Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I’m home from Influential Summit, and boy, did they load us up with snacks and goodies! Our snack cupboard is full, and I’ll be putting together a big box of goodies together and post a giveaway later this week!

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.

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: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. 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 a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

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.

This week is going to be a little different tan usual. With Mr. on the cleanse, we’ll be eating a lot of whole foods/vegetables raw, and an old family friend steel cut oats will be coming to breakfast.

  • Monday: Leftover night! We’ve got leftover cheese enchiladas, pizza, and some homemade applesauce
  • Tuesday: Homemade chicken soup – I’ll post the recipe tomorrow!
  • Wednesday: Cheese and Veggie Quiche! I’ve got so many eggs!
  • Thursday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches, Green Salad
  • Friday:  Date Night (dinner out, but I’m not sure where)
  • Saturday: Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry with Cauliflower Rice
  • Sunday: tri-tip, baked potatoes, roasted veggies

 

Talk Back: What will you be cooking this week?

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1/28/19 Meal Plan Monday

stemarie_1650skitchen

Mr. husband is on the second week of his cleanse.Much like last week,  the kids and I will will be eating some similar foods, it’s hard to convince the kids to eat kale and steamed salmon night after night.

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.

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: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. 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 a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

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.

This week is going to be a little different tan usual. With Mr. on the cleanse, we’ll be eating a lot of whole foods/vegetables raw, and an old family friend steel cut oats will be coming to breakfast.

  • Monday: Leftover Pizza, fruit salad
  • Tuesday: Vegetarian crockpot chili
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner- Blueberry pancakes (Kodiak flap jacks), fruit salad. Blueberries are on sale this week at Sprouts for .88, so we are eating a lot of them!
  • Thursday: Homemade red sauce, spiralized crockneck squash, Italian marinated chicken breasts
  • Friday:  Date Night (dinner out, but I’m not sure where)
  • Saturday: Salad bar night: mixed greens, kale, and whatever types of veggie bits I pull out, various nuts, and dressings. The kids love cheese on their salads too.
  • Sunday: Ladies night out since it’s my birthday. Probably use one of my million free birthday meal offers.

 

Talk Back: What will you be cooking this week?

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Made with Olive Oil)

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 8.52.18 PM.png
So chewy and fluffy!

I posted on Instagram yesterday about my adventures in baking. I promised the kids cookies, but after consultation with my pantry and fridge, I lacked butter, coconut oil, or Crisco. I quickly searched the google machine and found a bunch of different recipes for chocolate chip cookies with olive oil!

 

Looking over the various recipes, combined with what we had on hand, and I cobbled together a pretty decent batch of cookies. This recipe made 3 1/2 dozen decent sized cookies.

They are fluffy, chewy, and soft. They can burn easily, due to the amount of sugars used. Remember to take them out of the oven before they look done. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after they are removed from the oven.

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 9.03.10 PM.pngIngredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup White sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. Milk (whatever kind you use, non-dairy is cool)
  • 2 4oz bars of Semi-sweet chocolate, rough chopped

 

 

Directions:Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 8.52.08 PM.png

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugars together, until mixture is fluffy. I use an electric mixer.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until well incorporated, add milk as needed to give dough desired texture.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.
  6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet (or use Silicone baking pads like I do).  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

The kids were so happy they got cookies, and I was happy to be able to make them!My 2019 motto: Use it up, improvise, make do!

 

Talk Back: What is your motto or mantra for 2019?

 

 

 

It’s Back! Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I cleaned out the pantry last week. There was a lot of weird/unusual stuff- Thanks to my food blogging/cooking endeavors. I also went through the fridge and tossed a bunch of condiments that were of various “vintages”.

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.

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: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. 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 a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

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.

This week is going to be a little different. There is going to be some traveling this week, so I’ll be relying more on my freezer stash.

  • Monday: Table5 Pizza and Fruit Salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken Tetrazzini with brocolli (Hooray for 1 pot meals)
  • Wednesday: Pesto Pasta bake (it’s a new recipe I’m working on- if it turns out well I’ll post it later this week).
  • Thursday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches made with Chef Shamy Garlic Butter and sharp cheddar cheese, Homemade Tomato Soup.
  • Friday:  Stir fry veggies and cauliflower “rice”.
  • Saturday: Spanish Rice casserole- Sausage, Spanish rice, and veggies.
  • Sunday: Leftoverpalooza, or breakfast for dinner.

And I’ll be making some cookies with Kodiak Flapjack mix (Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies), and at least one batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.

Talk Back: What will you be cooking this week? 

Recipe: Kitchen Sink Chip Cookies

IMG_2799
Yeah, I have on a cute apron too!

It’s finally winter in San Diego! It’s rainy, cool, and we even had an awesome thunderstorm this afternoon. Cooler weather means that I can turn on the oven and get cooking!

 

IMG_2798
That’s a lot of cookie dough!

I made these cookies for the first time last weekend for a Cast Party. They were so well-received (read, I think only 3 came home, out of the 3 dozen I made) that I knew I had to make them again.

So why Kitchen Sink Chip? You can use whatever kind of chips or candy you’ve got. Everything but the Kitchen Sink. The first time I used peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, and M&M’s.  This time, I used butterscotch chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and M&M’s to accommodate a friends peanut allergy. Additionally, you could use white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate, speciality holiday chips, M&M’s (of any variety), or any yummy candy- I got Andes Mints pieces to put in my next batch. Whatever sounds good to you.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 4C. AP Flour
  • 2t. Baking Soda
  • 1t. Salt (I use pink salt)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2C. softened butter or shortening or coconut oil (or some combination of two or more- I use half butter and half shortening)
  • 1C. white sugar
  • 1C. brown sugar, packed
  • 2T. Vanilla
  • 1.5C Chocolate Chips (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1.5C. Butterscotch Chips (or whatever kind you like)
  • 3 oz box M&M’s- movie theatre sized box (or whatever kind of candy you like)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Using mixer on low, slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture.
  6. Once two mixtures are completely combined, add chips/candy one variety at a time and mix well.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets lined with silicone baking pads.
  8. Cook in a 350 degree oven. You can adjust the size and baking time, depending on the size cookie you want. I used rounded tablespoons and it took about 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  If you make them smaller, adjust cooking down to 8-10 minutes.

Tablespoons: 2 dozen large cookies

Teaspoons: 4 dozen smaller cookies.

These cookies are dead simple to make. You can make adjustments as needed: 1 for 1 gluten free flour for AP flour, Sola or Splenda for white sugar. I like that these cookies are not overly sweet. They use approximately 1/2 cup less white and brown sugar than other cookie recipes. I think that and the salt help the flavors of the chips/candy pop.

 

 

Recipe: Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

DSCN9789.jpgThis is of of those family recipes that I think everyone has had, but never realized was so dead simple to make.

My mom made these a lot when I was a kid. They are peanut buttery, butterscotch-y, and so rich an tempting, I’m making a batch tomorrow.

This recipe can me made Gluten free by using gluten free Krispie Rice Cereal, but it cannot be made vegan- you need both marshmallows and butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Butterscotch chips
  • 1/2c. Peanut Butter chips
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 40 marshmallows
  • 6 cups Krispie Rice Cereal (in the past I’ve also used the Fiber One Original Bran instead- They come out a little heavier, but are good)
  • Spray Release
  • 1/4-1/2 c. extra chips, optional

 

Directions:

  1. Spray both a 13×9 pan and a rubber spatula with spray release, set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the chips and butter over low heat.
  3. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cereal and stir until cereal is completely coated.
  5. Using previously sprayed spatula, evenly pour and press cereal mixture into greased pan.
  6. If desired, while still hot, sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 cup of chocolate or peanut butter chips, as the chips melt, spread with greased spatula to cover the bars.
  7. Once cooled, cut into squares. They last 3-4 days in the fridge, but, really, they’ll be gone in a flash.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your favorite cookies/sweets from childhood!

Meal Planning 110: Batch Cooking

file6951293850756.jpgOk, so I’ve discussed Meal Planning here, and I try to post our weekly meal plans on Mondays, but I’m sure you’ve wondered if/how I actually do it.

One of my secrets is that I try and do meal prep and batch cooking once every few weeks. For us that means:

  • Setting aside an hour or so after grocery shopping to clean the produce, and prep it in single serving containers (they are reusable, don’t worry) if they are for lunches or snacks. Little bags of carrots, or grapes are both popular in our house.
  • I make my own smoothie kits too- cut up over ripe bananas and other fruits and put them into single servings ziploc bags.
  • Make frozen veggie bags too: I cut up onions, carrots, and celery for mire poix bags. They are the perfect base for most dishes, especially soups.  I also cut up fresh brocolli, cauliflower, bell pepper strips. Whatever I bought that we’ll be using in recipes.
  •  Depending on what is on the menu for the next week or two, I’ll prep some of the proteins.  I try to buy large packages of proteins, and re-package them with herbs and seasonings perfect for meals. Mostly chicken, because we don’t really eat all that much meat. Sometimes I’ll even prep ground beef into hamburger patties. This afternoon, I made chicken meatballs. I’ve included the recipe below.
  • Once the veggies are prepped and bagged, and the proteins are prepped and bagged, I get a bigger zip top bag and place everything needed for one meal into it, write on a sticky what it is, put the sticky on the bag and pop it into the freezer. Then we are all set to get cooking!
  • I try and prep a few crockpot meals as well. Salsa Chicken, Moosie’s Pot Roast are two great options. Crockpot freezer meals are perfect  for those mornings when you know you’ll want a hot meal after work, but won’t be in the mood to cook.
  • I also like to break up large packages of cheese, like I did here. Less waste, and we’re less likely to eat all of the cheese quickly.
  • Making baked goods. I prefer to make muffins, brownies, and cookies at home, that way I can control the amount of sugar that the family consumes.  I also add little healthy things: milled flax seeds, pumpkin, bananas. I try to do healthy swaps that aren’t really noticeable. This is a favorite cake in our house. It’s also great as muffins too. This time of year I also like to make Pumpkin Donuts too. YUM.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 10.12.05 PM.pngAll of these things make meal planning a lot easier. Having ingredients already chopped, proteins mixed with seasoning, even snacks pre-packaged and set in a specific area of the kitchen.

I use a plastic Sterilite Basket to pack most of our shelf stable snacks that go into our lunches. I frequently skip buying large containers of pre-packaged snacks unless they are a better deal. If you notice, the goldfish are in Ziploc bags. The kids bring them home and I reuse them. But I only reuse them for more snacks.

I have a second shelf that stores all of our crackers (saltine, Ritz, graham, etc.) and puffed rice rolls, we eat those at other times besides lunch, but I grab them and pack them into individual containers or plastic bags for lunch as well.

Not shown are the lunch drinks which I have to keep hidden from the kids so they don’t drink them all after school/on weekends. I have a cache of goodies in the fridge and free to have in our lunches: fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, milk boxes, and bottles of water to choose from.

This “hack” aka pantry shortcut keeps my time making lunches a lot shorter, and I can spend more time with my kids!

Recipe: Ground Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of a white onion, minced
  • 1 /2 Teaspoon of each: Salt, garlic powder, pepper
  • 2 T

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Divide mixture into 12-20 balls and roll between your palms until uniform in size.
  3. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet or plate and stash in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in large pan, fry meatballs in batches, and drain on a paper towel to blot out any excess oil.
  5. Once meatballs are cool to the touch, place them in a freezer safe container with a lid or zipper top bag. Store in the freezer.

I like to make several bags of meatballs, and I put as many in a bag as we need for one meal. For us, that 6-8 large meatballs- about the size of a cutie tangerine.

These meatballs are great because they work with a variety of sauces and cuisines.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about some of the ways that you use batch cooking and food prep to make your life easier! What is your favorite time saving kitchen “Hack”.