Change of Plan


See that menu up there? That was the plan for this week, and boy was I excited about it.  A new recipe along with a few old favorites that all my kiddos enjoy.  Yum.

Unfortunately, my youngest has come down with a nasty stomach bug, and we all know how these types of germs like to spread.  So that menu up there?  I do not want to see any of those things a second time around, if you know what I mean.

So we’ve scrapped it and will be eating bland, bland and bland for the next few days.  Last night it was egg burritos.  Tonight is chicken soup.  Not sure about tomorrow night, but it might be eggs again.

Menu planning can be a huge help, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and go with Plan B.

Here’s hoping no one else falls to the stomach bug and we can use that yummy menu plan next week!


Menu Monday: 1/21/12

It’s (finally!!!!) a beautiful day here in North Texas and I have a few windows open in an attempt to air out my germ-infested home……would you believe I still have sick kiddos?  Just as I get one back to good health, another one goes down.  I am past the point of frustration and tears and have moved on to laughing at my kids when they say their tummy hurts, nose is stuffy or feel achy all over.  Yep, I’m winning Mom of the Year for sure.

But life goes on, and so does the menu planning.  Yay!

Monday:  Mexican Soup and a Big Salad

Tuesday:  Bacon-wrapped Chicken, broccoli and cauliflower puree

Wednesday:  Chicken Bites (recipe posted soon!) and roasted butternut squash

Thursday:  Pot Roast and mashed cauliflower

Friday:  Spaghetti (pasta and squash) with home-made Meat-Tomato Sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts

Wish me luck this week…..I’m hoping to get all my kids healthy and back to our normal routine.

Kids Take Over the Kitchen Sunday

My mom cooked dinner pretty much every night of the week.  Even if only a few of us were going to be home for dinner, she’s whip up a casserole (she was the Queen of Casseroles!), a veggie, maybe a side salad, and open a can of peaches or pears for dessert.  Left-overs were put in the left-over dish to wait on the stove for any stragglers.

Except Sundays.  I don’t really remember her cooking on Sundays.  She might heat up some leftovers, maybe make BLT’s.  And sometimes she made liver and onions with peas for just herself and my dad (because there was no way we kids were going near that stinky plate!), but there really wasn’t much cooking.

I’ve decided to carry on that tradition and we’ve started Kids Take Over the Kitchen Sunday.  Partially because I’m just flat tired of cooking by Sunday, but also because I want all of my kids to figure out how to make themselves a decent meal.

For now this looks like toast or a sandwich for most of the kids.  Avery makes a really good plate of scrambled eggs.  Riley and Avery can manage waffles or pancakes, and Carson is starting to show a tiny bit of interest in cooking, especially if it involves making tacos.  Reese just loves to stir things up (literally and figuratively).

So tonight we’re going to work on a list of things the kids want to learn to make and come up with a rotation so that each kid gets the opportunity to cook a recipe of their choosing for family dinner.  I think we’ll cook up a full meal every other week or so, and the alternating Sundays will be “fend for yourself”, meaning, the kids make what they can for themselves with whatever they can find in the fridge or pantry.  This will most likely be Greek yogurt with granola or peanut butter toast…..which I am just fine with as long as I don’t have to make it!

I’ll post stories and pictures as the kids start making their first meals…..there are bound to be epic messes and great successes.

When did you learn how to cook?  What was the first meal you remember cooking?

Menu Monday: 1/14/13

I’ve talked a bit about why I meal plan before, and soon I’ll talk about how I meal plan. But today let me just say that meal planning has saved my life the past week or so, and looks like it’ll be my hero this week as well.

I’ve had at least one sick kid (and usually two) in my house for almost three weeks now. Today would have been the first day everyone was back to normal, until the school nurse called around 11am to say my son had a fever.

Yes, I was “that mom” that sent him to school this morning, ignoring his protests that he didn’t feel well. In my defense, he did not feel warm when he left the house, and his current temperature is barely what I’d call a fever. But, it was enough to send him home and keep him home through at least tomorrow.  Sigh.

So, how does meal planning make all this better?  Since I’ve planned our meals out for the week, I know that I have all the ingredients I need.  I can easily take the meat/chicken/pork out of the freezer in advance to defrost. I can grab a few minutes during the day to prep some veggies.  I’m not standing in my kitchen at 5pm, wondering what in the heck am I going to feed these people.

Because honestly, I’m about on my last nerve right now.  I’ve lost more brain cells to the flu and stomach bug in the last few weeks than I want to count, and I’m tired.

So, here’s my plan for this week.

Monday:  Taco Salad

Tuesday:  Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Hash

Wednesday:  Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thighs, roasted Brussels sprouts

Thursday:  Chili

Friday:  Balsamic Pork Chops and roasted cauliflower

Here’s hoping we all get and stay  healthy!

Menu Monday: 1/7/2013

Happy New Year!

It wouldn’t be January without a nutrition challenge at CrossFit DFW, so I am in full planning mode, ready to clean things up after a December filled with a few too many treats.

***Note:  because I’m participating in a Paleo challenge, all non-paleo ingredients in the links below will be omitted or I’ll make an appropriate substitution

Here’s the menu for this week:

Monday:  Ropa Vieja with Cuban Cauli-rice

Tuesday:  Smothered Pork Chops with roasted Brussels sprouts

Wednesday:  5-spice Chicken and Salad

Thursday:  Taco Salad

Friday:  Chicken Soup

Breakfasts will be scrambled eggs or sweet potato hash, and I have a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs and fresh, cut-up veggies in the fridge for snacks.

Yay for clean eating!

Cumin Pork Tenderloin and Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a True Winner, which means it meets my top three criteria for week-night meals:

1. It’s all real food.

2. It’s less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.

3. Most (meaning 3 out of 4) of my kids eat it without complaint.

Now I face the challenge of not making it too often….because I’ve learned that when I make a True Winner too often, it quickly turns into a loser.  Two or three times a month seems to be just about right.

Cumin Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes                                                                                          

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 1/2 lbs)

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbs olive oil (or coconut oil, bacon grease, butter)

3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together cumin, coriander and salt in small bowl. Rub the spices over all sides of the tenderloins, covering the surfaces of each one, creating a thick layer.

Heat olive in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown tenderloins about 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add sweet potatoes and onions to the pan, covering the bottom. Place the tenderloins on top of the vegetables.

Cover the dutch oven and roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the tenderloins are cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Slice the tenderloins and drizzle pan juices over slices and sweet potatoes.


Menu Monday: 11/12/12

Oh my, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?  I’ve been planning my weekly meals, just haven’t gotten around to posting them.

The weather here looks to be more fall-ish in the coming days so I’ve got stew and a few soups in the plan. There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly evening, am I right? Plus, it’s super easy to double the recipes and have some on-hand for lunches, or to freeze the extra for another meal.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Monday:  Garlic Beef Stew and Mashed Cauliflower and Roasted Butternut Squash

Tuesday:  Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs and Steamed Broccoli and Carrots

Wednesday:  Balsamic Pork Chops and Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Radishes

Thursday:  Mexican Soup and a Big Salad

Friday:  Carnitas-style Taco Tower  and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I’m hoping to have enough leftovers to get us through the weekend, but if we don’t I’ll make a big batch of chili on Saturday.

You might also notice I’m planning two vegetables for each dinner. We don’t eat near enough veggies at our house. The kids are good about eating a few bites of the one veggie dish I usually make each night, along with a random carrot stick in their lunches……but I really want them (and me!!!!) to eat more. Sooooo, I am going to be making two veggies every night this week. I’ll let you know how it goes!