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Weekly Menu Plan (November 7-13, 2010)

Bow tie pasta with sauce
Bow tie pasta with beef, sauce, and cheese --
one of the simple meals I served while we were busy packing and moving! :)

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Thank you all for the encouragement to me after my last post! You all are such a huge bessing to me!! :) The past week has been refreshing and renewing in a variety of ways. I've even got company scheduled to come this week, which is motivating and energizing! HalleluYah! :)

This week's menu plan:

Breakfasts: Mocha Frappuccinos (Joshua), bananas, and kefir

Lunches: Salads, nuts (mixed nuts for Joshua at work, peanuts in the shell for us at home), and leftovers


Sunday -- homemade pizza, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, apples and cream cheese apple dip

Monday -- Grilled chicken breast, seasoned baked potato wedges, steamed or roasted carrots

Tuesday -- Farmhouse Chicken, green beans, creamy pear salad (recipe to come!)

Wednesday -- Grilled chicken salad, homemade bread, sliced pears and apples

Thursday -- Beans, rice, and tortillas with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tapatio; cooked peas, fresh apples

Friday -- homemade pizza, green beans, sliced pears

Saturday -- Taking cooked pinto beans in the crock pot to a potluck, along with sides (Mission chips, sour cream, cheddar cheese)

Cooked pinto beans with toppings
Pinto beans, "dressed up" :)

Weekly Menu Plan (August 8-14, 2010)

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Homemade strawberry jam and all-natural peanut butter from Costco. We've found that the natural peanut butter is more runny than "regular" peanut butter, so we do open-face sandwiches with it.

This week's breakfasts:

Cooked oatmeal, fruit smoothies, or (for Joshua) mocha frappuccinos

This week's lunches:

PBJ sandwiches, cottage cheese, cooked pinto beans, or (for Joshua) salads

Ruth (2), my helper girl
Ruth (2) with the salads and frappuccinos she helped me make ahead for the week

This week's dinners:


Oven-roasted chicken, raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes), and fresh fruit (apples, peaches, bananas)


Chicken Squash Bake (yay! I LOVE this!!), grilled scalloped potatoes


Grilled chicken breast, grilled broccoli, salad


Grilled chicken fajitas (with leftover chicken), grilled corn on the cob


Breakfast for dinner -- Apple Cheese Pancakes, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, fruit smoothies


Pizza, grilled corn on the cob, fresh fruit, fresh veggie sticks


Beans and Rice with toppings (cheese, sour cream, fresh tomato salsa)

Ways with rice: Cooked, fried, and casseroled :)

Cooked rice is one of my go-to side dishes when we're having fish for dinner. I don't always have potatoes or bread, so rice has become the carb choice that I always have on hand! :)

Hot off the grill (or straight from the oven), place a fish fillet on a bed of hot rice and as the flavorful juices drip from the fish, the plain cooked rice turns into a delicious seasoned rice -- perfect for savoring with bites of the fish.

4-rice blend

We like the flavor of Basmati rice, a white long grain rice. Another favorite is Sun West's four-rice blend (shown above) we find at Costco, though due to price it's more of a treat than a staple food. :)

Chicken fried rice

After cooking rice to go along with a dinner, the leftover rice can be turned into Chicken Fried Rice (or Simple Fried Rice -- an even easier, meatless version).

Chicken fried rice

I also like to use leftover rice in casseroles. Turning leftovers (like rice) into a whole new meal means we don't even notice we're eating leftovers! ;)

Spinach Rice Casserole

Spinach Rice Casserole is one of my favorite quick-and-easy ways to serve leftover rice!

More casserole favorites that use cooked rice:

Rice Lasagna

Rice Medley (a childhood favorite!)

Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake

Our favorite beans and rice!

And perhaps my top favorite way to eat rice is with beans! :)

What's your favorite kind of rice? If you have a favorite recipe using rice, I'd love to hear about it! Leave it (or a link to it) in a comment! :)

Weekly menu plan (June 6-12, 2010)

A few photos from last week's menu plan:

Smoky salmon chowder
Smoky Salmon Chowder

The Smoky Salmon Chowder was a big hit! It had been a number of months since we had this chowder, and I added extra chunks of (leftover) salmon fillet to make it meatier, since it was really the "main dish" at that meal.

Crustless beef quiche
Crustless Beef and Spinach Quiche (before baking)

When I made out my menu for the week, I forgot that (A) we were having company on Friday (even though it was on my calendar!!) and (B) our company didn't like fish. So, I pulled some cooked ground beef/onions/spinach from the freezer and made a crustless quiche. It wasn't the fanciest of meals (especially in appearance!) due to my lack of planning, but it sufficed. I am NOT superwoman, after all! ;)

Pumpkin dinner rolls
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls (before baking)

I also made these pumpkin dinner rolls, which I allowed to rise too high, so they fell a little in the oven and looked rather odd! :P Most of them still tasted okay, thankfully. :)

A photo I forgot to add earlier today:

I made the dough for the pumpkin dinner rolls in my bread machine. Although I had to "babysit" it by scraping the sides, it easily handled the huge amount of dough. :)

On the menu for this week:

Sunday -- Leftovers (all meals)

Monday -- Easy grilled salmon with lemon, rice, broccoli, Matza Ball Soup

Tuesday -- Salmon chowder, fried rice, green beans

Wednesday -- Grilled mahi mahi sandwiches on homemade buttermilk wheat buns

Thursday -- Grilled Sea Bass (new recipe), green beans, watermelon

Friday -- Homemade pizza (or else some grilled chicken breast -- diet-friendly ;D), fresh fruit (bananas, apples, and grapefruit), green beans

Saturday -- Depends on whether we have guests or not, but most likely some grilled fish and rice with asparagus! :)

Weekly menu plan (May 30-June 5, 2010): Lots of fish!

We filled our nearly-empty freezer with about 50 pounds of fish fillets. What a blessing! I now have mahi mahi, salmon, and sea bass. This week we'll be eating fish for dinner every day. In future weeks, when the freezer isn't quite so packed, I'll be adding more variety to our dinners.

Here is the "fishy" menu plan I came up with!


Leftovers (grilled salmon & broccoli, onions, rice), mixed fruit (also leftover), Olive Garden Salad and Dressing (also leftover) and Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal (also leftover!)


Grilled mahi mahi tacos (using ideas from comments on this post)


Grilled salmon with fried rice (Will be inventing this somewhat! Any suggestions?)


Grilled mahi mahi sandwiches on homemade buttermilk wheat buns (new recipe) with homemade tartar sauce and lettuce, cooked carrots, green beans


Creamy salmon chowder (Yummy -- recipe coming!). salad, green beans, and a mahi mahi idea from this post


Dilly Tuna Melts on whole wheat pita breads (using grilled mahi mahi instead of tuna), cooked corn, green beans


Undecided (depends on where we are that day, but most likely something for a potluck or picnic!)

Weekly Menu Plan -- May 23-29, 2010

Here's my plan for this week:


Leftovers, which include homemade pizza, broccoli, spaghetti, baked apple oatmeal, and beans.


Grilled chicken (made into chicken fried rice), cooked peas, applesauce, and homemade bread

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (from the freezer), cooked peas, salad


Grilled salmon served with broccoli and rice (recipe coming), Italian potato salad, applesauce


Grilled Lemon-Garlic Mahi Mahi fillets, seasoned baked potato wedges, Maple Rosemary Bean Salad, cooked peas

Thin-Crust Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza

Friday (with guests)

Homemade pizza, two kinds -- Thin-Crust Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza and Mediterranean Herb Chicken Pizza, Olive Garden Salad and Dressing, New York Cheesecake

Saturday (with guests)

Grilled fish (salmon and mahi mahi), rice, Olive Garden Salad and Dressing, Creamy Potato Soup, fruit salad, and New York Cheesecake

Joshua's container of salad

Lunches will be green salads (for Joshua and me), leftovers, or peanut butter sandwiches (for the kids)

Breakfasts will be homemade mocha frappuccinos (Joshua) and oatmeal with toast and fruit (the kids and me). I'll make a dish of Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal on Friday to serve for Saturday breakfast with our guests, along with scrambled eggs and toast.

Sounds like a busy week ahead, doesn't it?! Thankfully, most of these meals are either pretty simple or else something I'm fast at preparing (due to lots of practice). :)

Weekly menu plan: Emptying the freezer

This week's menu plan has been focused on finishing up the last few freezer meals in preparation for a large (50 pounds!) order of frozen fish. Joshua works for a seafood company, and every now and then they have an employee sale where we have been able to get high-quality frozen fish for a dollar or two per pound! Amazing! And such a blessing! :)

To hold all the fish, my freezer needs to be close to empty. Here is what it looked like at the start of the week:

The frozen veggies and fruits (there are also blueberries and peas in the freezer door) will easily be gone by next week, when the fish arrives. I'm still keeping room for lots of pre-cooked ground beef and chicken, which is very convenient and doesn't take up much space (especially when vacuum-sealed!).


This chili was from the freezer, and tasted SO good! :)

We've also eaten Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake this week, and in the next few days, I'll be making Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti and meatloaf.

Spinach Rice Casserole

Yesterday for dinner, we had Spinach Rice Casserole from the freezer. It was REALLY good!

I must say, I am enjoying having the week basically "off" from any major cooking! :)

After our fish arrives, we'll be eating more fresh veggies (rather than frozen), grilled fish or chicken, and either homemade bread, rice, beans, or potatoes.

We've been trying to focus on fresh fruits and veggies and grilled lean meats, with a smaller emphasis on whole-grain carb sources. I think a lot of my freezer meals are less "diet-friendly" and for that reason, I probably won't be making frozen lasagna, spaghetti, etc. in the future. The rare occasions when we indulge in lasagna or spaghetti, it should be made fresh in my opinion! ;)

Last week's menu in pictures

Skillet rolls

I've had long-term difficulty with consistently making and/or following menu plans, but since Moshe's birth about 3 months ago, I have been doing much better about making a plan and almost always following it! And, it's getting easier too. That was something I didn't expect! But, like most things in life, the more I practice the faster and easier it gets! :)

This week, however, I'm not going to post my menu plan. Instead, I want to share some pictures from last week. Here is the menu plan I made for last week, and following are some of the photos I took throughout the week! :)

Soft tacos

Soft tacos and some of the toppings: seasoned taco meat, cooked pinto beans, lettuce, green onions, peppers, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. I actually piled all the toppings on the tortilla and ate it like a tostada.

We use the corn tortillas from Costco and lightly fry them in a skillet for tacos. Easy and soooo yummy!!

Crustless beef quiche

This quiche was my meal from the freezer this week. I wrote about it in my post about making freezer meals for after my baby was born. This has turned out to be one of my favorite freezer meals! :)

Read more for the rest of the week's photos...

Weekly Menu Plan -- May 2 - 8, 2010

New graphic created by ASourceOfJoy


Lunch: Turkey gravy with mashed potatoes, broccoli, fruit salad

Dinner: Basmati rice with orange chicken, broccoli, fruit salad


New pizza experiment, green beans, apple and pear slices

Easy grilled salmon with lemon


Grilled salmon, rice, and sauteed broccoli and red onions


Freezer meal, green beans, fruit with yogurt dip

Our favorite beans and rice!


Lunch (guests): Beans and rice w/sour cream, cheese, creamy guacamole, and Tapatio

Dinner: Soft tacos made with corn tortillas, Beans and rice on the side, green beans, and fruit

Tammy's Easy Pizza


Easy pizza, corn, fresh fruit

Saturday (potluck)

Simple bean tacos (will make on Friday, place in glass dishes, and reheat in oven)

Simple Bean Tacos

Meal planning before baby arrives: Update on freezer meals and casseroles

Freezer casserole
Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake (popped back into a dish to thaw)

Before our little Moshe was born 3 months ago, I shared my menu plans and freezer meals that I had made in preparation for the weeks and months following the birth.

I promised an update later about which meals froze the best, since most of the freezer meals were ones I hadn't tried freezing and baking/reheating later.

We're rather spoiled in that we usually like meals best when they're freshly made rather than frozen. I did think that almost all of the freezer meals were drier than a freshly-made version would have been. But all were edible and enjoyed! :) I may be having second thoughts about not liking freezer cooking... :)

I'm so thankful that the third trimester was the easiest part (physically) of this last pregnancy, as I was able to get quite a few meals stashed in the freezer!

At least a couple times a week, I made a casserole or meal that could be frozen for dinner, doubling the recipe and freezing two 8x8-inch square dishes for future use.

Having homemade freezer meals on hand has been such a blessing! And storing the meals in bags with a similar shape allowed me to fit quite a bit into our small freezer.

Frozen burritos
Frozen homemade burritos: My new favorite convenince meal!

Specifics about main dishes completely assembled and frozen:

  1. Easy Lasagna (unbaked) -- Good, but on the dry side.
  2. Burritos with beans, rice, cheese, and beef filling (individually wrapped in foil, then sealed in a freezer Ziplock; will warm in the oven) -- Wonderful. A favorite and a new staple in my freezer!
  3. Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (unbaked) -- Not as creamy as fresh. Still very tasty.
  4. Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti (unbaked) -- A little dry. Good, but not great in my opinion.
  5. Beef and Spinach Quiche (fully cooked; will re-warm) -- Rewarmed great. Mine was crustless though.
  6. Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake (unbaked, w/rice on the bottom) -- Better than I expected. Almost as good as fresh!
  7. Spinach Rice Casserole (unbaked) -- Really good.
  8. My Mom's Meat Loaf (unbaked) -- Still haven't made this one yet!

Freezer casserole

None of these casseroles have tasted freezer burned, though they've been frozen for 4+ months now. Just one of the reasons I really like using a FoodSaver for freezing foods!

Frozen quiche
A crustless quiche (still thawing), which was actually really good!

Meal ingredients in the freezer: (read more about why I do this)

Pre-cooked beef with diced onions (for lasagna, crockpot pizza, stuffed shells, and baked spaghetti)

Pre-cooked beef with onions, green peppers, and taco seasonings (for taco salad, spanish rice with beans, nachos, or burritos)

Pre-cooked pinto beans with Tapatio and salt

Pre-cooked beef with onions and spinach leaves (for quiche)

Leftover diced oven-roasted chicken meat (for cheesy chicken vermicelli, chicken lasagna, chicken pot pie, farmhouse chicken, poppy seed chicken and asparagus, chicken fried rice, or saucy broccoli chicken bake)

Freezer casserole

Having the meat or beans already cooked, seasoned, and/or diced makes all of the above recipes into "quick and easy" for me! :) I've written more about preparing ground beef for the freezer here. I also like homemade frozen meatballs, which are just as good as fresh -- or even better, since the flavors permeate the meat!

Freezer spaghetti

More thoughts on meal-planning after birth, and lots of ideas on preparing for a new baby: Working hard ahead of time really helped me transition during the newborn stage!

My friend Bethany has also done lots of Once-A-Month Cooking and has shared her menu lists and photos of her finished food for the month. In this post, she writtes about which recipes worked great for freezing and which ones didn't taste as good. Be sure to check out all her posts on Once-A-Month Cooking for more inspiration!! :)