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Meal Plan

I eat to live. Some people live to eat.

I have been married for 5 years, and one of my biggest struggles is planning and preparing dinners for my family. I am solely responsible to feed my husband and children. Unfortunately I am not yet the Proverbs 31 wonder woman.

The repetition of thinking “What shall we eat today?” can drive a person crazy – especially when the freezer is not stocked with meat, the pantry is empty and the cook is worn out! Hey, that’s me, so if you’re with me, let’s make things go smoothly with meal planning so we have time to craft, smell the roses, giggle with our children and greet our husbands at the door with a kiss and smile when they get home from work!

I’ve organized my meal plan into categories of types of meat. You can (or will be able to) click on each recipe i.e. Italian Chicken and it will direct you to the recipe to follow. I have provided a grocery list at the bottom of each recipe so you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need.

I will be editing this blog post and updating recipes as I have time. Family comes first – as to why my blog posts are so sporadic. Subscribe if you want to be notified when I post on my blog. 🙂

Meal Plan

Chicken

 

Beef/Venison

Ground Beef
  • Salisbury Steaks
  • Meat Balls
  • Ground Beef Oriental
Steak
  • Skillet Chops
  • Pot Roast
  • Pepper Steak* Goes well with Yellow Rice
  • Cheese Steak

 

Pork

  • Ham Balls

 

Fish

 

Side Ideas

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Creamy Rice
  • Yellow Rice* Goes well with Pepper Steak
  • Potato Wedges
  • Spaetzle -Homemade German Noodle Easy and kids love it!
  • Alfredo Sauce – over Penne noodles.
  • Rice-A-Roni – Homemade Version -My recipe
  • Tuna Sketties
  • Tuna Mac
  • Mac – n – Cheese

 

Baked Goods

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Chicken Bacon Casserole

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day spent with those you hold dear. I am personally grateful for the sacrifices made for my freedom! Since I was relaxing with my family yesterday, this is “Monday’s” blog post, enjoy.

For those of you like me who are not fond of casseroles, you have got to try this one! Credit goes to my sister-in-love Rebecca for creating such deliciousness. She has a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 3 free range organic chicken breasts
  • 1/8 cup Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz Alfredo sauce – or homemade Alfredo sauce (1/2 cup cream, 2 TBSP butter, 1/4 cup Romano cheese)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 cup scallions, snipped
  • Rosemary, Salt and garlic powder to taste.
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled

Start out by cooking the chicken, or use leftovers from the night before.

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I cut my chicken into little cubes and then cook it in boiling water for a couple minutes.

img_1246My little helper Paisley, enjoying her fresh snap peas from Mema and Poppops’ garden. 😊

While the chicken cooks put all your ingredients into a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish.

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As you can see I separated the scallions because I won’t bake that with the rest of the ingredients.

img_1274TIP: Keep scallions in a cup of water to use again and again.
Mix everything together and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated and cheese has melted. Stir several tomes through out cooking.

Feeds about 4 people. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

I have lots of lettuce right now so I will have a salad with my casserole.

Can’t wait till the hubby comes home and we can eat dinner out on the patio. 😃

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Yummy Fall Breakfast

Homemade Oatmeal Cereal

Ingredients

1/2 cup old fashioned oats (aka 5 minute oats)

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I roll my own oats from Oat groat. I buy my oat grout in bulk out in Lancaster, PA. I borrow my mom’s oat grinder to make my oats.

Don’t have old fashioned oats? You can use any kind of oats, it just might take longer to cook depending on the kind of oats you use.

  1. Place oats in magic bullet (i used the coffee grinder blade), pulse for 15 to 30 seconds or until finely ground.IMG_4766
  2. Store the oat powder in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer or in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

Making the cereal

  1. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the ground oats (I had to double the recipe, Tristan is a big eater).
  2. Whisk continuously for 30 seconds and then occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  3. Add cinnamon, butter, salt and maple syrup to taste. 🙂 Seriously this stuff is good, Tristan never leaves any for me to finish though!

One concern with making your own baby oatmeal is that it doesn’t contain iron. You can add pureed dates for added sweetener, but also dates are high in vitamin A and Iron.

The hardest part about this baby oatmeal cereal is it takes FOREVER to cool down. Just be careful not to burn your babies mouth. Test it on your lips before giving to baby.

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Tristan enjoys his breakfast using his boon spoon. I love the double sided spoon, rubber tipped on one side, metal on the other. The rubber side is flat which makes getting every last bite so much easier.

Whole Grain Quinoa Baby Cereal

1 cup whole quinoa (not ground into a powder) – again, I buy this bulk in Lancaster, PA

2 cups water

  1. In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add 1 cup of quinoa
  3. Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer approximately 15 minute or until liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for five minutes and then “fluff” a bit.
  4. You may add spices such as cinnamon, ginger and vanilla, and also fruits, veggies and/or other foods that are age appropriate for your baby.

If your baby likes his food smooth, just throw the cooked quinoa in a blender and puree.

Don’t stop there. Make quinoa for the whole family to enjoy! We add a little Bragg’s liquid aminos, butter and sesame seeds.

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Homemade Baby Food

What better way to start out this blog than a post about a mommy making some homemade baby food. 🙂

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Fresh Washed Veggies

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love all of the beautiful colors and scents. Today we’re going to cook up and puree some seasonal butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Freshly picked from my parent’s HUGE veggie garden! We just moved into our house a couple months ago, so for now I’m mooching off of their harvest of goodies!

I recommend eating organic and non GMO. I know that can get expensive, so at the very least check out the clean 15 and dirty dozen.

Making your own homemade baby food is relatively simple. It helps to have the right equipment.

1. Sharp knife. I learned from my sister (a pampered chef consultant) that using a good quality sharp knife can save your fingers. A dull blade is more likely to slip on hard veggie skins, therefor causing you to cut yourself.

2. Emersion blenderVitamix, Magic bullet, or basically any type of blender to puree your cooked veggies.

3. Pot & Veggie Steamer – also from Pampered Chef

You also need something to store your finished baby food in. When my baby had just started eating solids he only ate 2 oz. My favorite thing to use was Green Sprouts Freezer Trays. I would freeze his purees in the freezer trays, pop them out and store them in tupperware containers in the freezer. Just thaw one or two of the one ounce squares for your baby to enjoy.

Now that Tristan is eating more, I like freezing his food in 4 oz. Mason jars. I use the Ball wide mouth reusable plastic lids on the mason jars. To make eating on the go simple I got reusable squooshi pouches. These pouches are so cute and convenient.  BPA & Phthalate free, Dishwasher (top rack), & Freezer safe. They have a zipper closure at one end to make filling them very easy. You can also buy a fill n squeeze filling station (this on is cheaper, not as many pouches etc.) to make things even faster. I would recommend the filling station if you plan to make large batches. I found it very easy to use (and clean) for the pouches and my glass mason jars.

Pureed Carrots – same method for sweet potatoes.

Ingredients and items needed:

  • Raw, full sized carrots
  • Basket steamer (optional)
  • Pot with lid
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Food processor or blender

Directions:

1.)   Wash and peel the carrots and cut them into smaller pieces.  The smaller the pieces the less time you will need to steam.IMG_4578

2.)   Add just enough water to the pot to hit the bottom of the steamer basket and bring to a boil.

3.)   Add the carrots to the basket and cover. If you don’t have a steamer basket just cover the carrots with water. Check the carrots in 10 to 15 minute increments by attempting to cut or stab with a fork. If they are still too hard to easily do so, continue to steam. Be careful to watch your water level, as it will decrease over the time.

4.)   Once the carrots are completely softened, remove and add to your food processor or blender. Purée until smooth.

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Using the Filling Station

5.)   Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

Pureed Butternut Squash

Ingredients and items needed:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 9”x13” or larger baking dish or rimmed baking sheet
  • Food processor or blender
  • Ice cream scoop or large spoon
  • Tin foil
  • Water

 Directions:

1.)   Preheat your oven to 350°.

2.)   Begin by rinsing off the squash and scrubbing away any dirt or debris. (Though you wont be serving the skin, if your child is anything like mine he already gets enough dirt in his diet.)

3.)   Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place face down on the baking sheet.IMG_4585

4.)   Add a small amount of water to rise about 1 inch up the side of the squash. The purpose of this is two fold.  The water will prevent the squash from sticking to your bake ware, and will also create steam to aid in the cooking process.

5.)   Cover the baking sheet with tin foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

6.)   Remove, flip the squash over right side up, and stab with a fork in a few different areas to determine the softness of the squash.

7.)    If you can easily stab or mash it, you can remove the squash and allow it to cool. If it is still too dense, return it to the oven in 10 to 15 minute increments. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your squash.

8.)   Once the squash has cooled enough to touch, discard any seeds and scoop out the soft inside.  An ice cream scoop is the perfect tool for this:

9.)   Place it in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add some of the cooking water to make it the right consistency.

10.)  Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

Finished Product

Finished Product

Optional: Flavor with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey (not till 1 year of age).

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These are so cute & handy.

When using the squooshi pouches another helpful gadget is the ChooMee Sip’n. Makes it so your kids can sip on the pouches without making messes! Huge plus for us moms!