Menu Plan Monday

Gracious. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Menu Plan Monday post.

It’s not that I haven’t been menu planning – I just haven’t been posting. Smile with tongue out

But I thought I’d share with you what I have planned on this last week of school before the holiday break.  It’s going to be crazy here – lots going on, Big Girl has midterms, etc.  so I wanted to be prepared with good meals and a plan for when to prepare them.

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Here’s what I have so far – I generally try to plan 5 meals a week. I know we will eat out at least once during the week for takeout (it seems that way no matter how hard I try not to) and we usually go out for dinner once on the weekend (at least Disappointed smile)

I do not plan which meal to have on which day, although I have a general idea based on what is happening this week – like on Wednesday I have my Ladies’ Group at the house so I will do the Chicken Spaghetti that I can make ahead and pop in the oven while I’m in carpool.  It will be ready around 5:30 and we can eat and get the kitchen cleaned up long before everyone starts to arrive at 7:00.

Sticking with some old stand by recipes this week – and one SuperMan Special.

What are you planning this week?

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Menu Plan Monday

I haven’t been posting (in like FOR.EV.ER) but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been menu planning.

Now that school is back in session, menu plans are even more critical to my success managing work and home activities. 

Here’s what we have planned for this week:

  • MondayChicken Cesar Pasta Salad – this is an old standby I discovered last year and the family LOVES it. It’s a Cook’s Country recipe and I don’t deviate from it much because it works. And we love it.
  • TuesdayMeatloaf and roasted potatoes. I also have some asparagus I’ll probably roast because I need to finish it up before it goes bad.
  • Wednesday – Rotisserie chicken, baked potatoes and salad. An old standby for busy days.
  • ThursdayMexican Potato Casserole and taco salads for the kids
  • Friday – May try to make Carnitas with some leftover pork butt I have
  • Saturday and Sunday I’ll figure out closer to the weekend. Smile

Lunches will be a fabulous Sopa de Pollo (that’s Mexican chicken soup – for me) that I’ve finally figured out (recipe soon) and an assortment of the following for the kids’ lunchboxes:

  • sub sandwiches
  • chicken cesar pasta salad leftovers
  • snacky plate (salami, pepperoni, cheeses & crackers)
  • hummus wraps (see recipe idea here)

SuperMan usually takes leftovers from dinner for his lunch.

What’s on your menu this week?

Check out more yummy menu ideas over on orgjunkie.com.

Back to school means back to menu planning

Tomorrow the girls start school. With that milestone, many things will be changing in our household. Most notably, we’ll be getting back on a regular schedule. No more dinners at 8PM and bedtimes creeping closer and closer to 11PM (!). We’ll be back to eating dinner at 5:30-6:00 each evening and bedtimes closer to 9PM.

AND – I’ll be back to menu planning. I’ve sort of kept it up all summer. But I have been pretty loosey-goosey with the plans.  Thankfully, I had a lot of meals in my freezer and we were stocked up on meats there, too. I have been trying to “cook down” the freezer as much as I could. Especially since it was so hot and our poor, ancient freezer was not doing the best job keeping everything frozen. (soft serve ice cream, anyone?)

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So, I thought I’d share with you the list I brainstormed to help me when I’m stuck on my menu plan. I went through a lot of my old menu plans, picked out the favorites and the tried-and-true hits.  These are the ones that will be my go-to items this fall when life is crazy and I need inspiration as I’m planning out my week’s meals.

Menu Ideas:
Chicken Enchiladas(crockpot/oven) Potato Soup
*recipe coming soon*
Tacos Beef Stew
Chicken Stir Fry
(served with
Fried Rice)
BBQ Chicken
Fajitas Asian Chicken
Bourbon Street Chicken (crock pot) Roast Beef (crock pot)
Shredded Beef Burritos (crock pot/oven) Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Meatloaf Beef Tips with Gravy
*recipe coming soon*
Ham & Rice & Black-eyed peas Creamy Chicken & Rice (crock pot)
Chicken Chili Chili
Baked Potato with Salad Shepherd’s Pie
Sub Sandwiches Breakfast for Dinner
Homemade pizza Pizza Bread
*recipe coming soon*
Salmon Croquettes Cuban Pork with Black Beans & Rice
Beef Stroganoff Pasta Fagioli
Chicken Noodle Soup Chicken &Wild Rice Soup
 Chicken & Dumplings “ Rotisserie” Chicken (crock pot)
 Bourbon Chicken
How about you?

Do you menu plan? What are your family’s favorite meals?

Click on the links to access the recipes.

Menu Plan Monday

It’s a rainy, gloomy Monday here. The weather people said it was going to be in the 70’s here today but I really think they didn’t know what they were talking about. It might get to 70 downtown with the concrete heat island, but I doubt it will get out of the low 60’s here at home.

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Rainy weather makes me want to hibernate.  And to eat warm, comfort foods. And drink tea. And sleep. Smile

I’ve been back on my meal planning routine lately. Although I have changed things up a bit to accommodate our schedule this fall.  Thursdays are always leftover days.  The girls have dance and we’re close to 3 hours at the studio on Thursday nights.  It’s also my busiest meeting day for work.  So, no cooking for me.  We eat up whatever is left in the refrigerator or we eat sandwiches.  Which is actually working out really well – less leftovers are going to the pups and more are being eaten!

I’ve also been making great use of my freezer.  We had our big cooking day back in August to kick off the new school year and I have been doing a mini version of that from time to time since.  Having those meals in the freezer ready to is such a great timesaver and STRESS saver that it is totally worth it.

What I’ve been doing is that whenever I make a casserole-type of dish, I double the recipe and put one in the freezer.  Every.single.time.  My freezer gets stocked and my family gets fed.  Twice.  Beautiful.

And, like today, when I’m fighting a head cold and feeling under the weather those faithful, frozen friends are waiting to come to my aid… so nice.

Another thing I’ve been doing is not locking myself into a specific meal on a specific day – I have been listing five or six dishes on my index cards and posting in the kitchen.  Then I can look at the list and pick whichever one suits my mood and our schedule that day.

So, here is what’s on the docket for this week –

Chicken Spaghetti (from the freezer) Bourbon Chicken & Rice
Homemade pizzas Baked Pork Chops w/ saffron rice
White Bean Chicken Chili (this will be our Halloween night dinner) Fajitas

What’s cookin’ in your kitchen this week?

Check out more yummy menu ideas over on orgjunkie.com.

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

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This week I’m combining some tried and true favorites along with a few new recipes for our menu plan this week.

Monday: I’ve been craving Pasta Fagioli so I whipped up a batch – in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be 90 degrees today.  I’m also making some homemade French bread – trying a new recipe out and will have salad to go along with the soup and bread.

Tuesday: I’ll be heading out for a ladies’ Bible study Tuesday night so I wanted to do something easy for SuperMan and the girls. I’ll be using up my last frozen Chicken Spaghetti from my freezer cooking day.

Wednesday: Trying out this new recipe – a one pot Santa Fe Chicken & Rice dinner. I’m thinking I may use chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces to make this even faster and easier.

Thursday: dance night – which means run around like crazy night. We’ll either do leftovers or sandwiches.

Friday: Mexican – thinking I may make my Colorado Beef Burritos or Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

Saturday: homemade pizza night

Sunday: kitchen is closed – Mama gets a break.

We’re also talking about doing another freezer cooking day sometime soon. I need to come up with a menu – and figure out what we will do this month for our freezer meals.  They sure have been nice to fall back on one or two nights a week.

What’re you planning for your family’s meals this week?

Check out some more ideas at orgjunkie.com.

menu planning at the next level

Many of my close friends are teachers.  As we neared the beginning of school I started to think about how crazy our lives were about to become with schedules, homework and after-school activities.  And then I thought about my friends… the teachers who spend their days devoted to other people’s kids and often find themselves at the end of the day with tired bodies, hungry families and no plans for dinner.

And so I decided to start a new tradition this year.

We did a cooking day.  A monster, stock  the freezer, cook until you drop kind of day.

Planning & Preparation

After I suggested the idea, one of my sweet friends helped me to put together our menu of dinners and to complete all the shopping for our cooking day.  We picked five dinners we thought would be winners and made a spreadsheet (I’m that kind of gal) with the menu, the recipes, and the grocery list of all the items on the recipes we’d need to buy.

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We planned for one meal per recipe per family, included things like disposable casserole pans and freezer bags to make the storing even easier.  We sorted further into which stores we were going to purchase items from, planning to go to our local warehouse store, Aldi (for the bargains) and then finishing up whatever we couldn’t get at those two places at the grocery store.

And then we planned a massive shopping trip. It was a rainy day when my friend Cindy and I headed out with the girls in tow and our shopping list and grocery bags at the ready.  We started at Aldi and got as much there as we could, finishing up at our local grocery store.  (in a side note, I was amazed at the bargains we found at Aldi. They’ve got my business in the future, for sure)

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That afternoon, Cindy took the chickens (8 of them!) and roasted them at her house. I took the sausage and hamburger meat and got it prepped at my house.  That left us down to assembly and minimal cooking for the next day when the rest of the crew joined us to work.IMG_3545[1]

I also decided to go ahead and make the batch of spaghetti sauce that we were planning to freeze for each family.  That’s the most sauce I’ve ever made in my life, but it turned out soooo good.

I couldn’t help but think of my grandma (who taught me to make this sauce) and wondered if she was looking down on me and smiling at my massive cooking project.

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Cooking & Assembly

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I was wondering what in the heck I’d been thinking with this cockamamie scheme to do a massive cooking day.  I sure hoped the promises I’d made to my friends worked out and that everyone was happy with the results of our work.

I sorted all of our groceries on the counter with each recipe, writing the basic measurements for the recipe and assembly instructions on a piece of paper with each pile of ingredients.  I was hopeful we could just move from one recipe to the next and follow those cheat sheets to do the assembly.

Once Cindy and Kim arrived, we tackled the most time-intensive recipe first (chicken spaghetti) and moved on from there.  The kids got in the game, too, helping with assembly and packaging also.

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I was surprised at how smoothly it went – and how much fun we had.  We worked hard, for sure, but there were a lot of laughs, a lot of fun and we loved spending time together.

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Here’s our finished spread of food.  The kids were pretty proud of themselves for helping us (and we were so appreciative)  We ended up with EIGHT meals per family (after our original estimate of five) because some of the recipes cooked up larger portions (11×13 pans) and we split them into two smaller casserole dishes.

The exciting part was that we ended up with a per-meal cost of about $8.  So, around $60 per family for everyone to eat healthy and happy for the first month of school.

In addition, we’ve all been thoroughly enjoying our dinners.  My friends have been reporting in when they’ve used a dinner and we’ve all agreed it was well worth the time and effort to do this.  It’s been so nice to pull one of the dinners out of the freezer at the end of a busy day and know that your family is going to eat some good food and you don’t have to kill yourself to provide it.

So, I am pretty sure we’ll be doing it again.  I’ll keep you posted on what we decide to do in September.  Here’s our menu for August’s dinners:

Oh, and one other thing – we had enough food left over that we were able to sit down together and have BBQ chicken sandwiches for lunch! A well-deserved lunch to celebrate our hard work.

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Back to school…back to blogging…back to life

Well, howdy there!

Been a long time, hasn’t it?

It was a crazy whirlwind summer for us.  In spite of the fact that we were uprooted and transplanted to a tropical rain forest in which it rained every.single.day. we had a very nice summer.

The girls started school last week –

Big Girl is in 7th grade. I can hardly believe she is so big!

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Little Bit started 4th grade.  When I took her to school, she didn’t want me to walk her in – she just hopped out in the carpool line and didn’t even look back.  My heart lurched a little, but I was so proud of her bravery and happy that she was comfortable enough to go on in without Mommy holding her hand.

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After taking almost every Friday off for the past month (plus a few weeks) and a week here and there to play with the girls, I’m back working a  “normal” schedule again.  That means I’m also back to managing our family schedule a little bit more closely, including meal planning – and that means it’s

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Here’s what’s cookin’ at our house this week:

Monday: Beef Stew (crock pot recipe) with some crusty homemade bread Friday: Chicken Noodle Casserole (this is a new crock pot recipe I want to try)
Tuesday: Asian Chicken Stir Fry Saturday: TBD
Wednesday: Mexican Potato Casserole (prep ahead & bake recipe)
(Tacos for the kids)
Sunday: “Lunch on the Lawn” at church (picnic)
and dinner with our Small Group – SuperMan’s absolutely awesome Brunswick Stew, homemade bread and cole slaw
Thursday: Bourbon Street Chicken (crock pot recipe) and rice w/ steamed broccoli I’m also nibbling on some of this bean salad for lunch this week

What’re you planning this week for yummies for your family?