Meal Plan Monday: Muffin’s First Full Week of Second Grade

Good Monday morning, meal planners!  This week and next week on the meal plan I have added in some things that normally I would be ashamed to put on a meal plan:  frozen prepared chicken strips and nuggets and frozen pizzas.

After a rough week of Muffin and me going back to school, I have realized there is no shame in shortcuts, especially if they are cheaper than the alternatives of going out to eat.

There’s a Tip Tuesday lesson in there somewhere, I think.

I am also going to Tip Tuesday a morning shortcut for all of us who have to get slugabeds out of bed, dressed, and ready for the day shortly.  Not quite yet, however.

So, this week’s meal plan is pure survival mode.

Saturday:  was supposed to be soup and grilled cheese but it turned into I had a big brunch and Muffin ate all day at my parents, so we ate popcorn for supper while we watched Despicable Me

Sunday:  chicken nuggets, fries, veg sticks and dip

Monday:  pancakes and sausage, fruit (leftovers from Sunday’s breakfast)

Tuesday:  white sausage rotel, “regular” rotel/queso, guacamole, and salsa with chips

Wednesday:  chicken strips (frozen), rice, canned veg

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza (frozen), fruit

Saturday:  ziti, bread, broccoli

Sunday:  sloppy joes, chips, veg sticks and dip

What is on your meal plan for the week?

Meal Plan Monday: The Back-to-Work Edition

Good morning, meal planners!  I hope the meal-planning bug has bitten you as the summer (as in vacation) comes to a close and students gather up bags and supplies (or fees, in our case) to head to school.

This is our meal plan for the week.  I hope I can follow it.

Saturday:  chicken and dumplings

Sunday:  Root Beer Pulled Pork (from Recipe Girl) on a hamburger bun, chips, carrot sticks and dip

Monday:  leftover chicken and dumplings (Muffin’s Meet the Teacher night)

Tuesday:  Taco Tuesday!  Muffin specially requested this

Wednesday:  leftover pulled pork sandwiches, carrots, cucumbers, or grapes

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs, chips

Friday:  mini pizzas

Saturday:  grilled cheese sandwiches and soup

Sunday:  chicken nuggets, fries, veggie sticks

What’s on your meal plan this week?

The Hardest Post to Write

I know that I have not written lately.

There are times when upbeat posts cannot happen.

I have considered ending the blog.

Many of my readers, those that are personal family and friends, would understand why.  In the early morning hours of July 17, Muffin and I lost our anchor.  Josh, my husband of nearly ten years (and Muffin’s proud father) passed away after a heart attack.

In many ways, it hasn’t hit yet.

On Facebook, I know my responses to the well-wishes seemed stilted and unemotional; my feelings were hardly the case.  I know, too, this post seems like a recitation of an event.

For one of the first times in my life, I do not have the words to express my feelings.

But I feel that I owe it to Josh, and to Muffin, to press on with the blog.

For my followers who are also Facebook friends, I am not posting this post on Facebook for others to mull over.  This post is too private, too personal, to do so.

I will post an abbreviated MPM post tomorrow, just as a catch up of things to come.

 

 

Meal Plan Monday: Please Do Not Heat Up That Kitchen!

Good Monday morning, Pinteresting Blogosphere!  If there is one thing I learned in all of the advance meal prep coming to fruition for my in-laws’ visit, it is this:  when premaking dishes in advance for recooking in the summer, make them ones that can 1) go in the slow cooker, 2) be grilled, or 3) go in the microwave.  As wonderful as knowing that the main dish for dinner was ready each night (other than baking/warming), the kitchen really got overheated each evening.

It.  Is.  Hot.  Here.

So I returned to the idea of the Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge for inspiration.  If it can’t go in the slow cooker, in the microwave, or on the grill?  I didn’t want it.

With that in mind, this is what I decided:

Saturday:  chicken salad sandwiches (chicken poached in the slow cooker), Rainier cherries (yay!  Aldi sale for $2.49/lb.)

Sunday:  big salad and crackers

Monday:  grilled ribs, slaw, beans

Tuesday:  Crockpot Fajitas from Cooking Classy, Jumbo Pico Salad

Wednesday:  leftovers or hot dogs (because Josh is off Thursday)

Thursday:  grilled chicken thighs (thinking a variation of this recipe), rice, beans

Friday:  pizza from Johnny’s pizza

Saturday:  grilled hamburger and chips

Sunday:  grilled pork chops (from pork loin), microwave rice, broccoli

What is on your meal plan for this week?

Tip Tuesday: A New Approach to a Taco on Taco Tuesday!

Happy Taco Tuesday, everyone!  A few months ago, I came up with a taco alternative that satisfied my inner burger cravings.  I have seen (even at some Tex-Mex restaurants) taco meat lumped on a bun resembling nothing more than a sloppy joe but called a taco burger.

But what if you kept the burger in patty form and simply seasoned the meat (mixing in taco seasoning) before cooking the patty?  Topped with cheese and put in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt and stopped with some toppings (shredded lettuce, tomato slices–or pico de gallo, and guacamole), maybe even a special sauce (equal portions of sour cream and salsa mixed together), and you have the following:  (You may commence drooling now!)

You have a burger (minus the shredded lettuce–for some reason that freaked him out and the pico because of the onion) that Muffin adored.  A taco hedonist’s paradise.

Yes.  It really was that delicious.

And he wanted the extra burger (but we were out of the sour cream-salsa sauce and the guac…which he tends to pronounce Whack-a-Mole), but without two of his favorite toppings, he vetoed it.

That is why this burger is being made again, two weeks after it was made the last time, for Taco Tuesday.

Here’s what I did:

The Real Taco Burger

Source:  My Twisted Mind

1 pound ground beef (This is the time for 80/20)

1 pkt taco seasoning (I use reduced sodium)

prepared guacamole (or homemade…you will need close to 1 cup)

1/4-1/2 cup sour cream

1/4-1/2 cup salsa (not restaurant style–you want chunks)

shredded lettuce

4 sharp cheddar cheese slices

3/4 cup pico de gallo (or four hefty tomato slices and 4 onion slices)

4 hamburger buns (I didn’t do this last time but would recommend because of the goopiness of the substances on the insides–toast them.)

Combine the taco seasoning with the ground beef, making sure it is thoroughly integrated.  Shape into four equal patties.  (At this point, I would chill/freeze the patties so they hold up better in the pan.  I didn’t do this last time but will be doing so again.)

Combine equal parts sour cream and salsa and set aside.  Preheat oven to 285 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place patties in the skillet.  Cook until “DONE” on one side, then flip and repeat.  Place them on a baking pan (preferably one lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up) and top each with a cheese slice.  Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted on top of each patty.

Once patties are ready (redolent of taco-style spices and chili), slather the inside of each bottom half of the buns with the salsa-sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle shredded lettuce atop that.  Nestle the patties on the bed of shredded lettuce.  Top with tomato and onion slides or a mounded amount of pico de gallo.  Mound 1/4 cup of guacamole on the top bun and top the burger.

Consume with chips and salsa.

What is your favorite taco alternative for Taco Tuesday (with mandatory viewing of The Lego Movie)?

Meal Plan Monday: Almost Time for Visitors!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  By the time this meal plan concludes, our guests (my mother-in-law and stepfather-in-law) should be on their way down to visit us.  We are excited for their trip, and have been planning it for months.  Muffin, especially, has all sorts of things he wants his Grandma and Grandpa Mark to do with him while they are here!

This is also the week that sees the official start to summer!  (Even though we have had summertime temperatures here in Louisiana for several weeks)

I hope your summer plans are going well, and that you are finding ways to keep your cool (both with your little ones and in the kitchen)!

So, without further ado, what we are planning on eating this week!

Saturday:  fried rice, egg drop soup (Gimme Some Oven)

Sunday:  chili

Monday:  frito pie

Tuesday:  taco burgers, chips, and salsa (with extra guac to dip)

Wednesday:  Baked Chicken Croquettes (Life in the Lofthouse), broccoli, rice, gravy

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs or sandwiches

Friday:  English muffin pizzas, corn

Saturday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas (Life in the Lofthouse), Jumbo Pico Salad (Pioneer Woman), rice, beans

Sunday:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel), potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, greens, biscuits, green beans

What is on your meal plan for this week?

Tip Tuesday: Stir Fry in a Sheet Pan? Oh, Yes!

My love of 9×13 pans is well-known.  But I have a new love:  the sheet pan.  It is the perfect size for making a package of English muffins’ worth of mini pizzas.  It is perfect for the red velvet sheet cake.

Recently, on the Pinteresting half of the Pinteresting Blogosphere, I discovered several interesting things that require that oh-so-versatile unsung hero in the kitchen.  Several that will make their way to Meal Plan Monday posts in the months to come.

The first that caught my eye (although it actually came about as a Google search for stir fries for oyster sauce–I accidentally picked up oyster sauce at Aldi thinking it was fish sauce for another recipe that has still not been made) was this sheet pan stir fry.  I was really excited when I saw it used Sriracha, as well (another Aldi purchase for a recipe that used a miniscule amount of it).  And anything that uses sesame oil HAS to be yummers.

So, after a few meal plan misses, I made it Saturday.  And it was totally awesome.  I did, however, change some things up (Insert eye roll by family members and longtime readers who know this quirk of mine).  If you follow along with the link above, you can see below how my plans changed to create this delicious melange of flavors:

Sheet Pan Asian Stir Fry (Adapted from this site)

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch chunks

15 or so baby carrots cut 1/4 inch thick on the bias

1 pound frozen broccoli florets

3 ribs celery, cut 1/4-1/2 inch thick on the bias

1 orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips

3 T reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 T oyster sauce

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T brown sugar, packed

1 t ground ginger

1 t garlic powder

1 t sesame oil

1 t cornstarch

1 t Sriracha

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  (Note:  If baking egg rolls, make sure they are the ones that bake at 425 so that you can cook the stir fry and the egg rolls at the same time.)  Combine the last nine ingredients in a small bowl, whisking them together to break up the lumps of powdery substances.

Line a sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Toss together the remaining ingredients until well combined.  Drizzle with the sauce and toss to incorporate the sauce.

Bake for 18 minutes.  Serve over fresh and hot rice with an egg roll (or two if you are feeling particularly decadent) on the side.  In the picture above, I drizzled mine with a bit more oyster sauce and a bit more sriracha.  Yummers!

What is your favorite use for a sheet pan?