Sunday, January 3, 2010

January Menu

Don't you just love January? I do. It offers a clean start, a fresh look at my life. I love the holidays, but I really love clearing away all the decorations, which by January 1st just look like clutter, and brushing away the cobwebs of neglected habits and duties in my life. I love the feeling that this can be the year that I accomplish something I have always wanted to do.

My goals each new year generally include weight loss. As someone who loves making and eating good food, I also struggle to maintain a healthy weight. This year, my outlook is a little different. Although I hope to lose weight, my goal this year is to focus more on being healthy and to develop a healthier relationship with food, especially sweets. I want to help my family eat more vegetables and whole grains and less sugar and meat. I want us all to move our bodies more, to make them stronger, leaner, and more powerful. I want to take better care of this gift that God has given me, rather than resent my imperfect body.

With that in mind, I planned a menu yesterday for the first week or two of the year. Creating menus before I do my grocery shopping is one of those habits that I used to have before the holidays--one that needed to be dusted off before it was completely shelved.:) When I mentioned on facebook that I was headed out for the ingredients for my new, healthy menu, I had several requests that I share.

So, in planning my family's meals, I tried to keep in mind our family's goals of increasing whole grain and vegetables while reducing sugar and meat. I'll also count my cal0ries and avoid overeating (most days) on Your family's goals for eating may be different; if your goal is high protein or gluten-free or as low fat as possible, this may not be the menu for you. But if you just need a menu to help you kick start cooking meals for your family again, check out mine.

Instead of assigning these meals to a specific day, I planned seven complete meals, which I plan to serve over the next 10 days before we head out of town for my brother's wedding. Some days we'll just eat leftovers or throw together a salad. Each morning, I'll choose the meal that meets my needs in terms of time commitment for that day.

  • Meal #1: Potato Leek Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and fresh fruit (Recipe comes from one of my Weight Watcher's cookbooks, but I found a blogger who had posted it here.)
  • Meal #2: Southwest Brown Rice & Black Bean Burgers (from Prudence Pennywise), served with fresh pineapple, guacamole, sweet potato baked fries, and cibatta rolls
  • Meal #3: Garlic Chive Fettucine w/ Sauteed Chickpeas & Parmesan (also Prudence Pennywise). I'll use whole wheat pasta and serve this with crusty, whole grain bread and a small salad. I've made this recipe before and it is DIVINE.
  • Meal #4: Bean & Barley Soup (Cooking Light) with crusty, whole grain bread.
  • Meal #5: Citrus Glazed Chicken Thighs (Cooking Light), served with brown rice, mandarin oranges, and roasted green beans.
  • Meal #6: Butternut Squash Lasagne (Prudence Pennywise, what would I do without you?), green salad, sauteed zucchini, and crusty bread. (Do you see how much we love crusty bread? I will either make my own or pick up a whole grain loaf at Costco or Trader Joe's that day.)
  • Meal #7: Midwestern Corn Chowder (see my recipe below) with fresh whole wheat bread.

Midwestern Corn Chowder
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 T. to 4 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, fat free half-and-half, or half and half
  • 2-3 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better)
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • fresh cilantro for serving
Place the broth in a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer the vegetables in the chicken broth, with the pan covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Mix the roux over medium heat in separate medium saucepan, combining butter and flour, then whisking in milk until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, until bubbly and thickening, then add to the broth and vegetables. Add the creamed corn, then salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish each bowl with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 1 T bacon, and 1-2 T fresh cilantro.

What are your favorite meals in January? Share!!!


Andrea said...

I love the new look of your blog. What a great photo! These recipes sound delicious. I'm hungry!

We are hoping to make it out to the reception but baby#4 is due this week! I'll have to send Pat in our honor! It is so exciting. (wedding and baby)

mindyluwho said...

We are on the same page! I'm just want to be more healthy this year and have been working on goals that focus on good nutrition and moving my body more...for the sake of being healthy and the skinny part would be a side benefit! The recipes look delicious!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Your blog looks great! And I wish I lived close enough to invite myself over for dinner. It all sounds delish. I was talking to my sister the other day about how it would be easier to loose weight if I was a bad cook. ;)

Prudy said...

Oh, mamma, what time is dinner? Everything sounds heavenly, not a bit like sacrifice. I'm not much for dieting in January, but in Feb. I'll come around.

Michal said...

i will admit that i looked for meals that wouldn't feel like dieting-- i burn out too quickly from zero calorie soup. and the lasagne is probably a bit high in calories, but i'll have a small piece. or two:) i've been wanting to try it since you posted it and never have.

Christine M said...

You inspired me to try out tonight that garlic chive fettucine recipe I once noted on Prudy's site but never got around to making. I had to make various modifications (e.g., I can't digest broccoli), but it was so yummy! Thanks for the reminder.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

I need to do more menu planning for my family. Thanks for the ideas.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Look how cute your your header is!

My favorite meal lately is the Salsa Chicken and Black Bean soup from that 365 days of crock pot meals blog. I LOVE that soup.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Happy New Year! I am loving the new look over here :) !!

I, too, adore the month of January for many of the same reasons you shared. (Though it also helps that it is my birth month, too :) !!)

We have some of the same goals. I, too, just want a healthier relationship in general with food - it is all about moderation and temperance. One book I am reading right now is very insightful. It is called "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler.

Ashley said...

The new blog look is very look great! Appreciate the recipes as we have similair goals over here too... And yeah for no Christmas melt-downs! The simpler, the better. That's what I am telling myself for next year too AND the fact that I plan to start shopping SUPER early. We'll see how it goes.

a10cowwoman said...

Wow. I wish I had someone like you at my house cooking. Yummy.

Tami said...

It looks like you guys are doing great! I love your new January plans. You are always so organized and productive. I love the new picture on the top of your blot!!! So sweet!

Robyn{Lee} said...

OMG, those recipes look wonderful!! I'm going to have to make some! Thanks for posting this!