December 1, 2019

December Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

This month we have all that Christmas and the New Year's Eve celebrations bring, along with much holiday baking thrown into the mix. I love this time of year!

Here is the menu plan for  December 2019:

  1.  Turkey Tetrazinni
  2.  Eat Out, Baskin Robbin's Cake  (Son's birthday)
  3.  Slow Cooker Ranch Taco Soup, Cornbread
  4.  Slow Cooker Mississippi Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
  5.  Slow Cooker Seasoned Chicken Thighs with Mini Potatoes, Roasted Acorn Squash
  6.  Pop-Up Taco Pie, Salad
  7.  BLT Sandwiches, Potato Soup
  8.  Mizithra Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
  9.  Slow Cooker Honey Baked Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
10.  Baked Salmon, Baked Potatoes, Veggie
11.  Slow Cooker Moss Lima Bean Soup, Cheddar Bay Biscuits
12.  Slow Cooker Green Chile & Cheese Enchiladas, Rice
13.  Eat Out, Hot Cocoa & Candy Canes (Christmas Lights)
14.  Copycat Macaroni Grill al Sugo Bianco
15.  Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp, Rice, Veggie
16.  Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
17.  Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup, Toast
18.  Oven Tacos
19.  Easy Dinner (Movies)
20.  Warm & Spicy Fish with Slaw, Butter Rice, Veggie
21.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Poorman's Beef Stew
22.  Burrito Bowls
23.  Slow Cooker Polish Hunter's Stew, Cornbread
24.  Chinese Take-Out  (Christmas Eve)
25.  Bucca di Beppo  (Christmas)
26.  Slow Cooker Caesar Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Veggie
27.  Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Biscuits
28.  Crunchy Grilled Chicken Tacos
29.  Spaghetti & Meatballs, Garlic Bread
30.  Roast & Potato Hash, Fried Eggs
31.  NYE Snack Buffet

November 1, 2019

November 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

This month we have the delicousness that is Thanksgiving.  My husband and I are also back to tracking through My Fitness Pal. When we do MFP, I still plan and cook my regular recipes, just decreasing the serving sizes and adjusting ingredients where I can to be lower calorie. I hope to share much more about how I go about this in the near future.

Here is the menu plan for  November 2019:

  1.  Slow Cooker Green Chile Enchiladas, Mexican Rice
  2.  BLT Sandwiches, Lipton Noodle Soup
  3.  Mizithra Spaghetti
  4.  Slow Cooker Poorman's Skillet, Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
  5.  Ritz Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Caramelized Butternut Squash
  6.  Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup, Garlic Bread
  7.  Pancakes, Oven Scrambled Eggs, Sausage Links
  8.  Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Pork, Red Potatoes, Acorn Squash
  9.  Grilled Chicken Tacos
10.  Bacon Alfredo Farfalle, Garlic Bread
11.  Eat Out
12.  Baked Salmon, Chicken Rice, Broccoli
13.  Bisquick Pop-Up Pizza Casserole, Salad
14.  Slow Cooker Portuguese Beans, Garlic Bread
15.  Slow Cooker Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole, Toast
16.  Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Fruit
17.  Creamy Tomato Bacon Pasta
18.  Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole
19.  Slow Cooker Caesar Chicken, Rice, Green Beans & Potatoes
20.  Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup, Garlic Bread
21.  Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole, Oven Scrambled Eggs, Oven Turkey Bacon
22.  Slow Cooker Shrimp Fried Rice
23.  Oven Tacos
24.  Slow Cooker Penne Rustica
25.  Tuna Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Kernel Corn, Applesauce
26.  Slow Cooker Jalapeno Cheese Sauce Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Savory Carrots
27.  Slow Cooker Poorman's Beef Stew, Garlic Bread
28.  Thanksgiving Dinner
29.  Thanksgiving Leftovers
30.  Thanksgiving Leftovers

October 3, 2019

October 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

This month we have Fall Break from school and a vacation. Beginning October 15th, my husband and I will be jumping back on the My Fitness Pal train. When we do MFP, I still plan and cook my regular recipes, just decreasing the serving sizes and adjusting ingredients where I can to be lower calorie. I hope to share much more about how I go about this in the near future.

Here is the menu plan for October 2019:

  1.  Eat Out - Our Wedding Anniversary
  2.  Ecco's Special Spaghetti
  3.  Pumpkin Pancakes, Deviled Eggs, Turkey Bacon
  4.  Slow Cooker Chili, Garlic Bread
  5-14.  Meals will vary due to vacation
15.  Baked Salmon, Buttered Brown Rice, Veggie
16.  Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs, Red Potatoes, Salad
17.  Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp, Stir Fry Cauli Rice, Veggie
18.  Slow Cooker Jalapeno Cheese Chicken, Mashed Cauli, Veggie
19.  Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls, Garlic Bread
20.  Tuna Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
21.  Rice Cooker Mac n Cheese, Salad
22.  Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup, Oven Grilled Cheese
23.  Slow Cooker Pepperjack Chicken, Mexican Cauli Rice, Veggie
24.  Crunchy Shrimp Tacos
25.  Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, Buttered Noodles, Salad
26.  Baked Sausage, Peppers and Onions, Mashed Potatoes
27.  Bean & Rice Bowls
28.  Slow Cooker Crustless Pizza, Salad
29.  Spicy Rub Baked Fish, Buttered Brown Rice, Veggie
30.  Baked Zucchini Noodle Casserole, Garlic Bread
31.  Bean Oven Tacos

September 1, 2019

September 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

Here is the menu plan for September 2019:

  1.  Salami Cream Cheese Bagels
  2.  Oven Cheeseburgers
  3.  Pizza Squash Casserole
  4.  Salisbury Steak & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Veggie
  5.  Beef Tamales, Mexican Rice, Salad
  6.  Mango Salsa Chicken, Jalapeno Poppers
  7.  Quesadillas
  8.  Chicken Bites
  9.  Slow Cooker Spaghetti Pie
10.  Slow Cooker Yoshinoya Bowls
11.  Banana Waffles, Oven Scrambled Eggs, Bacon
12.  Slow Cooker Mississippi Pot Roast
13.  Slow Cooker Pizza Chicken
14.  Pretzel Dogs
15.  Chicken Salad Sandwiches
16.  Zucchini Pizza
17.  Slow Cooker Poorboy Subs
18.  Slow Cooker Amish Country Casserole
19.  Tuna Patties
20.  Creamy Italian Chicken, Egg Noodles
21.  BLT Sandwiches
22.  Nachos
23.  Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Butter Chicken
24.  Slow Cooker Crustless Pizza Casserole
25.  Spicy Rub Fish
26.  Slow Cooker Crack Chicken
27.  Slow Cooker Pizza Stuffed Shells
28.  Noodle Soup, Sandwiches
29.  Chicken Patty Parm, Spaghetti
30.  Biscuits & Gravy, Oven Scrambled Eggs

August 30, 2019

Oven Scrambled Eggs

Making scrambled eggs on the stovetop is easy, sure.  But, when you are juggling also making pancakes, bacon, and orchestrating homework being done, popping a pan into the oven is so much easier and takes up less mind space with everything else going on.  So, yep, you can totally make scrambled eggs in the oven.  And they come out fluffy and delicious!

I have been making our scrambled eggs like this for a few years now and we haven't looked back.  I even mix up the egg mixture in the morning and store it in the fridge until dinnertime.  Because, yes, we often have breakfast for dinner. Brinner is always good!


And of course, this is more of a technique than an actual recipe.  But, one of the nice things about this is that it uses ingredients that are usually always in the house.  Here are the simple ingredients we need to make this recipe:


First, you start off by melting the butter. I do this in the microwave because it is easy and quick, but you can also do it on the stovetop if you are so inclined. Once the butter is melted, add in the remaining ingredients and beat well.




I line my Pyrex baking dish with non-stick foil, but you can just spray regular foil with cooking spray as well.  I do recommend lining the pan because baked on eggs can be work to scrub off sometimes. Then, just pour the beaten egg mixture into the prepared pan.


<Print Recipe>

Oven Scrambled Eggs

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, melted
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a 9x13 glass baking dish with non-stick foil.  In a glass measuring cup, melt butter in microwave. Add in eggs, milk/cream, salt and pepper. Beat until well combined.

Mixture can be set in fridge until cooking time. When ready to bake, pour egg mixture into prepared pan. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Gently stir eggs, mixture will still be liquidy and starting to set.  Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until cooked to your desired doneness.


You can scale this recipe up if you need to. I often make 8 eggs for our family; leaving the remaining ingredients the same. You can also change up the seasonings too. I do like using the heavy cream in this recipe, it helps make the eggs extra fluffy and creamy. But, if I don't have any on hand, I just use what I have.

Because I meal prep in the lull of the morning, I mix up the eggs and then store it in the fridge until it's time to cook dinner. I just cover it with plastic wrap.  Then when it's time to cook, I whisk it up a bit with a fork and pour it into the prepared pan.  A little less work during the dinnertime rush.



July 31, 2019

August 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

This month's menu plan will feature many slow cooker meals since the temperature has really climbed here in the Midwest and school will be starting back up for the new year.

Here is the menu plan for August 2019:

  1.  Slow Cooker Bananas Foster French Toast
  2.  Slow Cooker Black Pepper Chicken, Cauli Rice, Veggies
  3.  Crispy Chicken Strip Salads
  4.  Chicken Salad Sandwiches
  5.  Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak, Mashed Cauli, Veggies
  6.  Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans, Sausage and Rice
  7.  Chicken, Broccoli, Cauli Rice Casserole
  8.  Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef, Cauli Rice, Veggies
  9.  Slow Cooker Sweet Baby Ray's Pulled Chicken
10.  Roast Beef & Cheddar Sandwiches
11.  Chicken Patty Sandwiches
12.  Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe's
13.  Slow Cooker Best BBQ Chicken, BLT Pasta Salad, Veggies
14.  Cauli Shrimp Fried Rice
15.  Baked Salmon
16.  Slow Cooker Firecracker Chicken, Cauli Rice, Veggies
17.  Fiesta Salads
18.  Tuna Salad Sandwiches 
19.  Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork Loin, Buttered Rice, Veggies
20.  Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken, Egg Noodles, Salad
21.  Hawaiian Shrimp, Cauli Rice, Veggies
22.  Spaghetti & Meatsauce, Salad
23.  Slow Cooker Mexican Fiesta, Salad
24.  Snack Plates  (sausage, cheese, crackers, fruit, veg)
25.  BLT Sandwiches
26.  Slow Cooker Copycat Maggiano's Rigatoni D, Salad
27.  Texas Toast Sloppy Joe's, Salad
28.  Slow Cooker Cherry Ham
29.  Slow Cooker Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches
30.  Slow Cooker Chili Sauce Meatloaf, Mashed Cauli, Veggies
31.  Italian Chopped Salads

July 25, 2019

Slow Cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

We love breakfast foods around here, but we aren't really eaters in the morning. So, I make our favorite breakfast foods for a dinner meal.

Breakfast casseroles are an easy meal for any day of the week.  Especially when they are prepared in the lull of the day and cook away in the slow cooker until serving time. This makes dinnertime a snap. Just add some toast or fruit on the side and dinner is served. And it is a great option for summer since nothing requires the oven heating up your home.


This hash brown breakfast casserole is so tasty and versatile. You can use any meats, veggies, type of cheese you like; or use none at all if you prefer.  As long as you stick to the basic measurements of eggs, milk, and hash browns.  You can also scale up or down depending on your families size and appetites.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:


<Print Recipe>

Slow Cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

1/2 bag frozen hash brown or O’brien potatoes
1 lb cooked meat (ground sausage, ham, crumbled bacon)
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 pkg fresh sliced mushrooms
1 onion, diced
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
shredded cheese

Grease crock well.  Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add a layer of meat, and a layer of veggies (using half of each), and cheese.  Repeat layers, finishing with a good layer of cheese. Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cook on Low for 6 hours or until egg mixture is cooked through.


You will start off by greasing your crock well and then placing a layer of the frozen potatoes in the bottom. You can use just about any frozen chopped potatoes you like. Just make sure they are still frozen when layering in the crock.


Then add whatever meats and veggies you wish to use. For this adaptation, I used the Jimmy Dean fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles. This is one of my easy meal additions since it requires no cooking and can be used straight from the freezer!



In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk with salt and pepper.  If you are feeding many, you can scale the egg mixture up accordingly. This recipe as is feeds our family of 3.


Pour the egg mixture over the casserole.  Finish the top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Cover and let cook away.  Your hard work is now done!


After about 6 hours, you will be greeted with this cheesy potato goodness.  We like to serve ours with Tapatio or Ketchup.


Some of the other flavor combinations I have tried:
  • Chopped bacon, diced onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped ham, green bell pepper, diced onion, shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cooked ground chorizo, diced jalapeno, diced onion, shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Loaded Veggies- chopped tomato, diced onion, diced bell pepper, chopped mushrooms

There are so many combinations you can use to adjust this recipe for a totally different casserole each and every time.  This also makes a great meal for potlucks and large family gatherings, especially Christmas morning.

June 27, 2019

July 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

Here is the menu plan for July 2019:

  1.  John Wayne Casserole, Salad
  2.  Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole, Garlic Bread
  3.  Parmesan Chicken Patties, Salad
  4.  Brats, Waffle Fries, Dr Pepper Baked Beans, BLT Pasta Salad
  5.  Cheesy Chicken Ranch Southwest Wraps
  6.  Creamy Tuna & Peas Pasta
  7.  Cobb Salads
  8.  Slow Cooker Tuscan Garlic Chicken, Cauli Rice, Roasted Veg
  9.  Cattle Drive Casserole, Salad
10.  Slow Cooker Stuffed Buffalo Chicken, Roasted Veggies
11.  Slow Cooker Chili Sauce Meatloaf, Bacon Cheddar Mashed Cauli, Veggies
12.  Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joe's (open face), Roasted Veggies
13.  Fiesta Salads
14.  Tuna Melt Sandwiches
15.  Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken, Veggies
16.  Sheet Pan Spicy Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Cauli Rice
17.  Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken with Celery Slaw, Veggies
18.  Slow Cooker Thai Chicken, Cauli Rice, Veggies
19.  Chile Relleno Casserole, Salad
20.  Bacon-Lettuce-Avocado-Tomato Sandwiches
21.  Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, Oven Scrambled Eggs
22.  Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole, Veggies
23.  Slow Cooker Texas No-Bean Chili, Cornbread
24.  Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Crescent Rolls
25.  Cali-Alfredo Chicken Bake, Veggies
26.  Onion Smacked BBQ Chicken, Cauli Rice, Veggies
27.  Crispy Chicken Strip Salads
28.  Salami Cream Cheese Bagels
29.  Egg Roll in a Bowl
30.  Slow Cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
31.  Eat Out

May 29, 2019

Slow Cooker Penne Rustica

Today's recipe is a copycat of Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica.  It is loosely based on that deliciously creamy baked pasta dish that Macaroni Grill is famous for.  Delizioso!

                       

When we lived in California, we used to eat at Macaroni Grill often and their Penne Rustica dish was always our go-to. Once we moved to the Midwest, we no longer had a Macaroni Grill easily within driving distance. So to fix our cravings for this tasty dish, I came up with a version I could make at home that we love.  


And even better, it all starts in the slow cooker. Starting this meal in the slow cooker and allowing it to cook away for just a few short hours, makes it an easy meal to get on the table during even a busy weeknight.  

We're going to start by adding most of the main ingredients to the slow cooker, reserving the pasta, shrimp and mozzarella for later.  In the picture above, I have Half and Half. You can use either Half and Half or Heavy Whipping Cream, although I really like to use the heavy cream if I have it because it gives the sauce a thicker, creamier consistency. But, you can use whatever you have on-hand, I am all about using up what you already have.


I usually add all of the main components, minus the heavy cream, to the slow cooker. Then I pour in the heavy cream and give it a good stir.  


After the sauce has had time to cook and thicken in the slow cooker, it will resemble a very hearty alfredo.  


About an hour before serving time, you will cook the pasta.  After the pasta is cooked and drained, then you can stir both the pasta and the shrimp into the sauce in the slow cooker.   Ladle the mixture into oven proof baking dishes, top with the reserved mozzarella and bake away.


Slow Cooker Penne Rustica

1 box penne pasta
1 lb cooked shrimp, tails removed
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream  (or half and half)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chicken base
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne

Add all ingredients, except pasta, shrimp and mozzarella, to slow cooker.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours. Cook pasta until al dente, drain.  Stir shrimp and pasta into sauce in slow cooker.  Spoon mixture into oven-safe serving dishes.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is turning golden brown and sauce is bubbly.


This dish is so incredibly delicious.  If you are trying to watch your carb intake, you can swap out the penne pasta for cooked spaghetti squash.  Either way, the combination of creamy sauce and shrimp is amazing!

May 28, 2019

June 2019 Monthly Menu Plan


I always meal plan for the entire month using the bulk of ingredients we already have on-hand.  I grocery shop every couple weeks to buy any fresh ingredients we need, along with restocking our produce.  Shopping my pantry, freezers, and basement storage helps to keep our grocery budget low because I typically buy our staples when I see them at their lowest price point.

As recipes are published, they will be linked to in future menu plans. You can also find published recipes under Labels on the right side of this blog or by simply doing a Search.

Here is the menu plan for June 2019:

  1.  Eat Out - Haley's Birthday
  2.  Creamy Tuna & Peas Pasta
  3.  Baked Salmon, Zoodles Stir Fry
  4.  Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole, Salad
  5.  Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, Mashed Cauli, Veggie
  6.  Slow Cooker Garlic Parm Drumsticks, Baked "Radish" Potatoes, Veggie
  7.  Chicken, Broccoli, Cauli Rice Casserole, Salad
  8.  Crispy Ranch Chicken Strip Wraps
  9.  Olive Garden Alfredo Pasta
10.  Slow Cooker Meatballs & Marinara over Spaghetti Squash
11.  Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Green Chile Cauli Cass
12.  Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizzas, Salad
13.  Bunless Cheeseburgers, Baked Zucchini Fries
14.  Eat Out - Dad's Birthday
15.  Salami & Cream Cheese Bagels
16.  Eat Out - Father's Day
17.  Eggplant Lasagna, Salad
18.  Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken, Butter Cauli Rice, Veggie
19.  Slow Cooker Mexican Breakfast Casserole, Baked "Radish" Potatoes
20.  Fathead Pizzas, Salad
21.  Slow Cooker Bacon Cheddar Chicken, Zoodles Stir Fry
22.  Country Fried Steak & Gravy, Mashed Cauli, Veggie
23.  Snack Plates  (sharp cheese, salami, veggies, fruit, crackers)
24.  Slow Cooker Chili Dog Casserole, Veggie
25.  Cauli Fried Rice
26.  Naked Chicken Parm, Cheesy Spaghetti Squash
27.  Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp, Cauli Rice
28.  Cheesy Fajitas Chicken, Baked Sweet Potato Cubes
29.  Doritos Taco Salad
30.  Corn Dogs, Onion Rings, Coleslaw