Keepin’ It Real Menu Planning with Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches and Coleslaw

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

You may have noticed that I haven’t been publishing posts here on La Pomme as regularly as I have in the past. I have to be honest that I have been a wee bit overwhelmed lately. 

Overwhelmed by having three kids in three different schools. Overwhelmed by their activity schedules. Overwhelmed by my own writing projects outside of La Pomme. Overwhelmed with feeding my chickens everyday. Overwhelmed by having a teenager in high school. Overwhelmed by my lack of sleep. Overwhelmed by my lawn which has at least 20 mole holes in it. Overwhelmed by the deer who have eaten every speck of green leaf off of every hydrangea and rose bush in my yard. Can’t I have anything pretty??

(Thank goodness for the Rooster. The hubs. My main squeeze. He does anything and everything to help me stay sane. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that he does every speck of laundry that comes in this house and has done it for years. Truly, laundry done by the hubs is the way to a woman’s heart.)

One of my dearest friends recently lamented to me, “I struggle every night to get dinner on the table and there you are cooking up gourmet meals every day for your family and sharing it on your blog.” Well, I say to my sweet friend and anyone else who might be thinking this, “Oh, for Pete’s sake….”

But after she said that I realized that maybe I am doing a disservice to my dear friends. While I hope to inspire people to go into their kitchens and cook for their families, my intention has never been to overwhelm people with the feeling that they’re not doing it well enough or often enough. I’ll leave that to Martha.

And trust me, I am not cooking up gourmet meals every night. Considering that I only share one or two recipes in the span of two weeks, there are 40 other meals that go unaccounted for in this blog during that time frame. And I recently recognized that I spend an enormous amount of time cooking those non-gourmet meals.

So, I want to share with you what I’ve come up with to help me out and maybe my few thoughts will help you out or at least inspire you to find an easier plan for how you are going to feed yourself or your family without it being an overwhelming task.

I now have a different theme for each day. When I can’t think of what to make, I simply think of that day’s theme to narrow down the choices.

 

THEMES OF THE WEEK

Meat{less} Monday: Could be a vegetarian meal or a roast chicken.

Taco, Thai or Tuscan Tuesday: Doesn’t have to be those specific types of food but more that I’m going to choose something Mexican, Asian or Italian on that night.

In the Water Wednesday: A meal with seafood.

Throw It On the Table Thursday: Basically leftover night. I go through the fridge and find any and all leftovers from the past week and random things that need to get eaten and throw it on the table like a big buffet.

Family Friday Pizza Night: Just what it says. My night off. Pizza delivery.

Spontaneous Saturday: Maybe I found something at the Farmers Market that morning that I want to cook up. Or I want to try a new recipe. Or we want to go out.

Soup on Sunday: Just what it says. Easy.

 

While I may not be cooking gourmet meals every night, I do meal plan. I find this to be an absolute time-saver and stress reducer. I try to have my plan written out by Sunday night and take into consideration the activities going on each night during that specific week.

Some weeks I’m organized enough to write out my meal plan in my planner.

Some weeks the meal plan gets written down on the back of my grocery list while I’m at the grocery store and then tacked up on the bulletin board in the kitchen.

Some weeks the meal plan shows up on multiple stickies that I then stick on the fridge.

I don’t stress about the method just that it gets done somehow, someway. So start meal planning folks. I can’t recommend it enough.

 

Chicken Scratch Meal Plan

 

I also thought that from time to time, I would publish my Keepin’ It Real Meal Plan – the plan that actually happened. Meaning, I wouldn’t publish what I came up with for the week because sometimes I write down things like “Braised Short Ribs with Polenta” only to get to that night and find out I do not have the time or energy to make that meal. (And for the record I have been trying to make that recipe for about three years now and it hasn’t happened.) So I will publish what actually did get made and here is mine from last week:

Monday – Cream of Broccoli Soup, cut up peaches & apples, whole grain bread and butter

Tuesday – Soft turkey/beef tacos with beans and corn. Toppings: lettuce, salsa, grated cheese, some leftover sauteed peppers and onions

WednesdayGarlic Shrimp with Spaghetti, greens with vinaigrette

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Take-out Pizza

Saturday – BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw – recipe below

SundayChicken Chili with Red and Yellow Peppers, cut up apples

I would love it if you would share in the comments any tips you have for getting dinner on the table every night or simply what you are making for dinner tonight. Every little bit of inspiration we can share helps us all out…and I could definitely use some help. I’m plumb out of ideas. {sigh…}

As always, thank you for spending some of your precious time here on La Pomme. xo c

 Coleslaw

 

Coleslaw for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Print
Course: salad
Author:
Serves: 6-8
I love this coleslaw recipe. I have doubled the recipe and brought it to parties and it disappears. I have also made the dressing and then tossed it over a pre-shredded coleslaw mix from the produce department for weeknights. I've left out the carrots and green onions. I've used only green cabbage. My friends, it's all about trying to get something healthy and tasty on the table without killing ourselves and the thing I like about cabbage is that it can just hang out in your fridge for forever and then when the evening comes that you're looking to make coleslaw...there it is, patiently waiting.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ c plain yogurt
  • ⅓ c mayonnaise
  • 1½ tsp light sesame oil
  • ⅛ c apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt (or whatever salt you have on hand)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ head green cabbage, shredded
  • ½ head red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, grated
  • 1 bundle green onions, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together your yogurt, mayonnaise, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside.
  2. If you can whip together the dressing at least 30 minutes and up to a day before you use it the flavors will have melded together and softened.
  3. In a large bowl, toss in your green and red cabbage, your carrots and your green onions.
  4. Drizzle with enough dressing to your liking.
  5. Serve on top or alongside of BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. See below for link to BBQ Pulled Pork recipe.
  6. Enjoy!!

 

Click HERE for the slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork recipe I’ve been using. I keep it simple and don’t use the onions. Just salt and pepper the pork. Put it in the crock-pot with the water and store-bought BBQ sauce and cook it on high for 4-5 hours.

 

AM Northwest
Just in case you need a little extra prodding to make those decadent Double Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies I posted about last time, here’s a live version from down in the AM Northwest studios.

 

Comments

  1. I LOVE your gettin’~real post. I think everyone is in the same boat on this topic. I really like your themed nights idea. My goal is to use a menu plan…. When I do that, life is SOOOO much easier. But when I fail, I love to make Breakfast for dinner. :-)

  2. Joanne Galant says:

    We are having fried rice for dinner. That is a great dumping ground for all the leftovers. Just fry it up with some veggies and soy sauce and dinner is served. Of course it helps that my kids like chinese food.

    • Fried rice…great idea! I haven’t made that in a long time. That will have to go on the meal plan (Tuesday of course :) ) for next week. Thanks for sharing Joanne!

  3. Great post Carrie, as usual! So, I’ve been trying to get myself to meal plan forever but, as silly as it may sound, I just don’t know how to start. Suggestions?
    Also, not to stress you out more, but are you going to do a calendar again this year? I missed out on last year’s and have regretted it ever since.

    • Well, let’s see Jennifer, if I was going to help someone start meal planning I would suggest that you work it into your week where it best fits the rhythm. What I mean is, “When do you normally do your grocery shopping? When is your garbage pick-up? When would you consistently have 15 minutes to look at your calendar and scrawl down 4 or 5 dinner ideas and add the missing ingredients to your grocery list?”

      My garbage pick-up is on Monday.
      I usually do my grocery shopping on Mondays.
      So, on Sunday evening, the night before, I go through my fridge to see what I need to use up in the next couple of days and what needs to get tossed.
      Then, I look at my calendar of activities for the week to see which evenings I will even have time to cook and how much time. Then based on what I found in the fridge, what meals I can think of based on my “Themes of the Week” and how much time I have each evening, I write down about 4-5 dinner ideas.

      Except for maybe one night a week (usually Sunday when I have more time to cook) I try to keep my meals easy and simple.

      I just wrote up my meal plan for this week and here’s how it goes (and no, it does not follow my themes exactly because I have stuff in my fridge that needs to get used up.)

      Mon – Ravioli Primavera w/frozen peas and store-bought ravioli, romaine salad
      Tues – Chicken Marinara served over pasta and steamed broccoli (had marinara sauce and broccoli in fridge that needed to get used up.)
      Wed – Thai Chicken Rice Soup, bread, apples
      Thurs – daughter’s volleyball game so take-out
      Fri – pizza
      Saturday – Creamy tomato soup with grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. My son has a late football game so dinner needs to be quick.
      Sunday – leftovers – late afternoon activities, no time to cook

      I hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any other questions. You just need to get into a rhythm of doing it and then, the momentum will take over.

      As for the calendar, I’m not doing another one for this holiday season; however….I am currently working on a few projects based on La Pomme that will be out next year that I hope you and all of my thoughtful readers will love. So stay tuned!!

  4. I am one of many friends of Karna in Seattle that read your blog. Love it, can totally relate to it. I am a former food professional with 2 kids that used to love to cook elaborate meals and have made noodles with broccoli, butter and parmesean cheese more than I care to admit because the kids eat it without complaint ! My quick and dirty enchiladas are great because the kids think I am a goddess when I fix them and I like them too. A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store shredded up, rolled up in Trader Joes toothsome corn tortillas, covered in canned Hatch green enchilada sauce, topped with cheese- delish ! If I am inspired to make something better for us grownups I will caramelize an onion, thrown in some thinly sliced greens (kale or chard), some cumin and mix it in with some of the chicken. Hope that helps. Most evenings I feel like a contestant on Chopped with a basket full of weird ingredients that I have to make dinner for my family with in 30 minutes !

  5. Oh, Katie, any friend of Karna’s is a friend of mine. Your thoughts came at just the right time. I have a plan for dinner tonight but I feel like it’s going to require more energy than I have to make it. I may have to rethink it. Love your quick and dirty enchiladas. May have to add that to the meal plan next week. And isn’t it always the challenge? To make something quick that the kids will eat and the adults will enjoy. The battle continues…. :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Ellen Saunders says:

    Hi Carrie,
    I am a transplanted Portlander living in Boston.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and lovely recipes – reading them takes me right back to the Northwest! I often turn to you for inspiration and always love the results. I particularly enjoyed this post, because when there are so many meals in a week to prepare, it is important to see there can be balance between the gourmet and the easy! Very reassuring to know you are human like the rest of us!
    I am a big fan of meal planning, I have a whiteboard on my fridge and jot down meal ideas as I put the groceries away or as I look through the freezer – sometimes I get inspired by what is in the store, but if I haven’t written down I don’t remember as the week gets under way!
    I also talk to friends for ideas – yesterday morning I was thinking it was going to be take-out for dinner, but a chat with a friend reminded me of this easy favorite: Saute some garlic in olive oil, add some chopped ham, and then some cream (or almond milk in our case because of a lactose intolerant daughter) and salt and pepper. simmer to thicken a few minutes. Throw in some frozen peas, and a package of cooked Trader Joe’s gnocchi. Simmer a couple minutes and add shredded parmesan (if dairy’s ok). We had prewashed arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil with it… Easy and warm on a cold New England night!
    Thanks for taking the time to share your world and ideas with us. Mothering and feeding a family can often feel like an invisible job, and you bring it to life!
    All the best, Ellen

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Ellen. They truly mean a lot especially on the days that I think “Why am I doing this? I must be nuts. No one wants to hear these ramblings.”

      I love the idea of the white board on the fridge. I told my family the other week that I was going to hang a small one next to the fridge so they could write down “dinner suggestions” that they might have for me to consider. I am definitely going to try your quick meal. I love peas and the Rooster loves gnocchi and he’s sometimes hard to cook for so I think it would be a winner all around.
      Thank you so much for sharing!!

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