Monday, January 27, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 1/27-2/2/14

Wondering how or why to meal plan? Read this first.

It has been incredibly snowy and incredibly cold here for the last few days. All the schools, and some businesses too, have been shut down the last few days. Comfort food sounds so good on these bone chilling days. I'm so thankful that I've built up our pantry stockpile enough so that I only had to run to the store for a few fresh items. Trying to push a cart load of groceries through a snowy parking lot is a full body workout. You will also notice that we are basically eating chicken all week long. It was on sale last week so I stocked up.

Here's what we will be eating this week:

Monday - Chicken Fajita Burritos with green pepper and onions, cilantro lime rice and black beans

Tuesday - Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday - Chicken Stir-fry with brown rice

Thursday - Chicken & "Rice" Casserole

Friday - Pizza with fresh veggies

Saturday - Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Sunday - Leftovers

Grocery List:

  • (10) chicken breasts
  • white or brown rice
  • cilantro
  • (2) limes
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • garlic
  • (2) bell peppers
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • beef broth
  • (6) onions
  • black beans
  • tortillas
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • corn starch or arrowroot
  • olive oil
  • stir-fry veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, peppers, etc...)
  • 10.5 oz. tomatoes with diced chilies (i.e. Rotel)
  • bacon
  • green onions
  • thyme
  • large head of cauliflower
  • sour cream
  • cheddar cheese
  • bread flour
  • yeast
  • white sugar
  • pizza sauce
  • assorted pizza toppings
  • Frank's Red Hot sauce
  • butter
  • celery
  • Ranch dressing
Stay warm everyone! Have a great week and happy eating!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prep Once, Eat All Week

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The tip I'm sharing today may just be common sense, but it literally took me years to start doing it. I would haul out all the vegetables and fruit at lunch and dinner and cut and peel them every single day. I would buy the family pack of ground beef or chicken breasts, use what I needed for that day and freeze the rest. I kept repeating the same things day after day, week after week, year after year. And then finally one day it dawned on me. Why don't I do all the prep work at one time for the whole week, and then just grab what I need throughout the week?

 Prep once, eat all week. So what does this mean? I typically grocery shop on Sunday, so Monday is the start of my meal plan. Every Monday, usually between breakfast and lunch I do most of my prep work for the week. We are a family of 6 (although the baby doesn't eat most of the raw veggies I cut up yet), so in a typical week I will cut and peel 2lbs. of carrots, one package of celery, two bell peppers, six salad cucumbers, one small pack of radishes, a few oranges, and one or two pints of strawberries and a bunch of grapes. I store them in air tight containers, or you can use plastic baggies as well. Also, I buy the 3-pack of Romaine Hearts and cut two of them into bite size pieces. To store the lettuce, use an air tight container and place a paper towel on top of the lettuce before putting the lid on. This helps to keep the lettuce from turning gross during the week. I timed myself this past week and all of this prep took 21 minutes. That's definitely quicker than me peeling and cutting things every single day. And as an added bonus, you're only cleaning up the mess once!

There are some vegetables and fruit that I won't prep ahead. For example, apples, bananas and potatoes turn brown when exposed to oxygen for longer periods of time. I just prep those as needed.

As for meat, I still buy the family packs. However, now I will cook all the ground beef at one time, use what I need for that night, and freeze the rest in 1lb. portions. That way I have meat all ready to go for whenever its needed. This is especially great for nights that you need a quick meal. Tacos or stir-fry anyone? Same with chicken. I will dice it all up, cook it at once and then freeze it in 1lb. portions. Or, if you don't need or want diced chicken you can make up a marinade like this one and freeze whole chicken breasts, or thighs, and just defrost it when you need it. Another quick meal!

Did you know you can freeze cooked beans? True story! You can cook an entire package of beans, drain off the liquid, let them cool and freeze them in 1 c. portions. Saves you time and money!

Prepping everything all at once not only saves you time, but it will save you money as well. You will be using everything you purchased at the store. Sometimes we buy a bunch of veggies and fruits with the best intentions of eating them, but we get busy or too lazy (yup me too!) about peeling and cutting and let them go to waste.

My family always eats much healthier when I have prepped for the week. The kids can just grab some fruit or veggies for a snack, or I can whip up a salad for lunch. If we're in a pinch for dinner I can make a quick stir-fry from the veggies I cut in the beginning of the week, grab some already cooked chicken from the freezer, make a quick sauce and rice and we're ready to go in 20 minutes.

So give it a try. Try prepping the veggies, fruits and meat you need for a week and I can guarantee that you will eat healthier, while saving time and money as well.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 1/20-1/26/14

Wondering how or why to meal plan? Read this first.

After a busy birthday weekend, and being gone from home for most of the weekend, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. The meal plan this week is fairly simple, yet equally delicious.

Here's what we will be eating this week:

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - Chili con Carne

Wednesday - Sandwiches

Thursday - Sweet & Spicy Chicken stir-fry with brown rice

Friday - Orange Terriyaki Chicken with roasted vegetables

Saturday - Colorado White Chili

Sunday - Leftovers

Have a great week and happy eating!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 1/13-1/19/14

Wondering why or how to meal plan? Read this first.

This week is a special week for our family as our youngest daughter is turning 7 on Sunday. Our house in is full birthday mode as we anticipate her special day. She changes her mind daily as to which type of cake she wants, the birthday meal she wants and what activities we will do on "her day". She helped to create the menu this week, hence the reason we're having a pizza dish twice.

Here is what we'll be eating this week:

Monday - Pizza Casserole

Tuesday - Skinny Orange Chicken over brown rice and broccoli

Wednesday - Easy Slow Cooker Chili (minus the ground beef)

Thursday - Fajita Chicken Burrito Bowls over Spanish rice

Friday - Chicken Stir-fry over brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower, onion and green peas

Saturday - Homemade pizza with fresh veggies

Sunday -   My daughter's birthday - meal yet to be determined :)

Grocery list:
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 3 c. dry white or brown rice
  • 10.5 oz. can of Rotel
  • chili powder
  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 onions
  • 2 - 29 oz. cans of pinto beans
  • 30 oz. can of black beans
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. of chicken or beef broth
  • lime
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • cayenne
  • red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • orange juice
  • honey
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • rice wine vinegar
  • white sugar
  • cornstarch
  • ground ginger
  • 2 cans of pizza sauce
  • toppings of choice for pizza casserole and pizza
  • yeast
  • bread flour
  • 16 oz. bag of frozen stir-fry veggies
*** I do not include salt and pepper on this list as I assume most people have that already on hand.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recipe: Basic Stir-fry Sauce (S, E or FP)

We eat a lot of stir-fry in our house. It is a quick, healthy, delicious and versatile dish to fix. I use this basic sauce when we want a simple, yet tasty dinner.

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Basic Stir-fry Sauce (Printable Recipe)
  • 1/2 c. chicken or beef broth (depending on which meat is in your stir-fry)
  • 1/4 c. Bragg's Liquid Aminos, soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 T. olive oil (for another oil to your taste)
  • 1/4 t. Truvia or if not eating THM, sugar to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
***For a spicier version you could add 1-2 t. of Sriracha. This is VERY spicy, so start with a small quantity and add more if needed.
    Mix all the ingredients well and pour over meat and stir-fry vegetables of your choice.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 1/6-1/12/14

Wondering how or why to meal plan? Read this first.

It is cold outside! Like freeze your face off cold. Therefore, we are going to be eating soups, spicy and hearty foods this week.

This week you'll notice that I've included a grocery list to go along with the meal plan. Thought I would try something new, so let me know if it's helpful to you.

But first, in honor (or annoyance, however you want to look at it) of it being super cold, I've compiled a list of yummy soups.
Jalapeno Popper White Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili
Savory Bean and Spinach Soup
Panera's Baked Potato Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Cauliflower Soup

Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Monday - Sweet and Spicy Stir-fry with broccoli and brown rice

Tuesday - Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday - Terriyaki chicken with pan-fried spinach

Thursday - Taco Salads

Friday - My baby is turning 1 on Friday! We will probably have dinner with family.

Saturday - Homemade pizza with fresh veggies

Sunday -  Simple Sesame Chicken with brown rice

Grocery List:
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • 7 chicken breasts
  • 2 onions
  • green pepper
  • red pepper
  • 10.5 oz Rotel
  • 1 qt. chicken broth
  • tomato paste
  • (2) 14.5 oz black beans or soak 1 1/4 c. dried black beans and cook, then add to soup
  • corn meal
  • corn tortillas
  • Terriyaki marinade
  • 12 oz. fresh or frozen broccoli
  • 1 sm. bag spinach
  • garlic
  • bread flour
  • yeast
  • sugar
  • olive oil
  • pizza sauce
  • toppings for pizza
  • head of cauliflower
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • taco seasoning
  • salad fixings for the taco salads
  • honey
  • Sriracha
  • corn starch
  • soy sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • ginger (fresh or dried)
  • 2 c. brown rice
  • green onions
***I have not included salt and pepper in this list, as I assume most people have those on hand.