When someone tells you, “menu planning saved my life,” your ears perk up and you listen! Laura, from I’m an Organizing Junkie, is a menu planning guru, but that wasn’t always the case. Up until four years ago, Laura’s husband did all the cooking. After getting laid off from her job, however, Laura took over the daily task of getting dinner on the table for her family of five. A self-described organizing freak, Laura quickly realized that the benefits of planning a weekly menu far outweighed cooking by the seat of her pants!
Since the launch of our Cooking with the Moms podcast, we have talked about doing a show on menu planning. Ninety nine shows later (talk about being disorganized!), we have an interview with the Organizing Junkie herself, and you won’t want to miss it. In case you don’t have a chance to tune in, here are a few highlights from the show:
Laura’s top reason’s for menu planning:
> I never have to come up with a last minute meal idea off the top of my head.
> For the most part, our meals are healthier and well balanced, and it helps me avoid last minute unhealthy desperation meals.
> I always have the ingredients in the house for whatever I’m making because I make up my menu plan before going grocery shopping.
> I save money by not buying groceries I don’t end up using and by planning my weekly menu around what is on sale that particular week.
Laura’s strategy for menu planning:
> I sit down on Sunday night with my menu planning pad & pencil, a pile of cookbooks, the grocery store flyer and my laptop (so I can access the recipe favorites I have saved on my computer).
> I consider my recipe selection criteria — prep time of 30 minutes or less, simple, short ingredient list, healthy and not high in fat.
> Thursday is the day I always schedule for leftovers, I often choose a slow cooker recipe, and one meal per week is meatless.
> Once my menu is created I then make up my grocery list from the chosen recipes. I, without fail, go grocery shopping every Monday morning. This is essential for my plan to work.
Laura’s Menu Plan Monday blog feature:
Every Monday, Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday where she posts her weekly menu along with recipe links. Amazingly, the 300-plus other bloggers across the blogosphere who participate in Menu Plan Monday also post their menus. It’s a recipe swap like you’ve never seen!
A few weeks ago, Laura included our Teriyaki Salmon in Foil recipe in her Menu Plan Monday lineup. Her family loved the dish, so we decided to share it here on our blog.
Teriyaki Salmon in Foil
Makes 4 Servings
- 1/4 cup lite teriyaki sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger *
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups snow pea pods (about 4 ounces), trimmed
- 1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch long very thin “matchstick” strips (about 1 cup)
- Four 5-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut four 14-inch square pieces of aluminum foil and set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and cornstarch until well blended.
3. Lay the snow peas and carrots in the center of each piece of foil. Lay the salmon on top of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the teriyaki mixture evenly over each piece of salmon. Seal each packet by bringing up the sides and folding the top edge over twice. Seal the edges in the same way.
4. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake until the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 18 minutes. Open the packets (be careful of the steam!), place the salmon on individual plates, top with the vegetables and sauce, and serve. Top with toasted sesame seeds as desired (this dish goes great with rice).
*For convenience, use bottled minced ginger.
Nutrition Info per Serving: 240 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated, 1.6g omega-3), 450mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 33g protein, 110% vitamin A, 25% vitamin C
We can’t thank Laura enough for taking the time to speak with us this week. To say she’s an inspiration would be an understatement. And though we’d be the first to admit we’re lacking the organizing gene, we do have a couple of free tools on our main site designed to turn your meal planning dreams into a reality: Supermarket Shopping List and 7-Day Meal Planner.