Sunday, January 25, 2015

Menu Plan January 26-February 1

Hi, y'all! I'm back.

Life just got a little crazy busy there for a week or two, and blogging was about the last thing on my to-do-but-never-got-done list!

Can you believe it's the last week of January already? I'm not trying to wish my life away, but I'm ready for spring! How about you?

Now here's what I've got planned for the week:

Monday
Feel better chicken stew

Tuesday
Italian sausage sandwiches

Wednesday
Crockpot roasted chicken, green beans

Thursday
Steak, baked potatoes

Friday
Homemade pizza

Saturday
Almond crusted chicken (new recipe)

Sunday
Crockpot steak chili (made with leftover steak from Thursday)

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Menu Plan January 12-18

After a very cold week last week, we're returning to our normal January temps here in the Deep South. I mean, I can count on one hand the times we've hit single digits since I've lived here. And last Wednesday night/Thursday morning was one of them. So thankful for a warm, comfortable house and a cozy fireplace that my husband so faithfully kept going through our cold snap.

We also started back to school for our second semester, which was a blessing. The kids work independently these days, for the most part at least. I still teach them grammar - hey, I was an English teacher for years! We still take time to discuss things like science and history after they've done their assignments. But every day I'm reminded that they're growing up and I won't have them as my students much longer. Sometimes I wish I could slow down time!

Now here's what I've got planned for our meals this week:

Monday
Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup - slow cooker

Tuesday
Spaghetti and Italian meatballs, bread

Wednesday
Slow cooker citrus and herb turkey breast, mashed potatoes

Thursday
Mini cheddar meatloaves, spinach and kale saute

Friday
Homemade pizza

Saturday
Grilled chicken, ratatouille

Sunday
Balsamic pork loin, potatoes, roasted zucchini

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Menu Plan January 5-11

Well, our holiday season is over. The kids start school today and our routine will get back to normal. We all enjoyed our time off and the break from school. But I must confess, I do like having a schedule and knowing what's coming next.

Of course, every year one of our family goals is to eat healthy. And we've done a pretty good job of it, cutting out most processed foods. But we can do better. I can do better as the meal planner and preparer.

So we now have lots and lots of veggies and fruit in the fridge for snacks. And whole grain sprouted bread for sandwiches. Of course, I will still make homemade bread too.

Now, here's what I've got planned for this week:

Monday
Stuffed pepper soup

Tuesday
Greek chicken, roasted zucchini

Wednesday
Moroccan meat patties, fried kale

Thursday
Lemon thyme chicken, steamed broccoli slaw

Friday
Homemade pizza

Saturday
Fried cabbage with bacon

Sunday
Crockpot coconut curry chicken
For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

It's 2015, my friends!

Here is my prayer for each of you in this coming year:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Menu Plan December 29-January 4

Can you believe this is the last menu plan of the year? Where did 2014 go?

We had a lovely visit with my family in West Virginia, where we experienced unseasonably warm weather. The kids were so disappointed that it didn't snow and they didn't get to ride sleds down Grandma and Papaw's big hill with their cousins.

Speaking of cousins, here's a pic of my parents' 11 grandchildren in addition to one spouse and one great grandchild on the way. Yep, I'm going to be a great aunt! Of course, I am already a GREAT aunt to my nieces and nephews. Now I get the title that goes along with it.
So while we were there, I ate a lot of junk. I mean, a lot. That's part of going to Grandma's, right? But now I'm ready to get back to some healthy meal planning.

Here's what I've got planned:

Monday
Chicken parmesan casserole, garlic bread

Tuesday
Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, homemade fries

Wednesday
Toscano soup, crusty bread

Thursday - Happy New Year!
Smoked turkey, roasted potatoes, pan-fried kale

Friday
Homemade pizza

Saturday
Chicken bacon subs


Sunday
Leftovers

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saltine Toffee

Great news!

My oven has been given a second chance at life! The repair guy showed up today and diagnosed the heating element as the problem. He replaced it, adjusted some temperature controls and we were back in business!

I made this easy recipe for saltine toffee to celebrate.

If you're looking for a quick, cheap and easy treat to share this holiday season, look no more. It combines the saltiness of saltine crackers with the sweetness of a toffee layer and chocolate.

And it's so simple. I've made toffee before and had to use a candy thermometer while standing over a hot stove, stirring constantly for what seemed like an eternity. Not with this recipe! You get the buttery goodness of toffee with very little effort.

Okay, so here's what you need:

Saltine crackers (I used a little more than one sleeve of saltines)
2 sticks of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
Additional garnishes, like finely chopped nuts or crushed Heath bars, if desired

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil. Line up the saltine crackers on the sheet without overlapping. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until combined. Stir until the mixture comes together completely and starts to boil. Pour over the saltines and spread evenly so they are all covered.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. The toffee mixture will be bubbling. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee. I use a mixture of semisweet and milk chocolate chips.

Return to the oven for a couple of minutes until the chips have softened. With a butter knife, spread the softened chocolate over the toffee layer. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge so it hardens completely.

Once it hardens, flips the toffee over and remove the foil. Break into pieces.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Menu Plan December 15-21

My oven died.

Well, it's not officially dead. But it's not heating properly and I've been unable to use it. Of course, it's the time of year that I used it a LOT. So far I've gotten no Christmas baking done.

Hopefully the repair guy will come tomorrow to diagnose it and see if it can be fixed. We're pretty sure it's not the heating element. We have a double wall oven and both ovens are having issues. We suspect it's the temperature control panel. The oven was installed in 1996 and the parts aren't readily available. We're bracing ourselves for the worst but hoping it's an easy fix.

I didn't realize how much I used my oven until I couldn't use it. No freshly baked bread or cookies. No casseroles. No pizza.

So this week's menu relies heavily on my stove top, which is separate from the wall oven. Here's what I've got planned:

Monday
Pancakes and sausage

Tuesday
Broccoli cheese soup, crackers

Wednesday
Italian sausage sandwiches, chips

Thursday
Steak bites, fried potatoes

Friday
West Virginia pepperoni rolls

Saturday
Mom's house

Sunday
Mom's house

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.