A Weeks Worth of Meals

I am cooking up a storm in my kitchen.  The house is perfumed with stewed tomatoes, sauteed onions, garlic, smoked paprika, fresh thyme and cilantro.  I love it when the cilantro is fresh and bright, it is like sunshine you can hold in your hands.  It is so fresh and the scent so bright, that I can actually smell its aroma through the produce bag it is wrapped up in.  The scent is coming through loud and clear and is making me one giddy girl.  Cilantro actually increases my happiness for some reason.  I really love how its aroma lingers on your hands after handling it.  I wonder if it has some chemical composition that once smelled causes the body’s release of happy hormones.  Whatever or however it does what it does, I love it whole heartedly.  For me it is human catnip.  I guess that is enough about cilantro for now, but I really could go on and on.

Today I had a hankering for the rice I made last week and decided to make it again as well as a  second dinner at the same time. Both of the recipes I chose to make are one pot meals and share some of the same ingredients and flavors.  This way they can be eaten on their own one night or served together for a leftover meal later on in the week.  I love doing a two for one cooking day. It saves a lot of time and helps to ward off those last minute decisions to purchase take out, especially when tired after a long day at work.  Both of us have 12 hour days scheduled after today so meal planning for me just makes sense.  When there is a busy day or two ahead, the kind of busy when no one really wants to cook after coming home, it is nice to have some pre-made homemade goodness that just needs to be removed from the fridge and reheated quickly.  Plus meal planning saves money, instead of buying dinner out or looking for a place for lunch while at work, both these dishes are great to pack and heat up the next couples of days.  I picked things that we would not tire of either,  I never grow tired of my version of Puerto Rican rice based on my friend’s family recipe or taco soup a long standing favorite of ours.  Check out the links below.  Both meals are easy and satisfying.

Basmati Rice with Chicken and Olives
One of our family’s favorite soup recipes: Taco Soup

I omitted the chicken from the rice recipe today (be sure to check out my cooks note at the bottom of the link for the rice recipe that explains the changes I made).  For a leftover dinner I plan on serving a dollop of the rice atop my taco soup which already has beef in it.  Later on in the week I plan on breaking out my crock pot and trying a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I just recently watched an episode of the show for the first time which showed how to make spicy pop pork and fell in love with her recipe!  I am going to combine this with my rice as well for a dinner of rice and pulled pork soft tacos.  It would also be a great substitute for the pork in my shredded pork tortilla stacks.  It is going to be a great week of hearty home cooked meals with a spicy Latin/Mexican vibe.  I am wondering how my readers tackle a busy week? Do you meal plan?  I tell you the truth I rarely meal plan but it is so worth it.  I am going to try planning our meals with greater frequency.  If you are a veteran meal planner or even a newbie like me to the process how do you go about it? What recipes do you like to use?  Share any tips with me large or small, I would so love to hear from you!

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