Friday, April 20

Life's a Picnic

     Today, the girls and I went and took Nate away from work for a bit for a picnic lunch. There is a place at the airport (which is less than 5 minutes from Nate's office) where you can have a picnic and watch the planes take off and land. There is an observation deck that has speakers that allow you to listen to the people in the control tower talking to the pilots in the planes. I find it really cool. And it's a nice place for a picnic away from the office.

     So I've got the 'who' and the 'where' and the 'what' and the 'when' all covered, but then there's the 'how' of it all. I wanted to be able to do some sub sandwiches, but I didn't want them to be all mushy by the time we sat down to eat...because first I'd have to construct all the sandwiches, then get the girls ready to go, then drive the 30 minutes to Nate's work, pick him up, then drive to our spot and then finally unpack the food to you can see how the sandwiches would be kind of yucky by then. So here is what I came up with. :)

Wednesday, April 18

Let's just eat out...

     Today was Kyleigh's first day of track out and it wasn't all pajamas and movies. We started out with going to a couple grocery stores then going back home to grab a quick lunch and a power nap. Then we headed to my sister's softball games--it was a double-header. My mom had to leave early and so the girls and I decided to leave too.

     It was a good thing we did. We got home and had a fruit and chocolate plate before heading back out to Kyleigh's Garden Club meeting. The school club was meeting at a local garden store to learn about building terrariums. I might have mistaken the location of the store and driven us to the wrong place. Ooops. Luckily the place wasn't too far and we made only about 10 minutes late. Kyleigh was still able to catch the tail end of the directions. So the kids made their terrariums and then the girls and I went out to eat with our friends, whose daughter is in the garden club with Kyleigh.
Kyleigh & Chloe with their terrariums

     Then we headed home for baths and bedtime. *Whew* so you can understand why we went out to eat. haha

     As for earlier this week, Monday was kind of a throw-together with elbow noodles and a tomato sauce. Tuesday we had breakfast for dinner with crepes. Mmm So nothing too note-worthy yet this week, but it's been busy. :)

Sunday, April 15

Meal Planning

It's Sunday and Nate got paid this past Friday, so that means it's time to plan out the next two weeks' worth of meals. Heeeeeeere we go!

Monday 4/16: Elbow macaroni with tomato sauce
Tuesday 4/17: Breakfast - Crepes
Wednesday 4/18: Mexican - Tortillas
Thursday 4/19: MYO Cold-Cuts Night
Friday 4/20: Homemade Pizza
Saturday 4/21: Honey-Mustard-and-Bacon Smothered Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
Sunday 4/22: Creamy Ziti with a veggie
Monday 4/23: Mexican - Tortillas (using the rest of the tortillas from the previous Mexican night)
Tuesday 4/24: Sweet Lentil Stew (Crockpot)
Wednesday 4/25: Breakfast - Waffles
Thursday 4/26: Lemon-Caper Capellini
Friday 4/27: Homemade Pizza
Saturday 4/28: Carrot-Ginger Soup & Sandwiches
Sunday 4/29: BBQ Pork Chops with Roasted Potatoes

     Our menus aren't strictly followed just because there are nights when we have dinner with Nate's parents or we don't feel like having whichever meal is on the menu for that night and we switch it up....or we just flat out order pizza instead. :)

Wednesday, April 11

Wednesday's Capers

     On the menu for Wednesday's dinner was Lemon-Caper Capellini. It's actually a recipe I found a ways back in a WeightWatcher's cookbook that I borrowed from the library. Though I wrote the recipe down a few months ago, this is the first time I actually tried making it. It turned out well and the girls ate it too! :)

Lemon-Caper Capellini
from Weight Watchers Every Day Cooking
Makes 6 servings, 5 PointsPlus

  • 12 oz box Ronzoni SmartTaste angel hair
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper

      Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot off of the heat.
      In a pan over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil. Add in the pressed garlic and saute until it begins to brown.
      Whisk in the lemon juice, parsely, basil, salt, and pepper. Once everything is incorporated together, stir in the capers. Pour over the drained past and toss together.
      Serve it up and enjoy! We topped ours with some finely shredded low-skim mozzarella but reduced-fat grated parmesan would also be good!

Monday, April 9

Asian-style Noodles w/ Sesame-Lime Dressing

I found this recipe in April's Every Day with Rachael Ray--the subscription to which was a Christmas present from the hubby. :-D To fit it into our grocery budget a little better and to make it more WeightWatchers friendly, I did a little switching around.

Asian-style Noodles
w/ Sesame-Lime Dressing
adapted from Soba Noodles with Sesame-Lime Dressing from EveryDay with Rachael Ray
Makes 7 servings at 8 PointsPlus (WeightWatchers) per serving

Saturday, April 7

Something New Saturday

     Since Nate is home on the weekends, I usually try to save the new time- and/or labor-intensive recipes for these days. It's a lot easier to focus on what I'm trying to do in the kitchen if someone is in the house with me to keep an eye on the kids.

     This weekend I wanted to try making a meatloaf again. I've tried making this only twice before--and the hubby and I have been together for nearly 7 years now. I know guys like meatloaf, and mine is no exception, but I have a hard time handling raw meat and meatloaf is one of those things ya gotta get down 'n dirty with. But I put my big girl pants on, and did it...sort of....I may not have actually touched any of the meat with my bare hands. Though I'm sure combining the meat with everything else would have been a whole lot easier if I had just used my hands.

     Anyway, so I did a little "research" first. I looked at a bunch of different meatloaf recipes and found a lot of things they all had in common. So I started with those and built on that. I did use my own meat mix because I had had the idea and it was something I really wanted to try. When it was done, it tasted fabulous! And oh-so-moist! Mmmm

makes 8 servings, 14 pts+ per serving

Thursday, April 5

Nothin' Like Comfort..., I mean :)

On the menu for Thursday was Homemade Cheesy Shells made with 3 cheeses. Mmmmm

Homemade Cheesy Shells
makes 8 servings, 13 pts+/serving
  • 1 box medium shells
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp dried ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of basil
  • pinch of paprika
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 c. fat free sour cream
  • 1/3 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Wednesday, April 4

What's For Dinner -- Wednesday

On the menu tonight is Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese & Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. Yumm!

Roasted Tomato Soup
Bite Me cookbook 

Mondays are Bananas

     We got back from New York just yesterday, but already today was back to work and school. Which means I had lots of unpacking and laundry to do.

     We packed lots of snacks for the trip...and came back with still a lot. haha We had brought bananas with us but they, too, didn't get eaten and came home pretty brown and lookin' on the verge of needing to visit the trash. But that would just be wasteful. So I made banana muffins for dinner.

     I was able to get about 32 muffins out of this batch which makes each muffin 4 points+ (WeightWatchers). I like putting butter and strawberry jelly on my muffins, so that'll add to the points a little.

     On Tuesday, we invited the hubby's dad over for dinner. He wanted buffalo chicken of some sort. I went with a sauce I found on Pinterest (where else?). The post was on the blog Inspired Taste for wings. It didn't give you any measurements and I didn't want wings because skinless boneless chicken is easier on the WeightWatchers points -- so this is my version.

Really Good (Mild) Buffalo Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup Frank's buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp fat free sour cream
      In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
      Whisk in the buffalo sauce. Once the sauce has been fully whisked with the butter, mix in the garlic powder and salt. Whisk in the sour cream then remove from heat.
*This made approximately 1/2 cup of sauce which totals 12 points+. After I tossed the chicken in this, I divided it out from the number of servings of the sauce and chicken together.*

     And because chicken breasts were on sale, I bought 2.5 lbs of those at $1.99/lb. I cooked them in a covered pan on the stove in a little bit of olive oil.

     I also made a potato salad I found on Pinterest, from Skinny Taste's blog. I had to alter it a bit but I'll give you the original recipe since the changes I did were because I was in such a hurry I kind of mis-read the recipe a bit and ended up with a potato smash instead. haha

Baby Red Potato Salad
  • 4 cups baby red potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste
      Boil potatoes in salted water about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
      Meanwhile, combine the green pepper, red onion, mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayo, salt and pepper in a large mixing or serving bowl. Mix well then set aside to let the flavors come together.
      Once the potatoes are done and cool, stir them into the bowl with the mixture. Add scallions and any additional salt and/or pepper to taste.
      Serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
*The recipe says it makes 6 servings at 3/4 cup each coming in at 3 points+ per serving.*
Just before adding the potatoes.

Then to top it all off, I cooked up some refrigerated biscuits which came in at 3 points+ each.

Buffalo Sauce (12 pts+) paired with Chicken (30 pts+ for 2.5 lbs) divided into 6 servings= 7pts+ per serving
Baby Red Potato Salad 3/4 cup= 3pts+
Refrigerated Biscuits 1 biscuit= 3pts+
One plate with 1 serving of each = 13 points+

Tuesday, April 3

Budget Menu Planning

     There is nothing quite like going home. I don't think it much matters how long you've been gone. The feeling of walking into your home and that feeling of "aahhh" just engulfs you. I was reminded of this when we got back home Sunday after a trip up north. Sadly, my hubby's grandfather passed away and we needed to be in New York for his funeral. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for a long while, but his passing was/is still tough for those who knew him. We left to head up north last Wednesday evening after everyone got off work and drove for a few hours to a hotel where we met up with the hubby's parents and brother and stayed the night. So we arrived in the freezing weather New York on Thursday around dinnertime. We left to head home, with hubby's dad riding with us, Saturday afternoon and arrived home late Sunday afternoon. What a whirlwind trip. I'm glad we went, and now I'm glad we are back in spring-y weather home. Ain't nuthin like comin' home. :)

     So after everyone went back to work and school on Monday, I needed to write up some menus and go grocery shopping. I needed to plan out for 2 weeks. I'm excited about what I came up with.

Monday 4/2: Breakfast- Banana Muffins

Tuesday 4/3: Buffalo Chicken Strips w/ Baby Red Potato Salad & Biscuits

Wednesday 4/4: Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday 4/5: Homemade Shells 'n' Cheese

Friday 4/6: Homemade Pizza Dippers

Saturday 4/7: Meatloaf w/ Beets & Sauteed Yellow Squash

Monday 4/9: Soba Noodles w/ Sesame-Lime Dressing

Tuesday 4/10: Breakfast- Waffles, Crepes, or Pancakes

Wednesday 4/11: Lemon-Caper Capellini w/ veggies

Thursday 4/12: Mexican Lasagna

Friday 4/13: Homemade Pizza

Saturday 4/14: Tortellini, Gnocchi, and a veggie

Sunday 4/15: Carrot Ginger Soup

**I'll do a breakdown each day with specifics about where the recipe was found and Weight Watchers points and stuff.**

     My shopping list was for most of the things to make all of these dinners plus whatever we were running low on around the house. My point? I spent only $101 at Kroger! I was super excited about that because I got most everything I need and only need to go back for a handful of things. :) Which is good because I have a slightly smaller food budget for this 2-week period.

     Before we left, I checked on a few stores' sites to compare flyers and make sure I could get the best deal on things I needed. I'm glad I did because the chicken was on sale for $1.99/lb, usually $3.50/lb. Also, yellow & zucchini squash was on sale for $.99/lb, as were fresh green beans. And I got milk on manager's special for $2.49/gallon and it's still good thru 4/12 (and it was only the 3rd when I got it). And I had 2 coupons for things that were already on sale too. So all-in-all, it was a good shopping trip.

Let's get eating!
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