Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 22-28, 2015

·         * I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Obviously, this week is a little "light" on meals because of family fun.

Sunday:  Lunch – Leftover Gumbo
                 Dinner – One Pot Ziti with Salad

  Easy, delicious, plenty of leftovers, and a family fave.  J  (Pardon my French, but this recipe is courtesy of

Monday:  Leftovers

On Sunday night, I put the leftover ziti into a greased casserole dish in the oven.  Then, about 30 minutes before dinner time, all I had to do was pull the dish out of the fridge and put it in the oven.  Then I heat the oven to 350 degrees and in about 25 minutes, the pasta is heated through, and dinner is ready.  Easy peasey!  Anytime I can prepare food once that we will eat twice, I feel like a rock star.

Tuesday:  Movie & Dinner Out!

  The kids were staying a few nights with Chad’s parents, so that meant Chad and I had a few nights to go out.  J

Wednesday:  Dinner Out (Again!)

Thursday:  Thanksgiving Day!!

Friday:  Burgers

….Because it was cold, rainy, and I didn’t want to cook.  ;)

Saturday:  Ground Venison & Veggie Quesadillas or Salad

Ground Venison & Veggie Quesadillas

  Thanks to Chad’s first deer hunt of the season a few weeks ago, we now have venison in the freezer again!  I used about a pound of the ground venison to make taco meat.  I first sautéed small, diced zucchini and carrots in a little avocado oil until they were tender.  Then I added salt, pepper, and minced garlic and stirred that around for about 2 minutes (don’t let the garlic burn!).  Next, I added in the venison and cooked it all together until the meat was browned all the way through.  I added a little taco seasoning as well.  That’s it!  This meat is great served with tortillas, or even over a salad.  I plan to use the leftover meat and veggies for a pasta dish another night.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 15-21, 2015

  *If you are reading this, please also "like" Yummy to Our Tummies on Facebook :-)**

Sunday:  Roast, Potatoes & Carrots with Fresh Vegetables and Rolls

  I put a roast in my crock pot right when I woke up early Sunday morning.  It had been in the freezer, and even though I had put it in my fridge early the day before, it was still a bit frozen.  I topped the roast with a package of onion soup mix, 1 can of cream of mushroom (regular unhealthy Campbells J - but, you can find organic, healthier versions, or make your own!), and poured over about 2 cups of chicken broth.  Then I threw in small yellow potatoes and big chunks of peeled carrots.  I cooked it on low until we came home from church and had lunch around 1:00.  We invited another family from church over, so to make the meal go further, I made a quick tray of fresh veggies and picked up some rolls from Dickey’s on the way home.  It was a wonderful Sunday lunch…that I didn’t take a picture of!

Monday:  Dinner at Mom’s House  J

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner!  Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, & Bacon

Wednesday:  Dinner at Small Group

Thursday:  Grilled Turkey Sausage, Steamed Broccoli, & Fresh Bell Peppers

  This is such an easy, healthy, and kid-friendly meal.  My kids always enjoy grilled sausage, and it’s simple to throw in healthy sides based on what you happen to have in your fridge or freezer.

Friday:  Sliders with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli

  Family Movie Night!!

Saturday:  Chad’s Gumbo Over Brown Rice with Garlic Bread

  When Chad wants to cook, I never argue!  His gumbo is delicious!  He uses whatever game we have in the freezer (I believe this one had some duck and goose), and also adds sausage.  This time he also purchased a Cajun rue from the store rather than making his own from scratch.  Here’s the recipe he typed up for me.  It’s so yummy, and the leftovers are just as good…or better!

Chad’s Conglomerate Gumbo

Total Time:3 hours
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 2 hr 45 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings


4 duck breasts, spoonbills a good option

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup smoked turkey/chicken
Salt and pepper
Tony Chacheres
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cups broth/stock
2 cups water (fill broth bag after emptying)
1 bag frozen sliced okra
4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts


Prep by chopping onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic (trinity) and set aside in a bowl.  Cut sausage into ¼ slices and set aside with duck breasts and shredded turkey/chicken.

Add small amount of oil to hot dutch oven type pot and sear the duck and sausage together for about 6-8 minutes.  Remove meat, set aside in a bowl, and proceed to roux.  To make roux, add the ½ cup oil to pot and let get hot over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until rich brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Be patient, whisk constantly, and do not let burn.  If you don’t have time for this step, buy a jar of ready-made roux.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, along with the trinity mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring with wooden spoon until mixture well coated and onions start to wilt. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, Tony Chach to taste. Add 4 cups broth, 2 cups water, and bay leaves while whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour. Add okra. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until ready to serve.  Serve over steamed rice, top with green onions, and taste before adding hot sauce to preference.

Homemade Crock Pot Chicken Stock
  If you save the bones from a rotisserie chicken, you can add some simple ingredients, cook on low all day, and end up with 8-10 cups of homemade chicken broth for your freezer!  I used my friend Dana’s recipe from Real-Food, Real-Family.  

Homemade Chicken Stock


chicken bones/carcass from one chicken
1-2 stalks celery
1-2 carrots
1 small onion, quartered
bay leaf
thyme (sprig or 1/2 tsp dried)
oregano (sprig or 1/2 tsp dried)
white or apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp – 1 T (optional)
salt, to taste


1.  Put the chicken bones/carcass in the bottom of your crockpot. If you are using the carcass from a homemade roasted chicken you can add the juices in there too.
2.  Add in the vegetables, herbs and vinegar (optional) and cover with water until there is about a 1/2 – 1 inch of room left at the top.
3.  Cook on low as long as you can.  Try for 10 hours or more.  I usually start mine around 7:30 a.m. and go until after dinner.
4.  Use a fine strainer and strain out all the chicken parts, vegetables, and herbs.
5.  Store the chicken broth in the fridge for up to a week or freeze in freezer safe containers or bags.

6.  Use your stock in any recipe calling for chicken broth or stock.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 8-14, 2015

Sunday:  Dino Chicken, Apples, & Fresh Veggies
  Because Daddy was hunting… J  I was also sick…L

Monday:  Slow Cooker Pesto Ranch Chicken Sliders with Fresh Fruit and Veggies

  This chicken is so full of flavor, and also so easy!  I used frozen chicken breasts, jarred pesto, some homemade Ranch seasoning a friend gave me, and only about 2 cups of chicken broth.  I served ours on King’s Hawaiian Rolls with fresh fruit and veggies for a quick meal before Ranger’s baseball game.  These were also great because anyone who was still hungry when we arrived back home after the game could make another slider or two.  I just kept the chicken on warm in the crock pot.  (Recipe from

Tuesday:  Pesto Ranch Chicken Nachos

  A great way to have the yummy chicken again!  I also sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes as a healthy side.  (This picture isn't very appetizing, but it really was tasty.)  Chad was working on processing the deer he shot over the weekend (yay!), so he ate later than the kids and I did.  He actually made a sort of “stack” with his chips, chicken, and veggies and said it was delicious that way too.

Wednesday:  Ground Venison Tacos with Flour Tortillas

  I asked Chad to leave out a pound of the ground venison (he froze the rest) because tacos were the perfect, quick meal for a night with another baseball game (the last one L).  I tossed in some more freshly diced zucchini and tomatoes so that it was basically a one pan dinner. 

Thursday:  Cheese Tortellini with Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce
  This is a wonderful recipe from our Uncle Jerry and Aunt Suzanne in Florida.  It is simple to put together, but after it simmers and the flavors meld together, it is so, so good!  I called an audible though, and instead of using ground beef, I used the already cooked pesto ranch chicken and a little bit of ground venison I had left in the fridge from our meals earlier in the week.  Seriously, I pulled out what we had and threw it in the sauce.  Since the chicken already had so much basil flavor because of the pesto, I didn’t add as much basil as the recipe calls for.  Still, it was so wonderful, and I used what I had instead of throwing leftovers away.  J  Just one of the little things I’ve learned helps when you are really trying to stick to a grocery budget!

¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper
¼ cups freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, add olive oil.  When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.  Raise heat to high and add the ground beef.  Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, parsley, and basil and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about ½ hour.  Finish Bolognese with cheese.  Check for seasoning and serve hot.

Friday:  Pizza & Movie Night!

  I jazzed up some frozen Costco pizzas with added veggies and seasonings.  It’s economical, and it was perfect for our family night in.

Saturday:  Boys Night

  Payton and I were at my niece’s birthday party, and Chad and the boys had a fun boys’ day and night.  Word on the street is, dinner was greasy bacon and eggs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Walmart Grocery Pick-up...I Love You.

  A few weeks ago, I gave the new Walmart Grocery Pick-up a try.  I buy groceries on the first and fifteenth of every month, and sometimes, one of those days is highly inconvenient for a big shopping trip.   (I will post another time about why I shop when I do!).
  November 1st fell on a Sunday, and of course that meant the day before was Halloween.  Couple that with a crazy week in general, and we were almost fresh out of ALL groceries!  Seriously...this was my fridge.  And really...who doesn't have a half-gallon size of soy sauce in her fridge?

  I took advantage of the situation and cleaned the took like 5 minutes.  Extra bonus perk of the cash spending system!  ;-)
  Needless to say, we needed some groceries.  We didn't even have EGGS, which is almost like not having air if you were to ask Ranger.  But, as with many families, Sundays can be busy in the mornings, and then family time in the afternoons.  Because of this, I thought it was the perfect time to try Walmart's Grocery Pick-up.  I had seen a few people post about it, all with rave reviews.
  I am here to say, yes, it works, yes, it saved me time, and yes, it is AMAZING.

  I also feel like you should know that I am not typically a Walmart fan.  Walmart is more of a necessity some weeks than a place I enjoy shopping, and it's definitely never my first choice.  But shopping and they did all the leg-work for's incredible.
  I "shopped" on Saturday after I made my 2-week grocery menu for the first half of November.  Another wonderful keeps track of your bill as you shop, so you know EXACTLY what you are spending!  No surprise at the check-out!  Then, I picked a time when I wanted to pick up my groceries the next day.  The Walmart that is actually the closest to me doesn't have this service yet, but there are 2 others not much farther away.  One of them had time available on Sunday, and I chose the 8:00-10:00am slot since we don't have church until 9:30.
  I showed up right at 8:00, called the number in the special designated spot, and in about 5 minutes (perfect timing to check out Facebook), a nice lady walked my HUGE order of groceries out to my car.  She went over it and noted the 2 items they didn't have in stock and also 1 or 2 substitutions on my list, and then had me sign an adjust copy of my receipt.  Done and DONE!

  Since we usually buy everything with cash, that was one thing I had to adjust.  But, I simply put this transaction on our credit card and then subtracted that amount from the amount of cash I usually take out of the bank on the first of the month.
  I will absolutely shop this way again.  Not every time because I still like to alternate Walmart with Costco, Aldi, and Sprouts, but it was incredible.  Of course it saved me time, but I know without a doubt it saved me money because there were no opportunities for "impulse buys."  :-)  If you can plan ahead, know what brands you like and the amount you need, and have your budget in mind, I highly recommend giving this a try!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 1-7, 2015

Sunday:  Venison Chili

Venison Chili
  Callen had been requesting Chad’s venison chili for a few weeks, so it was time for that to happen.  The kids love to have them inside big scoop chips.  This recipe is really so good!  It would be great with beef, turkey, chicken, or whatever other meat you have on hand.

  Since I haven’t had much sleep the past few days because of a sick little one, taking a picture of the recipe in Chad’s recipe book is the best I can do.

Monday:  Baked Chicken Tenders with Steamed Broccoli & Brown Sugar Carrots

Baked Chicken Tenders
  We were supposed to have a 6:00pm baseball game, so I planned an easy, kid-friendly meal.  However, it rained, but I stuck to the plan.  Breading and baking chicken tenders really isn’t hard…just a little messy!  I mix milk and egg together in one shallow dish, and in another dish I mix parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, and spices.  (This time is was garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.)  Then, I make a little assembly line.  I use one hand to put the chicken in the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture, then on to the lined baking sheet.  If you use one hand, you still have the other clean hand.  You can also use a fork or tongs if you don’t want to use your hands.  J

  Bake them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 10-12, until everything is done.  Chicken tenders don’t take long at all!  I made 2 packages, so it took 2 baking pans in my oven.

  I served ours with steamed broccoli and steamed carrots that I added some butter and a little brown sugar to right at the end.  My kids love these!

Tuesday:  Ommy Noms Chicken Spaghetti with Caesar Salad & Bread

  We had a friend coming for dinner, and this chicken spaghetti is usually a dish everyone likes.  I like it because it is made from scratch, but it’s also simple to make.

3/4 lb. thin spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, drained (use mild if you don’t like a little spice)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)

Preheat oven to 350.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook spaghetti to al dente and drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter and sauté onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and milk to prevent lumps. Increase heat to medium high.  Allow to bubble until sauce thickens.

Reduce heat to medium low.  Sprinkle in shredded cheese a bit at a time, stirring continuously until melted into sauce. Stir in cumin, salt, pepper, Rotel, chicken, and cooked spaghetti. Toss to coat everything evenly in sauce.

Pour into greased 9 X 13 glass dish.  Bake 30 minutes.

Wednesday:  Dinner with Small Group

Thursday:  Dinner Out
  Chad was leaving on Friday for a hunting trip, so he wanted to take us out to dinner as a treat before he left.  I’ll take it!

Friday:  Breakfast Burritos
  So, Payton got sick…really sick.  That means Friday night (and remember no Chad) was easy-to-make breakfast for dinner.  I just asked the boys what they would eat, and they said breakfast, so that’s what I made. 

Saturday:  Dinner at Mom’s  J

  My mom took pity on me and invited us over for the day and also for dinner.  Payton still wasn’t eating, but she wasn’t quite as sick, so being out of our house and having an adult conversation was a welcome change!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Planning My Menu

Alright...down to the first steps...
Here's how my meal planning begins. I have a regular notebook (not fancy!), and I write out the days and dates. I used to plan 1 week at a time, but now I plan for 2 weeks at a time. We use an all-cash system, but I'll get into the details of that at a different time! smile emoticon
So, I consult my planner and Chad's work and travel schedule to determine what evening activities we have to determine both who and when we will be home for dinner each evening. Then I decide what meals we will have...I've started asking each member of the family for a request of something they would like this month. It's been fun, and they love it when their choice rolls around!
Once I've planned the menu, I make my shopping list, always making sure to consult my pantry, fridge, and freezer so I don't buy something I already have. Also, when I plan meals, I often choose a recipe because I have many ingredients on hand, which ends up saving money and decreases the amount of food we throw away!

You'll notice 2 that looks neat and beautiful and new that makes me look like I have every day together and my life is put together and perfect. Then, you'll notice the paper that looks like I've lost my mind and started free-writing whatever food thought came into my mind. There are scratch-outs, erase marks, and then more scratch-outs.
Why such a difference?
Because the pretty piece of paper is a brand new menu, and the messy one is what happens when life comes along and changes everyone's schedules. smile emoticon (Although if you look closely, you can see a coffee stain on the "pretty" list!) Meal planning means you are prepared and you've thought ahead, but it also means you are able to roll with the punches and move things around a bit. Because you've planned and purchased with forethought, you can still make delicious, mostly healthy meals for your family, even if it wasn't what your "original" meal plan looked like!
Not every week has so many crazy changes, but sometimes, they just do. You'll also notice that it's not as if our family eats all organic, perfect, homemade from scratch meals every night. That is reality for some, and I think it's awesome. But, it's not my reality is that I do the best I can to feed our family well-rounded meals most of the time, so that some of the time we have Chick-fil-a and McDonald's and I'm able to cut myself some slack! My friend Dana calls it the 80/20 rule, and I love that!
Let me know if you have any other fun meal planning tips!! This is simply how I begin!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October 25-31, 2015

Sunday:  Cook Out with Friends

Monday:  Hawaiian Chicken Tenders with Roasted Butternut Squash and Fresh Broccoli

(sorry for the random sideways pic...)

  This recipe is from Just Add Sprinkles, and we all enjoyed it!  It’s definitely a sweeter chicken tender full of coconut, so if coconut isn’t your thing, you probably wouldn’t like this much.  I’m not a big fan of coconut usually, but I do love coconut shrimp, so I also enjoyed this recipe.  The kids loved this as well.  We all had our own various dipping sauces ranging from honey to BBQ sauce to ketchup to Sriracha.  Just a note…it didn’t take long for the coconut to brown before breading it (one of her first steps), so watch your oven so you don’t burn the coconut!

  I served ours with fresh broccoli and roasted butternut squash.

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner – Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Waffles & Fruit

Wednesday:  Mummy Dogs and Monster Teeth  J

  A Halloween week tradition!!

Thursday:  Chicken & Cheese Taquitos with Apple Slices and Fresh Avocado

Chicken & Cheese Taquitos
  When I planned our menu, I initially had in mind our typical Thursday night schedule with practice for both boys.  So, I planned this with a busy schedule and a grab-n-go meal in mind.  However, we ended up not having either practice, but these taquitos were still an easy, kid-friendly dish.  Here’s what you need:

Chicken (I used rotisserie)
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salsa (optional)

  In a bowl, mix together shredded or diced chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and salsa if you choose.  I made most of ours with just chicken and cheese for the kids, but after I scooped their portions out, I added salsa into the mix for me.  Really, there’s no exact amounts of anything…just eyeball it based on how much you need and what your family likes.  J  I used about 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken for our meal, and it made 6 good-sized taquitos.

  Spoon equal amounts of the chicken and cheese mixture onto your tortillas (I had a super cute helper.)

  Then roll them up, tucking the ends in as you roll so nothing escapes. Payton wanted to be the photographer at this point...

  Spread a small amount of butter on both sides of your rolled up taquito and cook on your stovetop on a hot skilled, seam-side down first.  Once the first side turns golden brown, flip and brown the other side.  That’s it!  So easy, and all of the yumminess is tucked neatly inside a tortilla, which means less mess for the kids.  Always a plus in my book when ingredients aren’t falling all over the place!

Friday:  Cheeseburgers and Family Movie Night!

  Chad grilled some yummy burgers for us, but we didn’t have any hamburger buns on hand, nor did I want to get out in the rain and buy some.  So, I found a recipe for Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns from Whole and Heavenly Oven.   These were simple enough even for me…I don’t make a ton of rolls and other yeast-type recipes.  (They weren't super pretty!)

  Still, I thought they lacked a bit of flavor.  But, we all enjoyed them on our cheeseburgers, and they even made excelled bread for our grilled cheeses the next day! 

  So, I made bread for 2 meals that cost nothing since I already had all the ingredients on hand.  I like that I didn’t have to make a store run, and it was fun to try something new.  I’ll definitely try my hand at whole wheat buns again, just with a different recipe next time.  J

Saturday:  Pizza Night and Trick or Treating!!

Thanks Papa Murphy’s for our adorable pizza!

Happy Halloween!!!