I am one of the few busy, working moms who kinda-sorta doesn't mind meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Sometimes I even enjoy it, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it brings me joy. I don't hate my Sunday mornings when I get up before anyone else is awake in my house, pull a few cookbooks from my stash, pour myself a cup of coffee, and begin my weekly ritual of planning my family's supper menu.
As someone who semi-enjoys planning weekly meals, yet still views it mostly as a chore, I understand how it is a total barrier to success in family wellness for someone who detests it or doesn't know where to start.
In coaching sessions with moms, I'd say we talk about feeding their families as much, if not more, than we talk about their own nutrition. It's a thing. One that often causes stress, resentment, guilt, anxiety, and arguments. It's not just a thing, it's an ISSUE.
Recently in a session with a long-time client (who is now a dear friend) we circled back to supper planning as we had so many times before. She knows me. I'm a coach. My job is to help people find their wellness path for themselves. I try very hard not to provide the answers or give directives, and she knows that. But on this rare occasion, my friend blurted out, "Can't I just copy what you're making for your family each week?"
Do you ever get blind-sided by an idea that is so obvious and simple that it takes you a minute to comprehend it?
"Well.... SURE! I don't see why not!"
It gave me the idea that she may not be the only one with whom sharing my weekly menu could help. So here you go! Each week, I'll share my family supper menu for the month of January. I hope it helps give you some ideas, direction, and confidence that you can do this! It's not "hard". It just takes some planning.
A couple things to keep in mind about my planning and the meals I choose:
1) We have lots of food sensitivities in our house that I need to work around. At least one person in our house is allergic or intolerant to the following foods:
Yes, it's a total pain and I wish this wasn't our reality, but it is and we're completely used to it. Food allergies are so common these days. So, if you have family members with sensitivities to any of these foods, I hope these weekly supper menus are especially helpful for you (and know that I feel your pain!).
2) I'm not a fan of processed, packaged, or fast foods. Nothing I make is fancy or difficult, but I do mostly cook from scratch.
3) I try to focus on immune-boosting foods. Especially now!!!
4) Our menu is reasonably varied from week to week. I'd say I have 20 or so meals that I rely heavily on and usually try out a new recipe a once a week.. However, EVERY week the following happens:
- One night a week is what I call "scrounge night". It's when we eat leftovers or the kids just find something for themselves. It is NOT a beloved night of the week for supper, but my ears are deaf to the complaints. I'm happy to report that not one of us has died yet from scrounge night.
-Friday night is ALWAYS "Friday night pizza night movie night". (Yes, we actually call it that.) Pretty self-explanatory. We eat delivery, restaurant or store-bought pizza and watch a movie. I'm always too exhausted to even think about cooking and I never ever make it through the entire movie without falling asleep. It is also my night to drink wine. Needless to say, Friday nights are my favorite time of the week.
-Saturday night is usually "Saturday night nacho night game night". (Yes, we actually call it that.) I make healthy-ish nachos and we play a card or board game. This isn't as carved in stone as Friday night, but it happens more often than not.
I find that having these 3 pieces in place every week is what makes planning feel manageable.
5) I unapologetically call dinner supper. Deal with it.
6) We don't really do desserts more than once every month or two, so there likely won't be any on these menus.
Having explained all that, and without further ado, I give you the Jordan family supper menu for this week. I hope you find it refreshingly unimpressive and uncomplicated.
Salmon with Green Goddess dressing and salad
I simply salt and pepper the salmon and roast it in the oven around 400-425 for about 15 minutes. I can tell when the fish is done because it's firm to the touch, but you can also use a fork to flake it apart. If it comes apart easily and the middle is no longer translucent, it's done.
I serve it on a bed of dark leafy greens (spring mix, arugula, etc.... insanely good for immune function and everything/anything else related to good health!)
Here's the piece de resistance: GREEN GODDESS DRESSING.
Y'all, this is blow-your-mind good. And incredibly easy to make and I just whip it up in a blender while the salmon is in the oven. I make a huge batch of it and keep it in the fridge to eat on EVERYTHING. Scrambled eggs are my favorite to drench in it. I'll drizzle some on all the rest of the meals for the rest of the week Here's the recipe I use.
I haven't really found a dairy and soy-free sour cream that I'm crazy about, so I just eliminate the sour cream in the recipe and double the mayo. Here's the dairy, egg, and soy-free mayo we use. It's delicious!
Spaghetti and turkey meatballs
I use gluten free pasta (I like Barilla brand best for gluten-free pasta).
I get a 1lb package of ground turkey. I just pinch off about a table spoon of turkey meat, roll it into a ball, and drop it into tomato sauce that's at a low boil. I cook the turkey meatballs in the sauce for about 10 minutes while the pasta is boiling.
Tomato sauce is a big immune-booster due to a substance called lycopene, which is a powerful anti-oxidant. Interestingly, cooked tomatoes may make the lycopene more easily absorbed by the body. I also add a small can of tomato paste to the sauce to thicken it and to boost the lycopene value in the meal. Because tomato sauce is so crazy good for us, we usually eat it weekly in some capacity. Try to find a tomato sauce that doesn't have sugar or chemicals in the list of ingredients. Our favorite is Rao's Tomato Basil.
I salt & pepper tilapia filets and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. While the fish is in the oven, I crisp corn tortillas up a little in a skillet with olive oil on both sides. When the fish is cooked, I flake it, put it in the tortillas and serve with the following toppings:
sliced green or purple cabbage (+immune system, Vitamin C)
red onion (+immune system, Vitamin C & other antioxidants)
cilantro (+immune system, MANY antioxidants)
sliced avocado (huge immune-boosting food, too many vitamins & nutrients to mention-- just eat them!!)
lime for squeezing juice
leftover Green Goddess dressing!!
My middle daughter is allergic to wheat, soy, and dairy, so I pick her up sushi every Friday night.
I am gluten intolerant. Here's my favorite gluten-free pizza. I get it at Whole Foods.
I brown ground turkey in a skillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ground cumin. I spread out a bag of plain ole regular tortilla chips on a sheet pan and top it with the ground turkey and shredded cheddar & pop in a 350 oven for 10 or so minutes to melt the cheese. A portion of it has shredded dairy-free cheese. I like Daiya. It melts nicely.
Then I serve with those immune-boosting toppings:
leftover Green Goddess dressing!!
Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries
Form patties out of ground turkey. Bake in oven, fry in skillet, or grill outside. I get a bag of frozen sweet potato fries and cook them in the oven at a really high temp- like, 450, for longer than the bag says. We like them crispy. Then I serve with more of the same toppings as we had with the nachos and fish tacos. And don't forget the GREEN GODDESS DRESSING!
Welp. There you have it, folks! Let me know if you use any of these meals in your suppers this week! Happy meal planning!
**Cover photo credit to the fabulous Jamie Harmon.