If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! Recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls on thepajamachef.com @thepajamachef
Breakfast, Pastries, Recipes

Blueberry Sweet Rolls

If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE!

If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! Recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls on thepajamachef.com @thepajamachef

Long time no blog. Lots has been going on in my corner of the real world… including a new job (still at my library, just new responsibilities) and the start of marathon training (Rocket City Marathon in December). I know I could blog in the evening but I’ve honestly been more interested in reading a nice book. Currently, The Outsider by Stephen King. Eeeeek! I’m actually typing away at this post during my lunch break. But I’m back, and I bring BLUEBERRY SWEET ROLLS! These are absolutely phenomenal and I hope you can make them before summer is up. If you like cinnamon rolls, and you like blueberries, you will l-o-v-e these blueberry sweet rolls. #promise

If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! Recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls on thepajamachef.com @thepajamachef

Homemade cinnamon rolls are my love language. If someone tells me they’re making cinnamon rolls for brunch, and I show up expecting homemade cinnamon rolls and am greeted with their sad canned counterpart… I have to admit I’m a little disappointed. Not that people need to make good food (read: homemade cinnamon rolls) to be my friend exactly, but just that soft, fluffy sweet rolls are absolutely fabulous… and the canned kind are just a little blah. I know people are scared of baking with yeast, but it’s totally doable–and this recipe is a great place to start! For these blueberry sweet rolls, I use the same dough as my Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls… and that dough is SO forgiving. I’ve screwed it up more times than I can count. I’ve mismeasured the yeast, added too much flour, forgotten the buttermilk… I could go on. Basically, it takes a lot to mess up that dough, and even if you do, chances are good that your sweet rolls will still bake up soft and tender. And still be easy to roll out. #winning And for the record, if you invite me over, ask ME to make the cinnamon rolls. I’ll be happy to oblige!

If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! Recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls on thepajamachef.com @thepajamachefI could eat regular cinnamon rolls year round, but in the summer, I want to add fruit to everything! I mean, I eat copious amounts of fruit every day… so it’s only natural. Peaches! Watermelon! Berries of all types! This time, I loaded up on the blueberries because why not? The sweet blueberry filling I made is good enough to eat with a spoon, but please save some for your sweet rolls. You’ll probably have extra so you can swirl it in your oatmeal, top your ice cream with it, or just enjoy it as is. I added some cinnamon to the blueberry filling because it seemed only natural, but there’s also some cardamom in there to make it extra special. The best part about the blueberry filling is that some of it pools on the bottom of the baking dish as the rolls rise and bake. Yum!! After the rolls are baked up and before you dive in, take a minute to make a super easy cream cheese frosting. I added a bit of lemon juice and lemon zest, and that citrus addition was perfection! I prefer cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls, blueberry or otherwise, but if you want something a little lighter, you could just make a glaze with powdered sugar, cream/milk, and lemon juice. There are recipes online but you could improvise with a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of cream/milk, and a tablespoon of lemon juice and go from there. I highly recommend the cream cheese frosting but if you want something simpler, that glaze would also be fantastic.

If you love cinnamon rolls, and you love blueberries, you NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! Recipe for Blueberry Sweet Rolls on thepajamachef.com @thepajamachef

Oh, and while this post is 100% NOT sponsored, if you’re in Nashville… be sure to check out Mr. Blueberry for the delivery service of your blueberry dreams. I used their luscious Michigan blueberries to make these sweet rolls (and to devour!). The season is almost ending (I think the last delivery is next weekend, August 24-25, 2018). Just FYI, friends! 🙂 Have a great Wednesday!!

one year ago: Mexican Lasagna
two years ago: Awesome Kale Salad
three years ago: Cheesy Veggie Pasta
four years ago: Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
five years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
six years ago: Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara
seven years ago (wow!): Maple Pecan Pear Scones

Blueberry Sweet Rolls

  • Servings: 12-15 rolls
  • Print

adapted from my Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

for dough

  • 3/4 cup water – microwaved for about 15-20 seconds, should feel warm like bathwater, about 105-110 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk [1/4 cup milk + a couple drops of lemon juice/vinegar stirred and left to sit for 5 minutes works great]
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

for filling

  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

for frosting

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let rest for 5-10 minutes until yeast starts to bubble. When frothy, add salt, buttermilk, egg, oil, and remaining sugar. Whisk to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of the flour. Then using a dough hook, add flour in 1/2 cup increments, mixing on low speed until dough begins pulling away from the side of the bowl. When a total of 4 1/2 cups flour have been added, increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. If you need to add an additional 1/2 cup flour, do so during this kneading process. I usually add the extra flour if the dough seems too sticky.

Grease a bowl with cooking spray [you can use the same bowl if you are coordinated enough to grease while the dough is in there/hold it to the side], then allow dough to rise in a warm location, covered with a dish towel, until doubled in size. This should take 1-2 hours.

When dough is almost ready, prepare filling.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together blueberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch, then pour into blueberry mixture. Cook for another minute or two until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool. Mixture will thicken a little more as it cools.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.

When dough is ready, flour your clean counter top/work surface. Punch down the dough and roll into a large rectangle, about 20×30 inches. Spread butter over dough, leaving a 1 inch margin on all edges.

Next, top with the blueberry filling mixture. You probably won’t use all of it, and if your filling is very runny, you will want to use a slotted spoon to remove excess liquid. I overfilled the rolls so I would recommend starting with 1/3 cup of the filling and adding more from there. Extra filling is great on ice cream or oatmeal, or by the spoonful!

Roll into a tight log, rolling from the long side closest to you. When you are almost to the other end, bring the far long side up and over so the seam is on top. Gently press the exposed edge to the top of the dough to seal.

Divide the log into three sections, then divide each section into four or five rolls depending on how big you want them. Cut with a sharp knife and gently transfer cinnamon rolls to prepared pan. If you lose the filling along the way, just gather it up and sprinkle over cinnamon rolls. Cover rolls with a dish towel and let rise in a warm location for another 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to bake the next morning [this is what I always do]. For the refrigerator rise, remove from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15-17 minutes for 15 rolls or about 18-22 for 12 rolls. Bake until tops begin to brown, but check in the middle to make sure the dough isn’t raw. If they need additional baking time, cover with foil to prevent excess browning.

While rolls bake, prepare frosting. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or a whisk, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, beating until combined. Add powdered sugar gradually, mixing until smooth. In my stand mixer this usually takes about 2-3 minutes. When I make the rolls the night before, I leave the butter and cream cheese on the counter overnight so they are soft in the morning.

When rolls come out of the oven, immediately spread half of the frosting on top. Add additional frosting on individual rolls for serving, or when they have cooled down considerably. Serve warm–they reheat well too!

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Reviews

Book Review: All the Colors That I See 

All the Colors That I See is a great board book to help young children learn their colors–and that God made all of them for us to enjoy, too!

All the Colors That I See is a great board book to help young children learn their colors--and that God made all of them for us to enjoy, too! - a book review on thepajamachef.com

description of the book from the publisher:

Green and yellow, red and blue?—what favorite color did God give you?

In this delightful board book, preschoolers can learn their colors and learn where they came from—God! They’ll be encouraged to touch, tap, or pat colors on each page, and a sneaky chameleon will follow them along the way.

In the Little Words Matter™ board books, it only takes a few words to tell a big story. Crafted especially for toddlers, these books make biblical truths easily understandable and enjoyable for little ones and their parents too!

As usual, my five point review:

  • I love getting new books to read with my toddler, and this sweet board book is no exception. This book is a great way to teach your young child about all the colors God has created for us to enjoy and appreciate.
  • Most educational books for toddlers about colors or objects are pretty boring, in my opinion. I thought All the Colors That I See is so creative! The premise: teaching children about colors is pretty basic. However, the authors take this a step further by encouraging children to engage with the colors–circle them, tickle them, touch them with their nose. Silly things like that. Finally, there’s a color changing chameleon to find with each color as well. All this adds up to a fun and educational experience for your child–and you! I can see my son engaging with this book differently as he grows, so that’s definitely a bonus.
  • One thing I expected with this book, perhaps by the title, was that it would explore issues of race. It doesn’t go there at all, so just be aware of that. I think it could be used to bridge that topic with older toddlers or preschoolers in a pinch, but I know there are better books about that as well.
  • The faith content in this book is not forced or overbearing, and is very age appropriate. For instance, God made the color red and He also made red apples. On some pages the text is more explicit about God than others, but you can use a similar sort of prompt to share about God’s creation with your child whether you are reading this board book or on a walk outdoors or at the grocery store.
  • Overall, I highly recommend this book. I think we will be reading it for many years to come! My son’s favorite color changes every day and this book is a great way to explore that, and to remind him that God made colors for us to enjoy.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to B&H/Lifeway for the chance to read this great book!

Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 
Reviews

Book Review: God Made the World

Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 

Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 

description of the book from the publisher:

Who made the sun, the stars, the moon, and the animals? God did! And who made me? God did! God made the entire world! Author and artist Sarah Collins brings a fresh approach to her illustrations using geometric designs to create bright, beautiful, and exiting pictures that preschoolers will want to look at over and over again.

God Made the World board book tells the story of creation in simple, easy to remember rhymes with art that is engaging and fun for young children. And it is sure to become a classic introductory creation storybook that will be used by countless families and teachers.

As usual, my five point review:

  • What a great board book! It is absolutely beautiful to look at it and feels good too. I know that’s a little weird to say, but we read a LOT to our toddler and the more high quality board books (in terms of construction) just feel good in your hands. Thick pages that stand up to drool and being thrown, bent, and otherwise abused (parents… you know this is true!!) are important. We do teach good book behaviors, but it’s a process. 🙂
  • God Made the World covers the story of creation as told in Genesis 1. The author shares creation’s story through a series of fun rhymes that are enjoyable to read and enjoyable for a child to hear. They aren’t sing songy (which can be annoying) but are fresh and new.
  • Speaking of the Christian message of this book… it’s straight from the Bible, and that’s important to me. I want my son to be exposed to Christianity through a variety of sources–family, daycare, church, music, books, and more. I want the Bible to be repeated to my son over and over and over again, and Biblically based storybooks are great for that!
  • The illustrations are awesome. Bold and bright colors as well as fun geometric shapes and patterns make this book pleasing to look at too. I think this also holds the interest of babies and toddlers better.
  • In general, I think this is a fabulous board book! It would be a great gift idea for a baby shower, first birthday party, or even to gift to your church nursery or daycare. It’s read on repeat at our house… the test of a good book!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Tyndale House for the chance to read this great book!

Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes, Reviews

Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum’s newest novel, The Lost Family. I received an advanced copy of the novel to join with other bloggers in a virtual supper club to celebrate the book’s June 5 release. I was not compensated in any other way, and was not asked to provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. 

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Click here for more information about #TheLostFamilySupperClub, and to find what the other bloggers brought to this party!

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Happy Sunday! First let’s start with the book… and then the food.

A description of the book from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.

Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.

This book was absolutely captivating from start to finish. Even though it’s being released at the beginning of summer (well, almost), don’t think this is a light, beach read. Jenna Blum writes with such passion and depth that you will be drawn to the pages. It’s hard to put down!

I will warn you though, this story is bittersweet from start to finish. Every character’s flaws are readily apparent, if not to themselves, to those around them. Such is the human experience. Parts were tough to read, especially as you understand the various ways that Peter, June, and Elsbeth seek to deal with their individual pain and the shadow of Peter’s war experience on the whole family.

See, Peter lost his wife and twin daughters in the Holocaust, and has spent every moment of his life dealing with his grief and loss. Work is his method of coping, and Masha’s (named after his late wife) is the essence of their pre-war dreams. Sadly though, Masha’s does not survive either, and that (to me) seems to be a catalyst for change in the new family’s lives. And yet… there’s beauty in their pain, and redemption in their stories. I won’t give away the ending (READ THE BOOK!) but it is satisfying. The mark of a good story, in my opinion!

When I first started reading this book, I immediately understood WHY this book was being celebrated with a virtual supper club. The food is almost like a character in this novel! Jenna wrote all of us bloggers a sweet note (and sent chocolate!) about her love of food and the inspiration of many of the dishes in this book… “I LOVE FOOD, and I had a joyous time creating and kitchen-testing all the recipes for Masha’s menus in The Lost Family (there are two, Spring 1966 and Fall 1965). I relied on my German friend Christiane’s mother’s recipes, my childhood memories of my Jewish grandmother’s dishes, the Mad Men Cookbook and similar cookbooks from the 1960s, and ingredients from my garden.” Food was celebrated throughout the novel–everything from fancy German and Jewish cuisine served at Masha’s, to family meals, to Midwestern fare that June and Elsbeth eat when visiting June’s mother, and much, much more.

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

The two dishes that compelled ME the most though were not from any of these experiences. Actually, they came from the end of the book–scrambled eggs that Peter makes for his family on the regular, and a mushroom soup that he works to perfect with his daughter by his side. I was *this close* to recreating his mushroom soup (and I still might!) but it has been roasty toasty in Nashville lately, so soup hasn’t been something I’ve been craving.

But these eggs… don’t they sound delicious? This whole breakfast spread, really. “Sometimes, on Saturday mornings, if the Claremont had had a good night the evening before, Peter didn’t go in right away. He got up with Elsbeth, and they made breakfast: fresh-squeezed orange juice–naturally, Peter would not hear of juice from a carton or can. Braed toasted in the oven so it would crisp all the way through, Elsbeth turning it carefully with tongs. And Peter’s special scrambled eggs: first he caramelized onions in a pan, cooking them very slowly in butter until they were translucent; then he added eggs whipped to a froth, heavy cream, ham, fresh dill, and the secret ingredient: a dollop of Neufchâtel cheese. Elsbeth was always allowed to drop this last onto the dish from a wooden spoon. She had her own jacket with her name stenciled on the lapel, a mini chef’s hat, rubber clogs, and a special stool to stand on while she helped Peter stir and mince and measure. The Fabulous Rashkins, the called themselves, and when the food was ready to be served, they presented it to June at the table with a bow, Peter sweeping his hand to the right and Elsbeth to the left. “Ta da! The Fabulous Rashkins! Lo and behold!” (page 277)”

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

I am just in love with that scene. There’s so much happiness and joy between father and daughter. With the knowledge of what comes before and after (it’s actually a memory), it’s very poignant in the life of Peter, June, and Elsbeth. There’s performance and ritual and relationships… and caring for others through a purposeful, planned, and delicious meal. Though my eggs aren’t just like Peter’s in ingredients, they are in spirit: a way to care for my family through good food. These are the frittata cups that my son loves most for weekday breakfasts at school. And why wouldn’t he? These light and fluffy egg muffins are full of three types of cheese. The ricotta contributes to the lightness of the frittata cups, the Parmesan gives them a salty bite, and the cheddar on top gets all brown and crispy. Yum!

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

What I also love about the family breakfast scene is how Elsbeth helps her father in the kitchen. You can tell that this is a usual occurrence, not just an occasional thing. That is what I hope to accomplish with my son as he grows up, and he actually helps me make these muffins. He’s getting good with the whisk and loves to top them with cheese (and eat some too, haha… he is only two after all). I hope you enjoy these Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups, and The Lost Family. Let me know if you read it… I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

one year ago: Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip
two years ago: Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce 
three years ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac and Cheese
four years ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup
five years ago: Blueberry Burgers
six years ago: Parmesan Garlic Rolls
seven years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Cheesy Ricotta Frittata Cups

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 12 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded (I’ve used Gruyere, mozzarella, and cheddar but fontina is suggested in the original)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with silicone liners (paper liners probably would stick, but I haven’t tried them).

Combine the eggs, ricotta, milk, Parmesan, and a generous amount of black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine until the eggs are beaten. Transfer to prepared muffin tins, filling each well 1/2 to 3/4 full. Top with shredded cheese and chives.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the frittata cups comes out clean. Tops should be puffy and edges should be golden brown, just pulling away from the sides. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove individual frittata cups to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you do not use silicone liners, a butter knife can be used to loosen the frittata cups from the pan.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Frittata cups can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Cheesy ricotta frittata cups in celebration of Jenna Blum's newest novel, The Lost Family.  #TheLostFamilySupperClub

Be sure to follow the author and sponsors!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary, advance reading copy of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum for my participation in the #TheLostFamilySupperClub party. All opinions are my own. I received no further compensation for this post.
How I Eat

How I Eat: Have a Starting Point and Eat Your Leftovers

Welcome to How I Eat: Meal Planning for Normal People. (If you missed it, click over to read more about this series on The Pajama Chef.) This series is meant to inspire readers (and myself!) with tips and tricks for meal planning and getting dinner on the table. Whether you’re cooking for one or a crowd, I firmly believe that good food shouldn’t be sacrificed just because life is busy.

How I Eat, Wendy: Have a Starting Point and Eat Your Leftovers

Today’s feature on How I Eat is Wendy, the blogger behind A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy lives in Michigan with her husband–and fun fact: she’s a retired cop! I love reading about her adventures in the kitchen and am excited to share her meal planning insights with all of you!

Tell us about yourself. Who are you cooking for? What else influences how you get meals on the table?

I am retired and suffering from empty nest syndrome. Having been used to cooking for a crowd, it is hard for me to cook for just 2 now. I have learned how to plan and repurpose leftovers into meals all week long.

What meals do you plan?

  • Dinner

In a typical week, approximately how many meals per week do you plan to eat at home or prepare to take with you (e.g., to work or school)? No shame… curious minds want to know! For this, I would include any food purchased at the grocery store (e.g., rotisserie chicken, bagged salad mix, etc.) but not takeout.

  • 16-18: I eat out 3-5 times per week, maybe a few days for lunch or so.

What is your basic meal planning method?

Being a food blogger really dictates my menus. I belong to a lot of different blogging events. I write each event on a calendar along with everything else that is going on in my life. Once a week I sit down and make a Weekly Menu. I look to see what events I have in the next few weeks and how I can incorporate those events into my meal planning. For example: this week I am having a dinner party for my family that lives up north. On the menu for that evening are items that will be blogged during five different events. Minestrone (Kitchen Matrix Cooking Project), Borscht Salad (Kitchen Matrix Cooking Project), Chicken Alfredo Lasagna (Comfort Food), Black Forest Bundt (Bundt Bakers). I will serve a Sauvignon Blanc with this meal to write about for my Wine Pairing Weekend group.
Any leftover soup will be used for lunch during the week along with bread that will be written about in the Bread Bakers group. In the off chance that there are any other leftovers they will also become lunch….or breakfast, if there is cake left. You can do that when you are retired and not trying to set a good example for the kids!!
How I Eat, Wendy: Have a Starting Point and Eat Your Leftovers
The above is just one night’s meal but, of course, we don’t eat like that every night. The rest of the week might look like pot roast one evening that is turned into pot pie for another dinner and hot beef sandwiches for a lunch. Or perhaps a roasted chicken that is served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable one evening, turned into chicken and dumplings for another meal and then tossed with pasta for a third meal. When there are only two of you (and a toddler, occasionally) you can often get three meals from one original dish.

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

I kind of answered that question during my explanation of meal planning… but here are a few!

How I Eat, Wendy: Have a Starting Point and Eat Your Leftovers

How I Eat, Wendy: Have a Starting Point and Eat Your Leftovers

What are your “no-brainer” meals? Or what meals do you make when there’s “nothing” to eat?

I always have pasta in the house and we are carb addicts. Pasta is a great foil for practically anything you have on hand. Open the refrigerator grab out those last few mushrooms, that last handful of spinach and that quarter of an onion. Saute them up in olive oil and some seasonings, toss in your cooked pasta and dinner is on the table in less than half an hour.

Do you use any tools to help you create your meal plan and/or execute it?

I do use tools ie: my calendar, my vast collection of cookbooks, internet searches which usually lead me to allrecipes.com and searches of other food blogs. I also post my Weekly Menu each week on my blog.

What is your best advice for someone who is just starting to meal plan?

Have themes for each day of the week. Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Fish Friday, Soup Saturday, etc….having designated days gives you a starting point. Also try to incorporate those leftovers into the plan or else you will find yourself throwing away some unknown green fuzzy item when you open your fridge. That leftover rice from Tuesday and leftover pork from Wednesday makes a kick butt fried rice dinner on Thursday with the addition of some frozen mixed veggies.

Anything else you want to add?

I just want to thank Sarah for including me in this fun little project. I love the food blogging community.

How I Eat: Meal Planning for Normal People - a new series on thepajamachef.com inspiring YOU in the weekly routine of meal planning!

Thank you, Wendy! I love your advice to just have a starting point. Whether you do themed days like Wendy suggests or just plan to cook on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, a starting point can help you accomplish your goals!

Connect with Wendy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more inspiration.