Menu Plan Monday – September 3/12

I officially ended my summer tonight with a bike ride by sunset.  It was a bittersweet feeling seeing all the kids skateboarding and playing soccer in their front yards, the adults walking dogs, and the bikers like myself taking advantage of the beautiful evening.  It is hard to believe in a few short weeks it is going to be dark at 5:00 PM, probably rainy, and cooler.  I LOVE summer!  I do like fall too.  I don’t like the summer to fall transition.

To make things easier, I have spent the last few weeks getting my son’s preschool schedule together (I’m homeschooling him just for preschool), buying school supplies for my daughter, making some freezer meals for busy fall afternoons, and filling my freezer with muffins and breads.  And of course a more organized meal plan.

Here’s our meal plan for the first week of school!

Monday:  Tortilla casserole

Tuesday:  Country Chicken Rice Soup (In the fall/winter I do a soup about once a week as it is quick and easy and can cook in the Crock Pot all day)

Wednesday:  My husband’s meatloaf

Thursday:  Zucchini Boats 

Friday: Out to eat (?)

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza

Thankfully after some failures in past, we have a good corn crop this year!  So hopefully garden fresh corn on the cob with one or two of these meals!

I’m linking this up with MPM

Menu Plan Monday – April 30, 2012

Life runs smoother when you have a meal plan!  It makes a BIG difference.  I am happy to be back in menu planning mode after a short hiatus.

Here’s what we are eating this week…

Monday:  Daddy/Daughter date to Red Lobster, younger two kids had BFD (breakfast for dinner) which included chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs.  I had Taco Bell later on.  🙂

Tuesday:  My husband’s delicious gumbo.  He makes it during his lunch break and it’s ready by 6 PM.  My husband rocks!

Wednesday:  Banquet Dumplings and Chicken in a box (we all are going to youth group at 6:15 PM and it’s going to be a busy night)

Thursday:  Tortilla Casserole – one of our family signature meals

Friday:  My husband’s homemade pizza

Saturday:  Out to eat after family pictures

Sunday:  Dinner on your own

I’m linking this up with Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday: April 2 – 8, 2012

Meal planning is back!  The pantry is stocked again after vacation.  Here is what we are eating this week…

Monday:  Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Tuesday:  Baked Potato Bar & Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits (BTW – a loaded baked potato makes a great gluten free meal)

Wednesday:  Tuna Macaroni Casserole

Thursday: Rob’s pulled pork

Friday:  Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon

Saturday:  Barbeque with friends

Sunday:  Easter dinner with friends

We were pretty tired after a fun (but go, go, go) trip to Southern California, but I think everyone is pretty much rested now.  The oldest is back in school today.

I’m linking this with Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday – February 27 – March 4, 2012

It’s Menu Plan Monday!  We have a busier week–lots of extra events going on that we do not normally have.  So that means some simpler meals.

Monday:  Spaghetti & Texas Toast (and a batch of gluten free spaghetti for the husband)

Tuesday:  Tuna & Macaroni Casserole (a “staple at our house–kids love it! And a gluten free batch for the husband)

Wednesday:  Chicken and biscuits

Thursday:  Steak and risotto (my husband makes the BEST risotto!)

Friday:  I am out with the middle school youth group I lead.  Rob will probably make something simple for the kids.

Saturday:  Family goes out to eat!

I am linking this up with Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday: February 2/20/12

One of my “unwritten News Years resolutions” was to take more initiative with menu planning.  We actually started making a “meal plan” years and years ago–long before we had children.  Back then my husband did about seventy-five percent of the cooking.  I was working full time and home between 5:30 and 6.  It made sense for him to make dinner since he was off work by 4.  Since our oldest was born, it has been more fifty-fifty.

Grocery shopping and cooking has always been something he enjoys.  I am forever grateful I have a “cooking partner” and someone who likes to venture into the grocery store with kids in tow.  Now that our youngest is two and life is “less crazy” (though still chaotic), I feel like it is time for me to take more of the “meal planning” load under my wing.  And hopefully teach my children some simple cooking skills in the process.

So I’m participating in Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday  I am hoping it will give me some more ideas for meals.  I feel like we have been in a “rut” the last few months.  Between my husband’s gluten intolerance, my healthy eating/less fat kick, and kids who are afraid of casseroles–it is a challenge!

BTW – I am not doing breakfast & lunch.  We usually have food in the house for those meals and they do not take much planning.  I am also not including Sunday as the kids eat leftovers, frozen pizza, or mac and cheese.   Rob and I always have dinner together after evening church and when the kids are in bed.

Monday:  Oldest’s child’s President’s Day waffles (my daughter wants to make a simple meal for the family so we chose something easy i.e. waffles with fruit topping)

Tuesday:  Broccoli cheese tortellini & gluten free noodles with broccoli for Rob

Wednesday:  Chicken enchiladas with corn tortillas

Thursday:  Sausage Stuffed Peppers 

Friday:  Mom’s Night Out for me!  Rob will probably make something simple for the kids.

Saturday:  Rob’s homemade pizza (he makes one regular pizza and another gluten free)

I am linking this to Menu Plan Monday

Food Friday – The Easiest and Tastiest Manicotti You Can Make

This is a great dish to make for a new mom or someone in need of a freezer meal.  It’s so easy!

What you need:

  • 1 jar (30 ounces) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 pounds of chicken breast tenders cut up
  • 14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 ounces)
  • 1 can (2 1/2 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces) but I typically use Monterey Jack instead

1)  Spread about one-third of the spaghetti sauce in an ungreased rectangular baking dish – 13 x 9 x 2 inches or I use a corning ware dish.

2) Sprinkle the garlic salt on the chicken pieces. Insert the chicken into the UNCOOKED manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of the shell to fill if necessary.  Place shells on spaghetti sauce in dish.  Note:  You don’t have to cook the manicotti on the stove! The uncooked manicotti cooks in the sauce in the oven and it always turns out nice and tender.

3) Pour remaining spaghetti sauce evenly over shells covering completely.  Sprinkle with olive and cheese.

4) Refrigerate overnight to help “soften” the pasta.

5)  About one hour before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees and bake in covered baking dish about 1 hour or until shells are tender.

If you are storing it uncooked in the freezer–about 1 1/2 hours before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake in covered baking dish about 1 1/2 hours or until shells are tender.

Food Friday – Best Brunch Dish Ever!

I make this dish for our mom’s group at least once a year.  We always serve a brunch at our bi-monthly meetings.  I got the recipe from my friend Marge who made this for several youth group fundraising breakfasts back when I was a youth director.  She also made it for my baby shower when my oldest was born.

You need to plan ahead as it has to refrigerate overnight and it takes about one hour to bake.

Marge’s Brunch Casserole

What you need:

  • 8 slices of bread, cubed (I usually use white bread)
  • 1 stick of margarine, melted (I don’t like it quite so buttery so I actually started using about 3/4 of a stick)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sharp chedddar cheese (I sometimes do 1/2 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup monterey jack–whatever have in the house)
  • 2 cups diced ham (or you can use cooked sausage, cooked bacon or a combination of all three)
  • 4 oz mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green pepper (optional)

Line a greased 9 x 13 pan with bread cubes.  Beat milk, butter, salt, mustard, and eggs until fluffy.  Add cheese, ham, mushrooms, and green pepper.  Pour over the bread cubes.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

Food Friday – Best Casserole Ever!

Tortilla Casserole

I have been making this casserole since Rob and I were married ten years ago! It came out of one of those cookbooks you get for your wedding.  You use it so often.  It has food stains, ripped pages, and the binding is broken.  You can’t get rid of it!

This is both of our favorites and I usually make it once a month.  This casserole tastes even more amazing when you make your own salsa for it!  We do this if we get a good tomato crop from our garden.

What you need:

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 jar (8 ounces) green or red salsa (1 cup)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup

1 jar (2 ounces) sliced pimientos, drained

6 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese I usually use 1 cup of cheddar and one cup of Monterey Jack…or a Mexican blend of cheese

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees

2) Cook beef and onion in 10 inch skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occassionally until beef is brown; drain

3) Spread 1/2 cup of salsa in bottom of ungreased square baking dish 8x8x2 inches.

4)  Mix remaining salsa, the sour cream, soup, and pimientos.

5) Layer half of the tortilla strips, beef mixture, soup mixture, and cheese on salsa.  Then repeat. (To get nice even tortilla strips, use a pizza cutter)

6) Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve!

I realize some kids do not like casseroles or any of their food touching for that matter!  It is hard to feed a toddler beginning on solid food casserole (especially one with pimientos and salsa in it).  What I do–save a little bit of hamburger meat, save some grated cheese, slice a few extra tortilla strips and put it all on their plate.  I usually serve it with applesauce or fresh fruit.  There you go–a healthy kid friendly meal!