Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 17-23, 2016

Sunday:  Leftovers

  We had 1.5 sick kids, so it was basically leftover day to clean out the fridge and also because we were just trying to feed everyone what they would actually eat.  J

Monday:  Ground Turkey & Veggie Tacos (Meredith’s Tacos!)

Such an easy dinner that can have as many veggies as you’d like and also use any ground meat you have on hand!

 -  Ground Chicken  (1-2 pounds depending on how many people you are serving or whether or not you want leftovers)
-   Finely chopped/diced veggies of your choice (I used 1 zucchini, 3 big carrots, & 2-3 big handfuls of spinach.  I use my mini food processor to chop everything really small.)
-   1 Can Rotel or Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
-   Taco Seasoning  (I use a homemade recipe from One Good Thing by Jillee)
-   Olive Oil
-   Minced Garlic

Heat olive oil in a large pan, then add garlic and cook it just a minute or two.  Then add your veggies and cook until they start to soften…about 10 minutes.  Yum!!  Look at all those colors!!

Pour the veggies in another bowl and set aside.  Using the same pan, cook the chicken with olive oil until no longer pink.  Drain chicken if necessary. Add back in your cooked, diced veggies, Rotel, & taco seasoning.  Mix it all together until everything is heated through.  

Season with salt or garlic salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with tortillas or chips of your choice.  We used corn and flour tortillas and topped them with some shredded cheese and sour cream.  I always make quesadillas for the kids so it’s not such a mess.  

This ground chicken is delicious and healthy and very easy to freeze and have on hand for other meals.  I always make more than we need because it’s such a good leftover and great to freeze.

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Creamy Herb Sauce, Brown Rice, & Roasted Broccoli

  I had some pork chops in the freezer that I needed to use, and I also had all of the other ingredients for this recipe from Slow Cooker Gourmet on hand.  I love it when that happens!  These are very easy, and also some of the most tender pork chops we’ve ever had!  Ranger asked if it was chicken, and the way the pork chops flaked away easily with a fork, Chad thought it was fish!  This pork was also great as leftovers for me for a few days with a salad for lunch.

Wednesday:  Beef Burger Sliders, Roasted New Potatoes, & Green Beans

  So random, but we stayed home on Wednesday night because of kids just not being completely well, and Chad was home (but was about to leave and be gone through the weekend), so I had him grill burgers while I roasted veggies inside.  The kids were THRILLED with Daddy’s burgers on a Wednesday night!

Thursday:  Dinner at Nonnie’s

Friday:  Dinner with Friends

  All of the hubbies were out of town, so all the moms gathered together and let the kids eat and watch a movie while we talked.  What a fun night!

Saturday:  Dinner with Friends

  Again…no hubbies, but lots of baseball!  So, several of us took the kids to Braums for burgers and ice cream.  J

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 10-16, 2016

Sunday:  One Pan Cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta

  This one from Yellow Bliss Road has become a family favorite, and it’s so easy!  J

Monday:  Scrambled Eggs, Grilled Dove, Fruit, & Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread

  Chad was in Tulsa for work, so the kids and I made breakfast for dinner.  Chad had grilled some dove for lunch after church on Sunday, so we had the leftover dove with our eggs, fruit, and some homemade, whole wheat banana bread.  This recipe from Baked By Rachel is my favorite!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread
A healthier banana bread recipe, using whole wheat flour and old fashioned oatmeal!
  • 1/2C applesauce
  • 1/2C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2C bananas, mashed
  • 1C white whole wheat flour
  • 1C all purpose flour
  • 1C old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients. In a second medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly mix dry mixture into the wet. Whisk until ingredients are fully incorporated and no streaks remain. Pour batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Lightly sprinkle with additional oats if desired. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely before slicing. Store in an airtight container. Serve with your favorite jams and spreads.

Tuesday:  Grilled Cheese with Fresh Fruit and Veggies

  I mean, it was National Grilled Cheese Day for crying out loud!  What else would I have made?  J

Wednesday:  Fish Tacos, Brown Rice, & Fruit

  We had a quick, easy dinner before heading to our small group.  I made some Tortilla Crusted Tilapia from Costco and warmed some Tortilla Land tortillas for a simple meal of fish tacos.

Thursday:  Dinner Out

Friday:  Dinner with Nonnie!

Saturday:  Pizza Night

  Chad had been gone for a few nights, and he wasn’t coming home until close to bedtime on this evening.  We had 2 baseball games in the afternoon, so I called Dominos and let them make dinner for us!  We brought our pizza home and had our dinner on the back porch.  Everyone was happy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Review of Blue Apron Meals

Last week, we tried something a bit new!  My sweet friend Sharon sent us a 1-week trial of Blue Apron Meals.  She and her husband have been enjoying their meals and thought we might like to try it also.  I am always up for trying new foods as well as new ways to plan our menu and prepare foods.

So, after having 3 of their meals, here is my review.  Being Type A, I absolutely LOVE the whole idea of this type of service.  Blue Apron is one of the many companies out there now who plan your meals for you, ship you foods, and have recipes ready for you to make.  It's really pretty ingenious.  Blue Apron's service includes a few different options for ordering based on the size of your family and also the foods your family wants to eat.  Their menu changes each week.  Then, it shows up at your door in a box that has everything you need to prepare your meals that week.  And don't worry if you aren't's packaged with ice packs so that your food stays fresh until you are able to unpack it all.

On to the meals themselves...we had three meals shipped to us.  Our trial was free, but usually a week costs $59.95 for 3 meals that serve 2-3 people.  So, you are looking at $20 per meal.  Based on how your family typically eats, you can decide whether this is money-saving for you or not!

Here were our meals:

Dukkah-Spiced Cod

  They send you a wonderful color card with the entree and step-by-step instructions...

And all of the ingredients are pre-measured and ready to go!

And, they are SUPER beautiful once they are plated.  Seriously...the pretty plates were one of my favorite aspects!

Steak & Eggs

The cabbage slaw on this was amazing...

Chicken Fried Chicken

This one was also really good!  The sides were especially easy to prepare.

The verdict...I absolutely love the idea of this, and the food was really quite delicious.  But, for our family, it's not the best use of $60 per week.  I can shop for our groceries a little less expensively for foods that we eat a little more regularly.  For each of the meals, I substituted different foods for the kids because some of them were definitely things my kids would not have eaten enough of to be full.  Also, some of them would have been a bit too spicy, or there wouldn't have been enough meat for all 5 of us.  

However, I will take some of the ideas of these recipes and incorporate them into more of our meals.  I learned about layering flavors in a different way, and I always love finding new ways to flavor foods and prepare them in a better way.  But, all 3 meals took 30-40 minutes for me to prepare over the stovetop.  While I may make a 30-minute stovetop meal 1 time a week, I cannot do this 3 times a week.  It's a little too much standing and chopping for dinner all at the same time...I typically make foods that I can prepare earlier in the week or day so that I don't have to do so much right at dinner time.  My kids enjoy a variety of proteins, fruits, and vegetables, although they don't always like them layered and mixed together.

But, if you are a busy family who needs more ideas for dinner and even help with the shopping, I definitely recommend your giving this a shot!  Blue Apron and other services could be the PERFECT fit for a busy mom who doesn't have time to menu plan and shop for all of her family's meal each week.  With a service like Blue Apron, you would know you had 3 meals, ready to make, at home and in the fridge, which may keep you from hitting the drive through.

So, that's my review.  For this time in my life, it's not a fit.  But, the food is incredible, the recipes were easy to follow, and the fact that groceries show up on your doorstep is pretty much magic.  Give it a shot if you think it would be a good fit for your family!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016

March 27 - April 2, 2016

Sunday:  Easter Sunday!

  We always host Easter at our house…our kids love that our local family all get together to eat and hunt eggs!  This year, I took an easy route and made BBQ Pulled Pork in the crock pot.  All you need is a pork roast (I made 2), a bottle of BBQ sauce, and a can of Coke.  Put them all in the crock pot together and cook on low all day!  Then shred the pork and it’s ready for sandwiches, nachos, tacos, or anything!  I made ours on Saturday, and then just put the crock pot on warm before we left for church Sunday morning.  We served ours on hamburger buns.  Everyone brought dishes to add to our meal including roasted sweet potatoes, salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs, beans, and dessert.  J

Sunday Night:  BBQ Pork Pizza

  Normally one of our Sunday meals is leftovers or just sandwiches.  But, we had leftover BBQ Pork from lunch, and I just thought we would have nachos or something along those lines.  The hubs randomly asked if pizza would be a possibility. When I realized it was almost 6:00, I looked up on Pinterest "self rising pizza crust."  Well, this recipe from was the first one that popped up. Only 2 ingredients!  I actually don't have any Greek yogurt on hand, but I had itss less-healthy cousin, sour cream!

Well, this experiment was a HIT!  Not only was it super easy using my mixer, but the crust was so tasty!  Our BBQ pizza was so, so delicious. We actually baked the crust for about 5 minutes before we topped it with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, BBQ pork, and then a little bit of Muenster cheese. Then we baked it for about 10 minutes more. Yum!  If you find yourself wanting to jazz up leftovers, or just have a quick (no rising necessary!) pizza, give this recipe a shot!

Monday:  BBQ Pork Taquitos with Beans & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  Being on a cash budget often means the end of the month is using what we have on hand to create meals rather than going to the store just to buy something else.  And, we still had some BBQ pork leftover from Easter lunch, but we definitely didn’t want sandwiches again.  Also, I couldn’t freeze the meat because it had been frozen before I cooked it.  So, I typed in “BBQ Pork Leftover Recipes” into Pinterest.  When a recipe for taquitos popped up, I knew it was perfect because we had some corn tortillas in the fridge.  These were super simple, and we all enjoyed them.  I added a little Muenster cheese over the top during the last 5 minutes of baking to make them a little cheesy.  I also reheated some beans that were leftover and roasted some diced sweet potatoes and broccoli.  This meal FINALLY used up all the pork.  J

Tuesday:  Pasta with Ground Venison Marinara Sauce with Roasted Green Beans & Carrots

  It’s nice to always have some type of ground beef, venison, chicken, or turkey on hand for easy meals like pasta and tacos.  I had a healthy dinner on the table for our family in no time by simply pulling some ground venison out of the freezer and also some homemade marinara sauce I had frozen a few months back.  Roasting vegetables is a family fave, and I also made garlic bread out of some leftover hamburger buns from Easter. 

Wednesday:  Dinner with Small Group

Thursday:  Crispy Tilapia & Quinoa with Kale

  Chad took the boys out to eat after baseball practice, so I made dinner for just Payton and me here at home.  She wanted chicken nuggets and apple sauce, and I had some crispy tilapia from Costco in the freezer that made for a quick and easy dinner for me!

Friday:  Pizza & Movie Night!

  We ordered Dominos…the kids’ favorite!  I always serve ours with fresh fruits and veggies to round out our meal.

Saturday:  Leftover Pizza

  Chad had his draft for his fantasy baseball league, so the kids and I had leftover pizza from the night before.  J