Jan 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 01/18/10

I'm late with this post as I just couldn't seem to plan our menu this week! Last night I was opting for eating out and hubby said he'd pick up something at the store. He suggested spaghetti and I said ok...I already had everything we needed and the ground beef was precooked, so it was an easy fix.

So here is our week's worth of meals:

Monday - Spaghetti, Salad, Rolls
Tuesday – Chicken Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Salad
Wednesday – Eating out for son's birthday!!
Thursday – Turkey Burgers
Friday – Potato Soup
Saturday – Buffalo Chicken Strips
Sunday – Hamburger Helper (I found 2 boxes when cleaning out the pantry - I have no idea when or why I bought them, but we will eat them.)

It was really hard planning our menu this week. I think it was from cooking so much the last few weeks - I completely lost my menu planning creativity!

Jan 16, 2010

Freezer Cooking ~ Finally finished!

I took on a project the last few weeks that had me questioning my sanity!

I decided to prep/cook dinners for my work days for the upcoming semester. I work Monday - Thursday, so we are talking approximately 64 meals!!

I started by downloading a calendar of the months February - May and then penciled in dinner ideas for each day. After completing two months worth, I then repeated them for the second two months. I tried to use meals that could be cooked ahead and frozen, partially prepped and frozen, or quick and easy to prepare meals.

Next I started buying the items I would need. I was fortunate that the grocery stores were nice enough to put the meats on sale for me :). I had been saving up for this, but it was a stretch on my grocery budget to buy meat for that many meals.

Then I started prepping/cooking. I spread it out over a few days and it went pretty smoothly. I finished a few days ago and my freezer it packed!

Here's my plan I used:

2/01 Asian Pork Tenderloin (CP)
2/02 Enchilada Casserole - I prepped the meat mixture and bagged up all the necessary items in large freezer bags and will assemble prior to cooking.
2/03 Meatball Sandwiches - Will be made from frozen meatballs, topped with cheese and marinara sauce.
2/04 Italian Chicken - This is a 'dump recipe', just dump chicken breasts and Italian dressing in freezer bag and freeze; the chicken will marinate as it thaws.

2/08 Rotisserie Chicken (CP) I've made this several times and it is yummy!
2/09 Meatloaf
2/10 Black Bean Salsa Chicken (CP)
2/11 Mexican Stuffed Shells

2/15 Korean Tri Tip (CP) I have tried this recipe with ribs, roast, and tri-tip. Will add chilies the day of.
2/16 Pork Chops - An old favorite, bake pork chops w/cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions. Easy but tasty.
2/17 Teriyaki Chicken - Another 'dump' recipe; chicken breasts frozen in teriyaki sauce.
2/18 Chicken w/Salsa & Cheese - Another quick 'n easy recipe, top chicken with a few tablespoons of salsa, sprinkle w/shredded cheese and bake.

2/22 Roast (CP) Top w/cream of mushroom soup and dried onion soup, add two cans of white potatoes and a bag of baby carrots and cook on low all day.
2/23 Mexican Penne
Ultimate Beef Stroganoff (CP)
2/25 Sue Sue’s Casserole (I'm always surprised by how good this tastes as the ingredients just don't seem appealing to me.)
3/01 Oriental Porkchops
3/02 Chicken Breasts topped with cream of chicken soup & cheese
3/03 Swedish Meatballs over pasta - I adapted this from the recipe found here.
3/04 Chicken Enchilada Casserole - I prepared the meat mixture and will layer the day of.

3/08 Creamy Cheesy Chicken ( CP) This I will just throw together in the morning.
3/09 Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti - I broke one of my cooking 'rules' with this recipe as I have learned from experience never to make ahead meals that I haven't tried first - but I did taste it before freezing and wanted to devour it right there and then!
3/10 CrockPot Layered Beef ‘n Taters (CP) I prepped the meat mixture and will finish in the morning.
3/11 Creamy Paprika Chicken (CP)

3/15 Crockpot Chicken ‘n Stuffing (CP)
3/16 Slow Cooker Italian Chicken (CP)
3/17 Greek Turkey Burgers - Frozen uncooked.
3/18 Chicken Ziti

3/22 Buffalo Shrimp
3/23 Boboli Pizza **
3/24 Polish Sausage Sandwiches **
3/25 Spaghetti **

** I am hoping to replace these last three meals with something else...I ran out of ideas at this point.

And from here on, the recipes repeat:

3/29 Asian Pork Tenderloin
3/30 Enchilada Casserole
3/31 Meatball Sandwiches
4/01 Italian Chicken

4/05 Rotisserie Chicken
4/06 Meatloaf
4/07 Black Bean Salsa Chicken
4/08 Mexican Stuffed Shells

4/12 Korean Tri Tip
4/13 Pork Chops
4/14 Frozen Entrée from Store
4/15 Chicken w/Salsa & Cheese

4/19 Roast
4/20 Mexican Penne
4/21 Ultimate Beef Stroganoff
4/22 Sue Sue’s Casserole

4/26 Oriental Porkchops
4/27 Chicken w/Cr of Chicken Soup & Cheese
4/28 Swedish Meatballs over pasta
4/29 Chicken Enchilada Casserole

5/03 Creamy Cheesy Chicken
5/04 Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti
5/05 CrockPot Layered Beef ‘n Taters
5/06 Creamy Paprika Chicken

5/10 Crockpot Chicken ‘n Stuffing
5/11 Slow Cooker Italian Chicken
5/12 Pizza/Takeout/Leftovers
5/13 Chicken Ziti

5/17 Sue Sue’s Casserole
5/18 Boboli Pizza
5/19 Polish Sausage Sandwiches
5/20 Italian Chicken

5/24 Asian Pork Tenderloin
5/25 Enchilada Casserole
5/26 Meatball Sandwiches
5/27 Rotisserie Chicken

My plan is to make pulling tomorrow's dinner from the freezer part of my evening routine. Lots of these can be thrown in the crockpot or oven frozen, but not all, so if I can get in the habit of pulling them out the night before, I won't have to worry about that.

I will plan our weekend meals on a weekly basis as I have been doing up 'til now and will try to base them on whatever is on sale at the grocery store.

I'm excited to see how much our grocery budget will decrease by doing this.

If you are looking to get into OAMC (once a month cooking) or for a few ideas to try out freezer cooking, check out the following blogs or just google it!


And a great website on crockpot cooking:


Jan 11, 2010

Munu Plan Monday - 01/11/10

Here's my menu plan for this week!

For more menu ideas visit Organizing Junkie's website here.

Monday 1/11 – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Tuesday 1/12 – Chili Verde, tortillas, salad

Wednesday 1/13 – Ham Steaks or Ham 'n Cheese Grilled Sandwiches, Au Gratin Potatoes, veggies

Thursday 1/14 – Spaghetti, salad, rolls

Friday 1/15 – Beef Tenderloins, Asparagus Casserole (from last week)

Saturday 1/16 – Quiche

Sunday 1/17 – Leftovers/Eat out

Memorizing Bible Verses

I came across a blog post last week that made me think about my progress in memorizing scripture…or perhaps I should say my lack of progress.

This past year I have felt compelled to memorize scripture, but my success has been minimal. I have been able to memorize a few verses, but I have failed in memorizing most of the references, which I feel is really important.

Anyway, this blog post I found was about a way to memorize scripture and I think this might work for me. The original post can be found here (and she found it here.). I don’t know who the person is who wrote it and I cannot say that I do or don't agree with her spiritual convictions, because I haven’t read through her blog and don’t know what they are. But I really liked the way this memorization system is set up and I’ve set about to make one for myself.

I will outline it here:

I used some heavy scrapbooking card stock that I had at home to make up 40 index card dividers. I labeled these: Daily, Odd, Even, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the numbers 1-30.

You start by placing your first verse behind the daily slot. This is to be reviewed daily. Once you feel you know it, move it behind odd and place a new verse behind daily.

Then each day you will review your daily verse plus on odd numbered days of the month you review the verse behind odd. Each time you master a verse, every verse is moved back by one spot.

You will eventually be reviewing four verses a day: the daily verse, the odd or even verse, the verse behind the day of the week, and the verse behind the day of the month. For example on Monday, 1/11/10, you would review the verses behind daily, odd, Monday, and 11.

So when a verse feels comfortable, you will still review it every other day and then later once a week and then eventually just once a month.

So I’ve got my dividers and my verses ready to go – now I need to find a box to hold it all. I will probably end up with an index card holder to begin with until I can find a cute box as a more permanent holder.

Jan 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 01/04/10

Here's my menu plan for the upcoming week. There are a few meals carried over from last week, but that seems to be the theme around here.

Monday 1/4 – Chicken Casserole, frozen veggies, potatoes

Tuesday 1/5 – Crock Pot Layered Beef and Taters, salad

Wednesday 1/6 – Buffalo Shrimp, Rice, veggies

Thursday 1/7 – Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday 1/8 – Chicken California (using turkey), corn on the cob

Saturday 1/9 – Creamy Paprika Chicken, Asparagus Casserole, Rolls

Sunday 1/10 –Tacos, Beans, maybe rice

Review of Slow Cooker Oriental Pork Chops

Made the Slow Cooker Oriental Pork Chops last night.

In one word...Keeper!

I didn't brown the chops first - but I'm sure they would've been even better if I had. And I forgot to thicken up the sauce, which would have made it better also. I also doubled the sauce as it didn't seem like enough.

Even with all my changes, the whole family liked this. I promptly made up two more meals in freezer bags for upcoming dinners.

Two freezer meals down, a whole bunch more to go!

Review of Paula Deen's Layered Meatball Casserole

Last night I made Paula Deen's Layered Meatball Casserole. Before I give my opinions, here are the changes I made to the recipe:

-I used frozen meatballs. The recipe calls for 16 ounces, but I used two 12 oz packages of Mama Lucia's frozen meatballs (on sale this week for 10/$10).
-I used fresh mushrooms as I apparently didn't read the recipe thoroughly before shopping and didn't have canned.
-I chopped up one large tomato - it seemed enough so I didn't use the second.
-I didn't have fresh leaf basil, so I just sprinkled on some dried basil. I have no idea how much.

So...I'm not sure if I will ever make this again. It was good, but seemed to be a bit more prep than I anticipated. The recipe states 15 min. prep. It took longer than that!

The meatballs weren't so good, but that is not the fault of the recipe. I think it I had used homemade meatballs, this would have been really much better.

This makes a lot!!! It was almost overflowing in the baking dish I used. Only three of us were home to eat and I had half left over after we were finished eating.

I froze some in lunch sized portions and will be interested in seeing how it is after thawing. This would make great work lunches!

Two Great Recipes!

We tried two new recipes last week that will be added to our favorites! A Prime Rib Marinade and Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns.

The first was for prime rib. Every year, we have a traditional Christmas Eve family dinner - just me, hubby, and the boys. We have fixed prime rib each year, with varying degrees of success. We usually use a farberware rotisserie to cook it, but haven't been overwhelmed with the results. This year I wanted to try something different and found this recipe....boy was it good!

We will be using this from now on and I plan to try it on some roasts and steaks throughout the year.


1/4 cup black (course) ground pepper
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 cup onion powder
2 tablespoons MSG (can omit) meat tenderizer
2 tablespoons seasoning salt
1 tablespoon celery salt

Combine ingredients.
Rub 1/2 cup of seasoning per 10 lbs. meat. Rub and massage seasoning in with soy sauce after all wet, work the seasoning in very well! Keep adding more seasoning until you have the amount needed. Place in refrigerator and let seasoning soak into meat for 24 hours before cooking.

Make 1" thick slices in a large onion (more if needed) to line down center of a pan which is large enough to fit your piece of prime rib on. Use onion slices to make a bed to place meat on top of.

Cook 350° for about 2 hrs or more, depending on the weight size of the prime rib.

**Note: I did not have MSG or seasoning salt, so I made the rub up without both. It was delicious! I cut the recipe down by 1/3 and used it all on a 5+ lb. cut of prime rib.

The second recipe was for the very bestest Cinnamon Buns!

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

20 frozen dough rolls (or 1 frozen bread loaf, thawed (approx. 1 hour) until sliceable and cut into 12 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla instant pudding
1-2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup melted butter

Before you put the cat out and turn off the lights, grease a 10" bundt pan and add frozen rolls. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pudding powder, cinnamon and raisins. Pour melted butter over all. Cover with a clean, damp cloth. (leave out at room temperature). Turn out the lights and say goodnight!

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then turn out on a serving plate.

**Note: I didn't use raisins as we (I) don't really like them. I didn't measure the vanilla pudding, just poured the contents of a small box over the brown sugar. These were so very good!

Menu Plan Monday 12/28/09

This week I am trying out some new recipes that are freezable. I am getting a new freezer next week and plan to fill it up with some meals over the next few weeks. I return to work at the end of January and would love to have a bunch of meals ready to go for next semester.

Here is the week's plan:

Monday – Leftovers, turkey sandwiches
Tuesday – Chicken California (using turkey), corn on the cob
Wednesday – Crock Pot Black Bean Salsa Chicken, Salad
Thursday – Paula Deen’s Layered Meatball Casserole, Green Beans
Friday – WW Chicken ‘n Cheese Casserole, Asparagus Casserole, Rolls
Saturday – Slow Cooked Oriental Pork Chops, UnFried Brown Rice, Veggie
Sunday – Chicken Alfredo (frozen Viola meal)

I love using my crockpot too, so combining crockpot recipes with freezer cooking seems like a plus. I will try to come back with reviews of the above recipes throughout the week.

Menu Plan Monday...

....except today is Thursday!

I'm posting this early as I usually make up my meal plans on Fridays to go through the following Sunday. This way, my meal plans overlap three days, giving me time to grocery shop and make adjustments.

I missed posting last week, but I did make a plan and stuck to it. I would hate to go back to the old days of never knowing what I would be fixing for dinner...we'd have spaghetti often!

Anyhow, here's my meal plan for the upcoming week:


Chicken bacon rollups (from freezer meals)
Green Bean Casserole


Cheese and Chile Stuffed Chicken Breasts


Polish sausage sandwiches (to use up Polish Sausage on sale two weeks ago)


Buttermilk Baked Chicken
Au Gratin Potatoes


Taco Salad w/Chips


Shanghai Chicken and Noodles


Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes


Greek Turkey Burgers


Enchilada Stack


Pasta w/sauce

I'm still struggling with finding a variety of sides that my family will eat - namely vegetables. We eat a lot of salad and frozen vegetables, but I want to add more fresh vegetables to our meals. I have some asparagus that I will try roasting this week and will have to browse the produce dept. to see what else I can find.

Reviews on last posted meal plan: We loved the Chicken California and the Chili's Copycat Chicken Tenders were pretty good also (I baked these rather than frying and will bake a bit longer next time to crisp them up a bit more).

Menu Plan Monday 09/21/09

I've been following Menu Plan Monday at http://orgjunkie.com/ for about four weeks now. I've been successfully planning and (for the most part) sticking to my weekly menus. This week is the first time I will be posting my menus and linking back.

I actually plan my weekly menus on Friday. This is my day off and works best for me. I try to plan thru the following Sunday, so some days overlap - giving me some leeway in case I don't get to it on the scheduled day.

Here's this week's plan:

Friday - French Bread Pizza, Salad

Saturday - Crockpot Easy Chicken over Egg Noodles

Sunday - Tacos, Refried Beans, Salad

Monday - Quiche, Fresh Fruit, Waffles

Tuesday - Beef Burgandy over WW Egg Noodles

Wednesday - Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Thursday - Creamy Chicken 'n Biscuits, Veggies

Friday - Copycat Chili's Boneless Buffalo Wings, Celery Sticks

Saturday - Chicken California, Au Gratin Potatoes

Sunday - Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes, Caesar Salad

I will be back later this week to add recipes.