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{weekly menu}

this upcoming week in our produce box we are receiving:

thick sliced hardwood bacon, greenhouse strawberries, valencia oranges (4), sweet white onion, yellow bell pepper, grandma’s biscuits, red potatoes PLUS sweet corn (6 ears), pita bread, 4 more valencia oranges and an easter treat! yum!

 

here are the meals for the week ahead:

sweet potato black bean quinoa bowls PLUS simple braised greens.  this is one of our favorite meals. it is a nutritional powerhouse and the flavors are great. plus the baby boy LOVES it!

i made this last week and the entire family LOVED it. it was simple, quick and a great way to add leftover vegs that you need to use. really any veg would be great.  we added sugar snap peas and red peppers.  baby boy had a blast crunching into the snap peas with his new teeth!  this will likely be a weekly repeat. easy lo mein. go make it!

we eat a lot of quinoa. true. three meals this week have quinoa as a base. i do switch it up ascetically.  above, red quinoa. below rainbow. this recipe, good ‘ole regular.  i am excited to try this one pan mexican quinoa.  i will add the avocado later to just mine and baby boy since the husband has developed an allergy. weird. i promise to still love him though :)

the hardwood bacon from the produce box is amazing. our favorite meal is the simplest of all. blts. fresh bread, bacon, field fresh tomatoes, bibb lettuce. yum! i will add an oven roasted corn on the cob and some cucumber slices. summer freshness!

i have three zucchini and an eggplant that need attention.  ratatouille sandwiches sound like the perfect fit.

rainbow quinoa, check.  this crunchy cashew thai quinoa is colorful and delicious. i will probably pair with an oven roasted salmon or other fish.  so. good.

 


{weekly menu}

yay! two weeks in a row. i feel like this means i have my life together.  hmm. not quite. but i am keeping on schedule and friday is meal planning.  so here we are.

last week we didn’t eat the black eyed pea and collard stew. it is favorite of ours.  a great way to get the little ones to eat greens!

we also have a couple large sweet potatoes left over so i will repeat the loaded vegetarian sweet potato.  a great meatless monday option.  we love sweet potatoes and black beans so this is an easy meal to pull together.

in our weekly produce box we didn’t get our planned eggplants.  instead delicious cucumbers! so i pushed the ratatouille bake to this week when i can pick up an eggplant at the grocery store.

in honor of saint patrick’s day i have serving up dublin coddle.  if you have never had it, it is comfort food at its finest. after this week, i am taking comfort in this bowl of yummy.

after all the heavy, comfort food we will need to lighten things up.  i am really excited to try this crunchy cashew thai quinoa salad with ginger peanut dressing.  the colors. the flavors. get in my belly.

we have two huge heads of cabbage and after searching cabbage recipes i found this one.  it looks easy.  uses just one pot and once the beef is browned i can just leave it.  that is my kinda recipe these days.  here is what we will be trying this week, one pot cabbage casserole.

 

that is it guys.  what are you eating this week?


slow cooker freezer meal day {september 2014}

freezer meal cooking is how i provide delicious and healthy meals to my crew every week.  after garrett was born they were our lifesaver.  each morning i would just grab a bag, throw it in the slow cooker and by dinner time it was done.  now that my little one is crawling, getting into everything, and quite possibly the most fun person to hang with, cooking dinners just don’t seem to happen.  there is not a better feeling than when we have all been out during the day and walk into the house to smell dinner already done.

i found and bought this ebook from mama and baby love.  Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. it was beyond super helpful, especially if you are new to freezer cooking but also her recipes are delicious.  plus, the recipes aren’t solely soup this, stew that, or chili.  don’t get me wrong, all delicious at times, but not every night of the week.  i wanted to find unique slow cooker recipes. the pork carnitas, cumin beans, cilantro chicken, and peach pot roast all came from this ebook. Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. seriously, these aren’t the only recipes i will trying.  head on over and get these delicious recipes today!

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here is what i made during two naps:

chicken gyros

apricot salsa chicken

pork carnitas

cumin beans

cilantro chicken

yummy pork carnitas

peach pot roast

you guys! the pork carnitas are OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious.  even the husband took one bite and said, whoa, this are really good.  the nice thing about the ebook recipes, for our family of three, one freezer bags is multiple meals.  that means at least two dinners and several lunches for me.  i have used the one freezer bag of pork carnitas in taco shells, over rice, over lettuce and plain with a side of corn and black beans.  one bag. multiple meals.  i am a fan.

the peach pot roast is one of my favorites. it is comfort food defined.  serve it with mashed potatoes and a salad, done.

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for the cilantro lime chicken, i add corn and black beans.  more vegs the better.

to see my previous freezer meal recipes click here and here and here.


healthy slow cooker freezer meal day! round 2.

i received such a wonderful response by both my blog readers and the husband {he does love a good, home cooked meal} that i took that momentum and ran with it.  well, not really ran but i did create a grocery list and plan for five more meals to store in the freezer.

this ebook {still on sale until august 15th!} click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. is still the best i have found.  you can pick and choose one meal at a time or you can go all in and pick three or more to do.  stephanie gives grocery lists for three-four meals so all the work is done.  well, you do still have to actually GO to the store.

here are the meals i made in four hours.  {i was pretty low on energy during the day i had so i took many more “feet up – drink a bottle of water because you are six months pregnant” rest moments than before}.  chicken pesto shells, french dip beef stew, sesame honey chicken, asian meatballs and chicken parmesan.  the french dip stew, sesame honey chicken and chicken parmesan all came from stephanie’s ebook.  those recipes and more can be found at her website or you can click here to visit Mama And Baby Love.

first up chicken pesto shells. technically, not a slow cooker meal.  but they are SO good and easy to make large batches and freeze.  i use tinkyada gluten free shells and they work great.  i make sure to cook them al dente before freezing.

ingredients:

12-16 jumbo pasta shells {i used two boxes}
water for boiling pasta
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
6 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

directions:

in a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. cook pasta shells only until al dente. the pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. drain the pasta shells and set aside.

in a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish. sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

to make ahead/freezer meals -

prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze.  when ready to prepare, defrost. preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese.

my sweet martha stewart was a big helper.  especially when the shredded chicken was cooling.

next up, french dip beef stew.

then, sesame honey chicken.

then, asian meatballs. ahhh. i LOVE the smell of fresh cilantro.

 

ingredients:
meatballs:
0.25 cup panko bread crumbs {i used glutino gluten free bread crumbs}
1.25 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
0.5 teaspoons salt
0.25 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
3 medium green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
sauce:
4 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons water
0.5 medium green onions, chopped

directions:
preheat oven to 500. mix together all ingredients listed for meatballs in a large bowl. mix well with hands until combined. shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into balls. place rolled meatballs in baking dish. bake for 15 minutes. meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in small bowl. serve meatballs with sauce for dipping.

freezing directions:
prepare meatballs as directed above, but do not bake. place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. flash freeze. once frozen, place in gallon freezer bag. place sauce in pint freezer bag. label and freeze.

TO SERVE: thaw. preheat oven to 500. place meatballs in baking dish. bake 15 minutes. meanwhile, heat sauce on stovetop or in microwave until heated through.

and finally, chicken parmesan.

we are fortunate to have to a chest freezer along with the freezer with our refrigerator.  i like to freeze everything in the smaller space {takes less energy} then transplant it to the larger freezer.  so everything i made last week had been moved to the chest freezer which left this empty space to be filled just four hours later.

and there you go.  healthy freezer meals, mostly slow cooker.  if you have any must try recipes please share away!


slow cooker freezer meal day.

i am hoping that freezer meal day becomes much more of a habit than it has in the past.  it is one of those things, like working out, i drag my feet to do it but once done, i am so glad i did.  with just three hours spent in the kitchen, the husband and i have approximately 44 meals slow cooker ready.

click here for round 2 of slow cooker meals.

my time breakdown.  i spent monday night planning.  it took about an hour to find exactly what i was looking for.  the last couple of freezer meal days have been successful but left me wishing i had made healthier choices.  plus i liked the idea of finding slow cooker freezer meals because it meant less kitchen time upfront.  then on meal day, i just throw my raw, frozen food into the slow cooker to do all the work.  my previous freezer meal cook days involved me actually cooking everything and then freezing it.  being on my feet for that long of a time was just not an option at this point.  so i had two criteria, (1) whole food, healthy food. food that included meat because i have a tendency to be on the low-iron/borderline deficient and need to keep iron levels up during my final pregnancy months and post baby.  (2) foods that required little prep (i.e. used the slow cooker).

i found and bought this ebook.  Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love.  it is on sale ($4.99) and was super helpful.  she met both criteria’s and the recipes didn’t sound like soup this, stew that, or chili.  don’t get me wrong, all delicious at times, but not every night of the week.  i wanted to find unique slow cooker recipes. the paella, cumin-cinnamon beef stew, and ginger-cranberry pork roast all came from this ebook. Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. seriously, these aren’t the only recipes i will trying.  head on over and get these delicious recipes today!

tuesday afternoon i went to three grocery stores.  this took by far the most time, but with my food allergy and my pickiness of meats, it is what had to be done.  i went to trader joe’s first to find as much organic, natural meat there.  they have a pretty good selection and is hands down cheaper than whole foods.  there were a couple of meat items i couldn’t find there, so i went to whole foods.  whole foods has everything and i was able to mark my allergy items and meats off my list.  then to walmart for odds and ins.  chicken stock, organic vegs, etc.

wednesday morning was kitchen time.  i timed myself from start to finish.  three hours and four minutes.  from labeling the freezer bags to cleaning up, that was it.

on the menu:

paella, cilantro lime chicken, cumin-cinnamon beef stew, pear-raisin oatmeal, and ginger-cranberry pork roast.

each bag has 6-8 servings.  each recipe made two freezer gallon bags. the oatmeal made 5, half-pint glass jars.

paella.

 cliantro lime chicken.

6-8 chicken breasts
4 Tbs olive oil
2+ limes, juiced
2 (16oz) bags of frozen corn
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped onion
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

directions:

take ingredients and split everything into two freezer safe containers. mix bag by shaking, seal, label and put in the freezer.

the day of cooking: cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

cumin-cinnamon beef stew.

raisin-pear oatmeal.


i started this first since i actually cooked it in the slow cooker before freezing.  i don’t know why i have never made oatmeal in large batches in the slow cooker before but i am now a fan.  not only does it make the kitchen smell amazing, one batch and breakfast is done for the next week.  i see many overnight oats in the slow cooker in my future.

2 cups milk

1/4 cup brown sugar {i used rapadura sugar}

1 Tbsp. melted butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup regular oats (not quick cooking or instant) – i used gluten-free.

2 cup pear, pealed & diced

1/2 cup raisins, diced {i left them whole. who has time to dice raisins?}

1/2 cup walnuts, diced

directions:

spray the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and mix well. cover and turn on LOW for 5-7 hours until oatmeal is tender. stir well before serving.

freezing directions:  portion into 8 oz containers or pint freezer bags and freeze. to serve: warm in microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

ginger-cranberry pork roast.

 

my biggest tip of the day: place freezer bags into a bowl so that you can easily {and quickly} dump all the ingredients.

voila! a freezer full of yummy, whole food goodness.  i am hoping to do a freezer meal day each of my remaining four months to help prepare for life after baby.  i can’t believe it is only 119 more days until our due date.  i absolutely can’t wait to meet my little man.  with the amount of kicks and movements, i feel like we are already getting to know each other pretty darn well.  i am so in love.

please feel free to ask questions or leave your favorite freezer meals in the comments section.  my goal to show how easy it is {with a good bit of planning} and to remind myself to keep at it.  i gain to much pleasure and sense of accomplishment when i have a plan of the daily “whats for dinner” struggle.


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