How I Eat, Dallas: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success
How I Eat

How I Eat: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success

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, Dallas: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success

Today’s feature on How I Eat is Dallas from Day By Day Masterpiece. Dallas and I found each other’s blogs online a long time ago, and we actually met up for coffee when she was in grad school at Purdue, in my hometown of West Lafayette, Indiana. She’s so sweet and I can’t wait for you guys to meet her!

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

I’m a 30-year-old newlywed who is building a business as an author, blogger, teacher and writing coach. No two days are the same and both my husband and I often get home in the evenings right around dinner time, so preparing ahead is key for us! My husband loves meat but I have gradually convinced him more and more of the deliciousness of hearty veggie meals. We generally eat meat only 1-2 times a week. Eating healthy, fresh food is so important to me, which is how I got into blogs like The Pajama Chef! My husband and I are also trying to save money to pay off student loans, so limiting our meals out has been a big help.

How I Eat, Dallas: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success

What meals do you plan?

  • Lunch
  • 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.

  • 21: I make all my own food and very rarely eat out.

What is your basic meal planning method?

I keep it simple– I use a whiteboard on our fridge.

How I Eat, Dallas: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

One of my favorite things to do is throw a bunch of veggies, beans, maybe a grain like barley or some pasta, broth and spices into the crock pot in the morning, and then when I get home that evening a nourishing soup is waiting. I call this “Kitchen Sink Soup” and it’s a great way to use up leftovers or veggies on their last legs! (Note from Sarah: here’s a recipe for something similar if you need some measurements. But soups like this are SO forgiving!)

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

I love simple meals like scrambled eggs, salads, soups and veggie-filled pastas.

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

  • Meal planning whiteboard or chalkboard
  • Home meal delivery service (e.g. Blue Apron or HelloFresh)
  • Freezer or batch cooking
  • Weekend meal prep

Is there anything you would like to elaborate on from the previous question?

We only use Blue Apron every 6 weeks or so, as a special treat. It’s a fun date night to cook together and try new recipes! I like to make big dishes– crock pot soups, chilis, casseroles– and freeze a large portion so we always have leftovers ready to go in the freezer for busy days.

How I Eat, Dallas: Simple, Veggie Based Meals for Dinnertime Success

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

Little by little can really add up! You don’t have to jump into the deep end right off the bat. Even taking 15 minutes at the beginning of the week to sketch out a brief plan for your meals– even just one meal a day– can really help you feel so much more prepared and less stressed, not to mention healthier!

Anything else you want to add?

Thank you for asking me to participate! 🙂

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, Dallas! I love your encouragement to start simple. Little changes can add up to big results! Freezing large portions of big meals (like chili) is so helpful. We do that too! I think I need to give Blue Apron (or something similar) a try for date night–you’re the second guest on this series who has mentioned that. Sounds so fun!! Please check out Dallas online–she’s a wonderful writer! And she also shares tasty treats from time to time. 🙂

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

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How I Eat

How I Eat: Relying on Staples to Make Cooking for Two Easy

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: Relying on Staples to Make Cooking for Two Easy

Today’s feature on How I Eat is Colleen from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice. Colleen is a Virginia food blogger who specializes in serving her recipes for feel-good southern comfort food with a side of sarcasm and a little bit of cat hair thrown in for good luck. Colleen and her adorable yet extremely neurotic Bengal cat Brenna are known for their not always successful, but often dare devilish food endeavors in the kitchen together. Things don’t always go as expected, but in the end there is always a delicious recipe that will make you wish the two of these girls were your neighbors, because not only do these two love to share their story, but they love feeding anyone who should just happen to stop by for a visit. To learn more about Colleen and Brenna, or just to find a delicious recipe for mouth watering cookies, flaky southern biscuits, sinfully delicious deviled eggs, or numerous other scrumptious treats you’ll just be dying to try, please stop by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice for a visit.

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

Most days I cook for two people, me and B.O.B. Bob, however, I do have people over often fairly regularly, which gives me the opportunity to cook larger meals.

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.

  • 14-15: I eat out almost everyday.

What is your basic meal planning method?

My best meal planning method doesn’t exactly involve having a plan other than always making sure certain staples are in our house to create last-minute meals.

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

Breakfast for dinner is a real favorite. Salads with anything and everything thrown on top are a huge hit too. Soup, however, is the ultimate weeknight meal…it can be made ahead and takes very little time to heat up. My Soup Saturday Swappers page has links to several soup recipes perfect for weeknight meals.

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

Grilled cheese, scrambled egg soft tacos with whatever fixings we have on hand, and grilled sausages are a real favorite with our neighbors when we get together as well because we can defrost them in a few minutes.

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

  • Freezer or batch cooking
  • Weekend meal prep

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

I find that I do most of my cooking on the weekend when I have more time.

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, Colleen! Your reminder that having a meal plan doesn’t always have to be super formal is so important. If you can keep staples of your favorite ingredients on hand, dinner can be so easy! Relying on staples is key. And I love having people over too–it’s fun cooking for a crowd on occasion. Thanks for your perspective on meal planning!!

Connect with Colleen for more inspiration via Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

How I Eat

How I Eat: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

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, Simon & Leslie: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

Today’s feature on How I Eat is my friend Leslie’s husband, Simon. Simon is from Scotland and while I’ve only known him for a few years, I’ve known Leslie since we were in third grade… 25 years ago. Gah. I feel old. Simon has quite a bit of culinary experience, as you’ll soon learn, so I hope you enjoy this post!

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

I (Simon) am a 30 year veteran Master Chef of Great Britain. I am currently setting up a patisserie business with my wife called Gosling’s. Dinners depending on my daily routine usually take 30 minutes from scratch though I do plan in advance our meals. We use cheaper cuts of meat which saves us alot of money, something I can take advantage of by shopping on a Sunday when supermarkets have the best deals. Because I have extensive knowledge, I am able to plan my menus as I shop.

What meals do you plan?

  • Dinner

How I Eat, Simon & Leslie: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

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.

  • 7 or less: I aim to make a meal at home once a day.

What is your basic meal planning method?

Buy your food first than plan the menu.

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

We love slow cooker items, maybe some ribs,  jambalaya, chili con carne. I make fresh tortillas, salsas, Indian food,  Thai fishcakes, sometimes meatballs… it really depends.

How I Eat, Simon & Leslie: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

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

Pancakes–whether savoury or sweet, or sometimes French toast. Pita filled with falafel.

How I Eat, Simon & Leslie: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

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

Always shop first. Buy one protein per day and work your menu around that protein, i.e. chicken wings (Monday),  short ribs (Tuesday), etc. You’ll find yourself better prepared and more money in your bank.

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, Simon, for sharing your culinary expertise with us! Great advice to work your menu around a protein. It’s also interesting to hear that “no-brainer” dinners cross cultures as well… breakfast for dinner is a hit for many Americans as well! Also… when can we come over for Thai fishcakes?!? 🙂

How I Eat, Simon & Leslie: British Master Chef Cooking for Two

Connect with Simon and Leslie’s new business, Gosling’s on Instagram. If you’re in Central Indiana, be sure to check them out! 🙂