Menu Plan Monday ~ July 14th

Hello to all! Today I wanted to answer a great question I received by email from a newbie menu planner. She asked if I’ve ever encountered a case of a wife who can’t cook and whether or not I have any helpful recipes/sites that I could recommend.

I absolutely love this question because I am that wife who can’t cook!! Seriously when I worked in the corporate world up to three years ago it was my hubbie that did all the cooking. When I came home to be a SAHM I really struggled with taking on the cooking duties. The one thing that saved my hiney was menu planning. Menu planning allowed me to assign recipes to each meal because without a recipe I’m doomed. To this day I rarely make anything from scratch without a recipe. I just don’t have that kind of confidence in myself. By spending some time with my Taste of Home magazines or their website I could select recipes that were simple and required few ingredients. I’ve had great success with the whole line of Taste of Home publications, they are without fail my go to books. In fact I’ve almost gotten rid of all of my other cookbooks as a result. The pictures in their magazines and on their website are something else and I like knowing what a recipe is suppose to look like 🙂 Unfortunately they have just recently changed their website and it’s not as user friendly as it once was which bothers me. I’ve emailed the company letting them know my concerns but so far I’ve not heard back from them.

The other thing I might suggest is signing up with a menu planning service for the first little while until you get the hang of it. Taste of Home actually has a free one you can sign up for here and each week they’ll send you an email with a menu and recipes for the week. Here is a sample one to check out.

I’ve also compiled a list of other menu planning resources which you may find helpful as well.

So my fellow menu planners, now it’s your turn. Can you help out a mom who can’t cook by telling us the one tip/recipe/resource that you can’t live without for basic simple cooking.

Okay so moving on now I want to tell you that if you are looking for a great pizza variation you must try the Chicken Pesto Pizza. It was sooooo good, really delicious and just a nice change of pace. I used my own pizza dough recipe in the bread machine and added feta cheese as well which was a really nice touch. Yum, yum. Gosh I wish there were more leftovers.

So this week we are having:

Monday: Fuss Free Ravioli and Cheese Bake – my daughter is going to start cooking one night a week

Tuesday: Barbecued Burgers served with caesar salad

Wednesday: 5 Minute Southwest Layered Salad

Thursday: Honey Mustard Chicken Pasta

Friday: Leftover Buffet

Saturday: Steak and Vegetable Kabobs served with Ranch Potato Salad

For all of you who asked me about my price book, I’ll post later this week about it.


Menu Plan Monday guidelines and banners here.

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday


74 Responses to Menu Plan Monday ~ July 14th

  1. 1
    annie says

    The pizza looks delicious & I’m headed to check out the pasta recipe!
    Happy mpm!

  2. 2
    [email protected] says

    YAY LAURA!! Another MPM. I look forward to this every week! Hope you are breaking your new chair in and it’s getting more comfy 🙂

  3. 4
    Laura says

    I’m still not so sure about the chair because the wheels aren’t moving so well on the carpet. I still have to get one of those chair pad things.

  4. 5
    Nellbe says

    Thanks for hosting and I must say that I think Rachael Ray has fantastic recipes for the newbie. Her website has heaps of recipes and they really are super easy to make. Watch her show if you aren’t sure as she cooks at least one meal on there.

    Also another tip? Look for recipes that are aimed at children (Rachael has those too) and they are a great start.

    Good luck!

  5. 6
    Angela says

    The pizza does look yummy. Might have to try that. We are having a pesto chicken dish this week as well.

    My best menu-planning tip is to make a list of what your family already eats. Work in new dishes you want to try, and do your best to have a healthful balance. Get a calendar and map ’em out! 😉

  6. 7
    Kamaile says

    The ranch potato salad looks really yummy! My husband is not a potato salad fan, but I bet he’d eat that one. 🙂

  7. 8
    Tanna says

    So your hubby did the cooking at one point. I am starting to think it would be really nice if I did the cooking too and since you had to go and post this stuff about learning to cook and all these yummy looking menu plans. Hmmmm.

    I just might have to jump on the bandwagon. My husband’s food is sooooo yummy though!

  8. 9
    Linda says

    My son using the new DS cooking guide. He has been enjoying the recipes. Yes, it is on that DS handheld game thing.

    I also use and my husband does most of the cooking and I do the planning.

  9. 10
    Laura says

    Kamaile, my hubbie is allergic to eggs so it was nice to find a potato salad recipe that didn’t include them.

  10. 11
    Victoria says

    DH used to do all of the cooking, I’m slowly trying to take over! I watch him and learn how he cooks a particular meal.. Then, when I cook it I try and put my own spin on it!

  11. 12
    Candi says

    Everything sounds great! That pizza looks so good!!

  12. 14
    Karen says

    Personally, I swear by all of Robin Miller’s cookbooks for easy no-brainer recipes.

  13. 16
    Karen says

    Personally, I swear by Robin Miller’s cookbooks for easy-to-make meals…

  14. 17
    JJ - Lady Di says

    Menu planning does help with knowing what you’re going to cook, and that you have what you need to cook. And I agree about the Taste of Home cookbooks, if not that, at least have another cookbook that is full of easy and trustworthy recipes (Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Better Homes and Gardens) that have have a good mix of easy and some harder ones so you know where to start. The internet is all well and good, but if someone doesn’t know how to cook, it’s not always the best way place to start since there’s way too many places to choose from and way too many variables in recipes.

  15. 18
    Laurie H. says

    I second the Taste of Home suggestion! 🙂 The magazine, the books, the website – all great! Highly recommened. 🙂

  16. 19
    Michelle says

    it all sounds so good and kudos on having your daughter cook one night a week 😉 you can do it..have a great week.

  17. 20
    Organizing Mommy says

    We make a pizza like that. It’s the Wolfgang Puck recipe. It is awesome. I had no idea that you’ve only been “home” for 3 years! How exciting for you. I have a post on “What is clutter?” with my menu plan that I think you will like. Thanks for the MPM.

  18. 21
    kiy says

    Great menu, as always. I’d love to make my own pizza dough but my bread machine died a horrible death in our last move. I’ve been too cheap to replace it! Maybe this fall when *bread* just calls out to be made. I love chicken pesto pizza and that one looks great!

    Have a fab week, Kiy

  19. 22
    Carrie T says

    Looks great! I have lots of pesto and will have leftover chicken next week so this might be a great recipe inspiration!

    I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to cook one night a week (well, I guess I can wait; 3 is a fun age!)

  20. 24
    kristi says

    I just adore Pesto. I’m so making your pesto pizza! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  21. 25
    Kristin says

    I know when I first started cooking for my husband and family I was scared too! The best thing you can remember is to go for it! If it sounds good and it works together, it is probably okay! and taste test while you are cooking! For good places to go for easy recipes, find a great website like Pioneer woman or similar. She demonstrates how to make things, step by step…it makes it so much easier!

  22. 26
    stace says

    great idea….im looking forward to doing more

  23. 27
    Rapunzel says

    I was not a very good cook for the first 10 years of my married life, made the same meals over & over again (my poor family!). When we moved to a bigger house with a better kitchen I got creative and taught myself to cook. You’re right on the money with Taste of Home, I learned so much from that magazine and the success I had creating those simple yet delicious recipes gave me the confidence I needed to explore other more challenging dishes.

  24. 28
    jennP says

    The honey mustard pasta looks very tempting! i may try it on my next menu plan.
    that pizza looks amazing! what an interestiong idea to add a bit of feta. it seems it makes it more “gourmet” 🙂

  25. 29
    Char says

    Laura – you would be proud of me – I completely emptied my pantry this week and reorganized it. Last week I did the laundry room, too. You are having an effect on me 😉

    My menu this week is very kid-friendly since my kids have got friends coming over almost every day.

  26. 30
    [email protected] Happy Home says

    Hi Laura!
    I’ve yet to do MPM – I do though plan my meals for the week during the school year (I’m a teacher) I’ve got a 3 year old and it’s helpful to be able to come home and have a plan. If I don’t I find that I can figure out what cook. It’s also beneficial that both DH and I can cook. I’m also teaching my son too.
    As for the new cooks out there- I suggest heading to your local library and borrowing some cookbooks – buying them later only if you can’t seem to “return” or part with the library’s copy b/c you LOVE all the recipes. Also- Williams Sonoma offers (not sure if in all areas of US) Free 1 hr. cooking demonstrations on Sunday mornings. They have a different theme each week, they give you tips & you can sample. New cooks should check around at stores to see if they offer these services! Good Luck!
    PS-Thanks for the great comments on my blog!

  27. 31
    Nonnie says

    Another great site for cooking is Recipezaar. You can go in and “sift” through recipes and narrow down your choices by ingredients, meal type, equipment (crockpot, etc) and even by “simple” recipe (3 ingredients or less) and beginner. I’d perish without my Recipezaar account, and while they’re currently having some site pains, it is still far and away (to my opinion) the best recipe site on the ‘net.

    On another note, I really want to thank you for your site. Not only for MPMs, but also for your organizing tips. I happen to be an extreme type-a, but I can usually find ideas and tips here that help make my life easier.

  28. 32
    Amy says

    Mmm, that pizza looks fantastic – I bet I could get DH on board for that one! Thanks for doing this site – it’s very inspiring!

  29. 33
    SheilaG says

    I hate getting hungry at 8:00 in the morning looking at everyone’s pictures! Oh, well, you’ve inspired me!

    My problem this week is I have to eat all the vegetables I bought in a healthy frenzy before I leave for vacation next week. Really dumb to do a big shop right before you leave.

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  30. 34
    Angie says

    Second time participating in Menu Plan Monday. Last week we pretty much stuck to the plan and quickly came up with something last night for this week. Not sure what we’ll have with each meal but that we’ll figure out each day.

  31. 35
    tami lewis says

    i sure do enjoy MPM! thanks!

  32. 36
    Jeri says

    For easy recipes with not-weird ingredients, I like the Kraft Food and Family magazine. It’s free, has lots of tips and pictures and even comes with a great food calendar.

    I think my go-to resource for recipes will always be You can not only search for a recipe but specify what ingredients you do and do not want to use. It’s a great place to find exactly what you’re looking for.

  33. 37
    Debbie says

    This is week 2 of MPM and I am very happy to be a part. I’ve been reading your site forever and it was past time to join in. Thanks!

  34. 38
    Erica says

    Good menu this week. The pizza looks yummy! Thanks for the menu planning tips. Have a great week 🙂

  35. 40
    Debby says

    i don’t know if anyone said this already, but i love planning my meals with the kraft food & family magazines. they’re totally free and come out about 4-5 times a year. just go to their web site and request them. they have great recipes that we’ve really loved and few ingredients. i’m always going to them when i plan meals or on those nights when i need something to make quick because they’re so simple! the only thing is that they can be a pain to sort through so i suggest clipping the recipes you like and putting them into some kind of notebook (or if you have more time than i do copy them onto recipe cards…but i like the notebook for quick reference and saving space!!) =)

  36. 41
    The Roost says

    Girl do you know how blessed we are to have you OUT of the corporate world and helping us with menu’s and organizational stuff? We are:)

  37. 42
    Creative Triplet Mom says

    I am a terrible cook too. I think that’s why I fret about menu planning. As you can tell from my blog sometimes I do it and sometimes I don’t. Shame on me! Anyway, when I’m in a pinch I tend to use and just search for the ingredients I have on hand. It always comes to the rescue. It also is hard when you have picky eaters. Everyone in my family eats something different and doesn’t like something. Like mushrooms. I like it yet no one else does. Tomatoes only my one daughter eats it. My husband has to have a meat at every meal when I can do with just veggies.

  38. 43
    Shelley says

    Menu looks good. I try to plan most of my menu on the grill in the summer so I force myself to spend some time outdoors with my family. I like to try all sorts of new recipes then.

  39. 44
    Marcia Wilwerding says

    I am new to this site and to Menus Monday in general. I’ve seen it on several other sites, but have never contributed myself. What a wonderful resource for my readers!

    Thanks, Laura!!!!

  40. 45
    kat says

    We’d eat out way to much if it wasn’t for planning our menus! I find the Rachael Ray books like Rachael Ray’s 365 are also a good way to learn. She often has a side with the main right in the recipe & a lot of time she’ll give ways to change the recipe for a different flavor which I think helps you learn how to do the same thing yourself. Though I have learned her recipes take more than 30 minutes, for me anyway.

  41. 46
    Elizabeth says

    My kids LOVED the Fuss Free Ravioli and Cheese bake! This week, I’m making something I love but have never tried making myself-Goulash! Wish me luck 🙂

  42. 47
    Tini says

    I found your site a while back but haven’t taken to menu planning till last week. So this is week two of planning and my first week putting it up here, we’ll see how it goes! Thanks for the good organized inspiration 🙂

  43. 48
    Country Mommie says

    I say for newbie cookers, JUST TRY IT! Find a recipe you think sounds good and go for it! Just have a frozen pizza in reserve! 🙂 Laugh and learn!!! That’s how I learn anyway! You’ll get the hang of it!

  44. 49
    Nancy says

    I wasn’t able to subscribe to the Taste of Home menu-planner from the link you provided (it said page not found), but I was able to go to their web site and find it. Thanks!

  45. 50
    sandra says

    Great menu Laura and I hope you like the Honey Mustard Pasta 🙂

    As for new cooks, the only thing I can say is *practice, practice, practice*. Cooking is one of those subjects that a lot of people are scared to jump into, they think it’s going to be hard but once you start creating your own meals and realize just how easy it is, you will love it 🙂

  46. 51
    Diane says

    Hi Laura I am so glad you answered an email because although it is not mine I am the wife that cant cook .
    I am trying to learn though slowly.
    There is a great show called fixing dinners and they list many weekly menu plans. I plan on printing out 10 weeks I printed out that I like and the recipes take so they say under 20 minutes to prepare.
    I also signed up for the one you recommended and I will read all the tips sometime today.
    thanks for all the help

  47. 52
    Katrine says

    You inspired me to have pizza this week!

  48. 53
    Jessi says

    I’m fairly new to the whole MPM process, but I hope to make it a regular “chore”…we do too much eating out and it really affects our budget.

    The Honey Mustard Chicken Pasta looks yummy as does the Pesto Chicken Pizza…I will be printing them both and adding them to my recipe binder.

  49. 54
    Nichole says

    Oh, that pizza sounds really yummy!

  50. 55
    Dawn says

    Just found your site and I love MPM. Very inspiring. My only complaint is that I now have to hire someone to keep up with all these great new recipes I’m finding.

  51. 56
    Grumpy72 says

    Gosh as a mom who hasn’t cooked in 7 yrs, I’m slowly getting back in the swing of things. My best tip is drag hubby in the kitchen with you if you can it makes learning to cook a much more pleasant experience.
    FWIW my dh did all the cooking for the 7 yrs we were doing the baby thing! LOL! – Now that the youngest is 2 he’s re-edu-macating me on the whole cooking deal! LOL! Its nice to have a handy man in the kitchen.

    Also the 2nd tip…. If it doesn’t turn out right the first time, never fear – try and try again… I still can’t make Lasagna to save my poor life! LOL! But I’m still trying!

  52. 57
    Laura says

    Oh I love the show Fixing Dinners. I believe if we are talking about the same one it is a Canadian Show with host Sandi Richard. I have a few of her cookbooks and they are fantastic.

  53. 58
    Jessica Snell says

    I’ve not participated for awhile (not since giving birth to our twin girls!) but I’ve enjoyed checking out the menus week by week. It’s fun to actually post one myself again! 🙂

  54. 59
    andi says

    i love your site. I have been away from it for awhile, but I am back.

  55. 60
    Lisa says

    I think I’m going to just use YOUR menu plan for next week! All look good

  56. 61
    Lotsamom says

    Just started posting my menu plans – Have always been frugal now trying to live more naturally, and dairy free. Please come by and see my first post – comments, ideas and suggestions are always welcome – thanks everyone!

  57. 62
    The Roost says

    Go pick up your blog award at my web-site for all your hard work you do on a weekly bases! 🙂


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