Meal Planning January 26th

Saturday, January 26, 2013



I was just meal planning for the week, and thought I would share what is on tap for us! 

Have a yummy week!

Monday: Man Pleasin’ Chicken with mashed potatoes (make extras for the Shepard’s Pie) http://bemorewithless.blogspot.com/2012/11/man-pleasin-chicken-freezer-meals.html

Tuesday: Tilapia Tacos http://www.sarcasticcooking.com/2012/06/20/blackened-tilapia-tacos/

Wednesday: Shepard’s Pie (make two, freeze one) http://www.thehungryhousewife.com/2011/03/guinness-shepherds-pie-2.html

Thursday: Baked Ziti (make two, freeze one) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/baked-ziti-ii/


Crockpot Italian Chicken Pasta

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I have been trying to use more homemade dressings and marinades. I gave this dressing a shot:


Zesty Italian Dressing Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup of the vinegar (any type is fine, whether ACV, wine vinegar, rice vinegar, etc...)
1 1/3 cup of olive oil or other oil (I usually do half olive oil, half cheaper oil)
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon honey, white sugar, or sucanat
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoons salt

Ok...so let's get to my recipe for Crockpot Italian Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

1 cup Italian Dressing
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
4 oz cream cheese
1 bag frozen veggies (broccoli, carrots, etc)
8 oz Penne Pasta (we used Trader Joes, I like the brown rice one)
Parmesan Cheese (if that is your thing)

Combine Italian Dressing and chicken and marinade overnight (or you can freeze and thaw later)

Toss the thighs (with marinade) into the crockpot for 8 hours on low.

When there is about 30-60 minutes left cook the veggies and boil the pasta and remove the chicken and add cream cheese to the liquid in the crockpot.

Shred up the chicken and toss it back in, adding the cooked veggies drained penne pasta

Keep everything warm using the Warm or Low setting, until you are ready to eat.

Top with Parmesan cheese.

This made 4-6 servings...depends on who you are feeding!!





I gave both kids a pretty big helping, but didn't think they would finish it. And they both did!!

New Year

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes

I bought a few sweet potatoes the other day and had planned on making them into oven fries...but that didn't happen. So I took to Pinterest and google to figure out what was for dinner tonight. I came upon this recipe as inspiration.

Didn't it turn out pretty??


Here is how I made it....let's call it Black Beans and Sweet Taters

Ingredients
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 14-oz can diced tomatoes, rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- sour cream (garnish)
- chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)
- fresh lime juice (garnish)

1. Microwave on high until tender all the way through (about 10 minutes). Remember to pierce with fork a few times!!
2. In a medium bowl combine beans, tomatoes, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander and salt. Microwave on high until heated through, about 4 minutes.
3. Cut each sweet potato in half, lengthwise. Top with bean mixture and garnish with a little fresh squeezed lime juice, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Super easy, super fast, super delicious and only 300 calories!!!! Enjoy!!


Stock Your Freezer

Friday, January 4, 2013

Here is a simple way to stock your freezer for those times when you are super busy! I do use pre-made dressings as short cuts in the recipes below, but you could totally substitute your own homemade versions of ranch dressing mix or italian dressing  if you would like. 

Each of the following meals will serve 4-6 people, but you'll need sides too, but I'll give fast ideas for those too! For our family, I use 2 lbs of meat per meal (except the flank steak & mexichicken), you might want to use more or less depending on your family. You can easily add more meat if you like. These are all "dump" meals, and over 1/2 of them you will need a crockpot for. They are designed to fill in on those super busy days, not necessarily to be eaten over the next 10 days because you might get a little tired of them! I have found having these 2-3 days a week has really helped our meal planning.

I will list a shopping list for everything you will need to make the meals (including suggested sides). When you get home from the grocery store, I suggest labeling all 10 bags (you will make 2 of ever meal) and putting 2 lbs of each meat in it's respective bag....it will make assembling them even easier!

When you are ready to assemble, just follow the "ASSEMBLY DAY" directions for each recipe (remember to do each one twice) I KNOW it might look overwhelming, but look at the shopping list, you probably have a lot of the stuff already, so it's mostly meat. And the assembly directions for all of it is "combine it. squish it. freeze it" Even my husband could do this!!! :)

When you are done you will have:

Ranch Pork Chops (2 meals)
Brown Sugar Chicken (2 meals)
Mexi-Chicken (2 meals)
Flank Steak (2 meals)
Italian Chicken (2 meals)


GROCERY SHOPPING LIST
10-gallon ziploc FREEZER bags (I've bought the cheap ones, I've bought the storage ones, get the FREEZER ones)
2 flank steaks (around 2-3 lbs each)
4 lbs Boneless Pork Chops
4 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs 
6 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
6 TBSP chopped cilantro
8 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups brown sugar
2 cans lemon-lime soda
2 cans corn
2 cans fire roasted, diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 16oz bottles Italian Dressing
2 packets ranch dressing mix
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 TBSP Dijon Mustard

1 1/3 cup vinegar
4 T Soy Sauce
2/3 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Lime Juice
2 squirts of honey
4 TBSP Taco Seasoning
Salt
Black Pepper

For Suggested Sides you will need the following (you can do huge bags of assorted veggies from Costco instead of doing all the different types of veggies)

2 bags frozen broccoli
4 bags frozen assorted veggies
2 bags frozen green beans
Toppings for Mexi-Chicken (like cilantro, cheese, sour cream & salsa and cream cheese if you want the dish to be creamy)
Mashed Potatoes (you can use fake ones, I won't tell)
Pasta for Italian Chicken
brown rice


RANCH PORK CHOPS
2lbs Boneless Pork Chops
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (you can use homemade too if you like) 
plus one can of water
1 packet ranch seasoning mix

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in the fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high. 

Serving Suggestion: Potatoes or Rice and mixed veggies


BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN 
Adapted from crockpot365.blogspot.com
-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
-1 cup brown sugar 
-2/3 cup vinegar
-3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
-2 T soy sauce 
-1 tsp ground black pepper

-1/4 cup lemon-lime soda 

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything but the soda in a gallon freezer bag. Squish to combine. Freeze

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in slow cooker with 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda. Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Chicken is done when it's cooked through, the longer you cook it, the more tender it will be. We shred it up with two forks and let sit in the sauce a few minutes before serving. 

Serving Suggestion: Brown rice & broccoli


MEXI-CHICKEN
-1 lb chicken breast 
-1 can corn
-1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
-1 can black beans
-1 can pinto beans
-2 TBSP Taco seasoning 

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: You can thaw in the fridge, or take directly from the freezer and place in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high. Add 8oz cream cheese near the end for a creamy dish. 

Serving Suggestion: Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro, cheese, sour cream & salsa.




Cilantro-Balsamic Flank Steak
3lbs flank steak


  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsps dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • squirt of honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (taste)
  • black pepper (fresh ground)
  • Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

    Day of Cooking: Thaw in fridge at least 24 hours. Grill or cook on very hot grill pan, 3-4 minutes each side. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. 
Serving Suggestion: Mashed Potatoes & Mixed Veggies or serve as a salad over a bed of lettuce

ITALIAN CHICKEN
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
16oz bottle of italian dressing

Assembly Day: Label your gallon bag. Combine everything. Squish to combine. Freeze.

Day of Cooking: Thaw in fridge at least 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove Chicken from bag, discarding the remaining marinade. Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour, turning chicken half way through. 

Serving Suggestion:  Serve over pasta with green beans on the side
















Cilantro-Balsamic Flank Steak

Thursday, January 3, 2013

This summer we bought some flank steak for a BBQ we were hosting. We bought it at Sam's club so I put 1/2 in the freezer for later. With the new year here, I was cleaning out the freezer and was pretty excited when I stumbled upon it (plus, it helped out the grocery budget this week!) I went through my cupboard and fridge and scraped together stuff for the marinade below...it turned out pretty darn good! 

  • Marinade
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsps dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • squirt of honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (taste)
  • black pepper (fresh ground)
Mix everything together in a bowl then add to flank steak and marinade 24 hours. You can also put the marinade in a ziploc bag, add the flank steak and freeze. When you are ready to fix it, just take the bag out of the freezer and thaw in the fridge. It marinades as it thaws!!

Grill or cook on very hot grill pan, 3-4 minutes each side. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. 

I turned it into fajitas for the family, and a fajita salad for me...it was kinda funky with the balsamic taste...but it was so good that I just called it a fusion dish! :)

My husband had two fajitas with cheese, sour cream, salsa, and some chips on the side. By my calculations, it was about 800 calories. I, on the other hand, made this killer salad below which included a bit of shredded cheese, 1 TBSP Sour Cream and was very filling and had a ton of veggies (sauteed onion & bell pepper, lettuce, cilantro, avocado and homemade salsa) for 350 calories! Lucky for the hubby, he never has to watch his girlish figure!






Closet Organization

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I have had this on my to-do list for awhile, but had so many adorable, Pinterest-inspired ideas floating around, that I never got around to making a final decision, buying all the supplies or actually completing the task (I have dubbed this Pinterest Paralysis)

Anyway...yesterday I was cleaning and organizing and decided to just do it and not wait for it to be perfect or Pinterest worthy...here is what I finally did...


I hung my jewelry up! I have a nice jewelry box, but I find that the necklaces get tangled and I completely forget I have so many awesome necklaces...plus many of them have stories behind them.

I used 3M hooks and just stuck em to the wall. It's not perfect. They aren't evenly spaced, aren't level, isn't artistic, the necklaces aren't draped from an adorable branch or intricate sculpture that I welded together in my spare time...but it does make me insanely happy, I smile every time I enter my closet and I remember to accessorize more! :)

Do you have something on your list that you want to make perfect, but it might be better to just do it and get it done??