Simple Meal Plans and Freezer Meal Video

I posted the video for the April Slow Cooker Freezer Meals the other day.  This time, I show how to package the meals for a smaller family of 3-4 people.  For the record, I still really, really hate seeing myself on these videos.  I hope that seeing the meals prepped is helpful though.

The freezer week for April is April 21.  The recipes will be previewed on the blog then.  But members get access to the whole month at once for all three of the Weekly Meal Plan options – Traditional, Slow Cooker and the new Whole Foods Plans.

Meal Plan collage

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

If you’ve been looking for a way to save time on menu planning, you’ll want to look into getting our Weekly Meal Plans.  All the organizing 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.

Whole Foods Menu

  1.  Italian Sausage Skillet
  2. Easy Meatball Subs using homemade meatballs
  3. Homemade Chicken Fingers
  4. Whole Wheat Waffles
  5. Chicken Vegetable Soup
  6. Homemade Pizza (or) Calzone
  7. Amish Oatmeal Cookies

Traditional Menu

  1. Cheesy Chicken Chili Mac
  2. Pizza Steak Sandwiches 
  3. Crab Cakes with Creamy Sauce
  4. Italian Sausage with Bowties
  5. Grilled Chicken
  6. Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders
  7. Coconut No Bake Cookies

Slow Cooker Menu

Simple Weekly Meal Plans & Real Life – February 24

Last week included a lot of recipe creation.  On Monday I made Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Soup.   This is such an easy recipe to make.  Which was a good thing, because I felt like I was playing catch-up from being gone the week before.

Tuesday and Wednesday I tested two more new recipes for a client.  One recipe involved chicken legs and the other used thin cut boneless pork chops.  Both turned out great.

On Thursday, I decided to use one of our slow cooker freezer meals (Taco Beef).  We’ve got a small deep freeze in the garage and the freezer in the house.  Both are bulging and I really need to use up some of the food stored there.  Of course, it might also help to clear out things we don’t need.  Such as the icicles someone decided to store.  Does anyone else have icicles or snow balls in their freezer?

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It’s Friday morning as I write this post and I have to admit that I don’t know what we’ll be having for dinner.  I suspect that I’ll hit up the freezer again.  It’s time to make the March batch of slow cooker freezer meals and I need a place to put them!

Next week, we’ve got company coming on three different days.  And if the weather holds, my parents will come next weekend so Dad can install the new pantry he built for us.  I can’t wait to see it!  Of course, this means I’m going to have to empty the pantry so I may keep my shopping trip light again this week.

Simple Weekly Meal Plans

Here’s a sneak peek at 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.

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. Slow Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

2. Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce with Sausage and Eggplant

3. Tangy Sweet Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker

4. Calico Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage

5. Angel Chicken

6. Teriyaki Pork Chops with Red Pepper and Pineapple

7. Streusel Cake

Traditional Plan

1. Cheesy Hamburger Soup

2. South of the Border Skillet

3. Pesto Tomato Pizza

4. Steak and Mashed Cauliflower

5. Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

6. Swiss Mac n’ Cheese with Smoked Sausage

7. Low Carb Peanut Butter Fudge

 

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.

photo-10

 

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?

photo-8

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 13

This is the week we’re back in full swing at my house.  The college kids start back to school.  All our homeschool groups start back up for the other two kids.  The weather is looking better, so no snow days this week.  And the birthday and anniversary celebrations are over for now too.

I’m hoping to stick closer to the Whole 30 plan this week.  Yesterday, I confessed to straying from the plan a few times.  Hopefully, things will go better this week.

I’ve been capturing a few images of our meaningful meal moments on Instagram.  Around here, every dinner is different as far as who is gathered at the table that night.  Sometimes, there are as few as three of us.  And one night last week, we had eight people around the table.  My daughter had picked up a German international student at the airport and took her to her dorm room on campus, but no one was there and she was missing a few essential supplies, like bedding.  So Meredith brought Rebecca home with her for dinner.  It was Rebecca’s first time in the U.S.

We threw her right into the midst of a family dinner, celebrating Meredith’s birthday.  And wouldn’t you know, that night the dinner didn’t want to cook!  (We had a few days of weak electricity during the cold snap.)  So dinner was late and part of it was a near flop for that reason.  We crowded around the table, sang “Happy Birthday” and our special family birthday song.  And after Rebecca left, we realized we’d had her sitting in a broken kitchen chair!

I’m not sure what she thought of all of that, but I think she was happy to be invited to join us.  It was warm.  There was food and friendship.  That’s what meaningful meals are all about.

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. We’re getting a head start this month so we can get back into routine in January. You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker Plan    [Read more...]

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!)

 

 

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 – November 25 (Organizing the Pantry and Playing with Pressure Cooking)

We’ve been working on our kitchen for a few weeks, making a few improvements. We had new countertops, sink and faucet installed. Last weekend, we worked on organizing the pantry, adding full extension slides to two drawers and custom dividers.

The pantry had gotten to be a humongous mess. It seems no matter what I do to it, I have a hard time keeping it organized. Part of the problem is there are just 4 shelves. While I was working on getting it back in shape, I called my Dad and asked him if he could design something that would work better.

Dad is a contractor. He’s designed and remodeled a lot of kitchens over the years. As soon as I told him the pantry needed help, he knew exactly what he could do to fix it. I’m not sure when we’ll get started with the project, but I can’t wait! It’s going to be a huge improvement.

For now, here’s the before and after of the pantry. Not a lot of change, but it is better.

pantrybeforeandafter

 

Jim added full extension slides to our utensil drawers last weekend too.  These make it possible to pull the drawers all the way out, so you can see what’s in the back.  He also made custom dividers.  I love getting in the drawers and easily finding what I need.

drawers

 

I’ve been playing around with my new pressure cooker this week.  I absolutely love it for making rice!  I tried it for potato soup the other day.  It worked great, but I think it would have been just as fast on the stove top.  One of these days, I’ll do a post about pressure cooking.

I tried to get a picture of the steam release.  Steam is hard to capture.  Using the cooker has been fun and easy.  It’s very easy to clean and I’m not even afraid of blowing up the kitchen!

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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.  November features your easiest Thanksgiving ever, with easy recipes to keep you spending more quality time with your family instead of the kitchen stove.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker

1. All Day Beef Stew – Oven or Crockpot
2. Your Easiest Thanksgiving Ever: Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker, plus all the sides
Traditional
  1. Your Easiest Thanksgiving EverTurkey Breast in the Slow Cooker, plus all the sides
  2. Italian Beef Sandwiches in the Crockpot
  3. Shrimp Scampi 
  4. Turkey and Dumplings (Use up leftover Turkey!)
  5. Lentil Tacos 
  6. Loaded Baked Potatoes
  7. Easy Apple Crumb Cake

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Simple Weekly Meal Plans and Real Life – November 4

WeeklyMealPlansandRealLife

Every week I swear to myself that I’m going to take notes on what our dinners are each night.  When I start to write these posts, I can never remember what we’ve eaten!  I end up wracking my brain to remember, when I could just jot it down each day.

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “Doesn’t she follow her own meal plans?”

The answer to that is yes and no.  I do shop with the lists for the plans.  Last week, I shopped with the Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Plan and tested all those recipes on Saturday.  I was able to put 7 meals in the freezer with just 1 hour of work!

But, I didn’t want to use all of those meals in one week.  And I’m always testing new recipes.  The great thing about the plans is that they use common ingredients.  If you shop with the lists, you’ll have what you need to make lots of different dinners.  It’s nice, because sometimes you just want to veer from the plan for whatever reason.

Okay, back to last Saturday.   I made all the meals on the slow cooker freezer plan.  I also made a meatloaf for Peter’s birthday dinner and put it in the freezer.  I created a new recipe for Spiced Apple Cider Slow Cooker Oatmeal.  And made a big pot of chili for that night, which we ate on Sunday after church too.

Whew!  That was a lot of cooking in one day.

On Monday, I had another recipe to test, but I used one of the freezer meals to make it.  Peach BBQ Pork Sliders with Apple Cole Slaw was the result.  Yum!

On Tuesday, Jim was out of town.  We had the rest of the bbq, along with French fries and a wedge salad.

Wednesday night, I used another of the slow cooker freezer meals.  I love these things!  It’s so easy to dump them in the crock and turn it on.

Thursday was Halloween.  More importantly, it was Peter’s 19th birthday!  We had meatloaf, cream cheese mashed potatoes, broccoli and spinach salad.  We usually end up with a bunch of candy, in addition to the cake, but trick-or-treating got postponed for bad weather.  It was nice to spread out the sugar rush a bit.

I did make chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Cake stands are pretty, but mine is not very stable.  Too much weight on one side crashed the cake to the counter, which we all thought was hilarious!  It wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if I was serving people other than my own family.

cakecrash

 

And yes, they did laugh at me for taking a photo before putting the cake back on the plate.

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.  November features your easiest Thanksgiving ever, with easy recipes to keep you spending more quality time with your family instead of the kitchen stove.  You can find out more about how to get the meal plans for yourself by clicking here.

Slow Cooker

Traditional
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