Sunday, January 15, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 1/16/17

Last week, I gently stepped back in to the world of meal planning after taking a somewhat extended hiatus around the holidays.  My goal this month is threefold.  Number one, allowing me to eat healthier, number two to rotate my pantry and freezer stock, and number three and most importantly save a little cash.  By the end of this month though, I'll be out of just about everything and meals will be pretty sketchy, lol.  I've spent about $100 on fresh things and items at Aldi that aren't always available on the shelf {gotta grab them while you can} and hope to keep the remainder of my shopping under $25 for the rest of the month.  I typically spend about $320 every five weeks on groceries and yes, I know that amount is certainly more {possibly more than double} than the average household with only two people spends.  We just like to cook and not always with common ingredients!  We also prefer to use fresh items over canned or frozen and they tend to be more expensive.

Last week's plan went well although it was a little boring. Even though I had high hopes this recipe didn't work out to be something that we will make again even though I can't figure out what exactly went wrong.  The flavor profile was just off a bit for our tastes.

Here is my plan for this week in no particular order:

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Marinated Grilled Pork TenderloinBaked Rice, Green Veggie

Oven Baked Tacos  {using ground chicken}, Mexi Corn

Rib Eye Steaks, Buttered Noodles, Roasted Green Beans

Smoked Sausage with Onions and Peppers, Okra, Homemade Bread

Steak and Taco Chicken Oven Quesadillas {leftover meal}, Green Salad

A few other things I would like to make this week, well over the weekend anyway, and use up extra ingredients are:
Honey Roasted Tomatoes
Puff Pastry Recipes eg:  Monkey Bread, Cherry Turnovers, Cheesy Puff Pastry Eggs and Oh My Goodness Puff Pastry! so many little time.

Cool Breezes and Sunshine to you this week.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Easy and Yes, Late Menu Plan

We had an exciting weekend food wise...Ty's birthday culminated in a sort of chili cook off (our only prizes were stuffed bellies) that was perfect for our unheard of cold weather snap.  Florida never has highs in the low 50's for the entire day, like never ever! 😲 I made White Chicken Chili and used this recipe for a traditional tomato based sauce that Ty and I thought was absolutely fantastic.  Such a handy guideline "open for interpretation" type of recipe.  We liked it so much that we happily planned and ate the leftovers on Monday for dinner.

My goal for this month is to keep grocery purchases under the $125 mark since I have lots and lots of food in my house (like way too much for only two people).  I'm hoping to stay under this amount to jump start my savings goals for the year.  I have only spent $38 so far towards fresh items, including some birthday stuff.

Have a great week.

MONDAY-Leftover Chili (see above), Cornbread, leftover Yucca
WEDNESDAY-Grilled Chicken, Roasted Dill Potatoes, Roasted Okra
THURSDAY-Breakfast for Dinner or Creamy Linguine with Peas, Carrots, and Proscuitto
FRIDAY-Nothing...unless I'm off of work on Wednesday and then my plans will change.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 12/19/16

I have been running my buns off at work, with loads and loads of patients who qualify for study every stinking one.  Besides, this particular study is a no brainer for people to enroll in...there doesn't seem to be a down side since nothing is investigational and all future treatment is flexible.  This makes my work day absolutely fly by {since 99.9% of people agree to participate}, leaving little to no time to plan meals or even think about shopping for food or gifts.  Unfortunately, here I go again with no Christmas presents purchased yet this year.  I'm certain my wrapping will be done on Christmas Eve and all of them will be labeled with a Sharpie marker.  Yep, that's my signature move! I actually planned to eat out every night last week, but ended up using some freezer items to cook myself dinner on the spur of the moment every night except for one.  My eat out plan failed but the good news is that my pants haven't gotten tight yet this season.

I shopped yesterday and picked up meat for simple "use the back porch grill meals" for this upcoming week.  I'm taking a small time out from cheese and creamy sauces.  Nothing boxed or sodium laden will grace my table... well, maybe.  Them's some strong words for this season.

Grilled Steak
{on sale}
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans on the grill


Chicken Quesadilla
{using the waffle maker}
Ty is off to a Christmas party.


Crunchy Chicken Salad using this marinade or Korean Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken
To Do:  Nothing, eating out tomorrow.

Eat Out
To Do:  Make up crock pot for tomorrow


Beef Tips
To Do:  Nothing, it's finally Friday!

?? something fun and festive

That's all...happy Monday!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

New York, New York!

I am so lucky to have people that have been in my life forever, and even luckier that same said people invited me to tag along on a trip to New York City at Christmas time.  In my quest to absorb and radiate more Holiday spirit, I knew that this trip was right up my alley.
The tree at Rockefeller Center is a sight to behold.  It is huge!
Make time for the light show at Saks.
The 911 memorial is a breathtaking tribute.
Such a beautiful building, and tall...very tall.
You just have to see a show while you are in the city. We thoroughly enjoyed Paramour, and quite honestly, I wish there had been time to see another play.
Victory Theatre
These boxes are the "pick up" area for your meal from an all cereal {yes, you read that right} restaurant, Kellogg's NYC, that I didn't get to eat at...but I wanted to 👍
My friends...
Their crazy kid.....
And me!

Christmas Spirit Reboot

This is absolutely, positively not the post I intended to write today.  In fact, I have debated with myself whether or not to get this honest about my life when this blog is primarily for storing my recipes and posting meal plans.
The post I wanted to write detailed all the things my son and I got done in a short two hour freezer cooking session, and instead, this one jumped out of my subconscious.  
**Deep breath**

During my childhood, Christmas was always a magical time of year, and became even more magical once I had children. I was, like, seriously over the top.....scavenger hunts, Santa footprints, story reading, cookie baking, carol singing, party going, loads and loads of present buying {each wrapped individually}, stocking stuffing on steroids... anything and everything you can imagine.  My most favoritest activity of all was to get the kids in their jammies on a weeknight {even more special} and ride around town to look at decorations and lights.  Oohing and Aahing is what we lovingly renamed those drives.
   A few years ago, real life problems got in the way and dampened my Christmas spirit leaving me with no desire to participate in the festivities. The most celebrated holiday of all felt like something to "get through"and even though I tried to spark some sort of joy within myself, I failed.  To be brutally honest, I lost the spirit of Christmas....I lost any desire to care about the fluff stuff.  I separated from my spouse, moved, and had serious surgery in the months of November and December.  Smiling and nodding became my go to "look like you are having a good time" move.  When confronted with all the trappings of the season, I only felt more lonely and anxious.  Avoidance was my only clear coping mechanism and might I add, I am quite the expert in that particular area. I did not put up my tree until Christmas Eve {Charlie Brown rejects, and only $5 at Lowe's} and I threw it out the day after the holiday.  I shopped last minute and mostly purchased gift cards due to my lack of creativity and loss of imagination.  I just could not think of anything anyone would even care to have.  I looked forward to January with the fervor of a starving person looking at a juicy cheeseburger {well that is if they eat meat, lol}
This year I am truly trying...I am showing up, making plans, binge watching Hallmark...even if I don't feel like doing anything festive....I am doin' it anyways.  
I decided to trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving for inspiration {while I watched the Gilmore Girls new episodes} and I successfully convinced my family to exchange names for gift giving....SO much easier and less stressful. I find myself thinking of some pretty good ideas and inspiration for all of the members of my family, regardless of who I get in the exchange. {told you I'm trying}   
  I am a pretty private person in general, but... I decided to use this post as a sort of diary or Christmas accountability log this year to keep me on track and to bring myself a little joy.  I am not certain that the holiday season will ever be restored to the level of what was before....but that is okay.  
Life changes us and for myself, I have to be open to what will be....not what has been. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/14/16

I need these!
Back at it, I say.

After not posting my menu plan for the last  couple of weeks or so, I am ready to prep, cook, and eat. Even though I only picked up one meal from the deli at my local grocery store, I still feel the need for more vegetables and home cooked foods.....and my freezer is bare.

Here's how we made it through.

Picture of Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe
I made Split Pea Soup over last weekend, {actually only half of the recipe,} that we ate for lunches, dinners, snacks and everything in between.  I can officially say I am ready for a little variety.

Grilled Cheese in my waffle maker is fantastic....but yet again, I am so ready for variety.

Quesadillas in my waffle maker.  Do you notice a recurring sandwich/cheese theme?

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks are always tasty.  We ate them with a side of MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers for protein.

Everything was vegetarian this week since all of my proteins are frozen and would have taken more energy than I could expend after the busy work week I had.  I am so going to use Sunday to cook up a storm and refill my freezer with a few items.  I find these recipes are perfect for freezing so while it may look that I am filling my freezer with junk food, at least I am controlling the ingredients and preparing these at home which makes them 1000 times better than restaurant food. {at least that's what I'm telling myself}

Here is my plan: All meals to be accompanied by a green salad or vegetable.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos--We will be having this once for dinner and I will be stashing a freezer meal too.
Tastiest Turkey Meatloaf {new}{freezer}
Grilled Chicken Salad
Homemade Pizza {freezer}
Korean Beef/Chicken/Turkey with Rice
Dijon Basil Marinated Grilled Chicken {freezer}
Lentil Tacos {maybe as nachos}
Peanutty Chicken Pasta  {using PB2}
Crispy Southwest Wraps

Our family celebrates Thanksgiving the Sunday before the actual holiday so my plan for that will be separate this week...I have lots and lots of big ideas but I know that I am short on time {our event is this upcoming Sunday}.  I will be making a ham for the event but I would like to try a recipe for make ahead mashed potatoes, and homemade rolls that can be frozen...or potato salad...or green bean casserole.....or berry pretzel salad....or corn casserole.   The list in my brain is endless it seems.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Monday Dinner Review

Skillet Braised Pork Chops with a dab of garlic butter {my contribution to the recipe} on top was good..not terrific, but good.
I would probably make them again...but this pork chop is still my number one.  

At least for this year, I decided to be a Halloween Scrooge, so I cooked in the house last night instead of using my grill.  I thought that Molly {my little dachshund}  would be a little quieter if I stayed in the house...yep...nope.

When I realized I was in for an entire evening of nervous barking regardless of my seating choice I decided to read and eat out back on my porch.  I know I've said this so many times recently, but I love this time of year.
Any excuse to be outside is a good excuse....I plan on using them all :)