Cooking Day

Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 27, 2015

I switched around the theme days for our menu plan this week since we had a refrigerator full of leftovers by the end of the weekend.  We hosted a Family Game Day on Saturday in honor of my Dad’s birthday (he would have been 80 on January 8th).

We chose a Mexican theme for the meal, and had a phenomenal taco bar with the option of seasoned pork, chicken, or beef.  Since there were 25 of us at game day and we all made something for the event, there were plenty of leftovers.  (As a side note, although it looks like a big crowd, there are actually 20 people missing…and that’s just my brothers and sisters and their families!).

So, we’re eating our way through tacos of every variety this week, along with a few other meals:

Monday – leftovers

Tuesday – build your own tacos, veggies and hummus

Wednesday – spaghetti, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – white bean chicken chili, spinach salad

Friday – ginger chicken, flatbreads, fresh fruit

Saturday – omelets, pancakes, fresh fruit

Sunday – chili cook-off for the Super Bowl

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 20, 2015

I’ve really enjoyed trying out a variety of new recipes the past few weeks.  As a result, we’ve come up with several clear favorites that will be making a regular appearance in our menu rotation.

Favorite number one…omelets!  While I make scrambled eggs on a routine basis, I’ve never had much luck with omelets.  They always seem to end up as eggs and toppings scrambled together.

After a bit of trial and error, I settled on a skillet and a spatula that were most suited for the job.  By the end of the evening, I finally got the hang of making omelets to order for everyone.  I was kind of loving my new favorite – ham, cheese, tomato, and red onion – yum!

As I mentioned last week, I also made this flatbread recipe which was a huge hit.  In fact, I’ve made it twice more since then!  It’s such an easy recipe, and it’s a great addition to grilled chicken and sauteed vegetables.

I tried a new ginger chicken recipe this week as well.  While I had found an online recipe that I had planned to use, I had a comedy of errors involving fresh ginger that had gone bad as well as several missing ingredients.  So, I concocted my own recipe which turned out quite well.

As for this week, here’s our family’s menu plan:

Monday – spaghetti, spinach salad, oranges

Tuesday – ginger sesame chicken tacos, raw veggies and hummus

Wednesdayturkey chili, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday – grilled chicken and veggies on flatbreads, fresh fruit

Friday – grilled sirloin burgers, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Saturday – Mexican potluck for family game day

Sunday – leftovers

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 13, 2015

So I know it’s only been one week since I’ve been working with our new menu plan system, but I really love how simple it is.  By having definite categories for each day of the week, it eliminates the need for excessive planning and decision making…thought processes which are pretty nonexistent by the time evening rolls around!

There are two repeats in this week’s menu plan.  Since the large carton of ricotta cheese was on sale at Meijer last week, I bought that instead of a smaller 15-ounce package.  As a result, I went ahead and planned calzones for this week as well (the kids are already hoping the larger size is on sale again soon!).

The second repeat is solely Peyton Manning’s fault.  Did any of you happen to catch that Nationwide commercial on Sunday?  The one with the line, “chicken parmesan so good”?  After the kids sang that line for an hour straight, they unanimously decided that it was a much better choice than ginger chicken for dinner.  So, ginger chicken got bumped to this week instead!

Here’s our menu plan for this week:

Mondaysausage and cheese calzones, spinach salad, oranges

Tuesdaychicken enchilada casserole, veggies and hummus

Wednesday – marinated chicken, steamed broccoli, spinach salad

Thursday – leftovers

Friday – omelet bar, pancakes, fresh fruit

Saturday – grilled sandwiches, spiced apples, build-your-own salads

Sunday – ginger chicken, brown rice, seasoned green beans

As a side note, I tried out the flatbread recipe from Mel’s Kitchen last week, and it was an instant hit with our family.  The flatbreads are super easy to make and are delicious.  I’m sure they’ll be making a regular appearance on our weekly menu listing!

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on January 5, 2015

Now that all the junk food has finally worked its way out of our refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards, I’m more than ready to start planning healthy meals again.  Since many readers have asked about what I typically prepare for breakfast and lunch each day, I’ve included those categories this week as well.

Here’s our family’s menu plan for this week:



  • lunchmeat sandwiches
  • peanut butter sandwiches
  • spinach salad
  • leftovers


  • apples
  • bananas
  • almonds
  • string cheese
  • mandarin oranges
  • raw veggies and hummus


  • Monday – homemade calzones, spinach salad, apple slices
  • Tuesday – chicken tacos, veggies and hummus, brown rice
  • Wednesday – turkey chili, spinach salad, fresh fruit
  • Thursday – grilled chicken on flatbread, grilled veggies, apple slices
  • Friday- leftovers
  • Saturday – homemade chicken noodle soup, spinach salad, fresh bread
  • Sunday – ginger chicken, brown rice, fresh beans
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Our Family’s New Menu Planning System

by Katie on January 5, 2015

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens in our household every evening as dinnertime approaches.  It’s almost as if there’s a fundamental breakdown of household systems, and our once peaceful home dissolves into a lively chorus of chaos.

Between helping the kids with homework, finishing up housework, and completing last minute dinner preparation, it’s seems nothing short of a miracle some evenings just to get dinner on the table before eight o’clock at night.

And then of course, there’s those evenings when at least one of the kids in an ever-so-loving voice pipes up and asks if we really have to eat this for dinner….sigh!  Please tell me some of you can relate?!

To try to combat this craziness, I’m planning to implement a system that will (hopefully!) make meal planning a less complicated process.  I’ve basically chosen a theme for each day of the week:

Monday – Italian
Tuesday – Mexican
Wednesday – Crockpot
Thursday - Grill
Friday – Kids’ Choice
Saturday – Soup/Sandwich/Salad
Sunday- New Recipe

Each week, I’ll choose one night to substitute the theme of the day for leftovers.  I plan to rotate the leftovers night each week depending on when our fridge seems overly full.

Later today I’ll be posting our family’s menu for this week, including what we’re planning for breakfasts and lunches as well.

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Easy Caramel Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

by Katie on January 1, 2015

One of our family’s favorite breakfast recipes is Easy Caramel Cinnamon Rolls.  This recipe originates from my mother-in-law, and it’s as delicious as it is easy.

The main ingredient for this recipe is frozen bread loaves (I use the Rhodes Frozen White Bread loaves).  The important thing to note about this bread is that it must thaw for several hours before it can be used for the recipe.  I typically place the loaves on a cutting board on my kitchen counter until they thaw.

The recipe below is a for a single batch of caramel cinnamon rolls.  I usually double this recipe so we have enough for several breakfasts.

Easy Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

2 loaves of frozen white bread, thawed
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix (5.1 ounce size)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1-2 tablespoons milk

Cut the first loaf of bread into chunks (between the size of a quarter and a half dollar).  Place the pieces into a greased 9×13 pan, loosely touching.

Combine vanilla pudding, brown sugar, butter, and milk.  Using a spatula or a large spoon, gently spread mixture over the bread chunks.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cut the second loaf of bread into chunks.  Place the pieces on top of the pudding mixture, loosely touching.  Allow bread to rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

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Ham & Cheese Casserole Recipe

by Katie on December 2, 2014

This Ham & Cheese Casserole is a super easy (and delicious) way to use up leftover ham from Thanksgiving.  The recipe has been a favorite of our family’s for years, Thanksgiving time or not!

Ham & Cheese Casserole

1 bag egg noodles
2 cups cooked ham, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream in a small bowl.  Grease the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Layer half of the noodles into the pan.  Top with half of the ham, followed by half the cheese.  Top with half of the sour cream mixture.  Repeat layers with remaining ingredients.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on December 2, 2014

With an overabundance of Thanksgiving leftovers, you’ll likely see several turkey and ham remakes in this week’s listing!  Here’s our menu plan for this week:

Mondayham and cheese casserole, rolls, spinach salad

Tuesday - turkey noodle soup, spinach salad, apple slices

Wednesdayspaghetti, bread, spinach salad

Thursday - white bean chicken chili, rolls, fresh green beans


Saturday - rock salt roast chicken, steamed broccoli, fresh fruit

Sunday - chicken enchiladas, rice with cilantro, fresh fruit

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Chicken Bake Recipe

by Katie on November 17, 2014

I had a few readers ask me about my chicken bake recipe when I posted it as part of our menu plan for last week.  My sister originally made this dish for our family when our youngest son was born, and it’s been a family hit ever since.

The recipe is not only easy to make, but it’s inexpensive as well.  Plus, it’s a hearty meal for a cold evening (tomorrow night?!).

Chicken Bake

16 oz. spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Bake chicken for 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Cut or shred into small pieces.  While chicken is cooking, make spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

Put cooked spaghetti in a 9×13 pan.  Mix in butter until melted.  Top with chicken.  In a small bowl, combine cream of chicken soup and chicken broth.  Pour mixture evenly over chicken.  Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  If the cheese starts to brown, tent foil over the top of the pan.

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Our Weekly Menu Plan

by Katie on November 10, 2014

I’m happy to report that I’ve actually started the process of revamping my organizational system for my cookbooks and recipes.  I went through all of my loose recipes this weekend, and I pitched about half of them.  The ones I got rid of, I’ve either never made after years of holding onto the recipe or have made the recipe and very few of us actually liked it.

This week, I plan to sort through my cookbooks and get rid of any that I don’t use on a routine basis.  Anyhow, here’s what I have planned for this week’s meals:

Monday - grilled sirloin burgers, steamed vegetables, apple slices

Tuesdayginger grilled ribs, spinach salad, brown rice

Wednesday - chicken bake, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Thursday - homemade chicken noodle soup, bread, fresh fruit

Friday - chicken parmesan, spinach salad, fresh fruit

Saturday - leftovers

Sunday - fish tacos, brown rice, fresh fruit

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