Meal Planning in the Real World

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What a surprise to wake up this morning and find that I got a mention on the latest episode of the Catholic Momcast! Thanks, Danielle and Allison!

If you’re visiting from there and are looking for the recipes, you’ll find them at my cooking website, CookAndCount.

My recipes are not “just for diabetics” but I include nutrition information with each one, so that families like mine who have someone with special nutritional needs can find out what they need to know before they cook. These are simply recipes that my family enjoys. I hope you find some new favorites among them.

Here’s a little info on how I do meal planning:

I divide a sheet of paper or page in my planner into 3 columns: type of recipe (easy, meatless, takes all day) / name of recipe (and source, if it’s not mine) / groceries needed.

Then I go through my recipes and sometimes take a peek into the recipes I’ve recently printed out from other websites (I have a whole crate of these, with folders … I may have a problem).

I ask family members if they have any requests.

Then I fill in the “name of recipe” column with the meals I want to make for the next week or two. (Sometimes I get really organized and go for a whole month, but it’s been a while.)

I categorize the recipes, so I know what I have to work from – that makes it easy to choose in the morning (or the night before) based on what the day is going to bring. If I have 3 meetings for work, I’m not going to be picking a labor-intensive “takes all day” recipe. That’s when I want to go for something quick and easy, which gets its own category on my recipe site!

Finally, I look at each recipe and take note of any ingredients I’ll need in order to make those. That becomes my shopping list.

Minus the description column, here’s my menu plan from earlier this year.

Thanks for visiting – let me know which recipes you plan to try!

Peace and all good,


Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Monday Recap: January 2017

It’s the first Monday of the month, so I’ve gathered up links to the work I’ve done in other spaces.



Tech Talk: Listen to Our Writers: Several authors have their own podcasts! Subscribe to their shows for encouragement, entertainment and education.

At Cook and Count


Walnut Spice Cakea dressed-up quick bread perfect for dessert.


Mushroom-Rosemary Marinara: a hearty meatless pasta sauce.


Orecchiette with Ricotta and Peas: comfort food!


Cod with Mustard and Panko: a jazzed-up baked fish dinner.


Monday recap 2016 edition

#WorthRevisit: A Podcast About Worry that I Need to Hear Again

I chose this fairly-recent post for Worth Revisit Wednesday because right now I’m feeling pretty anxious and overwhelmed, and I need to revisit Jeff and Gary’s podcast!

I figured I’d catch up on an episode of The Catholic Foodie Show. Yesterday’s program featured Gary Zimak, a Catholic author and speaker who lives in a neighboring town and who specializes in the subject of fear, worry and faith.

As Gary and Jeff shared about worry and how it tends to short-circuit prayer (except for the “God, help me!” kind), they encouraged listeners to remember to always praise God.

That reminded me of a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Faithful. Copy this down and put it where you’ll see it every day:

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.

This is going to be my focus, going forward. Let’s see where it takes me.

from fear to faithRight now I’m reading Gary’s book From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. It’s an excellent book to bring to Adoration. Chapters are short and there’s a lot of room for thought, prayer and reflection.

You can listen to this podcast here. When you’re done listening, bookmark the Breadbox Media website or download their app (free for iOS and Android) so you can find your favorite Catholic radio shows online or listen to archived episodes!

The fine print: the link to Gary Zimak’s book is an Amazon affiliate link, which puts a little extra in my pocket at no cost to you when you purchase this book through my link. Thanks!

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Cookbook Review: Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine

When I met him at the Catholic Writers Guild Conference earlier this summer, cookbook author, podcaster and contributor Jeff Young told me that he purposely creates his recipes to feed large groups of people–that way, you’ll want to share.

Around-the-Table-with-The-Catholic-FoodieYou’ll definitely want to share the meals you make from the recipes in his cookbook, Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of “Middle Eastern Cuisine.” Most of the ingredients in Jeff’s recipes are easy to find. One spice that might be more difficult to get locally is sumac, but you can get that online. I was fortunate to find it in a local Turkish market.

When you make Jeff’s recipes, you’ll be using real foods: fresh ingredients and no chemical substitutes. It’s a healthier way to eat, and I guarantee you that it’s more delicious too. I’ve followed Jeff’s blog for years; I think I found it when I was looking for a jambalaya recipe, but you’ll find much more than Louisiana cooking at his site. Soups, breads, pizza–it’s all there.

Jeff’s directions are clear, and he includes plenty of tips on working with certain ingredients and mixing your own spice blends. But one of my favorite things about this cookbook is the story that goes with each recipe. Stories are part of the fun around the dinner table, and they’re part of the fun of this cookbook as well. Many of these Middle-Eastern recipes originated in the Holy Land, and the first two chapters of the book are all about the family table, food in the Bible and “where food meets faith.” Don’t skip these just to get to the recipes!

sesame tahini cookies (4) FII’ve made several recipes from this cookbook so far:

  • Oven-Baked Salmon (3-ingredient easy and completely delicious)
  • Sesame Tahini Paste Cookies (pictured above)
  • Fish with Pistachios and Dill
  • Crispy Roasted Potatoes
  • Parsley Potatoes
  • Carrots with Cumin
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Lamb-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
  • Israeli Chopped Salad

Some of these recipes have made it into the regular rotation around here. All of them have been excellent, and I have a few more recipes in my meal plan for the coming weeks. (I even planted a grape vine this spring so I could get grape leaves to make one of the recipes, but I don’t have quite enough leaves to do this yet.)

Finally, I’ve given two copies of this cookbook as gifts to people I love who love cooking and trying new flavors. I’m not done trying recipes from this book and I’m also not done purchasing it as a gift.

Note: Your purchase of this cookbook through my Amazon affiliate link helps feed my cookbook habit. Thank you!