Monday’s Dinner

I have been diligently trying to stay within a budget these last couple of weeks and was surprised to see no matter how bare our cupboards were and our fridge was, I was able to succeed.  It is all about making a plan and sticking to it, whether you like it or not.  I was encouraged by my friend who lives with in a tight budget.  When I began to feel the need to cop out, she helped me to stick with it.
For those moms, dads, or perhaps single folk, looking for meals to make for a week, here is a sample of meals we have just finished.
Monday- Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday- Wilted Spinach Salad and side dish
Wednesday- Breakfast- Pancakes, farmers sausage, and hashbrowns
Thursday- Shepherd’s Pie
Friday- Chicken Strips, Greek Salad, and mashed potatoes
Saturday- Beef Teriyaki, Broccoli, Brown Rice Medley
Sunday- Leftovers- Chicken Strips, Greek Tortellini Salad


Monday Meal Plan

Like planning?  I do.  I plan lots of different things.  I think it really all began to take form when I was a landscaper in my early twenties.  We would have dead lines.  We would have to have a variety of tasks to get done by a certain hour, or if not, we would have to work over time in order to have the projects done.  I know many careers are like that, but something happened to me then.  I began to compartmentalize not only  lawn care and garden care, but everything outside of work.  I find I do it a lot at home, too, with the three kids, and cooking and cleaning.  I almost get a rush doing it.  Is it crazy?  Maybe.  I have been meal planning for nearly 3 years now.  I was influenced greatly by a good friend of mine, Lizzie.  She would do this all the time when she and her husband were first married.  So, this week…
Monday– Pot Roast Meatloaf, inspired by the one and only, Jamie Oliver
Tuesday– Roast beef dinner
Wednesday– Turkey Tacos
Thursday– Mustard Chicken with Jewel Rice and Broccolini
Friday– Date night with Sean, my good friend Michelle, and sister Jojo
Saturday-Chicken Teriyaki
Sunday– Leftovers

Pot Roast Meatloaf

(Inspired by Jamie Oliver)

2 medium onions
olive oil
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
12 cream crackers
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pound good quality ground beef
1 large organic egg
2 cloves of garlic
1/2- 1 fresh red chile (I used dried chile flakes. I just sprinkled it in).
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 can of chickpeas
2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I didn’t have tomatoes, so used a jar of marinara sauce)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon (I used 5-6)
1 lemon (optional)

How To Play:
Preheat on the oven to 475 degrees. Peel and finely chop one of the onions. Place in a large skillet on medium high with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Fry and stir every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes until soft and golden brown. Put in a large bowl to cool. In a food processor, blend crackers, until fine, add to cooled onions, along with the oregano, mustard, and ground beef. Add egg and salt and pepper. Mix well and shape meat mixture into a large football shape. Rub with a little oil. Place the meatloaf in a Dutch over type pan or baking dish and put in the preheated oven, and turn down the temperature immediately to 400 degrees. Bake for half an hour.
To make the meatloaf sauce: Peel the other onion and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel and slice the garlic. Finely slice the red chile, or sprinkle dried chile. Place the onion, garlic, chile in a large skillet on a medium high temperature with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika, and a pinch of slat and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chickpeas, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if needed.
To Finish off and serve: Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and put them into a little bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix up well. Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter over the rosemary leaves. Put the pan back into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling (I cooked it for 20-25 minutes). Serve with a mixed leaf salad and some wedges of lemon for squeezing over. Since I am so into spinach these days, I made another spinach salad and cooked peas and carrots for the kids.