Another Numbers Meal Planning Template

I decided in late 2009 that I wanted try out a lighter meal planning template. It's still tightly organized, but now it accommodates only one month's worth of meals. I added a second page to the template with space to write down meal ideas as they come as well as to list old, reliable dinners.

This template is available only in the Apple Numbers format, as it's the only spreadsheet program I use day to day. Excel is great if you are working in an office, doing accounting of some sort. If you have a Mac, though, it's worth checking out the iWork suite, as Numbers is much more useful for building non-business documents.

Please remember that this template, like all my templates on this site, is free only for noncommercial use. Thanks!

Download my Monthly Meal Planning Template for Numbers.

In Case You Missed My Cookbook Follow-Up Comment

Will you post sample recipes from the recently finished cookbook Grancook's Favorite Recipes?

No problem! My goodness, I was so eager to get the word out after finishing this big project that I forgot to dot my i's and cross my t's.

You can see sample recipes right now at the cookbook project web site, You can also take a little peak inside the cookbook at its purchase page on Lulu, which is at

Regardless, I will endeavor to post a few sample recipes here as well. In fact, here is one I particularly enjoy myself from page 77. I make it Gladys's preferred way, which is to use shredded cheddar and to leave out the curry powder, plus I always use the cream of chicken soup instead of golden mushroom. It's not like a typical casserole as there's no major starch, just vegetables covered with lean meat and a thick, savory sauce. No starch in the recipe means you can choose your own based on your mood; I serve it with rice or quinoa on the side for soaking up that sauce. Yum! (P.S. It's the recipe pictured on the back of the cookbook, shown above!)

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

From the book "Grancook's Favorite Recipes"

2 16-oz. pkg. frozen broccoli (or fresh)
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, cut up
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken or golden mushroom soup
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. curry powder (optional)
6 slices American cheese or 8 oz. shredded cheese Breadcrumbs

Cook and drain broccoli. Place the spears in 11-by-7-inch baking dish with tips pointing toward edge. Top with chicken or turkey chunks. Combine soups, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder (optional), and shredded cheese, if using. Pour over the meat. Top with cheese slices, if using. Sprinkle with crumbs and paprika. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cookbook Project Complete!

Sorry it's been an eternity since I posted anything, but I wanted to share a link to the big project I've been working on for the past few months:

The big project is finished! We have published the cookbook Grancook's Favorite Recipes today in honor of my husband Scott's grandmother Gladys, who passed away from lung cancer earlier this year. It collects more than 200 recipes from her files, including several dishes famous among friends and family and a huge section devoted to cookies. Proceeds from the book will go to support the Cancer Institute in Lebanon, Indiana, which treated Gladys during her illness.

Please consider supporting the Cancer Institute through purchasing a cookbook if you're interested in having a collection of good old Midwestern-style recipes on your bookshelf! Thanks.

Meals for the Week: Countdown Edition

We're heading out on August 11 for a long visit with the extended family, so meal planning will go on hiatus for about a month after this post. Good for me, sad for you...

I made meatballs again this past Sunday. Ugh. I just can't seem to nail down a good recipe for Italian-flavored meatballs. I can make a decent meatball that's meatloaf-like and I can make nice dumpling-like soup meatballs, but it's hard to master making the sort you expect with spaghetti.

They should be solid enough to hold their round shape and offer a good bite, but still tender, not chewy. They should taste of lightly of garlic and parmesan, not ketchup.

I'm giving up. I liked those sacks of frozen meatballs I used to buy at Bratislava's Ikea. I'm going that route next time.

If you're interested, the recipe I attempted was the one that won the Throwdown episode on meatballs. Clearly this was a recipe scaled down from a commercial kitchen, as all the measurements were by weight.

I'm fine with using my kitchen scale, but I wasn't able to anticipate exactly how much of each ingredient that I usually measure volumetrically that I would need. Turns out that 2 ounces of chopped garlic is more than one full head -- I had to run up to the store for more.

I didn't bother getting the extra half-ounce each of basil and parsley called for, but I don't think that was the reason my meatballs turned out flat and loose compared to the ones I saw on TV. Again -- ugh.

Meatball subs
Corn on the cob
Tomato salad

Grilled pizzas

Beef fried rice

Country-fried steaks
Mashed potatoes

Grilled sandwiches

Slow-cooked country-style pork ribs with pineapple and ginger
Baked beans
Mac and cheese

Fettucine alfredo

Turkey burgers
Baked fries


Meals for the Week: Hot, Hot, Hot

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. It stopped to say hello in May, then abandoned us for two months, only to return with a vengeance now in late July.

We're expecting a week with highs in the 90s, so I am attempting to cut back on heating up the apartment with cooking a bit. I'm planning to use the toaster oven for tonight's dinner, and I cooked our rice in the microwave yesterday. If I can dig up the half-size muffin pan I think I have in the back of the cupboard, I should be able to make tomorrow's meal in the toaster, too.

Red beans and rice with smoked turkey sausage
Spinach and tomato salad

Overnight French toast casserole with sage sausage
Cantaloupe and cherries

Corndog muffins with smoked turkey sausage
Pea salad

Grilled pizza


Spicy green beans
Jasmine rice

Spaghetti with meatballs and hot Italian sausage

Meals for the Week: Restarting the Week

Our meals got all shifted around all through last week, and we didn't end up sticking much to our schedule. Thus, this week's meals are largely what I'd planned for last week's meals! Since I didn't post meals for last week, it doesn't make much difference in the end.

Shells and meatballs with tomato sauce
Garlic bread
Spinach salad

Grilled kielbasa
Potato salad
Spinach salad

Beans and cornbread

Turkey bake

Beef and bean tacos
Tortilla chips and salsa

Pesto pasta with tomatoes and chicken
(Merry Christmas in July!)

Huevos rancheros

Picky Eaters? Tips on How to Introduce Vegetables

New on Associated Content:

I didn't always like vegetables. Sure, I ate kid favorites like french fries and corn on the cob, and I even enjoyed green peas and baked beans. But boy, was I picky about the rest.

I'd eat baked potatoes, but only if I could leave behind the skin. I liked tomatoes one year, then decided they were too squishy the next. I loved salad, if by salad you meant cucumbers topped with cheese, bacon bits, and chow mein noodles.

I wouldn't touch mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and shall I go on, or do you get the point? If it wasn't bread, cheese, or meat, odds are I wasn't interested.

When I grew into adulthood and moved out on my own, I decided it was time to let childhood prejudices go. It was embarrassing to ask my mom if she's eat the broccoli off my plate if I ordered the apricot chicken when I was in my 20s.

Still, while I'd shaken off my aversion to veggies like lettuce and celery years before, taking on the broccoli monster still sounded daunting. George H.W. Bush still hated broccoli in his old age, so who said I would be any different?

Go read the rest! It's delicious.

This article moves away from cooking tips and more into general ideas about disguising vegetables or making them more accessible to the skittish. The point about cutting them very small is the best in my opinion. It's way easier to handle a little bite than a big one because you're not stuck chewing it for a long time in case you don't really like it right away.

Interested in seeing everything I've published on Associated Content? Visit my profile page for the full list.