Monday, January 5, 2015

Weekly Menu planner From The Cherry On Top, #35

Welcome to yet another week of  heathy, fast and easy menu's.  We've been asked to hit up more picky eater meals for kids, lunch ideas, 20 minutes or less menu's, Paleo menu's and more slow cooker recipes.  We love to have all of these requests and couldn't be more happy to oblige! This week's menu will include everything on that list.

The new year, for a lot of people, means another attempt at eating better.  The Cherry On Top is a great place for your inspiration.  We are here to help.  We will be adding more tips and alternatives to our recipes for the many people out there addressing specific types of diets such as those dealing with diabetes, heart conditions, blood pressure issues, Autistic or ADHD children, obesity and for those going gluten free and for our vegetarian friends.

Let's dive right in there and see what's on this week's menu.  This week I've even included lunch meals for Saturday and Sunday.  Let us know what you think about that.

Monday: meat, potatoes and veg

(From a previous TCOT menu with alterations.)
Choose a favourite meat like lean steak, fish, pork chops, sausage (my kids favourite), chicken strips, just make sure they are not breaded.

For the potatoes, wash and peel along with some carrots or spinach.  Put the potatoes and carrots together and let them cook in boiling water.  If you choose spinach, then put that in the last few minutes of cooking time with the potatoes. When finished, drain off water mix into a measuring cup. Mash your veggie mix.  That's right!  My kids do NOT eat cooked carrots or spinach, but when mixed with mashed potatoes?!  THEY LOVE IT! Add a touch of butter and either milk or a bit of that reserve liquid if you are staying away from dairy.

Whip up some gravy with the meat and veggie reserve.  If you need a gravy recipe, check out this one.

This meal is totally kid friendly and an absolute favourite for our very picky eaters.  If your kids or someone in your family has textural issues, then make sure your potato mash up is as smooth as possible.  Some folks really hate chunks.  Watch out for this.  They may like the taste, just not the chunks or pieces.  Knowing this can make cooking a whole lot easier.

Tuesday:  quinoa, bbq chicken in the crock pot


There are a lot of ingredients in this baby.  Only three I would caution on.  The BBQ sauce, Hickory Smoke and the canned chicken broth.  Watch for salt, sugar and other conservatives in these products.  Consider a bbq sauce with low sugar or alternative, healthy sweeteners like honey, agave or pure maple syrup.  The hickory smoke is typically a batch of chemicals, but used in very minute amounts.  Leave it out if you choose.  Your bbq sauce might already have it in there.  You might also consider swapping out canned chicken broth with tap water and a low salt bullion cube.  

Despite the amount of ingredients, this one will be whipped up really fast!

Wednesday: jambalaya


This one requires a bit of ingredient preparation and it's also another one pot meal like yesterday's.  You can always slide it into a weekend spot where you may have more time, but it's still a reasonable, weekly meal.  Everything in here is perfectly healthy and delicious.  For those watching fat, you may want to leave out the sausage.  If you're on a Paleo diet, simply leave out the rice.  It's a great vegetarian dish as well when you skip on the meat.  Wonderfully versatile!  Making it in the slow cooker is definitely an option as well.  Click here for a slow cooker recipe.

Thursday:  fish-n-salad


My husband made the best sea food salad I've ever eaten on New Year's Eve.  He simply grilled scallops, shrimp and fresh tuna then set it on top of greens, red onions, olives and feta.  He used no dressing.  Make any fish or seafood you like in a healthy manner such as grilling, baking or steaming and lay it on top of thoroughly washed, fresh greens of your choice.  Sprinkle some salt, pepper, a mix of lovely herbs and drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the top.  A fabulous menu and made in 20 minutes.  Perfectly Paleo.  Excellent for heart patients as long as you do not fry or bread your fish and awesome fuel for the Autistic or ADHD members in the family. 

I've got the image hooked up to a great recipe.

Fun Food Friday:  Sloppy Joe's


I searched through nearly a dozen recipes before giving up and using the one I use.  Every other recipe had ketchup and sugar in it.  Ugh!  Sloppy Joe's are made in about 10 minutes.  They are a family favourite and if you make them the way we suggest, it's VERY healthy and most folks will be able to eat it.  Vegetarians would need a meat substitute.  Paleo, gluten free and those looking to ditch grains, simply need to wrap the filling in a lettuce leaf.  That's it!  You can totally do this in the crock pot, too.  Put all your ingredients in the slow cooker and turn that baby on.  Some people like to sauté the meat and veggies first.  

Saturday:  spaghetti for lunch and Thai soup for dinner


(From a previous TCOT blog with alterations.)
Definitely a family favourite.  Good old fashioned spaghetti.  My boys love the long noodles.  My little guy has sensory issues and cannot stand spaghetti sauce, so I just take out his pasta and put a little butter on it.  Then I serve him raw veggies.  

Making your own spaghetti sauce can be a lot of work depending on what you like in it.  The easiest way is to add a can of canned tomatoes to your hamburger (if you are using meat) and shake in some spices and herbs that you like.  That's the easiest and a really healthy way to whip up your sauce quickly. Use bacon or chicken in your sauce for something different, or no meat.  My family doesn't usually even notice.  If your family has a problem with veggies like garlic, onion, peppers, shrooms...then put it all in the food processor.  That's what I do.  These vegetables are just so healthy and should be implemented into your menu's.  Your family will also get used to the taste of these things, which will allow you to use them again and again and eventually, you won't need to puree them.

You may used jarred sauce.  Just make sure there is no sugar and that you know what ALL of the ingredients are.  If you can't pronounce it, then your probably shouldn't be eating it.

The image is linked up to a recipe that is meatless.

Thai Soup Recipe
 thai soup recipe

I found this recipe on line.  It's exactly the one I use.  This picture does not give this awesome soup the justice it deserves. Watch out for the spice!  It gets hot!  Leave out the jalapeño if you're not into spicy.  Also the condensed chicken broth may have quite some salt so use an above mentioned alternative for that.

Sunday:  quesadillas for dinner and risotto, parma ham and zucchini for lunch


Ok, we may have gone over the top here.  There are quite a few recipes to consider with this link, but Oh, MAN!  There are some really incredible ones like the one pictured here.  There are vegetarian ideas, kid friendly recipes, unconventional and definitely man pleasers, too.  Hehehe...Take a peak and see which one would best suit your family.

If you want the fastest version, place a tortilla in a heated pan, sprinkle some grated cheese of your choice on there, add another tortilla on top and bam!  Use bacon, hamburger, chicken, shrimp, guacamole, garlic for in it, if you want...Go crazy.  

Risotto Lunch

I've got my own recipe on another week that you can find right here.  It's a bit timely, but this meal is fabulous!  The family can't eat it fast enough.  Leave out the meat and vegetarians can enjoy it. The image is hooked up to a super, well documents and photographed, step by step instructions on how to prepare this meal.  Mine is only slightly different.  It use white wine and risotto.

You could substitute the risotto with any kind of small pasta like orzo or use regular rice or quinoa.  You don't have to use cheese either.

If you use this menu planner, you'll be well on the right path for healthy eating.

Good luck and happy eats!

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