Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pantry Challenge for a New Year?

Christmas was wonderful -
we celebrated with family and friends who were here, and called and sent pictures with those who are far away (but they will all be here next year!!!).
We ate a lot and enjoyed each other's company and exchanged gifts.
And, of course, talked about the upcoming year.

Each year, we usually do a pantry challenge in January.  It is a way for us to be more mindful of our grocery budget and use what we have.  I've learned that we are pretty good at repurposing leftovers and using them up.  Going out to eat is a way to handle stress for my hubby, and we haven't yet figured that one out!  He has, however, agreed to try a gluten-free diet for the new year.  And since sometimes, with dietary restrictions, it's easier to eat at home, I'm hopeful.

So I'll be working on a plan for the month during the course of this week, but for now, here's a New Year's week plan :)
Sunday~ leftovers... turkey breast, mashed potatoes, swiss beans, cranberry sauce
Monday~ Chicken Parmesan with gluten free noodles, and a tossed salad.  I was sent a sample of Ronzoni's Gluten Free pasta, so we will try it with this.
Tuesday~ Doctor's appointments and hitting lessons call for something fast and easy.  I think tacos will do.
Wednesday~ Ds#3 has an appointment with an allergist :( We have decided to treat him afterward... so whether it's a movie or out to dinner, we'll see what he wants to do, and then go for it.  (If it doesn't include dinner, we will probably have leftovers when we get home.)
Thursday~ New Year's Eve! We are typically a low-key group for New Years.  We hardly ever have big plans.  So unless something changes, we'll be staying in, and will have a simple dinner of breakfast.
Friday~ Happy New Year!  Having some friends over for a cookout.  Grilling burgers & hotdogs, and friends will bring the trimmings.  Here's to a great 2016!
Saturday~ TBD.  Getting organized for the new year and mapping a menu to match. ;)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Catching my breath... and this week's menu (and other adventures!)

Merry Christmas!

It's been three months... life has been a whirlwind but we are all doing fine.

Ds#3 has started high school.

We've had concerts.

Marine Son & his wife welcomed a sweet baby girl just in time for Christmas.
A GIRL, ya'll!!!
I'm excited.
(We have ALL BOYS in our family.)
Isn't she beautiful???

And we have eaten well; it's just been crazy busy and I haven't posted it!
This week will be full of family gatherings and celebrations, and lots of good food.
Sunday~ burgers on the grill (courtesy of Hubs) for lunch; chicken broccoli alfredo for dinner (over egg noodles for the guys, and with mushrooms and broccoli for me).  I just make this in a skillet instead of baking it in the oven.
Monday~ leftovers for lunch (pizza, Sunday night's leftovers, or sandwich stuff if they so desire).  For dinner, I'm going out to dinner to celebrate a friend, so my boys will fend for themselves.
Tuesday~ I'm not planning for lunch.  I'm getting my hair cut, so I may not be home.  For dinner, it'll be something quick as ds#3 has a hitting lesson.
Wednesday~ Our annual family Christmas dinner with my grandparents.  This year, we'll be going to a favorite local spot that is closing at the first of the year, so we're creating one last memory there.  Then we'll go to my grandparents' house for presents and dessert.
Thursday~ My brother and niece will be in town, so we will go have dinner at my parents' house.  It will be wonderful to see them; I'm sure we'll have lots of shenanigans as well as some good food (my mom's a great cook!).
Friday~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!  It will be just Hubs, ds#3, and me.  We've decided to go non-traditional and have steak on the grill, with mashed potatoes and our family recipe of Swiss beans (a variation on green bean casserole).  I will make pecan pie and pumpkin pie, because those are my guys' favorites, and top with homemade whipped cream.
Saturday~ We'll be having leftovers, because the week will be filled with lots of feasting!

Here's a wish from our family to yours, that your holidays are filled with joy and peace.
Please visit Menu Plan Monday for menu inspiration!

Monday, September 7, 2015

And now it's September :) A Labor Day Menu

It's been a month since I've posted!  ACK!
You can rest assured that life has been speeding ahead and everyone's been eating just fine...
We've been swamped getting back into school routines.
And ds#3 has begun playing Fall Baseball, so it's not slowing down.
We've been lucky the past three years while he's been in middle school - his activities have been our activities too, since he went to school where Hubs & I both teach.  That has come to an end, however, as he is stepping into high school.  Sigh.

So this week's menu looks like this:
Sunday~ family cookout.   Burgers, dogs, shrimp, with potato salad, cheese & cracker salad (a family recipe), broccoli salad, pineapple, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  And there were even leftovers. :)
Monday~ leftover chicken (from last week) gets morphed into BBQ chicken (with a bun or without), hotdogs from yesterday, leftover potato salad, and baked beans.  Ball practice later this evening.
Tuesday~ previously cooked and frozen beef roast with gravy and mashed potatoes.  Tonight is high school's Open House, so I'll cook everything ahead to reheat and eat quickly.
Wednesday~ Tacos or taco salad or nachos.  Again, a fast, easy meal, as Hubs has bowling.
Thursday~ ball practice night, and Hubs' online grad class which starts before we get home.  A snack beforehand, and then every man for himself.
Friday~ WHEW - a night at home!!  Rotisserie-style chicken in the crockpot, baked potatoes, tossed salad and broccoli.  Comfort food at the end of a very busy week.
Saturday~ TBD.  We have a brisket in the freezer, and Hubs may smoke it, depending on the weather.

What's cookin' in your casa?  
What suggestions do you have have for fast, easy meals on busy nights?

Monday, August 10, 2015

August Menu #2, back at work!

Well, the day has come...
teachers are back to work.
Kids come next week.
Usually I am ready for more routine days, but this year I am longing for just a little more time.
Perhaps it is because my youngest boy begins high school this year... a bittersweet milestone.  He, of course, is very excited.

And what will we eat, you may ask?
Here it is:
Sunday~ spaghetti for lunch, and hotdogs for dinner.  Hubs is watching his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates on TV (which is a rarity) and he asked for celebratory dogs.
Monday~ BBQ chicken (sandwiches for the guys, over a baked potato for me)
Tuesday~ Fend For YourSelf.  Mom has a late meeting.
Wednesday~ Tacos
Thursday~ Greek chicken in the crockpot, rice, steamed broccoli
Friday~ Breakfast or nachos.  Depends on what we're in the mood for!
Saturday~ Something on the grill

Sunday, August 2, 2015

School's coming... August Menu #1

I did not go out of town last week, because I caught a horrible virus.
Which gave me a no good, very bad, horrible day (or two).
And I could not drive.
Because I kept running to the bathroom.
I have not been that sick in a very long time.
Luckily, I had made a huge batch of spaghetti and taco meat, so my guys had plenty to eat because there was no way I was setting foot in the kitchen.  I was doing good to make it from the couch to the bed (or bathroom).
I feel much better now - nothing like a nasty virus to make you appreciate feeling good!

In other news....
It's here.
School officially begins for teachers in one week; students will come back in two.
And because any work I really want to get done will have to happen this week, I may as well consider myself back to work.
And my baby is starting high school.
(I may or may not be freaking out about that fact.)

In the meantime, here's what we're eating this week.
Sunday~  for lunch, chicken bacon broccoli alfredo, with noodles for the guys.  For dinner, pancakes made with Pamela's.  It's better than Bisquick, which is hubby's preference.
Monday~ interviews at school, so the crockpot to the rescue.  Fiesta chicken with rice (sub cheddar cheese, and leave out the black beans and corn).
Tuesday~ burgers on the grill, thanks to Hubs, served with coleslaw and fries.
Wednesday~ breakfast for dinner is the plan, but this could change.
Thursday~ sloppy joes (no bread for me), the rest of the coleslaw, and fries.  Unless I feel very ambitious, in which case I will make homemade fried okra with the crop in our freezer.
Friday~ the guys are going fishing, so I'm leaving this open.  Our 'Plan B' is leftovers.
Saturday~ TBD, but possibly smoking a brisket from the freezer.  This will depend on whether or not Hubs feels like doing it, and how the weather is (rain makes it difficult...)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July Menu #5... heading into August

Summer is drawing down.
Even though it's still plenty hot here (heat index of 113, anyone??),  the end of July signals back-to-school.
I'll be out of town at a pre-school convention toward the end of the week, and then it'll be a flurry of back-to-school activity until we are officially back on the clock.

Hubs is back from a month of grad studies in Ohio, and we have loved having him back home.  We have feasted our way through this week, and I am getting used to having his appetite back in the kitchen. :)

Meanwhile, ds#3 continues to eat everything in sight.  I have resorted to buying cereal to keep him fed.  Yes, yes I have.

On the menu this week:
Sunday~ dinner with the fam to celebrate my grandfather's birthday.  He's 87 years young.
Monday~ I will have a night out with the girls and the boys will use a gift card to Chick-fil-A.
Tuesday~ Sticky chicken in the crockpot, twice baked potatoes, coleslaw, broccoli
Wednesday~ I'll make a big pot of spaghetti for the boys before I hit the road.
Thurs - Sat~ I'm out of town, so the guys will be fending for themselves.  There are plenty of options to eat at the house, but I'm sure they will eat out a couple of times.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July menu #4... and my man is home!

My husband has been away for a month taking grad classes, and he got home this weekend.  AND WE ARE ALL SO HAPPY!!!!!!

In other news, I got 25 pounds of peaches to deal with this week.  In case you were wondering, this is what 25 pounds of peaches looks like:
I have made peach crisp, peach cobbler, peach tea, and frozen some slices for later.  I shared some with my mom & sister.  And I still have a few more peaches to go.

Here's what's on the menu this week:
Sunday~ Hawaiian chicken, rice, broccoli.  Peach cobbler for dessert.
Monday~ Spaghetti, tossed salad, garlic cheese biscuits (if I get to it).
Tuesday~ Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, hash browns, fruit
Wednesday~ To a baseball game with the fam.  We'll eat at the stadium.
Thursday~ BBQ chicken, coleslaw, potato salad
Friday~ Burgers on the grill and any leftover sides we like
Saturday~ Tacos with all the trimmings!

For lunches this week:
ham or turkey slices with salad (like a chef salad), or on bread if someone prefers a sandwich
chicken salad
frozen pizza
loaded potatoes
leftovers from any meal

I have found that during the summer, if I don't have some sort of plan for lunch, I will spend more time and money at the grocery store than I would like.  So... while leftovers are always a choice, we've got some other options as well.  Plus my teenager is handling most of the leftovers these days.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hot July, and menu #3

Holy moly, it is hot.
Heat indexes are soaring into the 100s daily, with not much rain to cool things off.
So what's a body to do?
Lucky for us, Sonic had ice cream cones at half price this week...
so that was a nice treat.
Meanwhile, I've gotten some super-fun freebies during the last month.  My favorite is probably Tazo tea from Smiley360 - I got a coupon for a free box, and have been loving this to cool off on our hot days.

But as long as the air conditioning works, we will be fine.  We just don't do anything outside between 12-3p.m.  :)

As far as our menu, last week was all mixed up.
But everyone ate, and it's all good:
Monday~ chef salad for me, turkey sandwich with chips for ds.   
this became a fend-for-yourself sort of night...
Tuesday~ out to dinner with the girls :)  Ds & my dad will do something fun.
this actually happened!
Wednesday~ Broccoli Chicken Alfredo (with noodles for ds)
this turned into loaded baked potatoes - topped with some leftover chicken, cheese & broccoli
Thursday~ Leftover spaghetti (from dinner out last week) for ds and some other leftover concoction for me.  
first, there was no leftover spaghetti because ds is eating me out of house and home.  But we ended up meeting my mom, sis & her boys at chick-fil-a and mom bought dinner.
Friday~ Sloppy Joes -on bread for ds, on a sweet potato for me. 
this is where we had the broccoli chicken alfredo above.  Ds LOVED it and requested that it make a regular occurrence on the menu.
Saturday~ Frittata with ham, cheese, and broccoli (really more of an egg bake, but you get the idea).  I'll probably make hash browns for ds, and we'll have some fruit too.

Where we used to have leftovers to eat for lunch, they are vanishing.  My son is eating tremendous amounts of food!  So if I want leftovers, I'm going to have to double recipes and stash it.
Sunday~ chili in the crockpot
Monday~ salad, loaded baked potatoes (sweet potato for me)
Tuesday~ going to see The Minions, so we'll prob have dinner out with my mom, sis & boys after.
Wednesday~ leftover chili (I'm making a big batch!)
Thursday~ sloppy joes that never made it last week
Friday~ my mom is coming over to teach me how to make her famous potato salad, so I'm leaving things open.
Saturday~ HUBBY COMES HOME!!!!  Ham slices (from freezer), swiss beans, twice baked potatoes, salad.  And peach cobbler.

This week will be busy - ds is working with friends at VBS every day, and I'm expecting 25 pounds of peaches, so I'll be dealing with those (hence the peach cobbler for Hubs).  My man has been gone a month, so I am anxiously awaiting the weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2015

And now it's July... and our menu!

We stepped into July with a bang -
we had a great time celebrating with family from out of town and stayed busy from Thursday through Sunday.  We ate as a (huge extended) family for almost every meal, so I did very little cooking.  I made some cookie bars and a tomato salad, and that was it.  Which made it easy on my wallet! :)

So this week, there will be some carry-over from last week.  I'm diligently tracking my grocery spending... when I looked at what I've been spending the last three months, I was shocked at my totals, so I'm really hoping to get creative and bringing the budget under control.  I'm working through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it is very eye-opening.

Here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~ dinner with the family and a visit to my brother's graveside.  This week marks two years since his unexpected death.
Monday~ chef salad for me, turkey sandwich with chips for ds.  Keepin' it simple.
Tuesday~ out to dinner with the girls :)  Ds & my dad will do something fun.
Wednesday~ Broccoli Chicken Alfredo (with noodles for ds)
Thursday~ Leftover spaghetti (from dinner out last week) for ds and some other leftover concoction for me.  Basically we're cleaning out the fridge!
Friday~ Sloppy Joes -on bread for ds, on a sweet potato for me.  I will modify this recipe a little (and not using frozen texas toast).
Saturday~ Frittata with ham, cheese, and broccoli (really more of an egg bake, but you get the idea).  I'll probably make hash browns for ds, and we'll have some fruit too.
Then it will be one week until Hubs is home.  WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lunches this week will be:
Chicken Tenders 
and all the tomatoes we can tolerate.  They are coming in everywhere!

Share your menu marvels at Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pantry Challenge Menu #2 - finishing June and starting July

We just finished the first week of a Pantry Challenge.  We did pretty well, eating all our leftovers and not shopping.  It turned out slightly different than planned, but still good.

Mon- chili in the crockpot
Homemade macaroons for dessert. Yum!
Tues – Ds spent the night with a buddy so I was by myself in the house – and it was weird!!!! I was starving when I got home so I had chicken tenders.
Wed - picked up DS and after Bible Study… he had leftover pizza and I had a leftover chili.
Thurs - I went out with for a planned dinner with friends, and one of them bought everyone's meal, which was a sweet surprise! I made ds a pizza from the freezer before I left. And he ate it ALL.
Fri - Homemade burgers and fries (mine was bunless)

So here's our plan for this week:
Lunch: Sticky chicken in the crockpot, broccoli, twice baked potatoes, cucumbers & tomatoes
Dinner: Salad (for me), chicken tenders or leftover BBQ chicken (for ds)

Lunch: Pizza for ds, salad for me
Dinner: Leftover BBQ chicken, leftover baked beans for ds, salad for me

Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Tacos

Leftovers for lunch & dinner

swimming at my parents' house for lunch, going to a ballgame with the family that evening

family day and a fishing trip for all the boys :)

4th of JULY!  Happy Independence Day!
picnic lunch with the fam at the beach, and snack dinner at the fireworks that night

Our garden is bursting with tomatoes and green beans, so I am sharing those with family and including them everywhere I can.

What's on your menu?
Share at Menu Plan Monday.
And feel free to jump into the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June Menu, and a sort of Pantry Challenge

Happy June!
It is H-O-T here, but I am not complaining as long as I can retreat to the air conditioning. :)
I've taken a look at our budget, and we need to tighten up a little, so we're beginning a small pantry challenge this week - just using what we have, and trying to do without if we run out, when possible.
I've inventoried our freezer, and I believe we can go to the the end of the month with no shopping trips, so that's my goal.
Here's the plan:
Sunday~ HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! My sweet hubby will be away from us doing graduate coursework, so we celebrated with my dad (and mom) with burgers, cucumber salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, and banana pudding at my parents' house, followed by a swim in the pool.  Not a bad deal at all!
lunch: chicken tenders, salad (tons of lettuce, tomatoes from the garden)
dinner: chili
lunch: frozen pizza, salad
dinner: chicken taco salad with tortilla chips
lunch: turkey sandwich (ds), salad
dinner: leftovers (turn chili into nachos if desired)
lunch: chicken tenders, salad
dinner: dinner out with friends for me. Ds may be spending the night with friends.
lunch: leftovers
dinner: hamburgers & fries
lunch: leftovers
dinner: sticky chicken, potatoes, broccoli or green beans, salad

I've tried to plan out lunch and dinner to save some coin.  All these recipes use what we already have on hand.  I will supplement with some baking and we should be in good shape!

I had a chat with ds#3 about summertime lunches, asking what he liked, explaining that we won't go out much in order to save money.  He gave me the teenage favorites of chicken tenders and pizza!  A few weeks ago, I received some coupons from BzzAgent to try Red Baron Brick Oven pizzas, and my son really liked them.  I purchased a couple since the initial trial, and he specifically requested those for the lunch rotation.  We have a winner!  You can see above that I have included them in our lunchtime specials! :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer's here - woo hoo!!!!!!! It's a June Menu!

Happy Summertime!!!
We made it through the last weeks of school...
stressful and crazy busy....
happy and bittersweet...
And now people are clamoring for FOOD all the time around here! :)

So here's the plan:
Lunch: out
Dinner: Mexican beef in the crockpot, with rice, diced tomatoes from the garden, cheese, and whatever other toppings you'd like

Lunch: a sandwich experiment with yuca rolls and assorted insides (ham, salami, cheese, chicken)
Dinner: Sticky Chicken in the crockpot with mashed potatoes, green beans and cucumbers from the garden, and these Paleo rolls

Lunch: Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad from FishMama
Dinner: Burgers & Sausage on the grill, cucumber spears, fries

Lunch: Nachos or leftover rice bowl ingredients from Sunday
Dinner: Chef salads

It's our 21st wedding anniversary, so I'm not planning anything for today!

Lunch: BBQ chicken (using leftovers from Monday) or Sausage (from Tuesday) with fries
Dinner: Spaghetti (I'll have mine over zucchini) with tossed salad

not planning lunch... because it's summer and we can!
Dinner: Hawaiian chicken over rice with broccoli and salad

Monday, May 25, 2015

The end of school has arrived. Whew!

At first, I thought it would never come.
Then, I needed more time.
Now, I'M READY.  This is the last week of school.
It is also my baby's last week in middle school.  That part makes it hard.  I can't believe it's time for high school.
But as a teacher, I'm ready for some down time.  Yes, yes, I am.

This week is going to emotional at times, and very busy.  And we need a menu plan!!!

Sunday~ out with friends
Monday~ MEMORIAL DAY.  Hawaiian chicken with rice and green beans from our garden on the menu.  My husband is a former Marine, and he has friends that were lost while in service.  He doesn't really like to do cookouts on this day, so we hung around at home.  (Plus the weather was gross.)
Tuesday~ Spaghetti.  I'll have mine over zucchini.  And I'm on the hunt for some kind of Paleo-friendly roll that I can make to appease my men.
Wednesday~ Leftovers, or frozen pizza.  There will be plenty to choose from.
Thursday~ It's Promotion Night for our eighth graders!  We will go out with family after the ceremony.
Friday~  WOO HOO - the last day of school!!!  We are going to watch my nephews' ballgames, so we'll get something out.
Saturday~ TBA... maybe something on the grill if the weather clears out.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May's Menu...and the end of middle school...

This is a bittersweet time - our youngest son is finishing his time in middle school.  With his older brothers, we were READY to get them out of middle school, but because Hubs & I have both been privileged to have our boy in our classes (a rarity, but we are the only ones who teach our subjects at our school) it's a little different.  This weekend, he had his last dance for middle school, and we chaperoned.  We got to see our students all dressed up, and it was more than a bit sad to see our boy SHAVE for the first time and get dressed for this dance.  No pics - he kept hiding - but the memories are precious.

As for our week, it will be a busy one!!
Sunday~ Hawaiian chicken with rice and broccoli (half a sweet potato instead of rice for me)
Monday~ Concert tonight.  I'll eat when I get home.  Something.  At some time.  Ds will be with me, helping set up.  The kids will have pizza beforehand.
Tuesday~ Concert #2.  Same.
Wednesday~ A night at home.  HoneyBaked Ham and Turkey.  Easy peasy.
Thursday~ Some sort of leftovers at the house and there are lots - ham/turkey, chicken, twice baked potatoes, lasagna.  Take your pick.
Friday~ I have a meeting about an hour away.  The boys will fend for themselves.  They'll come up with something.  I'll provide options... and they'll probably go out to eat.  :)
Saturday~ The day that my mom, sis, grandmother & I celebrate Mother's Day together.  We will probably eat lunch out, and return home just before dinner.

Our garden is coming along nicely - I picked these babies on Saturday!  There aren't enough to make anything yet, so I'll freeze them until more ripen... I see a blueberry cobbler in our future.

We also picked a handful of green beans, and one ripe cherry tomato.  So exciting!!

Share what's cookin' in your casa at Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, April 27, 2015

April Showers... and our menu

Boy, has the rain been coming in the last two weeks, and we're in for more rain this week! I can't wait to see those May flowers. :)
It's been good for the garden; see these beauties I picked this weekend?

We've had kale chips and Swiss chard galore.  Our cherry tomatoes have tiny green babies on them.  I love our garden!

Hubs has been sick for the past several days - brought on, I suspect, by stress and POLLEN.  Oh my word - it's everywhere.  Even people who don't normally deal with allergies have had issues with it.  So when I got a BzzKit from BzzAgent for a free coupon for Red Baron Brick Oven Pizza, I knew my man would enjoy it.  (Because, you know, as my 14 year old says, when you're sick, you want what you want.)

Sunday, ds & I went to church and Hubs stayed home.  We picked up our free pizza on the way back - we couldn't decide which one, so we got two!

The guys decided they liked the three meat AND the cheese pizza equally.  The flavor was good ('but not really "BRICK OVEN" pizza like a restaurant' said my pizza-picky husband.  'But it's still good.')  It was a quick and easy lunch; they easily polished off the two pizzas (I had a salad!).  I also gave my sister a coupon and she was thrilled.  I'm curious to hear her experience - to see if her boys liked it as well as mine did.

Here's the plan for the rest of this week:
Monday ~ leftover roast and mashed potatoes with broccoli
Tuesday ~ Taco salad and macho nachos
Wednesday ~ Hubs' last night of bowling; ds & I will fend for ourselves....
Thursday ~ baked chicken with savoy cabbage (from our garden - this is an experiment!!), twice-baked potatoes
Friday ~ out to dinner.  Payday! :)
Saturday ~ Ds#3's last dance of middle school... lots of buddies coming over for pizza beforehand

Hope you have a great week... stop by Menu Plan Monday to get more menu inspiration!

Monday, April 6, 2015

April has arrived!

Well, we have eaten just fine the past month... ;)
I've just been so crazy busy that I haven't had time to post.
Even last week, when we were on Spring Break, we started the week with a funeral for a former student, so there was no time to post then.  We were also very busy getting our sprouts into the garden.

It doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon, so I guess I'll just have to put my big girl pants on, and deal.

So here's the plan for the week:
Sunday~ dinner with the fam at the parents' house - grilled fish, chicken, roasted tenderloin, potato salad, broccoli salad, cheese & cracker salad (a family recipe), cucumber salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, greens (from our garden - but Mom cooked them).  For dessert, homemade macaroons dipped in chocolate, strawberry cake, and apple-cherry pie.  Yeah, no one went hungry.
Monday~ a MUCH simpler meal of 'macho nachos' - taco meat & all the trimmings with tortilla chips.
Tuesday~ leftover chicken and beef from my parents' feast, greens that *I'm* cooking in the crockpot, twice-baked potatoes.
Wednesday~ Hubs bowls; Fend For YourSelf (FFYS)
Thursday~  Burgers (on the grill pan), oven fries or leftover potato salad from Sunday's feast, and something green.
Friday~ Hawaiian chicken with broccoli and rice
Saturday~ TBA.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Madness Menu

Well, the first two weeks of March can only be described as crazy in our house.  But hopefully it's subsided a little.
Hubs pulled his hamstring in a rousing kickball game.  Then he could hardly walk.
Last week, I took my choirs to their annual Music Performance Assessment, and then to see "The Pirates of Penzance".  And, of course, there was testing.  I won't get started on that rant.

Kale and swiss chard

Savoy cabbage and collards
Our greens are exploding - we've got collards, savoy cabbage (the heads are just beginning to form), kale, and swiss chard.

 And Hubs has bunches of seedlings that are sprouting like crazy.
green beans, various tomatoes and peppers
Not pictured: broccoli, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.

Meanwhile, the household's got to eat.  So here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~ Ham slices, twice baked potatoes (sweet potato for me), collard greens (for hubs) and swiss chard (for ds & me).  Collards are too strong for me; however, our garden is bursting with greens, so we'll go with swiss chard.  Or maybe kale.
Monday~ Taco salads
Tuesday~ Crockpot day.  Bone-in chicken breasts (seasoned rotisserie-style), mashed potatoes, collards and/or broccoli.
Wednesday~ bowling night for hubs.  Leftovers.
Thursday~ Breakfast for dinner: eggs, ham, apples, blueberries, bananas (or fruit salad, maybe??)
Friday~ Leftovers or out to eat.
Saturday~ TBA... maybe something on the grill if the weather's nice.  It's been so dreary - gray and rainy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

And now it's March.

I am so far behind.
It's been a month since I last posted a menu; you can be sure we've eaten, but I have been so crazy busy that I haven't even bothered to try to post.

Here's our Valentine's Table and the highlight of the month for me - chocolate covered strawberries lovingly made by my darling husband.

So now here we are, the first Monday of March.

Sunday~ out after a two-day bowling tournament.  We all earned it.
Monday~ chili in the crockpot.
Tuesday~ Roast in the crockpot, leftover mashed potatoes, broccoli, and perhaps a salad.
Wednesday~ Hubs bowls. Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
Thursday~ some kind of chicken...
Friday~ Oh my goodness, I can't even bear to think about it... I'd like to do burgers...
Saturday~ Hawaiian chicken (Hubby's new favorite chicken dish), rice and broccoli

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy February! Here's our menu...

Happy February!
Wow, I was really glad to see it arrive.  Our last paycheck was December 19th, so we were MIGHTY glad to see payday roll around! :)
We did a pantry challenge in January, which definitely helped us save some money.  Our freezer is pretty empty, as is our pantry, so I will be watching for sales to replenish our stores.  Is anyone else amazed at how expensive groceries are???

Here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~ celebrating my sister's birthday with a family dinner.  Then appetizers for the Super Bowl - cheese sticks, mushrooms, chicken tenders, and nachos.  Not healthy, but fun food.
Monday~ It's supposed to get cold again.  Beef vegetable soup.
Tuesday~ Greek chicken with Greek coleslaw.  You cannot imagine how delicious the addition of feta is in this refreshing salad.  Delish!!!
Wednesday~ hubs bowls.  Leftovers for ds#3 and me.
Thursday~ Perhaps out to dinner with a friend.
Friday~ Beef ribs, leftover coleslaw.
Saturday~ my nephew's birthday party... probably hot dogs ;)

Monday, January 26, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #4

It's the last week of the Pantry Challenge.

January 25 -
Breakfast: ds#3 spent the night with a friend.  Hubs had eggs & bacon, and I had an apple.
Lunch: we took ds#3 & his buddy out to lunch after church.
Dinner: we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Easy peasy.

January 26 -
I have a workshop today.
Breakfast: ds#3 had a super duper milkshake with ice cubes, coconut milk, cocoa powder, vitamin C powder, and a little honey.  Hubs had monkey salad, eggs, and bacon.  I had water.  I had an apple when I got to my workshop.
Lunch: Hubs had Hawaiian chicken in his lunchbox (I still can't believe how much he likes this dish!!!).  Ds#3 had turkey roll-ups, tortilla chips, homemade mini-larabars, and homemade trail mix with cashews, pecans, and chocolate chips.  I went out with my colleagues.  The leftovers from my lunch (a chicken quesadilla) will be ds#3's lunch tomorrow!!!
Dinner: I decided that nachos would be a good Monday comfort meal.  I browned our last pound of ground beef, diced some tomatoes (we're out of salsa), and melted some cheese.  They were delicious.  Hubs had a slice of apple pie for dessert (that I baked on Saturday), and ds wanted something sweet too... so I went on the hunt.  I found a recipe for chocolate pudding - coconut cream, white chocolate chips (because I didn't have any other kind), a little honey, cocoa powder, the very last of the peanut butter, and some ground chia seeds.  All blended together and chilled.  Ds#3 ate two bowls before it was even cold.

January 27 -
Breakfast: hubs requested pancakes. Ds#3 was not hungry.  I had an apple.
Lunch: Hawaiian chicken for hubs (I made more rice); my leftover chicken quesadilla with tortilla chips for ds.  I had a salad with leftover turkey and cranberries.
Dinner: Hubs stayed late after school today.  We had turkey open-faced sandwiches: I reheated some turkey stock (after cooking the carcass in the crock pot) and thickened it up for a pan gravy.  Then I put slices of the turkey in the gravy to heat up, with a few sliced mushrooms, and served it over gluten-free bread that I grilled in a pan.  A tossed salad alongside and everyone was content.

January 28 -
Pickin's are gettin' slim.
Breakfast: I made a bacon-broccoli quiche and hubs decided he wanted some for breakfast, so he had that with the single leftover pancake and a fried egg.  Ds#3 did not like the quiche. Sigh. :/ So I finished his piece of quiche and we headed to school.
Lunch: The very last of the Hawaiian chicken with rice for Hubs; ds#3 had tortilla chips with cheese, a small tossed salad, larabars and trail mix.  I had a salad again.
Dinner: Bowling night for Hubs, so he went out with his bowling team.  Ds#3 & I had baked potatoes - his was a russet potato topped with bacon, cheese, butter, and sour cream.  Mine was a sweet potato with butter, bacon, and Swiss chard from the garden.
Snack: Ds asked for something sweet, so I went on the hunt.  Not a lot to bake with, but I found a pumpkin roll in the freezer that had been given to us at Christmas.  He loved it.

January 29 -
I feel like Old Mother Hubbard... and the boys are noticing.
Breakfast: Hubs requested pancakes again.  And the last of the bacon.  Ds ate a slice of pumpkin roll from last night. I did not eat.
Lunch: I made Hubs a big tossed salad with turkey chunks, feta, pecans and cranberries (he loved it).  Ds had tortilla chips & cheese, salad, and a slice of pumpkin roll.  I had a salad.
Dinner: A friend that I grew up with came into town, and asked if she could see my family and me.  So my mom, sis, nephews, ds#3 & me met her at Chick-fil-A.  Mom bought dinner for everyone and I got something to go for Hubs, who was working late.  This was really nice because I am totally out of ideas.

January 30 -
The challenge has ended.  And payday has come.  HALLELUJAH.
January is a L-O-N-G month.... not only does it have five weeks, but we also receive our paycheck before we get out of school in December, so by the time we get paid again, it's been 7 weeks.  We made it.  WHEW.
Breakfast: For Hubs, the last pancake with quiche (two pieces) & fried egg.  Pumpkin roll for ds.  Chick-fil-A nuggets for me after I went to the credit union.
Lunch: The guys were participating in a special event at school today, and they had pizza.  I had a small salad and fruit.
Dinner: I had already determined I was going to the grocery store immediately after school because there was nothing (or almost nothing) in the house to cook.  I picked up a chicken tenders tray and brought it home - this will provide SEVERAL meals/snacks for us so it was still a better deal than going out to eat.

And we are done. :)

January Menu #4 and Pantry Challenge week #4

So this was the originally planned menu for the last week of January:
Jan 25 - Ham slices (frozen from Christmas), green beans, tossed salad
Jan 26 - Leftovers
Jan 27 - Chicken tenders, tossed salad, sweet potato fries
Jan 28 - bowling night for hubs  Ds#3 & I will eat leftovers at the house
Jan 29 -  Soup of some sort
Jan 30 - my sister's b-day... probably a family dinner
Jan 31 - Grad school graduation party for a friend - we will bring a finger-food/appetizer

I don't think anything will be what we planned! :)
You can check out what we're actually eating here.
Sunday~ out for lunch; tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner
Monday~ nachos.I also made homemade chocolate pudding for dessert (with coconut cream, white chocolate chips - because those were the kind I had - cocoa powder, a little honey, and some chia meal).  Ds#3 thinks it is perfect.  Score for Mom!!!!
Tuesday~ vegetable soup
Wednesday~ bowling night for hubs leftovers for ds#3 & me
Thursday~ possibly out to dinner with a friend.  If not, we'll have leftovers - we've got plenty of turkey to do something with!
Saturday~ Grad school party for a friend - we're taking a veggie tray
Sunday~ out for my sister's birthday

The pantry challenge has gone pretty well - this will be the toughest week to finish it out.  I have learned that it is REALLY hard to buy ONLY what we absolutely need... perhaps we've conditioned ourselves too much to stock up 'just in case'.  However, we've eaten well.  No one has starved, although it has made me research and become very creative to satisfy my guys.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #3

I'm home from my out-of-town conference, and we're back to cooking.  The guys tried for a couple of days to eat at home, but Hubs defaulted to going out toward the end of the week.  He is not a happy man when I am gone.

January 18 -
I'm home.  It's so nice to sleep in your own bed.
Breakfast: Hubs wanted pancakes.  I did not want to make pancakes, but he pleaded, so I did.  He had bacon and several pancakes.  Ds#3 had one chocolate chip pancake.  All during breakfast, Hubs raved that my pancakes were so much better than his (he tried to make them one morning while I was gone).  Sigh.
Lunch: the Veggie Beef soup that I made for Hubs to eat while I was gone... that he did not eat.  We had it for lunch and now it's all gone.
Dinner: Hubs was not hungry for much at dinner - he ate tortilla chips and salsa.  I found some breaded eggplant that was harvested from our garden, so I cooked that with some marinara sauce and it was delicious.  Ds#3 had chicken tenders.  It was a sort of 'fend-for-yourself' meal.

January 19 -
MLK Jr's birthday, and a school holiday.
I had to go to the grocery store.
Hubs requested turkey and Swiss beans for his lunches this week, and I had a little turkey (enough for one meal) in the freezer, but not enough for every day.  So I needed to get a turkey.  And we needed eggs, and butter, and toilet paper..... $79 later, I was home.  But this is only my second trip this month, so I'm not feeling too bad.  Plus, if it keeps us from eating out, I'm all for it.
Breakfast: Hubs had monkey salad (overripe bananas with cashews & coconut) and eggs & bacon.  I made a breakfast quiche for ds#3 with broccoli & bacon.  He didn't eat it today, but I did.  He just had a big glass of chocolate milk made with cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a little vitamin C thrown in for good measure.
Lunch: the last of the taco meat turned into nachos.  I added lettuce and tomato to make mine a salad.  But it was mostly nachos.
Dinner: Turkey is roasting in the oven.  Swiss beans are on the counter to be cooked.  I'll make gravy to go with it all and call it done.
Now to go make school lunches for tomorrow.

January 20 -
Back to work today.
Breakfast: Hubs requested monkey salad and a smoothie.  Ds & I both had a slice of broccoli-bacon quiche, and ds also had a big glass of chocolate milk.
Lunch: Hubs had turkey & swiss beans (leftovers from last night) in his lunchbox.  Ds#3 had a small salad, Triscuits, and trail mix with water.  I had citrus salad and vitamins. :)
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's chili, without the masa and beans.  I made a big batch with some for leftovers.
Snack: salted nuts. Yum!

January 21 -
Bowling night for Hubs.
Breakfast: monkey salad for Hubs.  Broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3 and me.
Lunch: Chef's salad for Hubs; leftover chili in a thermos for ds#3; citrus salad for me.
Dinner: Hubs & ds#3 ate out before going to the bowling alley, so I enjoyed an evening home alone... complete with chicken tenders and Swiss beans. ;)

January 22 -
Today was a hard day at work.  Which made dinner challenging... because these are the times we fight the urge to go out.
Breakfast: Hubs requested a cheese omelet.  Quiche for ds#3, and water for me.
Lunch: turkey & Swiss beans for Hubs; leftover chili for ds#3, and the last cup of it for me.
Dinner: Ugh. Hubs had an upset stomach, then ate some Triscuits in an effort to have something salty settle it.  Then he polished off the last of the Swiss beans.  Ds#3 had some turkey & gravy, and I baked a sweet potato and topped it with a little turkey, some mushrooms, and some broccoli.  A hodge podge, but everyone was fed.
I baked chocolate chip cookies tonight because I know Hubs will be roaming for something sweet tomorrow.

January 23 -
Thank God it's Friday.
Breakfast: cheese omelet for Hubs. Chocolate milk for ds#3, and quiche for me.  I also ate the last bits of citrus salad (which wasn't much).
Lunch: Hubs stayed home today, and went to Subway for lunch.  A fairly economical choice, so I'm not bent out of shape. :) Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a roll, tortilla chips, homemade trail mix and chocolate chip cookie.  I did not eat, because we were taking group pictures for the yearbook during my lunch.  I do not like picture day.
Dinner: Hawaiian chicken.  This is a new recipe and I was anxious about it because Hubs does not love chicken, but we had chicken that needed to be used.  Diced chicken breast (frozen) with pineapple, green and red peppers (frozen from our garden), and BBQ sauce dumped into the crockpot... easy as that.  I served it with broccoli over rice for the guys, and over a sweet potato for me.  The verdict?  It's a keeper!!!  It's like a sweet & sour chicken with a little kick.  There is none left.  And I'm a happy mama.
Snack: the cookies I made last night are ALL GONE.  My people love their treats.

January 24 -
Ahhhhh. Saturday.
Breakfast:  Hubs & I had our date out, and we saw some dear friends who joined us... AND they paid for our breakfast!  What a treat! I made chocolate milk and the last of the broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3.  He informed me that he really liked the crust (which I made from scratch - score one for Mom!).
Lunch: Ds went to a friend's house so he had lunch with them.  When I got home, Hubs had been working in the garden and was starving.  We had nachos to tide us over till dinner.
Dinner: Ds ended up spending the night with his buddy.  We had a pizza-ish casserole type dish with ground beef, tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.  I baked an apple pie for dessert at Hubs' request.
I made another batch of Hawaiian chicken for the week at Hubby's request (words cannot express how excited I am that he liked this dish!!!), and a batch of vegetable-beef soup.  I also went to the grocery store for (mostly) produce, and spent $33.