Monday, November 05, 2018

Menu Plan November 4 - 10

How'd everybody do on their menus last week?  I did a few switches but for the most part we stuck to it.  We ended up picking up Taco Bell on Tuesday because we made a last-minute trip to the pumpkin patch rather than getting our carving pumpkins at the store.  And, I switched Friday and Saturday's dinners because I didn't get the enchiladas made in the morning so I needed something quicker after Zumba class on Friday night. 

Funny story - I told my husband we were supposed to have enchiladas Friday night and he said he didn't like those (which I know isn't true).  I said I was making the creamy kind, not the red sauce kind (I've never found a red sauce that didn't taste like a can so I don't make that kind).  I asked if he liked those and he couldn't remember.  I said (with a smile on my face) "well I'll just make them and you can tell me how gross they are."  He ate them, and then ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday, so I think they were acceptable, LOL.

And so, without further ado, here's this week's menu (also posted to Menu Plan Monday at

Sunday:  White chicken chili (I used this as a base recipe)
Monday:  Leftover chili
Tuesday:  Bean and Cheese Burritos (something like this)
Wednesday:  Chicken Divan over rice 
Thursday:  Rice ball casserole
Friday:  Boboli pizza
Saturday:  movie night at my sister-in-laws means a bunch of junk food for dinner!

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Menu Plan October 28 - November 3

I've been to the grocery store twice this weekend, and spent a ton of money, but did I get the food I need for my meal plan?  Naturally, no...I was focused on Halloween festivities (and substitute festivities as we missed the family party due to illness). 

Fortunately I did a quick switcheroo on my running meal plan (that thing is a godsend - why didn't I do it years ago?) and all I need to do is run and buy bananas while my daughter is at Sunday School this morning and then I don't need to REALLY shop until my day off on Wednesday!

So here's the current plan...and I should note that we're going pork heavy in the upcoming weeks as we've entered the USE UP ALL THE PORK time of the year, as the new pigs will be ready soon.

Sunday:  Sausage hash
Monday:  Leftover pizza roll-ups
Tuesday: Chicken divan over rice
Wednesday: Sausages and Tater Tots (quick Halloween food!)
Thursday:  Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry
Friday:  Chicken Enchiladas (maybe.  If I get my act together and can make it ahead of time)
Saturday:  Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

What's on your menu?  This will be linked to Menu Plan Monday at

Have a great one!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Party Food Oct. 27

Tonight is our annual pumpkin carving party with my sister-in-law's family.  Not sure who else is coming (if anyone) this year, but it will be a great time! 

Last night I went to start preparing food, and Pinterest was down.  Now THAT is a Halloween horror story if ever I heard one!  How on earth would I get my recipes???  Fortunately, through the magic of Google, I pieced it all back together.  But it reinforced that I need to be saving tried and true recipes on my computer, not just out in Pinterest-land. 

Normally I try to go all out and make some fun Halloween-themed food for this party, but the funeral for the father of a couple of my friends is today, so I'm keeping it simple.  Here's the plan (my sister-in-law is also cooking a bunch of things so this isn't all we'll be eating!):

Pimento cheese with crackers
Spinach Dip with bread (tip - use the Spring Vegetable soup mix instead of the regular vegetable - it  is so much better in this dip!)
Pizza Roll-Ups (just pepperoni and cheese this time)
Veggie Tray with Ranch dip
Chocolate Chip Dip (I use this recipe but I don't make it into a ball) with Scooby Snacks

Carb heavy and delicious - just the way party food should be! 

What are you cooking up for Halloween?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Menu Plan October 14 - 20

I realized a couple of days ago that I totally forgot to post the menu for this past week!  Wouldn't have mattered much because we deviated a bit...but here's what we did eat!

Sunday:  Ham and Broccoli Impossible Pie
Monday:  Chili Dogs
Tuesday:  Panda Express
Wednesday:  Skillet fried pork and potatoes
Thursday:  Chicken and rice
Friday:  Leftovers for the win!
Saturday:  Instant Pot "roast" chicken with mushroom risotto

A note about that risotto - I'm totally out of white wine, so I substituted apple cider.  It was DELICIOUS!  I also made that in my Instant Pot.  I made Instant Pot spaghetti for lunch today (and now have five lunches' worth of leftovers for my daughter to take to school!). And I'm cooking dinner tonight in my Instant Pot...normally I just make ingredients with it - beans, rice, stock, stuff like that.  But apparently I'm in a meal-making mood these days.

My daughter made the chicken and rice.  She's been working on her "Simple Meals" badge for Girl Scouts.  She was tired and cranky and didn't want to make it and I said "look.  It literally takes TEN MINUTES to put chicken and rice together.  You can do it!"  So she did it.  And then she remembered she doesn't like the chicken in chicken and rice.  Sigh...

Today I went to THREE grocery stores.  I have a new routine - on Sundays I drop my daughter off at Sunday School and then have about an hour to myself before I have to pick her up (yes, I could go to adult Bible study, but I don't, for reasons which are my own).  I used to just go to Starbucks and drink coffee and read my book, but I'm trying to scale back on all forms of eating out, so the coffee had to go (and I just realized I'm a cup short on my coffee drinking today, so maybe that's why I've been cranky all afternoon, but I digress...).  Last weekend I decided to check out Grocery Outlet and wow, it's so much cleaner than it used to be!  I haven't been in ages.  So I went back again today.  I took my list and grabbed a few things that I knew I needed plus a few things that were too good to pass up.  Then on the way back I decided to check out the Super Mercado, which I also haven't been to in a long time.  Then this afternoon I went to Fred Meyer (where I completely blew my grocery budget and bought very little that wasn't on my list - I really need to be shopping at Winco).  But, we are stocked up for the week and just about out of money for the month so I'll be getting creative moving forward!

And, without further ado, here's the menu for this week:

Sunday:  Cube Steak and Gravy over mashed potatoes
Monday:  Pasta Salad
Tuesday:  Irish Sundaes
Wednesday:  Tuna casserole
Thursday:  Chicken Lazone, maybe with cornbread or biscuits.  I haven't decided.
Friday:  Chicken strips and salads
Saturday:  Beef and Noodles (made with ground beef)

What's on your menu for the week?  Remember to visit Menu Plan Monday at for tons of great ideas!  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Menu Plan Sept. 30 - October 6

I made it through one of the busiest weeks of my year!  Woo hoo!  Last week's menu showed that my daughter and husband would eat out on Thursday.  Instead, my daughter made dinner (I was working at a fundraiser) as part of a Girl Scout cooking badge she's working on.  So there was that money saved! 

Here's the plan for this week (which is another busy one at work but at least I get to leave on time every day): has so many amazing menu ideas!

Sunday:  Sausage and potato soup
Monday:  Hamburgers/Pork burgers (leftover patties that I froze) and fries
Tuesday:  Barbacoa soft tacos (also leftovers that I froze)
Wednesday:  Jambalaya (Zatarains)
Thursday:  Garlic noodles with chicken
Friday:  Shipwreck
Saturday:  Swedish Meatballs and Spaetzle

What's on your menu this week? 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Menu Plan September 23-29

We are entering one of the two busiest weeks of the year for me at work.  I'm thankful for my meal plan because that's one less thing I need to think about!  Since I had it done well in advance, I was able to grocery shop on my lunch hour last Thursday, the day I work at home, which was fantastic because I was gone most of the weekend on a Girl Scout campout with my daughter.  Like last weekend when I was out of town, I got to come home and actually stay here instead of having to run back out to the grocery store!  Planning for the win!

Later in the week there are two meals out.  I'm noticing from the budget that we're starting to eat out less and less.  This is great because we're definitely saving money and eating healthier food.  But, I'll still rely on it when we need to!  I'm in fundraising and we have an auction Thursday night.  I'll see if my daughter wants to cook (she's working on a Girl Scout cooking badge), but it's just as likely that they'll want to go to Panda Express because I don't like it as much as they do, so they're happy to go when I'm not around.   Friday is Grandparents' Day at school, and my parents always have dinner with us afterward so they don't have to sit in rush hour traffic for two hours to get home.  But...I have to be at a conference downtown, so I'll be home late. parents will bring my daughter home, my husband will stop and pick up take-and-bake pizza on his way home, they'll cook it when they're ready, and I'll eat some whenever I get there!

Here's the plan for this week:

Remember to visit for many more ideas!

Sunday:  Chili and Cornbread
Monday:  Sausages and Tater Tots
Tuesday:  Chicken Taquitos
Wednesday:  Skillet meal
Thursday:  Take-out, most likely
Friday: Papa Murphy's

What's on your plan for the week?  

Monday, September 17, 2018

Menu Plan September 16 - 22

I may have mentioned that I'm now keeping a running list of menu plans on my computer.  It goes out a couple of weeks, and I note recipes that I have most of the ingredients for, that sound good to me, or that my family requests.  Because I'm working into the future, I can easily rearrange and adjust as requests are made or as I encounter ingredients that need to be used up.  Well, that menu list totally saved me this week!

My daughter and I left after school on Friday and spent the weekend with my side of the family at a lake cabin that my grandfather built.  The cabin is no longer in the family, but my parents made arrangements with the owners for us all to go spend some time there to celebrate my nephew's birthday. 

Corner of the cabin with the lake behind

Having a menu plan already made up for the week meant that I could do my grocery shopping for this week on Thursday when I bought the food I'd be contributing to the weekend.  It was such a great feeling to get home at 5:00 last night and not have to unload the car, turn around, and go back out to the grocery store! 

I was also able to throw together a quick and simple dinner with some of the leftover ingredients from the weekend.  One of my contributions was flat bread pizzas for lunch on Saturday (I also made a fruit salad for Sunday), and I had a mixture of green onions, peppers, and mushrooms already all chopped up and ready to go.  I got a small package of chicken sausage out of the freezer, cooked and sliced it, cooked some rotini, and sauteed the leftover veggies with some more onions and mushrooms added.  Then I mixed it all together with a little pasta water and added a few red pepper flakes for kick, topped with shredded parmesan cheese, and called it dinner!  It's something I call "pizza noodles" because it has all the flavors we like on pizza.  I used to put tomatoes in, too, but my daughter doesn't care for cooked tomatoes.  I also left out the pizza seasoning this time because those flavors were in the chicken sausage.  It was delicious! has so many great menu ideas!

Here's the menu for this week:

Sunday:  pizza noodles (see above)
Monday:  pot pies (frozen - hubby will cook these while we're at my daughter's piano lesson so we can quickly eat before her swimming lesson)
Tuesday:  pork and cabbage stir fry
Wednesday: chicken paprikash over baked potatoes
Thursday:  sour cream pork chops with noodles
Friday:  beef and broccoli lo mein (this recipe is new to us but sounds great!
Saturday:  My daughter and I will be at a Girl Scout campout so my husband is on his own.  He'll probably go out. 

What's on your menu this week?  Have a great one!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Menu Plan September 9 - 15

I know it's only the 9th but it already feels like September is flying by.  Now, if only the fall weather would hurry up and get here! 

I have to say I am quite impressed with how good we've been at sticking to the menu plan lately.  This week all the after school activities start, plus my daughter and I are leaving town next Friday for the weekend, so I've lined up some quick and easy favorites for the week ahead.

Visit for Menu Plan Monday and tons of ideas!

Today:  Cube Steak, baked potatoes, tomato salad.
Monday:  Chicken strips and cold salads
Tuesday:  Chicken stir fry
Wednesday: Baked Penne
Thursday: Instant pot "roast" chicken
Friday:  Out
Saturday: Family dinner

What's your go-to when time is tight and you need to feed your family a healthy dinner?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Homemade Yogurt in the Cooler

My current grocery shopping goal is to plan two weeks ahead and shop once.  I did a big shop over the weekend but got home and realized I forgot the yogurt for our smoothies.  Then I remembered that I used to make the yogurt all the time!  It's so easy - it takes 10-11 hours but just a few minutes of hands-on time here and there.  So, I made a half gallon for about half the cost of buying it in the store (I've been buying milk from a local dairy - if I'd used milk from the grocery store it would have been even cheaper).

To make half a gallon of yogurt:

You need a half gallon of milk and 2 T. of plain yogurt. Your starter yogurt should just be made with milk (or milk and cream) and live cultures - don't use anything sweetened, flavored, or with gelatin.  It won't work right.  

1.  Put milk in a lidded bowl (I use the Pampered Chef Batter Bowl). 

2.  With the lid off, heat in the microwave to 180 degrees (Fahrenheit). This takes about 12 minutes in my microwave, but I do in three minute bursts so I can stir it regularly and check.  You can also do this on the stovetop in a large pot but I don't want to babysit it that much.

3.  Let cool to between 110 and 115 degrees.  Stir regularly (every 10 minutes or so) to prevent a skin from forming at the top of the yogurt (no need to remove it, just stir it back in).  This takes about an hour. While it cools, get your starter yogurt out of the fridge to come to room temperature.

4.  Stir a few tablespoons of the warm milk into your starter yogurt to thin it out, then stir that into the bowl of milk, mixing thoroughly.

5.  Put the lid on the bowl and put it in a cooler.  Pour enough hot water in to go 1/2 - 2/3 of the way up the side of the bowl.  Your hottest tap water should be fine for this. 

6.  Put the lid on the cooler and cover it with blankets (I put it on a twin size blanket so that it can wrap all the way around, then put another small blanket on top).  Let stand for 8 - 10 hours, until thick. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Easy Creamy Mushroom Soup

We accidentally bought four pounds of mushrooms this week.  Accidentally, because when I told my daughter to go pick out "a bag of mushrooms," I was thinking of the mushroom bags at Fred Meyer, but we were shopping at Winco, which offers actual small shopping bags for mushrooms, and they're about twice as big as the Fred Meyer bags.  She dutifully filled the bag (no wonder she took so long!) and I didn't have the heart to make her put them back since she did exactly what I asked.

So...we're using mushrooms this week.  I already had two recipes that called for them, and I'll saute some in butter and freeze them for future meals, but she also asked me to make mushroom soup.  I found a recipe online that sounded good, but, as you know if you've read this blog for any length of time, I'm not capable of leaving well enough alone.  And so I tweaked it.  Significantly.  Beyond recognition.  And it's delicious. 

Easy Creamy Mushroom Soup

4T butter
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (if the mushrooms are very large cut them in thirds and then slice)
1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme (I actually used three that were each about 3" long)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 c. chicken broth, divided
6 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. half and half

In a 3 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and mushrooms are tender.  Add thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 1/2 cups chicken stock.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling.

Combine the cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth, stirring until smooth.  Stir into soup mixture.  Continue stirring until thickened.  Reduce heat to low; stir in half and half and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Makes three servings.

And now I have to go make another batch because there are no leftovers for a certain 9-year-old's lunchbox thermos this week.  😀