“Clean Out the Freezer” Meal Planning

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Freezer meal assembly in process

Between that freezer meal workshop I attended a couple of weeks ago, and a few too many grocery trips to Sam’s, our freezer is overflowing!  My plan this week is to cook as much as possible out of the freezer.  Here’s what’s on the menu:

After this week, I will have cooked about 5 meals from the freezer meal party.  I’m planning to share my thoughts about the products (Wildtree), the whole concept of freezer meal cooking, and maybe a giveaway!  Stay tuned.

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“Survival Mode” Meal Plan, January 26-February 1

Breakfast for dinner... Mmm...

Breakfast for dinner… Mmm…

I’m going to be solo parenting this week, so here is my loose plan for some very easy meals that I can either pull out of the freezer, prep ahead or make quickly while entertaining a 3 yr old and holding a baby.  (Note to self: move the Ergo carrier into the kitchen for easy access!)

  • Tacos! So easy, especially if I chop the veggies ahead of time. Plus, Dragons Love Tacos, dontcha know?
  • dragonsBreakfast for dinner — scrambled eggs w/ veggies and pancakes (although after reading this excellent article, What I Make for Dinner When I Don’t Feel Like Making Dinner, maybe I’ll make french toast instead?)
  • Italian chicken (freezer meal), garlic rice, and roasted vegetables
  • Order pizza… the easiest dinner of all!

I’m also following the old “It Takes a Village” adage and letting friends invite us over for dinner a couple of times.  I get a break from cooking, our kids have fun playing together and we get to visit!  Wins all around.  (I loved this article that talks about how the “village” advice applies just as much to taking care of yourself as it does to taking care of kids.  I struggle to ask for help, but I’m never sorry when I do!)

What are your go-to meals when you’re in survival mode?

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Menu plan, January 19-26

My boys with their "poppa"

My boys with their “poppa”

My mom and dad are visiting this weekend!  I love it when they come to visit, even if it means my dad will find projects to work on around my house that I never even know needed to be done.  =)

For those of you that are new to my weekly meal plans, breakfasts these days are almost always oatmeal or toast with peanut butter & banana and a hard-boiled egg or two.  I usually take dinner leftovers for lunch at the office, since I got out of the habit of eating sandwiches while I was pregnant (listeria and whatnot), and now I’m too lazy to make a sandwich in the morning.  I’m not following my theme nights this week since I’m off work on Monday for MLK Jr. Day.  Here’s what we’re having this week:

Sunday – meatloaf, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans  (This meatloaf recipe makes a LOT, so I usually split it into two “loaves” and freeze one for later.)

Monday – Chicken & pesto with spaghetti squash

Tuesday – Falafel, pita & Greek salad (aka Greek Night, one of my favorites)

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Thai-style ground beef, brown rice, and stir-fried carrots, bell peppers & sugar snap peas

Friday/Saturday – eat out/leftovers/ and maybe some chicken tortilla soup?  Do you have a recipe you can recommend?

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to getting dinner on the table — figuring out what to cook, getting to the grocery store to shop, having time to cook, or not knowing how to cook the things you want to?  

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Weekly menu plan, January 12-18

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Thai Lentil Chili from last week’s menu — delish! (and vegan, if you’re into that sort of thing)

The polar vortex has lifted! The polar vortex has lifted!  We might even be able to get outside a little bit this weekend… wouldn’t that be awesome?  Of course, the main things my son is excited about are getting to stay in his pj’s on Saturday morning, and going to the grocery store (clearly we’ve taken advantage of the free cheese samples at the deli counter a few times!)  Here’s what we’ll be shopping for:

Sunday – “I have time to cook!” night: Glazed chicken & almond quinoa, roasted broccoli

Monday – Crockpot night: Goulash & egg noodles (I know, I know — goulash.  Sounds like your least favorite cafeteria food.  But this is really good – slow-cooked beef chunks, beets… mmmm….)

Tuesday – Soup/salad/sandwich night: Inside-out sushi salad (I’ve made this before and it’s so good!  I’m hoping it will be a big hit with my 3 yr old too, since he has a newly discovered love of edamame.)

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – International night: Asian pork sliders with Magic Miso-Mayo, oven garlic fries, wasabi slaw (baby carrots for the “it’s too spicy”/under-4 crowd)

Friday/Saturday – eat out/leftovers

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Menu plan, January 5-11 – with a grocery list!

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Meatballs…. nom nom nom.

We made it through the holidays, the New Year’s resolutions/goals/wishes have been made, and now we finally have a “normal” week ahead of us.  I am looking forward to another year of family meals, which will include baby food in the very near future!  We’ll see if I am ambitious enough to make homemade baby food for Sam the way I did for Josiah.

Here’s what’s on the menu for our house this week.

Sunday – “I have time to cook” night!: 40 Clove Chicken, roasted potatoes, kale salad

Monday – Crockpot night: Mushroom beef stew, spinach salad, bread

Tuesday – Soup/salad/sandwich night: Red Lentil Thai Chili, naan from Trader Joe’s (I found this chili recipe via this post from AlphaMom that has three “alternative” chilis that all look pretty tasty)

Wednesday – Leftover chicken (maybe some chicken salad with that yummy garlic chicken?)

Thursday – International night: Pizza-pasta bake (baked pasta with turkey pepperoni, olives, and green peppers)

Friday/Saturday – eat out/leftovers/whatever I feel like

If you want to cook more easy, healthy meals in the new year, I want to help you!  A good place to start would be my other menu plans and my Cooking School series.  I am also trying out the addition of a downloadable grocery list this week.  Please let me know what you think and if this is something you would use!  Grocery List 1.5.14

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Menu plan, December 29-January 4

Another holiday week!  I don’t know about you, but all of these festivities are starting to wear me out!  I’m looking forward to kicking off a fresh new year and settling into a good winter routine.  But this week, I’m mixing up the normal meal plan since we have a day off in the middle of the week.

Sunday – Meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes

Monday – tacos, fajita veggies (sautéed bell peppers, onions & mushrooms with chile powder and lime juice), rice & black beans

Tuesday – New Year’s Eve!  With a preschooler and a new baby, we won’t go out this year, but we will have a special family dinner together.  I think we’ll have Japanese take-out — sushi for the grown-ups and chicken teriyaki for Josiah (3).

Wednesday – Happy New Year!  We’ll be hosting a New Year’s Brunch in the morning, so dinner will be something simple, like Crock-pot black-eyed pea soup (for good luck!)

Thursday – leftovers

Friday/Saturday – Salmon and garlic veggies/finish off leftovers/Parmesan chicken, broccoli, potatoes

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Menu plan, Dec. 15-21 and Christmas Tree Cookies!

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I did finally break down partway through the week and go to the grocery store for a few essentials, but I didn’t cook a single thing off my menu plan from last week.  So this week’s menu plan will be a rerun of what I planned for last week.  (There were a lot of promising new recipes on there, so check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.)

For your foodie fix, I’ll direct you to a post on Missouri Women Bloggers where I shared my grandma’s Christmas Tree cookie recipe.  They’re not your normal sugar cookies — the sour cream and nutmeg really makes them something special.  My grandma’s trick of icing the cookies while they’re warm makes it really easy to make the icing pretty and shiny, even for uncoordinated cookie-icers like me.

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Menu plan, December 8-14

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Brrr…

We’ve got a week of frigid temperatures forecasted, so I’m going to try to cook lots of warm, nourishing meals to hopefully keep us all healthy during this bad weather.

Monday – Crockpot night: Slow cooker chicken in peanut & chile sauce, rice and beans

Tuesday – Soup/salad/sandwich night: Mushroom quiche, wheat rolls, and some kind of green vegetable on the side

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – International night:  Ma po tofu (I add broccoli slaw and shredded carrots for some sneaky veggies)

Friday/Saturday/Sunday – Eat out/Leftovers/something more complicated: That weekend cooking project will be Herb roasted pork with butternut squash, apples and onions

Did you get snow or really cold temps this week?  What’s your favorite big meal to cook on the weekend because it takes too long to make it during the week?

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Menu plan, December 1-7

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Mmm… Thanksgiving food.  Sorry it’s blurry, I snapped a quick pic with my phone.  where taking pictures of your food before you eat might be thought of as a little weird.

Whew… back from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City for Thanksgiving, we’re back and sort of back to normal, although I can’t get over feeling like today is really Sunday.

I’m keeping things simple this week — turkey sandwiches (of course), tacos, my favorite vegetarian chili, homemade pizza, some BBQ brisket out of the freezer, and loaded baked potatoes.

I don’t think I have any Christmas events this week, but I woke up this morning to my mom baking gingerbread cookies with my son, we’re putting up the tree today, and Advent starts tomorrow, so it’s going to start feeling Christmas-y around here soon!

Are you already into Christmas mode?  What’s on your menu this week?

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Menu plan, November 24-30

It’s Thanksgiving week!  We’ll be eating several meals at family members’ houses, so I’m keeping the meal plan flexible this week.  I also tried to keep things extra-healthy to balance out the heavy Thanksgiving dinner, as well as all the snacking that goes on before and after.

  • Potato soup
  • Greek night
  • Quinoa minestrone or salmon-potato cakes (I never got around to making these last week)
  • Thanksgiving!  I’m bringing sweet potatoes, kale salad and apple pie.  I also want to make a healthy trail mix for snacking.

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What’s your favorite “recovery meal” after a big Thanksgiving dinner?

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