Like I was supposed to make Mexican food yesterday, but it required making tortillas. I’ve made them plenty of times before, but really really didn’t feel like it. So we had egg salad sandwiches and salad instead since I’d already boiled a lot of eggs.


    Here’s our menu for the week. Tried the salsa verde recipe (we used chicken) last night and it was good. Definitely a different taste, and quite spicy with our salsa – mucho gusto!

    BTW – made your homemade hamburger/hot dog rolls last week with some modifications (I don’t have a bread machine). Deliciousness!

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