Meal Plan Swap...coming soon!!


what do you think of when you hear "meal planning"?
does it overwhelm you?
well, it shouldn't my friend!
It saves time, money, food, and its actually kindof fun!

so guess what??????


all you gotta do is come up with a week's meal plan, blog it, and come link it up!
Carina from A Punk, a Pumpkin, and a Peanut and I will be hosting this interlinked swap next Friday April 20th!!

We could each literally have MONTHS worth of meals planned.
Ill take that!
The more we have link up, the more weeks of meals we get...
So, spread the word, grab a button, plan some meals and link up!!
(these can just be simple meals, you don't need to be a chef...Lord knows I'm not!)

{see, I told you you should be excited!}

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never done a meal plan before? thinking about doing it?
well, now is a great time to start!!

here's some simple tips:
-Get your computer, or a pen and pad of paper if you are old school like me
(I have a minor obsession with legal notepads)
-Find 6-7 meals you'd like to make for the coming week either from cookbooks, your mom's old notecard recipes, pinterest or wherever you find your recipes from.
-write down ALL the ingredients needed in one big list
-now go "shop your pantry" (Ashley taught me this, thanks girl!) with your list and cross off anything you already have...this prevents over-stocking and saves money
-now you have your shopping list! (and I try and break the list down by "sections" of the store to save time since I usually have both little ones with me!)
*I find it really helpful to put the week's plan up on the fridge so I can look ahead
(especially for the days I need to get the crockpot I don't forget the next day, and then its too late!)
What are YOUR meal planning tips??

oh, and guess what?
here's a week's meal plan for you!!!
feel free to use it as an example for the link up, and def feel free to copy it and use it!! :)
Blessings friends, Happy Cooking!!

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B: oatmeal or cold cereal and milk, with cheese slices
L: sandwiches and chips with fruit
D: Shredded Rio Chicken (crockpot)

B: scrambled eggs with shredded cheese on tortilla
L: leftover chicken on a taco or salad
D: Turkey Goulash

B: omelet with diced ham and cheese
L: sandwiches or soup (or Turkey leftovers)
D: Steak and Zuccini (crockpot)

B: oatmeal or cold cereal and milk, with cheese slices
L: turkey and cheese roll-ups with jello or yogurt
D: Sloppy Joes

B: simple skillet pancakes (with pancake mix) with sliced cheese
L: Sloppy Joe leftovers with fruit cups
D: Spicy Honey Chicken

B: scrambled eggs with cheese, toast
L: sandwiches, PB&J with fruit cups
D: Pizza Bar

B: yogurt and fruit tortilla rolls
L: (grill day)
D: (grill day)

* you can always add salad, bread, fruit, or veggies to the dinners,
I just didn’t include them here!
*as you can see, we aren’t too creative with breakfasts or even lunches…
so do what you want for those! ☺


Shredded Rio Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts
½ of small bottle of zesty Italian dressing
½ TBSP minced garlic
1 pkt dry ranch dressing (mix with ½ cup water)
½ TBSP chili powder
½ TBSP ground cumin

Put all in crockpot…cook on high for 5-6 hours
Chicken should shred easily with a fork at end of cooking.
You could put this on tortillas, chips with sour cream, cheese, etc.
Also good on a salad!
*this freezes well if you want to double or triple the recipe!

Turkey Goulash
Egg noodles (I use wheat) – about 8 oz uncooked
Onion powder (just a few shakes), or 1 onion chopped if you like onion
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced (keep skin on)
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups tomoato sauce
2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped
(optional) 2 TBSP red wine

cook noodles according to directions
sauté bell pepper and zucchini (and onion if you use it, or sprinkle with powder) in a skillet with cooking spray. (medium heat)
Remove veggies from skillet and set aside.
Cook ground turkey in skillet.
Return veggies to skillet when meat is done.
Add tomato sauce, basil, and wine.
Cook and stir for about 5 minutes until heated through.

Place a portion of noodles on each plate and top with the turkey mixture.
Serve with a small salad and garlic bead!

Steak with Zucchini

2 lbs round steak (cut into 6 pieces…I just get 2 3-piece packages at walmart)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 (7 oz) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp rosemary
1 TBSP dried minced onion
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP red wine
2 lbs zucchini (about 3-4), but into ¼ in slices
1 pint grape tomatoes (about 10 oz)
(sour cream and parsley optional for garnishing)

Grease crockpot with olive oil and leave the excess in the pot.
Add all ingredients except the beef, tomatoes and zucchini,
Stir well.
Add beef, tomatoes and zucchini, toss with the mixture
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
Can garnish each portion with sour cream and parsley.

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef (lean)
½ cup chopped onion (I use onion powder instead)
1 cup chopped celery
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
½ tsp chili powder (I use about 1 tsp!)
salt and pepper
wheat hamburger buns

brown the beef, along with the celery and onion, drain often
add the tomato sauce and soup
add chili powder and salt and pepper
let simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

We scoop it on top of the buns and eat them open-faced!
You can also add a little grated cheese on top!
{on my blog here}

Spicy Honey Chicken

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (and I cut off any skin or fat left on there to make them really lean)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground red pepper
6 Tbsp honey
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

preheat broiler (mine is on the ‘high” setting)
combine the honey and cider vinegar in a small bowl, stir well
combine all the spices in large bowl
coat each piece of chicken in spices
place chicken in broiler pan (I just use a dark baking pan bc I don’t have one)
broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side
take chicken out and brush one side with honey mixture
return and broil for 1 minute
take it out, flip the chicke, brush that side with honey, and return
broil 1 more minute

*this is pretty spicy, so beware if you don’t like that! Abigail actually loves this but it is too hot for me. Parker LOVES this!!
*serves well with just a simple green salad!
{on my blog here}

Pizza Bar
Whole wheat pizza crust
Pizza sauce
Fresh mozzarella, sliced as thin or thick as you like
any toppings, but we use:
tomato, chopped
Pineapple pieces
Fresh basil
(And sometimes grilled chicken pieces if we have it)

You know how to make a pizza…
And just follow the baking directions for the crust.
This is fun to set out as a “Pizza Bar” and just let everyone get their own toppings on their own pizza or on their half!
{on my blog here}

“Grill Day”
we usually do this on Sunday afternoons, esp right now while the weather is great!
(and I don’t know if you ladies grill or just your hubbies do, but if you don’t…you should! I LOVE grilling…its super easy, quick, and the kids can run around outside while you grill)

and if you don’t have an outdoor grill (maybe this is just a Texas thing?) you could just use a George Forman!

Things we usually grill:
Chicken, lean beef (just burger patties), shrimp, zucchini, carrots, asparagus

Meats: just do a little Worcestershire, seasoned salt, and pepper
(shrimp: some lemon juice and parsley)
Zucchini: kosher salt and pepper
Asparagus: a little olive oil, kosher salt, and cracked pepper

*you could grill whatever you want, and just have a ton of stuff to choose from…this also makes us several meals for lunch (or a day I don't want to cook) for the coming week!

(just go through your kitchen and cross out what you already have!)

spices (you prob have most of these):
chili powder
kosher salt
dried minced onion
onion powder
garlic powder
ground cumin
dried rosemary
minced garlic
ground red pepper

fresh spices:
parsley (optional)

2 lbs round steak
1 lb lean ground beef
2 lbs chicken breasts
1 lb lean ground turkey
chicken thighs (about 8)
(and then any additional meats for “grill day”)

pineapple chunks
zucchini (about 4 large)
grape tomatoes (about 10 oz)
tomato to chop
1 red bell pepper
celery (about 4 stalks)

tomato sauce (1 8 oz can, 1 2-cup can)
1 can tomoto soup
pizza sauce

olive oil
red wine (optional)
light sour cream (8 oz)
small bottle Zesty Italian dressing
1 packet dry Ranch dressing
apple cider vinegar
whole wheat pizza crust
fresh mozzarella cheese
egg noodles
tortillas (wheat) or chips

**I did not include here things like bread, eggs, cereal, milk, peanut butter, jelly,
sandwich meat, and snacks…

***I got this whole week’s meal plan at Walmart for just over $100! Yay!
(keep in mind I already had some of this stuff)

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special thanks to:
Danielle, for being an exhausted newborn mommy like me and requesting via Twitter that someone plan meals for her (she was only kindof joking)...and i totally jumped on that too!
Carina, for stepping up and making a meal plan...just because she's that cool.
Ashley, for inspiring with great tips about meal planning and shopping
love yall.