Menu Plan Monday- March 3

Mpm2_3
I have a question for everyone this week. I realized today that I cook very strangely (much more strangely than I thought) compared to most people. I guess over the years I’ve grown accustomed to the healthier and very homemade fare that we eat, and quite honestly am not even sure exactly what is "normal" to other people. I’ve sort of lost touch with what I used to eat!

So here’s my issue… when inviting others over to our home, I am unsure of what to make for them. I try to serve meals that I feel like are fairly normal, but sometimes even those go over like a tons of bricks. I suppose that what I deem to be only very mildly different is still wayyyy different than what many people eat.

Here’s the question: How can I stick to cooking healthy food for my family (and for others), but make food that will serve and bless them? What types of meals do you serve to those whom you know do not eat the same types of food as your family does (if you are someone who eats more like we do)? I would really appreciate your suggestions and ideas!

And now, onto this week’s menu!

Monday: Quesadillas (from last week, because we ended up having too many leftovers), using sprouted corn tortillas, pinto beans, peppers, cheese (goat cheese for me), and sour cream and homemade guacamole for everyone but me.

Tuesday: Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Chips

Wednesday: At a church event

Thursday: Cream of Broccoli Soup (I’ll use homemade chicken stock and goat’s milk in it) and grilled cheese sandwiches (for me, homemade sourdough spelt bread with goat’s cheese).

Friday: Baked salmon, Buternut Squash with 12 cloves of garlic  and steamed cauliflower.

Saturday: Sandwiches (my hubby’s request)- no-nitrate meat from my favorite little meat shop, lettuce, sprouts, homemade mayo, mustard, and tomato/cucumber for Ryan and Abbie (not me), with French Lentil Salad (recipe below).

Sunday: Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa

Can you tell I’m recycling a lot of recipes from the last few weeks? I’m running out of ideas of what to eat on my diet! Oh well, I’m half done! :)

French Lentil Salad

2 cups green/brown lentils, soaked overnight
3 cups water
1 each carrot, small red onion, celery stalk, and small red pepper, cut finely (julienned is nice)
1/2 cup parsley chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces feta cheese

1) Bring lentils and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (may take longer) or until lentils are just tender (but not mushy). Drain, put in bowl and let cool slightly.

2) Toss lentils with carrot, onion, celery, pepper, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar. Chill and serve sprinkled with feta cheese.

Makes about 4 cups of salad.

More menu plans at Organizing Junkie!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Some suggestions for feeding “normal” people as well as people with allergies: serve build your own salad, tacos, burritos, California rolls, etc. Present a variety of simple and healthy ingredients, that way people can pick and choose what fits their diet and/or their taste buds.

  2. Mmmm, Samara, I love hummus and tabbouli! I also enjoy making them myself, and have been really missing out on them. I can’t have lemon (for hummus) or tomato/cucumber (for tabbouli). Very sad. But when I do make tabbouli, I really prefer it with quinoa as well- it’s the only way I make it.

  3. I make a batch of hummus & tabbouli almost every week, with homemade pita bread. The hummus can be made with any kind of beans, not just chickpeas, and the tabbouli is great with any quick-cooking grain; bulghur wheat is usual but I far prefer quinoa or couscous. Same for pitas- you can make them with different flours. I also vary the tabbouli veggies to whatever’s available- any combo of tomatoes, peppers, cukes, parsley, mint, basil, garlic, scallions or whatever… it’s my staple meal, but different enough every time that no one ever tires of it. I serve it up with some kind of cheese & sliced fruit or veggies on the side, and it travels well too for lunches as one can use pitas instead of utensils.

  4. Gosh, thanks for all the great suggestions! Some very, very good ideas and reminders for me. I told my husband tonight that I’m going to make a short list of very guest-friendly dishes that I enjoy making to refer to when I’m feeling stuck or unsure of what to do.

    I think one aspect that makes it harder is that although a meat based meal (or poultry) would be more “normal”, it’s also much more expensive. Because I buy my meat free range and unmedicated, it significantly more expensive. The whole chicken that I might pay $7-10 for at a regular store (or even less on sale) costs me $13-17, for example.

    That said, I got a lot of great ideas from everyone, so thanks so much for responding!

  5. Hi Stephanie,

    We love to make pizza when we have people over. Lately we have been into making the thin crust with spelt but we also use whole wheat and make it in the bread maker. The recipe makes two pizza’s so we make one more “normal” with meat and/or pinapple but then we often make the other one with spinach, artichokes, and lots of other vegies. It usually goes over well.

  6. I don’t eat meat, so I usually make 3 bean chilli in the croc pot, or use vegetarian ground beef (you really can’t tell the difference!) But our favorite way to entertain is to have a pot luck…that everyone can find something they like! and people are always asking “what can I bring?” so I finally started taking them up on it!

    I am always very touched when my brother-in-law plans a special vegetarian meal for us when we come over, though, so I think that on some level you should make something your guests will enjoy. You can always just ask them ahead of time what they are in the mood for.

  7. Honestly, your menus are very different than mine. You (unfortunately for me!) eat much healthier! And I would have no idea how to cook some of the things on your menu. But I love to look and see – we are often stuck in a dinner rut. You make me think outside the box!

    Is there any easy way you can just ask your guests? I always ask if people are allergic to anything, or have dishes they just hate. This has worked really well for me in the past.

    :)

    -Lauren

  8. That’s a hard question Stephanie. I have struggled with that one as well. Here are a few things that I would consider feeding guests.

    Most soups seem to go over well.

    Roasted chicken, green salad, rice, and a veggie

    Brown rice pasta with a nice sauce

    Grilled meat and a big salad, and baked potatoes

    Stews

    I think that it is hard because we do eat soooo differently than many other people, that it’s even hard to put myself in their shoes and know what would appeal! We are blessed with many friends who like healthy, “different” food, so it’s not such a hassle!

  9. Goodness, your meals always sound so good to me — I can’t imagine them not going over well! But my two favorite recipes for entertaining are: 1) A pasta dish I literally throw together with WW pasta, a can of tomatoes, a can of black olives, a can of artichokes, a handful of capers, and some sauteed onion. (A little high in sodium, but I don’t think it’s terrible). Add a salad and you’re done! 2) In the summer, we’ll often grill steaks and serve them with baked potatoes and some kind of salad, or else a slice of tomato pie in lieu of those. I agree with the suggestions of roasted chicken or chili. I can’t imagine someone not liking those healthy and comforting dishes!

  10. personally I wouldn’t mind coming to eat at your house- but I prefer not to eat a “normal” diet most of the time- if my husband came over with me you’d probably have to fix something more “normal”…alas. I agree with the chicken and veggies- normal and healthy!

  11. Your meal plan sounds yummy! A meal I serve to guests is Chicken Parm made with boca fake chicken patties, served over whole grain angel hair. All my meat eater friends love it!

  12. The lentil salad sounds yummy! I tried the chicken and quinoa recipe a couple of weeks ago…loved it! I will definitely be making it again. I have trouble with making meals for guests (which are mainly my family), too, and I’m not even to the stage of healthy eating you are! I really like all of the tips people have shared. I would also be interested in your bean burger recipe.

  13. Mary Ann says:

    Stephanie,
    I’ve been reading here since about Christmas and am finally delurking to leave a comment! I really love your blog. I love your emphasis in natural living and have learned so much!

    I don’t know what you have previously served your guests, but I find that something simple and well-known, such as a roasted chicken along with oven-roasted veggies of choice and a nice salad usually go over well. Other things that give each person a chance to “personalize” their meal such as taco salad, tacos, or baked potato bar are also good.

    We often have guests whom I have never met before(my husband is the extrovert-LOL!!!)and it can be really tricky to plan a meal that I hope they will like. One time I was very careful to plan a meal that was gluten-free because of their food allergies so I made a fruit slush for dessert that has always been a hit with everyone else. I felt so bad when I realized that they didn’t like bananas and left them half-eaten.

    Remember too, that the hospitality and fellowship is the most important part!

    Your lentil salad looks great. I will definitely be trying that-it looks different(good different) than the one I have been making.

  14. I understand where you’re coming from. We’re middle of the road — some people think our food is weird, and others think it is unhealthy. But my husband’s happy and that’s what counts. :)

    Soup usually saves the day. You can omit or include all kinds of things, and as long as guests recognize most of the ingredients and it has a familiar flavor (this is the time for beans, corn, peppers, etc, not a new ingredient from the health food store) it usually goes over well.

    Also, if putting out some kind of ‘healthier’ cracker to go with the soup, you might arrange them on a plate along with some regular old saltines. Guests go for the saltines because they recognize them… And it might just help them enjoy the meal. People seem to appreciate when you step out of your zone in order to accommodate them — it is a good testimony and act of love. Obviously, showing people love is of more eternal value than my personal food preferences!

    I make a soup every Saturday night, store it in the fridge overnight, then turn on the crockpot on Sunday morning. Thus, I don’t have to cook on Sunday afternoon and we have a big crockpot of soup ready for whatever size group we decide to have over. I love it! :)

  15. When we first went gluten free (and healthier), I was constantly trying to have “normal” stuff for other people that came to visit. I quickly found out that people wanted to try out the things that we had because they were curious about it. I now just serve our normal food. I get lots of compliments on it, so it seems to be working.

    While I do try to keep in mind personal tastes of the guests, I don’t buy too many out of the ordinary items. (Drinks would be something that I would buy out of the ordinary.) Obviously, if they have a special dietary concern, I do my best to learn about it and make the food something that they can enjoy.

    I think a lot of people are intrigued by different diets and healthier ways of eating, but they have the notion in their heads that it won’t taste as good or will be too difficult. This is the perfect opportunity to show them that it does taste good and, once you get use to it, it’s not that difficult.

    By the way, your menu looks great. :)

  16. I have that same problem sometimes. There are a few meals that I have made though that tend to be a hit with everyone who comes over:

    Veggie Pot Pie
    homemade crock pot Chili
    Vegetable Stir Fry
    Pasta – if you have a good homemade sauce, people don’t seem to mind the whole wheat pasta much
    There are tons of things to do for breakfast
    Let me know if you want any of these recipes, let me know. They are all healthy, homemade and it’s even all vegan

  17. Enjoying your site Stephanie! I also cook the way you do and when I have guests over. I try to make something “neutral”. Like a nice green salad with a couple of homemade dressings, maybe lasagna or spaghetti with homemade sauce or I grill out some meat with a salad or bake potato; and always homemade rolls or bread. For dessert I will fix a cake from scratch, usually with no frosting, maybe a light dusting of organic powder sugar. I don’t tell people what is in my food, unless they ask. They always seem to enjoy it. It may be more sugar or meat than we are used to but for one meal, I feel it is worth it. Hope maybe this helps.
    Lord Bless!
    SuzeQ

  18. I actually grew up in a healthy house. I would advise you to just let your hair down when you have people over – throw caution to the wind and eat things you normally wouldn’t. It won’t hurt your health to eat less healthy food once in a great while. You especially don’t want to create your home as an intimidating environment for other people if you are trying to minister to them.

    More practically, try grilled chicken (with a “normal” marinade), mashed potatoes and a vegetable. I think it’s really just the little things that people haven’t tried that are scary – goat cheese, spelt, sprouted wheat, lentils, etc. Also, I made the chicken/veggie pot pie with sweet potato crust and my husband and daughter loved it – better than my old recipe. This one is pretty normal. Throw in a decent dessert and you’re golden.

    this may be especially important as your kids get older. I remember just hating that my friends never wanted to spend the night at my house. We had a lunch swap at school and no one wanted to trade lunches with me. Just things like that make growing up healthy a little harder for your kids. They won’t appreciate it until they are older – especially when they taste their first pizza from Papa Johns.

    Having said all of that, invite me over for dinner and I won’t turn my nose up at the health factor :) You know, if it wouldn’t take me 15 hours to drive to your house.

  19. What about a roasted chicken and some veggies with a salad and bread? That’s pretty healthy and something most people would like. Thanks for your blog…I really enjoy it.

  20. wow what great meals that you have planned..i’ll be back to visit..have a lovely week.