Meal Plan Monday: Let’s Mix It Up

Meal Plan Monday

I feel a bit guilty over the past two weeks’ meal plans.  While they included awesome new recipes, I tended to focus on only one or two sources.  So, this week, I’m branching out again to the depths of the Dropbox files.

Here’s what I did:  I asked Josh for five letters.  Then, I looked though my Dropbox files for blogs that started with each of those letters.  The results are below.

Truly, I love the fact that I saved so many recipes to my Dropbox files, but I have been getting complacent as I go through them (namely, I haven’t been updating them from the blogs).

That is my new goal:  to go to the blogs I already have Dropbox folders for and update them.

But I am already out of space!

So, here are the pickins’ for the week:

Saturday:  Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice (Deep South Dish), cornbread

Sunday:  Bacony Chicken and Rice Bake (Deep South Dish), green veg

Monday:  King Ranch-ish Pot Pie Casserole (Pary Moppins), green veg, fruit

Tuesday:  Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole (make ahead) (A Night Owl Blog), tomato slices

Wednesday:  Pasta Rustica (Recipe Girl)–make ahead to the baking point, green veg

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  Chicken Croquettes (with a sauce…not sure which one yet) (Macaroni and Cheesecake), green veg, fruit

Sunday:  Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork (Our Best Bites), rice, egg roll

What’s on your meal plan for the week?



A New Use for Beer: Beer Macaroni and Cheese


Yes.  That’s bacon.  And cheese.  And the easiest macaroni and cheese sauce I will ever make in my life.  Counting the bacon (and yes, I wimped out and did the fully cooked real bacon bits), there are five ingredients.

No, it’s not really a recipe to make when the outside mercury soars into the hundreds, but, due to storms south of us, we won’t see temps above 90 this week.

And…Muffin likes the macaroni and cheese.  So much so that when we ate it for supper last Saturday night, he had the macaroni for breakfast Sunday morning.

Seriously, though, what made it so popular with me was its ease of making it.  Basically boiling the macaroni and shredding the cheese are the hardest parts.

I found this recipe again as I looked through my Dropbox recipe files that I had “printed as a PDF” and saved it to my Dropbox.

And this is one of the gems that I rediscovered.

Beer Mac and Cheese (with Bacon!)

Source:  A Spicy Perspective

1 pound macaroni noodles (would love to try it with shells next time), boiled and drained according to package directions

12 ounce bottle beer (I used a lager)

8 ounces cream cheese

1 pound shredded cheddar (as sharp as you can get it), off the block (not pre-shredded)

1 cup crumbled bacon

Pour a bottle of beer into a large pot.  Place it over medium heat, add the cream cheese and swirl it around with a whisk until it starts to melt.  Once it is about half melted start slowly and carefully whisking it into the beer until creamy and smooth.  Add the cheddar cheese a few handfuls at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the pasta into the cheese sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another three minutes to thicken.  Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, sprinkle the bacon over each serving.

Muffin Approved

Meal Plan Monday: I Hope I Follow This One!

Meal Plan Monday

Last week, I was fairly successful with the meal plan.  The only item that never got made was the ramen noodles, oddly enough.

The problem with planning a week’s worth of meals and NOT making them is that you often find yourself committing expensive mistakes.  First, you have massive food spoilage.  Second, you then waste money in the drive through or, worse, at more expensive sit-down restaurants.

I’ve been guilty of both.

Now, I’ve already spent the money and bought this week’s groceries.  So, it’s extremely important that I make the list count and work for me.

I have several new ones on my list, so I’m kinda worried about it.

Just as last week, I lazily ingeniously focused on one main blog of recipes I had saved from Dropbox (A Spicy Perspective), I did the same this week with Deep South Dish.

At the last minute, I switched around the menu.  Tonight, we attend Muffin’s first official meeting as a cub scout.  So, I’m hoping that the plan still happens as planned.

So, here we go!

Saturday:  Pizza Meatball Subs (Kraft Recipes), Welch’s strawberries from Aldi  (Note:  I decided not to cube the mozzarella into the meatballs, but I instead put sliced mozzarella directly on the bread.  I couldn’t find any Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette, so I put some more chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the sauce mix with some Tuscan Italian salad dressing–Kroger brand.)

Sunday:  Cabbage Patch Casserole (Deep South Dish):  This is a meal-in-one-dish.

Monday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (A Spicy Perspective)

Tuesday:  Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner (Deep South Dish), chips and salsa

Wednesday:  Pancakes, sausage, fruit

Thursday:  hot dogs or leftovers

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice (Deep South Dish), cornbread

Sunday:  Bacony Chicken and Rice Bake (Deep South Dish), green veg

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge: Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Please Don't Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge

Recently, we made a recipe a reader sent me from the newspaper in Naples, Florida.  The truly odd thing was, shortly after I received the recipe, someone offered me a whole bunch of eggplant, and I was going to make it then, but things happened.

Namely the eggplant went bad before I could arrive to receive it.

But Kroger has been having a New Lower Price! for eggplant (which I NEVER purchase by the way) of 99 cents each.

So, one day, I just had to buy the eggplant to make this.  Well, it involved the grill, and only Josh knows how to operate the grill in our house, so I did all of the prep work, and Josh cooked it.

We ended up serving it as a side, but this could so be a main dish for a meatless meal.  We served it with buttery garlic mushrooms and pork chops.

It tasted awesome, but there are a few changes I would make.

  1.  Eggplant skin is very chewy/rubbery when grilled.  Think chewing on a rain slicker.  I would grill it skin on but remove it before I begin building the yumminess.
  2. Make extra breadcrumb topping so that you (as the cook) can crunch on some with a spoon.  I didn’t and I regret it.
  3. Make even more extra breadcrumb topping so that you can add more topping on top of the stacks.  Trust me.  The topping rocks!

So, here is the plate o’goodness:


Yes, it truly is as awesomely beautiful and vibrantly colored as was in the picture.

And here’s what (Josh and) I did:

Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana

Source:  Naples News/Banner

1 large eggplant

kosher salt

3/4 pound roma tomatoes (often called plum)

2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on the eggplant

1 largish clove minced garlic

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (Panko is like sweetened condensed milk.  All recipes with it are automatically awesome!)

1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parm cheese (no Kraft green cylinder)

6 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated

fresh basil, shredded a la chiffonade, to garnish

(Note:  Just noticed that the recipe calls for you to peel the eggplant.  Oops!  I still think grilling it first and then peeling it would work best)

Slice the eggplant in rounds 3/4 inch thick.  Salt both sides of each slice, then set the slices aside for 45 mins.  Slice the tomatoes into 1/3-inch-thick rounds.  Salt both sides of each slice and transfer the slices to a rack to drain until the eggplant is ready.

Prepare the grill with a hot and indirect cooking side.

In a medium skillet (inside the house) over medium low, combine the measured 2 T oil and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until your mouth waters from the smell.  Add the panko.  Increase the heat to medium and cook until the crumbs turn golden and crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Transfer to a bowl, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and set aside.  Repeat so that you have plenty to taste test and some extra for the topping.

Pat the eggplant slices dry and brush one side of each with olive oil.  Add to the grill and cook over the hotter side until the slices are nicely browned on the bottoms, 5 to 6 minutes.  Brush the top sides with more oil, turn the slices over grill until browned on the second side, about another 5 minutes.  While the eggplant is grilling, pat dry the tomato slices.

Transfer the eggplant slices to the indirect heat on the grill, then top each slide with enough tomato slices to just cover the top.  Top the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons (or more if you made more) of the panko mixture, then divide the mozzarella cheese evenly among the slices.  Cover the grill and cook 4-6 minutes until the mozzarella is melted.  Transfer 2 slices to each of the four plates and top each portion with some basil.


What is your favorite grilled veg recipe?

Meal Plan Monday: On-Call and Back at Work!

Meal Plan Monday

Good morning, Pinteresting Blogosphere!  It is a super busy week here!  This is week two of me being back at work, and Josh is on-call this week.  In addition, Muffin has decided that he wants to become a cub scout (thanks to a flier sent home from school), so he and I will be attending his first cub scout meeting this week, as well!

This week I return to the cook and prep on the weekend in readiness for the week.  Last week was a mess because I didn’t cook and prep on the weekend.  It was catch-as-catch-can and grab stuff on the way home.  Oh, and shove things to this week.

So, I am determined to be more successful this week.

Oh, and please don’t judge me for Wednesday.  Every once in a while I get nostalgic for things like ramen noodles, and, in an extremely odd bout of August weather, it’s supposed to be rainy and (fairly) cool that day.  I consider (especially the way I make them) ramen noodles to be soup, and I am going to stretch things a bit and say Wednesday will be soupy weather.

So, here we go!

Saturday:  Beer Macaroni and Cheese (with bacon!) from A Spicy Perspective

Sunday:  chicken fried rice, egg rolls

Monday:  Asian chicken quarters (made in the slow cooker), rice, vegetable

Tuesday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse, Mexican rice (Mahatma), chips and salsa

Wednesday:  ramen noodles (possibly with a veg added), fruit

Thusday:  hot dogs or leftovers

Friday: pizza

Saturday:  Pizza Meatball Subs (Kraft Recipes)

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (A Spicy Perspective)

What’s cookin’ with you this week?

Meal Plan Monday: The Back-to-Work Edition 2016

Meal Plan Monday

Yes, it’s that time again, folks!  This Thursday the 2016-2017 school year begins (for teachers at least) in our district.  I believe that my mom mentioned that my sister (who home schools) actually started her school year today, so that made this post even more pertinent.

To all of you who are not starting school yet, I hope you enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacay as they dwindle down to a flurry of school supplies and school clothes’ buying.

My apologies for the less-than-stellar food choices at the beginning of the week.  I returned from my best professional development experience ever late Friday night and it’s taken until now to recover from the awesomeness of it.  In other words, meal cooking was not exactly on the list of “to do’s.”

So, how bad of a mommy was I in terms of presenting food to my only child?  Check it out below!

Saturday:  pizza from Little Caesar’s

Sunday:  barbecue from Dickey’s (You can’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Monday:  spaghetti and meatballs

Tuesday:  taco Tuesday

Wednesday:  waffle Wednesday (chicken strips and Eggo waffles–yes I’m a horrible parent!)

Thursday:  hot dogs

Friday:  Is it wrong to contemplate Little Caesar’s twice on a meal plan?

Saturday:  I’m contemplating Kings Ranch Chicken because there will be plenty of leftovers.

Sunday:  roast (either chicken with forty cloves, pork loin, or beef roast)

Also, as it is the return of the school year, I am planning on doing my big weekend cooking rounds to avoid the craziness of the school year.  So be prepared (or scared) of casseroles and crock pots oh my!

What’s on your meal plan for the week?