Category Archives: Meal Plans

Monthly Meal Plan

(Click photo to enlarge)

My monthly meal plan has been a lifesaver for this busy season of life!!

I chose my 30 easiest, most inexpensive, kid-friendly meals and put them into daily categories.  Saturday night is breakfast night.  Sunday is leftover night.  Monday – chicken, Tuesday – vegetarian, Wednesday – beef, Thursday – pork, Friday – kid food.  Once I have gone through all the meals, I start right back over for the next month.

My kids love knowing what’s for dinner, but not as much as I do!  You will not hear any scrambling from my kitchen at 5:00 any longer.  I also do not need to pull any meal creativity out of my brain.  I still have flexibility to try something new and change up a night, but only if I want to!  And, do you know how much I love that blank space on Sundays, giving me permission to tell my family to be creative on their own?

I have tried many different meal planning strategies.  Right now, this one works beautifully for me.  I hope you find it helpful too!

Most of these meals are already presented on this site.  I will list them and make note of where you can find them or give a few directions when needed.

Monday – Chicken Tettrazini (meal plan 3)

Tuesday – Potato Skins (meal plan 1)

Wednesday – Meatballs (meal plan 1)

Thursday – Pork Tacos (meal plan 1)

Friday – Pizza (my favorite crust is Bob’s Red Mill)

Saturday – Pancakes and Bacon (Pamela’s mix is my favorite)

Monday – Chicken Tacos Verdes (dinners)

Tuesday – Huevos Rancheros (meal plan 3)

Wednesday – Beef Stroganoff (meal plan 4)

Thursday – Sausage Skillet (meal plan 1)

Friday – Chicken Taquitos (in freezer section by DeliMex)

Saturday – French Toast and breakfast links

Monday – King Ranch Chicken (mix 2 C. cooked chicken, a can of Rotel, and a can of Health Valley Cream of Chicken soup.  Layer corn tortillas and chicken mixture.  Top with crushed tortilla chips or Spicy Nacho Doritos and then cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes until bubbly)

Tuesday – Breakfast Burritos (meal plan 2)

Wednesday – Enchiladas Rojas (Layer corn tortillas, taco meat, pinto beans, and red enchilada sauce.  Top with chopped onions and cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.)

Thursday – Spaghetti (dinners)

Friday – Tuna Casserole (dinners)

Saturday – Waffles and Sausage (use pancake mix above in waffle maker)

Monday –  Chicken Parmesan (meal plan 1)

Tuesday – Frito Salad (summer) (dinners 3) or Taco Soup (winter) (meal plan 3)

Wednesday – Tater Tot Casserole (mix 1 pound cooked ground beef with a can of Health Valley Cream of Mushroom soup, plus salt pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Put in casserole dish.  Press Ore Ida Tater Tots into to entire surface of the top.  Bake according to tater tot directions.)

Thursday – Pesto Pasta (meal plan 3)

Friday – Corn dog Muffins (meal plan 4) or Hot Dogs

Saturday – Breakfast Casserole (breakfasts)

Monday – Broccoli Rice Chicken (dinners)

Tuesday – Mexican Lasagna (same as enchiladas, but omit meat and add corn)

Wednesday – Tuna Casserole (dinners)

Thursday – Pork Chops (meal plan 2)

Friday – Tacos (meal plan 4)

Saturday – Omelets with Ham

Leave a comment

Filed under Meal Plans

Chuck Roast 3 Ways

Here’s an easy way to have 3 different meals out of the same piece of meat, and you just have to cook once.  Out of a chuck roast, you will make pot roast, barbeque beef sandwiches, and then beef tostadas.

First, make a pot roast big enough to last over 3 dinners.  The Pioneer Woman gives detailed instructions here. Or, you can follow my not-so-detailed instructions.

Spray a roasting pan with oil.  Lay meat inside.  Salt and pepper the meat all over.  Throw some quartered onions, baby carrots, and garlic cloves to the side of the meat.  Mix a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix with about a cup of water and pour over the meat.  Cook covered at 300-325 for about 4 hours.  Test it, and if it falls apart, it’s ready.  If it seems a little tough, cook it longer.  That’s the pot roast trick – cook it LONGER.

Take the leftover meat and shred and chop very finely.  Store or freeze until you’re ready for your next meal.

For the BBQ sandwiches, mix half the leftover meat with gluten-free barbeque sauce.  Heat and serve on gluten-free hamburger buns (you can find them at Whole Foods) or on gluten-free bread (my preference).  You could also serve over rice.

For the beef tostadas, mix the rest of the beef with taco seasonings like you would for ground meat.  Serve on tostadas, tacos, or corn tortillas.

I love cooking in bulk!  It saves so much time.  And, lest you think that I come up with these ideas because I’m so organized, I’d like to share the truth.  Last week, I made roast on Sunday and had leftovers.  I planned my days so poorly that dinnertime came around and I had no ideas or time to get anything ready.  I peeked into the fridge in desperation and had to do something with the leftovers.  Not once, but twice.  Sometimes, creativity trumps planning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Meal Plans

Meal Plan 4

DSC_0832DSC_1101DSC_1063

Day 1:  Sausage Lentil Soup

Day 2:  Beef Stroganoff, grapes, and peas

Day 3: Chicken Strips, corn, and green beans

Day 4:  Cheese Enchiladas and salad

Day 5:  Pasta with Meat Sauce and broccoli

Day 6:  Corn Dog Muffins, raw carrots and dip, and sliced apples

Day 7: Tacos and applesauce

picAR3MVJDay 1: Sausage Lentil Soup (use Hot Italian Sausage that you already browned last week)

Cook lentils according to directions on bag.  Saute 1 C. chopped onion and several cloves of chopped garlic in skillet until soft, then add then to the soup pot.  Add in 3 sliced carrots, salt, pepper, sausage, and some dashes of Tabasco.  Cook until lentils and carrots are soft.  Add more seasonings as needed.  If you need more specific directions, go to this recipe.

DSC_1101

Day 2:  Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. ground beef

1 can Health Valley Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 C. sour cream

12-14 oz. rotini pasta, cooked

McCormick’s Grill Seasoning (or just salt), pepper, and garlic powder

Brown beef.  (Brown 2 pounds if you can, as we will use the other pound for tacos later this week.)  Drain off fat.  Reserve the extra meat for later.    Add the soup, sour cream, and seasonings to skillet with the meat and stir.  Serve over noodles.  Add Parmesan Cheese to the top.

DSC_1066Day 3: Fried Chicken Strips, OH MY!!!!  These are so good, I’ve been dreaming about them!!!  I can barely look at this picture without running to make some more!

All I did was follow this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, replacing the wheat flour with my standard baking mix of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch.  I also never buy buttermilk and just used regular milk with a tablespoon of vinegar added.  The trick is in adding a little milk to the flour before coating AND smashing the chicken into the flour as you coat it to make sure it sticks.  Then, you flip it over to coat the other side and smash it down with a fork again to really get it to stick.  Also, put them right into the oil to cook after coating them and do this quickly.  The gluten-free mix can only sit there for a little while before that rice flour starts to get impatient and absorb the milk too much.  This would be easy to make dairy-free too using an unsweetened milk replacement.  Happy cooking on this one.  🙂

enchiladas-thumb-180xauto-753Day 4: Cheese Enchiladas

I loved this recipe from Simply Recipes!  You can link it here.

I used half the onion they called for, and I love onion.  It just seemed too much for me.

penne-meat-sauce Day 5: Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce

This is from Simply Recipes too, and it was yummy.  The way you cook the meat is the key, so obey these people.  They know what they’re talking about!

Go visit them here.

DSC_1045Day 6: Corn Dog Muffins

I thought I was so clever in making these up, until I searched it on Google.  Apparently, I’m not the only smart one.  I may have the only gluten-free version though.

Use the very yummy cornbread recipe from Meal Plan 3, but pour it into 12-15 greased muffin tins.  Fill them only 1/3 to 1/2 full.  Stick pieces of hot dog in there, cut into 1/3s.  You could also use Lil Smokies from Hillshire Farms.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until done.  Dip into mustard, just like the fair!  Yum!

DSC_0832Day 7: Tacos

I use McCormick Taco seasoning or just make my own with garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and a little oregano.

Happy Cooking this week!  Let me know what you think!

2 Comments

Filed under Meal Plans

Meal Plan 3

DSC_0880DSC_0873DSC_0892

This is the week of double casserole cooking.  For Days 1, 3, and 5, you can make double batches and freeze the casserole right in the pan to pull out for another dinner.

Day 1: Taco Soup  and Cornbread

Day 2: Pork Chops, Sauteed Zucchini, and Baked Apples

Day 3: Lasagna and Green Beans

Day 4: Twice Baked Potatoes and Salad

Day 5: Chicken Tetrazzini with Broccoli

Day 6: Pesto Chicken, Pasta, and Salad

Day 7: Huevos Rancheros and Fruit Salad

DSC_0880Day 1: Taco Soup and Cornbread (make double to freeze)

Taco Soup:

  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mild chili beans
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Mix all ingredients in a crock-pot.  Cook on low for 4 hours, or however long you need to.  Or cook on stove until heated through.

Southern Cornbread (this is the BEST CORNBREAD I have ever had – gluten-free or not!!)

It’s from julesglutenfree.com  I’ve already told you about her cookbook, and you can also sign up for her weekly emails.

Ingredients:
1 cup milk (or non-dairy alternative)
1 egg
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (dairy or soy)
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup Nearly Normal All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix the liquid ingredients then stir in the other ingredients, mixing until the lumps are removed. The batter will be thin, but not watery.

Pour the batter into an oiled 8 x 8 baking pan, and iron skillet, or into oiled or lined muffin pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes for the cornbread, less for the muffins, according to your oven.

The bread will be done when the top is lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick in the center of the bread is clean; do not over cook!

And, here’s what you can do with the leftover cornbread…

DSC_0883You could also broil until heated and a little crispy and eat it for breakfast with syrup on top.

DSC_0873Day 2: Pork Chops, Sauteed Zucchini, and Baked Apples

For Pork Chops:  Mix a gluten-free baking mix or just plain brown rice flour with Lawry’s Seasoned salt or McCormick’s Steak seasoning.  Dip the pork chops in to coat and fry them in oil until done.

For Baked Apples, I cut up several apples and added brown sugar and cinnamon, then cooked in the microwave for 5 minutes, covered.

My family loved this.  I even used a gluten-free flour mix to make gravy and it turned out fine.  I’m not going to show you that picture though, because gravy is very yummy, but very ugly.

images-2Day 3: Lasagna (make 2)

I have found gluten-free lasagna noodles at Wal-Mart.  You can also buy them on Amazon.  I like the Tinkyada brand.  If you don’t want to mess with lasagna noodles, just use whatever pasta you have and layer it the same way.  You can make gluten-free lasagna just like the regular version.  My only tip is that it tastes a thousand times better if you use Hot Italian Sausage instead of ground beef.  If you brown some of it for lasagna this week, cook double, so we can use it in a soup next week.  Just a heads up.  🙂  Also, go for the Ricotta instead of cottage cheese.  It makes a difference.

imagesDay 4: Twice Baked Potatoes and Salad (you need a break from all that cooking!)

Twice baked potatoes just means you scoop out the insides, mix them with all the potato fixings, put them back in, and them put in the oven just to melt everything.  So easy!  I even throw in pureed cauliflower to the mix for added veggies without anyone knowing.

images-4Day 5: Chicken Tetrazzini (make 2 for freezing)

You’ll need GF spaghetti noodles, 2 C. cooked chicken (diced), a can of Health Valley Cream of Mushroom (or chicken) Soup, 1 C. sour cream, Parmesan Cheese, and salt and pepper.

Cook noodles until al dente and drain.  Right in the baking dish, mix the rest of the ingredients (except the Parmesan) for the sauce.  Add more sour cream if you need to.  Mix in noodles.  Sorry I don’t have exact measurements here; I just do it until it looks “saucy” enough.  Top with Parmesan – however much you like, which for us is a whole lot.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

images-3

Day 6: Pesto Chicken

You’ll need chicken breasts, a jar of pesto sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  Spoon pesto on chicken.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done.  Top with cheese and bake until melted.  Serve with buttery pasta or pesto pasta.

DSC_0892Day 7: Huevos Rancheros and Fruit Salad

You’ll need eggs, refried beans, tostada shells (I use Mission), cheese (I used Muenster, but you can also use cheddar or feta, my favorite), and salsa.  On top of the shell, you’ll layer the beans, then the cheese.  Put in the microwave until heated.  Fry the egg to put on top, and add salsa to taste.

Buen Provecho!

3 Comments

Filed under Meal Plans

Meal Plan 2

DSC_0656DSC_0121DSC_6685DSC_0671DSC_0770DSC_0649

You’re going to LOVE this meal plan!  It’s full of short-cuts!

Day 1:  Grilled Steak or Chicken

Day 2: Stir-Fry

Day 3: Chicken Tostadas

Day 4: Italian Soup

Day 5: Barbeque Ribs

Day 6: Black Bean and Veggie Quesadillas

Day 7: Breakfast Burritos

Instructions:

DSC_6685

Day 1:  Grill steak or chicken using McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Grill enough for 2 dinners worth.  We’ll use the leftovers for Tostadas.

DSC_0649DSC_0655DSC_0661

Day 2:  (and this is brilliant!) Stir-Fry

Chop veggies that we will use for 3 dinners- Stir-fry, Quesadillas, and Italian Soup.  🙂  I used 6 small zucchini, a clove of garlic, an onion, about 4 cups of mushrooms, 4 large tomatoes, and 2 red peppers.  You could substitute any veggie you wanted to replace these (except you really need the tomato): squash, carrots, fresh spinach, cauliflower, …

DSC_0665Saute the onion and garlic first until soft, then add the firm vegetables.  Don’t add the tomato yet.

When veggies are done, take out 1/3 of them to use for Stir-Fry tonight.  Season with ginger powder, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce, and serve over rice.

Take out 1/2 of what’s left in skillet and put in a storage container to cool.  Mix in seasonings for Quesadillas: cumin, chili powder, and a little oregano. Put in fridge for later.

Now, add tomatoes to skillet and saute until softened.  I also added chopped fresh basil.  Put this into a storage container to cool.  We’ll make the soup from this later.

Day 3:  Tostadas, using meat from day 1

Get crispy tostada shells.  I use Mission.  Layer fixins on top: sour cream, guacamole, sliced grilled meat from day 1, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato.  Serve with sliced oranges.

DSC_0770

Day 4:  Italian Soup

Put pre-cooked veggies from day 2 in a soup pot.  Add 2 cans of Spicy V-8 juice, a can of white beans, and italian seasonings.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top.  Serve with garlic toast.

DSC_0121

Day 5: Ribs

Spray oven pan with cooking spray.  Put ribs in pan and season both sides with McCormick Grill Mates Steak Rub.  Pour GF Barbecue Sauce on top to coat.  Kraft Original is GF.  Bake at 225 for 8-10 hours, uncovered.  That’s it!  Serve with potato salad or Ore Ida french fries and a green salad.

DSC_0671

Day 6:  Black Bean and Veggie Quesadillas

Use Mexican seasoned veggies from day 2.  Make Quesadillas using veggies, a can of black beans, and cheese.  Serve with raw carrots and Ranch dip.

Day 7: Breakfast Burritos

Cook 1 pound breakfast sausage in skillet, crumbled up.  Drain fat.  Add 8-10 beaten eggs and scramble until done.  Serve in corn tortillas with cheese and salsa.  Serve with fruit salad and orange juice.

ENJOY!!!

2 Comments

Filed under Meal Plans

Meal Plan 1

Here are 7 easy and yummy ideas for a week’s worth of GF dinners.

DSC_0330DSC_0289DSC_0233DSC_0298DSC_0227DSC_0230

day 1- Spicy Pork Tacos with Corn Tortillas

day 2- Chicken Parmesan, Sauteed Zucchini, and Corn

day 3- Sausage Skillet and Green Beans

day 4- Enchiladas (using pork from day 1) and Salad

day 5- Egg Puffs and Fruit Salad

day 6- Meatballs, Buttery Pasta or Rice, and Green Beans

day 7-Potato Skins with Salad

And here are some very loose instructions for making them.

DSC_0233day 1- Spicy Pork Tacos

Go to thepioneerwoman.com for this recipe, substituting corn tortillas for flour.  It’s more authentic anyway!

I omit the brown sugar and cook mine in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

You will use the leftover meat to make 2 batches of Enchiladas later this week.

The trick to warming corn tortillas is to do it over high heat on a dry skillet.  Warm them until slightly browned, and keep them warm in the oven or between 2 plates until ready to serve.

DSC_0227day 2- Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients: 4 flattened chicken breasts, or as many as you need for your family, ground flax seed or GF bread crumbs if you have them, Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, garlic powder, Italian dressing, pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

For the coating, mix about 1/4 C. ground flax seed meal, 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, 1/2 t. oregano, and 1/2 t. garlic.  Dredge the chicken into the Italian Dressing, then the coating, making sure it’s all covered.  Place into a greased baking pan, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until chicken is almost done.  Take it out of the oven and top with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Put it back into the oven for about 5 minutes more until chicken is done and cheese is melted.

Sauteed Zucchini

Slice 2 zucchini and 1 red or orange bell pepper.  Chop up 4 cloves of garlic.  Add 2 or 3T. of olive oil to a skillet and saute the garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Add the veggies and saute until soft.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

DSC_0330day 3 – Sausage Skillet

This is so easy, and my kids loved it!

You’ll need a pound or so of this link sausage sliced up (Hillshire Farms is GF), a chopped onion, a bag of frozen Ore Ida hash browns, 1/2 stick of butter, and some seasonings (I use McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak or Lawry’s Seasoned Salt)

Saute the onion in butter until soft.  Add Potatoes, sausage, and seasonings.  Cook until potatoes are browned and everything is warmed through.

DSC_0289day 4 – Enchiladas

You’ll need about 18 corn tortillas, leftover pork from day 1, 1/2 of an onion, chopped, cheddar cheese, and a big can of red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso).  I always have enough pork left over to make 2 of these, each in an 8×8 pan.  I rarely make just 1 casserole.  The extra one goes in my freezer to rescue me on a future night.  If you have a larger family, or just want leftovers, you can still make this amount, but in 1 13×9 pan.

Spray a baking pan with Pam.  Since I use my time wisely, I cannot mess with rolling each enchilada!  I’m a stacker.  So, we’ll cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of tortillas, then add some pork, onion, a small amount of sauce, then start again with tortillas, pork, onion, sauce (not too much-we’re saving most of it to pour on top).  End it all with a final layer of tortillas, then pour the rest of the sauce over it all.  (remember you’re using a that big can for both small casseroles or the one large one)  Add a little more onion and lots of cheese to the top, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

day 5- Egg Puffs and Fruit Salad

These are fun to make and eat – like souffles in a muffin cup.  Don’t tell anyone, but there is a hidden veggie in here.  Mix together 3 eggs, 6 egg whites, 3/4 C. yellow squash (pureed), 4 T. Chredded cheese, 3 T. all purpose GF flour or just brown rice flour, 3/4 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt, and 1 pound of cooked bacon, chopped up (or a bag of pre-cooked bacon pieces).  Coat 12 muffin tins with spray, and fill them with the mixture.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Chop up whatever fruit you have in the house to make your side dish, and you’re finished!  Even faster – open a jar of applesauce or a can of fruit cocktail!

DSC_0298day 6 – Meatballs, Buttery Pasta or Rice, and Green Beans

You can season ground beef however you’re used to doing it for meatballs.  For the filler, instead of bread crumbs, you can use cooked brown rice or brown rice flour.  I like cooked brown rice because it’s cheap, healthy, and it stretches the meat farther.  You can season it with Italian herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic, then add 2 eggs to hold things together.  I put the meatballs into a baking dish and pour a can of Spicy V-8 Vegetable Juice over them.  Then I bake them at 400 for about 20-25 minutes until they are done.

potato-skins

day 7 – Potato Skins (photo by simplyrecipes.com)

Follow this recipe from simplyrecipes.com It is so easy!

Oh, and save the insides of the potatoes for the meal plan next week!  You’ll be glad you did!

6 Comments

Filed under Meal Plans