Dinner Blueprint | Menu For A Week | Healthy Meals

Dinner Blueprint: My Family’s Menus Week of September 16th

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood #OneMealForTheWholeFamily

Every year it’s a big emotional shift to move into fall…. this is not because I don’t like fall, I do…I just don’t like what comes after fall.  I’m that person who is always cold, shivering all year round, hovering under heavy sweaters at the office and still wearing my down coat well into May.  After a long impatient wait, when the average temperature is somewhere north of 80 degrees Fareneheit I’m completely in my element.

There are, however, two things about fall I really look forward to 1. fall cooking and 2. fall baking.

I’m just getting geared up for it all now.  I have a butternut squash tempting me with it’s possibilities on the counter, I made an extra batch of chicken stock last weekend and I’ve slotted our annual apple-picking date on next month’s family calendar.

It was one of those days where the ‘plan’ didn’t go according to plan and I made a ‘quick-what’s-on-hand-and-fast’ kind of dish.  The weather was beautiful, which is now more fleeting and my son had a late day birthday party plus soccer earlier in the day. Long story short, my roast chicken just wasn’t going to happen when I really had 25 minutes to work with.

This turned out delicious and quick. It’s a variant of something I make often, a quick roast pork tenderloin takes 12 – 14 minutes to roast. It looks more ‘fancy’ than it actually is and the kids like it (for ease I paired it with a simple hummus and cheese quesadilla for the little ones and over a warm salad for the grownups).

1X (Feeds my family once)

Maple roast pork kids plate with cheese quesadilla, zucchini, eggplant & carrots
For the kids, served pork & veggies with a warm cheese quesadilla

So, the need for a back up plan Saturday forces me to break a rule tonight (no cooking anything with a carcass the night before going to work… note, part of a whole system re saving time on dinner).

The chicken was lovely and to diminish the Sunday night rush, I used the slow cooker… awesome to have dinner cooking while I was out at the playground with the kids.  I didn’t make any elaborate sides, I was in a hurry and cut a beautiful farmer’s market tomato I had on hand, plus worked my standby cooks-in-10-minutes cous cous together with frozen peas (thrown on top to steam at the very end, same pan).

2X (Feeds my family 2 times)

Monday and Tuesday
I was traveling for work, so I had a lovely meal near my office in Manhattan on Monday night and Tuesday a not-so-lovely (but reasonable sandwich meal) on the train back to Boston.  My hubby and kids enjoyed leftover chicken warmed up with pasta and then served with the ever-easy-quesadillas while I was away.

I was back home, but still not quite on top of things, so another super-quick weeknight meal although I couldn’t resist cutting into that Butternut Squash I didn’t make time for over the weekend. It was just there… all ‘ready-let’s-go-yay-fall’ and I decided I could make it work, cut into small (1 inch or so) cubes served with pasta.

2X (Feeds my family twice)

Simple weeknight pasta, butternut squash, pea & sausage 'soup'
Simple weeknight pasta, butternut squash, pea & sausage ‘soup’.


2X (Feeds my family twice)

Brazilian chicken and rice with olives and peas to the rescue!

You may notice I make this almost every week… why yes, yes I do.  Have my family members complained about this?  Not really… okay, my oldest, sometimes complains but I explain how it’s super-delicious and Mommy can probably make it blindfolded with one hand tied behind her back at this point she’s made it so often. See?  Easy way to reduce stress and cognitive overload.

Picture Brazilian style chicken & rice with peas & olives.
Brazilian style chicken & rice with peas & olives.


1X (Feeds my family once)

The Brazilian chicken and rice part 2 plus some of the leftover maple-roasted pork became cleverly hidden into burritos (for the grownups) and paired with cheese and hummus quesadillas for the kiddos.


If you try any of the recipes or the whole menu for the week, can you let me know?  Everything works together to reduce overall time.  I’ve been experimenting with different layouts to show recipes and steps as well.  Please leave comments on anything you’d change or that you’d find helpful. Thanks!


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