10/12/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays, but yesterday was a busy day (swimming reservation at the Y, a special needs conference, and lots of playtime), so I didn’t have a chance to post.

It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’m hitting up the store this morning for some last-minute items that I thought we had (note to self: Do not put empty cereal box back in the cupboard). I’m thinking about making a batch of cookies today to have a sweet dessert for the kids.

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 3 weeks! 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 You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.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.

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:   Salsa Chicken and veggies ( I didn’t end up making it last week like I had planned)
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday:  Chick’n nuggets (vegetarian nugs for our buddy) and fruit
  • Wednesday:   Sausage and Peppers in the Crockpot, noodles, and veggies
  • Thursday: Chicken Tika Masala, rice, veggies
  • 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?

10/5/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays, but yesterday was a busy day, so I didn’t have a chance to post.

It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I didn’t have a chance to shop over the weekend, so this morning after school drop off, I’m hitting up Food4Less for a few things. I stocked up on fresh fruit last week (there was a produce giveaway locally, and that filled both fruit bowls). Big Kid has requested home made apple sauce, so I’m going to make it this morning as well as Kodiak Chocolate Muffins.  The free school lunches that our school is providing gives us some yummy stuff the kids like (baby carrots, milk, and apple slices to name a few), and the stuff that they don’t care for or contains meat we share with some of our friends who have kiddos that aren’t able to stop and pick up free lunches.

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.

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:  Leftover Extravaganza
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday:  Pancakes and fruit
  • Wednesday:   Patty Melts made with Veggie Burgers
  • Thursday: Salsa Chicken and veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner  (I’ve been itching to make blueberry waffles with vanilla ice cream)

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?

9/28/2020 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.

As I posted on Instagram yesterday, the big kid and I hit up Sprouts and Food4less yesterday to pick up produce and a few others things (milk and butter) to round out what we already had on-hand. The free school lunches that our school is providing gives us some yummy stuff the kids like (baby carrots, milk, and apple slices to name a few), and the stuff that they don’t care for or contains meat we share with some of our friends who have kiddos that aren’t able to stop and pick up free lunches.

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.

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:  Leftover Extravaganza
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday:  Bean, Rice, and Cheese Bowls (I’ll post the recipe this week)
  • Wednesday:  Kofta Meatballs, Rice, Salad, Hummus
  • Thursday: Cheesy Ravioli and Veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner (Probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad)

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?

Slow Cooker Recipe: Sausage and Peppers!

This recipe is dead simple and so tasty! The best part is you can use any kind of Dinner sausage you want. We used Italian Sausages (made with pork), but you can use whatever you like (including veggie sausages if you are meatless).

You can use fresh or frozen peppers and onions (Yes, you can buy frozen peppers and onions at the store- They are often branded as “Fajita Mix”), it’s really up to you.

And you can load your yumminess onto a hoagie roll, top with cheese and chow down, or top a bed of pasta or Zoodles- It’s really up to you.

The best part is this recipe makes a lot, so there are always leftovers!

Sausage and Peppers Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Dinner Sausages (Italian or your choice)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 20-ish ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 T Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In your slow cooker, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Turn up to high, remove the lid and cook for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Serve on a roll/bun, on pasta or zoodles.
  5. OPTIONAL- Top each serving with cheese.

9/13/2020 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.

Tomorrow the big kid goes back to physical (in person) school. The Special Education classes are going back first, and they get the entire campus to themselves for about a week. Big Kid is super excited to see his friends and show off his new masks. He has a new hand sanitizer for his backpack too.

I’ve been picking up school/lunch snacks over the past few weeks and hiding them in the back of the cupboard, so we are all set for tomorrow!

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.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being (Peanut butter sandwiches and baguettes toasted with garlic butter are high on the list as of late). I may make up a cheese pizza and serve that for a few lunches during the week with apple slices (or apple sauce), cheez-its, and milk (as well as some sort of dessert- I picked up a box of Ghiradelli Brownie Mix at Costco a few weeks back, and I’ve been making a pan of brownies once or twice a week. My secret is to use milk and coconut oil instead of water and vegetable oil).

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:  Sausage & Peppers (in the crockpot)
  • Monday:  Salad and Avocado toast (We have a bunch of avocados)
  • Tuesday:  Bean, Rice, and Cheese Bowls
  • Wednesday:  Chinese takeout (I have coupons)
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Breakfast for Dinner (Probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad)
  • 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?

New Recipe: Baked Tortellini

00169 (1).jpgThis recipe is dead simple. Make it as complicated as you want. Use jarred sauce, make your own from scratch, or take a jar of sauce and church it up yourself. Whatever.

Frozen pasta, fresh pasta, heck, you can even use the shell stable/dried tortellini. You could use ravioli if you wanted.

You can make this Vegetarian, Vegan, Chock Full o’ Meat, Gluten-Free, it’s up to you.

This is one of those recipes that’s a big hit at potlucks too. It’s pretty inexpensive, and we always have the ingredients in one form or another to make a batch.

Baked Tortellini

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of Red Pasta Sauce.  I usually make a big batch of this sauce and portion some out just for this recipe. If you use jarred sauce, I recommend  you add 3-4 cups of veggies (carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, chopped/diced tomatoes, etc.)
  • 22-30 ounces of Tortellini/Ravioli, cooked per the package directions (this will probably take a couple packages)
  • 2 Cups Italian Cheese blend

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta per the package directions. Drain.
  2. Pour pasta sauce into a baking dish (I use a 9×13), toss cooked pasta in sauce.
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-ish minutes until food is bubbly, and cheese is brown and delicious looking.
  5. Serve with hot French Bread or Garlic Bread and a green salad.

This serves 8-10 people as a main.

 

If you are vegan, substitute in filled pasta and cheese that works for you.

1/30/2020 Free Beyond Meat Burgers at Denny’s!

beyond.jpg

Have you tried the new Beyond Burgers? We had them for dinner a few weeks ago and they are really good.

Denny’s is offering a FREE Beyond Burger with the purchase of any beverage at all participating locations on January 30 from 11am to 10pm, while supplies last. As the first restaurant group within the family dining category to offer a 100% plant-based protein option made with Beyond Meat to its menu, Denny’s is meeting guests’ desire to move toward a flexitarian diet.

The Beyond Burger at Denny’s features a 100% plant-based “meat” patty topped with sliced tomatoes and onions, lettuce, pickles, American cheese, and All-American sauce on a multigrain bun. If you want it vegan, skip the cheese, sauce, and bun and have it lettuce wrapped!

Not all locations are participating, so I suggest calling the location you plan on visiting in advance to double-check. For more information about this deal, click here.

1/27/2020 Meal Plan Monday

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgThis week we’ve got so much going on, We’re doing a lot of super low key/easy meals, and relying on a couple meals from the freezer!

My shopping week for this week was small:

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Bagels
  • Avocados
  • Snacks for school lunches (Goldfish, a batch of cookies, etc)

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: 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.

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.

IMG_9133.JPG
Our Meal Plan/ Shopping list area in the Kitchen Command Center

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. We’ve got a bunch of stuff in the freezer, as I’ve been portioning out 2-3 adult-sized entree portions from several meals a week and freezing them for later meals.

  • Monday: Waffles, eggs, sausage
  • Tuesday: Meat Pies, Green Salad
  • Wednesday: Frozen Entrees
  • Thursday: Chicken Chili
  • Friday:   Veggie Stir Fry & Brown Rice
  • Saturday: Pizza & fruit salad
  • Sunday:  Leftover fiesta!

 

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

1/20/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgLast week’s veggie prep really has us all set for a week full of yummy dinners! I’m hitting the store this afternoon to buy some stuff for kid’s lunches, and a few things that will round out meals for the week. My shopping list includes:

  • AP Flour (Probably a 10 or 25 lb bag- it will last for a while)
  • Avocados
  • Cheddar Cheese (block to be cut into pieces for kiddo snacks)
  • Milk
  • Coffee
  • Juice boxes
  • White Sugar/Raw Sugar (for baking)

Everything else on the menu for this week is made of stuff that we have on hand. Thanks to Brooke from Crying Out Loud for sharing some of her yummy goodies from her Porch Light box this week too.

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: 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.

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.

IMG_9133.JPGFor 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. We’ve got a bunch of stuff in the freezer, as I’ve been portioning out 2-3 adult-sized entree portions from several meals a week and freezing them for later meals.

  • Monday: Chicken Chili topped with cheese, cornbread, and strawberries
  • Tuesday: Fritatta and green salad
  • Wednesday: Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce and pasta
  • Thursday: Pancakes, sausage, & eggs
  • Friday:   Grilled Cheese and Soup
  • Saturday: Home made pizza
  • Sunday:  Leftover fiesta!

 

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

 

Crockpot Chili Recipe (GF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

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Easy, Delicious, and Healthy!

I realized the other day when searching for my chili recipe on my blog so I could share it with someone on Facebook, that I have not posted my chili recipe, ever! Which is weird, because I make it at least once a month.

What I love about making chili in the crockpot is that you can use either fresh, frozen, or canned veggies, it really depends on what you have in your house, and what your budget is.

Because I get vegetables and fruit twice a month at our local co-op, frequently I will have fresh vegetables that I have diced or prepared and put into Ziploc bags to store in the freezer. It ensures that we have nutritious vegetables with no additives at our fingertips throughout the month.

Another great thing about this chili recipe is you can make it vegetarian, you can put meat in it, or you can make a vegan! This recipe is naturally gluten-free.

Slow Cooker Chili

  • One large onion diced
  • Two bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cups tomatoes. You can either use canned tomatoes, or if you have fresh tomatoes available you can quarter them.  No need to peel or seed them.
  • Two cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 T. Avocado oil
  • 1 pound of meat (optional) I usually use ground pork, but other good choices include ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or bite-sized pieces of stew meat. If you want a meat substitute, I like these crumbles from Beyond Meat.
  • One can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3T chili powder
  • 1t cumin
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Optional, but delicious:

1 cup corn niblets. If you use canned corn, drain and rinse it prior to adding.

If you do not care for black or kidney beans, you can swap in Northern beans, or navy beans.

Directions

  1. Personally, I like to brown the meat on the stove prior to adding it to the slow cooker. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat avocado oil and brown meat until thoroughly cooked/browned.
  2. Add onions and peppers, cook until onions are clear and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often until garlic is fragrant about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. If your pan has a lot of brown food remnants on the bottom, I recommend taking 2 to 4 tablespoons of liquid (you can use water) and pour it in the pan stirring and scraping all the yummy brown stuff off the bottom. This is where all the flavor lives.
  5. Pour all of the ingredients from the pot into your slow cooker.
  6. Add remaining ingredients, place lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

I love serving chili with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

This recipe is incredibly versatile.

If you don’t have fresh onions and peppers, you can grab a bag of fajita mix out of the freezer (which is pre-chopped onions and bell peppers).

If you don’t have fresh tomatoes (which let’s face it a lot of us don’t) you can use canned tomatoes. You can use whole canned tomatoes you can use diced, you can use chopped, whatever kind of tomatoes you have in your cupboard.

Use whatever kind of canned beans you have on hand. One time I made chili and I used chickpeas! And it turned out delicious!

If you don’t have cumin and chili powder in your cupboard but you have chili seasoning, use that instead.

I find the chili is a great go-to meal for when you are at the end of the month, and you are low on funds but you have lots of canned goods and frozen veggies.

If you were strapped for time, you don’t have to brown your meat, you can just put it in the crockpot and pour all the other ingredients over top, cook it, and let it cook. Just make sure to break up the meat (if you’re using ground meat) with a spoon prior to serving.