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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Menu Plan 12/26- New Year's Day


 I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus ;-) Can you believe that it is officially the last week of 2011?! This week I am working hard to make sure we get our calorie counts back on track and get back to around 500 calories per serving dinners starting the first week of January. Truthfully, I have had too many rich foods and cookies in the past 4 weeks and I am really looking forward to getting back to normal food!

Monday: Baked Mahi Mahi with Coucous
Tuesday: I am trying a new chili recipe tonight... Crockpot Texas Chili
Wednesday: Swedish Meatballs
Thursday: Bow-tie Tuna Salad
Friday: Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
Saturday: Finger Foods (little smokies, a veggie platter, etc.)
Sunday: It's New Year's Day so we have to have Black Eyed Peas (it's a southern tradition), so we are going to be having Crockpot Hoppin' John. I have also included the recipe I use for Slow Cooker Chicken Curry below. I either use thighs or breast for this recipe, and I usually start out with frozen chicken rather than thawed (it cooks in the same amount of time). Also, I usually just use a can of diced tomatoes and instead of white rice (which we do not touch in our home), we use brown rice. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Recipe

By Woman's Day Kitchen from Woman's Day | September 1, 2011

Recipe Ingredients
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 1-in. piece fresh ginger, grated
    • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp curry powder
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • Kosher salt and pepper
    • 8 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb total)
    • 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-in. wedges
    • 1 cup long-grain white rice
    • 2 plum or other tomatoes, diced
    • Nonfat Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro, for serving
Recipe Preparation 

1. In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, whisk together the garlic, ginger, vinegar, curry powder, cumin, 2 Tbsp water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.2. Add the chicken and onions and toss to coat. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.3. When the chicken has 25 minutes left to cook, cook the rice according to package directions.4. Gently fold the tomatoes into the chicken mixture and serve over the rice. Top with the yogurt and cilantro, if desired.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Menu Plan 12/18- Christmas Day

I am extending this week's menu plan to include Christmas Day.
Sunday: Salad, bread, and spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce (this recipe is not the one I make, which instead has 2 cups tomato sauce plus 2 cups diced tomatoes instead of just  2 cans of diced tomatoes. Everything else is about the same although I usually add a half a pound of frozen spinach and/or fresh basil to my sauce as well).
Monday: Potato and Cheese Frittata (I am adding bell pepper, spinach, and mushrooms to this recipe to up the veggie content).
Tuesday: Chicken enchilada soup and salad
Wednesday: Pancakes and bacon
Thursday: Brown rice, broccoli, and  Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Friday: Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese (didn't get this made last week, and I wanted my hubby to try it as well).
Saturday (Christmas Eve): Dinner with family ??
Sunday (Christmas Day): Glazed Ham, scalloped potatoes, balsamic glazed carrots (I chop regular size carrots into shorter spears, splitting big ones in half or quarters, and use them for this instead of buying baby carrots).

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas with Christ at the center of your celebration. He is the reason for the season!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

State Capitals and US Geography

We have been working on learning the state capitals and the locations for all 50 states. We started out simply by learning 5 new capitals each day. This plan would have taken 2 weeks but my son really got into the task and ended up learning all of them by the end of the first week (we started this Monday a week ago), which is totally fine with me. My daughter hasn't been nearly as interested to learn them although she does know the majority of them and only struggles with a few of them at this point. Mainly because my son is quizzing her on them pretty much non-stop (don't you just love when your kids are really into something you are trying to teach!). Anyway, this week I gave the kids 2 tests on the state capitals. On the first test, they had to write the capital for each state, and on the second test (today's test), they have to write the name of the state to correlate with its state capital. I found great customizable worksheets for this here. I gave them a bonus question for an extra point for each correct answer if, on the first test, they could correctly identify the state abbreviation, and on the second test, if they could name some of the state nicknames. They also got an extra point for each capital or state they spelled correctly. The main objective is to learn the capitals, but the added bonuses help motivate them to learn even more about the states than only learning what is required. For today's test, I also included a blank outline of the 50 states so the kids could label where each state is located. My son requested this, and I had been thinking about doing it later down the road after I made sure they knew their capitals, so I figured if nothing else it would be a good primer to see how many states they could locate. It took me a while to find a good blank map for this that printed big enough for them to be able to label easily (especially for the itty bitty states) and was free but I did finally find a great one here. Next week we are doing a capital bee to see who can name the most capitals, and there will be a prize (not sure what yet, but something... I was originally thinking candy but since I know they will be getting Christmas candy, this may be overkill. Maybe I'll let the winner pick a redbox movie or something). We are doing the capital bee after my hubby gets home from FL so that he can see what they've learned ;-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Insane Goals for December

Okay, in case you hadn't noticed, I have not posted goals for December and I also have not documented my progress as far as my November goals go. I did complete most of my goals for last month and instead of making a list of goals this month, I am actually just sticking with working diligently to get Christmas presents made and so forth, including one major Christmas present for someone special that I cannot blog about on here just in case they read this. I do have lists for what needs to be done and I am doing good with getting things done. I do have goals in mind for 2012 and for January that I will be posting at the beginning of next year ;-) Anyway, just wanted to say that I haven't fallen off the wagon or completely ditched my goals... just doing things a bit different this month.

Menu Changes

I was reading a blog post this morning from Money Saving Mom and I have decided to change tonight's menu to Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake instead of Chicken Tacos, since my chicken is already cooked and ready to go. Not only am I doing this because the recipe sounds yummy and I really want to try it, but I am also doing it because I read further down her weekly menu plan and saw one of the most amazing things I have seen this week (ok, seriously, I do get excited fairly easily!)... a recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos!!! This is going on next week's menu unless I decide to swap it out for something else this week. However, if I do make it this week, it means I will have to use chicken breast instead though since I am all out of chicken thighs. And yes, I did go to Costco this weekend, and yes, I knew I was out of thighs. In fact, I even looked at the chicken while at the store and it still did not dawn on me that I was supposed to walk over to it, pick it up, and put it into the cart. I did however get everything else on my list.... for once... (Just didn't have chicken thighs on the actual list!). Luckily, I have bunch of chicken breast in the freezer waiting ;-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Menu Plan 12/11- 12/17/11

 I did our once a month big grocery shopping trip yesterday. I like doing the majority of our shopping in one big trip, especially since I drive all the way to the Springs (about 40 or so miles to the stores we go to most) to purchase most of our staple items at Costco and Whole Foods, and I go to Target and Albertson's while I am there as well. We were completely out of cheese so I purchased a bunch to shred for the freezer and slice for sandwiches. I didn't get my fridge cleaned before the shopping trip which, if you shop at Costco, you know how difficult it is to fit all the containers in the refrigerator in the first place. Having a cluttered fridge does not help at all! I also purchased 6 dozen eggs at Albertson's because they were on sale for $1 a dozen. I hate buying non cage free eggs, which is why I have chickens, but since they are still on strike and not laying at all now, and my grocery budget is fairly tight, I had to go with the cheaper eggs. But, that being said, I would like to specify that I do not agree with the way these chickens are raised at all. Anyway, today was insane with trying to get all our groceries rearranged in both the fridge and in the pantry, but I did manage to get the menu plan done even if it is a bit tardy ;-)

Sunday: Rigatoni, garlic bread, salad
Monday: Chicken tacos (ended up with a bunch of leftover chicken from the fajitas last week, so turning it into tacos... EASY!), spanish rice (okay, not really authentic but I add a can of rotel when cooking to make a quick version)
Tuesday: Phunky Pho (We love this Vietnamese dish! Very different and out of the ordinary.)
Wednesday: Tator Tot Casserole (This recipe makes 2, so I am going to freeze one.)
Thursday: Beef Stir Fry
Friday: Homemade pizza (attempting to replicate Papa Murphy's Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pizza this week)
Saturday: Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese (so excited to try this!!!) 

I am planning on restocking my freezer with cooked beans this week, so I am going to be cooking some black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans in the crockpot this week. Other than that, we will be working on baking Christmas goodies for presents and making up some gift baskets.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Menu Plan 12/4-12/10/11

I took a couple of weeks off from blogging for Thanksgiving and enjoying time with friends that came down for Wyoming. For those 2 weeks, we pretty much cooked on a whim, but since my pantry and freezer are well stocked, I had almost all the needed ingredients and only had to run to the store for a couple of things. Anyway, things are getting back to normal now, with the exception of my hubby being in Florida for work right now and there only being 3 of us to cook for (of course with my teen son, it really means I am still cooking for at least 4 people, maybe even 5 or 6... LOL).

Here is what I have planned for the week: (oh, and I am changing to Sun-Sat meal planning to see how I like it).
Sunday: Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage and Peppers (except I used keilbasa for the sausage and salsa in place of the rotel and I used one fresh chopped onion with one 14 oz. bag of frozen peppers). I am also making brown rice in another slow cooker, since my rice cooker died.
Monday: Pork Chops and Stuffing Bake ( I make my own cream soup from scratch instead of the canned stuff and I usually make my own stuffing, but I did pick up a bunch for dirt cheap during the thanksgiving sales, so I will use it since I already have it on hand. I am not a fan of cooking with processed foods but I don't have a problem with doing so occasionally.)
Tuesday: Chicken breast, veggie, and quinoa
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes, veggie, and sweet potato wedges
Thursday: Shepard's pie
Friday: Chicken fajitas, brown rice (I cooked double Sunday for this meal), veggie
Saturday: Spaghetti

I am also dicing up a bunch of celery that I picked up for cheap during the Thanksgiving sales for the freezer and freezing some mushrooms as well. I love having this items prepped and ready to just throw into dishes. Hope everyone has a great week!
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