Category Archives: Menu planning

Favorite Meals 2019

Updated August 31, 2019 – Original Post

A piece of advice for planning out your meals is to create a list of your family’s favorite meals. That way when you get stuck on creating a menu, you can refer back to the list.

Not only will it help you menu plan, you can also make certain you have the ingredients for some of the meals on hand if what you had planned for dinner does not pan out.  I know there are days I don’t feel like cooking. If I had meals ready to go, I would less likely stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home from work.

I’m going to share my list of 20 meals that my hungry boys and Hubby enjoy eating.  Some of my meals can be frozen or portions can be frozen ahead of time which helps.

The ideas in bold print can be made from items that can be stocked up in the freezer, fridge, or pantry.

  1.  tacos – Make ahead and freeze.You’ll only need to get items to top the tacos. (The Youngest’s favorite meal)
  2. sausage and mac & cheese – A very inexpensive meal and one I can keep on hand. (It’s a family favorite meal.)
  3. chicken nuggets and French fries – If I get both of those items at Aldi’s, it’s a budget friendly meal.  I can keep the food on hand. I priced it out at about $3 for a meal if you use half of each bag at a time.
  4. Quesadillas – These are quick meals to eat on busy nights. Both boys love basic cheese quesadillas.
  5. Hamburgers or hot dogs – The Imaginative One loves hamburgers. – Get the 12 frozen hamburgers from Aldi. They are about $9 to $10. Those last for at least 2 to 3 meals. It takes about 5 minutes to cook on my indoor grill.
  6. Grilled cheese – I only like American cheese on grilled cheese sandwiches.
  7. Spaghetti
  8. Soy Sauce Pork Chops – Marinade them while at work – Cook them on the indoor grill in the evening. Get them when they are on sale.
  9. Steak – A very rare occurrence do I serve them steak.
  10. Roast and then hash – Roast would be more for Sunday dinner.  Hash would be later in the week.
  11. Breakfast for dinner – We don’t eat a lot of breakfast foods in the mornings.  We prefer it in the evening.
  12. Meatloaf or meatloaf muffins
  13. Sloppy Joes – Make ahead and freeze. Such an easy meal. Serve with French fries or chips and a raw veggie or a fruit.
  14. Brown sugar ham – The boys absolutely love this dinner.
  15. Ravioli
  16. Roast chicken in the slow cooker or rotisserie chicken
  17. Chicken noodle soup
  18. Potato Soup
  19. Chili
  20. Pizza
  21. Pulled Pork – Make ahead and freeze for a busy evening.
  22. Pork Roast

Here is a form that will help you make a list of family favorite meals. The form is very simple and allows for 10 meals to be listed. There is also an area for 5 meals that can be easily frozen.

Happy eating and meal planning,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – September 2019

Jump to meals

School has begun for everyone in my house. I’ve been back at work for 3.5 weeks. The boys and Hubby went back almost 2 weeks ago.

Life has changed a little bit at our house. Hubby has class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Tuesdays and Wednesday’s are his longest evenings. I’ve begun making slow cooker meals on Tuesday nights, so I can leave the meal in the slow cooker on warm. He will eat some sort of snackish meal before leaving for his 4 o’clock meal and then eat his dinner when he gets home.

In order to make it a little easier to put food in the slow cooker, I have been making freezer kits. I spend a few hours on the weekend putting together some of the kits. I use my own list and also some recipes from The Family Freezer. Pull them out the night before, place them in the freezer, and then dump into the slow cooker. Add any additional ingredients, set the timer, and walk away. Makes my life easier.

Another thing that has worked recently for me is to create a monthly meal plan. I’ve done it in the past and am attempting it again. I hope to keep the momentum throughout the year. It’s so much easier to look at the meal plan and make a grocery list.

My plan is to make a list of favorite family meals so that it’s easier to meal plan for the month.

As you see, I never plan for the weekend. It’s a more flexible time in the week. Check out my August meals to see some ideas for Sunday meals.

Now onto this month’s meal plan:

Week 1 – September 1 – September 6
  • Monday– Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and slaw
  • Tuesday – Beef and Lime Chili- Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Sweet and Sour Pork – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Friday – Roast from Trader Joe’s – Sides to be determined
Week 2 – September 7 – September 13
  • Monday– Breakfast for dinner
  • Tuesday – Italian Wedding Soup – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Chicken Fajitas – Slow Cooker
  • Friday – Pulled Chicken from Trader Joe’s
Week 3 – September 14 – September 21
  • MondaySloppy Joes from freezer
  • Tuesday – Italian Sausage Rigatoni – Freezer – Stove top
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Chicken and Pepper Stir Fry – Freezer – Stove top
  • Friday – Steak – Hubby’s Birthday!
Week 4 – September 22 – September 29
  • MondayMeatloaf Muffins from freezer
  • Tuesday – Cilantro Lime Chicken – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday– Tuscan Steak and Green Peppers – Freezer – Slow Cooker
  • FridayOrange Chicken

Have a magical day,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of August 19, 2019

Jump to the menu

Jump to my meal prep for breakfast, lunch, and snacks

This is the first week of school for 3 members of our family. I started school 2 weeks ago. This week, Hubby goes back to college. The Youngest begins 8th grade and the Oldest begins 10th grade.

Three evenings during the week, Hubby will be in his college classes about an half an hour away from here. He is going to be studying to be an Intervention Specialist like me. Hubby has to take 11 classes, student teach, and do observations.

So dinners are going to be a little different around here since he’ll probably be gone when I get home. Actually I know he’ll he be gone on Tuesdays when I get home. His class starts when I am scheduled to get off of work.

He delivers pizza and that is going to change. He used to just deliver on the weekdays. Since he’ll be in class 3 evenings during the week, he had to put his availability in for Saturdays and Sunday. I’m going to be on deck for any weekend plans for the boys. I could rely on him but not anymore.

Okay, let’s jump into the menu.

  • Monday – Hamburgers, French fries, and raw veggies
  • Tuesday – Stuffed Pepper Soup over Rice, Cheddar biscuits
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday – Balsamic Pork, Roasted broccoli, mac and cheese
  • Friday – Tacos
  • Saturday – Chicken nuggets, French fries

Meal Prep

Breakfasts – protein waffles with almond butter, oranges

Snacks – Fruit on the bottom yogurt, trail mix, snack box

Lunch – chicken breast, roasted potatoes, green beans, mini salad, dark chocolate candy bar

I got my protein waffle mix from Aldi. I was going to make homemade waffles but I found the mix and decided to try it.

I found a suggestion of buying the salad mixes but not using the toppings or salad dressing. I use the toppings but make homemade salad dressing. It’s so much easier using the chopped salad mixes when trying to meal prep.

Have a great week.

Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of August 11, 2019

Jump to Dinner Menu

All of the sudden, the Wee One has gotten so much taller. I think he’s grown 3 to 4 inches in the last few months. He is almost as tall as me.

So I now call him him Youngest because it makes him upset when I call him the Wee One.

Anyway on Saturday, he kept saying “Mother, Where’s the Food?” Mind you it was 4 pm and not time for dinner. He found him some food to hold him over.

This is the theme of our household right now. Having 2 teenage boys – 14 and 16, they are constantly hungry. One or both of them are going through growth spurts all of the time. Argh!

I’ve been meal planning off and on throughout their childhood. Last year, it fell apart. We have been doing better with it. So when he comes up to me, I can reply this is what we are eating at such and such at ___ o’clock.

Of course, that does not mean their ALWAYS hungry bellies can wait until the scheduled time for dinner. They may still get food to eat. I just have to remind them they need to still eat dinner when I put it on the table. The Youngest is usually pretty good about still eating what I have cooked.

Sunday – Buttermilk chicken, Roasted potatoes, Sweet Corn Salad or Corn
Monday – Honey Garlic Chicken, Rice, Stir Fry Veggies
TuesdayMini Meatloaf Muffins, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Wednesday – Leftovers
Thursday – Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes, Chips, Raw Veggies
Friday – Lime Cashew Chicken, Rice, Green Beans
Saturday – Chicken Dinner at the Sweet Corn Festival (Yum!)
Veggie Egg Scramble in the Microwave
Toast
Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli with Quinoa
Yogurt Cups with Granola
Mini Salad

Cinnamon Apples with Almond Butter
Trail Mix – I get mine from Trader Joe’s but you can certainly make your own.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – August 2019

Finally A Menu

If you would like to skip the introduction and go onto the menu, please click here.

I go back to work on either the 7th or the 8th. Technically I’m supposed to be going back to work on the 8th. However, some of the administrators have decided we need to have an extra day so that we can team build. I don’t know if they are actually going to have the team building day on the 7th.

Continue reading Mom, What’s For Dinner? – August 2019

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 25, 2019

We’ve had many different anniversaries recently. Four years ago, the Imaginative One crossed over into Boy Scouts and then had his first meeting. Two years ago today, the Wee One crossed over to Boy Scouts.

A year ago yesterday, I had my gallbladder surgery.

Last Friday would have been my grandma’s 91st birthday.

On to the menu for the week:

Continue reading Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 25, 2019

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 19, 2019

First of all, the Wee One declared today that he is no longer the Wee One. He renamed himself Big Boy. Since the fall, he has gone up 2 jean sizes. He’s finally getting taller which is making him so happy!

On to the menu for the week:

Continue reading Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of February 19, 2019

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – December 31, 2018

The weight fell off of me with no hard work. Everyone was telling me how much better I was looking. But I was feeling worn down with no appetite. Even though I was looking better, my health was failing so the weight gradually found its way back onto my body.

As the new year begins, it’s time to reevaluate my health and diet. Ever since my gallbladder started failing, it’s been difficult to eat regular meals. My appetite is not what it used to be. I’m hungry mostly in the middle of the night which is a bummer because I don’t want to get out of bed to tame the hunger beast.

I’ve got to manage my diet so that I’m the healthiest I can be instead of just eating to survive. I understand the tools necessary to be the healthiest but it is up to me to make sure I’m using those tools and am eating foods that will fuel me.

Just so you know, I’m a vegetarian and have been one since Valentine’s Day last year so all of my meals are going to be meatless. I still eat eggs and dairy so I’m not plant based.

So here is my menu for this week:

Breakfasts

Sugar Plum Danish (Mom got it for me.), apple with cashew butter
Maple Apple Steel Cut Oats
Green Smoothie with cheese or nuts for protein

Lunches

Monday – Leftover veggie burger
Tuesday – Fried Egg Sandwich – Open Faced, broccoli (steamed or roasted)
Wednesday – Friday – BBQ Black Bean Salad (On Wednesday, I’m back at work. They are supposed to feed us but I don’t know what they are going to have or if it will be vegetarian friendly.)
Saturday or Sunday – Eat lunch at Melt – Mom wants to eat there. Cabbage Soup for the other day

Dinners

Monday and Wednesday – Creamy Enchilada Pasta with broccoli (steamed or roasted)
Tuesday – Sauerkraut with “sausage,” black eyed peas, roasted potatoes
Thursday – English Muffin Pizza from the freezer, some sort of veggie
Friday – Mushroom risotto burger, roasted potatoes, veggie
Saturday or Sunday – Cabbage Soup

Snacks

Energy Balls
Yogurt
Veggies and Dip
Fruit

Dinners for My Meat Eaters

Ravioli
Pork with Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes (A couple of meals)
Sausage
Hamburgers

Have a magical day,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of October 8, 2018 (Vegetarian) – Day 8 of 31

Sorry that I’m late getting today’s blog post up.

I planned out the menu yesterday.  However after my day in the heat yesterday, I was exhausted.  Join me tomorrow to see what I was doing yesterday.

Anyway you’ll see some of the same meals from last week.  I didn’t get to make all of the meals.

Sunday – leftovers – Hubby got us Chinese on Saturday evening so I ate the left overs for dinner.

Monday – Enchilada skillet pasta

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Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – Minestrone Soup

Thursday  – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


Just like last week, I’m going to post what the rest of the family is going to eat for dinner.

Sunday – They ate over at my mother-in-law’s house.

Monday – Sausage and chicken rice a roni

Tuesday – Spaghetti

Wednesday – BBQ chicken wings

Thursday – Sloppy Joes

Friday – Potato Soup


As you can see some of our meals are the same.  They can add some meatballs to their spaghetti if they want meat.  I have some meatless meatballs for myself.

I have a meat sloppy Joe in the freezer for the family while I’ll make a non-meat version for myself.

When I make potato soup, they can add some cooked bacon to theirs while I have bacon bits on mine.  Did you know those are vegan?


When I’m in the mood for a baked potato, I’ll have it with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits.  Not necessarily healthy but good comfort food.

Happy vegetarian eating,
Traci

Menu Plan Monday – Week of October 1, 2018 (Vegetarian) – Day 1 of 31

To start off my Write 31 2018, I’m going to provide you with my meal plan for this week.

I’m glad it’s soup season because I can make a big pot or two of the soup and have it for the week.

Here’s what I’m planning for the week.

Sunday – Lasagna stuffed Portobello mushrooms with Italian chopped salad, Fres

Monday – Minestrone soup with the left over Italian chopped salad

Tuesday – Tacos (I’ll share my recipe during this month’s Write 31)

Wednesday – Enchilada skillet

Thursday – Grilled cheese with minestrone soup

Friday – Leftovers

Saturday – Out

Breakfasts for the week:  chocolate chip ricotta muffins and cheese sticks, apple slices (I need easy on the go breakfasts.)

Lunches for the week:  Garden veggie soup, fruit on the bottom yogurt (recipe coming tomorrow), Wheat Thin type crackers

 

Now onto my family’s Standard American Diet meals for the week.  I don’t get off of work until almost 4 o’clock.  Hubby needs to leave for work around 5:20 so I don’t have time to cook him dinner any more.  He fends for himself with me planning meals.  He and the boys are not real adventurous eaters.  I’ve attempted over the years to introduce them to more foods but they always fall back on the foods that they are comfortable eating.  😦

Sunday – Chicken, roasted potatoes, veggies, Hawaiian rolls, and pumpkin roll

Monday – Pulled pork sandwiches on the remaining Hawaiian rolls

Tuesday – Tacos

Wednesday – Chicken Nuggets and French fries

Thursday – Grilled cheese and tomato soup – The last few times we have had grilled cheese I did not have tomato soup.  Since then, I’ve remedied that and have several containers of soup.

Friday – Chili

Saturday – Out

Join tomorrow for one of my favorite ways to eat yogurt.

Happy eating,
Traci