Meal Plan Monday: Holiday Season

Happy Monday! I’m having a hard time getting back on routine after four days of traveling, eating, kids, visiting, fun, and naps. And it’s a five-day week, so my kids were very hard to get up and out this morning! Yours, too? It feels so funny to me that there’s a whole week of November left after Thanksgiving, and there’s already holiday decoration up all over our neighborhood. I’m definitely not ready!

I am thinking about holiday food, though. I like to keep up with simple, healthy weeknight meals to allow for entertaining, potlucks, parties, and other fun food on the weekends. I’m still using some of the freezer food I prepped in early November; it sure was nice to have meals ready all weekend after our trip to Philly. Budget-wise, I’m using up what’s in the freezer and pantry this week, just buying dairy and fruit.

Here’s the plan:

Sunday–Broccoli Pie (the Mini Broccoli Quiches recipe in a pie plate) and cornbread
Meatball Subs (on whole wheat hot dog buns), salad
Tuesday–Greek Chicken (tomatoes, olives, peppers, onions) over quinoa
Wednesday–Pineapple Pork Chops with brown rice and green beans
Thursday–Savory Omelets (spinach & feta cheese) with rosemary potatoes and fruit
Super Easy Chicken Soup (I’m going to throw it all in the slow cooker) with leftover rice from Wed.
Saturday–Pulled Pork Sandwiches, sweet potato fries and corn

If you’re looking for simple, family-friendly recipes, check out my Recipe Index. The meals we eat most are on my family’s Master Meal List.

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.


Meal Plan Monday: Thanksgiving Week

Oh, it’s Thanksgiving week, and I’ve been very neglectful of Thanksgiving here on the blog. I haven’t thought too much about it and haven’t done any decorating (not like me!). This year, we’re not hosting dinner, and we’re not hosting visitors. All we have to do is drive somewhere and be guests. I’m really looking forward to it. I need things at a slower pace right now, so this is perfect.

Since I spent so much time in the kitchen the past two weeks doubling up on meals for the freezer, I’m taking advantage of it this week to give myself a break:

Sunday–Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub, garlic mashed red potatoes (from the freezer), asparagus
Tortilla Soup (from the freezer), corn muffins
Tuesday–Hamburgers with mushrooms & onions, sweet potato fries, corn
Wednesday–Meatballs and spaghetti, salad, green beans
Thursday & Friday–Turkey (of course!) at my sister’s house, plus birthday cake. We’re celebrating my nephew’s 2nd birthday!
Saturday–We’ll be back home, so I’ll pull some Pesto Stuffed Shells from the freezer and serve them with salad.

Hope you’re staying relaxed this week and looking forward to celebrating with friends and family! Find more meal plans, recipes, and inspiration at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.


Meal Plan Monday: More Freezer Cooking

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been planning meals that allow me to double-up or make extra so I can freeze them for the busy holiday weeks ahead. This week, I’m doing the same thing–using up what I’ve bought on sale (in this case, chicken breasts at $1.99/lb and red potatoes at $5.99 for a 10lb bag)–and taking a little time while cooking to make extra. I’ll appreciate that effort later! I also made a quadruple batch of Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie dough and froze it in balls. There are several zipper bags full in the freezer, perfect for later days when we need lunchbox goodies or an afterschool snack in no time.

Using what I bought on sale last week (chicken breasts, red potatoes, etc.), here’s my meal plan for this week:

Sunday–Chicken Caesar Casserole (I’m making two and freezing one in a zipper bag for later), green beans
Breakfast for Dinner: scrambled eggs, rosemary red potatoes, grapes
Tuesday–Hamburgers with mushrooms, garlic mashed red potatoes (plus extra to freeze), salad
Wednesday–Chicken Rice Casserole (plus an extra for the freezer), salad
Thursday–Spaghetti with meat sauce, broccoli, Caesar salad
Friday–Homemade Pizza with lots of veggies
Saturday–Pulled Pork Sandwiches, sweet potato fries, corn

Find more meal plans, recipes, and inspiration at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday: Plan for the Busy-ness Ahead

I set aside some time this weekend to plan out 3-4 weeks’ worth of meals and set up some short freezer cooking sessions to make things easier for later. As quickly as November arrived, it will soon be holiday season, and one of the ways I make it more fun and less stressful is by not thinking about dinner. With a few prepared meals in the freezer, it’s easy to feed everyone and avoid ordering takeout, fast food, and other crutches we rely on during busy times. It also helps me stick to my monthly grocery budget. There are also nights where I just don’t want to stand at the stove; this way, I can do something else while dinner is cooking. Four of the meals on this week’s plan are easy to double-up; I’ll make a second pan or double-batch of soup and freeze it for a later week.

What are some ways you make busy seasons easier?


Using what’s on sale at my store (chicken breasts, chicken sausage, and pasta), here’s my plan for this week:

Sunday–Grilled chicken and veggies with neighbors (it’s gotten too dark to grill!), pitas, broccoli
Pesto Stuffed Shells (using this manicotti filling, but with a different pasta), Caesar Salad
Tuesday–Sausage & Lentil Soup, cornbread
Wednesday–Baked Pesto Chicken, brown rice, green beans
Thursday–Macaroni & Cheese Casserole and broccoli (I just put chopped broccoli in before baking), salad
Friday–Super Easy Chicken Soup (I’m going to put it all in the slow cooker), Dill Ricotta Rolls
Saturday–Leftovers Festival–there should be plenty

Find more meal plans, recipes, and inspiration at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday: Hurricane Eating

It’s Sunday evening, and I’m up finishing the laundry, running the crockpot and otherwise preparing for Hurricane Sandy using electricity while I still have it. I’ve filled my freezer with jugs of water (that helps everything stay frozen), popped popcorn for the next few days, and have cooked as much as we can to have ready-to-eat food when (if?) the power goes out. We’re planning for a long-term power outage, learning our lesson from this past July, just in case. We’re expecting the worst weather to hit mid-day on Monday. I hope that wherever you are, you’re safe and dry!

I’m trying to keep my anxiety under control, which is tough in situations like this. I already told the kids they’re sleeping on the floor of our room Monday night since I don’t want them near any windows. They’re thrilled to have no school today and Tuesday, and we’ll keep busy with board games, crafts, and lots of reading.

I can’t really plan the week’s worth of meals. I didn’t do a weekly grocery shop because I didn’t want to fill the fridge just to lose it to a power outage (I lost almost $200 worth of food in July). There is frozen chicken soup and other meals in the freezer that hopefully we can cook by later in the week. We have several neighbors with generators if we get really desperate.

For normal people’s meal plans, head over to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday: Recommit to a Frugal Meal Plan

Hope you had a great weekend! I got way off course with last week’s meal plan after my son’s surgery on Thursday (he’s doing great, thankfully). We ate out twice after I had several nights of no sleep–it happens–so I still have all the ingredients to make a couple of meals this week. That plus food from the freezer and using my slow cooker will help me stick to our frugal meal plan for this week. Back in the summer, I had a good routine going where I did a little freezer cooking once a week–just an hour or so to get 2-3 things packed away. I’d like to get back to that! I’m reading through 31 Days of Freezer Cooking at Good (Cheap) Eats for inspiration to return to that helpful habit.


Here’s my plan for the week:

Monday–Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and cornbread
Tuesday–Hamburgers with swiss & mushrooms, homemade fries, salad
Wednesday–Turkey and Parmesan Pasta and salad
Thursday–Pork Loin Roast with citrus basil rub, baked potatoes, green beans
Friday–Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore and angel hair pasta
Saturday–Leftovers Soup and homemade breadsticks

Check out all the meal plans at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday: Fall Cooking

Happy Monday! Hope you’re enjoying all that fall has to offer–we have yet to make it to a pumpkin patch, but I’m satisfied with the house smelling like Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Muffins for now. In between prepping our Halloween costumes and the usual hub-bub, my son is having surgery Thursday morning, so I’m trying not to be too anxious about that. Sticking to my routines, like meal planning, help a lot. My kids are requesting more of our favorite soups, so I’ll make sure and get those on the meal plans each week.

Here’s my plan for the week:

Sunday–Chicken tenders, baked potatoes, green beans
Meatless Monday–Mini Broccoli Quiches, salad and garlic bread
Tuesday–Chicken sausage sauteed with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions over quinoa
Wednesday–Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub, baked potatoes, green beans
Thursday–Salsa Verde Chicken in the slow cooker, brown rice, and beans
Friday–Homemade pizza and salad
Saturday–Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup using leftover chicken from Thursday night, cornbread

You’ll find tons of meal plans, recipes, and resources at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday

Hi all! Hope you’re having a great Monday, and possibly a day off from work. My kids were thrilled with a three-day weekend since my mom is visiting. She’ll most likely cook a couple of times (she enjoys it plus my kids love her meatballs). We’ll be out during the days enjoying the fall colors since she doesn’t get those in Tucson. This meal plan is my best guess for this week:

Sunday–BBQd pork tenderloin with neighbors, grilled veggies, salad
Meatless Monday–Macaroni & Cheese Casserole and broccoli (I’ve been just putting chopped broccoli right into the casserole)
Tuesday–Super Easy Chicken Soup (already made, just pulling it out of the freezer)
Wednesday–Spaghetti and Meatballs (my kids want to help), salad
Thursday–We’ll order Chinese food, since my mom always wants some when she visits
Friday–Asian Fish in a Packet (one of my mom’s and my kids’ favorite meals), brown rice
Saturday–Pesto Stuffed Shells, salad and garlic bread

Find lots of great meal plans and resources at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.


Meal Plan Monday: Planning Lunches

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you’re gearing up for a wonderful October. I’m in the groove with fall soups, baking lots of yummy things, and easy dinners. It’s the lunches I’m struggling with! This week, I’m writing a few posts about dealing with the lunch grind. It’s only been a few weeks of school and I’m already there. I also struggle with weekend lunches; I don’t want to cook what is essentially a full meal for the five of us (and often more, with visitors), but we need to eat. I’ll also be asking your advice over on the MoneywiseMoms Facebook page–I just love how everyone helps out with great ideas there!

Here’s the dinner plan for this week:

Sunday–BBQd steak with neighbors, salad, broccoli and French Bread
Meatless Monday–Italian Spinach Pie and cornbread
Tuesday–Lemon Pesto Chicken and angel hair pasta, salad
Wednesday–Corn & Potato Chowder, leftover salad
Thursday–Cheese Tortellini with pesto, mixed with broccoli and roasted red pepper
Friday–Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken, baked potatoes (mashed if I have time), green beans
Saturday–I’m heading up to Philadelphia to pick up my mom–I’ll have the family clean out the fridge of leftovers.

Find fabulous meal plans and inspiration at Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.