Monday, January 16, 2017

Wow - six months later....

Holy moly.
I guess you could say life has been busy!!

So now it's January, and we are beginning our annual Pantry Challenge.  Don't know what a pantry challenge is?  Get the details here.

Every January, I try to tighten our belts a little and use the food we have, as much as possible, for our meals.  Sometimes this forces me to get pretty creative.  Every January, I also go out of town for work for a few days.  For years, I tried to have my guys continue the Pantry Challenge while I was gone, but my husband hates to cook, so it never worked.  This year, I just decided to begin it after said trip.  So here we go!

For breakfast, Hubby almost always has eggs.  He loves eggs.  Ds#3 drinks a protein chocolate milk shake and sometimes some solid food.  I am not a normal fan of breakfast foods, so I have a cup of chai tea, and a protein bar or leftovers.

For lunches, I pack lunch boxes for everyone.  This week, Hubs will take chili, ds will take chicken & rice, both in their thermoses.  I have a microwave in my classroom, so I usually take whatever leftovers we have that need to be eaten.  This week, we've got some turkey that needs to be used, so I will make lettuce wraps until the turkey is gone.

Sunday~ Burgers on the grill, french fries in the oven.  I returned from my trip late Saturday night.  The leftovers were still in the fridge, as the guys chose to eat out for dinner while I was away.  I took stock, and we had patties in the freezer as well as frozen french fries.  I don't eat bread, but I made some gluten-free buns for my husband and son.  Quite satisfactory.

Monday~ Shepherds pie, an experiment.  I have seen a ton of recipes for shepherds pie, and have planned to try it many times, but it never materialized.  In light of the pantry challenge, I diced leftover short ribs (which were so tender and delicious!!), added the gravy from the first cooking/meal, kale from our garden, diced mushrooms, half a zucchini on its last leg, and some diced carrots.  I made mashed potatoes with some potatoes growing eyes, layered them on the beef and vegetables, then sprinkled a little cheddar cheese on top to convince any skeptics.  They liked it so well, that they agreed to have leftovers on Tuesday!

Tuesday~ leftover Shepherds pie!

Wednesday~ Hawaiian chicken with bell peppers and pineapple over rice.  I discovered this dish a couple of years ago on a pantry challenge when I needed to use up some chicken.  Hubs loved it, so it has become a regular on our rotation.  I've got everything I need!

Thursday~ Beef vegetable soup.  A hearty soup - almost like a chili - made with carrots, celery, kale, cabbage, diced tomatoes, and pretty much whatever veg you want to throw in.  Makes excellent leftovers too.

Friday~ Breakfast for dinner.  This is a comfort meal.  Eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries (with some diced peppers and mushrooms thrown in), and maybe grits.

Saturday~ I will assess where we are for the week and plan from there!

Check out Menu Plan Monday for menu inspiration.
Try your own Pantry Challenge and get ideas at Good Cheap Eats!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The end of July menu

July is coming to a close.
School starts for us next week.
Sigh...summer is done.

Also, hubby is home after a month away at grad school (laundry has quadrupled) and I will be traveling to a music convention at the end of the week.  So there's that.

And while I'm certain my guys will eat out while I'm gone, I'm doing my best to make food readily accessible at the house so it will be just as easy to grab something from the fridge.

Here's the plan.
lunch: snack at the house
dinner: out for my Grandpa's 88th birthday
lunch: miscellaneous items and leftovers as I clean out the fridge
dinner: Hawaiian chicken, rice, broccoli
lunch: tomato sandwiches (from the garden) or salad
dinner: at Son #1 & DIL's house. My job is to bring jalapeño poppers and Paleo-friendly chocolate chip cookies.
I leave to go out of town.  Leaving my guys with:
sandwich fixings
Hopefully the damage won't be too bad.
I will be away at the convention and my guys will be...doing what they do. ;)

Sunday after I return, we'll have lunch at my mom's house, so I will have a day to plan the following week. Yay for Mom's lasagna!!!

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Second Menu of July... and other things

Our 4th of July celebration was so much fun - family, baseball, fireworks... very full weekend and heart.

This week, school is on my mind.  While it is still early summer for most people, my thoughts are beginning to turn to my classroom in August.  Which I wish I could stop, but after 25 years, I guess I'm conditioned.

Anyway, hubs has two more weeks away at grad classes, and ds#3 continues to eat everything in sight.  I made a quiche for breakfast last week and he ate ALL BUT TWO PIECES IN ONE DAY.  Yeah, he's a machine.
Here's the plan for this week.

Lunch: at my mom & dad's.  Mom, sis & I bought two boxes of peaches last week and I picked up the rest of Mom's to freeze for her.  So she made lunch. :)
Dinner: Fend For YourSelf.  Neither of us was really hungry.
Lunch: with ds#1 & family.  Details TBD.
Dinner: Chicken Bacon Alfredo.  Made from leftover chicken from last week, and coconut milk instead of regular dairy.  Ds#3 will eat over noodles.  I'll eat mine over broccoli.
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Eggplant (from the garden) Parmesan with spaghetti (for ds#3, just eggplant for me)
Lunch: salad w/cherry tomatoes from the garden & baked potato (if needed)
Dinner: BBQ chicken (crockpot), broccoli, chips
Lunch: pizza for ds, salad for me
Dinner: leftovers. I have a rehearsal.
Lunch: out
Dinner: Burgers at home!
Leaving it open.  My brother-in-law has a concert that evening that we'll attend, so we may treat ourselves to a meal out.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July's first menu

Grandparents and great-grandparents
with my sis's baby girl.
It's been a whirlwind weekend.
My brother has been here from out of town, so we've gone fishing, had a family cookout, gone to a baseball game, and beach with fireworks. Whew!  The rest of this week will probably be a little quieter.

Jalapeno poppers

Sunday~ lunch: leftovers at home; dinner: at the ballpark
Monday~ lunch: at the beach picnic; dinner: leftovers from the picnic at the fireworks
Tuesday~ lunch: eggplant 'pie' for me and pizza rolls for ds; dinner: I'm going to try my hand at fish.... we'll see how it goes... and a baked potato and salad
Wednesday~ lunch: out w/a friend for me, and ds will fend for himself at home; dinner: homemade chili
Thursday~ lunch: leftovers; dinner: rotiserrie-style chicken in the crockpot, salad or broccoli
Friday~ lunch: leftovers; dinner: out w/the girls for me, and ds will have frozen pizza
Saturday~ TBD... we'll see what veggies we have and what needs to be eaten! :)
Eggplant pie - all ingredients fresh from the garden!
(Except the cheese)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wrapping Up June Menu!

Wow, what a busy week we had!
Hubs left on Sunday for a month of grad classes in Ohio, so ds#3 and I are on our own for a few weeks.  We'll be having a pantry challenge to try to save a little money (we had to buy a new fridge!).

So here's our menu plan for this week:
Sunday~ leftover burgers from last week's cookout
Monday~ leftover taco meat and homemade salsa
Tuesday~ ds is spending the night with his big brother, who has moved back in town.  So I will probably eat something simple at the house by myself, or use a gift card to splurge
Wednesday~ ds will still be gone, so I'm having a girls night with my sis & friend!!
Thursday~ salad
Friday~ the men of my family are going fishing, so we will probably have some sort of fish fry at my parents' house
Saturday~ beach day and picnic with the fam

Not terribly exciting, but it'll get the job done!

Monday, June 20, 2016

June Menu #3 and garden updates

Jalapeños are going crazy.  Using them in poppers and homemade salsa.

Homemade salsa!  Cherry tomatoes, jalapeños from the garden.  Fresh and delicious.

Holy moly - the eggplant!  If you have recipes, do share!!

This week's menu:
Sunday~ HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Hubs requested homemade sub sandwiches for lunch, tacos for dinner, and peach cobbler for dessert.  Marine Son & his family joined us for dinner, so it was a great end to his happy day.  And easy for me!
Monday~  Pizza-stuffed peppers that we didn't get to last week.  We will also have leftover meatballs, and use some eggplant in fried eggplant spears.
Tuesday~  Big chef's salads.  The tomatoes are starting to come in and they are gorgeous! 
Wednesday~ BBQ chicken in the crockpot, Paleo 'cornbread', and whatever veg is coming in from the garden.  Maybe some fried okra.
Thursday~ Family cookout for the extended family to meet Marine Son's new baby girl! Since they've just arrived from Hawaii, none of the family has met her yet, and we are ALL excited to have another GIRL around!!! 
Friday~  Leftovers. Something very simple.
Saturday~ The last meal we will share with Hubs for a month - he leaves to go take graduate classes.  So this will be his request.

What's cookin' in your kitchen?  Share at Menu Plan Monday 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summertime Menus! June Menu #2

Our garden is in full swing!!!
We altered our menu plan a little bit based on what was ripening in the garden.  This week will probably be the same way!
Last week.....
Sunday~ Five Guys Burgers.  Mmmmm.
Monday~ Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad.  A long name for a delicious salad!  I used leftover smoked chicken in the recipe. This was very tasty, but did not keep well for the next day.  When I make it again, I will keep the components separate and assemble just enough for that meal.  The avocado lime dressing was DELICIOUS!
Tuesday~ Kabobs (steak and chicken) and more jalapeño poppers.  Gotta use that garden produce!  We ended up having Pizza Stuffed Peppers because we had some bell peppers that were ripe.  Just fill with your favorite pizza toppings and bake.  Delish!  We will make that again.
Wednesday~ Meatball casserole. Unless the eggplant in the garden are ready.  At which point we will have eggplant parmesan!  I did make meatballs but I also made eggplant parmesan.  And it was delicious!!!
Thursday~ Antipasto Salad A Pinterest recipe. (C'mon... it's summer...)  Leftovers.  I love the relaxed pace of summertime meals!
Friday~ Burgers on the grill.  Yummy.  Hubs & I ended up going to dinner - we were dropping off items for a church rummage sale at that time so we stopped to grab a bite.
Saturday~ Hubs & I are celebrating 22 years of marriage.  We're going out to fondue!

So this week, there will probably be some of the same adjustments....
Sunday~ Beef on the grill. Tomato basil salad (like a caprese salad) using up some of the basil and cherry tomatoes that are ripening, roasted baby potatoes, grilled zucchini.  Yum!
Monday~ Burgers on the grill, chips, jalapeño poppers (they are exploding in the garden!), grilled pineapple.  I keep the poppers pretty mild by seeding and removing all the ribs inside the peppers.  My teenager LOVES these.  We're having dinner guests. Fun times!
Tuesday~ Leftovers.
Wednesday~ Eggplant pie (slices of eggplant as the base, topped with various veggies, sprinkled with cheese, baked in the oven), spaghetti for the non-veggie lovers :)
Thursday~  Leaving this open for leftovers or dinner out.
Friday~ My sister & I have a date with our dad to celebrate Father's Day.  My guys will fend for themselves.
Saturday~  Marine Son & his family are flying home... to stay! We will meet them at the airport then go to Olive Garden to celebrate their arrival.

So... what summertime delicacies are you enjoying? Share at Menu Plan Monday!