A New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution

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Happy 2018! Are you as happy as I am to start a new year?

I’ve often ended the year or began the year by writing about what I’ve accomplished or what I want to do in the next year. After all, this food blog began as a goal to make 365 new recipes during 2010. And I tried to change things up by making 50 bread recipes in 2014. I did use up a lot of my pantry ingredients as I set out to do in 2017, but I end the year with a full pantry again after ambitiously buying baking ingredients in December.

I always have goals for my cooking. I don’t always write about them. Cook healthier, learn something new. You know, the usual.

So I guess I’m doing the usual. But here are my two goals for 2018:

  1. Try to #cook90 in January. (Meal plan here.) (Read about my feelings about the month here.)
  2. Make a fresh and fun breakfast each weekend.

First I’d like to talk about breakfast. I miss making fancy breakfast and brunch. I make a lot of waffles and pancakes – so much so that both my husband and I have our pancake recipe memorized – but I miss making cinnamon rolls, scones, and other delicious baked goods. Or fried potatoes and bacon. Back when we were young and fancy-free and had all the time in the world, I baked on weekend mornings so much. I need to make that happen again.

I was so excited about breakfast that I couldn’t wait until 2018. I made cinnamon rolls that I adapted from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice on December 31st instead. I’ll cut out the lemon extract and substitute vanilla next time, but overall I’m pretty pleased. I’m going to have to do a cinnamon roll recipe comparison later this year.

cinnamon rolls adapted from the bread baker's apprentice

Now, let’s talk about #cook90. This is making a homecooked meal for almost every meal during the month of January. It gives you 3 cheat meals (for going out to eat, or real slumps in motivation). I bake a lot, but this household also eats a lot of chicken strips, mini tacos, and frozen pizzas for meals. More now than we used to, for sure. So I need this challenge. I want to be a person who cooks more meals than she eats out or buys prepackaged at the grocery store.

I like that this isn’t a meal plan or prescription. I also like that this allows me to have my morning bowl of oatmeal (from a canister, not a packet) and it counts. And it’s going to force me to plan my meals ahead like I used to years ago. If I make anything amazing, I’ll be sure to write about the recipe here. I’ll also chronicle more of this on my Facebook page if you’d like to see my plans.

Leftovers are ok (and encouraged for lunch in particular), so my plan for this week is heavy on those. The beef in particular should yield 6+ servings. I may get sick of leftover soup and beef, but it’s below freezing here in New Jersey for the next week and so these recipes sound very appealing right now.

Here’s my meal plan. Today was a success. I’ll update it as I go along.

Desserts Made:

Best Cocoa Brownies
Hershey’s Best Brownies
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Week 1

Monday 1/1:

Breakfast: leftover cinnamon rolls
Lunch: test meatballs
Dinner: meatballs with barbecue sauce and sweet potato fries

Tuesday 1/2:

Breakfast: oatmeal, with honey and cinnamon
Lunch: leftover meatballs and sweet potato fries
Dinner: chicken enchilada soup

Wednesday 1/3:

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: chicken enchilada soup
Dinner: braised beef with tomatoes, with salad and French bread

Thursday 1/4:

Breakfast: baked oatmeal (it was a snow day!)
Lunch: leftover chicken enchilada soup
Dinner: leftover braised beef with tomatoes, tossed with egg noodles; and a salad and French bread

Friday 1/5

Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal
Lunch: leftover beef with noodles
Dinner: leftover beef with noodles (finally finishing it)

Saturday 1/6

Breakfast: coffee cinnamon scones
Lunch: leftover baked oatmeal (there was a lot leftover, and I wasn’t very hungry)
Dinner: broiled salmon and quinoa with red bell pepper, garlic, lemon, and parsley

Sunday 1/7

Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal
Lunch: lunch out!
Dinner: Moroccan lentils with garlic bread


Week 2

Monday 1/8

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover Moroccan lentils (overall this recipe was a little too sweet for me; I’d leave out or cut back the sugar next time)
Dinner: pepper pork chops, with rice and peas

Tuesday 1/9

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover pork chops
Dinner: pasta with parsley pesto

Wednesday 1/10

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover pesto pasta
Dinner: Instant Pot Honey Chicken with rice and roasted broccoli (this was nice because it made plenty of sauce)

Thursday 1/11

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover salmon with quinoa
Dinner: leftover Instant Pot (affiliate link) Honey Chicken with rice and roasted broccoli

Friday 1/12

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover Instant Pot (affiliate link) Honey Chicken (with a little rice, and a lot of broccoli)
Dinner: shrimp with herby beans

Saturday 1/13

Breakfast: baked donuts
Lunch: leftover shrimp with herby beans
Dinner: roasted sweet potatoes with chickpeas

Sunday 1/14

Breakfast: cinnamon rolls (a frozen half batch from two weeks ago)
Lunch: leftover roasted sweet potatoes with chickpeas
Dinner: slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup with homemade French Bread


Week 3

Monday 1/15

Breakfast: leftover cinnamon rolls, and coffee scones from the freezer (it’s a federal holiday, so time for special breakfast!)
Lunch: leftover chicken and wild rice soup
Dinner: more leftover chicken and wild rice soup (it was a hectic day – thank goodness for leftovers!)

Tuesday 1/16

Lunch: last of the chicken and wild rice soup
Dinner: Shakshuka with fish (Alex took both leftovers)

Wednesday 1/17

Lunch: light salad with garlic bread (I had a heavy mid-morning snack)
Dinner: lentils with roasted beets and escarole

Thursday 1/18

Lunch: leftover lentils with beets
Dinner: Cumin-Scented potatoes with tomato, with rice and crispy roasted chickpeas (for the potatoes, I used crushed tomatoes instead of fresh, and halved the salt and cayenne pepper)

Friday 1/19

Lunch: leftovers lentils with beets
Dinner: sizzling bulgogi tacos (a huge hit in our house! even with Amelia)

Saturday 1/20

Breakfast: multigrain pancakes, with chocolate chips on top
Lunch: leftover cumin-scented potatoes over rice and lentils
Dinner: leftover bulgogi tacos

Sunday 1/21

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover cumin-scented potatoes with lentils
Dinner: street chicken and rice


Week 4

Monday 1/22

Lunch: leftover street chicken and rice
Dinner: quick chicken tikka masala (I doubled the recipe)

Tuesday 1/23

Lunch: leftover chicken tikka masala
Dinner: roasted pork with pears and potatoes

Wednesday 1/24

Lunch: leftover chicken tikka masala (and leftover pork for Alex)
Dinner: pasta with white beans and escarole

Thursday 1/25

Lunch: leftover pasta
Dinner: dining out

Friday 1/26

Lunch: leftover chicken tikka masala
Dinner: slow-baked salmon

Saturday 1/27

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: leftover pasta
Dinner: Greek feast!

Sunday 1/28

Breakfast: chocolate multigrain pancakes
Lunch: leftover chicken tikka masala
Dinner: slow cooker black bean soup


Week 5

Monday 1/29

Lunch: leftover pasta (finally finishing it)
Dinner:  leftover black bean soup

Tuesday 1/30

Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: black pepper chicken

Wednesday 1/31

Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: crispy slow cooker carnitas


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