Monday, January 26, 2015

January 18-24, 2015

Sunday:  Dinner Out

Monday:  Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, & Strawberries

·          We always have breakfast for dinner when Chad is out of town, and he was feeling a little left out.  J  So, I made breakfast for dinner…the kids’ fave!  I had some cinnamon raisin bread and used that for our French toast.  It was delicious!

Tuesday:  Hawaiian Grilled Chicken with Coconut Rice & Broccoli

·          My friend, Sharon, texted me that she and her family had this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything and loved it, so I knew we had to try it too.  I am so glad she shared it…it’s delicious!!  I marinated the chicken for about 9 hours, and I used chicken thighs like she suggests because we really like dark meat.  I also made the coconut rice she suggested, and we all gobbled it right up.  Throwing in some roasted broccoli was all that was left to round out our meal.  Our family certainly can’t eat 3 pounds of chicken in one dinner, but I went ahead and marinated that amount and had Chad grill it.  What we didn’t eat, Chad sliced up and vacuum-sealed it for the freezer.  It will be a wonderful chicken to add to a recipe in the near future.  Prep once for 2 dinners…one of the best ways to save time on a busy weeknight.

Wednesday:  Sweet Potato Nachos  (Mom Cooked!)

·          My mom had originally invited us over for dinner, but I had a couple of sick kids, so she brought everything over and made dinner for us at our house.  She made these amazing sweet potato nachos!  I LOVED them, and even the leftovers were good reheated in the oven the next day for lunch.  We didn’t add sour cream to ours, but the avocado on top was perfect.  I can't say what the kids thought, though...I just made them an easy kid dinner since they were a little sick. (Recipe from

Thursday:  Turkey & Veggie Tacos with Rice & Chips, Salsa, & Guacamole

Turkey & Veggie Tacos
·          We had 2 couples over from church, and these tacos are wonderful for feeding lots of people.  They also make a great leftover, and even the meat can be frozen and used for spaghetti or tacos for a future meal.  I used lean, ground turkey for this night, but these can be made with ground chicken also.

Ground Turkey  (I used 2 pounds.)
Finely chopped/diced veggies of your choice (I used 1 zucchini, 3 big carrots, & 2-3 big handfuls of spinach.)
1 Can Rotel (drained) or fresh, diced tomatoes
Taco Seasoning
Olive Oil
Minced Garlic

Cook the chicken with olive oil & minced garlic until no longer pink.  Add your finely diced veggies, Rotel, & taco seasoning.  Mix it all together until everything is heated through.  Serve with tortillas or chips of your choice.  We used corn tortillas and topped with some shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

Friday:  Ranger’s Birthday Party with Friends

·          Ranger had a few friends over to help celebrate his birthday on the 26th, so we made pizza’s I bought from Walmart.  J 

Saturday:  Ranger’s Birthday Party with Family

·          I’m not sure how, but Ranger managed to have 3 birthday celebrations!  Ha…lucky kid!  We celebrated with my side of the family last weekend, and this week, Chad’s side came over for dinner.  Chad marinated and grilled a variety of meat:  chicken, pork chops, dove, sausage.  I roasted sweet potatoes and onions and made a big salad.  We all had a great meal, and Ranger has been able to see pretty much all of his favorite people in the last week. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 11-17, 2015

Sunday:  Church Family Night

Monday:  Chicken Lazone Over Spaghetti Squash with Salad and Bread

·          I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it was worth a shot.  It was easy, but truthfully I didn’t love it.  We all ate it…even the kids…but I think I should have added some more of the spices to it.  I went light because I didn’t want it to be so spicy for the kids.   So, if I make it or a variation of it again, I’ll add more spices or change them up to suit the kids.  J 

It was a good way to serve spaghetti squash instead of using regular pasta noodles, though.  I just stabbed the spaghetti squash several times with a knife (carefully J) then tossed it in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  When it’s done, take it out and slice it in half.  Scoop out the middle seeds and throw them away.  Then take a fork and shred the squash out into a bowl…instant spaghetti squash noodles.

Tuesday:  Ground Turkey and Veggie Quinoa Stir Fry

Ground Turkey and Veggie Quinoa Stir Fry
·          This dinner was based on this recipe that I found on Pinterest from  I didn’t have exactly the vegetables the recipe mentions, but I made a stir fry with what I had.  I sautéed diced zucchini, carrots, broccoli, onion, and garlic in olive oil and also added in some soy sauce.  Then I added quinoa to that as well as a little brown rice and sautéed it all together.  In another pan I browned some lean ground turkey just as the recipe suggests.  When it was all done, I spooned the vegetable and quinoa into a bowl and then put the turkey on top of it.  Chad and I really enjoyed it, and the kids ate all their turkey and most of the vegetables without too much prompting.  This dish also made a tasty leftover for the next few days.

Wednesday:  Turkey & Veggie Quinoa Tacos

·          Because we had leftovers, I made some homemade, whole wheat tortillas so that we could have quesadillas and tacos for dinner.  Chad and I don’t mind leftovers, but we wanted to eat them in a little different way so that we weren’t too bored with it!

Thursday:  Chad Cooked!

·          Chad had a co-worker come over for dinner, so he wanted to be the cook for the night!  He grilled some chicken and dove while I prepared some sweet potatoes, broccoli, and zucchini that we roasted in the oven.

Friday:  Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup with Biscuits

·          I made this recipe last year some time and then completely forgot about it.  Chad and I really liked it, so I’m glad I came across it again!  This time I followed her link and actually made it in the crockpot…her original recipe is done all on the stovetop.  Both methods made a delicious soup!  I used lean, ground venison, but any ground meat works well.

Saturday:  Baked Turkey, Cheese, Pear, and Blackberry Preserve Paninis with Salad

Baked Turkey, Cheese, Pear, and Blackberry Preserve Paninis
·          We were having a family movie night, so I needed an easy dinner that we could eat picnic style upstairs that wouldn’t take me long to clean up.  Any kind of grilled sandwich is usually a hit in our house, so I made baked paninis. 

The easiest way I’ve found to make multiple grilled sandwiches is baked in the oven between two cookie sheets.  This time I wanted the grill marks (for effect, I suppose J ), so I used my large grill pan.  To make them a little better than just a regular grilled cheese, I layered a small spread of blackberry preserves, turkey, thin-sliced pears, and cheese in the panini.  I assembled all of the sandwiches on the grill pan, (I buttered both slices of bread on the outside) then I put a piece of foil over them and pressed another cookie sheet over the top.  That smooshes the sandwiches together…yum!  I put them in a cold oven and then heated the oven to 400 degrees and cooked for about 15 minutes or so.  Just lift the top cookie sheet and foil to check the paninis until they are as done as you would like.  I served ours with a kale and Brussels sprouts salad topped with a vinaigrette dressing.  I buy the salad already cut up in a big bag from Costco.

Here are the kids' plates.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 4-10, 2015

Sunday:  Turkey Noodle Soup
·          Chad actually made this soup the day before and then put it in our crockpot on Sunday so we could have it for dinner Sunday evening.  He used some smoked turkey we had in the freezer (leftover from Thanksgiving!) along with some homemade turkey stock (that we made using the turkey bones from Thanksgiving).  He added in carrots, zucchini, spices, and noodles.  It was delicious, and perfect for these cold days we’ve been experiencing! 

He and I both are trying to make sure we are using all of the food we have on hand whenever possible.  We are also trying to stay on top of leftovers and freeze them whenever possible for reusing in future meals, rather than simply throwing them away.  Often, we use the meat or dinner in a completely different way the second time around.  J

Monday:  Dinner at Mom’s – Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Roll-ups

·          Chad was out of town for work, so my mom invited us over for dinner.  She made these yummy breakfast roll-ups, and the kids devoured them…I think Ranger ended up eating 4!

Tuesday:  Hot Dogs, Apples, Roasted Zucchini & Carrots
·          Another night with Daddy out of town, so I made hot dogs for the kids and me.  To make it a little healthier, I made the all beef, uncured hot dogs and served them on whole wheat buns.  We also had sliced apples and roasted zucchini and carrots. 

There’s big news on the veggie front around our house…our girl Payton will actually willingly eat some roasted veggies now!  This is HUGE!  We learned the hard way with Ranger, that making dinner a battle is not a worthwhile family activity.  So, with Callen and Payton, we’ve generally just offered the food, but tried not to make a huge issue out of it while eating.  Callen has always been a better eater (most days).  At some point, they become old enough to decide to try it out of curiosity or obedience.  This doesn’t mean eating with my kids is perfect…it’s far from it, trust me.  But, we learned you can’t force food down their throats, so gentler methods must be tried.  J

Wednesday:  Stew with Cheddar Biscuits
·          Back in November, I made this Slow Cooker Pot Roast from Joyously Domestic.  We loved it!  We had quite a bit leftover, so I had frozen it, including the veggies and the roast gravy.  I pulled it out of the freezer for this meal.  After it thawed out a bit, I put it in my crock pot and added beef broth to it…I didn’t measure exactly, but it was probably around 3 cups or so.  I cooked it on low all day.  Then, about an hour before dinner, I added some fresh black eyed peas and frozen green beans.  We had the most delicious stew, and I did almost nothing to prepare it!  Hooray for leftovers!

Thursday:  Oven Baked Ravioli with Chicken, Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad, Bread

Oven Baked Ravioli
This is an incredibly easy recipe that can be thrown together in about 5 minutes before baking in the oven for 45 minutes.  It is one of the keepers from when I used Emeals a few years ago.  I usually add ground beef, but this time I added rotisserie chicken because I had some in the fridge that needed to be used.

-          1 package frozen ravioli, any kind (I used spinach and mozzarella from Costco)
-          1 jar spaghetti sauce
-          ½ pound browned ground beef, turkey, or chicken
-          Cheese of your choice

Spray an oven-safe pan, then pour in the frozen ravioli in a single layer.  Sprinkle on the cooked ground beef, chicken, or turkey.  Then, pour the spaghetti sauce over that and sprinkle with whatever cheese you choose.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover, then bake for 5 more minutes to let the cheese melt. 

Friday:  5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili

·          We really enjoy this simple, flavorful dinner.  You can make everything fresh and from scratch, or let prepared foods help you out.  I did a little bit of both this time around.  I used a rotisserie chicken for the meat and salsa verde from the grocery store, but I bought dried beans and made those fresh for the chili, rather than using canned beans.  So, the beans soaked all day, and then I made them on the stovetop in about an hour and a half.  Then, I drained the beans and added in all the other ingredients for the chili and simmered it all together for an hour or so.  We topped ours with avocado, fresh cheddar, sour cream, and cilantro.

Saturday:  Sweet Venison Chili Frito Pie

·          I love when Chad is able to cook dinner for us!  And, since he shot another deer a couple of weeks ago, we have plenty of game for him to try out new recipes from his wild game cookbook.  This time he made a sweet chili with some ground venison.  It wasn’t spicy at all, so the boys gobbled it right up with their Fritos and cheese!  I also loved it, and there was enough for us to have leftovers the next day for lunch.  J