Meal Plan Monday: How to Avoid Meal Plan Monotony

Meal Plan Monday

Cookbooks on the shelf.  Cookbooks from the library.  Recipe sites.  Recipe blogs.  The Pinteresting Blogosphere.  My sister.  All are great resources to avoid meal plan monotony, also called “getting stuck in a rut.”  And I call getting lost in the recipe index of a blog “researching.”  I’m creative like that.  It also gives me an excuse to buy or check out more cookbooks.

My dad used to go to the library weekly and make copies of recipes that he wanted my mom to make.  I’ve often thought about what would happen if he went on the Pinteresting Blogosphere in search of recipes, and my brain shut down.  The main Pinterest servers would crash.  Safari’s equivalent of bookmarks (whatever i-users use) would become unusable.  Wordpress and Blogger would stop in their tracks.  My dad would have that much of an effect on the traffic.

When I’m doing meal plan “research” (drooling over recipes and making vaguely orgasmic sounds when I see some recipes that just fit into that category), I tend to have tunnel vision.  Hours can go by.  Bombs could explode nearby.  Nothing can shake my focus.

My bookmarks and Pinterest boards are a scary place.

But yes, I noticed that for the last two weeks (due to a misplan the week before), we had tacos and breakfast for dinner each week for two weeks.  Granted, some new research must be called for.

Here are some of my favorite recipe sites and blogs:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks  The queen of down-home cooking and making things seem new and fresh!  And her self-deprecating comments make any cook feel better about kitchen mishaps.  And her cookbooks are AWESOME!

Six Sisters’ Stuff My new new fave.  I’m making two recipes of theirs this week and am in the works to plan many many many more!  Slow Cooker advocates:  this should be your roosting place.  Buffalo Chicken fanatics:  welcome home!  I’m serious.  I bookmarked so many recipes yesterday from this site that were just DIFFERENT from what you normally see on a recipe blog that I’m surprised Chrome didn’t shut me down with a “Oh no, she di-dint!” and a finger wag.

The-Site-Formerly-Known-As-Recipezaar  Okay, is the official name, but to me (and others) it will always be Recipezaar.  And, if I can have hopes that Reggie Bush will return to the Saints (especially now, epic groan), I can have hope that Scripps will finally get it through their skulls to change it back the way it used to be.  As Recipezaar, thank-you-very-much.

The Slow Roasted Italian 4 words:  Two.  Ingredient.  Pizza.  Dough.  ‘Nuff said.

Kraft Recipes A great site for ideas with a recipe of all of the Food and Family Magazine recipes.

Pennies and Pancakes  Home of the two-cent rolls (that are worth their weight in gold) as well as a price analysis of the recipes on the site.

Living on a Dime  This is the blog by the authors of Dining on a Dime, one of my cookbook mainstays.

Pocket Change Gourmet  A menu-planning great.  I will be making a recipe from this site this week as well.  I’ve seen some great recipes both from the blog author and several of the people that linky up (as I do) each Monday.

Pinspired Home The author of this blog has a great selection of menu plans and recipes.  I recently made a (non-slowcooker) version of her buffalo chicken sandwiches that was super yummy and will be making it in some of my lunches this week on crackers.

I shredded about a cup of the slow cooker rotisserie chicken, added about 1/4 cup blue cheese, 1 tablespoon blue cheese dressing, and about 2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce (Franks).  I heated it all up until bubbly in the microwave and mounded it in a bun.  Yum.  Kinda like a buffalo chicken sloppy joe.  With blue cheese goodness.

Josh added the yellow cherry tomato on top for a whimsical edge.  This is one recipe that can simply make my tongue curl up in pleasure.

…and there are many more blogs and sites that I have come to depend on and adapt from in my recipe planning, but lets get to what you really want.

I’m gonna change it up a bit and guesstimate about breakfasts and lunches for me, as well as the family dinners.  I am also hoping to cook a dessert/snack item to supplement lunch bags throughout the week (like last week’s Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies).

Dessert/snack item:  Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

Breakfasts for the week (weekdays):  sausage biscuit (biscuit mix biscuits with the maple breakfast sausage), peanut butter bar, banana


Monday:  leftover spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, peanut butter bar

Tuesday:  leftover cabbage roll casserole, peanut butter bar

Wednesday:  leftover mess, leftover veg, peanut butter bar

Thursday:  buffalo chicken sandwich filling (see above), crackers, tomatoes, peanut butter bar

Friday:  (duty day, so has to be cold and able to be eaten standing up) whatever is in the fridge that meets those requirements:  lunchmeat, cheese, peanut butter bar, olives, fruit


Monday:  either leftover cabbage roll casserole or slow cooker honey garlic chicken (I’m supposed to go out to dinner with coworkers/former coworkers, but that might change), rice if the chicken, veg if the chicken

Tuesday:  Josh cooks his mom’s mess (a pasta dish with macaroni, milk, onion, ground meat, cheese wiz), veg

Wednesday:  Josh cooks Fish and Chips, tartar sauce, corn

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza featuring 2-ingredient pizza dough (My replacement Kitchen-Aid blade should arrive by then) and possibly corn but with dipping sauces

Saturday:  Quick and Easy Cheeseburger Pies–Double and freeze leftovers for upcoming lunches, “hamburger toppings” salad–an idea that I’m playing with

Sunday:  Quesadillas, chips, and salsa

I’m linking up at 

What’s on your meal plan this week?

What do you think?

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