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Menu Plan Monday

  • Posted on May 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

Menu Plan Monday at

So our schedule is so volatile on a weekly basis, that I’m actually thinking of using post-its for meal planning again.  I mean, it’s not like we’re eating out every night by any means, just what I cook may not look like what I planned to cook. Sometimes because, hey, I didn’t defrost meat or whatever, or sometimes because Chad had to work late and I postponed a meal he liked for a day when he could actually eat it, or sometimes because life just happens.

So this week, I’m still going to list days by the meals, but I’m not going to necessarily follow the schedule.  Hopefully, I’ll at least follow the outline of it, and cook most of these meals, haha:

Monday: Road trip food!

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken legs, au gratin potatoes, green beans

Wednesday: Dinner out.  Or Shepherd’s pie.

Thursday: Pork chops, rice, veggies

Friday: Turkey pot pie

Saturday: Ham & Cheese casserole

Sunday: Probably dinner out – Chad will be at church with us for awards, not home cooking pizza, haha.

For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!

WFMW: Quick Breakfast Ideas

  • Posted on May 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

I am usually running out the door at about a hundred miles an hour in the morning. Between having trouble getting out of bed myself, and getting the kids ready – it’s a little crazy in the mornings, and it seems like we’re always short on time.  Breakfast is the last thing on my list (the kids eat at school), and I almost never have time to eat it at home, sitting down, like a normal person.

If I miss out on breakfast at home, I can buy it at work – a breakfast burrito and soda costs a little more than $2, which isn’t bad, but adds up if I’m doing it every day.  So I try to keep some grab-and-go (or at least super quick) breakfasts on hand.  Here’s what I try to have available:

  1. Instant breakfast – I use the powder kind, and add milk.  This ends up being pretty inexpensive, and pretty low calorie, but I am starving by the time lunch rolls around.
  2. Granola bars – any kind, really.  Depending on the variety, they are low calorie as well.
  3. English muffins – usually with cream cheese or peanut butter, to help them stick to my ribs.
  4. Muffins – I’ll make a batch and freeze them, popping a frozen one in the microwave for 20-30 seconds makes it nice and warm.
  5. Breakfast burritos – I make these ahead and freeze them as well – putting them in the fridge the night before helps a lot in reducing cold spots, but the microwave can generally take them from frozen to warm pretty quickly.
  6. Fruit – because yum. I like fruit.

Generally, if I plan ahead and have some variety, I can make breakfast work.  Having quick breakfast ideas for on the go -  works for me!

You can find more Works For Me Wednesday post over at We Are THAT Family.

Menu Plan Monday: What’s new?

  • Posted on May 21, 2012 at 7:08 am

Menu Plan Monday at

New game, you guys – look at this week’s menu and see if you can tell how badly I failed at making dinner last week!  No, really, it wasn’t so much fail as – we just had a lot of leftovers to eat.  And two surprise meals with friends that didn’t fit in the plan (but were awesome). So we only ate like, one of the meals I planned (Chicken Alfredo.  finally!).  That fact, combined with the holiday weekend coming up, makes this week’s planning totally easy.

So this week:

Monday: Chicken nuggets & mac n cheese (Chad’s working late, and I don’t want to cook anything fancy without him to help with the kids)

Tuesday: Pork chops, rice, veggies

Wednesday: Dinner out.  Or Shepherd’s pie.

Thursday: Ham & Cheese casserole

Friday: Dinner out, or sandwiches (on the road)

Saturday: Out of town

Sunday: Out of town

For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!

Menu Plan Monday: Progress?

  • Posted on May 14, 2012 at 7:34 am

Menu Plan Monday at

We can’t become what we need by remaining what we are.
 ~ Max Dupree

So, last week – was better.  Especially the first half of the week.  I moved a couple of meals around due to my own lack of preparation defrosting things, but we made it.  And of course, the end of the week we ate out a little more than I had planned, due to Mother’s day, and Date Night (yay!).

Here’s the plan for this week:

Monday: Chicken Alfredo, French Bread, salad (I am so sick of pushing this meal off – we have to eat it tonight, because I don’t want to have to put it on the plan another week in a row!)

Tuesday: Pork chops, rice, veggies

Wednesday: Dinner out.  Or Shepherd’s pie.

Thursday: Chicken noodle soup, biscuits

Friday: Ham & Cheese casserole

Saturday: BBQ Chicken, mac-n-cheese, baked beans

Sunday: Frozen pizza, for the last week of Awana (we have awards after Memorial Day, but this is our last “real” night – and thus we are not locked into the pizza-on-Sunday-night routine over the summer.  But we might stick with it anyway, cause it’s easy).

And, because I love you guys, here’s my recipe for Shepherd’s pie (the super easy edition).  Forgive me, I don’t really measure and my recipes are super flexible…

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 2 adults, 2 picky kids, + leftovers.

1 lb ground beef

brown gravy mix (I use tony’s, but whatever is cheap)

1 cup frozen mixed veggies, defrosted (or leftover veggies).

potato flakes (enough for 4 servings)

milk, water, butter as needed for potato flakes

1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar, but whatever we have shredded works fine.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Brown the ground beef.  Sometimes I do this ahead of time and freeze it, which makes for a really quick meal.
  3. Drain and rinse.  Put it back in the pan.
  4. Add gravy mix, veggies, and about 1/2 cup water.  Stir.
  5. Simmer for a couple of minutes to let the favors mix. (this is really so you have time to cook the potatoes)
  6. While simmering, prepare potato flacks according to the package.  If you have real mashed potatoes left over from something, just warm them up.
  7. Put the meat/gravy mixture (this should be thick) in a 9×9 casserole dish, top with potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until gravy is bubbling and cheese is melted.
  9. Serve!

My kids, for the most part, will eat this without picking the veggies out.  And I’ve found you can sneak some pureed veggies into the gravy, if you’re slick about it.

And now you know how I cook – mostly by the seat of my pants. :-)

Menu Plan Monday: Fluttering is still Flying

  • Posted on May 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
~Chinese Proverb

So I have been a Flylady person off and on over the years – I don’t follow the system exactly (or at all sometimes), but I’ve found most of her principles are right on – things like setting a timer and workign for 15 minutes (so helpful), jumping in where we are, and using routines. So I incorporate those things into my own system as much as possible.

One thing she tells her followers, when they mention that they aren’t really “flying” (following the system), but only “fluttering” (trying) – is that fluttering is still flying.  In other words, don’t give up just because you aren’t doing it exactly right.  Keep going, and you’ll get there eventually.

So that’s my motto for this week, because last week was kind of a meal planning fail.  Some of it was stuff  I didn’t know in time to plan for, and some of it was just fail on my part.  Here’s what last week looked like:

Monday: I actually have no idea what we ate.  Not what was planned, probably sandwiches.

Tuesday: Put bread in the oven to go with Chicken Alfredo – and then the neighbors invited us out for a picnic lunch with their church at the park.  So I took the bread out and we went and joined them, and the kids had a blast.

Wednesday: Ate Long John Silvers. Sort of the plan, dinner out at least.

Thursday: Was going to cook tacos, realized at the very last minute that we had no ground beef and I hadn’t been to the store.  Had a good cry, because it was that kind of week, and fixed tuna helper instead.

Friday: Soft tacos.  Finally.

Saturday: Homemade hamburgers.  Since we had bought fresh hamburger the night before, haha.

Sunday: Frozen pizza (huzzah! on plan!)

This week, I’m hoping to be a little more on target.  I looked through the pantry and freezer this time, to see what we had on hand, and we already went out and did the shopping (yesterday).  So, here’s the plan!

Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.comMonday: Manwich (to use up the hamburger buns)

Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo, French Bread, salad

Wednesday: Dinner out.

Thursday: Homemade pizza (to use up some tomato sauce)

Friday: Pork chops, rice, veggies

Saturday: Chicken noodle soup in the crock pot, homemade biscuits

Sunday: Free day – because it’s mother’s day, we’re not locked into the Daddy-cooks-frozen-pizza-while-everyone-is-at-Awana plan, so we’ll do something else. Maybe go out – or not, I’m sure the lines will be long, lol.

For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!

MPM: Let’s try this again

  • Posted on April 30, 2012 at 7:53 am

Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.comSo, I totally, completely fell off the meal-planning band wagon for a couple of weeks.  I mean, really.  And you know what?  It was awful.  We ate out a few more times that we should have, but mostly it was just a scramble every night to get *something* on the table to eat.  So here it goes again, and hopefully I can stick to it.

Monday: Chicken Alfredo, French Bread, salad

Tuesday: Soft tacos

Wednesday: Eat at Sam’s Club (or someplace out, at any rate).

Thursday: BBQ chicken, baked beans, veggies

Friday: Italian-Style Ham Primavera

Saturday: Chicken noodle soup in the crock pot, homemade biscuits

Sunday: Frozen pizza

For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!

MPM: Week 2

  • Posted on March 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

Menu Plan Monday at

Last week, we did pretty good.  Wednesday we ended up at Wendy’s instead of Sam’s club, due to a time crunch at Chad’s office, and Sunday we had Little Caesar’s instead of frozen because Chad forgot to put the pizzas in the oven while I was at Awana, haha.  But other than that, victory!  Here’s what’s up this week:

Monday: Grilled chicken breast, biscuits, and green beans

Tuesday: Chicken sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, and corn

Wednesday: Eat at Sam’s Club (we’re trying again…).

Thursday: Ham & cheese pockets (homemade!), salad

Friday: Shepherd’s Pie

Saturday: BBQ – smoking something yummy for my birthday

Sunday: Frozen pizza

Breakfasts and lunches stay the same…

For more Menu Plan Monday posts, head over to OrgJunkie!

WFMW: Easy Lunch Boxes

  • Posted on March 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have been trying to pack lunches every day for a couple of reasons – one, it save a ton of money, as the cafe in my building is not cheap, and two, I can plan ahead to make healthy eating choices (at least in theory).  So – I’m a big fan of leftovers for lunches, because leftovers are essentially “free” (basically because I have no idea how to cook for the number of people in our family) and because they are yummy.

But.  Packaging them can be a pain in the behind. And getting all the parts together to make a meal – veggies, starches, and protein – is difficult, since there may be more of one left from a meal than others (I’m looking at you, veggies).

I looked everywhere around town for divided containers that I could pack in my lunch box – I have a Tupperware one, but it’s a little bigger than what I need – but I could not find anything, anywhere.

And then. Then I discovered the world of Bento boxes, and all the little pieces and parts that go with them.  I knew that would be perfect for me – except for keeping up with the pieces.  And also, they tend to be a little expensive.  So I decided to shop around.

I found these on Amazon:

EasyLunchboxes 3-compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers

Ah. Mazing. It was totally, exactly what I needed.  The three compartments are the perfect size for meals, and the big section is even big enough for a sandwich.  The middle section is the perfect size for a single serving Mott’s applesauce. The whole thing is freezer/microwave/dishwasher safe.  I pack traditional leftover-type lunches in these, but they would totally work for cute bento lunches as well.

They are not leak-proof, and if you turn them on their side they will leak any liquids in there. FYI.  But – one of the reviewers on Amazon said you could use Press’n'seal wrap on the sections to stop this – haven’t needed it, so I haven’t tried it.  For your standard veggies/casseroles/etc, I haven’t had a problem yet.

See how cute my lunches are, even without heart shaped boiled eggs and dinosaur shaped sandwiches?

Tater-tot casserole, green beans, and applesauce

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas

Easy Lunch Boxes work for me :)

You can find more Works For Me Wednesday post over at We Are THAT Family.

Just so you know – No one paid me to give my opinions, and I didn’t get any free stuff.  BUT – the link to the lunch boxes is an Amazon Affiliate link.