Music Teacher Eats: A Week of Easy, Healthy Meals (Fall Edition)

Are you a piano teacher (or independent music teacher of any instrument?) 

Does the schedule of your occupation create obstacles in food planning/meals making you feel like you’re in a rut or frequently in “survival” mode?

Then, this post is for you!

Thanks to my good friend, Christina Whitlock, creator of the Beyond Measure Podcast, I’ve found a fun way to pull food fun into the mix a little more here!

Here’s a snippet into a text between the two of us several months ago (shared with permission 🙂 ).

Can you relate to her sentiments? 🙂

Thanks to her, I’m launching this new blog post series called “Music Teacher Eats: A Week of Easy, Healthy Meals”. You can look forward to a new edition of this series coming out at least once a season (fall, winter, spring, summer) and possibly even some holiday versions.

Before we continue, a few disclaimers:

First, I will do my best to meet Christina’s request of easy, healthy, and can be done in 30 minutes or less after teaching (assuming a little prep work has been done 🙂 – see the post: Food Prep and the Studio Schedule for more on that!)

Second, as we all know, the words “easy” and “healthy” can mean completely different things to different people. I vow to do my best to take an overall general approach to both of these words and will also keep in mind that some of you (unlike me) may be serving families with kids.

Third, all of the recipes I suggest here are ones that I have tried and love. I may not be a recipe website, but I cook A LOT and am really picky about quality recipes. Rest easy that everything I share today is a recipe worth keeping. 

Fourth, while I cook a LOT from the subscription sites America’s Test Kitchen and Milk Street, I avoided including recipes from them. (It was hard though because their recipes are soooo good!) All recipes included can be found for free online.

I hope you find something in this suggested weekly meal plan that’s new, exciting, and most importantly, useful in easing the burden of meal planning as a studio music teacher!

 

Breakfast for the Week

Three breakfast meals that could potentially cover you for most of the week depending on how many you’re feeding!

If you’re an egg person, this Cheesy Baked Eggs recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything, will be a new staple. As someone who isn’t into traditional egg casseroles with sausage, etc., I love the simplicity of this one. EVERYONE I make this for loves it as well.

Don’t be tempted like I was to swap out the pepper jack cheese for something else. I promise it simply gives it good flavor and is not spicy AT ALL. The jack cheese melts much better than any time I tried cheddar. Believe me!

As a bonus, the leftovers reheat well.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread (Tastes Lovely)

Let’s face it, any pumpkin bread with lots of sugar in it is delicious, but I can’t believe how much sugar most of them include! It’s not abnormal to see 1 1/2 – 2 cups!

This incredibly moist pumpkin bread recipe only uses 1/2 cup of sugar and is soooo flavorful. My nephew who is the pickiest kid I’ve ever met salivated over this bread!

I like adding in 1/3 cup of millet (a type of whole grain), to add texture. Just be sure and rinse it a bit before adding it in right at the end of mixing the batter.

While we’re in the pumpkin season, I’m going to give a two-thumbs-up for this Healthy Pumpkin-Oatmeal Bake (Food Network). Creamy and (once again) not full of crazy amounts of sugar, this warm oatmeal bake will warm your family’s bellies on a cool morning!

 

3 Dinner Plans

Why only 3? First, I didn’t want to overwhelm you with options; second, I personally find if I plan 5 meals, we end up doing other things like eating leftovers or eating out.

3-Ingredient Baked Caesar Chicken (The Kitchn)

Does it get any easier than 3 ingredients? I don’t think so! Any time I do chicken, the best thing I’ve ever started doing is cutting it into smaller pieces horizontally. Thick pieces of chicken breast just don’t soak up the flavor as easily.

The Baked Caesar Chicken will be begging for some kind of starch to use up all that delicious liquid. Rice would work but I love mashed potatoes in this instance. 

Homemade eats maybe what I love but even I can say that WE CAN’T DO IT ALL! Instant mashed potatoes are one of those things for me. The Idahoan brand has all kinds of good ones like four cheese, garlic, etc. I like the plain-old baby reds.

Southern Slow-Cooker Green Beans (Southern Bite)

I have to say, I’ve never been so thankful for a simple and yet flavorful green bean recipe. Storage-bought bacon bits? Slow cooker? Yes, please!

The great thing about soup is that you don’t really have to serve anything else with it!

Beef and Cannelloni Bean Minestrone (Giada de Laurentiis)

This minestrone is pasta-free and super simple. Have the veggies already chopped and in a container in the fridge, and all the ingredients laid out on the counter then all you have to do is assemble it in the pot after lessons.

Bread is always a great pairing with this type of soup. If you want an extra special treat, take a little time Sunday night or the morning you plan to make this meal and bake this incredibly easy and homemade bread from Williams Sonoma.

Alternatively, grab a French bread (baguette) from your store’s deli, or set some frozen dinner rolls out to rise before lessons start and throw them in the oven while you assemble the soup.

When we’re talking time, at least one recipe has to be for a slow cooker! This Balsamic Beef Roast and Veggies recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker website is a winner because it’s simple and flavorful. 

The nice thing about a pot roast is you really don’t NEED anything to go along with it. That being said, any time I can sneak a little greens into the diet, the better.

Consider grabbing a container of Spring Green mix and tossing it with this nice Maple Mustard Vinaigrette from The Flour Handprint, making the meal go a little further!

 

Something Sweet and Special

I have no opposition to a good box of store-bought cookies! 🙂

That being said, if you wanted to plan on one homemade special sweet treat this season, let it be these Sweet Potato Snickerdoodle Cookies (The Kitchn).

Photo from The Kitchen (link above).

How do I know these will be a hit? I made these for a group of 10 college students a few months ago. Since then, several of them have contacted me for the recipe and every time they see me, they always seem to come up!

While the recipe says they make 2-dozen, but with my regular cookie scoop they make 4 dozen, leaving plenty to throw in the freezer for later!

Just a heads up that they will seem overly soft when you scoop them out but they will turn out just fine! Definitely don’t skip the 15-minute refrigeration before baking though.

 

Your turn!

What’s one of your favorite meals that’s easy, healthy, and can be prepared fairly quickly?

Share in the comments?

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