Real Life and Simple Weekly Meal Plans – September 16

If you want a sneak peek at this week’s simple Weekly Meal Plans (we’re focusing on filling the freezer this month!), just keep scrolling.  Or you can take your time and read through the chit chat.

WeeklyMealPlansandRealLife

I knew Jim wouldn’t be home for dinner several nights this week.  For some reason, if he’s not home I don’t feel like I need to make dinner.  Which is crazy, because those of us who are home (whether that happens to be 2 or 5 or more, if the kids have friends over) still need to eat.

I also hoped to create some new recipes this week.  One of the ways I do that is to stock the kitchen with basic ingredients and then put myself under the same pressure we all face when it comes to dinner – either the pressure of needing to fill the crockpot with something in the morning or the pressure of standing in the kitchen at 5:30 trying to come up with something to eat.

Now you know why most of the meals and recipes I post are so easy!

These two things didn’t work together for me well this week.  Since I knew Jim wouldn’t be home, I didn’t have motivation to cook or create.

We did eat though:

  • French Toast and Ham
  • Pesto Tortellini with grilled chicken and tomatoes
  • Tilapia, veggies and pasta with cheese
  • Taco Soup – my very last slow cooker freezer meal!

I am highly motivated to create a new slow cooker freezer meal plan for the Weekly Meal Plans.  Those meals have been wonderful to have on hand.  And only having to spend 1 hour to get them in the freezer is definitely time well spent.#

#DinnerDilemma Twitter Party and Slow Cooker Giveaway

hamilton beach 6 quart slow cooker

 

I love this slow cooker!  Actually, I’ve never used it, I just wanted one for a long time.  I’ll be giving away 2 of them, along with an assortment of Libby’s products to two participants in the #DinnerDilemma Twitter party.

I’d love for you to join us on Monday 9/16 at 3pm EST.  We’re going to be talking about all kinds of things to help get dinner on the table each night, from recipes, to bulk cooking, to side dishes and more.

Be sure to follow @LibbysTable and me, @TiffanyAKing on Twitter.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get them for yourself by clicking here.  Now, you get access to a whole month at a time!  And September is our focus on stocking the freezer, including the week where you cook 7+ Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in just 1 hour!

Traditional Plan

  1. Hoisin Chicken use marinade here
  2. Stuffed Shells
  3. White enchiladas (using leftover chicken from # 5) 
  4. Pulled Pork
  5. Whole Chicken in the Crockpot
  6. Black Bean and Rice Burritos
  7. Monster Cookies

Slow Cooker Plan

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Using the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals – Simple Weekly Meal Plans & Real Life

It’s been about a month since I tested the Slow Cooker Freezer Menu (get a sneak peek at it near the bottom of this post).  I’ve been using those meals slowly, only reaching into the freezer when I know the day is going to be too busy for cooking.

But even though I’m trying not to use them all at once, after this week I only have 1 left!

I may be testing some new slow cooker freezer meals soon.  Those meals have made dinner time so simple and having them stashed away in the freezer is like a bit of insurance against the “crazy days”.

Sunday

Last Sunday, we ate leftovers after church.  There were several different things that needed to be eaten and I decided I didn’t want to cook.  It worked out well, at least for me!

Jim and I also went out on Sunday evening.  There was a free jazz concert at a local historic home that we decided to go to.  Before that though, we stopped by Lowe’s.  I’m wanting to give our kitchen a facelift with new countertops and possibly painted cabinets.

counterprice

 

I snapped this picture so I could remember the prices for laminate.  We also priced quartz and granite and decided it would be more than we want to spend.  And to be honest, I like laminate.

We currently have something called Butternut Granite, I think.  It’s not my favorite.  I like it better than I thought I would (the builder chose it before we bought the house), but I’d like to change it to something different.  If you’ve got a laminate you love, leave me a comment!

Monday

Labor Day meant a day off work for Jim and no school for the rest of us.  We went disc golfing with the boys.  They’ve been playing all summer, but I’d never been.  I’m terrible at throwing the frisbee, but it was fun to watch them.

bacontomatobasilpasta

 

Friends had given us a bunch of tomatoes from their garden the night before.  I decided they needed to be part of a pasta dish.  So I made a quick meal with angel hair pasta, bacon, basil, tomatoes and white wine.  I’ll share the recipe soon!

Tuesday

Our son had a soccer game, so we went to watch.  I used one of the slow cooker freezer meals – Honey Hoisin Chicken.  I shredded the cooked meat and we put it on sandwiches with quick cole slaw and sweet potato fries on the side.  Yum!

Wednesday

I used a bottle of Kung Pao sauce with some chicken tenders, onions and bell peppers.  We ate it over rice.  The bottle of sauce had enough kick that all of our mouths were tingly and burning afterward, but it was good.

Thursday

I made another of our slow cooker freezer meals.  This time it was Maple Apple Pot Roast.  It turned out great!  I served parmesan potatoes too – from a box – and they were delicious!  I hardly ever buy boxed au gratin style potatoes, but they just looked so good.  Everyone loved them.  We also had broccoli.  And I made Peach Pie Squares for dessert.  Recipe coming to the blog soon!

And I repurposed our leftover roast for Friday’s lunch.  I shredded the beef, added a can of black beans and some salsa.  Heated it in the microwave and filled taco shells.  It worked great and would have made a good dinner for a small family.

bunny

 

We had some tiny company on Thursday night.  This little guy and two of his brothers were hanging out in our garden.  They were only about the size of the palm of my hand.  Cute!

Friday

It’s Friday as I write this post and I’m planning to make French toast and ham for dinner.  Fancy, I know. *Update: When I went into the kitchen to make dinner, I realized we were out of milk. So I turned the French bread into French bread pizzas, using the ham for a topping and gathering up anything else I could find.  They turned out great!  But I really do need to hit the grocery!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get them for yourself by clicking here.  Now, you get access to a whole month at a time!  And September is our focus on stocking the freezer, including the week where you cook 7+ Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in just 1 hour!

Slow Cooker Plan – this is the freezer meals plan!

1. Taco Soup
2. Mediterranean Chicken in the Slow Cooker (as round steak)
3. Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker
4. Honey Hoisin Chicken in the Slow Cooker
5. Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas 
6. Maple Apple Chicken in the Slow Cooker (as pot roast)
7. blueberry orange bread 

Traditional Plan

Raspberry Chicken*
Mel’s Diner Chili *
Stromboli
Spaghetti and Meatballs
BBQ Chicken Fajitas* (prepare chicken like this)
Beef Stew
Peanut Butter Fluff Pie

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Healthy Whole Grain Waffles – Freezer Friendly

Back-to-school time is upon us once again. The hustle and bustle of getting the kids out the door, looking presentable, with everything signed and packed, and a nutritious breakfast in their bellies is no easy task. Even if your kids don’t have to leave the house, or if you don’t have kids at all…breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Your body needs it to jump start the metabolism and get needed fuel to those brain cells. With that being said, it’s sometimes so much easier to grab a bowl of cereal, or a granola bar as we are running out the door. That’s where these freezer friendly waffles come in!

freezer waffles EAH

A healthy breakfast is just a few minutes away when you have a freezer stocked with homemade, whole grain waffles, that only need to be popped in the toaster. In just minutes you have a hot, filling breakfast.  The kids will enjoy deciding what toppings to put on their waffles, while moms will love knowing they are getting whole grains, along with energy from natural sugars.  Some topping ideas may be bananas and peanut butter, blueberries and walnuts (my favorite), chocolate chips (my kids’ favorite)…the possibilities are endless! You can even fold them and carry them with you for breakfast on the go. If your kids do like them plain, you could always add in some extra cinnamon, pumpkin or apple pie spice, or whatever they like. I like to think of waffles, pancakes, and muffins as a sort of “blank canvas” that you can design however you want!

healthy whole grain waffles, freezer friendly

Healthy Whole Grain Waffles – Freezer Friendly
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (cow's milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons oil*
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey (could also use maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • *I like to use a combination of olive oil and canola oil, or coconut oil.
Instructions
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together.
  2. Pour onto a greased waffle iron.
  3. Cook until steam is no longer coming from waffle iron.
  4. Eat immediately or cool and freeze.
  5. This made about 6 six-inch round waffles.
  6. To prepare from frozen: These can be microwaved, but for best texture I recommend cutting them in half (or fourths) and placing in the toaster until warm and crisp.

This recipe does not contain eggs, and could easily be made vegan.

 

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6 Things I Learned in August and Simple Weekly Meal Plans

I decided to change things up a bit for this week’s Real Life and Simple Weekly Meal Plans post.  There’s still a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans at the bottom of this post.  It’s full of freezer meals too, so you won’t want to miss it!

But I wanted to share 6 things I learned in August.  I’m linking up with Chatting at the Sky.  I’m a little late to the party, but we’ll call it fashionably late.

1.  It’s possible to cook a whole pig in a sand pit.

beachpig

Our neighbors at the beach dug a big pit and roasted a whole pig in it.  It took 18 hours.  They stuffed it full of vegetables and garlic and jalepenos.  I really, really wanted to be over there when they unwrapped it, but I didn’t want to intrude.  We don’t know them, they just happened to be in the beach house in front of ours.

In the picture, you can see the pig wrapped in foil and wire.  They used the wire to lower it over the hot coals, then covered the whole pit with the plywood.

2.  Kayaks and car top carriers strapped to the top of the van can make a mind-numbing thrum.

kayakcartop

 

The set up was fairly quiet on the way to the beach (about a 12 hour drive), but the way home gave us trouble.  Jim managed to quiet it after stopping several times the first hour of the trip.  But the last hour or so was intensely loud.  No matter what he did to fix it, the straps made so much noise.  Eventually, he had to give up and we rode with the sound.

3.  I can make a video and upload it to YouTube.

And turn off the comments there, because I’m insecure and don’t want people to leave mean things.

4.  Hard drive crashes in the midst of trying to meet other demanding deadlines does not make for a happy time.

Actually, it makes for a melt down that I needed to repent from.

5.  It’s possible to set a grill on fire while cooking chicken tenders.

I have no photo of it, because the flames were getting dangerously huge and the grill sits close to the house.  I don’t think I’ll ever win a grilling competition!

6.  If you put your hand in your pocket, horses think you have a treat for them.

horses

 

At least these horse.  They live across the road from a local restaurant.  I think they may be used to treats.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  When you join the Weekly Meal Plan list, you get the grocery list and printable recipes with side dishes included.  You can find out more about how to get them for yourself by clicking here.  Now, you get access to a whole month at a time!  And September is our focus on stocking the freezer, including the week where you cook 7+ Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in just 1 hour!

Traditional Plan

Lemon Garlic Chicken* on the grill (use the marinade here)
Beef Nachos * (beef prepared like this)
Golden Chicken Enchiladas 
Spicy Garlic Chicken Pizza
Smothered Steak and Onions 
Reuben Calzone
Coffee Toffee Ice Cream Pie

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili
2. Honey Dijon Pork Chops and Apples in the Slow Cooker
3. Red Eye BBQ Ribs Slow Cooker Recipe 
4. Garlic Chicken with More Garlic in the Crockpot
5. Crockpot Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken
6. Easy Crockpot Beef Fajitas
7. Mandarin Cheesecake Dessert (or “Salad” if you’re Southern)

 

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Freezer Cooking – Ground Beef in the Crock Pot

One thing I like to do to help cut down on meal prep time is have pre-cooked meats in the freezer. I will usually buy chicken, ground turkey, and ground beef in bulk. I often use my crock pot to cook my chicken, that I will shred and freeze for use in recipes/casseroles/soup. However, I have always cooked my ground beef and turkey on the stove top, usually only a pound or two at a time. It never occurred to me that I could use my slow cooker, until I saw it on Pinterest! (Pin source) One of the many reasons I am addicted to pinning 🙂

This is not a recipe per se, just a shortcut for cooking in bulk.  The above picture is 3 lbs of 90/10 lean ground beef, with seasonings (salt, pepper, McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning, and dried onion) and about half of a large chopped onion.  You could easily add taco seasoning, Italian seasonings, or leave it plain.  My crock pot could have held much more ground beef too, but this is what I had on hand.  I cooked this on high for 4 hours (this may vary depending on your cooker and the amount of beef used, and if it was fresh or frozen), giving it a stir once an hour.  You may not need to stir it that often, but it will need to be stirred on occasion and the clumps broken up.  After the meat was cooked, I drained the meat (which was pretty lean and didn’t produce a lot of grease) and allowed it too cool.  Then I divided it into 3 equal amounts (since I used 3 lbs.) and placed it in freezer bags.  SO much simpler than standing over a stove top!

I hope you find this little tip as helpful as I did.  {Looking for ideas to use all that ground beef?  Check out Eat at Home Ingredient Spotlight: Ground Beef!}

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. See more from her at her blog Makin’ it Mo’Betta, and follow along on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter!

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Free Weekly Menu + Grocery List – Year 3 Week 47

The menu this week could be a great opportunity to stock the freezer.  Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells make enough to freeze a pan and have a pan to eat.

Both the Reuben Calzone and Mel’s Diner Chili will freeze well.  You’ll need to double the ingredients for these, if you want to have enough to eat once and still freeze some for later.

And, of course the Cheddar Chive Biscuits are great to put away in the freezer.

Here’s the full menu for this week:

Reuben Calzone, Quick Cole Slaw

Skillet Chicken, Peppers and Tomatoes, salad

Mel’s Diner Chili, Cheddar Chive Freezer Biscuits

Salmon Patties, Mac & Cheese, favorite green veggie

Crockpot Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells, salad

Hot Fudge and Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake

To print, click here:  menu year 3 week 47

 

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Free Weekly Menu + Grocery List – Year 3 Week 43 – Stock the Freezer (and my birthday wish request)

Monday is my birthday!

And I have a birthday wish to ask you.

I need some votes.  Well, my recipe needs some votes.

My Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker recipe is in Mr. Food’s Search for the Ultimate Weeknight Meal contest.  Voting opens on Monday and I would love it if you would pop over and give me your vote.

Some of you may be reading this on Sunday night, but votes in the contest won’t start counting until Monday so you’ll need to wait until then if you want it to count.  You can vote once per browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer etc.).  If you’re like me and use different browsers at different times, feel free to vote in all of the them.  Of course, you are probably more normal than me and don’t use lots of different browsers, sometimes at the same time.

The voting will be open until September 28.

Here’s a link to the main voting page, if you’d like to see the other fantastic recipes in the running to be Mr. Food’s Ultimate Weeknight Meal.

You can vote for my recipe here.  Thanks so much!

 

Now for this week’s menu.  If you double a few of these recipes, you can easily have extra dinners stashed away in your freezer for later.

Double the baked spaghetti.  Bake one casserole and freeze the other unbaked for later.

Double the Spicy Chicken Pizza and freeze half the filling for later.

Double the Spicy Chicken Soup (which doesn’t taste a thing like the Spicy Chicken Pizza).  Put half in the slow cooker and half in the freezer.  When you’re ready to use the frozen soup, just thaw enough to get it out of the container and put it in the slow cooker to heat all day.  Come home to a hearty dinner with no work on your part.

Here’s what is on the menu this week:

Crunchy Chicken Taco Salad

Baked Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

South of the Border Skillet, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, chips and salsa

Croque Monsieur Sandwiches, Shaker Tomato Soup

Spicy Garlic Chicken Pizza, salad

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken Soup, Cheddar Muffins

Apple Crisp in the Slow Cooker

To print, click here:  menu year 3 week 43

 

 

 

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Menu, Grocery List, Recipes Year 2 Week 17 – Fill Your Freezer

February is freezer cooking month on Eat at Home!

I know February doesn’t officially start until tomorrow (since February usually starts the first day of February).  But it doesn’t hurt to get a head start on the freezer cooking.

So, I have a special edition of the weekly menu for you designed to fill your freezer while feeding you for the week.

There is more meat to buy on this menu, so the cost might be a bit higher than most of my menus.  But remember, this menu is going to feed you for more than just this week. You also might want to buy some foil pans and be sure to have zip top freezer bags on hand.

Here’s what’s on the menu, with a few notes about each meal: [Read more…]

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Menu, Grocery List, Recipes – Week 28 – Fill Your Freezer

If you like printing these menus and grocery lists, check out the new Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plan service.  Subscribers get both the Traditional and All Slow Cooker versions emailed each week.  It’s the easiest way to eat at home!

This week’s menu is designed to stock your freezer with dinners.  You don’t have to use it like that.  You can cook and eat that night if you want.

But you may want to take this opportunity to stash away a few meals in the freezer.  Tomorrow, I’ll have more tips for cooking and freezing a lot of meals at once, so you’ll want to check that out.

Here are the meals that are on the menu, along with a few notes about each:

To print, click here: [download id=”28″]

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post on Freezer Cooking Tips or any other menu or recipe – Subscribe to Eat at Home!

This menu is part of Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com

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