"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding". Prov.3:13 (NKJV)

January 31, 2016

Happy Anniversary to my love!

Today I am thankful to be celebrating 20 years of love with my hubby. We have seen each other through different stages of growth. There have been good days and times of great joy. We've also had trying times but together by the grace of God we've weathered the storms. It's amazing how twenty years later we still find ourselves joking around and making each other laugh. He's older than me by 5 months and we often reminisce about things that happened back in the day when we were growing up. We have some things in common in our backgrounds and remember stuff that was going on in the world during our childhood years. No, we didn't grow up together. We never knew each other. He lived in another state and we didn't meet until our college days. Being the same age (he'll be 40 in a few weeks) we're getting a kick out of our changing bodies as we get older.  Oh my how time flies by. It feels great to be able to just be yourself with the one you love. I enjoy having days when we can sit, reminisce, laugh, and just have fun together. Happy Anniversary to my love. I hope you get to read this. May we live to glorify God together and let His love flow through us to one another in the next 20+ years to come.



January 27, 2016

Menu Planning My Way

Five years ago I ventured off into the world of freezer/batch cooking. It took lots of trial and error but I have a plan in place that suits me well. Since those early days I see the benefits of my menu planning. It takes the stress out of wondering "what's for dinner?" at the last minute. As of writing this post I have two weeks worth of meals already prepped, bagged, frozen and ready to thaw overnight and throw in the crockpot the next day. I've created a list of meals we usually end up having so I can quickly come up with ideas for menu plans to put on the bi-weekly/monthly calendar. I prepared my list in Word. I copied the list here to share with you.


Breakfast & Brinner Meal Ideas
Breads

BF Desserts
One Dish
Sandwiches
Sides
Drinks


Bagel w/cream cheese
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Fruit

BF Cake
Farmer’s Casserole
Grits
Fruit
BLT & Scrambled Eggs
Eggs- Boiled, scrambled, or over easy
Coffee or Iced Coffee


Biscuits- Drop or Toast
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Fruit

BF Cookies
Hash
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Fruit
BF Burritos
Hash Browns
Oatmeal
Cappuccino


Crepes w/fruit or French Toast
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Oatmeal

Fruit Cobbler
Omelet
Hash Browns or Grits
Fruit
Sausage & Biscuit
w/scrambled eggs
Grits
100% Fruit Juice or Orange Julius



Pancakes or Waffles
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Fruit

Fruit- sliced w/whipped cream
Quiche
Grits or Hash Browns
Fruit
Bagel, egg, sausage/bacon/ham & cheese
Hash browns
Tea (Herbal)


Muffins or Sweet Bread
Bacon or Sausage
Eggs
Fruit

Coffee Cake
Egg (in meat) Cups
Grits or Hash Browns
Fruit
Egg in a Basket or Eggs Benedict

Smoothies












 

These are meals I often fix for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. Lots of things can be mixed and matched for a whole different meal.


Snack Ideas

Baked or Pan Fried Apples

Boiled Eggs

Fresh or canned fruit (in 100% juice)

Fruit & Cheese Cubes

Fruit & Nut Mix

Fruit Sale Sorbet

Fruit Slushy

Granola Bars (Homemade)

Graham Crackers & Cheese

Graham Crackers & Peanut Butter or Nutella

Ice Cream (small bowl)

Jell-O

Meat and cheese cubes

Nutella & Peanut Butter on Graham Crackers

Popcorn (Air popped)

Pudding

Rice Krispies Treats (Homemade)

Smores

Trail Mix (Homemade)

Veggies (raw) w/Dip


Lunch Menu Ideas
Salads
Sandwiches/ Wraps
Skillets
Soups
Stir Fry




Big Garden Salad
Crackers
Fresh Fruit
Peanut Butter n Jelly
Pretzels
Sliced Apples or Applesauce
Beef Brats w/onions, peppers, garlic
Sauerkraut
Brown/Cauliflower Rice
Beef n Vegetable Soup
Homemade Bread
Beef n veggies w/rice or noodles




BLT Salad
Crackers
Fresh Fruit
BLT or Cold Cuts sandwich/Wrap
Veggies w/dip or hummus
Fresh Fruit
Kielbasa Sausage w/onions, peppers, garlic
Sauerkraut
Brown Rice or Cabbage
Chicken n Noodle/Rice Soup
Homemade Bread
Chicken n veggies w/rice or noodles




Chicken Salad
Crackers
Oranges
Chicken Salad Sandwich or Wraps
Veggies w/hummus
Italian Sausage w/onions, peppers, garlic
Sauerkraut
Brown/Cauliflower Rice
Ham n vegetable Soup
Homemade Bread
Pork n veggies w/rice or noodles




Steak Salad
Crackers
Grapes
Philly Steak n Cheese Sandwich/Wrap
Fresh Fruit
Turkey Brats w/onions, peppers, garlic
Sauerkraut
Brown/Cauliflower Rice
Turkey n Noodle/Rice Soup
Homemade Bread

Turkey n veggies w/rice




Tuna (or Salmon) Salad
Crackers
Fresh Fruit
Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Veggies w/hummus
Fresh Fruit


Ramen Noodle Soup w/boiled egg





Taco Salad
Fresh Fruit
Burritos
Cheese, salsa, & sour cream
Fresh Fruit
Taco Rice Bowls w/cheese, salsa, & sour cream
Tortilla Chips







Egg Salad Sandwich
Tomato & Cucumber salad
Fresh Fruit








These are meals I like to plan for our weekly lunch. This is not the only option for lunch. If we have leftovers from dinner the night before, I either reheat that for lunch or send it to work with hubby to eat for his lunch. This is cheaper and healthier than takeout and food doesn't go to waste by getting thrown in the trash because we forgot about it.


Dinner Meal Ideas
Beef
Chicken
Fish
Pork
Turkey
Soup/Stews


Beef Taco (or any taco flavored meat) loaded Baked Potatoes
Tossed Salad
Chicken, Broccoli n Cheese loaded baked potatoes
Tossed Salad
Crockpot Citrus Salmon
Brown/ Wild Rice
Steamed mix veg.
Pulled Pork (or any BBQ meat) Baked Potatoes
Green Salad
Turkey loaded Baked Potato
Tossed Salad
Hamburger, Chicken (Turkey) n Rice/Noodle Soup
Homemade bread
Salad


Beef Tacos
Black/Refried Beans
Spanish Rice
Mexican Corn
Chicken Tacos
Black Refried Beans
Spanish Rice
Mexican Corn
Fish Tacos
Spanish Rice
Mexican Corn
Pork Tacos
Black/Refried Beans
Spanish Rice
Mexican Corn
Turkey Tacos
Black Refried Beans
Spanish Rice
Mexican Corn
Taco or Chicken Tortilla Soup
w/salsa, cheese, sour cream
Tortilla Chips


Philly Steak n Cheese Quesadillas
Salad
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Salad
Tuna Melts
Taco Rice
Salad
Pulled Pork Quesadillas
Salad
Turkey Quesadillas
Salad

Chili (All Meat, Chicken Black/White Bean)
Corn bread/cakes


Beef or Barbacoa Fajitas
Mexican corn
Cuban Black Beans
Spanish or Cilantro lime Rice
Chicken (Chipotle) Fajitas
Mexican Corn
Cuban Black Beans
Spanish or Cilantro lime Rice
Tilapia (baked)
Oven Roasted Carrots
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Fruit Salad
Carnitas
Mexican Corn
Pinto/Cuban Black Beans
Spanish or Cilantro lime Rice
Turkey Fajitas
Mexican Corn
Cuban Black Beans
Spanish or Cilantro lime Rice
Beef or Pork Stew
Homemade Bread



Beef Enchilada Casserole (w/rice and black beans)
Green Salad
Chicken Enchilada Casserole (w/corn and black beans)
Green Salad
Pollock (baked)
Oven Roasted Carrots
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Fruit Salad
Pork Enchilada Casserole (w/rice and Chipotle pinto beans)
Green Salad
Turkey Enchilada Casserole (w/corn and black beans)
Green Salad
Black/Pinto Bean & Beef Soup w/tomatoes
Homemade/Corn Bread
Tossed or Fruit Salad


Sloppy Joes
Oven Roasted Carrots
Steamed Sweet Peas
Salsa Chicken
w/Rice, lettuce, sour cream
Tortillas/Chips
Fried Fish
Slaw
Green Beans
Leftover Spaghetti

BBQ Pulled Pork
Corn (or boiled)
Slaw &/or Pasta Salad

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Oven Roasted Carrots
Steam Sweet Peas
Chicken, Corn, or Clam Chowder
Homemade Bread
Salad


Cowboy Foil Packets w/ vegetables (potatoes, carrots, ect.)
Brown or White Rice
Chicken Foil Packets w/vegetables (peppers, onion, mushrooms, ect.)
Brown or White Rice
Fish Foil Packets
w/ vegetables (Spinach, onion, garlic, artichoke, tomato, ect.)
Wild or Yellow Rice
Pork Loin Chops Foil Packets w/vegetables (mushrooms, onion, garlic, wine, ect.)
Brown or Wild Rice

Ham n Bean (pinto or white) Soup
Corn Bread
Squash Patties


Lasagna or Spaghetti (Squash)
Homemade Bread w/dipping oil
Tossed/Green Salad
Chicken & Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Homemade Bread
California Blend veg.
Fruit Salad
Tuna Spaghetti
Homemade Bread Steamed Broccoli & Carrots
Fruit Salad
Country Style BBQ Ribs
Potato Salad/ Slaw 
Corn on Cob or Tom., onion, & Cucumber Salad
Spaghetti Bake
Homemade Bread w/dipping oil
Green Beans or Tossed Salad
Ravioli Lasagna
Homemade Bread w/dipping oil
Tossed/Green Salad


Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed green (collard, turnip, kale, spinach)
Corn Bread
Chicken Cacciatore
w/Rice or Noodles
Green Beans or Steamed Broccoli
Salmon Croquettes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Peas or Steamed Broccoli
Marinated (Dump) Pork Chops
Mashed Sweet Pot.
Steamed Sweet Peas
Beef n Turkey Meatloaf (or minis)
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Sweet Peas & Carrots
Italian Sausage & Beans Soup or Black Beans & Sausage Soup
Homemade Bread
Salad


Brisket
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts
Quinoa, Wild/ Brown Rice
Calif. Blend veg.
Shrimp Boil w/corn, potatoes, Polish sausage, crab, chicken wings
Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin
Mash Potatoes, Wild/ Brown Rice
Green Salad

Cabbage (& Polish Sausage) Soup
Homemade Bread
Fruit Salad


Roast Beef w/celery, onion, pot. & carrots
Homemade Bread
Green Beans
Cream of Mushroom Chicken & Rice Bake
Rolls
Green Salad
Crockpot Salmon w/carrots & onions
Brown/ Wild Rice
Brussels Sprouts or Asparagus
Pork w/celery, onion, garlic, carrots
Homemade Bread
Sweet Peas
Sliced Turkey Breasts
w/gravy
Rice or Quinoa
Steamed Broccoli
Fruit Salad
Lentil Soup
Homemade Bread
Tossed Salad


Cheese Burgers
Fries or Baked Beans
Cole Slaw
Sticky Chicken
Potatoes or corn
Steamed Broccoli
Sesame Teriyaki Salmon, brown rice
Cali. Blend veg.
Marinated (Dump) Pork Loin, Salad,
Baked Sweet Pot.
Sticky Turkey Legs
Potatoes or Corn
Steamed Broccoli



Beef or Meatloaf Stuffed Bell Peppers
Mashed Potatoes
Pulled Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers
Oven Roasted Carrots
Haddock

Pulled Pork Stuffed Bell Peppers
Steamed Cauliflwr.
Ground Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers
Steamed Broccoli



Marinated Steak
Baked Russet/ Sweet Potatoes
Oven roasted veg.
Salad & Rolls
Blackened Chicken Breasts
Corn/ Brown Rice
Oven roasted Asparagus
Blackened Fish
Rice/Pasta Salad
Oven roasted Brussels Sprouts
Baked Pork Steaks
Corn or potatoes
Oven roasted Asparagus or Brussels Sprouts




Salisbury Steak & Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Peas & Carrots
Italian (or Saucey Italian) Chicken
Brown Rice
Green Salad
Crockpot Sweet & Spicy Salmon
Brown Rice
Steamed mix veg.

Ground Turkey Salisbury Steak & Tom. Gravy
Brown Rice
Green Beans



Swiss Steak n Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Marinated (Dump) Chicken
Brown Rice
Tossed Salad

Cubed Steak n Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans




Grilled Steaks
Pasta Salad
Corn
Green Beans
BBQ Chicken
Corn
Baked Beans
Tossed Salad
 BBQ Baked Salmon
Quinoa or Rice
Steamed Broccoli & Carrots
BBQ Pork Steaks
Cole Slaw
Baked Beans
Corn on Cob
Balsamic Turkey (or Chicken)
Rice (yellow) Pilaf
Oven Roasted veg.



Beef Cabbage Roll Casserole
Steamed Peas & Carrots
Corn Bread
Oven Fried Chicken
Corn or Potatoes
Steamed Peas & Carrots


Stuffed Pork Chops
Steamed California Blend vegetables
Corn on Cob
Turkey Cabbage Roll Casserole
Steamed Peas & Carrots
Corn Bread




Here is where I was playing around with ideas of different things to serve for dinner. Lots of things can be mixed and matched to create different meals when there is leftovers for another night. Another thing I do is use certain things (like meats) to create an entirely new dish so it doesn't always seem like leftovers. I keep these lists hung on my pantry door for easy access.

Well I hope this helps someone if they are trying to come up with meal ideas or figure out how to go about menu planning like I was in the past :-)
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