October 17, 2010

What's for dinner?

"What do you want for dinner?"
"I don't know. What do you want?"

For the first couple months of our marriage, we didn't have the whole eating dinner together thing figured out. In fact, since Nathan was working until 7:00 or even later, sometimes I was too hungry to wait until he got home to eat. Once Nathan got an 8:00-5:00 job and I grew tired of the daily "What's for dinner?" discussion, I decided to try menu planning.

The challenge in menu planning (and part of the reason we had such a difficult time figuring out what to eat for our meals together) is that we don't exactly like the same foods. When I was single, I would often have a meal of just brown rice and a salad. I didn't eat very much meat. Nathan, on the other hand, only likes five kinds of vegetables, and lettuce is not one of them. Rice is fine with sauce, but he doesn't like it dry. As a bachelor, he would cook meals like lasagna or chicken alfredo. I just can't eat anything that heavy on a regular basis. I wanted to cook healthy meals for us, but I found it nearly impossible to find any healthy recipes that Nathan would actually eat. I would look through cookbooks saying, "Nathan won't eat it, Nathan won't eat it..."

The compromise I came up with was to have meat with every almost every dinner but to try to cook it in a way that is flavorful without being super fattening. Also, I make sure to serve it with fruits and vegetables so we don't fill up on just meat.

I plan out what we're going to eat for dinner for a week at a time. I generally just plan the main course rather than the full meal and just make sure we have enough to eat with each meal. Each Friday, I plan what we'll eat for Saturday through Friday of the next week. Then I go grocery shopping.

Here's the menu for this week, the sixth week I've tried menu planning.

Sunday: Barbecue chicken. We ate this with white rice, green beans, and biscuits with pumpkin butter.

Monday: Lemon tilapia. The recipe I'm using is for lemon-chili tilipia, but I'm leaving out the chili powder since Nathan doesn't like anything spicy. (I can always add some to my serving.)

Tuesday: Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and blueberry muffins.

Wednesday: Leftovers. We're in a Financial Peace University class right now that meets at 6:15 every Wednesday, so dinner has to be quick.

Thursday: Pasta and meatballs. I'm using this recipe but leaving out the cayenne pepper.

Friday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

Is it super healthy? Not really, but Nathan is willing to try new things and take "baby steps" towards healthy eating and I try to eat more fruits and vegetables than I do meat.

Anyone have some healthy yet tasty recipes without vegetables?


  1. I highly recommend Healthy Meals for Less: Great-Tasting Simple Recipes for Under $1 a Serving by Jonni McCoy. You can buy it for $5 + $3.50 shipping on Half.com. I purchased this last Christmas when I made the transition from eating college cafeteria food (and paying a CHUNK of money for it) to cooking my own. She includes nutritional facts, and the recipes are easy to follow. She has ideas for cheap drink mixes (kool aid, tea, coffee, etc), appetizers (which can be used as main dishes), tuna, beef, chicken, & turkey recipes, snacks, and desserts. This is completely worth the investment if you're serious about eating healthier on a tight budget.

  2. @Kayla - Thanks for the tip. It looks like one of the local libraries has it, so I'll have to check it out sometime.


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