Sunday, October 25, 2009

This Week's Plan

This week's plan requires a little tweaking from my pre-set menu plan because we have a big birthday bash planned for Saturday afternoon. My oldest and youngest have birthdays within three weeks of eachother, and I thought it would be fun and easy to throw a combo party. With family and friends included, we should have 40 people attending. I will post this week about how I plan to throw an inexpensive, fun lunch party for 40 people. (Barring the swine flu, of course. Starting to feel a little achy. Paranoia??)
MONDAY - Sloppy joes (with shredded carrot snuck in), Pumpkin dinner rolls, potato chips (rare treat around here)
TUESDAY - Roasted Chicken, potatoes (not sure which way I'll prepare them yet), green veggie
WEDNESDAY - Classic Spaghetti (I'm tired of this - but my kids aren't!!), homemade oatmeal bread, peas
THURSDAY - Tuna, spinach and brown rice casserole (sounds weird, but VERY yummy), yogurt, corn
FRIDAY - Pizza, apples
SATURDAY - Popcorn and smoothies (post-party recouperation) - we don't participate in halloween, so nothing out of the ordinary for our family
SUNDAY - Pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs (I am not a morning person. But, I am a breakfast person!! So, I cook it for dinner and enjoy it while I'm wide awake.)
What do you have planned??
Check out the usual 300+ posts over at Organizing Junkie to see what others are eating this week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vietnamese Fried Rice

I LOVE this recipe. LOVE it. My mom comes over every time I make it. My husband gets very happy - and heaps his plate full (more than once). The kids eats it - enough said right there.

But, the best part about it in my opinion is that not only is all of the above true, but it is simple, versatile, inexpensive and healthy. I get very excited about that combination.

Vietnamese Fried Rice
(modified from the More-with-Less cookbook by Doris Longacre)

Cook 1 1/2 c. brown rice or have 3-4 c. ready made. (yes, you could use white rice if you must)

Heat in a large skillet:

4T. cooking oil (I usually use olive oil.)

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. sugar
1 1/2 T. soy sauce (I always use low sodium.)

OPTIONAL: Meat truly is optional in this recipe. I have cooked it with no meat, chicken, BBQ pork leftovers, and shrimp. All tasty. If you are adding raw meat, add about 1/4 to 1/2 lb. of meat with the above ingredients and cook along with the onions and the garlic, etc. If I am using leftover meat (which is most of the time), I throw it in after the onions are mostly cooked just to heat it up.

Stir-fry until meat is hot and/or onions are translucent.


Cooked rice. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.


1 - 2 c. Veggies ( I add more if I am going meatless). Oh, you need something more specific? Honestly, this is never the same twice for me. I use whatever I have on hand. Occassionally I will buy fresh bean sprouts to throw in because I am really fond of them, but mostly - whatever I have. Peas, cut up green beans, corn, shredded carrot, broccoli . . . Stir into rice mixture and allow the veggies to cook to desired tenderness.

Just before serving, add:

2 eggs, beaten

Over medium heat, stir the eggs carefully through the mixture until they are cooked.


This Week's Plan

Monday - Tuna Melts, broccoli

Tuesday - Chicken Sausage and Roasted potatoes, green beans, pumpkin muffins

Wednesday - Classic Spaghetti (which we never ended up eating last week), bread, veggie

Thursday - Vietnamese Fried Rice, fruit

Friday - Tuna Crescents, veggie

Saturday - Pizza and Movie Night

Sunday - Blueberry Pancakes, scrambled eggs, yogurt

There it is - quick and dirty. I am TIRED and have a mountain of work ahead of me before I hit the bed. BUT - thank goodness for meal planning because I think I would serve cereal and PB & J's most nights if I didn't plan ahead like this!!

Go view MANY other fantastic meal plans for this week over at the Organizing Junkie, and JOIN IN THE FUN!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Day IS It Anyway??

Following my pre-written 6 Week Meal Plan has been a mealtime lifesaver these past few weeks. Life has been busy. Jason and I run a business from home, and I also work as an Event Specialist for a company owned by my sis-in-law. And we homeschool. And we have 4 kids ages 5 and under. I don't think this is anymore or less than what most other moms have going, but to think that we are ALL this busy!!! It is amazing that our families even get fed.

There were two nights this week that even with a meal plan, take-out was tempting. But take-out is not in the budget. So, luckily, even thought I hadn't thought about what I had or what to make with it until the time I should have been serving it - all I had to do was check my plan and head to the kitchen. OK - problem though. It is somewhat important that I know what day it is : ). I served Thursday's dinner on Wednesday - not on purpose. Then I served Friday's dinner on Thursday - again, not on purpose. I didn't even REALIZE this until Friday afternoon when I thought, "Hey, today is Friday. I cooked Friday's dinner yesterday." Fantastic.

As luck would have it, I was also pleased to discover that I had forgotten that Jason and I were actually GOING OUT (that is not a typo) tonight and my mom is making dinner for the kids! YEAH - on so many levels!!! So, tonight's dinner was served last night and all was well.

Except for the small problem of my brain being completely screwed up for 2 1/2 days about which day it was exactly.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Check Out the New Button

I just happened upon a blog and quickly decided to add her button over here on the left. Finding Joy in My Kitchen looks full of wonderful, health conscious recipes. Go check it out!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Loving, Loving, Loving It!

Since I finally hopped back on my own plan again with the 6 Week Rotating Meal Plan - I remember just how wonderful it truly is - I love not having to plan every week!! I love that when I don't feel like planning - I don't have to! I love that when I forget to plan - it doesn't matter because I already did! Don't be freaked out if you are budget-wise either. Having a 6 Week Rotating Meal Plan that you create yourself works seemlessly with stockpile shopping. I find it to be the best of both worlds for me.

You really need to follow along with my how-to posts and create one of these for yourself!

So without any additonal planning, or scanning ads, or digging through the freezer and pantry here we have it:

MONDAY: Tuna Melts, peas, apples

TUESDAY: Roasted Chicken, roasted white and sweet potatoes, creamed spinach

WEDNESDAY: Classic Spaghetti, green beans, bread

THURSDAY: Black beans and Rice, yogurt, fruit

SATURDAY: Pizza and Movie Night

SUNDAY: Blueberry Pancakes, homemade syrup, scrambled eggs

Follow other meal planners over at Organizing Junkie's round-up. You can get sucked in for hours!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

6 Week Rotating Meal Plan - Including Special Nights

To catch up with the other posts is this series click HERE.

You should have your 6 Week Meal Plan pretty well filled in with the basics after completing our last step. NOW, the fun part!

Meal time affords so many opportunities to enjoy each other and our food! There are several simple ways to really feel like meal time is special for you and your family. Incorporating one or all of these ideas keeps things fresh and fun.

1. Date Night - This can be done several ways depending on your budget and season of life. If you are able, schedule this meal to be something quick and easy for the kids, or a meal they can make themselves and GO OUT WITH YOUR HUBBY! If dinner out isn't in the budget, try eating something smaller at home and heading out for dessert and coffee. In our current season of life, babysitting and budget wise, we are not able to go out - at all. That's OK! It doesn't mean we don't want special time together. One idea is to feed the kids early and then have a nicer meal, just the two of us, after the kids go to bed. If your kids are little, put them to bed slightly early. If your children are older, let them stay up together in a bedroom playing games or some other activity they can enjoy together.

2. Family Member Favorite Night - Basically, just what it sounds like. Choose one night a week, or every other week, or once every 6 weeks to be family member favorite night. You can have one set night (every Tuesday, for example) and then rotate the family member who chooses the meal, or you can assign each family member a specific night during the 6 week plan. This way, everyone feels like they have some say, and no one's favorite meal gets left out.

3. Special/Theme Night - Every Saturday at out house is Pizza and Movie Night. We all look forward to that time together every week. Once or twice during my 6 week plan I will have a Popcorn and Game Night. You could have a day where you make several different appetizers instead of one main course. You could have a night celebrating a certain style of cooking or ethnic foods. The options here are really endless - set your creativity loose!

4. Husband Cooks Night - Ah - don't we all wish we had a regular one of these!! My husband is a self-admitted non-cook. Jason making dinner? Everyone knows it is grilled cheese or quesadillas. And you know what? FINE BY ME. If he is willing to do the work - I will eat it and be very happy. This is a nice way to give yourself a little break.

5. Kids Cook Night - Well, certainly not as relaxing as the previous option, but very important. All of our kids need to have this skill, and we should be diligent to teach them.

6. Hospitality Night - This is one of my favorites. You can plan to invite a guest or guests to your house OR you can cook double and deliver a meal to a family who could use the blessing. And, who couldn't use a blessing like that?!

7. New Recipe Night - This is an important one for those of us who love to experiment and try/create new recipes on a regular basis. There is no need to feel boxed in by your meal plan! Put a "New Recipe Night" in as often as you wish. I tend to clip and save recipes that I want to try and rarely try them because it is so much easier to make the tried-and-true. If I plan ahead, it happens.

8. Eating Out - I put this one last because I don't want those of us who can't afford it to feel like we are being left out of all the fun! With 7 other great options listed before this one, I hope it is clear that going out to eat is not necessary to make meal time special. BUT - if your budget allows it, don't forget to add this to your meal plan. If you go out to eat every Sunday evening, then write that in. Also, include nights of take out (Thai, Chinese, pizza) if that is what you like!

This post should give you the extra creative nudge to complete your personal 6 Week Rotating Meal Plan. SO - finish it up, and most important of all -