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

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!

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

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Beans for the Freezer aka Refried Beans without the Refry

I have heard about the beans for years.  Yes, years!  And I can’t believe I had never tried them.  I first heard about them on the Sonlight forums, where they were made famous by Bethany of For the Love of Grub.

Bethany loves these beans and makes them often and tells the rest of us that we need to be making them.  Everyone who has tried them raves about them.

Do I take the hint and give them a try?  No, I wait 5 or 7 years before it finally hits me that I need to see what the fuss is about.  I mean, it’s just beans, right? They can’t be that much better than canned, right?

Call me a crazy bean lover!  These things are fabulous!

They aren’t spicy, and yet they’re flavorful.  They make a quick dinner, can be mashed or left whole and they’re great for stocking your freezer.

Bethany gives a lot of variations on her blog, but this is how I made them:  [Read more…]

Freezer Cooking Live Chat and My Best Freezer Cooking Posts

Last February, we did a Virtual Freezer Cooking Day together via Facebook.  It was loads of fun and I got my freezer stocked up in the process.  I loved chatting with the others who were participating.

I’m so excited to tell you that tomorrow night, we get to have a live chat, right here on the blog!  The chat is part of the International Delight Coffee Community.  It’s being hosted by Liz, from Hoosier Homemade and me.  We’re going to be talking about all things that have to do with freezer cooking:

  • Recipes that freeze well
  • Organizing your freezer
  • Doing a big freezer cooking day
  • Batch cooking
  • Using the freezer for “Friends in Need” meals
  • Anything else we think of!

We’ll start at 9pm Eastern time, tomorrow 2/15.  Just come back to this post (you can also enter the chat via the International Delight Coffee Talk Community or through Hoosier Homemade).  If you’re around tomorrow night, I’d love to chat with you!

Until then, here are a few links to posts I’ve written about freezer cooking.   [Read more…]

2 Awesome Freezer Cooking Resources

I know that all of you love stocking your freezer as much as I do.  It can be such a time saver.

And there’s the satisfaction of knowing you’ve got mealtime covered (or at least a head start).

I want to introduce you to 2 resources for freezer cooking from Once a Month Mom. (And there’s a limited number available at a discount! Keep reading for the code.)

Both books have plans, instructions, grocery lists and even labels.  Everything you need to get the freezer stocked is here (except the food, of course!)  [Read more…]

Freezer Cooking February – Tips and Recipe Roundup

I hope you’re ready to fill your freezer!  Here are some of my best recipes for freezer cooking.  You’ll find all kinds of freezer friendly recipes on this page.

One of my favorite ways to make meals easy is to have meat cooked and frozen.  In most recipes, the part that takes longest is cooking the meat.  If you can skip that step, you can really speed up your weeknight dinner.  Chicken, ground beef, roast, pulled pork, meatballs all can be cooked and frozen.

Recipes

Main Dishes

These are all recipes that freeze especially well.  Some of them also make large quantities, so you get more bang for your cooking buck.

Desserts

Most cakes, cookies, breads and muffins can be frozen.  These are a few that make a lot and freeze well.

Freezer Cooking Tips

That should get us started!   More recipes to come in the next few weeks, including one for those meatballs in the photo at the top.

Counter Top Cooking for the Freezer – A Guest Post

proverbs wife freezer food

This is a guest post from Saidah at AProverbsWife.com.  If you are interested in guest posting on Eat at Home, contact me with your ideas.

One of the biggest challenges I tend to face is making sure that I have a healthy meal on the dinner table each night. I do not know what it is about dinner time that seems to throw me for a loop.

Maybe it’s the fact that dinnertime,  just seems to be the busiest part of the day. And not to mention, it is the time of day when I feel drained. [Read more…]

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