New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 32 (8/5/13-8/9/13)

Is it just me, or has this been the slowest week in the history of ever? Maybe it’s just because my brain is still on vacation.

So, 6 months and many lethargic afternoons later, I’ve decided this week that I’m going to lay off the carbs for a while. I have been feeling so sluggish lately in the late afternoon and evening that I can only attribute it to carb overload. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the gestating baby I’m carrying, combined with meltingly hot temperatures outside. No matter the reason, I’m going to lay off the carbs and see if I feel any better.

However. The deliciousness of this stromboli from last weeks menu has me dreaming of creating all types of fun, doughy, meat and cheese combinations.

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So, I’m going to double (or triple) the recipe and whip up a bunch for the freezer. Because when you’re feeling over-carbed, one stromboli just isn’t enough. Makes sense, right?

Since I was able to find a great organic pizza dough at the grocery store last week, it made the whole stromboli process even easier. I think this recipe will come in handy since I can bake the stromboli  in foil, and then just pop them in the freezer. I tried it out last week, and they heat up really nicely in the oven (which will be perfect after a long day of chasing a toddler and feeding a newborn). The version I made for this past week was filled with pepperoni and mozzarella, brushed with egg yolk and water (per the recipe), then I sprinkled the top with course sea salt and some Tastefully Simple Garlic & Pesto Mix that I had in my cupboard from ages ago. It was so freaking delicious!

So, that’s a carb bomb that can’t be avoided…although…I’m sure it’ll be fine since I won’t be eating the entire stromboli or anything. Maybe.

Another hit from the Week 31 Menu was the Spicy Sausage Pasta (although I made it not spicy because toddlers tend to not be a fan of that sort of nonsense).

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I loved this recipe. I was a major fan of the fact that I didn’t have to boil my noodles in one pot and cook the rest of the stuff in another pot. I’m seeing more recipes pop up where you can just add your noodles into the recipe uncooked, and they turn out beautifully. I suppose if it works for Hamburger Helper, why wouldn’t it work for a similar homemade recipe, right?! This recipe turned out great, and the leftovers were even better than the original.

This week, since I’m trying to focus more on protein and less on carbs, you may feel a bit shafted in the “side dish” category. Since a lot of my recipes are one-dish type meals, that’s normally not an issue (since they’re generally all carb-o-licious and stuff). My plan is to skip the carbs and just steam up some frozen veggies instead, or throw some fresh veggies on the grill with a sweet potato. Sounds delicious still, right?!

I’m trying to convince myself that pasta = steamed veggies. But it just doesn’t compute. I will survive.

Now. Don’t get it twisted and think that this week’s menu is “low carb”. It’s so not.

Exhibit #1.

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Now, this recipe looks delicious to me, but I need to add a disclaimer. The the recipe uses some version of conventional grocery store breaded, bagged chicken. I don’t intend to take that route (unless I can find an organic version), so I might be breading my own chicken for this recipe. I’m personally not opposed to those extra few steps so avoid any type of “frankenmeat” situation…but I also won’t judge you if you use a Tyson-esque version of breaded chicken either. I’m just paranoid.

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

Don’t get nervous that there are FIVE new recipes this week. I promise you that they are all easy, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re standing in the kitchen all weekend. I added the breakfast sandwiches on the plan to be prepared tonight (Friday), so just whip them up after the kids go to bed (you know…before you watch the next episode of Orange Is the New Black in your queue).  That way, you’ll get a head start on your weekend cooking. If you wanted to be REALLY ambitious (heck, it’s Friday…you can stay up late watching Netflix, right?!), you could even make your Sweet & Spicy Chicken, which will take you next to no time to put together anyway.

Here’s the Menu, the Plan, and the Grocery List.

It’s almost the weekend!!! Enjoy it, because summer will be over before we know it (at least on the East Coast it will be)!!!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 31 (7/29/13-8/2/13)

Vacation is over!

Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I’ve so enjoyed not only the break from all of the general life-planning nonsense, but also SO ENJOYED being home for 2 weeks with my family. It’s amazing how different life feels when you have about 145,698 less distractions thrown at you on a daily basis. However, until I figure out a way to make money without actually working (or having the added stress), I will continue to plug away.

***sigh***

Since I brought most of my freezer food along for our trip to the beach (which came in extremely handy, by the way), the freezer is now looking pretty baron. I’ll do my best to build it back up over the next few months (before baby boy arrives), but I’m not going to stress myself out over it.

Next week’s menu doesn’t include anything overly-complicated. I’m still craving pasta, so of course there are 2 new pasta recipes on the menu. Sorry about that…kinda.

I have to also mention that I already made one of the recipes on next week’s menu because I so BADLY wanted to eat it tonight for dinner.

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And in conclusion…OH MY GOSH. I couldn’t stop eating this. I don’t know if it’s pregnancy or the gouda, but I couldn’t get enough. If you don’t make anything else, at least make this mac & cheese.

I was also bribed by Pinterest into adding this to the menu for next week…

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I love me some beef stroganoff, but something about the zucchini ribbons really seduced me. I haven’t made it yet, so I can speak to the deliciousness, but If it’s even 1/2 as good as the picture makes it look, I think I’ll be happy.

New Recipes:

Recycled Recipes:

So here it is…the menu, the grocery list, and the game plan.

Have a lovely week everyone!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 28 (7/8/13-7/12/13)

It’s another lovely week! Actually, I’m not really sure how I made it thorough the past week, but I somehow managed. Apparently, the ’22 weeks pregnant’ mark is when my body decides to begin revolting, because all I’ve wanted to do is SLEEP this week! Unfortunately, I don’t have that option with a toddler at home. She wants to “GO, GO, GO!!!”

And so I do.

Just want to give everyone a heads up that I won’t be posting a menu next week (for Week 29 – July 15-July 19), because I won’t be cooking that weekend–I’ll be on my way to the beach instead! We’ll be spending the week enjoying the fun and sun (fingers crossed for sun, since it’s been raining there for approximately 2 weeks straight), and I’ll be focusing all of my time and attention on relaxing with our friends and family. Any type of extensive cooking is definitely not in the plan for me. If it requires more than slathering almond butter on bread (or crackers), it’s not part of my job description during that week.

This week, I tried to come up with two breakfast recipes that would yield leftovers that we could bring with us to ‘beach week’, since cooking is not part of the plan. I want to make sure that I’m still feeding the family healthy meals, even when I don’t feel like cooking. We will be packing a cooler to bring on the drive, which will be filled with all of the organic produce that we will need for the week (since organic produce is hard to come by at our destination). I’ll also bring a few of the lunch/dinner meals that I’ve stocked in the freezer (Friendship Casserole, My Ridiculous Mac ‘N Cheese, and Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells) so that we can heat them up throughout the week for lunches and dinners.

Here’s yet another example of why planning ahead and stocking your freezer is awesome. You only cook when you have time–so that you don’t have to when you don’t! Or in my case, when you just don’t feel like it.

Win!

So last week, I typed up the plan to make Pioneer Woman’s ‘My Mom’s Muffins’ on Friday evening, since I had plans on Sunday that were going to make Sunday a non-cooking day. It turns out that was such a great idea that I’m going to do it again this week. Not because Sunday is a non-cooking day for me, but because I like the idea of doing a little bit each day so that I don’t feel bogged down. Since I’m trying to get the freezer stocked before Baby Boy arrives, this feels like a small change that may make a difference in helping me manage time over the weekends when I cook.

This week, I’m actually bringing a few vegetables into menu. It’s a pregnancy miracle.

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And I can’t wait to eat this.

The new recipes this week are:

Only 2 recycled recipes this week:

Here’s the Menu, the Plan, and the Grocery List.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and let’s hope that it stops raining in the areas that have been experiencing flooding!

 

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 27 (7/1/13-7/5/13)

It’s getting crazy up in here. I realized again yesterday that my freezer is looking pretty baron. I need to get cooking (and freezing), but it’s so DAMN HOT OUTSIDE! However, I’m going to have to suck it up and do some cooking.

That said, this week is a little heavy on the freezer-stock…although it’s still very light as compared to many of my previous (spring) menus.

It includes these delicious beauties…

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Don’t you want to eat those for lunch next week?! They’re like Bagel Bites, only much more delicious and better for you.

This week, despite the sad state of my freezer, I’m not overdoing it. I’m mainly focusing on getting at least one lunch and one breakfast meal stocked and ready to go, which will last for several weeks into the future. I’ll probably freeze a dinner or two (weekends…or for when the baby comes) next week. I figure if I continue at that pace, alternating between stocking breakfast/lunch/dinner over the next 3 months, I’ll have a solid freezer stash ready going into the fall and winter.

Of course, that is the plan.

We’ll see how it turns out.

[…insert vision of me, on/about November 25th, with a 19-month-old slung on my back in the Maya Wrap, and a newborn wrapped to my front in the Moby…both screaming…both hungry…I’m lactating…I’m also probably crying hysterically…starving…nothing in the oven…husband is at work. So, the ultimate goal is to avoid this scenario.]

Last weeks menu was very lazily-executed on my end. I skipped a couple of recipes that were intended for the end of the week because I just honestly could not find the motivation to cook last weekend (other than the breakfast necessities and the stuffed peppers), and then I’ve been working late this week, so I bestowed the dinner responsibility upon the husband.

But, the stuffed peppers were SO GOOD! Loved them.

This week, since I’m expecting myself to fizzle and burn out again, I’m using a couple of dinner recipes that seem quick and easy. It should make everything a bit easier to execute, especially considering that I have committed to make 3 (admittedly easy) recipes for my company picnic on Sunday afternoon.

Also for that reason, I have noted on the menu that the muffins for Monday’s breakfast will be made this evening. I realize that’s ambitious considering that today is Friday, and I also have to still grocery shop (tonight), but that’s basically the only way these muffins are getting made.

Sleep be damned.

New recipes this week:

Recycled recipes this week:

Here’s the plan, the menu, and the grocery list.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 26 (6/24/13-6/28/13)

It’s Saturday! Holy crap, I’m so late in posting the menu! Obviously, it’s been a busy week. Now that I finally have the menu finished, I have to still do my grocery shopping today. Should be a nice relaxing day! Right!

Did you know that I’m having a baby in about 4 months? FOUR MONTHS. FOUR MONTHS!!!!! When I was pregnant with my daughter, this is around the time when I started to feverishly stock my freezer with meals that I could just throw in the oven while I was on maternity leave. The last thing I imagine I’ll want to do when baby boy arrives is spend my weekends cooking. So, prepare for an onslaught of freezer stocking coming up in the next few weeks. This will be a little extra work on the weekends, but it will help in the long run.

In any case, you’ll probably be happy to know that the menu has a little more variety this week, considering that my food aversions are mostly a thing of the past now. I am still not really a fan of pork at the moment, but it never really was one of my favorites anyway (or meat in general).

Last week, the star of the show was definitely the Crockpot Chicken & Gravy. We paired it with spelt egg noodles, and it was delicious! We were able to find gravy packets at our organic market (they were of a more “natural” variety than the conventional gravy packets), so I felt a little less YUCK about using packaged gravy. I plan to throw this recipe into the rotation, and next time I’ll add celery, carrots, and a little extra seasoning to make it healthier.

For the new menu, I’m most excited about this beautiful creation…

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Served with a mixed green salad on the side (or even put the peppers right on top of the mixed greens)…doesn’t this seem like the perfect summertime dinner? Can’t wait.

I’m keeping it simple this week, since things don’t seem to be slowing down over here. However, there is some extra cooking in my future next weekend, since I’m virtually out of all of my standard breakfast freezer staples. My freezer is looking kind of bare on the “breakfast” shelf. So, I’ll be searching for some new muffins and such throughout the coming week (as time allows).

Here’s the new recipes:

And the recycled:

So there ya have it!

Here’s the Menu, the Plan, and the Grocery List.

Have a fantastic week!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 25 (6/17/13-6/21/13)

It’s time for another menu…already!

Baby girl and I are headed to the beach this afternoon, and we don’t return until Saturday…just in time to host a Father’s Day party for our family and friends (p.s…I’m pretty excited about making this Tomato Potato Zucchini Summer Squash “Casserole”)! It should be interesting preparing for a party in addition to preparing everything for next week’s menu!

Luckily, I’ve made it pretty simple on myself. Most of the breakfast items are from my freezer, I added 2 (extremely easy) slow cooker recipes to the menu, some “slap ’em together and throw ’em in the oven” tacos, and a muffin recipe. Simple stuff, guys.

If ever there was a week to jump into the mix, this is it. If you are just starting, begin by just making the new recipes, and piece-in and improvise your way through the recipes that you don’t have in your freezer yet. In a few weeks, you’ll have all of the freezer-stock recipes on-hand, and you will be right on schedule with me.

This recipe has me the most excited this week:

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Here’s the new recipes for this week:

Pulling out of my freezer:

Here’s the menu (including all of the recipes in pdf format), the grocery list, and the plan.

Have a great weekend!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 24 (6/10/13-6/14/13)

It’s raining!

That’s not particularly exciting news to the rest of the world, but hopefully the half-dead Gerber daisies on my front porch appreciate this. Sidebar: is it just me, or are we actually experiencing “April” in “June”?

More exciting than the weather: we find out what flavor baby we are having on Monday!

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Any early guesses?

Yeah, me either. I vacillate back and forth based on which “gender test” I’ve taken during the week. The Chinese Gender Predictor tells me it’s a girl, and the ring/string test tells me it’s a boy…so there’s no telling what we’ve got. But, we’ll know for sure on Monday!

I know–you’re here for a menu. Sorry.

This week, only 4 new recipes because I still have an abundance of food in the freezer (mainly breakfast food), and because really…let’s not overexert ourselves, OK? It could potentially stop raining, and we may want to actually do something fun this weekend (or take a nap or 5)!

New recipes:

Oldies:

**A note about the Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak: the recipe I posted calls for 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Since I don’t subscribe to the “cream of (insert type) soup” club, I make my own using this recipe: Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute. It takes only a few minutes to make, and it’s much better for us than that old goopy canned junk. Just double the recipe, add some chopped mushrooms and you’ll have the Cream of Mushroom soup that you need for the salisbury steak recipe. Amen.

p.s…I didn’t put the “Cream of Yuck” soup on your grocery list because I can’t support that type of behavior. If you MUST buy the yucky stuff, make sure to add it to your grocery list.

My second side note on this recipe is that it calls for dry onion soup mix. You can make your own soup mix too…as well as several other of those dry packet mix thingies. I came across a link on Pinterest a while ago, and since then, I’ve made all of the combinations mentioned (taco seasoning, dry onion soup, and ranch) with great success using spices that I already have on-hand. It’s very cool.

I’m also going to whip up some mashed potatoes to go with the Salisbury Steak…I’ll use my own recipe, but it basically resembles Paula Deen’s Garlic Mashed Potato recipe. Um. Yum. And, you can make these in advance and freeze them. They reheat lovely in the oven or on the stove top (just keep the burner on low, or you’ll burn them).

Here’s the menu (with all of the recipes attached to the pdf document), the grocery list, and the game plan.

So there you have it, kids. I’ll be running out of breakfast food soon, so we’ll probably have to make some muffins next week. Get your muffin tins ready!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 23 (6/3/13-6/7/13)

It’s finally summer in Maryland!

Considering that it’s summer, I decided that there’s no better time to make soup! That makes sense, right? We’ll blame this logic on the gestating baby.

But really–creamy taco soup shouldn’t be put off until the weather is cooler…

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Yum.

So here are the new recipes:

And the recycled recipes:

Here’s the menu, the plan, and the grocery list.

Have a lovely, fantastic week everyone!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 22

First, I want to apologize for the goofy mishap last week with the menu. I didn’t have time to work on it throughout the week on my workday lunch breaks, and when I got home on Friday, I realized I had no access to my computer at work. It’s a long, boring story, but I had accidentally deactivated remote access to my work iMac…wop, wop… So–there’s no actual menu file from last week (because I honestly don’t have the time to go back and make it), but you can get every one of the recipes I used on the last menu from my Week 21 Pinterest Board.

So that’s out of the way…

HI! It’s Week 22! Are you ready? I’m not feeling overly-motivated! Or rather, I’m anticipating a severe lack of cooking motivation this weekend because it’s a THREE! DAY! WEEKEND! Exciting stuff. I’m going to keep it pretty simple. I have quite a bit of food stored in my freezer–here’s a little inventory:

  • 1 pan of Spicy Chicken and Spinach Enchilada Stuffed Shells from last week
  • 1 pan of macaroni & cheese from I couldn’t even tell you which week…it’s been in the freezer for a minute
  • 12ish Sweet Peanut Butter Muffins from Week 20
  • 6 portions of Vanilla French Toast from every single week, since I make it every Saturday with leftover bread
  • 8ish Banana Banana Muffins from Week 19
  • 12ish Spinach Lasagna Rolls from Week 17
  • 6 individual portions of Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Week 19
  • 6 Low Sugar, Whole Grain Blueberry Orange Muffins from Week 17
  • 1 Braised Beef Roast (for tacos) from ages ago, that never made it into the crock pot

So…I have quite a bit to choose from, and breakfast is pretty well covered in our house at the moment. For that reason, I’m basically leaving the breakfast meals untouched this week, and I’ll just repeat what I did last week (and incidentally the week before). However, I am running low on oatmeal, so I’m going to make a batch of Blueberry/Raspberry Baked Oatmeal this weekend so I can have it on-hand in the freezer (and baby girl can eat it one day during the week).

Monday is a holiday, so I technically don’t have to make a menu for the baby, since she’ll be home. However, it makes my life much easier if we have a menu in place so that I don’t have to scramble for her meals. Even though I don’t meal plan for the weekends, I usually have at least a mental plan of what we’re going to eat on the weekends as well. I guess it stresses me out less if I’m somewhat prepared.

Surprise! This week, I’m most excited about the Hoisin Pork with Rice Noodles.

9a4f423c136f31e483747a6d820d6380 [great photo, but I didn’t take it]

…which means that meat is back in the game, friends! I love me some second trimester!

Here are the new recipes for this week:

Here are the recipes that I am pulling from my freezer (but make sure to add them to your grocery list if they aren’t stocked in your freezer already):

Here’s the full menu (including all of the recipes as pdf attachments), the grocery list, and the game plan.

I hope that everyone has a FANTASTIC, LONG, WONDERFUL holiday weekend!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 20

Happy Friday!!

I’ve seriously waited all week for today. It’s finally the weekend!

I’m starting to feel normal again. I hate to jinx myself, but I think that I am slowly approaching that wonderful “honeymoon” phase of my pregnancy. The “morning” sickness (which was really more of an “all-day” sickness) is happening less and less frequently, I haven’t been wanting to curl up in a ball on the sofa at 5:30 each day, and miracle of all miracles…I ate BEEF last night!

But then I had debilitating gas pain until approximately 2AM. So, there’s that.

Someday meat might return to the menu, but I’m clearly not ready yet.

I was informed this afternoon that a quick glance at my recent pins on Pinterest shows primarily pictures of pasta and various other forms of carb deliciousness.

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And…that is a very valid point. But there are some bird feeders and gardening ideas thrown in there for good measure!

This week is no less carb-centric, so I’m going to apologize in advance.

New Recipes This Week:

From the Freezer This Week:

I Don’t Have This Left in My Freezer, but Maybe You Do (yep, I just made this a category):

Here’s the full menu in pdf format, the grocery list, and the plan!

I hope everyone has a fantastic cooking-free week! =)

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