Moneywise Menu Plan 4-12: More Spring Salads

Another lovely spring week is ahead! I’m finding that prepping a cold salad early in the day (or even the night before) is a great way to save time & stress on nights when we have sports practices. Since I’m all over Pinterest looking for new salad recipes, I’ll have plenty that we’ve tried and loved by the time summer swim team rolls around. Then, it’s great to make those ahead for nighttime meets, saving us a TON of money by bringing our own dinner instead of eating out. My kids are enjoying the hunt and test of new spring salads.

Moneywise Menu Plan - More Spring Salads - MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 4/12

Sunday: Mini Broccoli Quiches (making extra for lunches this week) and 30-Minute Dinner Rolls
Monday: Spinach & Feta Pasta Salad
Tuesday: Oriental Chicken Salad from Chef in Training
Wednesday: Chicken sausage sauteed with mushrooms, onions, spinach and tomatoes, served over pasta
Thursday: Chopped Cobb Salad from Yellow Bliss Road
Friday: Homemade French bread pizzas with lots of veggies on top
Saturday: Daddy’s in charge of dinner, so something like Pigs in a Blanket, probably

I’m heading out of town over the weekend for my annual Moms of Multiples Club’s regional convention. It’s a great way to connect with other moms of multiples and get a little away-from-the-kids relaxation time). Can’t wait!

Would love to hear your favorite spring salads. Please share in the comments below.

Menu Plan Resources

Moneywise Menu Plan 4-5: Salads for Spring

The weather is going to finally be spring-like this week: 60s and 70s with plenty of rain. I’m so excited to be outside walking again, and the whole family is in the mood for lighter food (you’ll notice the word “salad” shows up a lot on this week’s menu plan). A great benefit of cold salads is that I can prepare them ahead of time, and they’re ready to go on a busy weeknight. We have one night this week where we’re all eating at different times and going in different directions, so a big bowl of salad will make sure we get fed well. It’s a great time to try out some new salad recipes I’ve added to my Salad & Veggie Sides Pinterest board.

Moneywise Menu Plan 4-5 | Frugal family meals and salads from MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 4/5

Monday: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork (my last freezer meal) with brown rice and broccoli
Tuesday: Quesadillas made with leftover pork, corn and black beans, plus salad
Wednesday: Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna from Pinch of Yum
Thursday: Greek Quinoa Salad from Back to Her Roots
Friday: Crustless Bacon Asparagus Quiche and Rosemary Potatoes
Saturday: Tuna, Green Bean and Potato Salad

Coming off of that month of freezer meals–wow, that was worth the time and trouble. While I’m not in the mood for casseroles right now, it was a reminder that having a system in place (in this case, meal planning and prepping food ahead of time) makes everything run smoother. I need to find a way to apply this system to the spring and summer using different meals than we typically eat in the fall and winter.

What are some ways you adjust for the warmer seasons?

 

Menu Plan Resources

Homemade Taco Seasoning (and 25 ways to use it)

Making your own versions of processed foods isn’t just a way to save money, it also helps you control ingredients. Whether you’re eating low sodium, gluten-free or just want to avoid the chemicals and preservatives found in the packets, take a few minutes to mix up a batch of Homemade Taco Seasoning, and you’ll have it on hand for your next taco night. It tastes a lot better, too! Here’s my go-to recipe and 25 great ways to use it.

Homemade Taco Seasoning and 25 ways to use it | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Taco Seasoning
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all spices together. Store in an airtight container.
  2. For standard ground beef/turkey tacos: After you brown the meat, drain the fat, and replace the seasoning packet with 2+ Tbsp of this homemade taco seasoning (depending on how strong you like the flavor) and 1/3 cup of water. Stir and simmer until thickened.
  3. For slow cooker tacos (chicken or pork): Sprinkle 2-3 pounds of chicken breasts/thighs or pork roast with 4-5 Tbsp of homemade taco seasoning. You can also add a jar of salsa or a cup of chicken broth for extra moisture. Cook on low 6-10 hours, then shred.

This recipe makes almost 5 Tbsp of seasoning, which is enough for 2-3 batches of ground beef tacos (a packet is typically 2 Tbsp) or one batch in the slow cooker. I usually scale this up by doubling or tripling it so I don’t have to make it as often (we do Taco Tuesday every week!). There are lots of other ways to use it:

Appetizers and Snacks

Taco Snack Mix from Shugary Sweets

Easy Taco Dip from Julie’s Eats and Treats

Taco Pizza Rolls from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas from Hungry Food Love

Cheesy Taco Popcorn from Three Different Directions

Light & Creamy Taco Salad Dressing from Lady Behind the Curtain

Taco Snack Mix from Shugary Sweets | Homemade Taco Seasoning

 

Casseroles

Fiesta Pork Chop and Rice Bake from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Taco Stuffed Peppers from Everyday Made Fresh

Taco Cornbread Casserole from MoneywiseMoms (figure out amount to sub)

Southwestern Chicken Taco Casserole from Pint-sized Treasures

Lawnmower Taco from Life as Mom

Fiesta Pork Chops and Rice Bake from Six Sisters Stuff | Homemade Taco Seasoning

Soups and Chilis

Creamy Black Bean Chicken Soup from Pass the Fresh

8 Can Taco Soup from High Heels & Grills

Crockpot Taco Chili from First Home Love Life

Taco Stew from Oh Sweet Basil

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili from Table for Two

Easy Crockpot Taco Chili from First Home Love Life | Homemade Taco Seasoning

Tacos & More

Baja Tilapia Fish Tacos from Redomestication

Traveling Tacos from MoneywiseMoms

Mexican Meatloaf from Pepper Scraps

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta from Catz in the Kitchen

One Pan Enchilada Bake from Damn Delicious

Chicken Fajitas in the Deep Covered Baker from MoneywiseMoms

Easy Spanish Rice from Grandma Bee’s Recipes

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta from Catz in the Kitchen | Homemade Taco Seasoning

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning (and 25 ways to use it) is linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at JoLynne Shane, On Display Thursdays at Average But Inspired and Tasty Tuesdays at Creative K Kids.

Moneywise Menu Plan 3/22 Thru End of Month

My goal with the freezer meals was to get us through March on our monthly grocery budget. I really wanted to eat at home to save money because we’re traveling for spring break and need to budget for eating out in April. So we’ll go down to a very empty fridge, pantry and freezer, but it’s for a good reason!

Moneywise Menu Plan 3-22 | MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/22 thru end of month

Sunday: Turkey Parmesan Pasta with salad
Monday: Mini Broccoli Quiches with Rosemary Potatoes
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pork Tacos (from the freezer), black beans, brown rice, and toppings
Wednesday: Spinach Stuffed Shells (from the freezer) and salad
Thursday: Chicken Caesar Salad and garlic bread
Friday: Taco Bowls or quesadillas using leftover pork from Tuesday night
Saturday: Turkey Spinach Burgers, homemade potato wedges, and salad
Sunday: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork (from the freezer) with brown rice and broccoli
Monday: Chicken Fajitas in the Deep Covered Baker, tortillas, black beans and toppings
Tuesday: Homemade Mac & Cheese and salad

Do you hate coming home to an empty fridge after a long trip? We’re not going far, but we’ll still get home late and need food to get throught he next day, plus lunch fixings for school. And I’ve emptied out my freezer! I always budget into any travel plans a little extra money to pay for grocery delivery and set it up to arrive early the morning we’re back (like 7:00am early). That way, the groceries show up at our door and I don’t have to do a grocery run when I’m tired from a long road trip.

Menu Plan Resources

Personalized Nachos plus a Food Lion Giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am a Food Lion blogger, and I joined their blogger program because we share the same mission–to help you feed your family for less. 

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

Food Lion has another awesome Dish it Up promo running this week, so take advantage of it! Through Tuesday, March 24th, when you buy both Food Lion Tortilla Chips and Kraft Velveeta, you get Chi-Chi’s Salsa, Chi-Chi’s Tortillas, and McCormick Seasoning for FREE. Then click over to Food Lion to get their Cowboy Quesadillas and Amazing Nachos recipes. While you’re there, you’ll find more Dish it Up recipes to help you get dinner done quickly and easily. Both recipes are just perfect for a March Madness game-watching night! I adapted one to create these Personalized Nachos for an easy weeknight family dinner.

Dish It Up Promo | Amazing Nachos | Food Lion Giveaway

I picked up all the fixings for our Personalized Nachos (including my three FREE items), plus some extras– green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans and green onions for some healthy toppings.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

 

Wash and chop your veggies (did you watch that free knife skills video yet–I learned a lot!). Or, use this opportunity to get the kids involved. Mine are so proud to announce when they help prep dinner, and they’ve gotten pretty good at chopping vegetables with practice. It was also easy for them to cube the Velveeta, since it’s so soft.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

For a family meal, I suggest letting each person pile a plate with chips and add some Velveeta cubes. Then just microwave each plate for 1 minute on high, and let everyone do their own toppings (the kids and hubby love that!). If you’re prepping for a party, add 1 pound of cubed Velveeta to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. You can even add seasonings right to the melted cheese.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

My family loved having a bunch of toppings to choose from: cooked chicken, black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, green peppers, onions and black olives. Don’t forget the salsa and sour cream! With Personalized Nachos, everyone gets to make their own choices and enjoy.

 

Food Lion Giveaway

Food Lion wants to help you Dish it Up with easy, frugal meals (my favorite!). Two lucky MoneywiseMoms readers will each win a $50 Food Lion Gift Card. If you’re reading in an email subscription or feed, please click over to the post so you can use the Rafflecopter entry form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends at 11:59pm ET on Friday, March 27th. Each winner will have 48 hours to reply back to their prize email from me, otherwise, I will have to choose alternate winners.

 

Moneywise Menu Plan 3/15: Eating from the Freezer

While it was a bit of work getting the freezer stocked with casseroles and bags for the slow cooker, I’m reminded this week why it’s worth the extra trouble. Instead of a week of hectic evenings with me standing at the stove, we’re eating from the freezer, which allows us to eat healthy and save money. It also made my weekly shopping trip fast and cheap–just milk and produce! We are going out on Friday night–for a big birthday dinner–but three of our meals are free thanks to birthday coupons and a rewards program. That’s the best way to do it!

Moneywise Menu Plan 3-15 Eating from the Freezer | MoneywiseMoms

 

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/15

Sunday: Grilling burgers and veggies with our neighbors (yay for nice weather!)
Monday: Green Chile Chicken Casserole (from the freezer) with salad
Tuesday: Sausage, Zucchini & Mushrooms with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and pasta
Wednesday: Chicken Caesar Casserole (from the freezer) and broccoli
Thursday: Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and cornbread
Friday: Eating out for the twins’ birthday
Saturday: Broccoli Rice Casserole with added chicken (from the freezer) and salad

Eating from the freezer, even when it’s just dumping a bag of pre-cut veggies and meat into the slow cooker, makes our weeknights go so much smoother. All three kids are working on research projects right now on top of regular nightly homework, and I’m able to help with this instead of standing at the stove.

Menu Plan Resources

Free Cooking Classes for Better Home Cooking

No question, cooking at home is a major way to save money every month. Rather than bust the budget eating out, why not learn some new skills to make you more comfortable in the kitchen? Whether you’re new to home cooking or just stuck in a rut, these FREE Cooking Classes can teach you some new skills and make cooking easier and more fun. You don’t even need to leave the house (see option three)!

Free Cooking Classes for better home cooking | MoneywiseMoms

Williams-Sonoma Stores

Williams-Sonoma stores hold in-store events, including FREE cooking classes on topics like knife skills, holiday baking, and entertaining. Each class is an hour long and includes tastings of prepared dishes. You do need to register ahead of time (via phone) since class size is limited.

Local Grocery Stores

Some regional grocery store chains offer cooking classes. For example, the Giant chain in Pennsylvania has two locations for The Cooking School, offering classes for kids, adults and seniors. Some Wegmans stores also offer cooking classes, though not all are free. Our local Whole Foods offers both free and paid cooking classes; check your local store’s “events” tab for the calendar and how to register.

Online at Craftsy

Try one of Craftsy’s FREE mini courses to better your home cooking skills. Right now, they’re offering some great options:

  • Cooking Mistakes: What Can Go Wrong and How To Make it Right: I really liked this instructor, and I found the chapters on knife safety and seasoning the most useful for my home cooking. There’s also some tips & tricks for saving time while entertaining, how to properly cook chicken and steak, and the class materials include some great recipes.
  • Perfect Pizza at Home:  This includes recipes for five types of dough (including a gluten-free option) and more to make your family’s pizza night delicious.
  • Creative Ways With Whole Grains (w/ Anna Bullett): Learn how to get past white rice, learning methods and recipes for cooking quinoa, farro, and pilafs.
  • Complete Knife Skills: This is next on my list to watch. I liked the short section in the Cooking Mistakes class and know I have more to learn. Getting faster will help me prep more healthy freezer meals!

 What are some ways you learn new skills for home cooking?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend what I love. Thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you.

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Do you have company coming or another reason to feed a crowd (or is your family the crowd)? This Mexican Breakfast Casserole is easy to pull together with whole foods and bakes up to a delicious breakfast, brunch, or even breakfast-for-dinner. My family likes it with salsa and Tabasco on the side. We love having breakfast for dinner, and this is a nice, hearty casserole that fills us up.

 

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole | easy whole foods recipe | MoneywiseMoms

Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and finely diced (or a bag of frozen hash browns)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 12 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup skim milk
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add potatoes to bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle the onion and red pepper over the potatoes. Add half the green chiles and about half of the cheese to the top.
  4. In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk and remaining green chiles.
  5. Pour over the potato and vegetable mixture, then top with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the center.

 

If you have leftovers, they’re easy to reheat and serve in a tortilla for a morning breakfast burrito. That’s also a way to stretch out the main casserole if you’re feeding more than 8 people. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole | easy whole foods recipe | MoneywiseMoms

For more easy, family-friendly casserole recipes, follow my Capitivating Casseroles board on Pinterest.

 

Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at JoLynneShane, Tasty Tuesdays at Creative K Kids, Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, DIY Craft and Recipe Linkup at The SITS Girls, Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now, and On Display Thursday at Average But Inspired.

Moneywise Menu Plan 3-8: More Freezer Meals

Last week, between the sick days (both my daughter and me) and three snow/ice days off school, I managed to fill the freezer with a several casseroles and bags of slow cooker meals. It felt great! Going into this week, we’re expecting better weather and hopefully we’ll all be healthy. I’ll cook when I can but it’s good to know those meals are in the freezer to pull out and make dinner prep easy. A good goals is to add one or two more freezer meals to storage each week so we don’t run out.

Moneywise Menu Plan - easy frugal meals that are family friendly including more freezer meals

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/8

Sunday: Turkey Parmesan Pasta and salad
Monday: Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with tortillas, black beans, brown rice & toppings
Wednesday: One Pot Chicken Lo Mein
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with carrots/celery/cucumbers & ranch
Friday: Chicken Soup and homemade breadsticks
Saturday: Burgers and homemade fries with salad

If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with freezer cooking, take a look at the meal plans at $5DollarDinners. Erin has created packs that include recipes, shopping lists, and all the directions you need. With her instructions, you can prep 20 meals for $150 or less! She even has packs with gluten-free freezer meals and those based on your favorite stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.). Thanks for using my affiliate link (which helps support MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you).

20 Meals from Any Grocery Store for Less Than $150 - Slow Cooker Freezer Packs, 2nd Edition
 

This week, Erin is releasing her 7th plan, this time with 85 recipes for breakfasts and snacks, all for less than $150. I’m excited to see this one and give it a try. I’ll be sure and write up a review as soon as I’ve tried the recipes.

Menu Plan Resources