Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of May 8, 2022

My menu this week contains food I already have in the house. I don’t want to have to go shopping after my weekend away. A big grocery shopping trip was done last week. I may have to get some produce and/or bread/ milk. Other than that, we’ll be good to go.

I have not included any lunches in my menu. I don’t know what I’m going to eat just yet.

Sunday – My birthday! Whoop, whoop!

  • Breakfast – Granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch – Out to eat
  • Dinner – On the road

Monday

  • Breakfast – Cottage cheese with jam
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – Steak, rice, and roasted veggies (I got a bag of frozen roasted veggies during my grocery shopping.)

Tuesday

  • Breakfast – Cottage cheese with jam
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – Bacon and cheddar hamburger patties (freezer), Garlic Parmesan fries, and mixed veggies

Wednesday

  • Breakfast – Cottage cheese with jam
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – Out to eat – It’s both food truck and farmer’s market Wednesday in my town.

Thursday

  • Breakfast – cottage cheese with jam
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – Hot dogs, chips, and raw veggies

Friday

  • Breakfast – either cottage cheese with jam OR granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – either of the frozen gluten-free pasta kits or out to eat – My town is doing a Friday the 13th party.

Saturday

  • Breakfast – granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch –
  • Dinner – chili or the gluten-free pasta kit

Have a wonderful week,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of May 1, 2022

Sunday

  • Breakfast – Ham and cheese roll from the local gluten-free bakery
  • Lunch – Chicken and corn chowder (left-over from last night)
  • Dinner – Meatloaf with twice baked potatoes from Sam’s Club, corn

Monday

Tuesday

  • Breakfast – Yogurt parfait
  • Lunch – Hummus plate – I have honey cheddar cheese, gluten-free crackers or pretzels, Kalamata olives, and cucumbers to go with the hummus
  • Dinner – Tacos, chips, and queso

Wednesday

  • Breakfast – Yogurt parfait
  • Lunch – Hummus plate
  • Dinner – Spaghetti with sausage, roasted broccoli (Ronzoni is the best gluten-free spaghetti in my opinion. I can get my gluten-eating family to eat it.)

Thursday

  • Breakfast – either cottage cheese with jam OR granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch – Left-overs
  • Dinner – Soy sauce pork chops, smashed potatoes, mixed veggies (The soy sauce is gluten-free.)

Friday

  • Breakfast – either cottage cheese with jam OR granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch – Left-overs or a salami and cheese wrap
  • Dinner – Dinner on the road – I have a black bean salad, peanut butter plate, and other snacky foods. It’s hard not knowing what options will be available to me when I travel. I am gluten-free, so I have to pack food with me.

Saturday

  • Breakfast – granola bar with cheese
  • Lunch – Out to eat with a high school classmate
  • Dinner – Out to eat – I will be packing my pho as a backup meal. I also have meat sticks already in my bag to eat if I also need something else.

Have a wonderful week,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of February 27, 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a meal plan. My children will still ask me what’s for dinner. However now they are teenagers, they have started to cook for themselves. I just provide the ingredients for them. They’ll also eat what I’ve cooked.

Oldest has decided he wants to learn to cook before college which is soon. Mind you his first two years will be done at a local college, so he’ll be still at home. He wants to make sure he knows how to make basic recipes.

Breakfast:

I have a running list of favorite breakfasts.

Lunch:

  • Salsa chicken – In the freezer – Taco (?!?)
  • Steak bites with sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms over rice
  • Side salad for both

Dinner:

Sunday Dinner:

  • Roast, roasted potatoes and carrots, mashed potatoes OR
  • Whole chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Meal Planning – 5 Tips & Tricks

Before I begin, I should be transparent. I’m good at making meal plans but not always following through.

In my house, I get the question, “What are we having for dinner?” from the boys. Sometimes Hubby will also ask me. It’s good to have an idea of what you are cooking for dinner.

Meal planning may seem daunting. It doesn’t need to be.

  1. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
    I create plans that fall through ALL the time. There are days I get home from school where I feel exhausted. At those times, I know cooking a full dinner isn’t in the cards. That’s okay. You can certainly save your plan for the next week or the week afterwards.
  1. It may seem hard at first. That is okay.
    It will be hard at first. Here are some tips to help with that.
    • Create a list of your family’s favorite meals. Refer to that list. Update that list when you discover a new family favorite.
    • Create theme nights for each day of the week.
      • Ethnic night – Mexican/ Asian/ Italian, etc . . .
      • Sandwich or Pizza Night
      • Breakfast for Dinner
      • Soup Night (Salad Night during the summer)
      • Vegetarian Night
      • Family Favorite
      • New to Us
      • Family Dinner Night
      • Crockpot/Instant Pot Night
      • Once you create your theme nights, then it may get easier to plug in meals for that night.
    • Find favorite blogs to help you with inspiration.
    • What are activities going on that might require you to have an easier meal? Or that might be the night you eat out? You know your family’s situation and schedule. Plan accordingly.
    • Meal prep on the weekend or double up a meal during the week.
      • You should only do an hour of meal prepping on Sundays. I’m using Sundays as a base but you may meal prep another day of the week. Plan for only an hour.
      • Cut up veggies for the week.
      • If you are doing something that requires cooked ground beef, cook that up.
      • Put on some music, a book on tape, trashy tv show, or a Podcast to listen/watch during your meal prep. I tell my friends that I’m going to watch a trashy tv show. You don’t actually need to watch that.
      • Use your freezer. Certain items can be frozen, so that will help with your prep times.
      • Appliances will help you. I have an Instant Pot, Ninja Air Fryer, and a crockpot. Each of those can help with my meal prep. You don’t need those appliances. Take stock in what you have and use them.
  1. Don’t plan for ALL your meals at first.
    Yes, I said it. Don’t plan for all your meals at first. If all you can do is plan for your dinners, do that. At least you know what you are going to eat for dinner.
    You need to make the meal planning and prepping work for you.
  1. Create a rotating list of breakfast/ lunch items.
    Have a list of items that you like to eat for breakfast and lunch. Keep the ingredients for those items in your fridge/ freezer/ pantry. If you like breakfast sandwiches, spend some time making those up. Place them in the freezer for a future breakfast.
    If you have that list written down, then it makes breakfast and lunch time so much simplier.

    Since I’m a teacher, I need to have an idea of lunch items that can be eaten quickly between interruptions. That’s just a fact of life when I’m at work. So I’ve created a list of food that is easy for me to eat. I don’t need to create a meal plan for work days because I already know what I’m going to eat.
  1. You can plan to eat out.
    You don’t need to be a super person and cook ALL of your meals at home. There are times you can plan to eat out. Hubby and I like to go to local restaurants for dates. I can plan for those dinners or lunches.
    Last week, I put on the menu for us to eat breakfast for dinner. Then a friend asked me out to dinner. Since we were on break, I was able to changed the breakfast for dinner to lunchtime. We still followed the menu but just flipped some things around.

I hope these tips will help you plan your meals.

Happy eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s for Dinner? | December 20, 2021

This week’s dinners are all from our pantry/freezer to use up some of the food we already have in our house.

My mom used to do Chinese for Christmas. I’m going to make it on Christmas Eve this year. Our Christmas Eve service is at 6 pm this year, so we are going to have a small meal after the service. My mother-in-law and I are still planning that meal.

Christmas dinner has not been planned yet. We have invited over 2 members of our church to eat with us. Last night, we began talking about the menu. I’ve ordered some gluten-free desserts so that is covered. The rest of the menu is to be determined.

Happy Eating,
Traci

Shelf-Stable Lunch Ideas

I’ve been going to a dietician for the past 6 months because I was having health issues. Even though my weight is stable, I’m losing fat percentage which is good. Yeah for progress!

When I met with her yesterday, she asked me what I needed help with and I told her shelf-stable lunch ideas so that I can keep those in my classroom. My life changed once again where I’m leaving for work 15 minutes earlier than normal. On days I’m running behind, I won’t have to worry about packing a lunch because I know I’ll have something already at work.

Here’s the formula for lunch:

Protein/ Healthy Fat + Carb/ Fruit + Veggies

Protein Sources:

  • Beef / Turkey Meat Sticks (EPIC, chomps, Thrive Market has a good turkey one.)
  • Peanut butter / Nut butter – Get squeezy packets if you don’t a whole entire jar in your workspace.
  • Trail Mix – Make your own, so you don’t have chocolate or other sweets in your mix.
  • Tuna / Salmon packets
  • Almonds
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Jerky
  • Protein bars
  • Pumpkin Seeds

Healthy Fats

  • Peanut butter / Nut butter – Get squeezy packets if you don’t a whole entire jar in your workspace.
  • Trail Mix – Make your own, so you don’t have chocolate or other sweets in your mix.
  • Almonds or other nuts

Carbs

  • That’s It Bars – I tried the apple/cherry one yesterday. It’s not bad.
  • Fruit leather
  • Larabars
  • Kind bars
  • Squeezy applesauce / unsweetened applesauce cups – Keep a container of cinnamon in your workspace.
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn – I love the Safe & Fair chocolate drizzled kettle corn.
  • Rice rollers
  • Rice cakes
  • Fruit cups (juice – not heavy syrup)
  • Granola – Be careful that it’s not full of sugary goodness. Make your own.
  • Freeze dried fruit
  • 90 second rice packets

She also suggested I keep shelf-stable fruit and veggies in my classroom. Ideas are apples, oranges, mini peppers, and carrots.

If I have the basics in my room, I can just grab supplemental items in the morning. It makes it easier for me to get going in the morning.

Here are some of the basics I can grab in the morning.

  • Pb3 packets
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Hummus
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Yogurt

Here is a previous post about lunch ideas.

Happy eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? | Week of December 6, 2021

The last few weeks have been crazy. Thanksgiving week was spent visiting Columbus and Cincinnati, so we didn’t eat many dinners at the house. We also ate at our favorite spots. Last week, we were both feeling poor. I didn’t cook dinner at home because I was just trying to survive.

This week we are back to eating at home.

Monday

Smoky Tomato Soup (Budget Bytes)

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday

Chicken stew (Budget Bytes)

Wednesday

Million Dollar Chicken (Easy Family Recipes)

Pan Roasted Green beans

Ranch Smashed Potatoes

Thursday

Left-overs or you are on your own

Friday

Salsa chicken

Sauteed Peppers and onions

Mexican Rice

Breakfasts

Smoothies

Lunch / Snacks

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Sugar snap peas with hummus

Kalamata Olives

Yogurt with blueberries

I also have chocolate-drizzled popcorn at work that I can eat as a snack.

I hope these give you an idea of what to eat this week.

Happy eating,
Traci

Mom, What’s for Dinner? – Week of November 7, 2021

I created a list of meals for November. Yesterday I sat down with our puppy and planned out the meals for the week. Originally this week included sloppy Joes and cubed steak. I made sloppy Joes for church last week, so I knew my family wasn’t ready to have sloppy Joes on the menu this week. There wasn’t cube steak at the store, but I found shaved beef instead. So I changed my mind to Philly cheesesteaks instead.

We have 2 concerts planned this week, so 2 of the nights have to be easy meals. When we went to the Crowder concert a few weeks ago, we stopped for food on the way down. We were late. I rather have the food ready to go before we leave.

We are getting used to the new schedule. Several years ago, I would cook for the family all the time. Then as our lives changed, I quit cooking most of the time. I’m now back to cooking for the family. Oldest is happy because we are having family dinners once again. I’m glad my 18-year-old values eating with his family.

Sunday

Roast, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots, Salad

Monday

Mongolian Beef Sheet Pan, Rice, and Salad

Tuesday

Stuffed Pepper Soup, Salad

Wednesday

Philly Cheese Steak, Salad, French fries, Roasted broccoli

Thursday

Cashew Chicken in Crockpot, Rice, Salad

Friday

Leftover Stuffed Pepper Soup, Salad

Saturday

Chicken legs, mac, and cheese, salad

My goal this week is to eat more veggies, so you see salad on the menu every day.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

November 2021 Dinners

To create this meal plan, I went through the recipes on my blog and tried to find ones that I wanted to cook during the month of November. Each week, I have listed 4 meals. We can have leftovers or eat out for two of the days. The other day is our Sunday dinner.

Ideas for Sunday dinner: Roast – I have a new recipe that I need to cook at least one more time before I put it on the blog. Pork RoastChickenSoy Sauce Pork Chops

Week of November 1st:

Bramble Beans
Burrito Bowls
Pinto beans and ham
Breakfast for Dinner

Happy eating,
Traci

Teen Friendly Meal Plan

A year ago yesterday, we drove down to the New River Gorge area. Hubby, my sons, my niece and nephew, and a few of their friends were going white water rafting. I was just there because my niece was going.

I took over cooking for the group of kids. We had a small fridge, a microwave, toaster, and coffee maker. That’s it. No sink, so everything needed to be disposable if we had any dinner.

There was a sink in the bathroom of our cabin, but it was so small that it was hard to clean anything there.

I brought my Instant Pot to cook the dinners while my nephew brought something to cook pancakes on for one of the breakfasts.

So what did we eat during the 2.5 days we were there. I had 2 dinners and breakfast to consider. Lunch was on the river when they went white water rafting.

The two dinners we had were spaghetti and hot dogs with Mac and cheese. The hot dogs were frozen before we left for the trip. Even driving the 4 to 5 hours to New River Gorge did not defrost the hot dogs. They tried roasting them over the fire, but they remained cold inside. Ugh!

The favorite meal was the spaghetti. There was nothing left after the meal. I believe we had some sort of bread with it.

Breakfast was pancakes and cereal. They had milk and juice to go with their breakfast. We forgot to bring a spatula, so that was interesting using my wooden spoon to flip the pancakes.

We also had lots of snacks for the boys. Plus the boys brought their own food. One brought MREs to share with their friends.

Hubby and I were able to sneak away for a while. Since the teens we took were older teens except for Youngest, we didn’t need to watch them constantly. We went to Sheetz for coffee and their snack packs. We ate it while walking to the overlook.

After walking under the New River Gorge, we left. We needed to get food before leaving. Our original plan was to go to Sheetz for cheap eats. Instead we went to the Secret Sandwich Society for good burgers and pimento fries.

Five months after to visiting the Secret Sandwich Society, it burned to the ground.😭 I can just picture us sitting there on the patio waiting for the food. The teens just talking about whatever popped into their head. We were saddened to hear of it’s demise.

So why am I sharing this menu with you? This started a trend for me. I went on a few pandemic trips where I needed to plan out the meals for the trip. In a week and a half, I’m leaving once again for a trip. I planned out the food for that trip. I’ll share it with you once we get closer to the trip happening.

I’ll also share the menu from my Epic trip with my friend Molly last July and our menu from our beach trip last December. I can plan meals like nobody’s business but can’t keep a meal plan to save my life.

Menu:

Breakfasts:
Cereal, French toast muffins, cheese, applesauce, or fruit cup – Juice and milk

Lunches:
On the river and at Sandwich Society

Dinners:
Hot dogs with Mac and cheese
Spaghetti with Hawaiian rolls (favorite meal)

Dessert:
S’Mores on the campfire

Happy eating,
Traci

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