About Me

winner, winner (what’s for dinner?)

First order of business – Elizabeth M., check your email, you won the Shining Light dolls + book giveaway! Christmas shopping done, amiright?

Next: meal planning. I’m horrible at it. I’m not a terrible cook at this point, nearly 6 years into marriage, but I’m still not awesome at defrosting stuff more than one hour before I plan to serve it, and I’ve yet to be able to stick to a meal plan for more than a couple weeks. Oh gosh, fine, days.

I’m hoping maybe it’s an accountability issue? And so maybe if I put it up here I’ll stick to it. So without further ado or any cute graphics or Pinable images, here it is: our meals for the week of November 8th

1. Steak, roasted potatoes and broccoli. (I buy sirloin? Top round? Some not terrible cut at Costco), and I butcher them down further, so from a $28 pack of 4 ginormous steaks I get 6 little steaks for grilling, 2-3 ziplock bags of steak strips for stir fries/fajitas, and one ziplock bag of cubed steak for the Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew, which will actually change your life. We probably eat beef 1-2 times per week, on average.

2. Coconut veggie curry with basmati rice. Coconut milk + chicken stock + fresh ginger + sautéed veggies served over super delicious basmati rice = crowd pleaser, and for cheap.

3. Chicken fajitas in the oven with black beans and cilantro lime rice on the side. Chop fajita veggies and 1-2 chicken breasts, toss with cumin, garlic, salt and pepper (and some cayenne because I’m crazy) and bake at 375 for 30 min or so. Instant fajitas. Cilantro lime rice is regular old basmati or jasmine rice with salt, lime juice and cilantro mixed in after cooking. Muy delicioso.

4. Veggie chili in the crock pot with pumpkin bread. Tomatoes, black beans, a bag of whatever frozen veggies, tomato paste + 1 cup of water and whatever seasonings I’m feeling like. Cumin, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, toss in the crock pot and let it cook on slow for 6 hours or so.

5. Sesame chicken + fried rice. I like Martha’s recipe, plus some rice that I cook and then fry with one egg, some soy sauce, and a handful of frozen peas and a clove of garlic. Mmm, mmm good.

6. Breakfast for dinner. Daddy is gone one night this week and I’m gone one night this week, so some lucky stiff is going to get the scrambled egg and frozen waffle rotation. Dream a little dream.

7. Leftovers/whatever. Because leftovers. Whatever.

I like the numerical system because the rebel in me just can’t commit to “taco Monday,” because what if I don’t feel like tacos on Monday???? Oh the horror. This way I have a week of meals (with ingredients already on hand <— crucial) to choose from, and I feel “free” because I’m not boxed in by no stinking schedules.

I’m wild.

Anyway, what are you guys cooking this week? And do you hate cooking? Do you love it? Is the kitchen your happy place or your number one daily opportunity for grace?



  • Maria Boileau

    Oh you made me laugh. My kids are grown now (one in college and one graduated and working) but they still relive the horror stories of the dreaded spaghetti Mondays 😉 Dinners are a little less planned now but the kitchen is still the favorite place for family time. This week it’s chicken fajitas, soup and sandwiches, and yes spaghetti but that’s for Thursday 😉 Happy cooking!!

    • Jean

      Thursday night spaghetti brought memories to mind. When I first went back to work when our kids were in school my husband started supper as I returned home later than he did. One evening walking up the road on a mild spring evening, kitchen windows open I could hear a thump-thump-thumping sound coming from MY kitchen accompanied by the sounds of my little daughter crying, our eleven year old son laughing hysterically and my husband trying to calm them both (or all) down, his voice raised over theirs and that mysterious thumping noise.

      Turned out he’d tipped the collander while pouring the cooked pasta into it and the pasta had slithered through the drain holes into our kitchen sink pipe! The thumping was the sound of the toilet plunger being put to use in an attempt to remove (not rescue!) the pasta.

      Bon appetit everyone!

  • Sheena

    You really should try eMeals. I say this in all seriousness – it’s a life-changer. Two week free trial too…and then only $5 a month for someone else to plan your meals for you.

  • Maura

    I also wanted to comment that eMeals has changed my life… I now look forward to whats for dinner and enjoy cooking! Shopping is super easy, and I actually save money! Dave Ramsey calls it a no-brainer, and I agree.. I hate having to think!

  • Amanda Teixeira

    Yes, I am also an eMeals girl. Three years of doing it and I actually learned how to cook, thank goodness. So this week’s menu? Enchiladas, Juevos Rancheros, Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, Lemon Pepper Chicken, Bacon Tomato Bisque, and Pesto Chicken. We’re currently rebuilding our emergency fund after two major vehicle repairs in the past two months, so most of our meals include rice and or beans. 🙂

  • Cami

    Up next… Enchilada casserole, stuffed cabbage, tortilla soup. I’m terrible at keeping track of our favorites so I want to make an official menu station where I can keep good meals in rotation via some kind of system. Thanks for the new meal ideas. We don’t eat a lot of meat but try crockpot pesto chicken and veggies with potatoes or rice. Amazing!

  • Emily

    I’m a recent (like 2 years ago) convert to meal planning. It way reduces the stress in my life! I sit down on the weekend with my computer and my phone, because I keep all my recipes in Evernote and I use the OurGroceries app for my shopping list, and I type it up as I go. (And I do plan it by specific days, because I try to go meatless on Fridays, slow-cooker or super quick meals on days when I work late, and something moderately relevant for feast days. But I love planning, I’m weird like that.)

  • Traci Sumner

    Planning a menu? Thawed food? What are these amazing inventions? Seriously, I suck at meal planning. Love to cook, but planning takes work and brain power and I have a 2-month old. And asking the family “what do you want for supper?” generally results in the “I don’t know”. A friend of mine wrapped two hamburger helper boxes in plain paper and wrote “I don’t know” on one and “I don’t care” on the other. This would be great for us, but we don’t use meals from a box. Honestly, the best meal planning is when I let my older kids, ages 12, 9, & 7) plan the menu. I get veto power and they come up with 5 ideas for the week, including what cookbook of my 20 million they were looking in and the page #s, and I can veto and ask for another idea or work from it. Then, I know what to send my husband to the store for on his way home, we try new things, and I don’t have to come up with all the ideas for supper. Tonight is swimming, so has to be something quick – chicken stirfry sounds good.

  • Emily Fisk

    We must always have a pot of beans and a pot of soup on hand. Other than that, I pretty much wing it, but I have wanted to meal-plan for ages. Just never seem to have time, even though I know it would be a time saver in the long run.

  • Jen @ Into Your Will

    I hate cooking too, and I’m even worse at meal planning. What I’ve found really helps is sitting down with my hubby and deciding on a meal plan together. So not only do we kind of go over our week, we both have an input on what we eat. That way my hubby can’t complain about what I cook 😉

  • Nancy

    With my husband in Texas for six+ months (going on month 6 now–hopefully only one more month!) , our weekly rotation consists of pasta with or without red sauce, rice and beans with quesadillas… I’m actually drawing a blank for the other days. Some weeks, we have mac and cheese. We usually order a pizza once a week, and there are usually leftovers one night a week. By the way, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, I highly recommend getting one and cooking your beans in it. Very economical.

  • Holly

    I love to cook, I’m OK at it, but it is super hard during the witching hour! Plus, picky daughter and picky husband. UGH. I am adding that pioneer woman recipe to my shopping list- yum! Our week has been- 1- Pizza with a varietal of toppings for picky persons 2- today was chili, chips, and toppings (plus chicken dinos for my anti-spice eater) 3- Ham and broccoli quiche 4- pork, noodles, zucchini 5- babysitter! (so, mac n cheese or quesadillas) 6- Dad! (so, probably pizza again). My struggle is figuring out meal planning for when I work and I am not at home till after 7 that doesn’t involve nasty unhealthy food!

    • jeanette

      Getting home late on a regular basis and opening the refrigerator to find your leftovers ready to warm up is the best way to make sure you eat well. You can always cook the next nights’ meal after you eat, it’s just a different order for doing things! Choose things that taste good leftover.

      My dad loved soup when we were growing up, so I like to make soups this time of year. They are easy to prepare a large quantity, hearty, healthy, and leftovers taste just as good or even better. Our traditional Hungarian chicken and dumplings is made with a sour cream blended chicken broth, mild paprika, and dumplings that are a bit like spaetzle, though dumplings can be labor intensive. Our Hungarian potato soup had a similar sour cream broth with mild paprika, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and diced sausage (polska kielbasa is good) but is easier to prepare. Chicken soup with rice, wild rice, barley, or pasta is another regular. Beef soup with vegetables. Split pea with ham is always easy. Red lentils with sausage, onion, carrot, and celery in a tomato based broth, spicy if you like spice. Mexican style soup with black beans, corn, zucchini, carrot, onion, potato, butternut squash if you like it, in a spicy tomato based broth (use beef broth together with stewed or diced tomatoes). Potato cheese soup with variations of adding chicken, broccoli, or ham. Minestrone or “Pasta e fagioli” (an Italian pasta and bean soup) is great for a vegetarian soup. Most soups are great because you just have to prep the ingredients and toss them in the pot and let them do their thing. Some require more attention if they are thick, like pea soup. You can pair them with different breads, crackers and cheese, tortilla chips or a simple salad.

  • Judith

    So, some question for the folks who mentioned eMeals here. Dinner planning (or lack thereof) is one of the things I beat myself up about most as a mom (that, and the never-ending sequence of Netflix kid episodes that I don’t bother to turn off!). Anyway, so I’m considering the eMeal thing…. I’m just wondering how much you can customize it. e.g. After you pick a meal plan, can you switch it (and how often)? If you get a plan for 7 meals but you only want to use 5 of them that week, is it easy to delete those from the grocery list, or do you have to search through for each ingredient and remove them all manually from the list? Can you cancel/restart at any time? If you have picky eaters, have they liked the recipes (and which meal plan)? Sorry for so many questions–I was looking for a FAQs page on their website but couldn’t find much beyond the basics of the system.

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