Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Planning and Meal Prep Mondays

Boneless pork sirloin steaks cooking on Saturday night.

Getting everything together for meal prep. work.

Putting up green pepper sticks for the kiddos' lunch boxes.
Happy Monday, Friends! It's sunny and warm here on our hill today, one of those days that (almost) make me wish that it was only July! As you can tell, I've got a new look for fall. I know I may have jumped the gun a bit, but autumn is my FAVORITE time of year! The harvest, the yummy pumpkin and apple goodies, the gorgeous leaves, the cooler temps and gearing up for the holidays. And of course hunting season! I'm looking forward to getting back out with my darling hubby and the boys and hopefully bringing home a freezer full of venison!

(Just a little side note about the countdowns on my blog page; I am NOT rushing for the holidays, however, I do like to plan for them because I usually put on a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal, make some presents and bake practically non-stop from mid November to January! I thought it might be helpful for others that are like minded!)

I'll give a few quick updates, and then get on to our main subject. The kids started school last week and all like their new teachers. Open House was this past Thursday evening, so we went to see their classrooms and meet their teachers. Actually, the only one we didn't know well was Teddy Bear's teacher, because our kiddos seem to get the same teachers as their older sibling did for that grade! We finally put the six "babies "in with the "big girls" in the run. (I'm talking about our chickens!) We do have a broody girl that is taking up the one and only nesting box in the coop (we tried to get them to use a second one, but they just won't budge on this!) so every morning their are squawks from the coop as they squish themselves in with Alice to lay their eggs. Then we have to done a pair of glove so we don't get pecked and pick her up, get the eggs, then put her back down in the nest. I'm hoping she comes out of this soon!

This past Friday night, Princess and I worked in the garden some more and cleaned out the coop. She is becoming quite the little garden buddy! We picked the green beans and added to the compost pile, which I also tried to mix up a little more. In the kitchen, we have a bad case of fruit flies! I have a trap out for them, but with so many, I'm going to have to make another. Also in the insect news, our poor kitty, Merlin, has fleas. I'm dumbfounded as to how she got them because she is an indoor only cat. I first tried a commercial treatment(although I really didn't want to) because I was so far behind with the storm and school starting delay, but it didn't work. So it's on to natural remedies. I'll be posting more on this in a coming post this week. I'm still doing research and trying to get the poor thing to let me get close to her after subjecting her to two hair raising baths.

Mondays are my grocery shopping days. After doing my shopping, I come home and put things away, then get busy washing and cutting veggies and sometimes fruits. Then they all get put in the fridge, ready to use for lunches and dinners, sometimes snacks. I've decided to go one step ahead this school year, by trying to prep things like onions and green peppers that might be used to make dinner. Carrots can be cut up ahead of time, too, for use in soups or just for your veggie one night.

Here are some of the things I cut up ahead of time:
  • lettuce- use for salads or tacos
  • cucumbers- cut in spears for snacks, or chop them to top salads with
  • carrots- cut for soups & stews, a side dish or in sticks for snacks
  • onions- for soups and stews, salads, spaghetti sauce, omelette's, tacos
  • green peppers- dice for the above ideas, or in sticks to dip for snacks
  • celery- snacks, adding to soups and stews
  • oranges- keep the peels on and cut for snacks or to have with dinner
  • lemons- to add to water, tea or as needed for lemon juice
  • cheese- shred for salads, tacos, pizza, baked pasta dishes. cube for snacks or homemade mac & cheese
I'm sure you might be able to come up with more!

In addition to keeping things ready in the fridge, I'm trying to have at least one meal where I cook extra to have planned leftovers. For example, Saturday night I cooked up an entire package of boneless pork sirloin steaks so that tonight I could make an easy casserole for dinner. So this afternoon, all I did was cut up the leftover pork, make my gravy (I cheated and used a package!) and make my stuffing (Stove Top!) and put them in my Pyrex bowl to bake. Now, only Princess, my dear hubby and I will eat this, so for my boys I'm going to make some homemade individual pizzas. I happen to have cheese in the fridge and a packet of yeast. Wheels will eat frozen pizzas, but Teddy Bear won't. TB usually eats what i make, but there are times when he won't and if I don't have leftovers that he likes, we have trouble. I'll have enough homemade pizzas to freeze for later.

Yes, I do make separate meals for my picky eater (Wheels) and my sometimes picky eater(Teddy Bear); however, if they say they will eat something and then turn their noses up at it, they can make a peanut butter sandwich or be hungry. I'm not a short order cook. And I am able to sneak things in that they don't even know about, but that's for another post!

This weeks menu plan is not completely finalized, but so far, this is how it looks:

Monday- Pork and stuffing casserole, salad, green beans, and apple sauce
Tuesday- homemade sloppy Joe's on wheat bulkies, corn, salad, mandarin orange slices
Wednesday- breakfast for dinner, and fruit
Friday- onion chicken, roasted potatoes, salad,

So far, that's all I've got! Need to get going, my chickees need to rounded up so that I can start the pizza dough! See you soon!

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