10/7/19 Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

I bought a few things yesterday to sort of “round out” what we’ve got on hand, and I think I’ll hit up Sprouts on Wednesday for Double Ad Day to get produce, but other than, we’ll be eating a lot of the stuff in the freezer I recently meal prepped this week. I don’t feel really great (Big kid brought home the new germ du jour from school and it’s felled us all).

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and Bitty. The big kid takes his lunch to school, but once in a while, I can convince him to buy his lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked. I did a lot of prep for the coming week over the weekend. I cut up the produce, bagged it for meals, made up some smoothie kits, and cut up cantaloupe to have this week. Thanks to some frugal shopping over the weekend, I’ve only spent half the grocery budget for the week. I will probably use it all.

  • Monday: Flautas, Beans, Rice, and Mexican Caesar Salad
  • Tuesday:  Veggie Stir Fry with brown rice
  • Wednesday: Chicken Meatball skillet (new recipe coming up this week)
  • Thursday: Pizza Night – The past few weeks we’ve been doing individual personally topped pizzas- It’s super fun and everyone gets what they want.
  • Friday:  Breakfast for Dinner- Waffles, Poached Eggs, sausage, and fruit salad
  • Saturday: Dinner out! My cousin, his wife, and kiddo are coming from AZ with my Uncle and Aunt. We are having a big family dinner out. At Soupantation!
  • Sunday:   Leftover night

 

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

9/30/19 Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

I bought a few things yesterday to sort of “round out” what we’ve got on hand, and I think I’ll hit up Sprouts on Wednesday for Double Ad Day to get produce, but other than, we’ll be eating a lot of the stuff in the freezer I recently meal prepped this week. I don’t feel really great (Big kid brought home the new germ du jour from school and it’s felled us all).

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and Bitty. The big kid takes his lunch to school, but once in a while, I can convince him to buy his lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Soup, Grilled Cheese sandwiches, green grapes
  • Tuesday: Aunt Linda’s Mess (It’s a skillet casserole)
  • Wednesday: Baked potatoes with vegetarian chili (from the big batch of vegetarian chili I made last week), green salad.
  • Thursday: Pizza Night
  • Friday:  Date Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover night
  • Sunday:  Taco Salad (recipe will be posted later this week)

 

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

Summer Veggie & Goat Cheese Tart

PICT0097.JPGI was talking about this really amazing dish with my mom the other day, and I realized that I had not posted the recipe!

I can’t find the original recipe for this, but I was driving around the week before Independence Day, and I was listening to NPR when this recipe was discussed.

I made this tart for our 4th of July celebration, and it was gone almost instantly! I didn’t even get a photo of it after it came out of the oven.

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This recipe is great with veggies fresh from the garden!

 

Oh man was it good! It’s easy to make, and you can substitute any veggies that you have in your kitchen (or garden).

Easy Summer Veggie & Goat Cheese Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (make it from scratch or use a mix like this one)
  • 1 4-oz. package of goat cheese, your choice of variety (I used garlic and herb) at room temperature
  • 2 medium-size RIPE tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into thin coins
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, and pre-heat over to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll out pie crust, and smooth out into a circle.
  3. Spread goat cheese in an even layer in the middle of the pie crust. Leave about 2 inches around the edges.
  4. Layer veggies over goat cheese.
  5. Fold up sides of pie crust to cover veggies- leave about a 2-inch opening in the top (see photo below).
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees or until pie crust is toasty brown.
  7. Cut into 6-8 wedges and serve. It’s yummy hot or at room temperature, but it won’t be around long enough to get cold!

Family Recipe: Easy Chicken Parm Meatloaf!

046I found a cache of yummy, frugal family recipes, so I’ll be posting them over the next few weeks.

Most of these were formulated by my relatives to feed a hungry, hard-working family with kids. Everyone in my family is frugal, so these recipes won’t contain any expensive or strange ingredients in small quantities- There is nothing worse than trying a new recipe only to find you only need 2 Tablespoons of an ingredient that you’ve never used before, or worse yet, only comes in a HUGE container/package.

I will try to include the sides that we’ve traditionally served with the main dish to round out the meal.

Chicken Parm Meatloaf (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
  • 1 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh white mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 t. Salt and pepper (each)
  • 1/2 c. Your favorite red pasta sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a loaf pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except for pasta sauce.  Mix well until all ingredients are well combined and mixture resembles a meaty paste (about 3-5 minutes of mixing)
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan, shape into a tidy loaf.
  5. Pour pasta sauce over the top of the loaf.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until meat is cooked through. If you are using a meat thermometer, it should read 165 Degrees. I use this one.

I serve this dish with a green salad and Riced Caulifower with Italian Cheese.

 

Cheese and Crafts with Truly Grass Fed & Tryazon!

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Cheese and Crackers!

On Thursday we invited some friends to the park to sample Truly Grass Fed Cheese and paint some wooden crafts.

Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 7.33.14 PM.pngIf you haven’t heard of Truly Grass Fed, here is some info about what they are and their philosophy, “The Truly Grass Fed way of dairy farming has been passed down through the generations and has continued to evolve and innovate with the times. Our belief in sustainability and in preserving the beautiful land of Ireland is ingrained in our values and informs our way of life. We love what we do and we’re passionate about maintaining our unique way of farming. We truly believe that ensuring our cows live outside for most of the year, providing them with 95% grass to eat and treating them with care and respect makes for superior-tasting cheese and butter. We are proud of the products we produce, and we are excited to share the abundance of our labors with those looking to discover a little piece of Ireland in an exceptional hunk of cheese or generous spread of creamy butter.” You can learn more here.

IMG_6662The cheese was soo good! Rich, creamy and sharper than most cheddars. The moms gobbled down the samples (seriously, it’s so good). In San Diego, you can find Truly Grass Fed at Vons stores- It’s in the deli with the fancy cheese!

Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 7.29.56 PM.pngWe snacked and painted, and the kids ran off to play at the playground before it got too hot.

Everyone in attendance received a reusable cloth grocery bag and a money-saving coupon.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received coupons for free cheese and the party favors (bags and coupons) for free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we did get to keep the charcuterie board.

 

 

#choosetruly #trulygrassfed #tryazon

Is Summer Snacking Wrecking your Grocery Budget?

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Chatting with a friend via Insta yesterday, we were lamenting the “OMG DO THEY EVER STOP EATING!!” of summer vacation.

I’ve never begrudged my kids snackies when they are hungry, but seriously, on days when we are at home, building Legos and watching movies- THEY EAT ALL DAY.  I can’t let them rummage through the cupboard and eat whatever, so I started the snack box (for the pantry) and snack drawer (in the fridge).

We’ve had “The snack box” and the “snack drawer” in our kitchen for about 2 years now.

In the cupboard, I’ve got a basket like this one. It’s full of various types of treats and snacks. Instead of buying individually bagged treats, I often buy a box of whatever (in the photo below it’s animal crackers) and divide the large box into snack-sized Ziploc bags).  It just depends on what is available at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only on my weekly shopping trip. Those are my go-to snack stores.

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The Snack Drawer in the Fridge
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Pantry Snack Box- Refilled weekly

The Pantry Snack Box contains shelf-stable stuff: Juice boxes, crackers, chips, dried fruit, fruit snacks, individual Peanut/nut butter cups. I usually tuck a couple bags of microwave popcorn too. Sadly, we have none left. I was informed that I *must* rectify that matter tomorrow.

The Fridge Snack Drawer contains some of the following: Cheese sticks, yogurt, Ziploc bags of fruit or veggies (watermelon wedges, strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery, and jicama are just a few favorites), little cups of hummus, guac, ranch dip (homemade with greek yogurt and ranch dip mix).

The snacks vary by week, and I took these pics today- It’s midweek and they are pretty picked over- I did refill the Pantry Snack Box with stuff from the cupboard. That’s my secret- don’t put it all out at once. I stash the extras in the back of the pantry, where tiny arms can’t reach.

For those who read my blog regularly, you know that my weekly family grocery budget is $80. I spend about $25 of my weekly budget on stuff for the snack box/drawer. Sometimes more, sometimes less. During the school year, the function of these becomes for packing lunches in the morning. The Big Kid doesn’t really like sandwiches, and as he’s a vegetarian he gets most of his protein from nuts/seed butter and dairy sources.

I also keep Go-gurt style tube yogurts in the freezer- Those are mostly for Bitty, Big Kid doesn’t care for yogurt too often.

For the grown-ups, there is a basket in the pantry full of protein and fiber snack bars (Along with other more “grownup” snacks- which are sometimes new snacks that the kids veto after sampling). I get those at Grocery Outlet or 99 Cents Only. Grocery Outlet locations in my area always have a great variety of protein bars, snack bars, and protein cookie (Like these, which are also a hit with the Big Kid, so I have to dole them out) for a lot less than grocery or club stores.

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Close-up of the Pantry Snack Box. There is a little bit of something for everyone!

This is how my family keeps everyone fed at home and on budget. I’d love to hear about your family’s ideas to solve this issue.

Recipe: Pesto Chicken Bake

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That’s Basil, the key ingredient in Pesto

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a couple weeks, but with summer vacation and the kids needing to see me, talk to me, touch me every.moment.of.the.day….. I’ve been a little behind.

This is so easy, so tasty, and so cheesy. And it works with almost every dietary restriction:

If you are vegetarian but omit the chicken.

If you are Gluten-free, substitute GF pasta for what’s the recipe.

If you are vegan, use your favorite vegan “cheese”. And remember to check the pesto- sometimes commercially made pesto contains cheese!

Pesto Chicken Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Pesto (I Like Costco’s Pesto) If you want to make it yourself, I like this recipe.
  • 1 Box Farfalle Pasta. I like Banza– It’s made with chickpea flour and is high in protein.
  • 1 T. Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 C. chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces. You can also use rotisserie chicken.
  • 2 c. cheese, divided- I like Italian Blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with spray release and set aside.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions, drain pasta and toss with butter/oil.
  4. Mix Pesto, pasta, cooked chicken and 1 cup of cheese together.
  5. Pour mixture into baking dish.
  6. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and browned (approximately 20 minutes).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving with crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish or 8-10 as a side. This is a great dish for potlucks!

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Yum!