Sunday, March 31, 2019

Meal Plan March 31 - April 6

Just wrapping up spring break here in our neck of the woods.  It was a fairly normal week for us as hubby and I both had to work.  Our daughter came to work with me most mornings and then went to a Lego camp in the afternoons, which was a blast according to her!  I did take one day off since she had a dentist appointment and I'd made plans to have lunch with one of our friends. 

This coming week is the last week before our evenings get crazy with activities again.  I'm going to have to dig up some of my old menus for quick and easy dinner ideas!  Volleyball actually starts on Thursday this week, but we'll be on an overnight field trip to an aquarium at the coast (sleeping in the shark tunnel!), so she'll miss the first practice. 

Here's the plan for this week:

Tonight: Chopped Cheese (my daughter's night to cook)
Monday:  Frozen chicken skillet meal
Tuesday:  Broccoli Beef
Wednesday:  Copycat Taco Bell Shredded Chicken Burritos (with copycat Fire Sauce)
Thursday:  Out
Friday:  Tuna casserole
Saturday:  Maybe carnitas.  Maybe something else.  Playing it by ear. 

Have a fantastic week!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Meal Plan March 18 - 30

It's been a while since I posted a meal plan!  I've still been planning, I just haven't been as good about recording it.  And I miss having the posts for reference, so here I am.  I will say, since I picked up our half pig and stocked up on beef and chicken, it's actually HARDER for me to plan than it is when there aren't as many options!  That feels very backward to me.  We have a TON of food in the house right now so I'm focusing on using up what we have.

My daughter is focusing right now on developing a taste for zucchini.  I'm really proud of her.  She's really not a picky eater - there are only a handful of things she just won't eat, and zucchini has always been one of them.  But she read something not too long ago that talked about how your mouth chemistry changes to appreciate the taste of something if you eat it multiple days in a row, so she decided to try with zucchini.  And I'm happy to say it's working!  So we've been eating roasted zucchini and zoodles, and I think they will become a regular fixture on our menus.

Without further ado, here is our menu for this past week and next week!

Monday:  Coconut Chicken, frozen fries, and roasted broccoli and zucchini
Tuesday:  Korean Beef Bowls, green beans
Wednesday:  Grilled pork chops, zucchini spaghetti with peas, garlic bread (I have to say, I LOVED that zucchini recipe.  The rest of my family?  Not so much.  *sob*)
Thursday:  Shredded beef tacos (fantastic recipe with enough meat left over for another meal!)
Friday: Big Mac Salad, rolls (so, so good)
Today:  Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry, roasted broccoli and zucchini
Sunday:  Cheese manicotti, salad
Monday:  Sausages and Crispy Crowns, veggie sticks
Tuesday:  Quick chicken and dumplings
Wednesday: Pork chops with mustard sauce, buttered noodles, green beans (my daughter's night to cook!)
Thursday: Hawaiian Haystacks (I've never actually made this, but I've been reading about them a lot lately so I thought I'd give it a try)
Friday: Taco salad
Saturday: Baked ziti

What's on your menu this week?

Big Mac Salad

I've been intrigued by the idea of a Big Mac salad for a long time.  I mean really, a salad that tastes like one of my favorite guilty pleasures?  Yes, that's right, I'm a HUGE fan of the Big Mac.  I wanted a recipe that was easy to fix but didn't require pre-made salad dressing or a bunch of "diet" ingredients.  So I combined three recipes and came out with a keeper!

Big Mac Salad
serves 3 at my house!

1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 medium onion, minced
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T. yellow mustard
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. sweet relish
chopped lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped pickles
shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef.  Drain off the fat, then add dry seasonings and onion.  Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, or until onion is soft.  Add mustard, stirring to combine, and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet relish. 

Build salads to individual tastes and top with dressing. 

Monday, December 03, 2018

Menu Plan December 2 - 8

I am here today to tell you that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE GOING TO EAT THIS WEEK!!!  AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!  This is my "menu planning as I write this" post.  I've been so good for the last few months, planning my meals two weeks ahead, but life has suddenly become completely overwhelming and I've lost all my menu planning mojo.  I barely know where I'm supposed to be at any given time.  Seriously.  What day is it?

My daughter and I are TOO DARN BUSY, but that's a topic for another post.  I will say right now that I am not adding one more thing to our weekends between now and Christmas.  That's mostly because there's no room in the schedule to add anything else!

So, as I type this, I'm coming up with our plan.  And I'm grocery shopping with ClickList this week - that's the Fred Meyer service where you order your groceries online, then pull up to the store, call them, and they bring them out to you.  We just got it at our store a few months ago.  It's free this week but it would be worth the $5 even if it wasn't!  I've been shopping more at Winco than Fred Meyer to save money, but I think my sanity is more important this month.

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday:  My daughter and I went to see my niece in The Nutcracker a couple of hours from home.  We stopped at my parents' house for waffles and bacon on the way home.

Monday: My daughter has her piano lesson at 5:00.  Thank goodness swimming lessons are over, because those were at 7:00 for a few months.  We were eating QUICK dinners!  Tonight we'll have Trader Joe's Orange Chicken and rice with green beans.

Tuesday:  I'll pick up my grocery order on the way home from work.  I'll make Chicken and Bows - it's easy and fairly quick (and I think I have everything in the house for it already!).

Wednesday:  My daughter is in a play during the Sunday School service at church next Sunday, so she has play practice from 5:00 - 6:15.  Another quick dinner needed - we'll have chili dogs, chips, and carrot sticks.

Thursday:  My daughter has (are you sensing a pattern here?) youth group at church from 6:30 - 8:00.  Normally I work from home on Thursdays so I have some leeway with our dinners but we have a new person starting in our department today so my boss asked me to come in.  This all but eliminates my time to cook at home.  We'll have chicken strips, potato salad, and coleslaw

Friday:  I'm going out for dinner and to a play with a friend.  My husband and daughter are on their own!  They'll probably go to Panda Express.

Saturday:  I'm spending the day cleaning house and preparing for my daughter's birthday party on Sunday.  So I'll be home to cook but I won't want to!  We'll have pork chops and mashed potatoes. 

Hope your week is calmer than mine!  What's on your menu?

This is posted to Menu Plan Monday on where you can find lots of other menu ideas!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Instant Pot Spaghetti

My daughter is a spaghetti fanatic.  She'd probably eat it every day if I'd let her.  Unfortunately, the rest of us don't feel the same way!  So, to accommodate her desire, I've started making big batches and freezing them in thermos-size portions for her school lunches.  The easiest and quickest way for me to do this is with the Instant Pot.  I've tried a couple of recipes but none came out with thick enough sauce for her, and after some experimenting I've finally come up with a winner!

1 T. olive oil
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. pepper
16 ounce package spaghetti noodles
1 24-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1 24.5-ounce container crushed tomatoes
3 c. water

With the Instant Pot on the saute setting, brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in the olive oil.  Once cooked, turn off the pot.  Carefully drain grease if necessary.  Add seasonings and stir with the meat mixture.

Break the noodles into desired length and sprinkle into the pot (don't put them in in solid handfuls or they'll clump together when they cook).  Pour the spaghetti sauce and crushed tomatoes over, then pour the water over all of that.  Make sure the noodles are submerged in the liquid. 

Seal the Instant Pot and cook on manual for 9 minutes.  After cooking, use the manual pressure release.  Remove the lid and stir thoroughly to make sure that everything is incorporated evenly.  Serve immediately, or freeze in single-serve portions to eat later. 


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving food 2018

In our house, we do two Thanksgivings.  Fortunately, I don't host either one and they're both potlucks, so I don't have to make too much food or make sure my house is presentable!  My husband's family gets together on Thursday and my family gets together on Saturday, at which time we also celebrate the five November/December birthdays in the extended family, including my daughter's, which is in early December.

There were a couple of recipes I tried for the first time that were definite keepers, so I want to be sure to make note of them here!

For Thursday:

I think there was something else but I can't remember what it was!

For Saturday:

  • Hot Double-Onion Cheese Dip (I'll admit I had doubts about this recipe - especially the lemon zest - but it was delicious!!!  I used Jarlsberg cheese because it was less expensive)
  • An assortment of veggies, crackers, and chips 
  • Ranch dip made following the recipe on the Uncle Dan's dressing packet  
  • Homemade Mini Strawberry Strudels, with homemade quick puff pastry using this recipe (this was my daughter's choice for her birthday dessert this year)

All in all, a delicious weekend! 

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!