5 things I’m loving this week

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5 things I’m loving this week:

1. A date with my oldest son!  Sometimes, trying to spend time one on one with each of your four kids can be difficult.  It was a blast squeezing in some time this morning with W.  He dressed up a little bit and was such a gentleman!  He says his dad taught him and I’m glad he’s taking it to heart.  ❤   What did we do?  Breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and window shopping for a hamster.  He’s hoping for one for Christmas.  What a delightful kid!


2. My twelve year old daughter telling me that I “have to read” a book she’s enjoying.  Its the fifth installment in the Land of Stories series and we both are loving this series!  (If you are looking for good chapter books, our family also cannot recommend enough the Penderwicks series.)

3. Getting TWO dinners in my freezer!  I made a triple batch of beef stroganoff this week and was able to put two meals worth in the freezer!  I love stocking the freezer!


4. Snickers bars.  Really.  It is not a good idea to keep chocolate in our house.  I will eat it super fast!

5. Fun with friends and family.  We celebrated our youngest turning 3, our 7 year old making the dance team, spent Monday night with relatives and Friday night with friends, and tonight is DATE NIGHT!  It was a full, exhausting week, but so so good.  God is good!


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Sept. 9, 2016 Menu Plan

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To keep things simple around my house, I typically loosely follow these guidelines for meal planning:

1 Tex/Mex dish

1 pasta dish

1 meatless dish

1 night for leftovers

Sometimes these guidelines overlap.  Like this week the Tex/Mex dish is also the meatless dish.

I also try to use my slow cooker at least one meal per week and if it is good weather, I also try to ask my husband to grill at least once per week.

To keep it easy, I repeat meals every 4-6 weeks.

**I do not use original recipes very often.  I frequently borrow recipes and am happy to link to the original or give credit where due.**

***I only planned 6 nights as we usually have enough food leftover for another day of leftovers or we are at an event or go out to eat.  I suspect you are the same way.***

I am trying to design the meals so you could prep everything on Sunday for your entire week.  A printable version of the plan is at the bottom of this post.


#1-Hawaiian pizza pasta, salad, bread (rolls, garlic bread, etc…)     –This is an easy pasta dish to double and freeze.

#2-taco dip, yellow rice, corn     –This is a favorite every time I take it to an event.

#3-GRILL-garlic balsamic pork chops, zucchini boats, baked potatoes    –We get so many compliments whenever we make these pork chops.  The flavor is amazing!  The zucchini boats are super easy.  Cut small zucchini in half and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Then grill.

#4-SLOW COOKER–cream cheese chicken, rice, green beans    –A great comfort food and super kid friendly.  I have made it several times with homemade cream of chicken soup if you don’t like canned.  Our favorite way to make fresh green beans….wash and snap the beans, saute in olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt while cooking.

#5-Breakfast for dinner–french toast, fruit, bacon     –Use your favorite basic or fancy french toast recipe.  I like Better Homes and Gardens for classics like this.

#6-Leftovers    –Our kids love leftovers when they can choose what they have for dinner.



1.  Assemble the Hawaiian pizza pasta according to the recipe except do not bake.

2.  Assemble the taco dip’s 3 layers…bean, cheese/sour cream mixture, and cheddar cheese.  Chop tomatoes, olives, green onions and put in containers for the fridge.

3.  Mix up the marinade for the pork chops and place both in a container or freezer bag in the refrigerator.

4.  Mix up the cream cheese mixture for the cream cheese chicken and place both in a container or freezer bag in the refrigerator.

5.  Now you are ready for a week of dinners!


Printable version:  sept-9-2016-meal-plan

Check out the last meal plan HERE!

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Touchdown Taco Dip

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This recipe is one of our favorite meals.  It makes a great meatless meal addition to any menu plan.  I serve it as a main dish and serve prepackaged yellow rice and frozen corn as sides.

It is from my time years ago as a Pampered Chef Consultant.  Whenever I take this dip to small groups, folks go crazy.  It is super tasty!

Pampered Chef’s Touchdown Taco Dip

You can make your own refried beans for use in this recipe for just pennies.  I have followed these instructions several times for delicious refried beans.  You can freeze the homemade beans in pint or quart size Ziploc freezer bags.

Super easy and delicious!

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