Meal Planning – Week of July 27th

Okay, as I suspected I would be a little behind in posting my weekly meal plans, but I’ll hurry and get this one up so I can catch up! This particular week was pretty simple as our meals went, we even got to dine out on a weekday since J’s Aunt Maryann and Uncle Ron came by for a visit and treated us to dinner 🙂 Since I was going to be doing some extra cooking for a baby shower I was hosting, I planned this week’s meals accordingly, using some of our favorite no-fuss meals.

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This menu isn’t totally accurate since we ended up not dining out Saturday 🙂 If you like my menu, check out this pic’s link to my DIY Menu Chalkboard!

SUNDAY // Homemade California Rolls – lately we have been making homemade sushi! We have been loving our sushi nights, particularly because it’s a fun meal for us to prepare together. I will update this post with the details of our sushi recipe and method soon, but for now it’s pretty straight forward. For this meal, we prepared a simple California roll using imitation crab meat, cucumber, carrots and avocado, but also added some mango and spicy mayo!

Not bad for our first time!

Not bad for our first time!

MONDAY // Dinner Out

TUESDAY // Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps – we are a big fan of these, as they are super healthy and easy to prepare! A bonus is that they make a great re-heat for lunch the next day and sometimes we even eat it served over rice or noodle instead of in the lettuce wraps. We will usually make a double batch so we get lots of left overs!

WEDNESDAY // Slow Cooker Pepper Steak – I love almost anything prepared in the slow cooker but I especially love this meal as it is easy and super delicious. To save money I will often use a thin sliced top round or chuck in place of sirloin.

THURSDAY // Quinoa Black Bean Veggie Burgers – these are one of my absolute favorites, hands down! A bonus was having my hubby love them as well, as he tends not to be a fan of veggie burgers. I know so many vegetarian recipes claim that “you won’t even miss the meat” but in this case it is 100% true. J’s boss even asked him for the recipe, haha.

FRIDAY // Appetizers – I was so stuffed from eating appetizers at the baby shower (I’ll link that post to this one as soon as I write it) that I had no desire to eat dinner and J had no problem gobbling up the left overs as well, lol.

SATURDAY // Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach – this was just a little something I came up with while trying to think of a way to jazz up a plain package of Trader Joe’s gnocchi. I decided to do a healthy non-soup version of Olive’s Garden’s Zuppa Tuscano (the cream based soup with gnocchi, sausage and spinach). I loved that I was able to incorporate the “cauliflower alfredo” sauce into the recipe since it is one of my favorite things ever!

Check out all of my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

Meal Planning – Week of July 20th

So I know I had previously mentioned that I would try and post my weekly meal plans, both for the benefit of anyone that cares and for me to refer back to when trying to plan future weekly meals. Anyone that has tried to stick to a strict budget while maintaining a healthy diet knows the challenges that this combo can pose. In our house we don’t follow any particular diet plan, we just try to eat mostly healthy meals prepared by healthful methods of cooking. I plan on creating a separate post regarding our budget, but we try to stick to a strict $50.00/week grocery budget (this doesn’t include household goods like cleaners, toilet paper and other non-food items available at the grocery store, only food). We also don’t buy lunch food, I just prepare large enough dinner meals that reheat and pack well so that they can be eaten for lunch by both myself and J the following day. Personally, I am always looking for new dinner ideas (a big reason I waste so much time on Pinterest, haha), so the purpose of these “meal planning” posts will mainly be to share some new meal/recipe ideas with my friends, followers and fam! If I can be as diligent as I hope to be with these weekly posts, I plan to eventually make a whole “meal planning” category. 

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The menu, as displayed in our home 🙂 I ended up replacing “summer quiche” with another recipe, however, I will be posting that soon! Check out this pic’s link to my “DIY menu chalkboard”!

SUNDAY // Chicken Cordon Bleu – I stretched a buck by purchasing a large package of chicken breasts and using them in both this meal and my Panini recipe below. Instead of spending the extra money on thin sliced breasts, I slice the large breasts and pound them thin myself.

MONDAY // Fried Rice – I love this recipe! It really is very close to “restaurant quality” as the creator claims it to be and it’s super cheap to prepare! I added some roast pork that I had left over from one of our weekend meals but usually I’ll just add extra scrambled eggs as the protein element. 

TUESDAY // Almond Crusted Shrimp – Prepared in the same fashion as my Almond Crusted Flounder, so simple and delicious and I only use a little bit of oil to fry them up but if you’re trying to be super healthy you could always bake them. 

WEDNESDAY // Baked Felafel – This is one of my favorite recipes! I serve it with my Skinny Tzatziki and yellow rice. I always double this recipe so that we will have enough for lunch the following day. I also tend to add a little extra flour, my mixture is always a little looser than hers looks in her prep pics. 

THURSDAY // Grilled Chicken & Summer Veggie Paninis – This was simple as grilling up some thin sliced chicken breasts, zucchini and summer squash. I like to use veggies in our cooking that I can also steam up and serve to baby P. I finished it off with some sliced gouda (I bought the cheap Sargento slices, well, because they’re cheap, lol, but also because they melt quickly) and some of my simple Red Pepper Aioli that I always keep on hand. Instead of using artisan breads for my paninis I instead buy a loaf of Italian bread, cut it into thirds and slice it (digging a little out of the middles before forming the sandwiches), they crisp up nice and cost as little as $1 for a loaf! 

FRIDAY // Grilled Steak Rolls – This was the first time we tried this recipe and we loved it! We used a cheap cut of thin sliced top round beef and a combo of peppers, onions, zucchini and summer squash. Instead of balsamic glaze we substituted teriyaki sauce to give it an Asian flare, it reminded me a lot of beef negimaki (little beef and asparagus rolls served in a lot of Japanese restaurants).   

SATURDAY // Since we had a birthday party to attend this was our night “out” but typically we will choose one night of the week to either order in or go out to a restaurant, just to give me a break from cooking 🙂

Check out all my favorite recipes on my “Tried and True” Pinterest board!

DIY Menu Chalkboard

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Since I’ve been posting so many recipes I wanted you all to still believe that I am actually still crafting in my very limited free time :). As our new home slowly comes together, we have finally been getting some things up on the walls, one of which is my DIY menu chalkboard which was basically free to make (read all about how I created it using a free mirror here). Even though we had a ton of wall space in our old home, my pride and joy of a chalkboard project has had to spend all of it’s time in our garage since it’s creation because I could never find a good spot for it. When we moved to our new house I knew that I wanted to display it and figured that a menu board (which is what I originally intended it to be) would be the perfect use for it!

Between documenting my pregnancy and baby P’s growth via chalkboards for over a year now, I have gotten pretty handy with my chalkboard lettering so all I did was use the chalk hand lettering shaded font as a guide and hand lettered my “menu” title as well as the abbreviated seven days of the week. I decided to use chalk pens as I do for my monthly chalkboard updates for baby P because knowing me I may change my mind one day and decide that I want to re-purpose the chalkboard but if you are sure that you want a menu board you can simply have one of the many wonderfully creative individuals on Etsy make you up some vinyl decals to use as your headers and then use chalk to change it week by week. I know this isn’t a super original idea but since I love to DIY and meal plan this sure made me happy! I hope it inspires you to make your own 🙂

Chalkboard transformation :) Be sure to check out the post on how to DIY this one, it's super easy and can be done using any old mirror or frame!

Chalkboard transformation 🙂 Be sure to check out the post on how to DIY this one, it’s super easy and can be done using any old mirror or frame!