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?

Meal Plan Monday: Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!

Good morning, Monday readers!  Well, I’m actually writing this Sunday morning, but I have Monday thoughts on this Sunday.

If you recognize the source of the subtitle, kudos to you!  I am waiting (with baited breath) for the sequel (supposedly in October according to the often-incorrect Wikipedia).

The last several months have been a delicate balancing act (read:  epic fail at that) of being the mama of a first grader, Star Wars and Nerf Gun enthusiast, and cub scout.  Oddly enough, the last has tipped the scales into insanity and hilarity quite often.

Added to that biweekly trips to Aldi (that turn into day-long excursions as lunch is usually included) and the following day spent cooking and prepping for the following week?  Yes, writing time has been almost nonexistent.

And, for a long time, I worried that I had lost my writing mojo.  I would stare at my list of dishes that I had prepared, new and exciting ones, and felt…blah.  Staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor (and imagining the cursor taunting you with each blink…”You can’t do this; you can’t do this!”) is far more intimidating than staring at a blank spiral notebook page and a pen (which is how I usually compose fiction).

My Muse had escaped me, it seemed.  And, then, very recently (in both terms of fiction and here), a new Muse appeared.  In other words, the words that have been trapped in my head on the tips on my fingers, almost, have suddenly started purging themselves on paper–and on the screen.

I feel rejuvenated.

So, those people that I am related to (cough cough, my sister, cough cough) who have wondered why they have haven’t been receiving notifications about new posts, you should receive one soon.

This week abuts spring break (yay!  finally!) and a much-anticipated trip to Dallas (to celebrate our anniversary last November, Valentine’s Day, and everything in between), so the menu plan is going to look kinda…odd.

Are you ready for the super-charged meal plan?

Or the what-was-she-thinking meal plan?

Here we go!!!

Saturday:  Peeps be sick (or, at least Muffin was).  I had eaten at a Chinese buffet for brunch that turned into b’lu’pper because I ate too much.  Muffin was finally able to hold down two corn dogs from Sonic (yay!  50 cent corn dogs and happy hour drinks!), and I’m not sure what Josh had.

Sunday:  Asian-Paste Pork Loin with Two Onions, rice, tomato slices

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Monday:  grilled boneless ribs with a rub, grilled asparagus, French bread with butter

Tuesday:  Mexican pizzas, chips, salsa

Wednesday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Thursday:  breaky for dinner–Josh is off so eggs over easy, sausage from Aldi, biscuits (like Grands but from Aldi), and hash brown patties

Friday:  mini pizzas (Aldi had mini pizza crusts with sauce on clearance)

Saturday:  dinner in Dallas

Sunday:  dinner on the road or snacky lunch

What is your menu looking like this week?

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: A Whole Slew of New Recipes

Meal Plan Monday

This week’s entry comes a bit late, but we are trying a whole messa’ recipes this week.  We are busily learning a poem for Muffin to present on Wednesday about the American flag.  Things are busy, busy, busy!

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Saturday:  chicken fried rice

Sunday:  Chicken Parm Pasta Casserole (Adapted from Chicken Parm Meatball Casserole by Buns in My Oven)

Monday:  We ate leftovers of the Chicken Parm Pasta Casserole

Tuesday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse, beans, rice

Wednesday:  Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes from Dishing with Leslie, fries

Thursday:  Barbecue Chicken Bread from Buns in My Oven, salad

Friday:  Spasagna from Country Cook, salad

Saturday:  grilled something

Sunday:  baked ham, macaroni and cheese, green veg

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

We Plan Wednesday: The November 2015 Meal Plan (with Links!)

We Plan Wednesday

If you’ve been tuning in for the last few months, you know that I’ve created a meal plan for the rest of the year.  So far, I haven’t exactly followed them, but I know they are available as old standbys if I need them.  As November begins Sunday, it is now time to share the November menu.

1:  Salmon Patties (Deep South Dish)

2:  Nacho Casserole (Buns in My Oven)

3:  Bacon Cheeseburger Tatchos (Frugal Foodie Mama)  This link seems to be broken, but if you message me I will send my file to you through e-mail.

4:  Breakfast Croissant and Potatoes (Life in the Lofthouse)

5:  leftovers (It’s Thursday, after all)

6:  Chicken Ranch Pizza (Life in the Lofthouse)

7:  Crock Pot Asian Chicken (Country Cook)

8:  Easy Chicken Breasts with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Foodie Crush)

9:  Arroz con Pollo (Make Ahead Meals Busy Moms)

10:  Taco Time Crisp Bean Burritos (Let’s Dish)

11:  Marinated Root Beer Grilled Chicken (6 Sisters’ Stuff)

12:  leftovers

13:  Slow Cooker Pizza Chicken (Heather Likes Food)

14:  dinner at hotel for anniversary

15:  snacky dinner from Central Market:  cheese tray

16:  anniversary dinner out

17:  Mexican Pollo Spud (My Name Is Snickerdoodle)

18:  Chicken and Cornbread Casserole (Bread, Booze, and Bacon)

19:  leftovers

20:  Pizza Pasta (How Sweet It Is)

21:  Frito Chili Cheeseburger (A Spicy Perspective)

22:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel)

23:  Parmesan Chicken (Broke Ass Gourmet)

24:  Avocado Chicken Enchiladas (Six Sisters’ Stuff) through their My Recipe Magic Site

25:  Eggnog French Toast (A Beautiful Mess) and Homemade Sausage

26:  Thanksgiving dinner

27:  leftovers

28:  leftovers

29:  Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken (Recipe Girl)

30:  Chicken Pecan Fettuccine (Deep South Dish)

How do you see your November shaping up?

A Catch-Up Post: Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves

In our family, we like meatloaf.  We love barbecue sauce.  And we adore cheddar cheese.

When I came across the Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves recipe on Life in the Lofthouse, I was super jazzed…for a number of reasons.

Reasons #s 1-3 are listed above (meatloaf, bbq sauce, and cheese).

Reason #4 is that I have not had a fail on any of the recipes from Life in the Lofthouse.

Reason #5 is that mini as equates to food means portion-controlled and fast cooking.  Meatloaf takes over an hour if we make a full sized one, so the second half of that reason is super great!

This recipe, needless to say, is Muffin Approved.

Muffin Approved

Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves

Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse

1/2 pound each ground turkey and ground pork (This is the main deviation from the original recipe)

1 beaten egg

1/4 cup barbecue sauce, plus another 1/4 cup barbecue sauce for brushing on the loaves (1/2 cup total)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper (pepper must be freshly ground)

2 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed into tiny cubes

Set your oven to preheat at 400 degrees.  Line a half-sheet pan with foil.

Mix until just combined all ingredients except 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce in a medium bowl. Divide and shape into four loaves.  Place each on the baking pan.  Spread barbecue sauce on the top of the loaves.

Bake for 20 minutes until done.

Enjoy the sweet, cheesy, slightly spicy, meaty goodness!  Note:  We served ours with seasoned-battered fries (from frozen) and pickle stalks.

A Catch-Up Post: Bourbon Street Chicken

If there were ever another “genre” of ethnic food that comes close to overtaking Tex-Mex in Muffin’s heart or mine, it would be “Chinese.”  Notice that “Chinese” is in quotes.  A lot of what Muffin (and I) adore about Chinese food is more Americanized Chinese.

Yes, I mean that we like it more than Italian (although Josh’s lasagna does challenge it a bit).

It’s one form of cooking where you can virtuously chomp on crunchy veggies and pretend you are eating really unhealthy food.

Think Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce.  Or fried (in our case, not-so-fried) rice.  Or stir-fried veggies.

The combinations of all are endless.

Of course, today’s catch-up post has (cough cough) no veggies, although I did stir fry some frozen broccoli (pretty much the only way to save frozen broccoli from becoming scary, limp, gray mush) with garlic and pepper flakes.

Today, I present you to that quasi-Chinese dish of mall “Chinese restaurants”:  Bourbon Street Chicken.  Our school district serves a version of this dish sometimes, but because they don’t want the students to associate it with alcohol, the district nutritionists have changed the name to “New Orleans Chicken.”

In reading the menus for weeks to my students, it took a VERY long time to figure out that they really meant Bourbon Chicken.

I found this recipe, well, this version, because it seems that many blogs have this recipe somewhere, on Life in the Lofthouse.

Bourbon Street Chicken

Adapted very closely from Life in the Lofthouse

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes (LitL calls for 4 chicken breasts, which to Albertson’s meat packers way of thinking, equates to 4 pounds instead of the pound I’m sure she intended)

2 tablespoons veg oil

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 cup apple juice (She says apple or pineapple, but we always seem to have apple in the house and rarely seem to have pineapple)

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

pinch red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a large skillet containing medium-high heated oil, cook chicken pieces until no longer pink (stir-fry style).  Remove chicken and pour out any juices.  Return skillet to the heat.  Add chicken back to pan.

Mix together remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Whisk until cornstarch is completely combined.

When chicken is golden, pour sauce into pan. Stir to coat chicken.  Reduce heat to low and cover with the lid at an angle to allow steam to escape.

Simmer 20 minutes, stirring a few times.

Serve over rice with choice of veg.

Since this was served with “trees” (broccoli), this entire meal was Muffin Approved.

Muffin Approved