Mom, What’s for Dinner? – Week of September 5, 2022

After a week of being sick, I decided I needed to create a meal plan. Last week, I had a meal plan, but only one day was followed.

Even though I had the meal plan, I decided to change it for this week.

We are having 2 days of soups and 2 days of comfort foods.

Here are the plans for the week:

  1. Broccoli and cheddar soup (I kept this from the meal plan from last week.)
  2. Chicken noodle soup
  3. Big Mac Meal – This is a favorite family meal. I have the hamburger in a freezer. It’s easy to put together. There are no leftovers when I make it.
    We will have roasted potatoes or waffle fries with the meal.
  4. Hawaiian meatballs over rice – I also have stir-fry veggies as a side dish. Yum!
    I found gluten-free meatballs at Sam’s Club. I haven’t had this meal for a long time because I never found gluten-free meatballs.

Have a blessed week!

Traci

Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of July 10th, 2022

So yesterday, I cleaned out the freezer. I reorganized food and meal-prepped some other foods to put in the freezer. Now that I know what we have in the freezer, I can create a meal plan easily.

Youngest is the person I can brainstorm possible meals with. Mostly it’s just me saying, “How does this sound for dinner?”

He’ll tell me if it sounds good or not. Youngest is also the one who will create crazy food combinations. Hubby found him in the kitchen last night cooking ham, hot dogs, and butter. I don’t know what he was cooking, but to me, it sounds weird.

Next week is Oldest’s birthday. He loves steak. I already know he wants to have that as his birthday dinner. Now he keeps saying he is going to 7-11 on his birthday because his birthday is on 7-11. Now, if he really does that, I don’t know. We’ll have his dinner either on his birthday or the day afterward.

I have a variety of possible breakfasts even though I usually eat the same thing.

  • Cottage cheese with jelly
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Homemade granola bar with cheese
  • Nature Valley Biscuit bar with cheese

Lunches

  • Leftovers
  • Salami roll-ups (salami with cream cheese in the middle) – I eat them with various sides depending on my mood.
  • Gluten-free pizza rolls
  • Out to eat – I’m going to be out of town for a few days. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I will pack a few options if we can’t find anything I can eat.

Dinners

  • Pork Tenderloin – I have not figured out how I’m going to cook it just yet.
  • Gluten-free nuggets for me, chicken patties for everyone else, and French fries
  • Big Mac Skillet (a favorite of Youngest)
  • Steak, roasted or fried potatoes, corn on the cob (Oldest’s birthday dinner)
  • Out to eat – I’m going to be out of town for a few days. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I will pack a few options if we can’t find anything I can eat. Plus we are going to be near an Aldi. I know I can find something there to eat.

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

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