Simple Weekly Meal Plans & Real Life – February 17

It’s slow cooker freezer week!  In case you missed the video and want to see it, here’s the link.  It does cut off part way through. I’m sorry about that.  Obviously, I’m not a video pro.   And I still hate seeing myself on there!  I may never get past that feeling.

Last week was the third week in a row that Jim has been gone.  He’s been at Harvard Business School for the OPM program.  You’ve likely never heard of that (neither had I), but you may have heard that Tyra Banks graduated from Harvard.  She actually graduated from the OPM program and not the regular Harvard Business School, which caused a bit of a scuffle, because apparently she tries to pass it off as an MBA.

Anyway, Jim has been gone for three weeks for this program.  He works for a non-profit housing organization and a foundation sponsored him to go.  This is the third year in a row he’s gone and now he’ll be done.  As part of that, they have a graduation ceremony and a few other events.  I met Jim in Boston on Wednesday – Saturday to attend those with him.

I left several slow cooker freezer meals for the kids to have while we were gone (recipes at the bottom of this post).  But Jim and I basically ate our way through Boston.  We started with an Italian dinner at a restaurant near our hotel.

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This was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.  It helped that this was also the first meal I’d shared with Jim in nearly three weeks!  The restaurant was perfect.  It was quiet with red checked table clothes and Frank Sinatra playing in the background.  And the food was outstanding.

One day we went to Mike and Patty’s for lunch.  We chose this spot because it had great reviews on Yelp, but we didn’t expect it to be such a tiny restaurant.  There was only one table that customers shared.  It turned out to be perfect though.  I had migas, which tasted warm and comforting.  A nice contrast to the snowy day outside.

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It was a cozy, relaxing lunch in a friendly place.  Perfect!

Other highlights included cannolis at Quincy Market followed by an ill-advised attempt at walking to a bookstore in the middle of a snow storm.

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Jim and I had a great time in Boston, but I think we’re both ready for home cooked food again.  Time to head to the grocery store!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If your life is filled to the brim and you feel like you can’t do just one more thing, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the planning and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.  I love using these and when I don’t have to do any recipe creation, this is my preferred way to shop and cook.

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 the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional Plan

1. Baked Potato Soup

2. Sweet n’ Sour Meatballs over Rice

3. Apple BBQ Pork Chops

4. Shrimp Tacos

5. French Dip Sandwiches 

6. Cheesy Chicken Rice Bake

7. Simple Coffee Cake

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker Hawaiian Luau Meatballs

2. Pork and Gravy Sandwiches

3. Honey Dijon Pork Chops and Apples

4. Pesto Tomato Ravioli

5. Chicken Enchilada Soup in the Slow Cooker

6. Easy Crockpot Beef Fajitas

7. Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

 

Simple Weekly Meal Plans & Real Life – February 10

Jim has been gone all week again on a long business trip.  Last weekend, I headed to the grocery with a list of new recipes ideas to try.  It was good to be stocked up on groceries anyway, since we had several snow and ice events roll through this week.

On Sunday, I made Chicken Cock-A-Leekie Soup.  I put all the ingredients in the slow cooker when I got up in the morning and it was ready to eat when we got home from church.  I will be making this soup again!

Monday night I tested another new recipe.  This time for Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake with Sun Dried Tomatoes.  My family loves pasta so this was a hit with them.  We had wedge salads with it.  I also made a new dessert on Monday.  I can’t wait to share that recipe with you tomorrow.

Tuesday night we had whole wheat pancakes.  It’s my easy go-to meal when Jim is gone.

Wednesday night turned out to be our crazy night.  I had a meeting that lasted all day.  It was nearly 6pm when I got in the car to come home.  It had been snowing all day and the roads were getting pretty slick.  My oldest daughter was already out teaching dance.  The boys were heading to youth group and had already eaten.  They didn’t end up going though, because youth group cancelled due to the weather.  It took me a lot longer to get home that it should have.  Slick roads and rush hour isn’t the best combo.  Mia and I were the only two who still needed to eat.  She suggested grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Great idea!

On Thursday I was ready for a real dinner again.  I tested another new recipe.  I’ll be sharing my latest version of chicken enchiladas with you soon!

And Friday we went out to eat.  Mia and I both had appointments for hair cuts in the afternoon.  That process takes longer than I anticipate every time.  I made use of the Groupon app on my phone and we went to Cosi.  It was a pretty good deal that involved s’mores.  Don’t I have a cute marshmallow toasting partner?

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After dinner, we came home and snuggled in to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  Did you watch? I thought they did a great job.  That stage area with the projection screens was very cool!  As was their retelling of Russian history.

Next week I’ve got a couple of new recipe ideas to test again, including another new slow cooker soup.  Fingers crossed that they turn out!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If your life is filled to the brim and you feel like you can’t do just one more thing, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the planning and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.

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 the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Pineapple Chili for the slow cooker

2.  Slow Cooker Beef Gyros

3. Crockpot Lemon Chicken

4. Garlic Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

5. Ranch Meatballs and Pasta

6.Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

7. Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake with Strawberry Icing

Traditional Plan

1. Pineapple Chili

2. BLT Pizza

3. Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

4. Maple Apple Chicken

5. Lightened Up Chicken Casserole

6. Grilled Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas

7. Peach Pie Square

Simple Weekly Meal Plans & Real Life – February 3

Jim was on a business trip last week, so I kept the eating simple.  I’m not sure why, but I never feel like cooking much when he’s gone.  There are still 5 of us to eat dinner (not always together, but usually the older kids come in at some point and need to eat).  We started off the week with peanut butter pancakes.   Pancakes is a tradition for at least one night when Jim travels.

Since I made a new batch of slow cooker freezer meals last week, we’ve been eating those too.  I made a new video for you, but it cut off part way through.  Sorry about that!

Next week, I have plans to test several new recipe ideas.  Fingers crossed that they all turn out blog-worthy!

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If your life is filled to the brim and you feel like you can’t do just one more thing, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the planning and thinking is done for you.  No grocery list making or side dish planning needed.  I love using these and when I don’t have to do any recipe creation, this is my preferred way to shop and cook.

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans. This week, both plans have some delicious soup recipes to warm up your evenings. 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 the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional Plan

1. Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

2. Italian Sausage Sloppy Joe’s

3. Fully loaded Nachos 

4. Pierogies and Smoked Sausage

5. Olive Oil and Italian Herb Roasted Chicken

6. Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Veggies

7. Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup

2. Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches

3. Red Eye BBQ Ribs

4. Ham Steak

5. Round Steak with Vegetable Gravy

6. Chicken-Fried Chops

7. Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

Simple Meal Plans and Real Life – January 27

We’re having real winter this year.  In Kentucky, we sometimes get to skip a lot of the snow and cold. (We do usually have our fair share of gray, rainy days that hover around 35 degrees though.)  But this year, it’s been one snow after another with a lot of cold thrown in for good measure.

I usually grocery shop on Saturdays, but this time I went on Friday.  First, because Saturday was looking way too snowy.  And second, because I wanted to test out our February slow cooker freezer week and shoot the video for it.

Because I knew I’d be loading up the freezer, I needed to make some room.  We still had several freezer meals from the January plan in there.  It was so nice to pop those in the slow cooker and know dinner was taken care of.  Once, I didn’t think of it in time and I made the soup on the stove instead of the slow cooker.  Those meals are flexible and I love it!

This week, I’m planning to test another slow cooker soup recipe.  If the recipe turns out, I’ll share it with you on Friday.

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. January had an extra week to give us a head start on getting back into a routine in the new year. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Southwestern Chicken Chowder 

2. Peach Pork BBQ Sliders 

3. Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken

4. Ham steaks

5. Easy Meatball Subs

6. Chicken Shwarma

7. Coconut Cream and Chocolate Dessert

Traditional Plan

1. Creamy Potato Soup

2. Lentil tacos

3.Kung Pao Chicken

4. Afrtican Pulled Beef Sandwiches

5. Chili

6, Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut

7. Baby Cannoli Cakes

Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – January 6

A few months ago, I was trying to organize the pantry and I was frustrated with it.  The wire shelves drive me a bit nuts, even though I have a simple solution for them.  And there are only 4 shelves in the whole thing, even though it’s very tall and could handle more.  Things tend to get lost at the back of the shelves, just because it’s hard to see back in there.

So I called my dad, who is a genius.  He’s also a contractor and has designed and built many, many kitchens (and other rooms) over the years.  He immediately had an idea for making our pantry better.  And what started as a good idea has turned into a great idea.

Behold the first draft of the design:

tiffpantryscan1

 

Dad is going to open up the front of the current pantry, because the inside is wider than the current opening.  Then he’s building pull out shelves with drawer fronts.  The top will be cabinet doors that open.  And on the right hand side of the moulding, there will be a pull out for spice storage.

We’ve already tweaked this drawing a bit to add another set of drawers and to resize a few of them too.  I can’t wait until it’s installed.  That will probably happen in January, if all goes as planned.  I’ll take lots of photos to share with you.

In other news, we’ve been eating pretty well so far on the Whole 30 plan.  Today, we had the Beef Stew I made for the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals week of the Weekly Meal Plans.  It was so good!  You can get that plan as part of the Weekly Meal Plans.  Keep reading for more info and a sneak peek at this week’s menu.

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. Members have access to the whole month at one time, so it’s easy to plan whether you grocery shop once a month or every week. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

1. Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken

2. Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

3. Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce with Two Cheeses

4. Sloppy Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos

5. Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken in the Slow Cooker (as pork roast)

6. Mel’s Diner Chili

7. Nutella Muffins

Traditional Plan

1. Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

2. Copycat Chick-fil-a Chicken Strips

3.Wimpy’s aka Sloppy Joe’s

4.Pineapple Chicken

5. Beef and Bean Topped Potatoes

6. Pork and Gravy Sandwiches

7. Old Fashioned Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze

Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life (and our New Year’s Tradition)- December 30

It’s almost a brand new year!  Are you feeling the urge to get organized?  I start craving clean, decluttered and routine about this time of year.  If you’d like to get your meals organized and have the grocery lists all ready to print, check out the Weekly Meal Plans memberships.  I’ve got a peek at this week’s plans at the bottom of this post.

Our Family’s New Year’s Tradition

Every year on New Year’s Eve, we gather around the table and make predictions for the next year.  We keep them light and fun, guessing whether or not a child will have surpassed a parent in height or if someone will travel to a fun place or meet a famous person.  We also read through the predictions we made the year before.  It’s a fun way to spend some time together at the end of the year, reflecting on the past and thinking about the new year.  We’ve been doing this for over 10 years.  Sometimes we read through the very old predictions.  It’s always fun to see what was on the mind of the kids when they were little.

What New Year’s traditions does your family keep?

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.  This month we’re getting a head start so we can all get back into a routine for the new year! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan

  1. Ravioli in the Slow Cooker
  2. Apple BBQ Pork Chops
  3. Baked Chicken in the crock pot
  4. Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup
  5. Easy Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
  6.  Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker
  7. Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

Traditional Plan

  1. Mexican White Queso Soup
  2. Linda’s BBQ Chipped Ham Sandwiches
  3. All Day Beef Stew
  4. Chicken in the Crockpot with Noodles
  5. Oven Baked Chicken Tacos
  6. Sweet Korean BBQ Beef Haystacks
  7.  Chocolate Chip Cheeseball (Perfect to serve up at a New Years Eve party!)

 

 

Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – December 9

This is the week for our Slow Cooker Freezer Meals.  I put all 6 of these dinners together in about 1 hour.  You can see the video here.  Members to the Weekly Meal Plans get the grocery lists, recipes and cooking tips for the slow cooker freezer meals and all the Traditional Plans too.

Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner?  Are you done with your shopping?  I am not!  I have been using an app on my phone to keep my ideas and present purchases organized (and secret!).  I bought it last year for 99 cents. It seemed sort of silly to pay for an app like that, but it’s made keeping track of gift buying so much easier.  I think the one I use is just called Christmas, but I’m sure there are others.  I highly recommend it if you use a smart phone.  The passcode keeps prying eyes out!

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This little Santa is one of my favorite Christmas things.  He’s part of a salt and pepper shaker set (my sister has the other one) that my Grandma had when we were little.  Gina and I rubbed the soft beards on them so much, that they are nearly fuzzless now.

I’ve got several new recipes to share with you this week.  Lots of good stuff coming to the blog! And there’s still time to enter the giveaway for a $500 VISA cash card too!

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.  December includes an awesome gift guide for easy gifts you can whip up in your kitchen that are sure to make everyone happy–even the dog! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional

Slow Cooker

Simpe Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – December 2

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. We visited my family and Jim’s, eating two turkey dinners in less than 24 hours. Whew! It was fun and filling!

As soon as we got home, I printed the list for the December Slow Cooker Freezer Meals plan and headed to the grocery. I decided not to brave Walmart, where I usually shop, on black friday. We hit Kroger instead.

Shopping in a store that you aren’t as familiar with is always an experience. It takes a bit longer. It’s hard to shop on auto-pilot they way you can if you know all the aisles well. But the store wasn’t crowded. I’m pretty sure Kroger isn’t high on the list for black Friday shoppers.

On Saturday morning, I prepped all the slow cooker freezer meals and shot the video.  The freezer meals week is actually next week, but the plans can be used in any order you like.  Members get access to the whole month at once.

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.  December includes an awesome gift guide for easy gifts you can whip up in your kitchen that are sure to make everyone happy–even the dog! You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Traditional

Slow Cooker

4. Roast w/ red wine, onion, garlic & Italian seasoning

 

Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – Oct. 7

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You can find out what’s on the Weekly Meal Plans for this week by scrolling to the end of this post.

This has been kind of a quiet week around here.  Jim and Peter have been in Sydney, Australia.  They’ve had a fantastic trip.  Yay for Facetiming!  We were able to talk to them nearly every afternoon/when they got out of bed in the morning.  The 14 hour time difference meant I was cooking dinner while they hadn’t eaten breakfast.

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As always, I’m fascinated by the food.  Peter said they have a chain there called Pie Face, where they sell meat pies.  He seemed to like them pretty well.

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While Jim and Peter had meat pies, those of at home had typical American fare.

All the nights have run together for me, but I know we had a pasta dish with chicken and parmesan cheese.

Of course, I made pancakes one night.  That’s a supper tradition when Jim is out of town.

We tried out one of the October Slow Cooker Freezer Meals, Chicken ala King.  I served it over cornbread.

I tested a new recipe that the kids loved.  I can’t wait to share how to make Slow Cooker Korean BBQ Haystacks.  Recipe coming soon!

We also ate leftovers a few times.  With only 3 of us home for dinner on most nights, the food went farther.  (Or is it further? Grammar people, help me out!)

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.  And October has a week of  Slow Cooker Freezer Meals, with a plan to make 6 meals in about 1 hour.  You can find out more about how to get them for yourself by clicking here.

All Slow Cooker Plan

Traditional Plan

  1. Oven Baked Chicken Tacos 
  2. Not Your Momma’s Tuna Noodle Casserole 
  3. Beef Tips and Gravy 
  4. Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches with Creamy Ranch Slaw 
  5. Asian Salmon 
  6. BBQ Ribs 
  7. Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Caramel

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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