Meal Plan Monday: Muffin’s Birthday Week!

Good Monday morning, meal planners!

In honor of Muffin’s seventh birthday on Wednesday, here are seven classic photos of Muffin:

In lieu of going out to eat on his birthday, we instead took him to brunch yesterday, and I will be making his birthday dinner on Wednesday.  The only thing he asked for was macaroni and cheese, so I will be serving that with some chicken made infamous by the fact that Muffin once stole it off of my plate.  We will also have green beans (one o his favorite veggies).

So, how does the week shape out?  Here’s how:

Saturday:  I chaperoned the prom.  I snacked there.  Josh and Muffin had pizza leftover from his birthday party, I think.

Sunday:  grill

Monday:  hamburger helper, veg, bread

Tuesday:  fajita rice (Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures), chips, salsa

Wednesday:  Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (A Bountiful Kitchen), macaroni and cheese, green beans

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza in some form

Saturday:  Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps (Fifteen Spatulas–triple the batch and freeze leftovers), egg rolls, soup from Chinese restaurant

Sunday:  Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce (Life in the Lofthouse), rice, green veg

What is on tap for you this week?

We Plan Wednesday: The December 2015 Meal Plan

We Plan Wednesday

…a bit late.  I know.  I’ve just been busy prepping the 25 Days of Holiday Goodies, and I knew that the post the Wednesday before should cover that rather than the December menu.

So, here goes…

1:  Jambalaya

2:  leftovers

3:  Josh’s birthday dinner out

4:  pizza

5:  Natchitoches Meat Pies from Our Best Bites

6:  Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken and Potatoes from Back for Seconds

7:  One Pot Chicken Pasta with Light Basil Cream Sauce from A Spicy Perspective

8:  Muffalettas (going to find one close to Central Grocery–meat-wise, at least)

9:  Cowboy Christmas Breakfast from A Bountiful Kitchen

10:  leftovers

11:  pizza

12:  soup and grilled cheese or soup and cheese and crackers

13:  Apple and Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Broke A Gourmet

14:  faculty dinner Christmas party

15:  taco Tuesday

16:  One-Dish Skillet Chicken Enchiladas from Clarks Condensed

17:  leftovers

18:  pizza

19:  Orange Chicken, rice, eggrolls, stir-fried snow peas

20:  Artichoke Chicken Rustigo from Cooking with Ruthie

21:  Homemade Dirty Rice from Southern Plate

22:  taco Tuesday

23:  present opening tids and bits at the LFam house

24:  Christmas Eve tids and bits at my parents’ house

25:  Christmas dinner

26:  leftovers

27:  leftovers

28:  Undercover Chicken from Call Me PMC

29:  Spasagna from Country Cook

30:  Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes from Dishing with Leslie

31:  NYE Fiesta

What’s your meals-in-process for the month of December?

Meal Plan Monday: Hopefully This Will Be Followed a Bit Better This Week…

Meal Plan Monday

Last week’s menu did not go so well as planned.  Sometimes, things happen.  And, last week, things happened.  Or, rather, many things coalesced to make me not…want…to…cook.  I ate salads a lot last week.  It also is that lovely point in the year known as “It is way too hot to cook, thank you very much!”

It’s also way too hot to eat.  The heat index on concrete this evening as I headed home about five o’clock or so was 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is millimeters away from a hundred degrees actually.

There’s a reason why the slow cooker has again made successive appearances in the meal plan.  I’m not ready to do a full Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge, but I’m going to find ways in the next few weeks (Louisiana in August is breathing its hot, acrid breath on the back of my neck already) to not heat up the kitchen as much as possible.

So…here…we…go (Most of the links except next Sunday’s dish can be found on last weeks MPM post):

Saturday:  Fourth of July bash re-do with hamburgers, beans, potato salad, ice cream sundae bar, my mom’s cheesecake

Sunday:  Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen), rice, green beans (Muffin again tried to appropriate extra chicken)

Monday:  root beer pulled pork sandwiches (from RecipeGirl), coleslaw, chips (Um…this did not happen today.  I wasn’t hungry, Muffin ate leftovers, and Josh ate something else)

Tuesday:  Muffaletta casserole from Miz Helen’s, salad (I will hopefully be making the root beer pulled pork here)

Wednesday:  Chicken French (expect this one to be usurped as it was last week) from Ducks N a Row, rice, green veg

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  slow cooker red beans and rice, bread

Saturday:  fried rice

Sunday:  Crock Pot Coconut Lime Chicken (Crock Pot Gourmet), rice, appropriate veg

What’s your plan for this week?

Meal Plan Monday: Revisiting Un-Tried Recipes

Meal Plan Monday

Okay.  There are some weeks (and months) when the meal plan doesn’t happen according to plan.  For those times, it’s nice to have that list (even though it wasn’t followed) because it makes planning successive lists easier.

My mind was literally a blank when I sat down to plan the menu.  Then, I remembered the We Plan Wednesday post when I planned out the June menu.  Yup.  I didn’t touch a lot of those.  So, two of them have been re-featured in this week’s meal plan.

And, as our Fourth of July plans changed (with July 4 not being the statutory holiday and Josh having to work it, rather than just be on call), the menu plan for last week changed.  Our “Fourth of July hamburger bash” was pushed back a week, and there was no way that I could make red beans and rice for Sunday (since we would still be gone) or even Monday (because I need to soak the beans).  So, I had to call on some reserves that I had.


Saturday:  at my sister’s; Josh is on his own

Sunday:  at my sister’s; Josh is on his own

Monday:  turkey (ground) tacos, chips, salsa

Tuesday:  Chicken French (Ducks N a Row), salad, rolls

Wednesday:  Muffaletta Casserole (Miz Helen’s Country Cottage), green veg

Thursday:  leftovers or big salad

Clean Out the Refrigerator Leftovers for Dinner

Friday:  French bread pizza, corn

Saturday:  Fourth of July hamburger bash re-do, beans, potato salad, ice cream

Sunday:  Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen), mashed potatoes, peas

What is on your meal plan this week?

Funny Muffin Friday: Can I Have Some of Your Chicken?

Funny Muffin Friday

The crime:  Stolen pieces of fried chickeny goodness  (See below for the meal in its pristine state)

The victim:  ME!!!!!

The culprit:  Muffin!

The motive:  This chicken was totally Muffin (and Mama!) Approved!

Okay, enough of the drama (but I’m still missing my chicken!).  On Tuesday, when I was supposed to make the sesame chicken (yup, it got delayed again), I realized that I didn’t have chicken thighs.  I thought, that’s okay.  I’ll go ahead and make it with chicken breasts.

Then, I couldn’t find the sesame oil.  You aren’t going to get too far with sesame chicken without sesame oil.  I have since found the sesame oil, but that was after I had already started making another chicken recipe, Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken from A Bountiful Kitchen.

Now, I have made fried chicken before.  It’s a pain in the proverbial neck.  Alton Brown’s fried chicken from the Fry Hard 2:  The Chicken episode of Good Eats is my gold standard.  If you want to go through the entire process, that’s the one you should use.  Or Pioneer Woman’s.

But things like “Is the chicken done around the bone?” tend to worry me, exceedingly so.  As a result, I tend to shy away from southern fried chicken unless it can be purchased in a bucket or a bag.

I know that I’m committing Southern Sacrilege by saying that, but there it is.

When I found that recipe at A Bountiful Kitchen, I was intrigued because it uses boneless skinless chicken breasts and has finite amounts of time that the chicken sits in the oil on each side (I will probably lessen the amount of time next time because mine got a bit too caramelized, even at a lower temperature).

That’s how it ended up on the menu…for Saturday.

But, it was really the only option as a stand in when, at 1:30, I couldn’t find the sesame oil.  It was too late to thaw the pork chops for the Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops, and too late to start the pizza pasta dish (or the other slow cooker dish for the week).  And I really am planning on making the cornbread in advance for the cornbread chicken casserole.

That left the fried chicken.  Luckily, we had plenty of mashed taters left over from Monday night.  I decided to make brown gravy using a mix (Yes, I know, but I was so frustrated for having to change the menu at that point) and some green beans.  I wouldn’t be able to let the chicken soak in the buttermilk mixture as long as I wanted to.

Next time I will soak it overnight so that it can be affected by all of that yumminess.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, other than shading off some of the time.  The reason was my fault, of course.  I divided my breasts in half lengthwise, and I’m not great at dividing them evenly.

I kept my stove a shade cooler, too, setting 6 instead of between the 7 and 8 for medium-high.  My stove tends to run fairly hot, though.

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Adapted Pretty Closely from A Bountiful Kitchen

2 1/2 cups milk

roughly 3 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or another Louisiana-style variety (I would think Tabasco too hot and thin for this recipe)

2 large (humongous) chicken breasts, divided into two-three pieces each

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon or so salt, to taste

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I actually used closer to a half, and no one was the wiser)

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil with a smattering of bacon grease)

In a four-cup measuring cup (think Pyrex! or Oxo) pour the milk and vinegar.  Whisk.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Whisk again.  You’ve just made buttermilk!

Add in the pepper sauce and stir to combine.

Place chicken pieces in the mixture, cover, and place in the fridge at least one hour (but hopefully overnight!).

When ready to fry, pour the oil in the pan.

Mix up the flour, pepper, cayenne, and salt in a gallon-size zip-top baggie.  Resist the extremely overwhelming urge to add anything (such as Dash or Montreal Chicken Seasoning) to the mix.  Seriously.  Resist.  Consider this Southern Rocket Science.  Or at least Southern Fried Chicken Science.

Heat the oil until it’s hot on medium-medium-high heat (Setting 6 on a 10 setting system).  Don’t pour a cup of water in it to test.  I’ve never done that, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a good idea.  Then, the Southern Fried Chicken Science may become Southern Rocket Science entirely on accident.

Instead, to test, add a cube of bread.  If it browns delightfully without immediately burning, the oil is ready.  If not, wait or adjust accordingly.

Shake the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the flour baggie.

Add the chicken, as many pieces that will fit with a half-inch apart, to the pan.  Fry 6-7 minutes on the first side.  Leave the chicken alone!  Do not poke, prod, turn, or anything else the chicken during that time.  Turn the chicken.  Repeat.

Evacuate the new golden brown deliciousness to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Note:  I know that there are people who hotly contest the evacuation resting place.  I cannot bring myself to try newsprint.  I’m not going to fry-grease pollute my cooling racks.  Paper towels is how I was raised, and paper towels it will be.

Repeat as necessary with the remaining chicken.  If it’s going to be a while while the rest of it finishes, you may keep it in a warm (200 degree) oven.  Our first pieces were still rocket hot when the last ones finished.

Serve with appropriate sides.

Verdict:  Muffin ate his piece of chicken, most of his taters, and a smattering of green beans.  Then, he started begging for my chicken.

He took my chicken!!!!

And, in doing so, asked me at least five times to make the chicken again.

Did I mention that he took my chicken?!?!

Muffin Approved

The one thing this recipe was missing?  Greens!  Oh, well, I guess that’s for next time.

Meal Plan Monday: A Brief Revision

Meal Plan Monday

The meal plan has been altered slightly.  Friday was Muffin’s Family Night at Vacation Bible School.  The “light refreshments” resembled more a feast or a banquet than cookies and punch (yet there were cookies and punch).  So, the French bread pizzas of Friday were shelved for a bit.  Then, Saturday, my mom cooked for us (Josh helped set up her Roku and added pictures to her Picasa account), another feast of barbecued boneless ribs, potato salad, baked beans, broccoli salad, and cake.  So, the smothered chicken didn’t exactly happen.

I decided we would just push the menu up a couple of days.  So, Sunday, we should have had the French bread/mini pizzas.  Well, I also had a hankering for a BLT.  I asked Josh and Muffin which they would rather have for lunch and which for supper (out of the pizzas and BLT).  Muffin wanted the pizzas for lunch, so the BLT went on Sunday’s supper menu.

So, the smothered chicken gets moved to Monday, and the rest of the week will be re-evaluated.


Saturday:  dinner at Mom’s (yum)

Sunday:  BLT (A brief side note on the BLT:  the bread must be toasted and white–although Josh prefers wheat, both sides must have a thin slathering of mayo, on top of the mayo on both sides you must have freshly ground black pepper, on the one side of bread you must layer half pieces of Brookshire’s thick sliced bacon, followed by four to five slices of thin cut tomato and a handful of lettuce.  Then you must top with the other slice of bread and smoosh down.  The juices of the tomato and a bit of bacon grease melds delightfully with the pepper and the mayo to make a delightful dressing for the lettuce on the sandwich.) and strawberries with the world’s easiest two-ingredient fruit dip (about three-quarter cups sour cream mixed with a few tablespoons of brown sugar.  Let it stand a few minutes, and then stir it again).

Monday:   Smothered Chicken from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, veg of some kind, mashed taters (Sesame Chicken was supplanted again!)

Tuesday:  Sesame Freaking Chicken (recipe given to me by my coworker Holly…and I am bound and determined to make it this time), egg rolls, rice, fortune cookies (maybe with a stir-fried veg)

Wednesday:   Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops (recipe all over the place), rice (maybe a wild rice blend), green veg

Thursday:  leftovers/hot dogs or Chicken and Cornbread Casserole from Bread, Booze, and Bacon, salad with vinaigrette

Friday:  One Pot Pizza Pasta (Budget Savvy Diva), bread, salad

Saturday:   Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (A Bountiful Kitchen), mashed potatoes, veg

Sunday:   Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole slow cooker (Country Cook), green veg

What’s on your menu this week?


We Plan Wednesday: The June Menu

We Plan Wednesday

This post is a bit of a cheat, as we are well into June and I posted a partial menu for my in-law’s visit that will occur toward the end of the month.  But, I decided to go ahead and fill in the post for the month.  July looms as one big question mark, as Josh may have one (or possibly even two?) weeks in Houston.

What is the advantage of monthly meal planning?  It’s one thing that you can check off of your weekly “to-do” list.  Does that mean I won’t do my Meal Plan Monday posts each week?  Uh, no.  Because if the meal plan gets shot to heck in a week, imagine what happens if I post it for the entire month!

June 1 (Monday):  Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake from Lil Luna (with alterations:  mozza instead of Swiss, cheddar instead of so much Parm), fresh green beans with onions and real bacon bits, rice

June 2 (Tuesday):  chicken tacos (from the slow cooker:  throw in a few breasts, some salsa, and taco seasoning and low until done and stir to shred)

June 3 (Wednesday):  “leftover Wednesday” in the form of chicken taco ‘topped taters

June 4 (Thursday):  something on the grill, canned veg, bread

June 5 (Friday):  mini pizzas, corn

June 6 (Saturday):  Smothered Chicken from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, veg of some kind, mashed taters

June 7 (Sunday):  Chicken and Cornbread Casserole from Bread, Booze, and Bacon, salad with vinaigrette

June 8 (Monday):  Sesame Freaking Chicken (recipe given to me by my coworker Holly…and I am bound and determined to make it this time), egg rolls, rice, fortune cookies (maybe with a stir-fried veg)

June 9 (Tuesday):  Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken (A Bountiful Kitchen), mashed potatoes, veg

June 10 (Wednesday):  Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops (recipe all over the place), rice (maybe a wild rice blend), green veg

June 11 (Thursday):  leftovers or hot dogs (In theory, Josh is off–but on-call–so maybe grilled hot dogs?)

June 12 (Friday):  One Pot Pizza Pasta (Budget Savvy Diva), bread, salad

June 13 (Saturday):  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole slow cooker (Country Cook), green veg

June 14 (Sunday):  Chicken French (Ducks N a Row), salad, rolls

June 15 (Monday):  slow cooker red beans and rice, salad, bread

June 16 (Tuesday):  Spasagna (Country Cook), salad

June 17 (Wednesday):  Cajun Fried Chicken Po’Boys (Favorite Family Recipes), baked fries

June 18 (Thursday):  leftovers or hot dogs

June 19 (Friday):  Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza Balls (Gunny Sack), “hamburger topping” salad

June 20 (Saturday):  Muffaletta Casserole (Miz Helen’s Country Cottage), salad

June 21 (Sunday):  Baked Potato Bar (I don’t know what time the in-laws are arriving; hopefully in time for supper because the baked potato bar is always fun!)

June 22 (Monday):  Grilled Margarita Chicken (TSRI), Carol’s salsa from Messy Aprons, homemade tortillas with butter, slow cooker refried beans from Mom on Timeout

June 23 (Tuesday):  Dr. Pepper Pork Chops from Debbiedoo’s, Twice-Baked Potato Casserole from Miss Kay’s cookbook, 7-Up Biscuits from Six Sisters’ Stuff, broccoli with lemon zest

June 24 (Wednesday):  Ranch chicken enchiladas (LitL), Mexican Rice (, leftover refried beans, guacamole, chips

June 25 (Thursday):  Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce, rice, egg rolls, fortune cookies

June 26 (Friday):  Pizza Spiral Rolls from B. A. Gourmet (meat, supreme, Italian), salad, corn

June 27 (Saturday):  Bacon Cheeseburger Tatchos (Frugal Foodie Mama), “hamburger topping” salad

June 28 (Sunday):  Another Lazy Sunday Casserole (Kayotic Kitchen), green veg/salad, bread (or croutons in salad)

June 29 (Monday):  Slow Cooker Lasagna Rolls (Gunny Sack), salad, bread (a meatless Monday)

June 30 (Tuesday): Egg Roll Stir Fry (Meal Planning 101), fried rice

That’s it!  30 days in June, after all.  What’s on your meal plan for the month?