The Martha Experiment

January 21, 2010 at 8:37 am Leave a comment


Last week I decided to try a meal-planning experiment with Martha Stewart.

I occasionally pickup her magazine ‘Everyday Food’ at the grocery store.  It is a small zine, temptingly placed by the cash register. I have always found that the recipes within are generally healthy, fresh and easy to prepare.  There is also sometimes a ‘Grocery Bag’ section.  This section has 5 recipes, a grocery list and list of prep activities for Sunday to make sure you are ready throughout the week to throw together some healthy, fresh meals.  I recommend you check it out!

Blog-Fave This Week:  Simple Mom – I like to think of this mom as the holistic spiritual version of Martha.  Her blog covers relationships, frugal living, whole foods, kids, money management, organizing, productivity & taking care of yourself.  Check out her blog simplemom.net

Last week I went online and perused the Weekly Dinner Planner section on the Martha Stewart website.  This is similar to the magazine.  There are 12 weeks worth of recipes and a grocery list for each week.  After much discussion, my husband and I chose the one-pot comfort week.  This week of menus promised few dishes to wash (great because our dishwasher aka husband, can only take so many!) and healthy meals.

So now that the week has passed the question is… did it work? I have to say… not really 😦

Right from the get-go it was difficult to find a meal plan that we both liked.  So we made a few changes.

  • We changed some ingredients to make it more of a whole grain meal – by using brown rice pasta and brown rice instead of white
  • We added more vegetables.  I found the vegetable content low.  For example the Pork Tenderloin and Fennel meal was nice but we added broccoli and carrots to round it out a little
  • The portion sizes were HUGE.  This was good because of the leftover situation, but some meals we just didn’t cook everything up and we still have a lot of groceries left in the fridge.  I just hope we can get through everything before it goes bad; I hate wasting food.

Here is the summary of each meal and whether it worked or not…

Monday: Spinach & Prosciutto Lasagna – Husband doesn’t like prosciutto, so it became a ground turkey lasagna.  This made it a lot more work to prepare.  On Sunday evening, I was cursing the amount of work to create lasagna, the prosciutto version would have been easier for sure.  By the way there are brown rice lasagna noodles that do not need to be cooked.  However my lasagna was excellent, and made for some good lunches.

Tuesday: Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole – we couldn’t find the key ingredient (Thai Red Curry Paste), I have used it before but couldn’t find it this week.  Instead I made a chicken curry in the slow cooker using a recipe from http:crockpot365.blogspot.com.

Wednesday: Open-Faced Burgers with Horseradish Sauce & Green Beans – The burgers and green beans were good.  To be honest, I doubt the Martha burger recipe was used because my husband is an expert burger maker.  Nice idea for a mid-week meal though.

Thursday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Garlic (+ Steamed Broccoli and Carrots) – Excellent!  I have never liked fennel before but I found the Roasted Fennel delicious!  I thought this worked out well.  It was easy to prepare, was tasty and we tried something new!  The only downside was the size, 2 tenderloin and 4 fennel bulbs?  Luckily we used our better judgement for this one and made it more proportional for our family.

Friday:  Quickest Mushroom-Barley Soup – never made it.  Friday is pizza night at our house and while I tried to sell the idea of pizza and soup it never sold, besides I didn’t feel like cooking it up on Friday night.  Perhaps another day.

My verdict?

I like the idea and actually this week we perused some recipes on www.mealsforyou.com and another system I am curious to try is www.plantoeat.com.  Both of these websites help you pick recipes and create a shopping list. Check them out!  And while Martha’s system didn’t work for us, I still love her recipes, they are simple, tasty and (with a few extra veggies) healthy.  I will always check out her site & magazines for ideas.

I have really found that planning meals is easy and worthwhile; be it the money saved or the lack of stress of wondering what to cook.  If you have found a system that works for you, I would love to hear it and share it!


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Entry filed under: Brown Rice, Meal Planning. Tags: , , , .

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