10/18/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I went to the Vons on Friday and I was able to score 4 Taylor Chopped Salads for $2.96 after Vons Club special and a special coupon ($5/$5+ purchase). This is all we needed to complete our shopping for this coming week.

Thanks to some local deals, offers, and the school lunches the kids bring home, I have been able to keep our grocery budget to $60 per week for the past MONTH! It’s amazing. The extra money is going into our holiday savings account.

If you have kids between 2-18, check with your local school to see if they are offering free lunches and/or breakfasts. You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.

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 update it after every shopping trip), 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.

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 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. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM. I’ll be posting the recipe for his current favorite this coming week.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being. The big kid has lunch at school, so it’s whatever he chooses from the lunch box in the cupboard, plus some fruit and juice or milk. Since the little girl is in the morning cohort at school, she has lunch at home. Buttered noodles, yogurt, apple slices, and a popsicle are her go-to lunch.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers (we’ve got a lot of salsa chicken leftover- maybe I’ll make them into Quesadillas)
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken Tika Masala, rice, veggies (It didn’t happen last week)
  • Wednesday:  DIY salad bar, garlic bread
  • Thursday: Soup and Quesadillas (or grilled cheese sandwiches), fruit
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

6/22/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

I went to the store last night and spent a little more than I usually do- We were out of a lot of staples. I try to keep the weekly grocery budget to around $100, last night I spent $150.

I was looking over everything last night and I realized that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself- we are all home all the time, which means that we are all eating (and drinking) at home, and that means an increase in both food budget and cooking.

4 people eating 3 meals a day, 7 days a week is 84 meals per week, plus snacks and drinks. That’s approximately $1.78 per meal, per person. And I cook a lot from scratch- which saves us even more than buying convenience foods or eating out.  As you can see from our meal plan below, I’m not making Haute cuisine- It’s healthy, wholesome food that the kids enjoy.

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 update it after every shopping trip), 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.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon. I’ll be posting more info about summer lunches this afternoon or tomorrow.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  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. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

School has wrapped up, but we are starting distance learning summer school. It’s a lot less, but it will still keep the kiddos brains sharp. And we’ve recently started playing Pokemon Go to help get our bodies active. We go out for walks each day to try and get some monsters and steps. I love that the big kid has a pokemon Buddy in the game and as part of taking care of his buddy, he has to “walk” the buddy daily. It encourages him to get exercise and it teaches him empathy- something that can be hard for kids on the spectrum.

  • Sunday:  Customized mini pizzas for Father’s Day (We cooked them on our new Pizza Stone)
  • Monday Chicken Enchiladas, Beans, Rice, and Salad
  • Tuesday: Breakfast night (Pancakes, Eggs, bacon, fruit salad)
  • Wednesday:BBQ chicken and salad
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Veggie Burgers or chick’n nuggets, salad or fruit
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe: Refreshing Cranberry Kale Salad

kalecutI know, KALE. It’s weird and has that super crunchy stem. It’s really good for you, but it gets a bad rap.

This salad recipe is dead simple and is so good that you will fight over the leftovers (if there are any).

I like making this in the morning and letting it sit in the fridge all day. That gives the ACV in the dressing time to mellow out and all the flavors to mingle.

I like starting with a bag of triple-washed chopped kale, since it’s usually the same price as whole kale, and it saves me time, but you do what works best for your family and budget.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package triple-washed chopped kale, or 6 cups of kale, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cide Vinegar, with the mother (I like Bragg’s)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite oil, we prefer avocado oil (like this one)
  • 1 t. honey or agave
  • dash kosher salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 T. fresh, chopped rosemary, or 2 t. dried rosemary (whichever you have)
  • 1/2 c. crumbled herbed feta or goat cheese (your choice)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (you could substitute sliced almonds or almond slivers if you prefer)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix oil, vinegar, honey, rosemary, salt and pepper. set aside.
  2. In a large salad/mixing bowl, add kale, cheese, almonds, and cranberries. Dizzle over oil/vinegar dressing and toss gently.
  3. Store in Fridge 4-6 hours minimum before serving.
  4. This is great as a side dish, or top with a grilled chicken breast or steak for a great main dish.
kalechips
Yum!  Kale!

Serves 6-8 as a side or 3-4 as a main dish.

If you are vegan, substitute honey for agave and use vegan cheese crumbles of your choice.

11/18/19 Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I didn’t make the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes I had hoped to make last week, but I am eyeing them for this week’s baking, in addition to chocolate chip cookies (always the kiddos favorite).

This week is starting off with a trip to the YMCA for yoga and some time at child watch. There is a lot going on over the next few weeks around here, so I’m trying to get us into a new routine with meal planning and getting more exercise for all of us.

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 update it after every shopping trip), 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 (well, the big kid is, but the rest of us aren’t), 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 1/2 and 1/2  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. Last week I did a lot of veggie prep and I’ve got a bunch of bags of veggies in the freezer for meals this week.

  • Monday: breakfast for dinner: Everything bagels with various toppings (options will include scrambled eggs with cheese, avocado slices, bacon crumbles, sliced sharp cheddar, cream cheese), and smoothies.
  • Tuesday: Leftover Kale and Butternut Squash Risotto from Dinnerly (It made a HUGE amount). This time I’ll be adding bacon crumbles and serving it with fresh rolls.
  • Wednesday:  Chicken fajitas with onions and peppers, rice, and refried beans (quesadillas as the main dish for my vegetarian kiddo)
  • Thursday:  Veggie Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Friday:  Date Night (Dinner out- Woo)
  • Saturday:  Pizza time (also salad will be served)
  • Sunday:   Leftovers, as per usual

I had someone ask me how we always have enough of anything for leftovers. I always cook enough of the main dish for 6-8 servings, that way we have leftovers for lunches later in the week or leftover night. And really when you make stuff like soup, it’s hard to make a batch of soup that only feeds 4 people.

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

Recipe: Not Your Average Taco Salad

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My Taco Salad is a little different than most, there is no big, greasy, deep-fried shell. Instead, I use tortilla chips as a garnish. This was one of the first recipes I concocted after we committed healthy eating about 10 years ago. It’s very filling and has tons of veggies.

There are all kinds of changes and modifications that can be made to accommodate any dietary concerns.

Not Your Average Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground meat of your choice (Beef, chicken, turkey, or pork, or a mixture)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or you can use 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
  • 1/4 cup water (or however much the packet tells you to use)
  • 2 cups Tortilla chips (I like these flax seed Tortilla chips)
  • 2 cups (per person) Salad greens of your choice

With the following ingredients, use as much as you’d like, I prep 1/2 cup-1 cup per person:

  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped bell peppers (I usually use one red, one yellow, and one orange pepper for color/variety)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cucumber slices
  • Avocado slices or guacamole, whichever you prefer
  • Shredded or crumbled cheese
  • Black Olive Slices
  • Jalapeno peppers Slices
  • Sour Cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Salsa of your choice

Directions:

  1. Brown meat, set aside.
  2. Using any residual fat in the pan, and adding olive oil, cook onions until clear and soft.
  3. Add meat back to pan, mix in taco seasoning and water. Cook as directed on the taco seasoning packet.
  4. Add in both cans of beans and corn, cook until heated throughout.
  5. To plate, on a dinner plate or a big bowl- arrange 2 cups greens, top with 1/4-1/2 cup meat/bean mixture, top with other veggies and 1/2 cup chips and cheese and a dollop of sour cream/sour cream.
  6. If you NEED dressing, mix a little sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt with salsa or hot sauce and top your salad.

For a vegetarian taco salad- use soy/veggie crumbles instead of meat.