Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Menu Ideas

We have been eating at home a lot more since Molly Anne was born.  In fact, we ate out a lot when I was pregnant because we knew we wouldn't be randomly going out for mexican on a Wednesday evening at 7:30!  Molly Anne's bedtime routine begins at 7pm so we have to go out pretty early if we're going to go which we do on the weekends some.

Something that has saved me since going back to work is the Express Lane at Harris Teeter.  My girls told me about it and I was like ehhh I'm fine but then I tried it once and I'm hooked!  It does three things for me:
1.  Forces me to meal plan which I usually do Friday night for the following week.  While doing this, I add things to the Harris Teeter app which is SO easy to use.
2.  I don't impulse buy because I only put in my cart what we need for that following week unless something is on major sale and I'll get that too. 
3.  I don't spend an hour on Saturday mornings at Teeter, instead I hang out with my girl.  And it saves Kevin time too because he was watching her while I went to shop.

Usually mid day on Saturday I'll go pick up the groceries and they load them right in my car while Molly Anne naps in the back.  Amazingggggg.  Go home, unload and grocery shopping is done for the entire week.

Here were some things on the menu lately: 

1.  Bacon and Tot Casserole - I made this on Sunday and we've been eating off of it all week.  Not the healthiest but portion control is everything (which I didn't have on Sunday)! ;)

2.  Salad with chicken on it - we get a rotisserie every week.  They're SO easy to just pull the chicken off and use it for anything - enchiladas, salads, tacos, soups etc.  This week I put a little bbq sauce on the chicken and threw it over mixed greens with tomatoes, avocado, a little cheddar, onion and lite ranch.  Perfect weeknight meal - easy and healthy.

3.  Tonight we are having this soup that April makes! Only thing I'm changing out is the sausage...we are using ground italian sausage because I already had some.  I chopped onions on Saturday and I think Kevin will ground the sausage while he's home for lunch.  That leaves very little to do after work.  
4.  Oh, Halloween night we had chili - that is a tradition.  AKA throw a bunch of stuff in my crockpot and let it simmer all day.  

5.  Sunday night we had loaded baked potatoes and Kevin put a little leftover chili on his potato, mine was pretty plain.  We usually don't get crazy with Sunday night meals and just eat whatever we have left.  I know I should cook extensive meals on Sunday but let's be honest, no extensive meals are being cooked at our house these days.  

6.  Shrimp Alfredo with a salad.  This consists of whole wheat pasta, light alfredo sauce in a jar (less carbs than marinara so I started eating this when I had gest diabetes) and frozen shrimp defrosted and thrown in.  Side salad on the side.  Basic. Quick.  

7.  Make Your Own Pizza - we pretty much do this every Friday night.  I use the pre-made whole wheat thin crust and we each make our own side.  I usually don't do the red sauce - instead olive oil with pesto.  We use leftover veggies and meat from the week.  Like tonight, I won't put all of the italian sausage in the soup, I'll save a little for the pizza.  Same with onions.  

8.  Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Another favorite for an easy week night.  Don't judge - tomato soup straight from the can.  

9.  We pretty much eat a taco salad every single week.

Something else that has saved me a bunch of time since going back to work - chopping veggies ahead of time.  I try to chop most things on Sunday and they last for the week.  I'll also brown meat a day or two in advance to help out timewise.  Anything to make weeknights easier!

Please share any of your tricks or recipes for an easy weeknight meal!  I know we can all use ideas!


  1. I am a HUGE fan of pre-planning meals. I usually buy most of my organic meat/seafood staples from Costco in a large batch (and freeze) and then I plan around what I have. My weekly shopping tends to only be sides and fresh ingredients. I am an anomaly and enjoy grocery shopping, but it can be time consuming especially if you don't have a list. I may have to give that soup a try-sounds good!

  2. These are realistic, quick dinner ideas. Thank you! I also like to buy organic, pre-cooked chicken breast from Whole Foods and brown it in my skillet and add it to pasta, salad, etc. I also feed my 17 month old chicken this way quite frequently.
    Also, not exactly a recipe idea, but my husband and I have really enjoyed Blue Apron. I like not having to measure out anything. He usually makes this for us once our LO is in bed as it does take time and he gets home late in the evening.

  3. I made April's soup last night and it was a hit! I did add a little pasta sauce and some Italian seasoning/celery salt to kick up the flavor a notch---so good! Also-I made cornbread muffins to go with. We're having left-overs tonight. Enjoy!

  4. Two of my weeknight quickies are copycat Chipotle chicken salad bowls and BBQ ranch chicken salad. For the Chipotle copycat, I grill chicken, add cilantro/lime rice (easy Pinterest recipe), black beans, lettuce, sour cream and shredded cheese. I don't marinate the chicken so I just add hot sauce or salsa. The BBQ ranch chicken salad is grilled BBQ chicken, lettuce, black beans, corn, avocado, tomato, shredded cheese, ranch dressing and some tortilla strips. I always add a little BBQ sauce with the ranch dressing too. These are easy to prep ahead. I cheat and use frozen corn that is thawed out.

  5. Obviously, you know I looooove the online shopping trick & I'm so glad you do too! I went shopping while Emmy was at school last week & spent way more than I had been all from impulse! Back to the online shopping. We are normally a rotisserie chicken family too (chicken pot pie, chicken salad, chicken on salad, etc.), but they didn't have any ready when I went the other day so I figured I'd try my hand at roasting chicken. I bought split chicken breasts (bone in & skin on). I knew Ashley Scott had a foolproof cooking method for this & I bugged her to share. Rub with olive oil, salt, pepper on both sides & roast on a sheet pan at 400 for 40 mins. Holy cow.... This was so delicious. I got WAY more chicken out of only two breasts than I would normally get for the whole rotisserie! The chicken was super flavorful & moist! The didn't take me too long at all could be an easy Sunday task while you're chopping veggies (I do this too).