Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Meal Plan: 11-7-16 --- 11-13-16

Last week I wrote a post about how I plan to share my dinner meal plan for the week.  I'm a little behind sharing, but here is what we are eating this week...

Monday - Cabbage, Potato, and Sausage Soup (It was so yummy!  My children gobbled it up and my husband went back for thirds!)

Tuesday - Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Ciabatta rolls

Wednesday - Chick-Fil-A (church night)

Thursday - Left-over Pulled Pork, Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli
*Sausage and Cheese Muffins for discipleship group

Friday - Taco Soup, Jiffy Corn Muffins

Saturday - Left-overs

Sunday - Turkey and Dressing Thanksgiving meal at church; taking Sweet Potato Casserole and Pecan Pie

When I sit down to meal plan I look up the weekly ad for the grocery store where I'll be shopping.  I choose meat and vegetables based on what is on sale that week.  I plan my meals for the week and write it down on my calendar.  I then look up the ingredient list and make my grocery list.  Friday is my typical grocery shopping day so I meal plan and make my grocery list on Thursday afternoons.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meal Plan: 10-31-16 -- 11-6-16

Five other women and myself get together in my home every Thursday morning for a discipleship group meeting.  We hold each other accountable for Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, and scripture memory.  We confess our sins to one another.  We pray for one another.  We encourage each other in our faith.  And we discuss a lesson my husband (our pastor) has written about a key topic in the Christian life.  Last week several ladies mentioned they needed prayer that they would have joy and better time management in the discipline of serving their families and prioritizing their homes.  One friend mentioned it would be helpful if we gave her ideas for meals to cook for her family.  This post is just that.  I meal plan each week, so why not share it?  

Here's our (dinner) meal plan for the week:

Monday - order pizza (Happy Halloween!)

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken (with garlic and herb marinade), baked sweet potatoes, and Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Dressing

Wednesday - left-overs (minus the sweet potatoes) (church night)

Thursday - Chicken Bundles, rice, green beans, and pineapple (double recipe to take to a friend who just had a baby)
*Pumpkin Muffins for discipleship group

Friday - left-overs (enjoy two family meals at home from all the hard work you put in to making dinner last night)

Saturday - spaghetti, broccoli
*Sausage Balls for breakfast

Sunday - Beef Tips and Rice, green beans, and rolls (double recipe for out of town friends coming over for lunch after church)

I normally wouldn't make green beans and rice as the side for two meals in the same week, but that's just how it happened this week since I'm making these meals to also share with other families and these are common sides.  And some people in other countries eat rice every day with every meal, so we should be just fine.  My goal is to share our meal plan for the week on Sundays so others can have ideas for the upcoming week.

I love sharing a meal with my family around the table at home.  There is something so special about the family gathering together to eat a meal, laugh, talk, and in our case make a lot of messes.  With four children ages 1-8 years old, dinner time rarely goes by without a spill, reminder that we don't dance and sing at the table, and encouragement to finish eating before the timer goes off.  :)  (Eventually we have to move on)  There have been numerous studies showing the benefits of sharing family mealtime at home!  A few of the benefits are less stress, eating healthier, better grades, less substance abuse, and it's a more frugal option than eating out.

"The routine of family meals can generate feelings of closeness and comfort. Even when mealtimes feel hectic or disorganized, take comfort in the fact that the simple act of regular mealtimes may be providing your child with stability."
-Journal of Marriage and Family

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Coffee Punch

I hosted a small baby shower (a sprinkle) in my home for a friend last week and served this punch for the first time.  I have had this punch over the years at Christmas parties, weddings, and other events and was always intimidated to make it.  My pregnant friend LOVES coffee and the sprinkle was in the morning, so we had breakfast foods and I wanted a special drink to serve that the honored guest would especially like.  I asked a church friend for her recipe and found some on Pinterest that I ended up combining to come up with this creation, which if I do say so myself, was delicious!  It was so easy to make also!  When I have looked at recipes for this in the past I feel like they have had numerous time consuming steps, but that is not the case with this one.  The ice cream melts during the party and serves as the ice to keep the punch cold.  One of the main recipes I got ideas from was this one.

1/2 gallon whole milk
2-3 pints vanille ice cream (I use Bluebell, of course)
1 pint coffee ice cream
1/3 cup powdered instant coffee
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the water, coffee powder, sugar, chocolate syrup until all ingredients are dissolved and well mixed.
2.  Allow mixture to cool to room temp.  Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to use. (at least 4 hours, can be stored overnight)
3.  Before guests arrive, pour chilled syrupy mixture in punch bowl. Pour milk over and stir.
4.  Add all ice cream by scoops and stir to mix.

Keep in mind I served this to a small group of ladies.  Most of the time the recipe would probably need to be doubled. 

Broccoli, Cheese, and Potato Soup

Our family loves soup this time of year, and on Saturdays I usually try a new soup recipe.  We enjoyed this one last weekend so I'm adding it to my list.  It's one of those warm and cozy, fill you up type soups and pretty easy to make.

32 oz box chicken broth
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp onion powder (or throw in some fresh diced onion)
2 small broccoli heads, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic pepper
lots and lots of bacon, cooked and chopped (because you can never have enough)

1.  In a large pot, bring your potatoes, carrots, broth, and onion powder to a boil, then cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
2.  Add broccoli, cover and simmer another 10 minutes.
3.  While simmering, melt butter in a large saucepan.  Whisk in flour and cook for about a minute until it turns brown.  Whisk in milk, and cook an additional 5 minutes until it thickens. 
4.  Add cheese to milk mixture and stir until melted.  Add salt and garlic pepper.
5.  Pour cheese sauce into large pot of vegetables.  Add milk, salt, and pepper if needed.
6.  Garnish with bacon pieces.

We are trying to not eat as much bread, but this soup is really good with some homemade bread!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sweet Potato Casserole

Although it's still 90 degrees in West Tennessee, September means fall and casserole season are right around the corner.  (Who am I kidding?  I make casseroles all year long, but more so in the fall and winter months.)  I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe yet!  I've been making it for over a decade and my family has been eating it at holiday get togethers for as long as I can remember.  As a child growing up in AL, my Aunt Cheryl brought it to our house every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love sweet potatoes, so what could be better than smothering them in butter, sugar, and pecans?

5 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped

1.  Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl and pour in 9x13 baking dish.
2.  Mix topping ingredients and cover sweet potato mixture.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees covered lightly with foil for 25 minutes.
4.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Butterfinger Cake

Grant and I first tasted this cake as newlyweds living in Louisville, KY.  We had three other couples who were sweet seminary friends and we hung out with them every weekend.  My friend Lindsay made this for one of our get togethers and emailed me the recipe when she got home per my request.  Since then I've tasted other versions made with chocolate cake and other varieties, but this one is my favorite, and it can be made ahead of time!

1 box butter cake mix
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
4 Butterfingers candy bars, finely chopped
8 oz Cool Whip

1.  Make cake by directions on box and bake in 9x13 dish.
2.  When cake is done and still hot, use a straw to poke several holes in cake.
3.  Mix milk and caramel topping in bowl and drizzle over cake.
4.  Sprinkle half of the candy bar crumbles over cake.
5.  Spread Cool Whip over cake.
6.  Sprinkle with remaining candy bar.
7.  Chill overnight or at least one hour.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shrimp and Grits

For a yummy, quick dinner, shrimp and grits does not disappoint!  I have tried several variations of this dish and this one is my favorite.  The hot sauce is saved for just my hubby to add to his plate, since the rest of us don't like the spicy version.  I add extra spinach because it shrivels as it cooks and spinach is healthy.

1 cup uncooked instant grits
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach
hot sauce

1.  Prepare grits according to directions on package.
2.  Whisk in parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Keep warm.
3.  Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/8 tsp salt and cook in large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat until pink.  Remove and keep warm.
4.  Pour oil in skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour, cook for one minute.
5.  Stir in chicken broth, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook stirring for 3 minutes.
6.  Stir in shrimp and spinach.  Cook for one minute or until spinach is wilted.
7.  Serve immediately over grits.  Add hot sauce if desired.

Pumpkin Muffins

I'm usually not a fan of pumpkin dishes, but these muffins are so delicious!  The secret ingredient that makes them so yummy is the butterscotch morsels.  It's so hard to eat just one!  The recipe comes from a girl named Amy at my inlaws church.  She shared her secret family recipe from her grandmother (Gammy June) on my SIL's mommy blog not long ago, and I am so glad she did!  No need to adapt this recipe.  The original recipe is perfect every time.

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs, beaten
16 oz can pumpkin
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 bag butterscotch morsels

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line muffin tin.
2.  Combine sugar and oil, beat in eggs.
3.  Add pumpkin and mix well, add all other ingredients.
4.  Pour batter into muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

In an effort to eat healthier and lose weight I have come across some new recipes lately that my family really enjoys.  I've made this about three times now and every time I'v made it my husband says it is one of his favorite recipes.  It is from He and She Eat Clean, which I have found to be a helpful resource.  The first two times I made this recipe the rice was still hard and I had to transfer the soup from the crockpot to a pot on the stove to boil it longer.  That's annoying!  Nobody wants to wash extra dishes, or find out that dinner is not ready at dinnertime!  The last time I made it, I remembered to cook the rice before adding it to the crockpot, but the shrimp wasn't cooked and the transfer had to happen again.  Next time I make it I plan to just cook it all on the stovetop.

3 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
6 oz can tomato paste
2 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 lb shrimp
2 cups rice

1.  Combine first ten ingredients in a large pot on stovetop.
2.  Boil 10 min and then add rice.
3.  Lower heat to simmer and cook covered for 15 min.
4.  Add shrimp, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until shrimp is fully cooked.

French Toast

This time last year I posted a recipe for Cinnamon French Toast Sticks and since then I have found a similar recipe that I like better because you don't cut the bread into sticks.  Growing up, I never liked french toast.  My mom never made it and my only memory of tasting it was at breakfast buffets, which we all know focus more on the quantity rather than the quality.  The idea of french toast always seemed good to me, and last year when I made some at home we all loved them!  I have to double the original recipe to feed my bunch. So glad I found this recipe for a tasty morning treat!

8 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
16 slices of Texas style (thick) bread

1.  Preheat griddle to 350 degrees and grease well with butter.
2.  Mix all ingredients, except for bread, and whisk well.
3.  Dip bread in mixture, coating on both sides.
4.  Place coated bread on hot griddle and cook for a few minutes on each side.
5.  Serve warm, sprinkled with powered sugar and syrup.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

I made this recipe tonight for dinner to go with our Confetti Quinoa Salad.  My husband said this was his favorite way I've ever made tilapia and my kids begged for more.  So, it's blogworthy and I'm sharing it to remember it.  Mix a few ingredients together, dip the fillets in the mixture, bake it in the oven and make your family happy.

1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
5 tilapia fillets

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
2.  Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
3.  Dip fillets in olive oil and then in dry mixture.
4.  Place fillets on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Confetti Quinoa Salad

I had never even heard of quinoa until a couple of years ago when I found a recipe on Pinterest for a quinoa and corn side dish.  Some say it's like a mix between rice and pasta.  I think it leans more towards the rice taste/texture.  Come to find out it's a good source of protein, fiber, and iron.  It's just as easy as rice or pasta to prepare and this dish adds some healthy veggies that you simply mix together after preparing the quinoa.   

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
14 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp dried cilantro
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve.  :)

This recipe adapted from this recipe.