meal planning, goal #7 or the week the heavens decided to shine down on us.

so as in every week with this life of mine meal planning is huge part.
i make a list at some point before i do the weekend shop and make sure that those ingredients are in there somewhere as to not exude stress on myself for completing said meals to the hungry hippos that nip at my feet nightly.
in theory this is a great idea.
i am ALWAYS stressed out at dinner time. always.

the main reason for this...living with a picky dinner and the fact that i would like to eat something more complex than mac and cheese. the fact there is two to sometimes three different dinners happening nightly doesn't help. or when the question, upon inspecting the ingredients laid out, "what i am I having for dinner?" is posed...nails on a chalkboard for me. this is why i am stressed out.
wouldn't you be?
this has to stop - now!

this also ties in with goal #7 - make 2 new-to-us dinners each week.

as a lover of cooking, baking and all things extraordinary to do with food, this goal is one of my favorites. but also my scariest. i sat down, scanned the internet and books and found two i wanted to try. they seemed simple enough and maybe just maybe 3 out of four would agree. and maybe, just maybe, four out of four. wouldn't that be nice.
now i understand this is not going to happen overnight and rome was not built in a day but we can't carry on like this. we just can't. i can't.

so the task was to find something that could be tweeked for grownups and maybe i just have to make one extra elements for kids but the fact is WE WOULD ALL HAVE THE SAME DINNER.
down on paper this sure looked good...would it work in real life though?

over the christmas break we made some major headway in this department that i was confident we might have a breakthrough pretty soon. that we were headed down a new road. that there was light at the end of the tunnel that sometimes resembles something straight out of the hunger games. although no vegetable or fruit was consumed {other than motts purple apple sauce and pumpkin muffins}; spaghetti with tomato sauce was given the thumbs up, ham dinner was enjoyed with yummy sounds and prime rib {recipe soon!} was devoured - of course after being convinced & finally believing us that this was just a hamburger in it's original state.
this was caused for celebration and we actually did high five and yell yahoo. this was AMAZING!

but it doesn't stop there.
this is were is gets exciting.

this week i went for it and added two new dinners. one for everyone and...IT WAS A HIT!!!!! chicken parmesan! from scratch! not chicken strips out of a box!!!! yummy sounds were heard and the plate was cleared - linguini with tomato sauce and all. and it was asked for again!!!
i wanted to start crying. i was loaded down with "this is the best ever!" and "wow this is so yummy." i did seriously take a moment and almost shed a tear - my heart was bursting.

the second dinner was enjoyed by three out of four critics and thankfully i had some chicken leftover from the other night for the fourth judge. it was jamie oliver's one-tray bake - chicken + bread + some veg. a strange host of ingredients which went together perfectly and again reminded us as to why he has such a dynasty. this was gobbled up and voted to be kept into rotation. two hits in one week. and one with the picky girl that i live with.

to me this spells success.
walls are coming down people. doors are being opened.
i feel like singing loud for all to hear a whole new world from Aladdin. that's how monumental this is.
this deserved a pat on the back. and i gave myself one.

you can find the recipe for chicken parmesan here. i coated the chicken with the olive oil option and used seasoned italian bread crumbs - i couldn't find whole wheat and was lazy & didn't want to make any.
jamie oliver's chicken can be found here. my one tip with this is that i would have cooked the chicken for at least twenty minutes more at this temp OR raised the temp to 400 for the allotted time. we like our chicken cooked just a little bit more.

these, plus more delicious recipes we enjoy, can be found here and here.

thanks for stopping by! xo

photo one - me. photo #2 -jamie oliver magazine. photo #3 - skinny taste.

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