Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 21-27, 2016

Sunday:  Dinner with Friends

Monday:  Lemon & Garlic Baked Tilapia, Roasted Broccoli, Quinoa

  I had some tilapia in the freezer that I planned to use, so I just used Pinterest to find a recipe that looked yummy and easy.  This one from did the trick!  We all enjoyed it, and it couldn’t have been any simpler!  Tilapia isn’t a very “fishy” smelling fish, so I don’t mind cooking it inside.  J  I served ours with roasted broccoli and some quick frozen quinoa from Costco that you can just throw in the microwave straight from the freezer!

Tuesday:  Macaroni-and-Beef with Cheese & Salad

  This is like a MUCH tastier, MUCH healthier version of a box of something similar you could buy at the store.  This is all made from scratch, but it’s not difficult at all.  You can choose any type of pasta, meat, and cheese to suit your tastes and diet, so it can really be as healthy (or not!) as you care to make it!  It also makes a ton, so, with my small kids, I always have enough to freeze for another meal.  (Recipe courtesy of

Wednesday:  Dinner at Church

Thursday:  Grilled Venison, Brown Rice, Roasted Broccoli, & Bread

  Chad has been home all week, and so he offered to grill some venison for us!  I NEVER say no to that!  I had the easy job of roasting some broccoli (I buy the big bag of organic broccoli from Costco, so we eat it A LOT!), making some rice, and toasting up a little Ezekiel bread with butter.  Yum!

Friday:  Power Dogs with Fruit

  I left on Friday afternoon for a Mom conference, and the kids were so excited about their weekend with Daddy!  Before I left, I whipped up these “Power Dogs” using all-beef, nitrate free hot dogs and Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes.  I often wrap hot dogs in crescent rolls for a simple dinner the kids love, but I didn’t have any on hand.  My friend Dana at Real-Food Real-Family made these, so I took her idea.  J

Here's how you make them: Mix 1 1/2 cups kodiak cakes mix, 1 1/2 T olive oil, and 1/4 cup + 2 T warm water. Use your hands to form a ball of dough. Roll the dough out until you get a nice circle and then cut into 16 parts. Cut a package of 8 hot dogs in half to make 16 pieces. Roll them up and cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

I actually don’t even know how much they ate, but it was an easy dinner for Chad to throw in the oven and add some fruit to for he and the kids. 

Saturday:  Hawaiian Chicken & Yellow Pepper Pizza

  Chad was in charge of dinner Saturday night, which is never a problem for him.  He’s always willing to make a dinner out of whatever we have on hand.  I wasn’t going to be home from my conference until after dinner.  He pulled a frozen cheese pizza out of the freezer and added some Hawaiian Chicken we had diced up from making a ton on the grill a month or two ago.  We also had some sweet peppers in the fridge, so he tossed those on too.  J  Everyone was happy!  I think I’ll keep him.

Monday, February 22, 2016

February 14-20, 2016

Sunday:  Valentine’s Day Breakfast for Dinner <3

  We celebrated our Valentine’s Day together at home with the kids and also my mom.  We had cinnamon raisin French toast with berries, pure maple syrup, and powdered sugar, scrambled eggs, and bacon.  It was a perfect way to remind my people how much I love them!  J

Monday:  Dinner Out with Family

Tuesday:  Hot Dogs, Chips, & Spinach Salad with Mango

  Tuesday evening marked the beginning of Spring baseball for our family.  Callen is playing t-ball for the first time, and his first practice was this evening.  Chad just had ankle surgery the week before, so he wasn’t able to go.  But, he was able to stand long enough to grill some all-beef hot dogs from Costco for us.  When we arrived back home, I just added chips and an easy salad, and our meal at home was ready in no time!  Hot dogs may not be gourmet, but it did allow us to eat at home as a family rather than running through a drive through.  I’m not saying we will never eat out on Tuesday or Thursday nights after baseball practice…some weeks it will just happen!  But, I will try not to make in a habit, both for our health and also because we are on a cash system and eating out is a treat, not a regular occurrence.  J

  As a bonus, I will say that having mango on our salad meant that we didn’t even use any dressing!  The fresh mango was so sweet and juicy, it didn’t need anything else!

Wednesday:  Dinner with Small Group

Thursday:  One Pan Cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta

  Now for Ranger’s turn for baseball to start!  Chad still wasn’t able to go and stand for a full practice on his ankle, but we are fortunate that we live in the neighborhood with our good friends, one of whom happens to be Ranger’s baseball coach!  So, I took Ranger and his buddy to practice, and Brad was able to bring Ranger home after.  That meant I had time to cook dinner and have it ready when Ranger arrived home.

  As soon as I started cooking the sausage and onions, I knew this recipe would be a HIT!  Our house smelled SO AMAZING, and I couldn’t wait for dinner!  This is a one-pot meal, which is perfect for a busy night.  I also used veggie pasta, and while I realize it’s not as healthy for us as eating a big batch of fresh veggies, it sure made this dinner easy, and I’m happy it worked out this way.  I used all-beef, nitrate free sausage, but you could obviously use any sausage you prefer.  This dish could be altered to fit your family very easily.  We all cleaned our bowls on this one!  I liked this so much I went to Pinterest and followed Yellow Bliss Road just so I would remember to try more of her recipes in the future.  J

Friday:  Sliders, Sweet Potato Fries, & Salad

  Family movie night!  Little burgers are always a hit!

Saturday:  Venison & Veggie Tacos

  Our nephew, Davis, is staying with us for a few days, so I wanted to make sure I made yummy dinners he would also enjoy.  Tacos are always tasty, and using some the ground venison Chad has in our freezer also makes it really economical!  I always add in small (like really small), diced veggies to our taco meat…this time I added in zucchini and carrots.  Then, all you need to do is season it to your taste, and you are good to go!  I don’t even buy taco seasoning, as I always have on hand in the pantry all the spices that go into one of those little packets…minus anything they add in that there really isn’t any need to have.  J

  I warmed up some Tortilla Land flour tortillas (I buy them from CostCo, but I’ve seen them at Sprouts and Walmart in smaller packages….corn tortillas too!) on a skillet, and our dinner was ready!  For the kids, I folded theirs over like a quesadilla.  Since the tortilla and meat were hot, the cheese melted pretty easily.  Chad and Davis made soft tacos, and I made a taco salad.

  As a bonus, I intentionally made a double recipe so that we would have enough meat leftover for venison nachos after church on Sunday!  In only 20 minutes, I had our Sunday lunch ready to go simply by placing the meat on top of chips and topping that with shredded cheese and warming it all in the oven until the cheese was bubbly!  These nachos were a big hit with Chad and Davis….I kind of like cooking for a hungry teenager!  J

Sunday, February 7, 2016

January 31 - February 6, 2016

Sunday:  Breakfast for Dinner!  Strawberry Waffles, Eggs, & Bacon

  Chad was still out of town (5th night in a row!), and the kids and I had a busy day of church, a birthday party, and a little family time.  So, by the time we arrived back home and we all took our baths and showers, I knew I needed an easy dinner that would fill everyone up but not wear me out!  In our family, that meal is almost always breakfast. 
  Scrambled eggs and bacon are almost always part of the breakfast for dinner menu, but the carb portion changes a bit.  Since it was the last day of the month (I always go to the store on the first day of the month), our fresh fruit supply was pretty low, so I pureed some frozen strawberries that I had thawed a bit, and I added that puree to my waffle batter.  It made slightly pink, sweet waffles that we all really enjoyed!  I learned after the first waffle that I needed to spray my waffle iron since the sugar in the strawberries made them stick a bit.  We all loved these, and I made extra for the freezer for breakfasts during the week!

Monday:  One Skillet Chicken with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce, Roasted Broccoli, & Brown Rice

  This recipe is from Little Spice Jar, which is a new blog for me.  As much as I enjoyed this recipe, I will be browsing around her blog for more!  I really enjoy the flavor of lemon with chicken, and making this cream sauce made it feel a bit more special.  Since Chad had been gone for 5 nights, and also because he was only home for 2 nights before leaving again, I wanted to make sure we had nice, homecooked meals together as a family.  This one felt fancy, but wasn’t really hard at all!  Payton even helped me get the broccoli ready for roasting.  J  This dish was also a super yummy leftover for my lunch the next day.

Tuesday:  Pioneer Woman Sour Cream Noodle Bake with Salad

  This pasta dish is super simple, and quite tasty.  I altered her recipe just a bit by using ground venison instead of beef and plain green yogurt instead of sour cream.  I also used whole wheat egg noodles.  No matter how you alter it, this dish takes no time at all to prep and put together.  I made enough to put an extra one in the freezer for an easy meal in the future. 

Wednesday:  Dinner with Small Group

Thursday:  Homemade Mini-Pizzas with Fresh Veggies & Fruit Salad

  I toasted some whole wheat bread and then cut the crusts off.  Then, I gave the kids some pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperonis and let them make their own mini-pizzas.  

I realize using toasted bread isn’t quite a pizza crust, but my kids didn’t seem to mind!  J  I had leftover pasta from the night before.

Friday:  Dinner out with Nonnie

Saturday:  Pizza & Movie Night with Friends

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 24-30, 2016

Sunday:  “10 Chicken” with Steamed Butter & Parmesan Potatoes & Green Beans

“10 Chicken”
  This chicken marinade is so simple, yummy, and fast!  All you need is soy sauce, Italian dressing, and garlic powder.  Mix up the amounts…sorry I don’t have exact measurements…and pour over whatever chicken your family prefers.  We used boneless chicken breasts because that’s what I had on hand.  Then marinate a few hours or all day and grill.  That’s it!  This marinade is also a good one to prep, pour over chicken, and freeze.  Then you can thaw it out and grill it, or you can just throw it all frozen in a crock pot and cook on low all day.  J  (A big thanks to my cousin Britney for this family fave!)

  I served ours with fresh green beans that I steamed and then added a little butter, salt, and pepper before eating and also some steamed new potatoes.  For the potatoes I added a little butter…okay…maybe it was more than a little butter…freshly grated parmesan, and some homemade Ranch.  These potatoes were AH-MAZING!  I wouldn’t say they were a healthy side dish, but they were so delish, Chad and I didn’t care one bit.  ;-)

Monday:  Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli & Carrots

Turkey Meatballs
  This dinner was a bit thrown together as we had a little unplanned adventure in our afternoon.  Callen had a small accident on his bike, so we had to spend some time at the pediatrician’s office to have his head glued back together.  So, on the way home I grabbed Chick-fil-a for the kids because they were hungry.  Happy kids, happy mommy.  J  Then, while they ate, I made some meatballs with ground turkey I had in the fridge so that Chad and I could have dinner after he arrived home later that evening.  I added oats and an egg and then some salt and spices to the meatballs, brushed on a little BBQ sauce, then baked them in a foil-lined baking pan for about 40 minutes at 375.  I tossed some broccoli and baby carrots on another baking sheet and roasted those for 20 minutes or so.  Chad and I had a yummy dinner while the kids enjoyed cookies and milk.  What a day!

Tuesday:  Ranger’s Birthday Dinner!

  We always let our kids decide what’s for dinner on their birthdays.  I am happy to cook, or they may choose for us to go out.  Ranger chose SmashBurger!  Happy 7th birthday to my sweet guy!

Wednesday:  Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

  Chad was gone on a business trip, so the rest of the week was filled with kid-friendly fare.  I had some “10 Chicken” leftover and diced up in the fridge from Sunday night and had been having it on my salads for lunch.  I used some of it to make simple quesadillas for dinner.  I served ours with fresh fruits and veggies, and everyone was happy.  It’s so nice to have some already cooked chicken or beef around for quick meals!

Thursday:  Dinner Out

  Ranger had some birthday money he wanted to spend at the Lego Store, so off to the mall we went.  As a bonus, I let the kids pick dinner from the food court.  J

Friday:  Movie Night & Sleepover at Nonnie’s

  Since Chad was still out of town, the kids and I went and had a sleepover at my mom’s house.  She made us dinner.  Yay!

Saturday:  Chicken & Cheese Tortilla Roll-ups

  I’ve mentioned before what a fan I am of the uncooked tortillas from Tortilla Land that I buy at Costco.  They also sell them at Walmart, and I’ve just discovered they have corn as well!  They are so nice to have on hand because you can have fresh, hot tortillas in just a few minutes.  Plus, the ingredient list is super simple, short, and preservative free! 

  I had some nitrate-free deli chicken and cheese in the fridge and used them both to make little rollups for the kids.  The tortillas were just warm enough that the cheese melted a little bit and helped them “stick” together.  The kids thought these were really fun.  I also added fresh fruits and veggies to their plates, and a few chips too!  I made more than we would eat so that the kids could have more for lunch after church on Sunday.

  Sunday Lunch:
    Easy peasey!