Monday, October 28, 2013

Meal Plan Monday.... a helpful tip and more FOOD!

Sorry for the gap in entries lately, this is a busy, busy time of year for this family, hosting a Halloween party, pageants, sports, and the holidays coming up doesn't leave me much wiggle room with free time! I promised some of my regular blog viewers to get these recipes up though, and it's Meal Plan Monday again... so here we go!

This weeks meal plan was right around the $85 mark... so back to a per meal cost less than $4! Yay! It's also still a fairly healthy and super easy menu!

Crockpot Chicken with Banana Peppers (got bumped to this week from last week)
Crockpot Cheese and Smoked Sausage with bacon wrapped green beans with brown sugar glaze
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups with parmesan roasted asparagus (I've actually never tasted asparagus!)
BBQ Cheeseburgers and homemade french fries
Broccoli, Cheese, and Chicken Burritos
Hot Dogs at the fire and Chili  (Halloween party here on Thursday)
Cowboy Casserole (from a couple weeks ago, never got to it)

Baked eggs in ham
Blueberry pancake dippers
breakfast pockets
Apple cinnamon oatmeal (this keeps getting bumped off! And it sounds so good!)
Banana applesauce bread
Apple Cider donuts
Cinnamon sugar Cream Cheese Dreams

Cinnamon Apples
Pickled Eggs
Egg Salad
Froot Loops ( I broke down and let them get a box for after school snacks)
Dill cucumber Greek yogurt salad

Pumpkin pie cupcakes
Apple pie fries
Reeses Krispie Treats
Brown Sugar Cookies
Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

As for the last few days, they have been crazy! I may or may not have mentioned my girls do a couple pageants a year, nothing major, non of that glitz and glam pageant princess-y type of stuff, just a couple local pageants, just for fun. Miss Aleix Noelle has won the talent awards in every pageant she's ever done, and Lil' Miss Cortland, she just loves to get all prettied up and wear some bling bling for the night! But on top of both of them being in the pageant, my sister is the director and I do all of the design and printwork for the pageant book and any other print/design project that needs done for the pageant. She waives our entry fees (those things are pricey!!) in exchange for my work. It is tedious and time consuming work, but I love it. This year's theme is a brightly colored (think all the in trend neons right now) Hollywood one, and I love it! I absolutely LOVE doing design work, and would love to do it as a side job to being a wife and mommy, but unfortunately, right now, that job is demanding enough it leaves me little to no time for it. Maybe someday... So, if I am slow to post the next two weeks, it is because I am nose deep in paperwork, ads, pictures, bios, sponsorships, printing, stapling, designing... not to mention doing my best to get dresses and personality wear outfits lined up, fitted, steamed, etc... for the girls! The pageant is next weekend and I feel like I need three more weeks to prepare! Me having always been a good 'ol tomboy, and all this fancy-schmancy, girly stuff isn't the best combo, but we make it work somehow! I'm probably the most out of place pageant mom there! Ha ha! Maybe I should wear my camo and hunter orange next weekend... wouldn't that be a sight to see?

Okay, on to the food!

I'm so far behind!

Thursday night, what I had planned was not working out so well for me. If you remember on my meal plan from last week, I had Salisbury steak... Well, it doesn't work out so well if you have nothing on hand to make brown gravy! YIKES! I already had the steaks frying on the griddle, and I was stuck with no brown gravy, no beef bouillon, no beef broth... oops. Guess I forgot to add that to my list last week. I had to make a quick switcheroo and whip up some white, peppered gravy... making it country friend steak instead. I've actually never made country fried steak before, but it was so easy, and the gravy was really good!

Add in some garlic red potatoes, broccoli, and biscuit, and you've got a heck of a meal!

Which brings us to the weekend!

My mom came up for dinner Saturday, which was awesome! She hasn't felt well and I haven't seen her in over a month... even a 33 year old mommy of four needs her own mommy every now and then! Love you, Mom!
She had never been blessed with the succulent taste of deer backstraps made Hubby-Style! Seriously, folks, even the biggest venison hater would fall in love at first bite. You would never know it is venison, and as my mom said, "It tastes like a really good steak!" Yeah. It does. I rank those backstraps right up there with Thanksgiving dinner. Now, this was my first time making them, so I was a little nervous about it. The Hubby is always the one at the frying pan for these, but he was hunting, and Mom lives down in Indiana, we just couldn't wait until he got home... but I pulled it off! I was so excited I didn't screw it up to be honest! I made corn and onion rings to go along with it, and although my onion rings didn't fry up as I had hoped, they were really good. They may not have been the prettiest things, but they certainly went well with the backstraps and corn.

If you or your husband are hunters, and you aren't making your backstraps Hubby-Style... you MUST try it! Get online (or go to Gander Mountain) buy some Shore Lunch batter mix, cut those backstraps medallion style, they should be about 2-3" diameter, coat them with the Shore Lunch, and throw them in the deep fryer or brown them in a frying pan! That's it, best backstraps you will ever eat.

These are my not-so-pretty-but-delicious onion rings... I didn't save the recipe, because I wasn't happy with the way they turned out, so I'll try something new next time... unless one of you have a good recipe for a deep fryer?

On to Sunday morning, I let little Miss C decide what she wanted for breakfast, and she was all over the pancake dippers I made a couple weeks back... you know, the bacon encased with pancake... Mhm. I decided to mix it up a little though, seeing as I how I have an obsession with blueberry pancakes. I made her's with the normal homestyle pancakes, but The Hubby, Tiny Tornado and I all had our bacon wrapped in divine blueberry pancakes. Oh my goodness... YUM.

Sunday night was Miss C's choice again, I can't get the kid to eat many veggies, but when it comes to broccoli, she eats it like candy! So she was excited when I gave her the option of broccoli, chicken, and cheese burritos. She loves these things! She's been known to eat two in one sitting! And they certainly are not tiny, as you can see from the picture, they take up much of the plate. This is something I came up with to fight off my craving for a Mexican restaurant down in Indiana. If you have a Bandidos anywhere close, you should definitely try their broccoli three cheese burritos... they are to. die. for! When I moved to Michigan, I no longer had the option of heading into town to satisfy my craving, so I had to take matters into my own hands... and this is what I came up with. It's close to theirs, but not exact... close enough it takes the edge off that craving of mine anyway.

Just boil your chicken breasts, cook up some fresh (or frozen) broccoli, and you can use whatever cheese you would like. I used to use Velveeta, but that processed block of cheese (if you can call it that) is something I have been avoiding as much as possible. I actually am planning on using some this week, and I wasn't about to use it twice in one week! I used shredded, and actually, I think I liked it better. Cube or shred your chicken, whatever you prefer, add in a generous portion of broccoli, and top with cheese. Fold both ends of your tortilla, then roll it up and top it with white queso. I would love to make my own queso, but it's much cheaper to buy the jarred queso in the chip aisle. So for now, it's queso in a jar! Delicious though, and very filling!

One of my make ahead foods for the week was this dill cucumber Greek yogurt salad... it's good, but I think I prefer the cucumber salad with vinegar I've been making, although this would be a good thing to make up and take to a summer picnic or potluck.

I found the recipe here:

I used three cucumbers, rather than four, but I think mine must have been larger than average, because I feel like there wasn't enough yogurt and seasoning. I did add a bit more pepper to it, which kicked the flavor up a notch.

And here's a tip for you all, it seems like a "duh" moment to me, like, why haven't I come up with this sooner?! I have a magnetic dry erase board on the front of my fridge, and I use it for simple memos, but often times just as a seasonal greeting. For now it says, "Happy Fall" which will change to "Happy Halloween" as soon as I'm done making this entry... but there it was, right there in black and white... 

..... dry erase markers on my storage containers with contents and dates. What an easy way to keep track of leftovers and know when to throw them away! 

Before I close this up, I just want to say thank you to my loyal readers! I appreciate the feedback many of you have given me. :) I kicked the idea of a blog around for so long, and after so many nudges from friends and family, I gave it a go. I didn't think it would take off like it did, and I certainly didn't expect it to help as many as it has already! I've said before, I have some more plans for the blog, so stay tuned! I am hoping to begin adding more shopping tips and a shopping list with prices after the first of the year. I can't promise to have it incorporated before then, the next two months are going to be absolutely crazy here on the homefront!

I will continue to post at least twice a week until then, and hopefully more as time and Tiny Tornado permits, but I just wanted to let you guys know how much your feedback is appreciated! It puts a smile on my face every time I hear how I helped someone.

The rest of my week will be buried under with pageant book work, pageant preparations for next weekend, and somehow fitting in the larger-than-I-planned Halloween party this Thursday night! What started out as 25 invitations quickly grew to be about half of the high school (literally... so glad we live in a small village!)... but oh well. They are only young once, and it's once a year... we will push through and have a blast!

If I'm not back before then, Happy Halloween! Hope you all find more treats than tricks!

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