For the meal plan week 17 our week this week is going to be supremely busy. Two of our kids have birthdays coming up soon and we will celebrate a bit early on the weekend. In our house we don’t go out for dinner for their birthdays due to all the allergies and the cost. Instead, we have the kids choose their favourite meal and we make it for the family. It is kind of a fun way to see what they love to eat and they feel special by getting to plan the dinner. Their tastes have changed a lot since they were really little and both of the kids this week are choosing meals that are a bit more of a regular family meal than the homemade corndogs and pizza of birthdays past.
Meal Plan Week 17
Wednesday - Falafel wraps
Thursday - Lamb Kebabs with Grilled Veggies
Friday - Mixed Salad with Leftover Falafels and Extra Grilled Veggies
Saturday - Rouladen, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli
Sunday - Spaghetti Bolognaise
Meal Plan Week 17 In-Depth and Top Tips
This is a great dinner that is made in a dutch oven after searing the chicken. We can even chop the asparagus in half after trimming and throw it in the pot with 10 mins left to cook if, we need to make it easier this night. It will probably be chicken thighs this time as that is what is on sale this week and we picked up a huge pack. Cook a few extra thighs up for dinner on Tuesday night.
If camping this week or it is too hot to turn on the oven this recipe has both campfire and barbecue adaptations in the blog portion of the recipe.
The Cobb salad may not be as posh as the one we usually make but we will be putting on leftover chicken from the previous night’s dinner and using ham instead of prosciutto, as it is a bit cheaper right now for us. The ham will be an all naturals brand like Applegate or Maple Leaf. To add more protein we will be using chickpeas on the salad and we need the aquafaba for at least one of the birthday cakes we will be baking.
The Cobb salad is great as the kids can choose what they would like on it and sometimes they ask for different things that are not normally on a Cobb salad that really works, like a cut up apple, for example.
We will be using dried chickpeas to substitute for meat and make our food budget go a bit further this week. The dried pulses are cheaper for us to buy and we can spend more money on the kids’ birthday dinners. The wraps will be with a tortilla or pizza crust as we have not yet found a top 8 free pita shell. If you know of one please let us know, we would love to have them again.
The wraps will have lettuce, probably iceberg, tomatoes, onions, pickles and either hummus or dairy free tzatziki as a sauce. Tahini is also a great sauce but does contain sesame. Hot sauce is super popular with falafels. If you are a fan of the bright fuschia pickled turnips they are usually what would be on the wrap at a restaurant and chopped parsley.
The huge tip here is to ONLY use dried chickpeas when making the falafels. Canned chickpeas will make the patties fall apart when fried.
Pork Kebabs with Grilled Veggies
I really wanted to try a new way to marinade our pork. I was scrolling through social media when I saw someone say they save all their extra pickle and olive brine to marinade their pork in it. We will be using pickles in our rouladen and we are rolling them early to make it quicker on the day of cooking. The pork will go in a container in the fridge with pickle brine and then covered the night before. It should only be brine once raw meat touches it. You cannot eat any pickles or olives that are in with it so do not leave them in. Don’t save the brine to put them back in it either, once used on meat, toss the brine.
The veggies we will be grilling will be kebabs of eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Cut them up into 1.5 inch pieces. Fill a large bowl with cold water and about 2 tablespoons salt. Soak the eggplant in the bowl for 30 -60 mins to help with the bitterness and tenderise them. Remove the eggplant from the salt water bath and pat dry. Brush all the veggies well with olive oil, place on a skewer, and grill until tender.
By marinating the meat overnight we can use a tougher cheaper cut to help and cut our food budget. The breaking down of the meat in the acidic marinade will make it more tender as it cooks. Two tricks for making tough meat tender is to either marinade it or slowly cook it at a low heat for a long period of time.
Mixed Salad with Leftover Falafels and Extra Grilled Veggies
We are hoping this will be an easy dinner as we are super busy this night. We will reheat the falafels (or not), maybe even crumble them. Then put them on a salad with a lettuce base. The leftover grilled eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions on top of the lettuce. The dressing will be tzatziki or oil and vinegar, whichever the kids would like.
This is a great way for us to use up any leftovers and have it feel different enough for the kids to eat the food again without having to do too much prep for us. Another of our favourite ways is to put out the leftovers like a buffet on the kitchen island and have the kids choose what they would like and heat up things on the stove or microwave, as needed. We usually say they need to have this much of a protein, and this many veggies and the rest is never an issue with them.
Birthday Dinner #1 - Rouladen, Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
How to make Rouladen can be a very heated debate amongst families. Every German family we know has their own way of making the meat rolls and what they put in them. We use ¼-½ of a pickle cut in a spear, mustard (or mustard like sauce) and bacon on a beef slice. His mum sometimes omits the pickle and uses a sausage link. Others will chop the bacon and pickle, then add chopped onion to then wrap.
How to make the Rouladen Rolls:
Rob is the one who makes this dish as he grew up with it. First he lays down a layer of thinly cut beef on a cutting board on the counter. Most butchers will cut roulden beef for you as it has to be fairly thin.
The beef is smeared with a thin layer of mustard. With a mustard allergy in the house we make a paste of horseradish and turmeric to achieve a similar flavour.
Then on the layer of mustard goes a partially cooked piece of bacon. It is cooked about half done, with a touch of colour but is not crispy so it can be rolled. The bacon will lay the same way as the beef (paralell but on top) and may need to have an end trimmed if it if it over hangs the beef.
On top of the bacon at one end the pickle spear is laid down perpendicular to the beef and bacon. This means it goes across the meat and is what you will use as the centre of the roll.
Start rolling the meat around the pickle by the end the pickle is placed and roll it while on the cutting board. He secured the roll with butcher’s twine or toothpicks (remove all toothpicks before serving for safety).
The roll the meat rolls in gluten free flour then they get seared in the pan the bacon was partially cooked in.
1-2 Tbsps olive oil, 2 carrots, finely diced , 2 ribs celery, finely diced, 1 medium onion, finely diced , 5-6 cloves garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, 2 bay leaves , 1 L beef stock, 1 L water, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1 tablespoon cornstarch (plus 1 tablespoon water mixed to make a slurry)
If the fat has all cooled off after cooking all the rolls turn down the heat to medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and saute until softened and the onions are translucent.
Add in the herbs and spices. And cook for an additional 1-3 minutes. Deglaze with ¼ cup of the beef stock. Scrape any stuck bits or browned meat off the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the beef stock in the pan and carefully put the rolls in too. Add the water about 1 Cup or more if needed to cover the rolls. Remaining salt and pepper to be added now, if not already added.
Raise heat to bring the liquid to a light boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to allow a low simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Let simmer gently for 90 minutes. Checking every 15 minutes to see if water is needed to be added to keep the rolls covered. Add water as needed to accomplish this. When finished simmering, remove beef rolls to a clean plate. Remove the pot from heat and use an immersion blender to blitz the sauce. Add in the cornstarch slurry and blitz a bit to mix.
Return to heat and let cook while continuously stirring while scraping the bottom on medium heat to thicken the sauce. Once thickened, the rolls can be added back and then served or the rolls can be dished up from the plate and the sauce poured over them.
The kids love having rouladen with mashed but spatzle is my favourite. We will steam broccoli as well for this special dinner.
Depending on how big the rolls are the kids usually eat 1 each, the teens 3 each and adults 2 each.
Any extra sauce can be frozen in individual containers and used for other beef based meals or for fries and gravy.
Birthday Dinner #2 - Spaghetti Bolognaise
This one is pretty simple compared to the other birthday dinner. We were actually pretty surprised that this child wanted spags for dinner on their birthday.
We use any ground meat that we brown and add it to jarred sauce. For us a few sauces have been okay but always check that they are safe for you. If using pre-made sauce, check for allergens. We find milk, soy, and wheat ingredients are most prevalent in the pre-packaged sauces and sometimes double checking with the manufacturer is needed for inquiring about shared lines.
We prefer the Pedon More Than Noodles brand of gluten free noodles. The other noodles we use are either corn or rice based. We find the pure rice noodles get sticky and need to be a bit undercooked or they go really soft.
We often use leftover ground taco meat that has been cooked up and frozen to save the rest in our spaghetti sauce. It cuts the work down and is a great way to re-use our leftovers.
We Love Feedback!
Did you make any of the meals we did let us know? What is on your meal plan this week? Drop a comment on this post or tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.
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- Meal Plan Week 26
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We have to remind everyone that we are not medical professionals or dietitians, so these meal plans are not balanced for nutrition, they are for information purposes only. Please discuss any dietary concerns, changes, or proper meal plans with your medical team.
Always check the labels for any products to make sure they are right for you. We also encourage you to contact the manufacturers in addition to checking that the process of manufacturing is also safe for you, and that there aren’t shared lines. One product or ingredients may be safe for one person but not another. Always check the products and ingredients before purchasing.