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Menu Plan

 

We are finishing up schoolwork, so we can enjoy our Spring Break coming up! We have a vacation planned, but it is a surprise for the kids. They know we are going somewhere but do not know where or with whom. 🙂 I am pretty excited to surprise them.

This week’s menu is a simple one. With packing and getting the dog boarding stuff situated (always a joy – NOT) and my husband being super busy at work, I needed to plan some simpler meals. I am still pretty selective with my gluten intake. I have steered clear from some of the more major problem-causing sources, which include store-bought breads. This includes restaurant bread, too….so it was a bummer when my husband wanted Jimmy John’s last week! I am finding it easier when the gluten items are made here at home, so I wonder if it is more the preservatives or fillers or whatever added for the extended shelf life of the store-bought stuff. Not really sure, but I will continue to avoid for now.

With that in mind, I planned out a few alternatives items for myself in a few of the meals. The kids and husband can still have their pasta and breads, but I swapped out a few things for my plate. Not too hard to do, just a few more minutes of prep at dinner time.

Breakfast

Oatmeal

Scrambled Eggs

Pancakes (eggs for me)

Coffee Cake (eggs and bacon for me)

Cereal

Oatmeal muffins and yogurt

Lunch

PB& J for the kids, leftovers or salads for me

Egg Salad

Tuna Salad

Snacky

Dinner

Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots

Tomato Soup with Chicken, salad

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Sloppy Joe in a Bowl (rice), Salad, Raw veggies and ranch

All-Day Chicken Soup, salad, fruit

Honey Mustard Chicken, Green beans, carrots

Baked Pasta Casserole (salmon cakes for me), salad

Breakfast for Dinner

Honey Shrimp and Veggies, Salad

Menu Plan 3/15-3/21

 

Our menu this week consists of several new recipes. I am trying to exclude gluten and a lot of dairy from our meals for right now. After almost 3 months of belly issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, blah, blah, blah), I think I have figured out the main problem: an overload of gluten and dairy in my diet. So, I have been gluten-free for about 10 days now, and my bloating has come down. I cut out dairy, except for yogurt and small amounts of milk cooked into meals. Not to be too graphic on a food post :), but my regularity is back….and I could seriously not be happier.

Anywho, I have a whole lot to say on how changing my food intake has helped, but that will be another post at some point. Here’s what we have lined up for this week’s meals:

Breakfast

Eggs, Sausage

Eggs, Bacon

Overnight oats (using almond milk)

Cereal (kids), Eggs (dad and me)

Banana pancakes (paleo, so gluten and dairy-free….the recipe looks so good!)

Lunches

Leftovers

Tuna Salad

Egg Salad

Snacky

Dinners

Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup, tortilla chips, salad

Fire Roasted Paleo Chili, corn cakes, salad

Ranch Stuffed Peppers (me), BBQ Chicken Rice (others), green beans, apple slices

Honey Mustard Chicken, asparagus, roasted carrots

Sneaky Burgers w/guacamole, salad, sweet potato fries

Pizza (others), Salad (me)

Meat “Cupcakes” with cheese, sweet potato chips, salad and veggies

 

Menu Plan

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I am working more healthy meals back into our dinners. The past few weeks I have been making a lot of easy meals, so we could focus on school and get through our busy schedule outside the house, too. My gut isn’t too happy with me right now, unfortunately, so I know it is time to get back to more meals without breads and dairy. I am pulling from my paleo books and favorite paleo sites for some gluten-free and veggie-heavy lunches and dinners. My plan is to also juice again a few mornings a week. Hopefully my stomach will get back to normal, soon. 😉

Breakfast

Sweet Potato Hash, fruit x 2

Eggs (Arthur and me), Cereal (kids)

Eggs (us), Waffles (kids)

Omelets x 2

Oatmeal with toppings (cinnamon, fruit, maple syrup)

Lunch

Egg Salad

Smoothies, Air-popped popcorn, carrots and ranch

PB&J (kids), Tuna avocado lettuce wrap (me) x 2

Hummus and cheese pitas (kids), Large salad and hummus w/veggies (me)

Lunch drawers (kids), salad w/hard-boiled egg (me) x 2

Dinner

Pulled Pork, Steamed broccoli, carrots and ranch

Chicken Barley Soup, salads

Chicken Parmesan orzo (mine will be without orzo and maybe just spooned over quinoa or brown rice)

DATE NIGHT!!! (kids will eat at grandparents)

Chipotle Chicken Wraps (lettuce wrap for me, bread wraps for the others), Veggies w/ranch, Applesauce

Citrus and Herb Chicken, Brown Rice, Green Beans

Pizza (others), Salad (me)

Snacks

Apples with honey and cinnamon

Berry Shakes (dairy-free)

Banana Chocolate Shakes (dairy-free)

Homemade larabars

Raw brownie bites

Air-popped popcorn

 

Menu Plan

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We are busy this week! Church groups, visits with friends and family, Arthur’s school work, and, of course, homeschooling…all leave us pretty busy all week. I loaded our menu with easy favorites that should give leftovers for several days, so we can just reheat things for lunches.

(As a side note, some day I will be fabulous with taking photos for these posts. I am just barely staying consistent with posting for now.) 🙂

Breakfast

Eggs

Pancakes

Biscuits and Gravy

Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

Cereal

Lunch

Leftovers

Egg Salad

Ham Sandwiches

PB&J

Lunch Drawers

Dinner

Philly Cheesesteaks

Parmesan Chicken and Orzo

Homemade Pizza

Cobb Salads

Chicken Barley Soup

Crockpot Baked Ziti

BBQ Meatballs

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Chicken Alfredo

Snacks

Granola Bars

Energy Balls

Chocolate Chip Oat Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Apples and peanut butter

Menu Plan

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Almost forgot to post this for the week! This will carry us through to the 31st, when I will shop again (though I may need to run out for bananas and avocados before then). Lots of simple but filling dinners planned, which will make for a lot of yummy leftovers for lunches! Love when that happens!

Breakfast

Eggs x 3

Cereal x 3

Oatmeal (cooked on stove top with toppings added in)

Baked Oatmeal x 2

Energy Balls and yogurt

Granola bars and fruit

Lunch

Leftovers x 5

Ham Sandwiches 2

PB&J x 3

Snacky

Dinner

Family Dinner at Relative’s House

Frozen Pizza

Chicken Rice Casserole, Applesauce, Bread

Broccoli Cheese Soup, Rolls, raw veggies

Turkey Brats, Chips, Salad

Bacon Mac and Cheese, raw veggies, applesauce

Creamy Potato Soup, biscuits, salad

BBQ Meatballs, Brown Rice, Salad

Homemade Pizza (Yum!)

Scrambled Eggs and Toast

Snacks To Make:

Apples and Honey or PB

Frozen Banana Bites (banana chunks dipped in chocolate and then frozen)

Snack Mix (recipe to come soon)

 

Menu Plan

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New week, new menu! I am keeping it fairly simple, with 3 slow cooker meals and some old favorites. Lunches are leftovers and few other easy items. Nothing too fancy or challenging this week for meals. I don’t anticipate having a ton of time to dedicate to dinners, so I planned ahead for simpler things.

Breakfast

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Biscuits and Gravy

Cereal x 2

French Toast (using leftover homemade bread…yum!)

Eggs x 2

 

Lunch

Leftovers x 4

PB&J x 2

Red Beans and Rice

 

Dinner

Crockpot Sloppy Chicken Joes (carried over from last week…we didn’t end up making it)

Pizza

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Chowdown (new!)

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Chicken Alfredo

Cobb Salads

 

Snacks

Energy Balls

Granola Bars

Air-Popped Popcorn

Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

I am on the hunt for some new snack ideas/recipes. We do a lot of the same snacks; I know kids don’t technically need a snack, but with all the brain power they use in the morning for school and how early they get up, I like to offer a snack at least in the morning (sometimes afternoon, too, depending on how late dinner will be). And if it is going to be a sweet, sugary treat, I figure homemade is the way to go. So, send me all your snack ideas! 😉

 

What’s your menu look like this week?? Any snack ideas or recipes you’d be willing to share? 

My 3 Kitchen Time Savers

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Busy.

That word probably describes all of us, unfortunately. I am slowly moving toward a less busy life by being more aware of my commitments (and not saying “yes” to everything). BUT, my days are still busy with homeschool, homemaking, five kids, and crochet. 😉 Any time I can find a way to save time on things but still produce great work…I am all for it.

I could spend hours each day in the kitchen – I love cooking and baking, trying new techniques, experimenting with recipes,…and eating. Because we have five kids and homeschool, I don’t always have the time I want in the kitchen. So, making the most of my time in there is important, as well as finding ways to save me some time in there.

Here are three ways I have found to save time in the kitchen:

1.Meal Plan

For me, it is imperative that I plan out a list of meals for each week. I know a lot of moms assign meals to specific days of the week, but I don’t like to do that. If I look and see a certain meal assigned to the day, I have a mental thing where I suddenly no longer have a taste for that food. Haha! But, if I just have a list of 7 meals from which I can choose, depending on my tastes for the day, then I am a happy camper. Meal planning ahead of time saves me TONS of time in the kitchen. Knowing what meals I have planned and shopped for gives me peace of mind that I don’t have to worry about finding a recipe that I have all the ingredients for…or starting a recipe and finding out half way through that I don’t have one of the key ingredients (been there!).

2. Prioritize My Day

It might seem odd to work in my daily plans as a way to save time in the kitchen (or maybe it doesn’t because you do it too!), but each morning I write out my three to five most important tasks for the day. Usually, school and chores and both listed, but if we have appointments or plans with friends or a library trip planned, I write those in as well since they would be a priority for us. Once I have my list of important tasks for the day, I can see how much time I will have in the afternoon to work on dinner. If we have a 3:00PM appointment, obviously I will have less time for dinner, so I will be sure to choose a dinner off our meal plan that requires less hands on work. If I see a slow cooker dinner, I may choose that and get it all prepped in the morning before we have to be anywhere out of the house. Prioritizing my day helps me plan ahead either that morning or even for the following day’s dinner because I know how busy I am on certain days, rather than just winging it and rushing through everything and scrambling at 4:00 to get something on the table in the next two hours.

3. Make Doubles

You have probably heard people talk about making double of a meal – one to eat that night and one to store for another night. I rarely make an entire double meal, but I do make doubles of things that require a lot of time for me. Bread is one of those things that takes a good chunk of my time. We eat a bread with almost every meal – biscuits, rolls, breadsticks, flatbread, cornbread, etc. I almost always make them from scratch and by hand (my preference is by hand, though I do use the bread machine from time to time). What I will do to save me time on a future meal is make double the biscuits; we’ll eat half or so for that night’s meal, and then I just put the rest in a air tight container for another meal. Sometimes dinner biscuits become biscuits and gravy the next morning (a HUGE time saver, since then all i have to make is the gravy!) or we’ll butter and jam them for lunch. Regardless of how they get used, it saves me time for that second meal not having to mix up and roll out another 12-15 biscuits.

If you don’t think you’ll get to the second half of the items doubled, you can just wrap and freeze them! If I double a soup recipe, I know we probably won’t have a second dinner of the same soup that week. I just let the extra soup cool and then scoop into freezer friendly containers and through them in to freeze until we need them. That saves a lot of time, whenever we use the second batch, because all I have to do is thaw and reheat!

When we know the days ahead will be super busy, I plan accordingly to double a few things here and there to cover us during the busy times. Salad, breads, soups, mac and cheese casseroles, taco meat, and a ton of other things are so easy to double (requiring little to no extra time while doubling!) and store for a more hectic day. If I make a salad for dinner, I always purposely make it gigantic, so I can just pack it up in a container and it’s all ready to go for the next meal when someone wants salad.

 

So those are three super helpful ways that I save time in the kitchen. I am sure there are so many other ways to save time; those are just the ones we use all the time and save me a huge headache each day! 😉

Do you have any tips for saving time in the kitchen?? Please share! The more time we can save, the better!!