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!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Menu Plan 11/14-11/20

Okay, I am a wee bit behind this week. My menu plans have been very hit and miss for the last couple of weeks, but we have not eaten out for these meals either thanks to a well stocked pantry and freezer, so I truthfully don't mind. And, since Thanksgiving is next week, this week's menu is going to be very simple. Probably won't get around to doing much freezer cooking other than the 2 pumpkins I still need to roast and freeze, and make pie with for next week ;-) And, I have still not made the Jambalaya that I keep meaning to make. It just seems that I keep skipping over that one! I have a lot of recipes included that do not seem to be online anywhere so I will try my best to get these posted this week. Thanks for your patience ;-)
So, here's what I have planned:
Monday: Taco Bowls (see recipe below)
Tuesday: Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and a veggie with salad
Wednesday: Crockpot Hoppin John (will post later)
Thursday: Tuna melts, salad, and tomato soup
Friday: Crockpot Chicken Curry, coucous, and a veggie (I will try to post this recipe later this week; I can't recall where I got the recipe from, but mine does not have coconut milk like an Indian Curry recipe normally does. My hubby is allergic to coconut so this is obviously a big no-no in our home!)
Saturday: Pancakes, sausage, and eggs
Sunday: Roast in the crockpot (this was planned last week but we ended up doing something else)

Taco Bowls
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 Tbsp. homemade taco seasoning (or a packet)
1 cup water
2 cups cooked rice
2 cups frozen corn (or a can, drained)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can of black beans, drained (or kidney beans, red beans, pinto beans...)
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese, avocado (or guacamole), sour cream, lettuce, salsa, etc. for toppings

Cook ground beef and onion together, until meat is browned and onion is softened. Add taco seasoning and 1 cup water. Simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, beans, and cooked rice. Cook for additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you may want to add. We serve this up on a small bed of lettuce and add our own desired toppings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Menu- 11/7-11/13/11

Okay, so my menu plans sometimes end up getting completely changed around due to unforseen circumstances, such as my hubby having to have 9 teeth pulled this past week. Since this event made it somewhat impossible (or at least extremely painful) for my husband to eat many of the items I had planned to cook last week, I ended up substituting chicken noodle soup into our menu plan and then since that was somewhat close to the chicken jambalaya, I ended up not making that at all last week or the salmon patties and Sunday's meatloaf was ditched (although that was due to me forgetting to actually prep for dinner... oops!). Instead, we had breakfast for dinner on Friday (grits, eggs, biscuits, and homemade sausage) and on Sunday we had keibasa with mac and cheese (with homemade whole wheat noodles from my pasta machine) along with broccoli normandy.
Anyway, for this week, I am planning on making the meals that we have ended up not having over the past few weeks when I have ended up having to a change of plans.

Monday: Pepperoni Supreme Pizza with homemade whole wheat crust This is a new crust recipe for me but I have always wanted to try making my crust in the breadmaker. I am going to make two crusts from this, but since I am not sure how big this gets in the breadmaker, I will do one in each of my two bread machines. I am thinking that I could probably make enough dough for 2 in one machine but I want to try it out first to make sure.
Tuesday: Crockpot Jamabalaya (I will post this recipe later this week. I am adapting a regular recipe for the crockpot and I want to see how it turns out first).
Wednesday: Sweet and Spicy Salsa Chicken (this recipe is AMAZING!!!), wild rice, and balsamic glazed carrots ( I use regular carrots instead of baby carrots; I just split them in half down the middle and cut into 3-4 inch sections).
Thursday: Beef Stroganoff, sauteed zucchini, side salad
Friday: Black Bean and Beef Cheeseburgers, sweet potato wedges, sugar snap peas
Saturday: Savory Butternut Squash Soup (except I will be using butter!)
Sunday: Crockpot roast

For freezer cooking this week, I have two huge pumpkins that my hubby and I didn't get carved for Halloween that I need to cook up, puree, and freeze. And, I am going to, of course, roast the pumpkin seeds for snacks. I need to get some extra bread baked for the freezer this week as well. I will also be making crockpot yogurt this week. I was hoping to get a freezer cooking session in but I am not sure that is going to happen this week since we have church events Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week and next week. We'll see ;-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salsa Verde Recipe

I made a bunch of salsa verde for the freezer today. This recipe makes 7 pints (or 14 cups).

Salsa Verde
6 lbs. tomatillos, husked and washed
1 large onion, quartered
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
4-6 Chilies or Jalapeno peppers, seeded
3/4- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro, or 1/4- 1/2 cup dried cilantro
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups water (depending upon desired thickness)

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and fresh herbs (if using) in a food processor and chop finely. Transfer to big pot on stove and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until desired salsa consistency is reached. Let cool and the transfer to containers for freezer. I put mine in pint jars, since this is the amount I use for enchiladas. Note: If you are using glass jars, make sure you leave space for expansion, especially for liquidy items such as this. For pint jars, I leave about an inch to an inch and a half. Also, make sure the food is cool before putting in the jar. If the food is still somewhat warm when I put it into jars, I place the jars in the fridge for a couple of hours and then place in the freezer.

Insane Goals for November and UPDATE

November is here and I am so very excited that Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away. Our friends from Wyoming are coming down to celebrate with us and I can hardly wait! It has nothing to do with the fact that we are going to see the first installment of Twilight: Breaking Dawn (okay, I seriously love Twilight... I read all the books in a week, which is really telling you something since it normally takes me forever to finish one book). Okay, so maybe I am also very excited about that as well ;-) Anyway, before I tell you my Insane Goals for November, let me give you a quick update on my past goals.
Part A: (These were for full month of October)
1. Paint our home- Have one coat to do and one really high part to paint, then trim. The weather hit before we could finish but we will hopefully finish before Thanksgiving.
2. Reevaluate my cleaning system. Work in progress- Trying things out before I cross this one off.
3. Work on organizing recipes for easier meal planning.
4. Decorate for Halloween/ Fall
5. Store Swamp Cooler for winter )
6. Spend more time with friends and family
7. Open my home to others
8. Reorganize closet- Change configuration- Get rid of monster organizer- Move to Michael's soon to be closet
9. Work on entryway.
10. Take the massive pile of donations that have accumulated in our entryway to Loaves and Fishes
Part B: (These were for last part of October)
1. Read with my kids more.
2. Bake a loaf of bread each weekday so that I can freeze some. (kitchen remodel put this on hold)
3. Go through my closet and get rid of the clothes I don't wear
4. Do some freezer cooking at least once per week.
5. Finish reading Breathe: A Novel of Colorado (almost!)
6. Clean the garage so that we can actually walk into it without having to climb over stuff.
7. Get a pressure regulator for my pressure cooker so that I can actually USE it! (Ebay!!!)

Now, for November's Insane Goals, here's what I am adding on top of the things that I am still working on from above.
1. Take down Halloween decorations.
2. Work on office/guest room- Determine what I need to keep school areas more organized and what to do to make this room more comfortable to work in and sleep in.
3. Finish drywall in entryway and paint.
4. Install new trim in living room and dining room (its sitting in my garage waiting).
5. Get recipe plan for Thanksgiving and activities, decorations, etc. plan for school.
6. Organize pictures and figure out what I want to scrapbook while friends are here from WY.
7. Take everything out of my freezer (again, just did this 2 months ago) and re-defrost it (the door was left partially opened so now there is ice and frost covering everything....eeeekkkkk!!!).

Okay, so that's the plan. What are your goals for November? Be sure to check out Simply Rebekah's Insane Goal Link-up