MENU PLANNING, IS IT USEFUL?
Yes, super useful!!! It keeps me sane and I’m not stuck nightly trying to determine what we’re having for dinner. Therefore, I thought it might be fun to start publishing some menu plans each month. One of the questions I get the most from curious friends and family is, “How do you know what to make every day especially now that you’re gluten free?” It doesn’t have to be hard once you get used to the gluten free products out there and build some confidence converting recipes.
I menu plan one week at a time and I usually do it the week before I’m going to use it. Since I’m posting this on a Friday, this for instance would be my menu plan for the following week. This allows me to prepare my grocery list and get my shopping done at the beginning of the week or during the weekend. Sometimes I have to go back mid-week for fresh items but usually only once – twice max. It also allows me to plan ahead for some ingredients or pieces of the menu that needs to be made ahead. I’ll make sure to note that clearly so you will be prepared if you follow my menu plan at any given time.
This also allows me to work around our weekly activities. For instance my daughter has dance on Wednesdays, so usually we’ll have leftovers that night so I load up early in the week to cover a “no cook” night on that day.
SAMPLE MENU PLAN FOR APRIL
We usually have the kids swimming lessons on Sunday nights and I do Zumba at the YMCA, so Sunday night dinners need to be fast and hearty!
Monday: Breakfast for dinner night – Iowa Girl Eats Breakfast Pizza, fresh fruit
I’m so happy that the Iowa Girl we all love has gone gluten free. She has some really superb recipes!
Tuesday: Taco Night!
We use Old El Paso or Ortega hard shell tacos that are gluten free. I make up my own seasoning mix for the ground beef and of course avocado slices, lettuce, tomatoes, and grated cheese are all naturally gluten free. When I’m really in a special mood, I’ll make up a batch of the Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant Style Salsa. It is so fresh and yummy even though some of the ingredients come from cans – you’d NEVER know! I swear on it!
Wednesday: Leftover Night
This is dance night, so this is the evening where we clean out the fridge or sometimes get take out.
Thursday: Fresh Lemon Pasta with grilled Pork Chops and Asparagus
My kids adore pasta – I mean l.o.v.e. it! I’m glad that I can make it for them and the gluten free version is super yummy! For spaghetti which is what I used for this particular recipe, I went with the Barilla Gluten Free. It is by far the best spaghetti out there and the leftovers are just as good as the day you made it. Everything else in this recipe, the ricotta, lemon zest/juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil are all naturally gluten free!
Friday: Gluten Free Pizza Night!
Lately, I’ve been really digging the Glutino Pizza Crust mix that you can get in most large retail grocery stores. It makes two very large pizzas so I parbake both and end up freezing one for later use. Please note that you’ll need mixing and rising time for this, so you need to plan ahead if you are making the crusts.
For the pizza sauce, I use the Classico Traditional Pizza sauce that is naturally gluten free.
We also really like Hawaiian style pizza. Canadian bacon is often gluten free but this one you’ll want to read the packing to ensure that it is. We also put on pineapple and green olives – two naturally gluten free foods.
I’m actually going to make the slow cooker recipe that was in the latest Cooking Light magazine, but the link here is a similar recipe.
WOW! THAT WAS EASY!
This is a fairly simple week. I hope that you find this feature useful- feel free to steal my menu plan or mix it up with others to make one for your family.
P.S. All opinions are my own and I did not get paid a thing for telling you about these gluten free products!