Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 5/31/10

I'm still on vacation!! Yes, I'm currently on day 3 of my 5-day vacation while the kiddos are at Camp Grandma in South Dakota. I am having a wonderful, relaxing time...and the only thing I've cooked is oatmeal for myself in the morning! The family will be reunited on Tuesday so that is when this week's menu plan will begin - which will mostly include ready-to-go freezer meals. Then on Friday we are off on another trip for the weekend to my hometown to see my niece graduate from high school (where did the time go??) So yet another very abbreviated (and very easy) meal plan this week.

cold cereal and toast
Walnut french toast bake

PB&J, fruit, chips
Bean and cheese quesadillas, carrot sticks

Tuesday: Cheesy Beef and Rice (from the freezer), green beans with almonds, fresh pineapple, lettuce salad

Wednesday: Turkey Broccoli Lasagna (from the freezer), fruit

Thursday: Perogies with marinara sauce, frozen mixed vegetables, lettuce salad

Fri.-Sun.: out of town!

Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 5/23/10

I have a very abbreviated menu plan this week. The kids are going to stay at Camp Grandma's in South Dakota for FIVE NIGHTS so this will be a quiet household for a while. (The longest I’ve ever been away from my kiddos is TWO nights so this will be something else!) I'm sure I'll be completely missing my babies after 24 hours but I’m totally looking forward to it! I firmly believe that a SAHM needs the opportunity to miss her kids. I feel a little guilty about that, but I know it's good for both me AND the kiddos. Oh, the plans I have...

So, back to menu planning. I only have a few nights of meal prep for my family this week. It is supposed to be very hot and humid this week so I’m trying not to run my oven at all, either. Thank You Mr. CrockPot!

Here's my plan for the (very short) week:

Cereal and Toast
Waffles and bananas
Honey Crunch Granola with vanilla yogurt

Poor Man's Pizza, green beans, apples
Spaghetti, carrot sticks, oranges
Pancakes (from the freezer) with peanut butter, bananas

Sunday: “Clean out the fridge” night: homemade chicken noodle soup (made with leftover chicken and broth I have in the fridge), taco quesadillas (made with leftover taco meat from last week's Taco Potatoes), and leftover Leann Chinn takeout from Saturday

Monday: CrockPot Angel Chicken, frozen mixed vegetables

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Crockpot Garden Minestrone, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

Thursday through Sunday: I'm on vacation and no "real" cooking planned! I'm envisioning a lot of cold cereal in my future...

For menu planning ideas and recipes, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poor Man's Pizza

I know this isn't incredibly original and many of you probably had heard of these or already make these, but the idea of these simple little pizzas never occurred to me until I read the Duggars' book that included this recipe for "Poor Man's Pizza." My kids eat these for lunch once or twice a week, since I always have the ingredients on hand. Super easy, quick, healthy and frugal. The perfect toddler and preschooler lunch! In fact, my daughter has labeled this as her "favorite meal ever!"

Poor Man's Pizza

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toast however many slices of whole wheat bread you'd like in the toaster.
Top each piece of toast with your favorite spaghetti or pizza sauce.
Top with whatever shredded cheese you have on had.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is browned.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Granola Bars

There are lots of homemade granola bar recipes out there that look terrific, but honestly, this is the only one I've tried. The bars are extremely low-fat (depending on your add-ins, of course) and made with healthy ingredients found right in your pantry. My toddler and preschooler devour these bars for breakfast, snack, dessert...anytime!

Chewy Granola Bars (from Miserly Meals: Healthy, Tasty Recipes Under 75¢ per Serving by Jonni McCoy)

1 c. old-fashioned oats
½ c. whole wheat flour
½ c. brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ c. honey

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix.
Add the vanilla and honey and mix well.
Press the mix evenly into a greased 8x8 pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Before cutting, cool completely.
(Can add 1 cup of the following when you add the honey: chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 5/16/10

My freezers are packed. Overflowing. Hard to get the door shut. I’m not is such a blessing to open up my freezer and see it full of food to feed my family. However, it’s time once again to focus on actually USING UP some of that food! My menu this week focuses on trying to make a dent in my freezer so hopefully, in the upcoming days, I can clean it out and organize. Two added bonuses of digging through the freezer: (1) a very small grocery bill this week, and (2) only three days of “real” cooking this week!

Here’s my menu for the week:

Waffles (from the freezer) with fruit
Cereal and whole wheat toast
Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes (from the freezer) with bananas
Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

Cheese and bean quesadillas, fruit
PB&J, carrots
Perogies (from the freezer) with marinara sauce
Grilled cheese with tomato soup


Sunday: Spaghetti with this homemade red sauce (from the freezer), fresh pineapple and canteloupe

Monday: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (from the freezer), chips, carrots, fruit

Tuesday: husband out of town; something simple or leftovers for the kids

Wednesday: Taco Potatoes, lettuce salad

Thursday: Turkey Broccoli Lasagna (from the freezer), lettuce salad

Friday: Tator Tot Hotdish, lettuce salad

Saturday: Marinated pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, broccoli, lettuce salad

For more menu planning ideas, please check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cheddar Turkey Enchiladas


This was the general reaction I received last night while serving these enchiladas to my husband, parents and kids. The original recipe called for ground beef, but since I was doubling this recipe to bring to a friend who doesn't eat red meat, I made them with ground turkey instead - and with terrific results! I unfortunatley didn't take a picture of the final product, but believe me when I say they turned out really well.

I forgot where I got this original recipe from; I believe it was from some type of freezer cooking cookbook I checked out from the library a while back. I tweaked it a bit to suit our family's tastes. This makes a nice large batch of enchiladas; split the batch into two pans so you can eat one and freeze the other!

Cheddar Turkey Enchiladas

1 lb. ground turkey
1 envelope taco seasoning (I used 3 T. of this homemade taco seasoning)
1 c. water
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 can fat-free refried beans
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
10-12 tortillas
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa (I used mild thick and chunky for my family)
1 can condensed low-fat cream of chicken soup

In a large skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain fat. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in rice. Cook and stir until liquid is evaporated.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of refried beans (I used a bit more), ¼ c. beef mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese (I used quite a bit more than 1 T. cheese in each tortilla since our family LOVES cheesy dishes) down the center of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam side down in two greased 13x9 baking dishes.

In a separate bowl, combine salsa and soup; pour down the center of enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (I ran out of cheddar and ended up using some monterey jack on top of one pan which turned out fantastic as well).

Bake one casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cover and freeze remaining casserole up to three months.

To use frozen casserole: thaw in fridge overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 5-10 more minutes or until heated through.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 5/10/10

Yeah! The kids and I are amongst the living again! Bye Bye flu bug! Bye Bye pink eye! We’re back and we’re energized! And yes, even I’m ready for menu planning again!

The big hit from last week was this Slow Cooker Turkey Lasagna. I was able to sneak both carrots and broccoli into my kids’ diet through this very yummy and easy lasagna. It made plenty for two nights’ meals, and I still had HALF left! So off to the freezer the remainder went. In addition, this make-ahead Walnut French Toast was super easy, tasty and frugal and my kids and their friends ate it all up!

My menu this week calls for a lot of doubling of recipes. My dear friend is moving out to the suburbs this weekend. I know that things will be busy and chaotic in her home, so instead of a typical welcome housewarming basket, I decided to make her some meals that she can pop in the oven to feed her family for the week while the crazy unpacking begins. So no digging through boxes to find the pots and pans needed, but instead she can look in the freezer or fridge and find the night’s meal ready to go. So her family will essentially be eating next week what my family will be eating this week!

Here’s my plan for the week:

Scrambled eggs on English muffins
Oatmeal with fruit
Cereal and Toast
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (doubling recipe for friend)

Grilled ham and cheese, tomato soup
PB&J, carrot sticks with ranch
Cheese quesadillas, fruit

Sunday: out to eat at Famous Dave's...Happy Mother's Day to me!

Monday: Stuffed Shells (doubling recipe for friend – these freeze beautifully), lettuce salad, fresh fruit

Tuesday: Cheddar Turkey Enchiladas (new recipe – doubling for friend), chips and salsa

Wednesday: leftover buffet

Thursday: Cheesy Beef and Rice(doubling for friend/using ground turkey instead of beef), green beans, fruit

Friday: Chili (from the freezer) with spaghetti noodles and sour cream, lettuce salad

Saturday: leftover buffet

Misc. Baking:
Strawberry Cream bread (doubling for friend)
Granola Bars (doubling for friend)

Hopefully I'll have some of the new recipes with photos to post later this week!

Have a great week - and for more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Turkey Lasagna

I love my slow cooker. I love lasagna. I love sneaking vegetables into my kids' diet. Therefore, this recipe was an all-around winner! This recipe is adapted from the May 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine. I added some carrots, omitted some onion, tweaked the cooking/resting time a bit, and voila - my new favorite recipe!

Slow Cooker Turkey Broccoli Lasagna

(This makes a large recipe - you'll have leftovers for a few days!)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 container (15 oz.) cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
10-12 lasagna noodles, broken in half, uncooked
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
3 carrots, finely chopped
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water

In a large nonstick skillet, brown the turkey until no longer pink. Drain fat. Stir in the oregano, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the cottage or ricotta cheese with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

In a separate bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce, chopped carrots and 1/2 cup water.

In your slow cooker, break apart half of the noodles and place in the bottom of the slow cooker, overlapping as necessary.

Spread half of the meat mixture over the noodles.

Top with half of the broccoli, then top with half of the spaghetti sauce mixture.

Gently spread half of the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture on top.

Repeat the layers (first noodles, then meat, then broccoli, then cottage cheese mixture, and lastly sauce).

Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. During the last fifteen minutes of cooking, top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. When done cooking, turn off the slow cooker and remove the lid. Let rest for 10-15 minute before cutting and serving.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 5/2/10

What a crazy week. Two sick kids and a sick mom. We're going on Day 10 of this bug and I thought by now we'd be on the mend...but unfortunately not. My house is a mess. Haven't shopped for groceries in a week. Laundry is piled up. Kids are crusty and cranky. The last thing I really feel like doing is menu planning, but I know we have to eat. Something. Sometime.

On a more positive note, the big hit from last week (before I got sick and had some engery and was still cooking!) was the homemade slow cooker spaghetti sauce . I made it without the mushrooms and with ground turkey I got on super-sale last week at Cub and it turned out fantastic! It made a big batch so I froze the rest for another meal (probably next week). The best part of the sauce (besides the taste) is that the whole batch only contained two tablespoons of sugar and it was loaded with veggies.

My goal this week is to once again use up some items in my freezer – my small freezer and deep freeze chest are both packed to the gills (what a blessing!) and it’s time to use up some frozen meat (I’ve been stockpiling chicken breasts on sale like a mad woman) and frozen meals. This is perfect because I'm still not feeling 100% yet and really don't feel like cooking much. If I follow the menu as planned, there will be only two days of cooking for me. Here’s our menu this week:


Breakfast cookies (from the freezer)
Cereal and toast
Walnut French Toast
Oatmeal and english muffins
Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes (from the freezer)


Mac ‘n’ cheese, green beans
PB&J, fruit and cottage cheese
Perogies (from the freezer) with marinara sauce


Sunday: leftover pizza (from Saturday's Pizza Hut delivery...told you I wasn't feeling well!)

Monday: Chicken tacos (from the freezer), chips with salsa

Tuesday: Chicken salads (for adults), Chicken Cheese Quesadillas (for the kids) (using leftover chicken taco filling)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Turkey Broccoli Lasagna (new recipe from Family Circle magazine - will post soon!), lettuce salad

Thursday: leftover buffet

Friday: Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (a family favorite - I shred the chicken when it's done cooking and put back in the sauce for another 45 minutes or so), oven baked sweet potato fries (new recipe), frozen mixed vegetables

Saturday: leftovers, grilling if the weather is nice, or out to eat?

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.