Dinner Menu for the week of September 22nd

Forgive the delay in posting this week’s menu.  A short day trip to see my sister, and some personal defeats have put me a few days behind.  Mercies are new every morning…

Last week’s menu favorites:

Sunday we ate my most favorite fish tacos.  Complete with homemade corn tortillas.  The meal was SUCH a delight.  Witness the beauty!  Make these.

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The second winner of the week was the chicken broccoli pockets.  We swapped the whole chicken night, and moved the pockets to Friday.  They were full of amazing.  Made way more filling than intended, and had enough to eat for dinner tonight.  I made a crust sourced from this post.  Fully intend on making these “pop-tarts” at some point too!

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Did not get a chance to make the stuffed red peppers, so they are moved to this Monday.

The menu normalcy is in flux this week due to some planned activities.  We will give this menu a go…

Sunday:  Left over chicken bakes

Monday:  Quinoa stuffed red peppers

Tuesday:  Chili from the freezer and cornbread

Wednesday:  Pizza night!  We will get creative with the toppings.

Thursday:  Penne pasta with sundried tomato cream sauce

Friday:  Sauted scallops and quinoa with orange and avocado salsa

Saturday:  We are having a family gathering to celebrate my sweet boy’s 3rd birthday!  We are making burgers on the grill.  Yummo!

I will leave you with a bit of encouragement for your week.  Mainly because I am the one that needs to be encouraged. I heard this quote last weekend while at a conference.  It has been running through my mind ever since because I am prone to worry and fear.  I have to remember to persist and stay the course.  In all things.

Maybe you think you think you cannot spend the time needed to eat real food.  Maybe you think your spouse/kids will never go for it.  Maybe you think you will not see results.  Maybe….just maybe you should just give it a try.  🙂

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Dinner Menu for the week of September 15th

Last week’s menu recap.

I thought Sunday’s quinoa and salmon salad was good.  In fact, I ate mine sitting on the couch while the boys both acted like little birdies with open mouths.  They ended up eating a second dinner off my plate.  Dave on the other hand did NOT like this meal.  He is not a huge balsamic vinegar fan, and he claims his salmon was over cooked.  Bummer!

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The chicken marsala meal was the week’s winner.  So tasty, and fairly simple to make.  It will go into my recipe circulation for sure.

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Cheeseburgers with yummy because we added bacon and avocados.  Yay.

Did not snap a pic of any other meals this week, but we did not have any other whammies.

Coming up this week…

Sunday: Spicy fish tacos!!!  SO excited to make these again!

Monday:  Strawberry Avocado Spinach salad

Tuesday:  Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pie Pockets using chicken from my very favorite whole chicken in a crock pot.

Wednesday:  Left over chicken used in open face melted sandwiches

Thursday:  A lemon shrimp salad inspired by this recipe, but changed to sub honey for sugar.

Friday:  I am going to try my hand at these Quinoa stuffed peppers.  Wish me luck.

Saturday:  Scrambled eggs and Breakfast Potatoes

I will leave you with a photo that is unrelated to food.  We had a HUGE victory this week as Trevor graduated to a main stream pre-school.  YAY for our sweet speech-delayed boy, and his progress!

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Dinner Menu for the week of September 8th

Last week’s menu recap:

The apple and bacon stuffed pork chops were really tasty.  If it were not for all of the “meat handling” in this recipe, it would be a keeper.  If you do not mind the meat handling aspect, or if you do not have minions that need attention during meal prep, than it should be something you try for sure.

The tostadas ended up being chicken sandwiches, and the irish nachos became baked potato slices and shredded chicken left overs.  Both nights, I ended up having business meetings, and I was unable to complete either meal.  I am SO grateful for the chicken in the crock pot though because it fed us for two nights, and made yummy stock!

The rest of the menu items were good, but do not need extra praise.  They are staples.  🙂

Before getting to the items for this week, I have a quick garden update.

My monster zucchini plant met the compost bin yesterday.  It was trying to take over the ENTIRE box, and the leaves were getting this funky white fungus-y looking fuzz on them.  It was just better to call it a total loss.  The lettuce was also pulled after fulfilling its duty to provide us with many salads.

The remaining watermelon, basil, kale, cucumber and peppers are still doing well.  In fact, the jalapeno plant is producing WAY more jalapenos than this mama needs.  I mean taco bell mild sauce is too spicy for my liking.  Ya dig?  Trevor thinks it is fun to “help” in the garden by picking the peppers.  Here are some that were picked before their prime.  Oh well.

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I am eagerly anticipating the bell pepper harvest.  I have several LARGE peppers that are looking amazing.  This particular pepper grows big and green, but turns red as soon as it is ripe.  I cannot imagine that they will get much bigger, but they are all still green.  CANNOT wait!

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Here is our plan for the week:

Sunday:  Quinoa and Salmon salad

Monday:  Chicken enchilada soup from the freezer

Tuesday:  Chicken Marsala pasta with asparagus

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers with roasted sweet potato squares

Thursday:  Cheesy broccoli orzo and a garden salad

Friday:  Chicken couscous salad

Saturday:  Potato breakfast casserole thing inspired by this recipe.  I will change it up and use local sausage, freshly diced potatoes and just might add some bell peppers.

Happy eating everyone!

Dinner Menu for the week of August 25th

Highlights from last week’s menu.

Pancakes are gone already despite putting about 20 directly into the freezer.  My kids love these!  So do trains.

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Fish taco bowls were SO flippin’ good. They were my favorite this week. These are going onto another menu soon.

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Chicken and sundried tomato sandwiches were actually my favorite of the week.  We pulsed the tomatoes with garlic, basil, oil and vinegar in the food processor, then used that as a spread on the toasted sprouted whole wheat bun.  No pic due to the speed with which these were consumed.

Could not find whole wheat fettuchini, so we used penne for the chicken alfredo.  Had a bit of the sundried tomato spread left from a few nights prior, so I added it to the alfredo just as it was finishing.  I assured you that the sandwiches were my favorite, but I have already changed my mind.  This was for SURE my favorite thing I made this week, and the sauce was REALLY easy!

The Mexican casserole turned into tacos.  Could not swing the 40-50 minutes cooking time that it required after rocking the taco meat and the fresh tortillas.  Both the meat and the tortillas were incredible, and we will make these again very soon.

Last item of note is the banana peanut butter french toast.  Good, but they do not compare to the other items we ate this week.

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Here is the plan for the final week in August.  (Wait…what?!?!  Where did summer go?)

Sunday:  Seared scallops with lemon orzo

Monday: One pot wonder tomato basil spaghetti

Tuesday:  Chicken mozzarella roll ups and grilled zucchini.

Wednesday: Left over spaghetti

Thursday: Avocado strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed vinaigrette dressing

Friday:  Apple and bacon stuffed pork chops.  Dave is anticipating this to be one of the best meals I have cooked.  The pressure is crushing my soul.

Saturday:  We will cheat this evening, and go out to dinner.  It is my birthday.  Yay…but not really.

August was good to me, but I have VERY high hopes for September.  It is the dreaming that keeps me motivated!  Oh, and Trevor starts at a preschool two days a week that is on our block.  Yes.

Enjoy your week everyone!

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Blackberries

I love summer fruit. The stone fruits are amazing…yes. Blackberries though…they are my very very favorite.

Our neighbor has a blackberry bush that crawls over our fence. I have been eyeing the budding fruit for weeks, and the time finally came on Friday to pick a few! Now…besides just popping them like candy, what could I make with these?!?!

Just a few days prior, another neighbor brought over several lemons from her yard. When I saw them on the counter, the decision was made! Using this recipe for inspiration, I give you…

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Blackberries

Makes about a dozen muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup organic honey
1 cup whole fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp poppy seeds
24-36 blackberries depending on preference

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375, and prepare a muffin pan with olive oil spray or muffin cups.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk. Add the oil, honey, yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk together.

3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until combined.

4. Fill the muffin cups half full, then add 2 to 3 blackberries depending on preference. Cover the blackberries with additional batter until almost full.

5. Cook 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

6. Enjoy the flavor explosion.

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Optionally, you can drizzle with a honey-lemon juice-powdered sugar concoction. I just added enough of each item until it tasted amazing, then I spread a thin layer over the top.

Despite having made these yesterday, they are all gone.

Dinner Menu for the week of July 14th

Getting right to the menu this week.  Sleep is calling.

Sunday: Grilled salmon salad with corn on the cob

Monday: Left over chili and cornbread from last week’s menu

Tuesday: Honey lemon pork tenderloin medallions with cheesy broccoli orzo.  Subbing in whole wheat orzo.

Wednesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwich

Thursday:  Sweet potato gnocchi!!!

Friday: Stuffed zucchini boats with tomatoes, quinoa, green peppers and parm cheese

Saturday:  Strawberry waffles.  (I am really loving brinner on the weekends btw.)

Tomorrow is going to be another cookapalooza because Dave is traveling a few days next week.  I have to stock up on some snack items, and fill the freezer with a few meals.  Also, I rocked out some AMAZING muffins tonight.  I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Nighty night…

Dinner Menu for the week of July 7th

It has been so very nice to have a few days off, and to have Dave home.  We went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, enjoyed a Fourth of July parade, and took turns sleeping in.  SLEEPING IN!  Despite the few relaxing days, I have neglected food shopping and bulk cooking.  Oy!

While I put together a menu for dinner each week, there is so much more planning and cooking that we do every week.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and all of the prep that is needed for each nightly meal.  In addition, we are still working on Trevor’s limited palate.  He does eat real food, but we cycle through the same 10 or so items that he will gladly swallow.  So…cooking for him adds to the to do list.  Thank goodness Lucas will eat anything.  Then when he is done, he will eat what is left on Trevor’s plate.

So, taking a few days off from food duties, leads to Dave standing in front of an open fridge/cabinet in search of something to eat for lunch or snacks.  It is time to get cracking.  Tomorrow is going to be a cook/prep/freeze ahead day.

For this week’s menu, I am doing a week of repeats.  These are all getting made again because they were a hit in a past menu.  Some of my very faves will not be highlighted simply because I will not have ingredients.  The items I picked can either help me stock my freezer (chili), or will be easily made with much of what I have on hand.  I am excited!

Sunday: Chili and cornbread.  For the chili, I leave out the sugar, bacon bits, hotsauce, and corn chips.  I use one whole beer.  Cornbread recipe is modified to use whole corn meal (that I will grind in my Vitamix from organic popcorn!!!), whole wheat flour (ground in the Vitamix from whole wheat berries!), olive oil instead of veg, no sugar, and a bit more honey.  This meal usually does a really good job of stocking the freezer.

Monday: Left over potato soup (on last week’s menu) and a small salad.

Tuesday: Chicken pot pie I plan to make this interesting by not using any crust, and instead covering the top of the filling with whole wheat biscuit dough that will be dropped on top prior to cooking. I tried this the last time, and it was AMAZING!!! I will post pics of the process.

Wednesday: Lemon Butter Salmon, and steamed broccoli. Plan to add some garlic to the salmon prior to baking.

Thursday: Spring quinoa salad.  Just plain delish!  Naturally there would have to be a quinoa dish right?!?!

Friday: Chicken Parmesan cutlets over whole wheat spaghetti with corn on the cobb.

Saturday: Spinach quiche

Last week I promised pictures of my sweet little garden project.  Oh how it has grown!  Today I added four types of lettuce and two types of kale.  I had to move the peppers to the front too because the monster zucchini and cucumber plants were trying to swallow them.

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Before I wrap up, I have a request.  If anyone out there has a favorite real food recipe, please post a link to it in a comment.  Or, even if it is not made with real food ingredients, but it is a favorite, I might be able to modify it by swapping a few things out.  PLEASE send me some inspiration!

Have a great week!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 30th

The last few days have been HOT in the bay area.  The kind of hot that makes everything a chore.

Like most people in the area, we do not have AC at home.  HOT + no AC in the house = zero desire to cook.  Zero.  Like, I have not even turned on the oven since the middle of last week.

On Friday night, I attempted my first batch of home made ice cream.  I was inspired by this post, but did not have any strawberries, or heavy cream on hand.  I did have frozen blueberries and half and half though, and that was going to have to be close enough.  I mixed up the ingredients, and then pulled out the ice cream maker base out of the freezer.  Just an FYI…it is ill-advised to attempt ice cream when it is 92 degrees INSIDE your house.  So Friday night’s attempt failed because the frozen container did not stay cold enough, and we had to give it another go in the morning.  The subsequent attempt was a success.

YAY for ice cream on a HOT day!

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It tastes amazing, though next time I will reduce the amount of both the vanilla and honey.  Next up later today, berry yogurt pops!

My menu this week will contain very little that requires the oven.  Here is what is in the plan.

Sunday:  Grilled lemon shrimp salad with corn on the cob.

Monday:  Left over chicken burritos made last week.

Tuesday:  Grilled pineapple and avocado burgers.

Wednesday: Potato and bacon soup in the crock pot.

Thursday:  Chef’s salad with bacon crumbles, broccoli, hard boiled eggs and avocado.  If we end up over at someone’s house for a BBQ, I will bring this to share.  Happy 4th of  July!

Friday: Simple Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti using whole wheat spaghetti.  Adding steamed broccoli and sauteed kale.

Saturday:  Filled pancakes.  I have fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  YUM!

Next week I will share some pics of the progress of my garden.  So exciting to see the veggies growing!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 23rd

Last week I was on a quinoa kick.  The big winner from last week’s menu was the spring quinoa salad.  It was so easy to make, and tasted amazing.   The recipe made more than we could eat for dinner, so we had it for lunch the next day.

I love it when a recipe is easy to make, the result tastes great, and it is a bonus when it is visually appealing!

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I was low on energy last night, so I moved the fajitas to tonight, and rocked some home made corn tortillas.  Honestly any recipe that calls for a tortilla will move to the top of my list now.  These things just plain rule.  Get a tortilla press and a bust some out people.  Or…toss the dough in between some parchment paper and roll them on out.  Either way…get on it.

Here is the dinner plan for the next week.

Sunday:  Skipping the seafood night because we have left over fajitas.  (!!!)

Monday:  Salsa Chicken burritos.  Should have LOTS of left overs for quick burritos to take to work.

Tuesday:  Quinoa with Paprika Chicken and Asparagus  (Still kind of obsessed with quinoa.  And I have a restaurant-sized bag from Costco)

Wednesday:  BLTA sandwiches

Thursday: Taco mountain.  This happens when you have taco fixins, but you layer them all on top of chips instead of putting it all in a taco shell.

Friday: Left over taco mountain, and corn on the cob.

Saturday:  I am heading down to see my sister with the boys over the weekend, so Dave is on his own for dinner.  🙂

Also planning to make these cute little zucchini tots.  In place of bread crumbs, I will be subbing in….wait for it….quinoa, and then popping them into the freezer for snacks.  Not sure what day I will get to them, but I do have some zucchini that needs to be used soon.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Dinner Menu for the week of June 17th

Right.  It is Tuesday.  Sickness has taken over my house, and consumed several boxes of tissue.  With illness comes a SLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW down of all activity.  Including the posting of this week’s menu.

Before I get to the menu, I have to share some excitement over our tiny little garden.  Saturday I loaded Trevor into my dad’s truck to go get the dirt from a local garden supply place.  He was SO excited, and was talking the whole way there and back about “Papa’s white truck.”  He eyes were full of wonder as the dirt was loaded into the truck by some huge yellow front-loader machine.  Really glad I took him along with me.

We got home with the soil, and Dave brought load after load back to the raised bed.  Trevor was right there with Dave the entire time.  Cutest thing ever.

Our first planting included watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, red bell pepper, jalapeno, parsley and basil!  Cannot wait to nurture these little guys!

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Of note, some of the plants will need to be moved.  I guess I underestimated the needed space for several of the items planted.  Joy.

Last quick update.  It is almost blackberry season!!!  My neighbor has a bush that is jumanji-ish, and reaches over the fence into our yard.   Plucking these gems will be the highlight of my summer fruit bounty!

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Onto what we are eating this week:

Monday:  This is our use it up day, so we scrounged for leftovers, and it worked out well. Dave actually tried to finish off the Mac and cheese from last week. I did not touch it though, because it was gross. Like, a waste of pasta gross. Cannot seem to get the ratio of pasta to sauce right, and it always turns out a sticky mess.

Tuesday:  Tonight we are eating shepherd’s pie.  Not normally something I like, but Dave is a huge fan.  It was a Father’s Day request, so I am going to give it a go. I am counting on being amazed.

Wednesday:  Spring Quinoa Salad.  YES please!

Thursday: Chopped Salad with Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Friday: Steak Fajitas. These were such a hit last time, that we are making them again! Planning to make fresh corn tortillas too. YUM!

Saturday: Brinner night, so it will either be whole wheat waffles, or pancakes. Whatever I feel I can manage.

Starting next week, my menus will go Sunday-Saturday. This will make it easier to shop on the weekends, and also my menu app on my iPhone uses Sunday-Saturday, so it was getting weird. Technology…rules my life I tell you.

Enjoy your week everyone!