Meal Planning Made Easy

I got more books at the library. I might be addicted to reading.

Sunday after I swam and had lunch, Michael and I sat down and meal planned for the week. It went a lot smoother than the first attempt. I think we have this thing down! We agreed that Monday through Friday meals had to be simple, easy and fast. Michael also requested that the frozen options (salmon, shrimp, turkey burgers) be for the end of the week and the fresh meats at the start of the week. Instead of steak Sundays we’re going to try moving steaks to Monday nights. It’s such an easy meal it’s silly not to have it during the week.

We picked two new recipes to try this week. Both looked pretty simple. This week’s grocery list was much smaller since we’d gotten most of the things we’d need last week with our big grocery shopping excursion.

Luckily the short list meant that we only had to hit two stores. And we spent less than $50 for all of this stuff!

Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetables

From Real Simple

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 40m
Calories: 237 per serving


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 small bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1⁄2 pounds)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 medium radishes, halved
  • 3/4 pound carrots (about 4), cut into sticks
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until browned, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Spoon off and discard the fat. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the broth and scrape up any brown bits.
  4. Stir in the radishes, carrots, and sugar.
  5. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and gently simmer, partly covered, until it is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives.

We almost always half a recipe since it’s just the two of us. Chicken isn’t always that good as a leftover, in my opinion, so that’s another reason to half it. Michael can’t eat radishes so I substituted the last of the asparagus instead.

Instead of doing everything in the Dutch Oven, Michael browned the chicken thighs in a skillet.

According to the internet there’s 170 calories in a chicken thigh WITH the skin. I checked a few different sources and saw the same information. I’m going to assume that’s correct. Of course it could be off a few calories depending on the weight and size of the thigh. But I’m really not going to measure each chicken thigh on my food scale to see if I’m off 20 calories one way…

We got the veggies going in the Dutch Oven with the broth and sugar.

When the chicken thighs were browned he added them to the top of the vegetables and reduced the heat a little, covering the Dutch Oven. After plating the food, sprinkle the chopped chives on it and serve with a little broth.

And wine. 🙂

Michael and I went from FAILING horribly at chicken to ROCKING chicken in one fell swoop.

This recipe was amazing! It was even BETTER than the Coq au Vin that we thought was the best chicken we’d ever done. The chicken was done perfectly. It was crispy, juicy on the inside, savory and so flavorful.

The veggies tasted fresh and a bit salty from the broth–but in a good way. Neither of us are quite sure what the sugar was for and honestly the recipe didn’t need any sugar. There’s enough in the carrots naturally.

This is a recipe that will be in our rotation for sure. Not only is it easy, it’s delicious and low calorie!

QUESTION: How was your weekend?

7 Responses

  1. Meal planning makes things so much easier, even though it requires a little extra effort up front. I only recently started doing it, and it really makes me look forward to my dinners every night! I usually just list a few things I want to have for dinners and then plug them in as I crave them. I also love Real Simple – so good for meal ideas!

    1. We definitely have the hang of it. It took us maybe 10 minutes yesterday to meal plan for the week and find two recipes. I love Real Simple too. So far their recipes have all been great!

  2. That looks great though sometimes chicken thighs oog me out. We used to BBQ the boneless skinless ones all the time. I think I’ve become a picky boneless skinless breast girl. I did make awesome baked chicken fingers and had them with Laughing Cow blue cheese and wing sauce. Soooooo good!

    We went to the Farmers market yesterday where I got a great bag of mixed organic root veggies. Roasted them up last night. I love having the variety – carrots, turnips, beets, sun chokes (?). Saturday I went shopping with a friend while her brother (up from PDX) went skiing with Chris. We also worked outside yesterday bc it wasnt raining, unlike today.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!

    1. Happy V-Day!

      That sounds like a great weekend. Besides spending it mostly sick my weekend was good. I don’t think any of the Farmers markets are open around here yet. 🙁

      I’m not a fan of bone-in chicken either. This recipe was really good and I forgot about the creepy bone. BUT I think it could be done with boneless chicken breasts.

  3. That Rethinking Thin is a very interesting book. I read that last year. I would also recommend her book Ultimate Fitness (something like that).

    Weekend was great around here spending it with my hubby!

  4. I love chicken thighs, dark meat is so tasty! Your link says that a skinless thigh is 119 calories and with skin is 211 calories. I would probably choose to remove the skin and eat two pieces for only a few more calories than one with skin! 🙂

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