Assemble and Freeze Meal Plan for August 1-7, 2016

freezer meals

Long time no post!  I have been busy, what can I say?  So busy that I have changed how I cook now.  There is only the two of us now.  Most recipes serve 4 or more, so I have been using the freezer more to freeze the extra servings.  I have finally cleaned out all the freezers and defrosted them.  It was a dreaded chore but I got it done.  Now I have more room to freeze the servings we can’t eat so we can eat it at a later time.

I am also gluten free now. I use all gluten free products in the recipes below. It is easy to find gluten free pasta now. I do use more rice in recipes than pasta however, just because it is easier and cheaper. For the garlic bread I use gluten free bread and spread butter and diced garlic or garlic powder on top and toast it in the oven on the broiler setting.

I have been doing the grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday. (Or if I want to avoid crowds I will grocery shop early Friday morning.)  I try to have everything ready to go by Monday.  Monday is my meal prep day.  I basically assemble all the meals for the week on Monday.  If you work, this could be done on Sunday afternoon.  I assemble all the meals for the week and freeze them.  So nice to have ready to go.  I don’t like cooking in the kitchen very long this time of year because it is so hot.  This is one way I spend the least amount of time in the kitchen and can work on other projects. All of these recipes except for the breakfast, make more than one meal for us to be eaten at a later time. This is also a great way to stock the freezer before school starts.  It seems I am always needing a dish to bring somewhere or have ready quickly if my children decide to visit at the last minute.  This menu plan made 12 meals for 2 people with leftovers.  This will last us about 2 weeks.

Menu
Monday-Tater Tot Casserole, salad
Tater Tot Casserole
Tuesday-Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Tomato Garlic Butter Chicken
Wednesday-Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday-Cavatini, Salad, Garlic Bread
Cavatini
Friday-Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff, rice, salad
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Saturday-Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice
Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice
Sunday-Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles, Peas, Salad
Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles

Grocery List: (side dishes and breakfast meal not included here)
Meat:
3 lbs (5-6 pieces) of chicken breasts plus 4 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
½ cups dice Ham, Fully Cooked
1 pound cubed beef stew meat
2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. pepperoni

Can goods:
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cheesy soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 can crushed pineapple
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can pizza sauce
1 small can of mushrooms
1 cup of tomato sauce

Frozen goods:
1 cup Mixed Vegetables
16 oz. mixed vegetables
28 oz. package frozen tater tots

Produce:
5 cloves garlic
2 onions

Dairy:
3 sticks of butter
2 eggs
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
1/4 cup milk

Pasta and rice:
1 bag of egg noodles
1 cup rice
16 oz. rotini

Seasonings/Oils:
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbs dried minced onion
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Cooking spray

Equipment: Be sure to have plenty of gallon and quart freezer bags on hand, materials for labels, two 9×13 pans (I use 8×8 pans to freeze smaller portions so that would equal out to four 8×8 pans) and foil.

Procedure (I do all of this on Monday morning or this could be done Sunday afternoon)
1. Grease four 8×8 pans (or two 9×13 pans for larger portions)
2. Chop one onion plus chop 1/2 cup.
3. Dice 5 cloves of garlic. (save 1 teaspoon for fried rice)
4. Brown 1 pound of beef with 1 chopped onion and drain. Set aside. Brown another pound (no onion) and drain. Set aside. (Side note on this: I use my frozen ground beef mix for this so this is already to go for me in the freezer. All I have to do is thaw it. I buy ground beef in bulk. If you don’t have cooked ground beef in the freezer then you will need to cook 2 pounds for the recipes.)
5. Cook 1 pound of rotini pasta and drain. (Can keep pasta in pan so can mix other ingredients in with it.)
6. Shred 8 ounces mozzarella.
7. Cook 1 cup uncooked rice.
8. (Tater Tot Casserole) Mix 1 pound beef/onion mixture with 1 can chicken soup, 1 can of mushroom soup, 1/4 cup milk, 16 ounces frozen mixed veggies. Pour into two greased 8×8 pans or one greased 9×13 pan. Top with 28 ounces package of tater tots. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
9. (Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken) Place 4 chicken breasts in two ziplock freezer bags or for a larger portion place all 4 breast in one large ziplock freezer bag. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan. Saute 4 cloves of garlic in butter. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the butter/garlic mixture. Heat to boiling and stir to combine. Pour over chicken in bags, dividing mixture if have two freezer bags. (May need to let liquid sauce cool some before adding sauce to freezer bags especially if using frozen chicken.) Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
10. (Creamy Chicken with Noodles) Place 6 chicken breasts in a large ziplock freezer bag or put 2 chicken breasts in 3 ziplock freezer bags. In a large bowl add the following: 1 cut up stick of butter, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of cheddar cheese condensed soup, 4 chicken bouillon cubes, 4 cups of hot water, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon dried minced onion. Stir until butter and bouillon cubes are dissolved. Pour over chicken in ziplock bags, dividing mixture among the number of bags evenly, if necessary. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
11. (Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice) Cook 2 eggs in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Add the following to the eggs: 1 teaspoon diced garlic, 1/2 cup diced ham, 1 cup frozen mixed veggies, 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce. Add the cooked rice. Stir. Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
12. (Cavatini) Mix in a large bowl: 1 pound cooked ground beef, 16 ounces cooked rotini, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1 can pizza sauce, 1 package pepperoni, and 1 can sliced drained mushrooms. Pour into two greased 8×8 pans or one greased 13×9 pan. Top with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella. Label and freeze.
13. (Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff) In a freezer bag combine 1 pound stew meat, 1 can golden mushroom soup, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 1/4 cup water. Squish bag to mix ingredients.  (I love this part!)  Label and freeze. Use within 3 months.

On serving day:
1. Tater Tot Casserole-Thaw in fridge. Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through. To crisp up tots, broil for 5 minutes.
2. Garlic Tomato Butter Chicken-Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Pour into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or bake in oven at 400 for 45 minutes. Serve over rice.
3. Cavatini-Completely thaw in refrigerator. Cover loosely with tented foil (if using foil lid, bend lid so that melted cheese will not stick to lid). Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or until heated through. Remove cover and broil for 3-4 min. or until cheese is slightly browned.
4. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff-Thaw completely and cook in slow cooker on Low for 8 hours or on High for 5 hours . Stir in 4 oz. cream cheese just before serving. Serve over pasta or rice.
5. Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice-No need to thaw this ahead of time. I just pour this in a microwaveable dish and zap it until it is warmed up. I am not posting how long because each microwave varies. Just check on it as it is warming up and stir it once in a while. Can also warm this up in the oven.
6. Creamy Cheesy Chicken with Noodles-No need to thaw this ahead of time. Empty items into the crock pot set on low and come back 6.5-7 hours later. Stir in a bag of egg noodles (if cooking all 6 chicken breasts at once or one handful of egg noodles if cooking 2 chicken breasts) for the last 30 minutes.

You can find more menus and ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

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Hot Weather Menus

Just like the Weekly Breakfast Menus, the Hot Weather Menus should be put on index cards with the recipes filed behind them. In the upper right hand corner of each card write x6 because you will use these recipes 6 times in a year.   If you keep an inventory of everything you have, then your grocery shopping should be easy.  You can pull the menu and recipe cards and take them with you shopping.  You can make your own Hot Weather Menu by using your family’s favorite dishes.

Weekly (April – September) Hot Weather Menu Week 1

Sunday-Chicken  Fried Steak with gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob

Monday-Quick Skillet Supper, Salad

Tuesday-Chicken Enchiladas Au Gratin, Beans, Corn

Wednesday-Beef Stroganoff, Peas, Salad

Thursday-Pizza

Friday-Tuna Fish Patties, Peas, Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday-Crockpot BBQ ribs, Ranch Style Beans, Corn in the Cob

Weekly (April-September) Hot Weather Menu Week 2

Sunday-Swiss Steak, Rice, Salad

Monday-Baked Chicken, Green Beans and New Potatoes

Tuesday-Sausage and Potatoes Au Gratin, Salad

Wednesday-Tamales and Beans

Thursday-Manicotti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday-Saucy Fish Bake, Salad

Saturday-Leftovers or Sandwiches

Weekly (April-September) Hot Weather Menu Week 3

Sunday-Church Supper Casserole, Salad

Monday-Oven Fried Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Green Beans

Tuesday-Tacos

Wednesday-Grilled Hamburgers, Potato Chips

Thursday-Pizza

Friday-Teriyaki Salmon (Marinade salmon in your fav teriyaki sauce. Bake or grill salmon), rice, steamed broccoli, salad

Saturday-Leftovers or Sandwiches

Weekly (April-September) Hot Weather Menu Week 4

Sunday-Slow Cooker Continental Chicken, Rice, Broccoli, Salad

Monday-Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Tuesday-Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Wednesday-Tuna Casserole, Salad

Thursday-Easy Garlic Chicken, Green Beans and Potatoes

Friday-Pigs In A Blanket (hot dogs wrapped in a crescent roll and baked), Beans, Corn

Saturday-Fettucine Alfredo with imitation crab, garlic sticks/bread, salad

Weekly Breakfast Menu

I have been working on a “perpetual” menu that is kind of like a perpetual calendar.  It can be used yearly instead of having to write a menu plan every week or month.  It makes things so much easier.  Of course we won’t stay on this menu every single day.  When holidays and other activities come up then we will plan something different but for the most part we will be sticking to the plan.  It makes things so much easier.  Since there will be only 2 of us to cook for I will be freezing a lot of dishes to have ready when I need them.  You can make your own perpetual menu by asking your family what their favorite meals are and then go from there.

For each week I write up a card with the menu written on the front.  Behind that card there are separate cards with the recipes written on them.  The first card would look like this:

card

Notice that I wrote a X12 in the right hand corner of the card.  This indicates how many times that recipe or menu will be used in a year’s time.  There are 4 Weekly Breakfast Menus.  One card for each week in a month.  Each month uses the same 4 cards.

I have included in this post all of the Breakfast Menus and recipes.   In the next post I will post the Hot Weather Menu and then the Cold Weather Menu.  I tried to use recipes that the family liked and were easy to cook, using make ahead and freezable dishes whenever possible.

Here are the breakfast menus and recipes:

Weekly Breakfast Week 1

Sunday-Ham and Cheese Potato Bake, fresh fruit, juice

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed cooked ham

1 2lb. bag hash brown potatoes

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 cups sour cream

1 stick of butter

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4tsp onion powder

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 sleeve Ritz crackers and 2 tbs melted butter for a crunchy topping

Assembly:

In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, melted butter, cheese, pepper, and onion powder. Stir in cubed ham and hash brown potatoes. Pour into Ziploc freezer bag or aluminum pan, cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  May freeze Ritz crackers and butter in a separate bag.

Serving Day:

Thaw completely. If in a Ziploc bag, pour into 9″x13″ pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 35 min. Crumble Ritz crackers and melt butter…mix together and sprinkle over top casserole and bake for another 10-15 min (until bubbly and golden). Your total baking time will be 45-55 min depending on how thawed it was going in and how quickly it bubbles and heats throughout…I am finding some of the meals take a little longer to bake than the directions say (including my own frozen and thawed meal).

May take out smaller portions to cook.  Be sure to reduce cooking time.  For example, I would use a small cast iron skillet to cook for just hubby and I.  Keep the rest frozen for another day.

Monday-Blender Pancakes, fresh fruit, juice, fried ham or bacon

1-3/4 cups of milk

2 medium sized eggs

1/4 cup of shortening or cooking oil

2 cups of flour

2-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

Be sure to add the ingredients in the order listed. Start by adding the 1-3/4 cups milk, 2 eggs, and 1/4 cup of shortening. Next, add the 2 cups flour,  2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. If your blender has a hard time blending thicker ingredients, try adding the flour in steps. For example, blend in the first cup until a smooth texture is reached, then add the remaining flour and dry ingredients and blend on high. Continue blending on high until a smooth texture is reached and you can see a good flow in the blender letting you know all of the ingredients are blended evenly. You may find that for whatever reason your batter is still a bit too thick. You can add a bit of milk at a time and continue to blend until a desired consistency is reached. It should be fairly easy to pour but not runny.  On a slightly buttered or greased preheated griddle or fry pan, pour out a quarter cup or so of the batter. Watch for the batter to begin to bubble and brown one side, then turn the pancake over and brown the opposite side. This should make about 15-18 4 inch pancakes.

This can be made ahead of time and frozen.  Just take out as many pancakes as needed and heat up in the microwave.  I also cook the ham or bacon ahead of time and freeze it.

As you are cooking the pancakes fresh blueberries can be sprinkled on top.  Yum!

Tuesday-Apple-Oat Breakfast Treats, juice, fruit

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 to 1-1/4 cups apple pie filling

Directions

In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 6 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten into 3-in. circles. Make a slight indentation in the center of each; top with a rounded tablespoonful of pie filling. Bake at 350° for 16-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 10 servings.

Freeze.  Take out as many needed night before and let thaw in the refrigerator.

Wednesday-Egg Biscuit Sandwiches, fruit and juice

1 dozen eggs

Either your own biscuit recipe or cans of biscuits (enough for 12) or  12 English Muffins

About 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

A muffin pan

A baking sheet

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the muffin tin. Crack one egg into each muffin cup.  Salt and pepper each egg a little bit.  Put biscuits on baking sheet if using biscuits.   Bake the eggs 10-15 minutes.  Bake the biscuits as directed.  After biscuits and eggs are done, it is time to assemble the sandwiches.  Cut biscuits or English muffins in half.  Place some grated cheese and egg inside each biscuit.  May also add a slice of Canadian bacon or a slice of cooked sausage.  Place all your sandwiches on a baking sheet and put in freezer for an hour.  Then wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and put all sandwiches in a freezer bag.  This will keep for 2 weeks.  To reheat wrap sandwich in a paper towel (this is important because it absorbs extra moisture so sandwich won’t be soggy). And microwave for 1 minute or bake 20-25 minutes at 300 degrees.

Thursday-Cold cereal, fruit, juice

Friday-Hot cereal, fruit, toast, juice, sausage

Saturday-Breakfast Burritos

1 dozen eggs

1 pound breakfast sausage

About 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese

12 flour tortillas

Salsa

My family doesn’t like veggies but sautéed onions, green peppers, etc can be added to this.

Cook sausage in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.  Drain off grease then crack 12 eggs into it.  Stir it around until the eggs are cooked.  Fill warmed flour tortillas with the egg/ sausage mixture.  Top with some grated cheese and roll up.  Place all the burritos on a baking sheet and place in freezer for one hour.  After one hour take out of the freezer and wrap each burrito in foil or plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag,  Freeze.  To serve take out as many burritos as you need unwrap and then wrap in paper towel.  Microwave for about a minute or 2 depending on size of burrito. May also bake foil wrapped burritos in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.   Serve with salsa.

Weekly Breakfast Week 2

Sunday-Nutty French Toast, eggs, sausage, juice, fruit

12 slices French bread (1 inch thick)

8 eggs

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened

1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Place bread in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and syrup until smooth; spread over bread. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until golden brown. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Monday-Waffles, fruit, juice, bacon

This is similar to the pancake recipe.

2 eggs

1/4 cup oil

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together in blender.  Don’t over beat.  Pour into waffle iron.

Tuesday-Apple Cranberry Breakfast Cookies, fruit, juice

1/4 cup margarine, no-salt soft variety

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 cups whole-grain wheat flour

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups uncooked quick oats

1/2 cup dried apple(s), chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 spray butter flavour cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine margarine and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds; add applesauce and beat just to mix.

In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; add to mixer and beat to form batter. Add oats, apples, cranberries and walnuts; combine by hand.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons 1 inch apart. Bake until cookies are lightly browned and firm, about 13 to 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Move to wire rack and cool completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving. (Note: Store leftovers in an airtight plastic bag or container in the freezer.)

Wednesday-Hearty Morning Muffins, fruit, juice

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups shredded carrots

1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

1/3 cup sunflower kernels

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 medium ripe ripe banana, mashed

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the carrots, apricots, sunflower kernels, coconut and chocolate chips. Stir in the banana. Beat eggs, oil and vanilla; stir into carrot mixture just until moistened.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Freeze.  To serve:  take out number of muffins needed and let thaw overnight on kitchen counter, covered. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.

Thursday-Cold cereal, fruit, juice

Friday-Hot cereal, toast, fruit, juice, sausage

Saturday- Breakfast Burritos  ( recipe in Week 1)

Weekly Breakfast Week 3

Sunday-Egg Biscuit Bake, fruit, juice

5 oz. evaporated milk

8 oz. Velveeta, cubed

3/4 cup cubed ham

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons butter

10 eggs, beaten

One 12 oz. tube buttermilk biscuits

In a saucepan, combine milk and cheese.  Cook over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly.  Stir in ham and peas.  Melt butter in large skillet, add eggs.  Cook over medium heat until set.  Add cheese and stir gently.  Spoon into an ungreased shallow 2 quart baking dish.  Separate biscuits and cut each in half so that you have half circles.  Place with cut side down around the outer edge of dish.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden.  Can make this the night before but don’t bake.  Cover and refrigerate.

Monday-Family Style French Toast, fruit, bacon, juice

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cups milk

1 pound loaf French bread, cut in 1 inch slices

Confectioner’s sugar

Combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon; spread evenly in a greased 15x10x1 pan. Set aside.  Combine eggs and milk in a shallow pan; place bread in pan and soak for 5 minutes, turning once.  Place over brown sugar mixture.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees or until golden brown.  Serve brown sugar side up; dust with confectioners sugar.  Make this night before and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Tuesday-Sausage Cheese Puffs, fruit, bacon, juice

1 pound Italian sausage

3 cups Bisquick

4 cups (16 oz.) shredded cheddar

3/4 cup water

Cook and crumble sausage; drain.  In a bowl combine bis quick, cheese; stir in sausage.  Add water and toss with a fork until moistened.  The mixture will be dry.  Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Cool on wire racks. (4 dozen). Freezes well.  To reheat- 400 degree oven for 7-9 minutes.  Do not thaw.

Wednesday-Ham and Cheddar Cups, fruit, juice

2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 pound ham, cubed

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 small onion, chopped

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder salt and pepper.  Beat eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in ham, cheese, bacon a d onion.  Fill well greased muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  (20 cups). Make day ahead and zap in microwave.  Freeze leftovers.

Thursday-Cold cereal, sausage, juice

Friday-Hot cereal, fruit, juice, bacon

Saturday-Breakfast Burritos (recipe in Week 1)

Weekly Breakfast week 4

Sunday-No Turn Omelets, fruit, toast, juice

8 eggs, beaten

2 cups crumbled sausage or ham

2 cups Velveeta

2 cups milk

1 cup saltines (about 24)

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients, pour into greased shallow 3 quart or 13x9x2 pan.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  This can be prepared, covered and refrigerated overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Monday-Chocolate Chip Pancakes, fruit, sausage, juice

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup chocolate milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Sliced strawberries

Sliced bananas

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Combine egg, milk, oil, vanilla and chips; add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto greased griddle.  Stir batter before pouring each batch.  Top with strawberry, banana and syrup.  Makes 8 servings. Can mix up batter the night before and refrigerate.

Tuesday-Blender Bran Muffins, eggs, fruit, bacon, juice

2 bananas

1 egg

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup apple juice concentrate

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup All Bran cereal

1/2 cup raisins

Place bananas and next 7 ingredients in blender.  Blend in cereal.  Stir in raisins.  Coat muffin cups with spray, fill 1/2 full.  Bake 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.  Can make ahead and freeze.

Wednesday-Croissant Breakfast Sandwich, fruit, juice (same recipe as Egg Biscuit Sandwich Week 1 but use croissants)

Thursday-Cold cereal, ham, fruit, juice

Friday-Hot cereal, fruit, sausage, juice

Saturday-Breakfast Burritos (recipe in Week 1)

I Love Potatoes!!!

I have just got to post this potato that I found the other day in a big bag.  I was peeling potatoes for a potato salad and I just didn’t have the heart to peel this one.  It was so cute that I had to keep it.

heart potato

I am still on my diet and still losing the pounds.  I went off my diet for a few weekends and gained a few pounds back.  I am back on my diet and have lost all the pounds I gained plus a few more so I can’t complain about that.  Thought I would post some of the meals I have been cooking.  Not all of these are diet friendly so the portions are very important if dieting.  I am also still feeding one big, young hungry boy and so I usually cook in servings of 4 right now.  In a few months we will be empty nesters and I will only be cooking for 2 at that time.  Here are a few of the meals that I have been cooking….

Fettuccine Alfredo with Imitation Crab, Salad and Garlic Sticks (I just bought the low calorie Alfredo for this and mixed it with some fettuccine and cut up some imitation crab.  I avoided the garlic sticks altogether.)

Pulled Pork Enchiladas, Pinto Beans, Corn on the Cob (I used the leftover meat from July 4th for this.  I softened the corn tortillas, put some of the pulled pork in a tortillas and some shredded Monterey Jack cheese and rolled it up.  I used 2 cans of red enchilada sauce.  Poured a little sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 dish and put the rolled up enchiladas in.  Topped the whole thing with more enchilada sauce and sprinkled more cheese on top.  Covered it with foil and baked it for about 30 minutes at 350F.  This is my basic enchilada recipe.  I will use any leftover meat to make enchiladas.  If I have leftover chicken or turkey I will use green enchilada sauce instead of red.)

Smoked Turkey Legs, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Broccoli (I skipped the mashed potatoes and gravy but made lots for everyone else.  I cooked up 2 smoked turkey legs and it was enough for 3 people with leftovers.  I have been making sandwiches with the leftover smoked turkey this week.)

Tamales, Mexican Beans, cornbread(I buy the frozen tamales.  I can’t seem to be able to find the homemade kind around here. I also made up a big skillet of cornbread for hubby but I didn’t eat any.)

Blackened Tilapia, Green Beans, Salad (I bought a big 2 pound package of frozen tilapia fillets the other day.  I like buying fish in fillets because I can take out as many fillets as I want.  In my case it will be 4 fillets.  I bought a small jar of blackened seasoning and will sprinkle that over each fillet and cook it in a skillet.  Well, second thought I am going to have to use 6 fillets as they are quite small but I can’t fit it in a skillet so I am going to bake them.)

Slow Cooker Cornish Game Hens, Peas and Salad (I have never cooked this before but I need to do something with the 2 cornish game hens that I have in the freezer.  I will tell you if it turned out good or not.)

Slow Cooker Dijon Chicken, Rice, Mixed Veggies

Homemade Pizza (I will probably eat 2 pieces)

Teriyaki Salmon, Rice, Green Beans (I bought a big bag of salmon fillets and I have 4 fillets left so I thought this would be a good way to use them up.  I like to marinade the salmon in Veri Veri Teriyaki.  It is good stuff!  I like the salmon grilled if I can talk hubby into grilling it for me.  If not then I just pan fry it or it could even be baked in the oven.)

Just a short update

4th of July

I have been doing well on my diet.  I have lost almost 11 pounds.  I have been eating Special K Chocolately Strawberry Cereal for breakfast.  It is so good and it satisfies my chocolate cravings.  I also enjoy a cup of Teavana tea in the mornings while sitting out on the patio.  My favorite teas right now are Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea.  For lunch I have been eating a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner.  They are low in calories and they are tasty too.   On this diet I can snack around on just about any fruit or vegetable.  I can eat as much as I want of them.  Luckily it is summertime and there is plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from.  Lately I have been eating watermelon.  I have been fixing about the same main dishes for my family for dinner.  I eat a very small portion of meat.  Then I add a salad with low fat dressing or I stir fry up some vegetables to go along with it.  I stay away from the potato salads, mashed potatoes, baked beans etc. that my family generally loves.  I cook it for them but I just don’t eat it.

Tonight I am cooking my Chicken Fried Steak and I am going to try not to put much gravy on it.  Then I will fix myself a salad.  Everyone will eat some corn on the cob and the others will enjoy some baked beans.  On the 4th of July I am cooking Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork and Gourmet Potato Salad.  Yumm-O  I will have to be careful about my portions here though.  I am also baking Patriotic Jello Cookies.  I just might try one of those just to see how they taste.  Friday night we will probably have leftovers as we are having company coming in on Friday night.  Saturday night I am cooking Baked Spaghetti, tossed salad and garlic bread for our company.  I am going to make the Baked Spaghetti ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator.  I will bake it an hour before we want to eat.  This way I won’t be spending all my time in the kitchen when our company is here and I can visit.  Sunday they are leaving so Sunday evening we will probably be eating leftovers again.  Actually the Baked Spaghetti tastes better the next day.  All those wonderful flavors seem to be even more enhanced.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July.  I will post a few updates here and there of my weight loss progress.  I have come across some good family meals that are diet friendly and I will post those later.

May 2013 Monthly Menu

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1:  Classic Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread
2:  Pigs in a Blanket, Baked Beans(Hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls.  A family favorite!  Serve with mustard!)
3:  Grilled Hamburgers,Potato Salad
4:  Shrimp Gumbo
5:  Cinco de Mayo  Chicken Enchiladas, Beans, Corn
6:  Tacos(I just buy a package of taco seasoning and 1 pound of ground beef and cook it up.  Buy taco shells, lettuce and tomatoes.  Add hot sauce if you want.)
7:  Three Cheese Baked Pasta, Salad
8:  Chicken Stir Fry
9:  California Pilaf, Salad
10:  Tuna Fish Patties, Beans, Corn
11: Fajitas, Mexican Beans, Corn on the Cob, Banana Pudding
12: Go out to eat-Happy Mother’s Day!!
13:  Sausage and Potatoes Au Gratin,green beans, salad
14:  Church Supper Casserole, salad, green beans (family fav)
15:  Decker Delight  (Burritos)
16:  Baked Manicotti, Salad
17:  Beef with Snow Peas
18:  Spanish Chicken,  Rice, Salad
19:  Batter Fried Fish, Mac and Cheese, Peas    (I buy frozen battered fish that cooks up in the oven.)
20:  Make Ahead Cheese and Hamburger Casserole, Salad
21:  Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Peas
22:  Slow Cooker Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
23:  Breakfast for dinner!!!
24:  Shrimp Creole, Rice, Salad
25:  Easy Overnight Tuna Casserole,peas, salad
26:  Pizza
27:  Noodle and Spinach Casserole,  Salad, Rolls
28:  Tamales and Beans(I buy the frozen ready made tamales.  Can’t find any fresh ones around here.)
29:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, Salad
30:   Chicken Tetrazzini, Salad, Dinner Rolls
31:  King Ranch Chicken, Beans, Corn

April 2013 Monthly Menu

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I know, I have been a bit remiss in posting this month’s menu.  Last week there wasn’t much to post as we ate Easter leftovers and lots of ham sandwiches.  Saturday (yesterday) I used up the last of the ham by making up a split pea soup.  It turned out really good.

6: Split Pea Soup and bread
7: Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry and Rice (yes, I know it says scallop, not shrimp but I couldn’t find any scallops at the store so I substituted it for shrimp.)
8: Baked Ravioli, Salad, Garlic Bread
9: Southern Goulash, Salad
10: Leftovers (I cooked the Chicken Delicious but we didn’t eat it today. I am going to use the chicken in a casserole instead.) Chicken Delicious
11: More leftovers (actually it is a late evening for everyone so it is fend for yourself night)
12: Chicken Enchiladas Au Gratin, beans, corn (I am using the chicken from the Chicken Delicious cooked earlier this week)
13: Fish, broccoli
14: Roast, Potatoes, Carrots (I have this already cooked and frozen in the freezer. Might add some dinner rolls to this too.)
15: Chalupas (an old family favorites) We just spread refried beans and shredded Cheddar on a corn tostada. We put it in the oven until the cheese melts and top it with lettuce and tomatoes. We sprinkle the top with white vinegar.
16: Slow Cooker Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
17: Leftovers
18: Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo, Salad
19: Baked Fish in Parchment Paper, Salad
20: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
21: Pizza
22: Beef Stroganoff, Peas, Salad
23: Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots
24: Leftovers
25: Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Beans, Corn on the Cob
26:  Breakfast for dinner
27:  On your own for dinner or leftovers
28:  Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing, Green Beans, Salad
29:  Quick Skillet Supper, Wilted Lettuce Salad  (This is a fav menu of the family.)
30: Santa Fe Casserole, Mexican Beans, Salad

May Menu is located HERE

March 2013 Monthly Menu

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1: Omelets and hash brown potatoes
2: Antipasti Panini and Soup
3: Chicken Spaghetti and Salad (cook half and freeze half) I am buying a rotisserie chicken for this so I don’t have to cook any.
4: Chalupas (This is an old family fav. Buy the tostadas all ready made or fry up your own using corn tortillas. Spread tostadas with refried beans and top with grated cheddar cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with torn lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle top with white vinegar. Yum! This is an old childhood fav that my mom cooked.)
5: Spinach Lasagna Rolls and Tossed Salad
6: Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Bread
7: Veggie Pizza
8: Pan fried Salmon, Potatoes, Spinach Salad
9: Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
10: Herbed Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, broccoli
11: Tex-Mex Beef Taco
12: Crabmeat Ravioli with Clam Sauce, Italian Salad
13: Stir-fried Ginger Shrimp, cantaloupe slices, rice
14: Tortilla Soup
15: Beer Braised Beef, rice, salad
16: Peppered Halibut Steaks, Fresh Green Beans, Potatoes
17: St. Patrick’s Day! Corned Beef Brisket, Potatoes, Carrots, Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, Green Pie
18: Sushi (pickup at local restaurant) yummmm…..
19: Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Bread (didn’t cook this from last week)
20: Bangers and Mash, peas and carrots (recipe coming)
21: Out to eat
22: Leftovers
23: Hobo Casserole, Green Beans
24: Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine, Salad, Garlic Bread
25: Tex-Mex Beef Tacos
26: Crabmeat Ravioli with Clam Sauce, Salad
27: Scallop and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry, Rice
28: Leftovers
29: Chilies Rellenos Gratin, Salad
30: Soup and Sandwich
31: Happy Easter!! Breakfast before church: Quiche Lorraine, Fruit Salad, Orange Juice Dinner after church: Deviled Eggs, Ham, Potatoes, Asparagus, Fruit Salad from breakfast, Carrot Cake

February 2013 Monthly Menu

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I haven’t been doing much cooking during January because both my husband and I are on diets.  We ended up eating mostly salads in January.  The first part of February the diet will basically continue except for Super Bowl Sunday where I think the whole family will splurge a bit.   I think we both overdid it during the holidays and we need to cut back on our calories.  Breakfast has consisted of oatmeal every morning or yogurt, lunch has been soup and dinner has usually been a salad.  This month I will be planning only a week at a time and will post updates here.

1:  Lemon Horseradish Fish Cakes, peas
2:  Butternut Bisque, Sandwiches
3:  Super Bowl Sunday!!  Pico de Gallo and Guacamole,  Buffalo Wings with Carrot and Celery Sticks along side Ranch Dressing (I don’t add the blue cheese in like PW does), here is another version of Buffalo Wings that is baked (I think I am making this version this year.  Much healthier and sense we are trying to cut back on calories, I think this will be much better.  PW’s recipes are not diet friendly.), Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos, Brownies  OR I think I will make these blonde brownies since it is February and I am in a Valentine mood.  🙂
This is going to be a crazy week at our house so a lot of food I have planned is either take out or dinners I already have in the freezer.
4:  Sushi Monday!!  I go to the local grocery store where they make fresh sushi daily.  We LOVE sushi and it is fairly low in calories!!
5: Sloppy Joes (Filling is already frozen in freezer. I just use Manwich that comes in a can.), Chips
6: Leftovers
7: Tacos (either homemade or Taco Bell)
8: Homemade Pizza or pizza delivered (since I won a free pizza at Papa John’s I guess it will be pizza delivered!)
9: Easy Mulligatawny Soup and Crusty Bread
10: Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry with Chicken and Broccoli and rice

I know, I know.  I have been MIA for a while.  Truth of the matter is…..I have had surgery.  I am getting back on my feet again.  My family has been fending for themselves lately.  Good thing I had some dishes frozen in the freezer!  I did manage to make a slow cooker pork stew.  Tomorrow I will post the next week’s menu.

17: Simple Perfect Enchiladas-This can be assembled before church and refrigerated. Bake in oven when returning home. Make the Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice while the enchiladas are cooking. Make the Marshmallow Crispy Treats the day before.
18: Meatless Monday-Baked Ravioli, Salad, Garlic Bread
19: Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice
20: Leftovers
21: Going out to eat and celebrating Valentines Day a little late but I couldn’t celebrate it on the 14th.
22: Movie Night: Pizza and Popcorn!!!
23:  (Changed my mind on this one.  Going to an oyster fry.  Might post pics later.)
24: Fajitas (Well since I have frozen fajita meat in the freezer, onions, green bell peppers I thought I may as well make some fajitas. I also bought a bunch of avocados that were on sale so I think guacamole will be good with that too. All I really need to buy are some flour tortillas.)
25: Chili and cornbread (thought this would be good since snow is in the forecast) OR make Wick Fowler Copycat Chili
26: Slow Cooker Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
27: Leftover Roast Beef Sandwiches and Chips
28: Chicken Fried Steak, potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob

The March menu can be seen HERE

December 2012 Monthly Menu

1:  Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken/Rice

2:  Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin, mashed potatoes, green beans

3.  Baked eggs and tortillas in Creamy Tomato Sauce, pinto beans

4:  Crockpot Spicy Marinated Pork and Eggs, salad

5:  Tomatillo Chicken, Beans

6:  Baked Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad

7:  Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches

8:  Christmas Party

9:  Saucy Fish bake, Salad

10:  Bean Soup, Pepper  Cheese Bread

11:  Tacos

12:  Manicotti, Salad

13:  Cheese Pizza

14:  Fried Crappie, Macaroni and Cheese, Peas

15:  Tortilla Soup

16: Chili Cheese Potato Tot casserole, salad

17:  Skillet Lasagna, Salad

18:  Chicken Parisienne, green beans

19:  Arroz Con Pollo

20:  Breakfast

21:  Chicken Rotel, salad

22:  Chili and Cornbread

23:  Leftovers-clean out refrigerator

24:  Tamales and Beans

25:  Ham, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Peas in Cheese Sauce, Cranberry Cream Cheese Mold, Rolls, Tea

26:  Ham and Split Pea Soup, Crusty Bread

27:  Ham sandwiches, soup

28:  Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, green beans, salad

29:  Three Cheese Baked Pasta, Salad

30:  Kielbasa sausage with peppers and polenta, salad

31:  Chinese buffet

January 2013 Monthly Menu is located HERE