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?

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We Plan Wednesday: The September 2015 Menu

We Plan Wednesday

When I sat down a few weeks ago and planned out the menu for the remainder of the year, I did so in an attempt to sketch out something useful for the remainder of 2015, knowing that once school started things were going to be busy.

Note that I said, “sketch.”  This monthly plan is not intended to be the end all and be all.  If I can’t manage to follow the weekly meal plan 100% of the time, I DEFINITELY can’t expect to do so for the monthly plan.  Life and poop happens.

That being said, I think this advance planning will alleviate the meal plan monotony that hit a few months back.  I’ve included new recipes with a mixture of old favorites hopefully leading to some level of comfort with the menu.  I tried to be seasonally conscious.  I tried not to heat up the kitchen too much in the planning for August and September.

And the kicker is, I’ve tried not to plan too much for weeks that I know will be busy.

There is a method to my madness, as the old bard once said.  I hope there is no madness in the method.

1:  Beef Nacho Pie from The Tidy Nest

2:  Mini Bacon and Egg Toast Cups from Fifteen Spatulas

3:  leftovers/scrounge

4:  One Pot Pizza Pasta from Budget Savvy Diva

5:  Happy Birthday, Mom!  (Make S’mores Granola Bars from Recipe Girl)

6:  Crock Pot Simple Chicken Spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet (This was planned for earlier this month, but we re-did the Houston trip.)

7:  Red Beans and Rice (in the slow cooker!)

8:  Chick-Fil-A calendar card meal

9:  Bacon, Corn, and Cheddar Pancakes from Foxes Love Lemons

10:  leftovers/scrounge

11:  Pizza Rolls from Broke A** Gourmet

12:  Crock Pot Pizza Meatball Subs (I will also make Chex Lemon Muddy Buddies from Six Sisters’ Stuff.)

13:  Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken from Recipe Girl

14:  Slow Cooker Easy Quiche from A Spicy Perspective

15:  Chicken Street Tacos from Life in the Lofthouse

16:  Grilled Margarita Chicken from The Slow Roasted Italian

17:  leftovers/scrounge

18:  Salmon/Tuna Patties from Deep South Dish

19:  Crock Pot Asian Chicken from Country Cook (I will also make No-Bake Biscoff Granola Bars from Two Peas and Their Pod.)

20:  Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken from The Recipe Critic

21:  Super Quick Spaghetti Carbonara from Budget Savvy Diva

22:  Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner from Deep South Dish

23:  Herbed Baked Eggs and Praline Bacon, both from Fifteen Spatulas

24:  leftovers/scrounge

25:  Pizza Quesadillas from Macaroni and Cheesecake

26:  Crock Pot Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches from Life in the Lofthouse (I will also make Loaded Rice Krispie Treats from Life in the Lofthouse.)

27:  jambalaya

28:  Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan from Mom on a Mission

29:  Wholly Guacamole Enchiladas from Mommy Hates Cooking

30:  Huevos Rancheros from Fifteen Spatulas

I’m very excited about this month’s menu!  I’ve always wanted to try huevos rancheros, and I never have.  I’m also excited about the carbonara, the praline bacon, and the chicken cheesesteak sandwiches.  Those are all out of my cooking comfy zone.

But the one dish I’m most hopeful about is the guacamole enchiladas.  When we go to Dallas and go to Abuelo’s, I always order the avocado enchiladas.  I hope these are just as yummy!

What’s your plan for September?

We Plan Wednesday: August’s Menu Plan

We Plan Wednesday

I sat down last week and planned out the menus for the rest of the year.

Now, don’t get excited.  I haven’t completely lost my mind.  I simply saw my Chick-Fil-A calendar sitting on the table, pretty much blank, and felt the need to fill it (or, at least, August-December) with meal plans.

Now, do I honestly believe that all of these items for the remaining four months of the year will be made (and eaten) as planned?  Uh, no.

But a girl has to have a plan as the school year gets ready to gear up.  I can always fall back to the plan in the event things get crazy and my mind is fried as far as Meal Plan Monday is concerned.

The goal for August?  To heat up the oven as little as possible.

Here we go:

1:  Korean “Beef” Over Rice from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Country Cook

3:  Perfect Mini Meatloaf from Artsy Fartsy Mama

4:  Mexican Pizzas from Life in the Lofthouse

5:  French Toast Kabobs, fruit, breakfast meat from A Beautiful Mess

6:  leftovers/scrounge

7:  mini pizzas

8:  Crock Pot Cashew Chicken from Favorite Family Recipes

9:  Pork Loin Roast with potatoes, onions, and carrots

10:  Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta from Gunny Sack

11:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse (Hopefully, this time I will get a good picture!)

12:  Marinated Root Beer Grilled Chicken from Six Sisters’ Stuff

13:  leftovers/scrounge

14:  Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes from Kayotic Kitchen

15:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup from A Spicy Perspective

16:  Crock Pot Simple Chicken Spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet

17:  pulled pork (from freezer) sandwiches, cole slaw, chips

18:  tacos

19:  breakfast for dinner (pancakes)

20:  go to Chick-Fil-A (for the Chick-Fil-A deal) and lemonade for National Lemonade Day

21:  mini pizzas

22:  Fuji Chicken from Mandy’s Recipe Box

23:  Crock Pot Bacon Garlic Chicken from Crock Pot Ladies

24:  Mexican Lasagna (try to make it as a slow cooker dish) from Artsy Fartsy Mama

25:  carnitas bowls using carnitas from the freezer

26:  English Breakfast Burgers from Foodtastic Mom

27:  leftovers/scrounge

28:  Pizza Waffles from Life in the Lofthouse (plug the waffle iron in outside)

29:  Waffle Iron BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Buns in My Oven (plug the waffle iron in outside)

30:  Crock Pot BBQ’d Chicken and Cornbread Casserole from A Year of Slow Cooking

31:  Olive Garden Copycat Chicken Vino Bianco from The Slow Roasted Italian

I also plan to make two dessert dishes for inclusion in Muffin’s lunches.

On the weekend of August 22, I plan to make Churro Chex Mix from Six Sisters’ Stuff.  On the weekend of August 29, I plan to make Star Crunches from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.

What are your favorite keep-the-kitchen-cool meals?

Meal Plan Monday: Hopefully More Closely

Meal Plan Monday

So…another week that didn’t work so well, meal-plan-wise.

Sickness and multiple appointments pretty much ruled the day, er, week.  Muffin has a sinus infection (nothing viral or in his ears or lungs…yay!), but he gets to get another robot tooth.  He had a check-up with his doctor.  My dad was in the hospital having a pacemaker put in.  Josh worked pretty much solidly the whole week.

Yeah, I didn’t feel like cooking (or eating) much.

This next week will be spent trying to cook ahead in mini-freezer cooking sessions in an attempt to ready things for the school year (like Muffin lunches, etc.).  It’s not as much about trying new things as it is filling the freezer.

Saturday:  Muffaletta casserole, green veg

Sunday:  meatloaf in the slow cooker (I’m going to risk it once more)

Monday:  red beans and rice (save leftovers)

Tuesday:  Chipotle copycat carnitas made with rice bowls/taco salads

Wednesday:  Josh is off, so he will prepare something yummy (possibly breakfast/pancakes for dinner)

Thursday:  leftover/Josh grill

Friday:  pizza rollups (freeze extra for Muffin’s lunches)

Saturday:  chili (freeze extras)

What are y’all planning 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 (food.com), 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?

Meal Plan Monday: A Cinco de Mayo Chipotle-Inspired Feast

Meal Plan Monday

Sunday dawned with two slow cookers percolating in the kitchen (Big Bertha sported pork loin, potatoes, and carrots for Sunday dinner; and ‘Red was filled to the brim with seared beef roast chunks and Ninja’d sauce for Chipotle Barbacoa, much cooled from the version tried last year, using only one chipotle pepper and only one teaspoon–rather than a tablespoon–of the accompanying adobo sauce).

I looked a lot more productive than I felt.  Since before spring break, we have been passing around a spring cold.  Having suffered from a sore throat since Wednesday (causing me to miss Wednesday services at church), the cold settled in my sinuses (and, sorry to be TMI, produced copious amounts of mucus that had to be blown out seemingly every second) by the weekend.

As a result, I didn’t get the tater tot casserole prepped (nor did i get all the chopping for the pico, corn salsa, or cilantro for the cilantro-lime rice).  I did something both Saturday and Sunday that I rarely do:  I took a nap.

But, here’s the meal plan for the week (thank goodness for the productivity of my slow cookers).  I told my mom that I would really like a third (or even a fourth) slow cooker; I could really have been productive while sick on Sunday if I had more.

Saturday:  Home-Alone-(the movie)-Inspired Filthy Animal Pizza from Foxes Love Lemons

Sunday:  my mom’s pork loin, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker (with a side of “fried” apples)

Monday:  Smothered Chicken from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, vegetable, bread

Tuesday:  Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Chipotle Barbacoa, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Chipotle Corn Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole in bowls

Wednesday:  Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Michelle’s Tasty Creations and salad

Thursday:  leftovers/hot dogs

Friday:  Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes from Kayotic Kitchen, salad or green veg

Saturday:  Josh is off to grill!

Sunday:  Citrus grilled shrimp (recipe and pictures forthcoming) or Josh’s lasagna (recipe and pictures forthcoming)

What’s your plan for the week?

Meal Plan Monday: Back After a Week of Testing

Meal Plan Monday

For those of you not in the know, last week was PARCC testing.  Several other things happened this past week and a half to keep me from blogging as I wished to.   In my downtime at work (haha), I worked to plan lessons and also organize my meal planning lists.

Yes, I did plan (and mostly follow) a plan last week.  And I have a plan to go by for this week.  It’s a return of some old favorites mixed with some new fun. We have company this week; a friend of Josh’s is staying with us in between moves, so I’m trying to feed a crowd.  Here’s the plan:

Saturday:  cabbage roll casserole (from Mandy’s Recipe Box) and bread and butter

Sunday:  cream cheese and pepper jelly with crackers (raspberry jalapeno jam), crock pot chicken and dumplings (from the Slow Roasted Italian), artisan bread with rosemary, salad bar

Monday:  Root Beer Pulled Pork (from Recipe Girl) on a bun, coleslaw, chips

Tuesday:  sour cream noodle bake (from Life in the Lofthouse), green beans, leftover salad bar

Wednesday:  BBQ cups (made with leftover pulled pork) from Life in the Lofthouse, roasted veg, coleslaw

Thursday:  leftovers or Enchurritos from Mandy’s Recipe Box, chips and salsa

Friday:  Pizza Tot Casserole from Love Bakes Good Cakes, corn, wedge salad

Saturday:  Fuji Chicken and rice from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Sunday:  Monterey Chicken and Hamberger Buns from Life in the Lofthouse, broccoli, fruit

I hope y’all have a great week!