Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's for Dinner?


Sunday didn't go as I'd planned.

I worked hard last week to make sure that everything that had a "Monday Deadline" be completed before the weekend.


Friday night we hosted the Legacy Sports JV Volleyball Team's End of the Season Party for our girl, Victoria, and her friends.  What a blessing the league has been to us!  Full of good people -- INTENSE and COMPETITIVE.  Great coaches.  If you live in the Springs, you should check them out!  They are worth every penny.

Saturday morning was Eli's official birthday party at Whit's End at Focus on the Family.  We had to choose the 9:30am spot in-order to secure the Fire Station Room. 

Ya see, this year, Billy was at a conference for Eli's actual birthday.  So, I took him and a friend to the YMCA's Trunk or Treat and to get FoYo that evening.  He thanked me like 100 times.  Seriously, the most thankful kid ever.

The very next day was B's birthday.  We had a family dinner.  Throw in V's 13th bday party in the same week -- and well, this is why I say we just need to narrow things down to 1 party only.  By the time the actual birthday, the family birthday, and then the FRIEND birthday party were over -- I was pretty exhausted.

Birthday "weeks" only work well for me -- if it's my birthday week.

Read more about that here if you'd like...

Anyway, immediately after the party ended at 12, we headed to Fort Collins, Colorado (2 hour drive) so that B could work on college kid's Jeep.  We took the in-laws and it's just a lovely drive really.  Fort Collins is simply beautiful.

And, I won't lie.  It's always, ALWAYS been a blessing to me that Billy's parents are so interested -- or at least willing -- to listen to us pour over the agonizing details of our big life.  We held them captive for 2 straight hours.

It took B an entire 10 minutes to fix the car.  He was a hero. 

We had a nice dinner all together and headed home.

College kid is doing GREAT by the way.

Sunday, I would have spent the day in Canyon City with Billy at Living Word Church -- BUT son woke in the night throwing up his guts -- and well -- that meant I needed to change my plans and be mom for the day.

Being good at changing plans has only RECENTLY been my thing.  Vacations for instance.  Once I've done the research, mapped it all out, decided on what's good and best -- I don't want the kids to declare they aren't interested in visiting the M&M store and would rather swim in the pool instead.  I like to stick to the plan. 

And, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Really, I like things to go my way.

My life however, doesn't particularly care how I like everything to go.  On a regular basis.

So, for survival, I am adjusting.

I've discovered that when my plans need to change -- if I quickly make a new list, focus on the positives and throw in a little happy -- it all works fine.

In this case, I started the fire place, put on my fuzzy socks, committed to work out for an hour (because I wanted to) and reasoned that NOW it was the perfect day to work on November's Grocery Trip (never mind the kid hacking in the bathroom).

So -- that's what I did.  My day consisted of organizing our finances, wrapping up last months budget, doing November's budget, cleaning the pantry, both refrigerators, all 3 freezers, making a list of a month of dinners plus easy lunch ideas for me to obtain variety while staying on track, generating a grocery list, a coupon list, clipping coupons -- and by golly once all that was done -- I had might as well go to the store and buy the dang groceries.

THAT didn't leave much time for cooking as I'd planned -- and even if it had -- I was spent.  I was toast.

I took a bubble bath, continued to help sick kid and snuggled up to B and fell asleep to National Treasure 2.

So, the upside.

Now, I don't have to SHOP this week -- I can work out, and meet other demands without the hassle that a GIGANTIC grocery trip affords me.

This week's menu...

Grilled Steak, Baked Mac N Cheese, Salad
Turkey Burgers
High Protein Chili
Ribs, BBQ Beans, Salad

I am asked regularly concerning once a week cooking, "What about things that don't keep well?"  Who wants to eat gross leftovers?  Not my family, not yours.  So, the simple answer is I try to plan things that keep well.  Ta-Dah!

STEAK does NOT keep well in my opinion.  But, my son requested it, I found it on sale and since he's thrown up everything but the kitchen sink over the weekend -- I will try to accommodate his wishes.

Yesterday, I mixed up these turkey burgers.

These are OPRAH'S FAVORITE TURKEY BURGERS.  You can find the recipe here.  And, frankly, I don't know how many people Oprah is trying to feed -- but I should have cut this recipe in 1/2.  It made 15 patties -- all 6 - 8oz each!  Totally more than my family will eat.  I plan to share with my in laws.  

Last night, B grilled the steaks and burgers all together while I was at work.  If you can find a "B" your life will be easier.  ;)

They are tasty and moist!  They will keep well!

Next, I whipped up some Baked Mac N Cheese.  In general, I am willing to do 1 splurge item for the family per week.  This was it.  Whole wheat pasta, low fat cheese, skim milk.  This recipe is DELICIOUS.  I don't eat more than 1 bite, because I don't feel well when I eat pasta, but my family thinks it's love in a 9x13 inch pan.  It won't last long.  The recipe is here

Finally, I did My Momma's Chili - super easy...just like my mom makes it.  Or at least the way I remember her making it...and then I added a few things.  But, it's still really easy...makes in a matter of minutes.  Can be doubled to feed a crowd, and is economical too!  I threw it in my crockpot., let it simmer all day..and placed the crock pot in my extra fridge.

2 lbs lean ground hamburger, browned.
2 cans diced tomatoes (enough to fill 1/3 of my crock pot)
1 can each kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans
1 package chili seasoning (whatever you like)

That's it!  So easy!  So good on a cold night.

B likes to eat his Chili on whole wheat spaghetti noodles.  The rest of us think that is wrong and like it just as it is with grated cheese!  (And, I think with diced avocado.  I'm on an avocado kick.)

My favorite lunch currently (and I confess I eat it for breakfast too) is shredded meat (chicken, pork, beef, turkey burger -- whatever we are having), with grated cheese, black beans, and diced tomato, onion and avocado.  It's just really that great.  Here's a pic.  So easy if the meat's already cooked.  Flavor in a bowl I tell ya!

Finally, I put a slab of thawed ribs in my OTHER crock pot.  Added a chopped onion, 2/3 bottle of BBQ Sauce (I chose a low sugar option) and a can of Dr Pepper.  They will cook through the night, on LOW.  Tomorrow, I will drain the liquid and add the rest of the BBQ sauce.  They will be falling off the bone good.  If you aren't a member of the Facebook Group I Love My Crockpot, yes I do well, it's this kind of yumminess you are missing out on!

So, NOW, when I come home late from work -- when my family asks WHAT'S FOR DINNER, when I need convenient, protein options, and for the sake of VARIETY...the answer is...

Turkey Burgers, Chili or Ribs.
Smile!  And be happy!

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