Zoodle Bolognese + Spaghetti Sloppy Joes
and How I Mastered Dinner

Written by chanie on March 16th, 2017

This might seem hard to believe considering that I run a food blog, give cooking class, develop recipes for brands and raise my brood of five, but the truth is, I’m pretty unorganized. Especially when it comes to dinner. I don’t have a monthly eating plan, let alone a weekly one. I pretty much look into the fridge and freezer in the morning and decide what to make. If there aren’t really options, I go to the store. And that happens more often than I’d like to admit. Until recently.

I might not be the type of person to plan my menus in advance, but I finally realized that just because I don’t plan exactly what I’m making, it doesn’t mean that I can’t create a framework to help me narrow down the choices. A lot of mom’s get overwhelmed by the thought of making dinner, but that’s because there are a gazillion things you can make, so it’s just so hard to choose. Should you make meat or chicken? What type of meat or chicken? What about side dishes? And picky kids? I get it, believe me I do. And I FINALLY figured it out.

For starters, I created a basic guideline for the week, and it goes something like this:

Leftover Sunday: leftovers! If there are none, BBQ or eat out.
Meatless Monday: vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Beef (Taco) Tuesday: easy beef tacos or any beef recipe.
Chicken Wednesday: any recipe using boneless or bone-in chicken.
Dairy Thursday: the kids favorite day of the week!
Friday: Shabbat Dinner (always changing but I repeat a few basic staples)
Sandwich Saturday: kids choice of sandwiches or wraps

This general guideline helped me narrow down the choices so that instead of there being a gazillion ideas to choose from, I stick to a specific structure for each day. Of course nothing is set in stone, so if we decide to take the kids out to eat on Sunday, we’ll have leftovers on Monday, or if I make a vegetarian taco skillet (we love Trader Joes soy beef crumbles) on Monday, I’ll switch up chicken Wednesdays with taco Tuesdays. The point is to balance out the days so you have enough variety without being overwhelmed with options.

To narrow things down further, here are some options for each day to give you some ideas. Obviously this is based on what my kids like (they are not big on vegetables!), but I always try to serve a protein, carb and veggie. Many times that veggie is Israeli salad, because that’s their favorite, but I always put some veggies on the table, even if it’s just my hubby and I who end up eating it.

As a food blogger and recipe developer, I’m constantly working on new recipes which I feed to my family. You can follow my stories on Instagram for lots of exciting ideas.

MEATLESS MONDAYS:

Make your own sushi, sushi rice bowls, sushi burritos or sushi salad. Baked salmon, seared tuna or ceviche on the side.
fish tacos
fried fish sandwiches
tuna pasta salad or salmon pasta salad and fruit smoothies
vegan taco skillet
falafel with all the fixings
soup and salad
tofu stir fry with pasta
lentil sloppy joes
chickpea curry
vegetarian chili with cornbread

BEEF (TACO) TUESDAYS:

beef tacos (with Ortega seasoning packet or my homemade mix)
beef fajitas
beef noodle stir fry
pepper steak in plum sauce
Mongolian beef (recipe coming soon)
meaty soup with fresh pita or baguettes (Bubby’s cabbage soup, smoked turkey split pea, fire roasted tomato rice stoup, crockpot mushroom barley soup)
london broil and mashed potatoes
meatballs and rice
spaghetti sloppy joes and zoodle bolognese for adults
kofta kebabs
pulled beef tacos or sandwiches

CHICKEN WEDNESDAYS:

pineapple chicken and rice
spicy garlic chicken and rice vermicelli
breaded honey chicken with Israeli couscous
grilled chicken shawarma bar
Pad Thai
chicken fajitas
pargiot bowls
shnitzel salad or sandwiches
bundt pan rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes
Asian chicken soup with ramen

DAIRY THURSDAYS: (usually served with fruit smoothies and/or Caesar salad)

lasagna
baked ziti
breakfast for dinner (pancakes, french toast or waffles with yogurt, granola and fruit)
ravioli in pink sauce
cheesy minestrone
stuffed shells
cheesy pull apart buns
pita pizza

FRIDAY NIGHT STAPLES (SHABBAT DINNER):
Shabbat dinner changes weekly, depending on guests etc., but here are some weekly staples

baked gefilte fish with breadcrumbs or fried patties
Israeli salad
hummus and tahini
chicken soup (or spinach matza ball minestrone, or Asian chicken soup)
bundt pan rotisserie chicken (our favorite basic, but we often change this up)
deli roll

SANDWICH SATURDAYS:

tuna sandwiches
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
turkey sandwiches
hummus sandwiches
mayo and tomato sandwiches
cream cheese sandwiches
grilled cheese sandwiches
quesadillas

I hope this basic guideline helps you manage your dinner schedule, and I plan to fill in the links that are missing as I post them! Feel free to write up your own favorite options for each day of the week, to make things easier for you. If you have any kid-friendly recipes that are a staple in your family, please share in the comments so we can add it our rotation too!

This bolognese recipe is a staple in my house, because I can serve the kids their kid-friendly version with spaghetti sloppy joes, and serve my husband the lightened up version with zoodles. I eat a bit of both! ;) The zoodle version makes the perfect Chol Hamoed dinner for Pesach, so make sure to add it to your menu!

#eatingfortheinsta!

Related Recipes:

stuffed cabbage bolognese
veal marsala bolognese with turnip noodles
spaghetti squash bolognese 
cheesy zoodle marinara
zoodle shakshuka

Post a Comment

 

6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Avital says:

    I 👏 Love 👏 This 👏 Post 👏
    I needed these dinner ideas in my life. Thank you.

  2. Marguerite says:

    This was amazingly helpful, really really thank you. And the fact that you managed to post it on a Friday, if I wasn’t impressed before…. (and believe me I WAS!) well, now , you are on an even higher level of awesomeness! Be well and Good Shabbos!

  3. stanp says:

    Don’t have the specialty peeler but can get the “zoodles” at my local Whole Foods.

    Thanks for the idea. Was using “zoodles” as a side dish vegetables.

Leave a Comment