Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of January 27th

It's really becoming a habit for me to post Menu Plan Monday on Tuesdays.  It's been a little hectic around here lately with a stir-crazy kiddo and both of us with cabin fever!  

Last week, Grace realized that she doesn't like the cold and snow as much as she thought she did!  While Joe and I were out shoveling the driveway, Grace was playing in the snow.  We had her all bundled up in her snow gear, but the gloves she was wearing really weren't the really warm kind that she should have been wearing in the snow.  Judging by how cold we were and the color of her cheeks, we told her it was time to go in the house.  She resisted and five minutes later she started to scream that she was cold!  Especially her hands!  

Yesterday, I knew I really wanted to get a jump start on this coming week's meals.  I set Grace up with a big cardboard box and a bunch of markers and just let her color and play!  That kept her busy for a long time, giving me some time to plan out and start preparing a bunch of meals for this week!  


Leftover Night 
Since I was working in the kitchen for the meals for the rest of the week,
and dealing with a lot of dishes and clean-up as well,
I wasn't about to cook a meal when we have leftovers in the fridge!


Cowboy Stew 
Because of the cold weather,
I am very much in the mood for soup this week.
Seeing that we have 20 or so cans of potatoes in the pantry,
I think it's a good idea to make this particular soup!  
I added extra beans, potatoes and corn to this recipe
to bulk it up some.  


Chicken Noodle Soup
I made a pot of this a couple of weeks ago
and we just couldn't seem to get enough of it!
Time to throw together another pot!
Assembling my soup will be easy since
I've already chopped the veggies, picked apart the chicken
and made homemade chicken stock!


I made this a few weeks ago and stashed the leftovers in the freezer.
I'll thaw this and heat for our dinner tonight to give us a break from soup.

I really wanted Chicken Pot Pie last week,
but didn't get to making it.
With my veggies and chicken prepped this week,
there's really no excuse!


16 Bean Soup
Nothing fancy with this soup.
I'll just be following the directions on the bag of mixed beans,
except I will leave out the packet of ham concentrate.
Instead, I will add the ham bone during the cooking time.


Super Bowl Sunday / Puppy Bowl Party! 
Corn Quesadillas
Classic Sloppy Joes
Potato Salad 
Veggie Tray
I end up going overboard every year for our Super Bowl gathering.
I vowed this year that I wasn't going to keep it simple and not make a ton of
food that I just end up having to somehow fit into the fridge at the end of the night.
I'll be keeping it very simple with Classic Sloppy Joes
that I made ahead of time and popped into the freezer.
I'll just thaw it in the fridge on Saturday and reheat in the crock pot on Sunday.
The quesadillas are so easy to make and will cook up quickly.
My electric griddle will allow me to make several at once!

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of January 20th

We didn't do much better staying away from the grocery store last week, but we did manage to keep the cost down.  One trip was to pick up dog food and milk and a few other needed items.  I really didn't cook much last week, Joe was sick and didn't feel much like eating, so I had turkey wraps for dinner a couple of nights.  Since he was sick, he wanted chicken soup.  I didn't have any bone-in chicken or homemade broth, so when he picked up some meds from the super market, he also picked up a few cans of broth and a rotisserie chicken so I could make a quick, semi-homemade soup!  

I ended up making spaghetti with meat sauce over the weekend.  I was supposed to have my friends' little boy here for dinner one night and took out some ground meat thinking that would be the best option to serve for dinner while we had our little guest here.  That all fell through when Joe got sick...but I went ahead and made the spaghetti anyway since I had to cook the thawed beef.  

On Sunday, I wanted to go to Wegman's to pick up 2 of the Ibotta deals that were expiring that night.  While we were there, I picked up a 5 lb. pack of ground beef.  We've found that their price is the best for ground beef in our area, we just rarely get to that particular store, so I wanted to take advantage of the trip and pick up a pack.  I made sure to separate it into smaller portions before freezing.  


I'm keeping it simple for the start of this week
and serving some leftovers for dinner tonight.


Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken over pasta 
Sticking to the easy theme of the week,
I'm putting my crock pot to use for this meal.
As many times as I've made this simple
and delicious meal, I've never managed
to get a picture.  I'll give it a try this time!  


Spaghetti Bread
Some leftover pasta and sauce from the weekend
and a loaf of bread dough from the freezer,
make this meal super-easy!
The hard part will be find the frozen dough
in my freezer!  


Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies
Over the weekend,
Joe saw a show on one of the cooking channels
that was all about meatloaf!
After that, I knew I had to add it to the menu this week!
Talk about the power of suggestion!  


Leftover Night 


Classic Sloppy Joes 
Oven Fries, Salad
I think we need to have a family game night this weekend.
Fun and games calls for some delicious, fun food!  



Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rustic Ham & Cabbage Soup

I was really wanting to make a pot of Navy Bean Soup with Cabbage using the ham bone that I have in my freezer from Christmas, only I was having trouble finding the recipe that I used when I made it once before.  I thought for sure that I'd find the recipe and had Joe pick up a head of cabbage a couple weeks ago, but I didn't have any luck and decided to just try something different.

While I originally wanted to use dry navy beans, I found a quicker cooking recipe using canned white beans.  So using my last can of cannellini beans, the last of the diced ham (the ham bone is still in the freezer) and 1/2 of the head of cabbage, I threw together this wonderful pot of soup.

Rustic Ham & Cabbage Soup 
     Adapted from:  101 cookbooks

  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil 
  • 2 potatoes, diced (skins left on) 
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced 
  • 4 tsp. jarred minced garlic 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-2 cups diced ham (I added it frozen) 
  • 14.5 oz can Cannellini beans, rinsed/drained 
  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced or shredded into ribbons 
  • Cook potatoes for a minute or two in the hot oil over medium heat, until edges turn golden and they become slightly tender.  
  • Stir in the carrots, onions and garlic.  Allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  • Toss in the bouillon cubes, cook for another minute.  
  • Stir in the water, season with pepper. 
  • Add in the diced ham. (If using ham that is frozen, allow to cook for a minute until the ham chunks break apart and is no longer one solid lump of ham.) 
  • Stir in the beans and bring to a simmer.  
  • Add the cabbage and allow to cook until tender. 
  • Adjust seasonings as needed.  

  • We really enjoyed this soup a lot and could have easily finished the entire pot in one night between the two of us, but we showed restraint and now have enough for another dinner.  
  • This could easily be adapted for an entirely vegetarian meal by omitting the ham and using a vegetable stock, as written in the the original recipe linked above.  

I've linked this recipe post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of January 13th

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a list of meals that I planned on preparing throughout the month.  The meals I chose were budget-friendly and we had most of the ingredients already in our pantry and freezer.  

I wish I could say that we were able to stay away from the grocery stores.  We seem to always run out of bread and milk and other necessary items that require a trip to the market.  Aside from the bread and milk, any other items that we've picked up (spaghetti, vegetables, etc.) have always been on sale.  And while we haven't been able to avoid the grocery store, we have stuck to eating at home.  No dining out and no take-out.  I will admit that we have treated Grace to her Happy Meals when we're out.  

Over the past two weeks, we've enjoyed some delicious dinners:  15 Bean Soup, Red Lentils and Rice, Goulash, Pulled Pork with Potato Salad, Enchilada Chicken Chili over rice, hot dogs served with baked potatoes and baked beans.   We also enjoyed a foil pack dinner of a patty of ground beef topped with thinly sliced vegetables.  I especially loved how simple it was to prepare that meal!  

I think I'm better organized this week and may be able to really limit what we need from the store.  

Rustic Cabbage Bean Soup

Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic 


Classic Sloppy Joes 
Oven Fries


Leftover Night 


Venison Tenderloin
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken Chili

We eat a lot of Mexican inspired meals in our house.  Enchiladas and Chili are favorite go-to meals when we're in the mood for something spicy.  So, I was really glad to come across a recipe combining our two favorites!

I was even more happy to have all of the ingredients on hand for this one.  In fact, I used up the last of our enchilada sauce, canned beans and chipotles.  I'll have to be sure to add them to my shopping list because I'll be making this recipe again!

Enchilada Chicken Chili 
     adapted from: A Year of Slowcooking

  • 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast, frozen 
  • 28 oz. can enchilada sauce 
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (I used orange), diced 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 chipotle pepper + 1/2 tsp. adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
  • cooked rice (optional) 
  • shredded cheese (optional) 
  • sour cream (optional) 
  • In your crock pot insert, combine the enchilada sauce, veggetables and spices.  
  • Stir in the beans, then add in the frozen chicken.  
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  
  • Remove chicken and shred.  
  • Return the chicken to the crock pot, and allow to cook for another hour on low.
  • Serve over rice and top with shredded cheese and sour cream (optional).  

  • So easy!  I really can t get over how easy this recipe is to prepare!  I actually did the prepping for this recipe while I had another night's dinner cooking on the stove.  I added everything to the crock pot, then put in the fridge until I was ready for bed, then I allowed it to cook overnight while I slept!  
  • This makes a lot, especially if you serve this over rice.  I didn't measure out serving sizes but would guess 6-8 servings (if paired with rice).  
  • Next time, I think I will toss in a can of diced chilis and maybe a cup or so of corn.  

I've linked this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Frugal Food ~ Easy Goulash

With the cost of groceries continuously getting higher, I'm determined to serve more frugal meals without skimping on quality.  I also want to get more creative as I don't want us to feel deprived as I attempt to save money by lowering our weekly grocery bill.

Since I like to talk about food almost as much as I enjoy eating it, you know I'm going to want to share the low-cost dinner ideas with all of you.

Growing up, Goulash (or Hamburger Macaroni) was a dish we ate often at our house.  Mom kept it pretty basic, I'm not sure if it was to keep the costs down or to ensure that the picky eater in the house (me) would just eat it without too much of an argument.

Over the years, I've seen recipes for Goulash with a tomato base rather than a gravy base.  But I've always stuck to using brown gravy mix...just like mom.  While trying to plan a month's worth of dinners using mostly what we have in the pantry or freezer, I decided to finally give the tomato-based goulash a try.

Mmmm!  I was not disappointed!

Easy Goulash
     adapted from:  Living Well Spending Less

  • 3/4 lb. ground beef 
  • 1/2 onion, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. Lawry's Season Salt
  • 1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 8 oz can Rotel Zesty Tomato & Green Chili Sauce 
  • 1 can corn, drained 
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 box pasta, cooked separately
  • In a large pot or dutch oven, cook ground beef over medium low heat until no longer pink. 
  • Stir in onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is tender.  
  • Add the pepper, season salt and Italian Seasoning.  Allow to cook about a minute, until fragrant.  
  • Stir in the tomatoes, sauce and corn.  
  • Bring to a boil.  
  • Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  
  • Combine the meat mixture with the cooked pasta.  
  • Serve and enjoy!  

  • The original recipe called for one pound of vegetarian ground crumbles.  This isn't a product we usually have in our home so I used ground meat instead.  I reduced the amount of beef in the recipe, to keep the cost down.  
  • Since I was switching up the Goulash base, I also decided to try a different pasta than our usual elbow macaroni.  Muffaletta pasta was a nice change, but any mid-size pasta would work. 
  • Since all of the ingredients were already in our pantry, I'm not sure of the exact cost of this recipe.  My guess is that it come in at $5 or under for the entire pot of meat and noodles since we only purchase these items at sale price.  
I really enjoyed the flavors in this dish and didn't miss the brown gravy at all.  This recipe makes a pretty hearty meal.  My guess would be 6 servings with salad and bread on the side.  We got about 4 hearty portions from the dish, but we skipped the bread and salad.  I served half one night and froze the other half for another night.

I'm linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

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