Meal Plan Monday 11/5/18

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I’m back home from Wow Summit, and I had 4 bags full of goodies- most of it was food- no lie! So this week is going to be incorporating a lot of the new foods into our lives and seeing how we like them.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: 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 the grown ups, 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.

Monday: DIY Ramen Night with ramen kits I got from Wow Summit. One is Forbidden Rice Ramen, and the other is Red Miso Ramen. We’ll add poached eggs, bean sprouts, scallions and Asian veggie patties from Aldi’s. I love DIY Ramen nights- it’s a great way to have a yummy, filling vegetarian (or even Vegan) meal. I’ll be writing more about how you can do your own DIY Ramen bar at a dinner party soon.

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches and soup, watermelon slices

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner! probably egg scrambles with bacon, veggies, cheese, and whole wheat toast (or whatever bread I have in the freezer)

Thursday: Fruit salad bar (I have a lot of fruit right now- it’s time to make a huge fruit salad), yogurt or cottage cheese, and granola.

Friday: Steak. I really want a steak right now, so I’m planning on pan seared steak with caramelized onions, and a red wine pan demiglace. Roasted veggies, twice baked potatoes, green salad, and popovers. This is a super simple, inexpensive dinner- Less than $20 for a steak dinner for three (Big kid doesn’t eat meat).  I will write about making a rocking steak dinner on the cheap soon.

Saturday: DIY Pizza night

Sunday: Leftovers

 

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

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Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I spent a bunch of time late last week cleaning out the pantry, fridge, and freezer and worked up a list of meals that we can have over the next ten days.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: 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.

Monday: Bean, Rice, and Cheese bowls, watermelon slices

Tuesday:Chicken meatballs (I’ll post my recipe later this week-it’s super simple) with BBQ sauce, herbed cauliflower rice, green salad

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers, roasted brocolli, popovers (with lots of butter)

Thursday: Homemade Ramen (complete with veggies and poached eggs)

Friday: Veggie Burgers, fruit salad, butternut squash

Saturday: DIY Pizza night

Sunday: Leftovers

11/13/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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We’re scraping the bottom of the produce drawer, so I’ll be hitting up .99 Only to pick up some salads, veggies, and berries.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Potato Cheese soup and fruit

Tuesday:

  • D: breakfast for dinner- probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad

Weds:

  • D: BBQ chicken (in the crockpot), green salad, biscuits

Thursday:

  • D:  Grilled chicken and grilled veggies 

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: DIY pizza night!

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

9/18/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

We’re pretty stocked up of food for the next week or so- We’ll need milk, cream cheese, and cheese. I’ll probably hit up Costco tomorrow.

Monday:

  • D: Steak (it was a gift!), roasted broccoli, green salad, cheese toast. The kids don’t like steak, so they’ll probably have grilled cheese sandwiches on cheese toast (Lil’ Man discovered them not long ago and he told me it’s the “fancy” way to make grilled cheese).

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) This is a fav in our house. It’s healthy and inexpensive.

Weds:

  • D: Home made Red Sauce (made in the crockpot- Recipe will be posted tomorrow!) baked with cheese in Zucchini Boats. Thanks to my friend Lisa for the monster zucchini!

Thursday:

  • D:  Breakfast for dinner (probably frittata)

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D:  Home made Pizza, and fruit salad

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

We’ve got a busy week with ABA Therapy three times, a Lego Movie event, a Lego event at our local Library, and a trip to Legoland on Saturday (just me and my Lil’ Man!).  I’ve made sure to fill up our snack backpack and wash out our water bottles.

How to save money without coupons: Part Two- Produce!

Yesterday I talked about how to save money without coupons when buying meat. Today I’m going to talk about fruits and vegetables!

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There are seldom coupons for fresh fruit or vegetables.

Usually when you find coupons for either, they are lower in value or you must purchase another item (like cereal, croutons, something not super healthy or inexpensive).

Here are some ways you can incorporate fruits and vegetables into your grocery budget and diet without breaking the bank!

My number one money saving tip when it comes to produce is: Eat fruit and vegetables when they are in season. Food in season is cheaper because there is a surplus of it. 

Living in So. Cal, I’m kind of spoiled in that we can grow and eat most fruits and veggies year round. But if you live some place where it snows or has cold winters, eat produce when it’s readily available.

If you aren’t sure when certain fruits and veggies are in season, check out the Produce for Better Health Foundation website here. They have lists based on season.

Tip Number Two: If you gotta eat fruit out of season (sometimes in December, you just gotta have strawberries), buy frozen fruit. Frozen berries are so juicy and flavorful. Frozen fruit is the fruit that is too ripe to sell in stores fresh, so it’s cut up and flash frozen. It contains all of the nutrients that are found in fresh fruit.

Tip Number  Three: If you grow your own fruits, veggies or herbs: Freeze, dry, or can/preserve whatever you won’t eat right away. That way you’ll have some when the weather turns.

I love to make jam and pickles. It’s really easy and you don’t need any special equipment. We don’t grow enough tomatoes to can our own, so I pick up fruits and veggies when they are really cheap and in peak season and make jam or pickles then. And you can definitely can more than just Cucumbers!

If it is something that interests you, here are a few books that I like:

If you want to get the canning gadgets that make canning a little easier, here is the kit that I bought years ago: Back to Basics 286 5-Piece Home Canning Kit I love the funnel!

Tip Number  Four: When fruit or veggies are on sale, stock up. That may sound weird, but most produce can be frozen. With the exception of raw potatoes and lettuce I think you can clean, chop, and store pretty much any fruit or veggie in the freezer. Speaking of frozen….

Fresh produce is always the best, but a close second is frozen. Occasionally frozen veggies are on sale. If they are types/varieties you like, stock up!

Canned fruit/veggies are my last resort. Why? Because, for the most part, they are canned in syrup or juice (fruit) or salt-laden water (veggies) and they are usually cooked and some of the nutrients leech out into the liquid they are cooked/canned in, and most of the time that liquid is discarded.

HOWEVER- I love salt-free canned tomatoes in recipes for all kinds of stuff, and Lil’ Man loves him some salt-free canned green beans.  Sometimes you can find low/no salt added canned vegetables.

I have found that when I calculate price per unit (more info here), blueberries and some other fruit is cheaper at Costco! So don’t overlook your large club stores.

Tip Number Five: Check outyour local 99 Cent Store (like 99 Cents Only), produce stands, and the markdown section of your supermarket. All three usually have inexpensive produce that is good quality. It may not be the prettiest produce, but that’s ok!

How do you save money on your produce?

Crockpot Chicken Stock recipe!

Wondering what to do with the carcass of the rotisserie chicken from last nights dinner? Got in the fridge, with a little meat clinging to the bones? Here is an easy recipe that makes delish stock and a great bowl of soup!

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No rotisserie chicken? You can use your thanksgiving leftovers! Just save the bones and make sure they have SOME meat on them!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil, your choice
Two onions peeled and chopped
Four cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
Five stocks of celery cleaned and chopped
2 cups carrots chopped
4 bay leaves
One chicken carcass with at least 2 cups of meat still on the bone (chicken needs to be cooked, they were rotisserie chicken is perfect for this.)
10 cups of water
salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan or skillet melt butter or poor oil. Add all chopped vegetables except garlic.
  2. Sauté on low for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pork cooked veggies into slow cooker, top with chicken carcass, Bailey’s, salt and pepper, and water.
  5. Place lid on slow cooker, and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Turn slow cooker off, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Strain solids off, using a colander or assistive. Discard the solids, leaving behind rich, fragrant, delicious, homemade chicken stock.
  8. Stock will need to be seasoned, most likely with additional salt and pepper, and any other spices you would like. I like additional spices like Rosemary, and basil.

To turn into delicious homemade chicken soup, add 1 to 2 cups additional chopped cooked chicken (or turkey) meat, any veggies you would like, and 1 cup uncooked noodles.

Cook on low to medium for 20 minutes to half hour, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. This makes approximately 8 cups of broth, and approximately 6 to 8 servings of soup.img_9953

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Bay Leaves!

Free lunches for ALL KIDS in San Diego County!

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That looks like a pretty good lunch, right? It was free! And what you don’t see is two little boxes of raisins that Lil’ Man basically chugged (they really are nature’s candy!). Pizza, nectarine, applesauce, Apple juice, and a bag of carrots.

There were other side choices as well, including a mixed green salad, brocolli, mandarin oranges, celery, and ranch for dipping and fresh salsa too.

Here’s the deal.. It’s not a deal. The USDA sponsors the Summer Food Service Program, open to all kids aged 2-18 years. No proof of need is required, and you don’t need to sign up in advance. Just find a location near you (here– this is for San Diego County only, for all other areas, click here), show up, the kids pick their lunches, and enjoy!

Most locations offer lunch Monday-Friday at a specific time, and some locations even offer breakfast too!

This is a great way to stretch your budget over the summer (and get the kids out of the house!). Locations differ, but include schools, rec centers, and parks.