Posted in Let's look, Meals and Recipes

(Let’s Look) Meal Planning

Well, this four day week has apparently gotten me all messed up! I was off on my days and shared my posts on the wrong days (insert hand on forehead emjoi!)

Yesterday, Shay and Erika shared Let’s Look: Meal Planning, and I’m doing so today. #betterlatethannever

I was a girl who always needed a plan before I was ever a working mom with two very busy kids who most definitely needs a plan because…

There are mornings that my kids wake up and ask me what’s for dinner!

Meal Planning:

Here’s a little look at my process:

  • I have a paper calendar on the fridge where I write down all of our weekly activities. I sit down on Saturday night or Sunday to write those activities out and then I plan the meals accordingly.
  • Then, I make my grocery list before placing my Clicklist order. I can’t live without Clicklist. Sometimes, if I can’t figure out what I want to make, Travis just tells me he will go to the store mid-week for whatever we need. I act like I can’t go to the grocery store more than once in a week! 😂 . Honestly, for years, I did Clicklist pick up and that was it. As the kids have gotten busier and I can’t always plan the whole week, I will do grocery pick up on Sunday and then go to the store Thursday if we need something for dinner that night or if they were out of stock on something during my weekend pick up.
  • For me, Clicklist pick up is usually Sunday afternoon. Occasionally, I will do Monday pick up after school. If I do that, sometimes I will run to Kroger for whatever ingredients we need for Sunday night dinner.
  • I do try to cook Monday-Thursday, and my general plan is to make something on Sunday with leftovers for Monday. Mondays just seem to be the hardest day of the week, so I like not having to think about what to make for dinner. Then, Tuesday is either a slow cooker meal or we do rotisserie chicken with Bob Evans mashed potatoes and fruit (That’s what we had for dinner Tuesday night). For Wednesday, I often make a pasta that will make enough leftovers for Thursday night. Both Wednesday and Thursday dinners, I will serve with salad, broccoli, or green beans.
  • Like I said, once we went back to school in March and our lives started to be busier again, I at least plan for Sunday-Wednesday, and then pop into Kroger or Fresh Market for Thursday dinner if needed along with a few fresh items like strawberries or other fruit that we might want for the weekend. I’ve noticed I don’t dread going into the store if I know that it’s only for a few things.

Other Thoughts:

  • It’s easier to double up recipes in winter for things like soups, chili, and casseroles.
  • We grill a lot in the summer which is nice to only have to think about quick side dishes like baked beans, pasta salad, and watermelon.
  • I always forget about breakfast for dinner. We did that recently, and everyone was so excited for dinner.
  • I go to Trader Joe’s every other week or so. I might go once a week in the fall and winter when there are more seasonal faves that we might want more often. There’s not really anything that I buy at Trader Joe’s that I’d also buy at Kroger. For example, I typically get produce at Kroger and not at Trader Joe’s (unless we are out of something at the time). I go to TJ for Trader Joe’s only items like buffalo chicken dip, Chomps, my favorite Havarti/dill cheese, pumpkin bagels, and more!
  • If I can get organized, I prefer grocery pickup on Saturday. I’d love to get to the point where I pick up on Friday after school! I’d really be on top of my life if I could do that!
  • At least once a month, I try to just buy what we need for dinner that week. That forces the kids to finish up whatever chips we have on hand, eat the two yogurts that are left in the fridge, etc.
  • I’m not great about meal prepping for breakfast, but I did make an egg casserole a couple of weeks ago, and it was so nice to have on hand throughout the week. I tend to eat the same kinds of things for lunch or have leftovers from dinner the night before.
  • I do try to make one new recipe a week. I tend to do a really good job of this starting in January. I pin a lot of things on Pinterest and tell myself that if I have the time to do that, then I should make sure to try one new recipe a week.
  • I use my slow cooker at least once a week and even more so in the fall and winter months.
  • I have an Instant Pot and do use it but more so in the fall and winter months. If I had to choose, though, the slow cooker is my favorite!

What about you? How do you meal plan? I really enjoyed reading so many posts yesterday about how others meal plan. It’s amazing to me that those who meal plan/prep do so a bit differently.

I’ll be back tomorrow for Friday Favorites. I’ve lost track of time this week, but I definitely know that tomorrow is Friday!

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Quick Family Dinners

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a great one with my dad visiting for few days, Hayden’s baseball tournament, some pool time, and an early Father’s Day (and my brother’s birthday) celebration.

Today, I’m co-hosting with these ladies for our Not Just a Mom series.

This month’s topic is Quick Family Dinners.

I try to meal prep and make my grocery list for pick up most weekends. I like to have a plan for the week ahead. With the kids being pretty busy most evenings, almost anything I make is quick.

I turn to one of my favorite cookbooks a lot for meals all year long:

Some of my favorite recipes from Shay’s Simmers cookbook that I turn to quite often are:

The best “cooking hack” is putting chicken in the slow cooker, cover it with water, and then shred when it’s finished cooking to use for meals.

Also, when I thought of this topic, I immediately thought about sharing a few favorites from each season. Here are some pretty quick recipes my family enjoys!

Winter:

Of course, the winter months are perfect for soups and chilis!

Chicken Chili

Spring:

In the spring, we start eating lighter meals.

  • Salmon with roasted Brussel Sprouts or broccoli is a family fave! (I love that our Kroger has salmon that can be baked in the foil packs with spices and herbs that can be added in. The salmon is always flavorful, and the clean up is easy.)
  • Of course, every March I make Corned beef and cabbage & Irish Soda Bread.
Soda bread

Summer:

During the summer months, we grill out, and I typically make one of these side dishes, during the summer months. Fresh fruit is also an easy side dish when the weather is warm. Watermelon is definitely a summer fave!

I found this recipe on Pinterest for a Sushi Roll Bowl a few years ago. I tweaked the recipe a bit, but it’s such a healthy and refreshing meal in the summer.

Fall:

I start making hearty meals / comfort food once the weather cools down in the fall.

One recipe I always look forward to in the fall is Pumpkin Sausage Penne Pasta. I’ve had this recipe for years, and found it in a Kroger coupon pack. It’s so good.

Pumpkin Pasta

I also make Turkey Rice soup with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Turkey Rice Soup

Other Ideas:

Other easy dinner ideas all year long include tacos, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and pork loin with a veggie or Trader Joe’s side. Like the salmon, I love the Smithfield pork that is cooked in the bag. It’s such an easy “go to” although I always forget that it takes about 45 minutes in the oven, but the clean up is easy!

Favorite Trader Joe’s Sides:

Y’all know I’m a faithful Trader Joe’s customer. While I love most everything from TJ’s, their side dishes have been my best “mom cooking hack” through the years. They have so many great options, and they are all so delicious.

Here are some of my faves: {all found in the frozen section}

  • Mexican Street Corn
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Gnocchi
Favorite TJ sides

I love to cook, and I would say that most everything I make is a pretty quick and easy dinner! Also, I’m a big fan of leftovers, so if a recipe takes an extra bit of time to make, I always think it’s worth it for leftovers the next day!

Next month’s topic is Home Tour! I can’t wait to see a sneak peek of everyone’s homes!

Thanks so much for reading, and make sure to check out the other ladies’ posts too! I hope you have a great week.

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Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Air Fryer Chicken

Hello and Happy Monday! It’s been a minute since I’ve shared a meal, and I don’t want to brag, but I’m getting the hang of my Air Fryer, y’all!

A couple of weeks ago, it was just me for dinner, so I decided to try chicken in my Air Fryer. I just did a spin on my Baked Chicken recipe and used the Air Fryer. I loved it so much that I made it again for the family using chicken tenders.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Splash of milk (not pictured)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Grated Parm

*I like to use Italian bread crumbs for flavor, Parm for saltiness, and Panko bread crumbs for crunch.

Instructions:

  • Using two dishes, put eggs, splash of milk, salt and pepper in one, and bread crumbs, Panko, and a couple of small handfuls of grated parm in the other.
  • Dip the chicken in the egg wash and then the bread crumbs and place in your Air Fryer.

The automatic Air Fryer setting for chicken is 380 for 25 minutes. That is what I did with the chicken breasts the first time I made it, flipping halfway through. For this recipe, since I was using chicken tenders 15 minutes at 380 degrees (flipping once midway through) was enough to cook them just right.

  • Enjoy!

We had our dinner with bagged Caesar salad and Bob Evans mashed potoatoes.

The Air Fryer and dinner hacks like bagged salad and microwave mashed potatoes provided us with a healthy and hearty meal in less than 20 minutes!

Now that it’s springtime, next time, I’m going to serve this Air Fryer chicken with one of my favorite side dishes!

If you need more Air Fryer ideas, Tina (to_mimishousewego) on instagram shares so many awesome Air Fryer recipes!

What have you made in the Air Fryer recently? I’d love more ideas!

I hope you have a great week,

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Taco Soup

Hello! and happy F E B R U A R Y 1st?! Where in the world did January go?

Well, according to WordPress, this is my 300th blog post! I’m so happy to be sharing one of my favorite recipes with you to mark the occasion.

We eat some form of Mexican food every week for dinner (never underestimate the power of a good Taco Tuesday!), and of course, I love soups in the fall and the winter, so Taco Soup is the perfect answer to a cold and dreary day!

I’ve had this recipe for years, and I think my dad is who shared it with me. It’s on heavy dinner rotation during fall and winter months.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb beef
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn, undrained
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cups water (I typically use 2 cups)
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  • In soup pot, cook beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease.
  • Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and water.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with shredded Cheddar cheese.
  • Enjoy!
We usually get two nights of dinner out of this!

Last night, we had Shay’s Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta, and it hit the spot on a rainy Sunday!

We are having plenty of hearty comfort meals this week as it appears we may not see the sunshine for a few days!

I hope you had a great weekend, and have an great week as well!

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We had a good one. Hayden had a basketball game Friday night. On Saturday, I had lunch out with a couple friends and then got a massage; yesterday, we went to church. We ended the weekend cheering for our KC Chiefs. I think Hayden’s blood pressure may still be off the charts! 😆 We were very excited for the win. Now, today is a bonus day off!

It’s been a minute since I’ve shared a recipe (or two) that my family loves, so that’s what I’m doing today. Again, I don’t really create recipes; I’m just really good at following directions.

One of my kids’ favorite dinners is Sloppy Joes.

Fun fact: Growing up, we had a big fish tank in our living room with a few fish. We named our two Oscar fish “Sloppy” and “Joe,” because that’s what we were eating for dinner the day we got them!

Of course, the recipe on the can is easy enough, but after I bought Shay’s Simmers cookbook, I started using her recipe, and we all love it. I’m team “dinner in the slow cooker” as much as possible. I think my favorite part of her recipe is the yellow mustard.

Then, Andrea shared her Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cup recipe, and now that recipe is a staple at our house too.

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can Sloppy Joe sauce
  • I can biscuits
  • shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  • I turn the biscuits on their side and cut them in half, so they are thinner, and then put them into a lightly greased muffin tin. (The first time I made them and didn’t grease the pan, they seemed to stick!)
  • Brown the ground beef and drain.
  • Add in the sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Then, I spoon a bit of the beef sauce into each biscuit and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
  • I bake them for about 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Enjoy!
Ready to eat!

Also for dinner this week:

Here’s our dinner menu this week:

  • Sunday: Taco soup (I will share the recipe soon)
  • Monday: Baked chicken thighs, Bob Evans mashed potatoes, fruit
  • Tuesday: Leftover chicken, bagged Caesar salad
  • Wednesday: Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna, roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: Leftover lasagna and green beans
  • Friday and Saturday: take out, I’m sure!

I love these two Sloppy Joe recipes that are a spin on a classic! What are you having for dinner this week?

Take care,

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Chicken Chili

Hello and Happy Monday! Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes: chicken chili. A friend shared this recipe years ago, and it’s the only chicken chili I make. While my kids also love the Major’s chili, this one is a family favorite too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tblsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (sometimes I leave this out…I’m not a fan of spicy)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tblsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce (plus a dash more)
  • 2 Tblsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 can diced tomato (do not drain)
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

Toppings:

chopped avocado, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream

Instructions:

  • In the bottom of your soup pot drizzle EVOO or let butter melt. Then, saute onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and garlic until soft. (5-8 minutes)
  • Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, tomatoes, chili sauce, and black beans. Mix well.
  • Add chicken broth and mix well.
  • Shred chicken into soup mixture.
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes. (I usually let it simmer 45 minutes- 1 hour)
  • Enjoy with toppings!

We still have pretty mild temps this week, but once the weather turns colder, this chili is definitely in our dinner rotation!

I hope you have a great week!

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Hello and Happy Monday! Well, fall break sure seemed to fly by! Now, we are back at it this week with school and fall activities. We took a couple days and went to Asheville, NC (more about that later this week!), and it was a nice getaway. We also had family visit this weekend. My mom and Gma were here from KC for a few days.

Anyway, I try to share a recipe or two each month, and this casserole by Taryn is a new Pinterest find for me. I made this a couple of weeks ago, and the whole family enjoyed it. It’s a great low carb option as well as being delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups shredded cooked chicken (from about 2 lb chicken) (I used Shay’s method- In the morning, I put the chicken in the slow cooker, covered it with water and cooked on low for 6 hours…and then it’s so easy to shred!)
  • 6 oz ham cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 oz butter melted
  • 6 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine (optional) (I omitted this step)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 oz Swiss cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Put the chicken in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Layer the pieces of ham on top.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine the melted butter, softened cream cheese, white wine (if using), mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Blend until a thick sauce forms. Spread this sauce over the chicken and ham in the baking dish.
  • Lay the slices of Swiss cheese on top of the sauce. Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot.
  • Broil it for 2 minutes at the end so the cheese gets more golden and bubbly. If you decide to do that, do not leave it unattended. It’s very easy to burn the cheese topping.

I served our casserole with Bob Evans mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. Delish!

This is definitely a recipe that will be in our dinner rotation. Pinterest saves the day again!

I hope you have a great week.

Posted in Kids, Meals and Recipes, Weekend Top 5

Monday Meals: Chicken Tortilla Chip Casserole and Weekend Wrap Up

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Friday afternoon, I had a hair appointment (hallelujah!), and Hadley came too for a trim. While we were gone, the guys played a round of golf.

Then, on Saturday, I got my traditional back to school pedicure. Again, Hadley joined me! #spoilt

Saturday evening we got together on a neighbor’s back porch for a drink with a few neighbors which was so nice!

Sunday, Hayden’s team won their first tournament game which was exciting.

Of course, I also continued my Selling Sunset binge and was productive with school work, grocery shopping, and other chores.

Overall, it was a busy, fun, and productive weekend.

Now, on to the recipe I wanted to share…

I was digging through my recipe box last week, and found a recipe that my whole family loves, but I hadn’t made it in a while. It’s an easy Mexican chicken casserole dish, and we got two dinners out of it + a small portion for lunch.

I found this recipe a few years ago in a local magazine here in Lexington. This recipe is by July Yeager of The Southern Lady Cooks.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups chicken, cooked and chopped. (I put 3 large chicken breasts in the slow cooker, covered them with water, and cooked on high for 5 hours and then shredded it.)
  • 1 c. green onion, chopped (can use regular onion)
  • 1 c. green pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp. oil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3-4 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese, or any cheese of your choice

Instructions:

  • Cook the green pepper and onion in oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the tomatoes, celery soup, chicken soup, green chiles, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt and cumin to the skillet.
  • Mix well with a spoon and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Add a layer of crushed tortilla chips to a 9″x13″ baking dish.
  • Add a layer of chicken and cover with half the soup mixture from your skillet.
  • Sprinkle on 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
  • Add another layer of chips, chicken, and the rest of the soup mixture.
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove and add remaining cup of cheese.
  • Return to oven for about 5 minutes or long enough to melt the cheese on top of the casserole dish.
  • Enjoy!
  • (makes 10-12 servings)
into the oven

Dinner time! I served this with Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn.

This is definitely a recipe I will add back into our dinner rotation.

Now, I’m off for another day of professional development. Two more days until school starts!

Have a great week.

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Monday Meals: Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

Hello and Happy Monday!

I’m always looking for recipes that make enough for dinner for two nights. A bonus factor is if I can use my slow cooker to help have dinner ready whenever we are.

I made this Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken last week for my family, and it’s a recipe I’ve had for years. I’ve seen versions of it and have even tweaked what I add through the years.

This recipe is served over rice, but it’s also a great low carb option over cauliflower rice or even just on its own with lettuce, cheese and salsa as toppings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts or chicken tenders
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 packet of Ranch seasoning
  • Rice

Instructions:

  • Put the chicken in the slow cooker.
  • Then add black beans, corn, Rotel, taco and Ranch seasonings.
  • Then, I cube the cream cheese and spread the dollops around on top of the other ingredients.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Then, turn off the slow cooker and let everything sit for 30-45 minutes. (I don’t always do this step!)
Ready to slow cook!
  • Flake the chicken using two fork.
  • Serve over cooked rice.
  • Top with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, and any other desired toppings!
  • Enjoy!
Delish!

This is a recipe that is two nights of dinner for us. Sometimes, we put it on top of tortilla chips for nachos rather than on the rice. This is a easy, hearty, and pretty healthy recipe!

I hope you have a great week!

Posted in Meals and Recipes

Let’s Lunch

Confession: I live for lunch, y’all. Usually I’m doing intermittent fasting, so lunch is when I break my fast and am ready to eat.

Confession #2: I’ve really enjoyed lunch during quarantine for two reasons.

1. I get more than 20 minutes to eat lunch while at home rather than at school.

2. I really enjoy making lunch for my kids. I was never a stay-at-home mom (except in the summer), so I’ve really embraced having extra time to make breakfast and lunch for myself and the kids.

I’m not making anything Earth-shattering but even having the time to serve Hayden & Hadley something warm, like a grilled cheese sandwich, is nice and a favorite part of my day.

Breakfast:

For breakfast, I just stick to coffee.

Hayden’s been eating Cream of Wheat on repeat. He loves it, but it’s also soft and easy for him to eat with his new ortho appliance in his mouth.

Hadley typically has waffle with Nutella and strawberries or toast and jelly.

Lunch:

Rule of 3: I’m not sure if it’s a real rule or one I made up but I always put 3 things on their plate…their main course + two sides.

Also, I preach about not being wasteful, but I also don’t make them finish every bite. I tell them to eat until they’re full, but they better not come ask for a snack an hour later!

Some of the kids favorite lunches are:

  • grilled cheese
  • tomato soup
  • chicken noodle soup
  • quesadilla
  • hot dog
  • dinner leftovers
  • Trader Joe’s shells and white cheddar mac & cheese
  • Trader Joe’s mini tacos
  • Trader Joe’s black bean burrito

For sides, they usually have:

  • mini bell peppers
  • chips/pretzels
  • Babybel cheese
  • fruit
  • pickles
  • yogurt
  • celery (Hayden likes plain celery. Hadley likes celery with peanut butter)

My “go-to” lunches are:

  • salad
  • “charcuterie” board with dill cheese (from Trader Joe’s), pickles, salami or prosciutto, Cheezits or Dots pretzels, grapes or strawberries
  • Jasmine rice bowl (with chicken, black beans, sweet potatoes…and more!)
  • Tortilla roll up

For the tortilla roll up, I…

  • Take tortilla, and put two pieces of Provolone cheese on top,
  • Layer whatever lunch meat you like,
  • Place a couple of pieces of Romaine lettuce, then
  • Add bell peppers and a drizzle of mustard.
  • Enjoy!

This roll up can be tweaked with whatever you have on hand. I’ve used Arugula instead of Romaine, Cheddar cheese instead of Provolone, sometimes I put pickles on it, etc.

To end on a funny note…this made me laugh out loud 😂

What are some of your favorite things to eat for lunch? What do your kids typically eat?

Have a great day!