6/27/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgSummer break is here! We’ve got all sorts of adventures planned, you can check out some of our adventures here.

Summer school started, and I’m back on campus helping teachers and kiddos for the next month.

We went to Knott’s Berry Farm over the weekend and had a really fun time.

I did no meal planning over the weekend- It was all hanging out with kiddos and playing/swimming. So tonight I’ll hit the store and grab some stuff (thankfully we don’t need too many items this week).

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. I received a few more coupons over the weekend, so I’ll visit Sprouts sometime this week to pick up the new foods. I’m focusing on snacks and treats from Social Nature.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

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

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. This is really helpful for the summer when for some reason, kids are starving all the time. The kids get free lunch at summer school too!

Dinner: We finished our last Dream Dinner last week! I’ll be ordering more next month once the new menu comes out. I’m trying to get us to eat together as a family more often and get the kids into eating more fruits and veg, so you’ll notice that our meals are pretty simple this week.

  • Monday: Nuggets, fruit (apples or oranges), chips or crackers
  • Tuesday: Meatloaf sandwiches, salad, fruit
  • Wednesday:  Sonoma Grilled Steaks, Roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: Protein shakes and fruit
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday:  Peach Bourbon Chicken with Almond Green Beans

Recipe: Making Pie Crust!

Pie crust is easy to make. It has few ingredients, but there is some finesse involved in making a light, flaky pie crust.

There are no special tools needed, but a pastry cutter is nice (You can use a whisk instead, or your bare hands).

This is the pie crust recipe that I use. I know it by heart and I make it frequently. It’s great for sweet pies like pumpkin, or savory meat pies like chicken pot pie (that recipe is coming later this week).

This recipe makes 1 pie crust for an 8 or 9-inch pie plate, if you need two (top and bottom), double it.

Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon AP Flour
  • 1/3 cup shortening OR unsalted butter -It needs to be cold butter or room temp shortening. This part is SUPER IMPORTANT.
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water (You may need an extra tablespoon or so if the weather is very dry).

 

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add flour and fat.
  2. Using a whisk, pastry cutter, or your hands, mix flour and fat until incorporated into little (pea-sized or smaller) pieces.
  3. Slowly add water and combine to form a large dough ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will help ensure that your crust is flaky.
  4. Flour a clean, flat surface, and roll the dough out into a large circle. Do not over roll it or manhandle the dough- this will make it heavy and flat.
  5. If you are making a bottom crust, press it into a pie plate, and trim the edges.
  6. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times to keep it from bubbling.
  7. If you are making a pie that will be filled and baked again like pumpkin or quiche, bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely before filling and baking a second time.
  8. If you will be using the pie crust as a top only (no bottom crust), once the crust is rolled out, fill your baking dish with whatever you are cooking, top it with the uncooked crust, pierce it a few times (to vent the steam), and bake per the directions of the recipe.

Substitutions:

If you are vegan, use shortening. Do not use spread/oleo/margarine.  They contain water and will make your crust turn out funky. Butter flavored shortening is great.

If you are gluten free, use 1 for 1 AP flour.

Talk Back: What kind of pie do you like?

Dream Dinners: Earn Free Dinners & Special Offer for your Friends!

Dream Dinners in La Mesa has a new Meal Prep Workshop program.  This is an exciting new twist on the in-store party and it’s a great opportunity for you to introduce your friends to Dream Dinners and earn fun rewards!

Here’s how it works:
As the host, you attend the workshop for free! You also have the opportunity to earn up to $75 in host rewards!

Your friends pay $50 to attend and learn about Dream Dinners. This includes three pre-prepped medium-size meals, and everyone will get to assemble the Campfire Cobbler Trio, at this private, in-store event with your friends. They’ll enjoy delicious samples of our food. They also have some exciting perks for them if they place an order at the workshop!

Call/Text 619-460-6800 to learn more and schedule your event!
If you’ve never tried Dream Dinners, it is a great meal prep company with locations all over the US. I love Marsi and her staff at the La Mesa Location. When compared to other meal prep/meal plan programs, the prices and freshness are out of this world. For more about why Dream Dinners is tops in my book, check out this post.

Cinco De Mayo Recipe Round-Up!

It’s Cinco De Mayo! Let’s celebrate the Mexican victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. Wanna learn more about the holiday’s origins? Here is the Wikipedia article.

If you are looking for some tasty recipes with a Mexican/South American flare, here are a few of mine:

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas

Beefy Taco Skillet
Black Bean Veggie Soup
Beef Machacas (Slowcooker recipe)
Corn and Avocado Salsa!
Homemade Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

None of these are authentic, as they were created in my kitchen here in San Diego.

Talk Back: What are your favorite Cinco De Mayo favorites?
 

5/2/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI started this post yesterday but forgot to hit the Publish button.

This morning I chopped and prepped fruits and veggies. I’m roasting veggies, making a fruit salad, and making a big ol’ green salad. These will be part of our meal plan for the week.

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

I will need to pick up milk this week, but other than that, we’ve got everything we need for this week, grocery-wise.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

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

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.  The big kid still brings lunch from home.

Dinner: We’re working our way through our monthly Dream Dinners order, and I am making two this week. We’ve got our usual Monday Nuggets and Friday Pizza planned, but other than that I’m cooking a lot this week!

  • Monday: Nug night- crinkle fries, apple slices & strawberries
  • Tuesday: Carne Asada Taco Salad, Beans, Rice, and quesadillas (for the kids)
  • Wednesday: Waffles and Fruit Salad
  • Thursday:   Chicken Castoletta, Roasted veggies
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday: Soup (I’ve got a couple kinds in the freezer to choose from), Bagels, and fruit

4/11/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

It’s back this week! Finally, the kitchen is a little more put back together and we can cook! I’m going to be doing some baking this week: Cookies, biscuits, or cheesy garlic bread, and a bar dessert.

I chopped, peeled, and prepped fruits and veggies this afternoon. Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

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

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate. This is week two of Spring Break and we’ve got some adventures planned, I’ve got a new snack box in the car, and it will be repacked and ready for some fun on the road.

Dinner: I’m leaning heavily on the CSA box this week, and what we’ve got in the house. I didn’t do a big shop this week, just milk and popsicles (always the first two items on our shopping list). I’m doing a Dream Dinners pick-up late this week, so next week we’ll be back to Dream Dinners 1-3 times per week.

  • Monday: Nug night- crinkle fries, apple slices & strawberries
  • Tuesday: Roasted Veggies, Pasta & Red Pesto
  • Wednesday: Chicken and Veggie Soup, biscuits, or cheesy garlic bread
  • Thursday: Salad Bar Night- I did most of the prep work today!
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday: Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, fruit salad, yogurt)

Trying to Add Veggies to Your Meals?

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to eat better or increase your intake of fruits and veggies?

Since we have been getting CSA boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms we’ve been adding tons of fresh fruit and veg to our diet. It’s fun to get the kids involved in preparing and tasting new and different fruits and veggies.

I’ve made a round-up with some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes to inspire you to add a little more “green” to your family’s meals!

1/3/2022 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI did a big year-end fridge/freezer/pantry cleanout (did you know White Claw expires?) last week and we were in need of a lot of groceries.

I had a big shopping week, including a trip to Costco to pick up some staples, and of course… a rotisserie chicken.

We finished up the week yesterday consuming leftovers. And I prepared a pot of chicken stock to make chicken soup today.

We are back on the CSA train- We need some fresh produce in our lives and I hate carrying more groceries upstairs!

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

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

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.

Dinner: I’ve got some tasty (and quick) meals planned for this week! It’s going to be cold this next week, so Soup will be on the menu a few times. I’ll make big batches and freeze the extra.

Please stay safe you guys!

Looking for a Holiday Gift? Give the Gift of a Stress-Free Meal!

There are some people who are impossible to shop for. They either have everything, or they don’t need/want stuff.  Well, I’ve got a great solution!

Everyone has to eat! Gift your family and friends near and far with easy, delicious meals from Dream Dinners. There is nothing better than filling their freezer with meals and giving them a break from the kitchen.

You have a couple options:

  • Have Dream Dinners Delivered: Ship four delicious dinners directly to their home. *Available in select states and zip codes.
  • Dinner for the Night: Add an extra meal or two to your monthly order to gift to friends and family.
  • Gift Card: Not sure what meals they would enjoy? A Dream Dinners gift card is the perfect solution.

And if you’ve never tried Dream Dinners, now is a great time! January time slots are filling up fast and there are a lot of great options in January’s menu (including lower-calorie options if part of your 2022 plans includes losing weight/eating less).

I’ll be writing more about Dream Dinners later this Month and into January. I’m really excited that they have more vegetarian options! If you are a San Diego, CA area local, keep your eyes peeled on my Facebook page for more information about a Dream Dinners event in January at the location in La Mesa, CA. 

New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.