Menu for week of 9/30 - 10/6

Soft & hard tacos w/all the fixings

Spaghetti w/meat sauce; garlic bread; tossed salad w/creamy Italian dressing
Spaghetti

Breakfast for dinner: blueberry pancakes; sausage links; citrus salad

Panko & parmesan crusted oven "fried" pork chops; sesame green beans; baked apples

Potato & veggie cheese soup; mini corn muffins
Potato & Veggie Cheese Soup
Italian sausage & pepper hoagies; veggie crisps

Eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka leftovers


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Menu for week of 9/23 - 9/29

 We're up and down with the weather, but It's fall, y'all.  Yay.  We can turn the oven on and not roast ourselves out sometimes.  Maybe a bit premature, but we've already had baked acorn squash and butternut squash soup.  :D  We have both fairly frequently.  You can expect the menus to reflect the seasonal change, although of course if we get back in the high 90s or triple digits that is subject to change.  Do you eat seasonally?  We do it partly for price, mostly for flavor and availability, especially with the produce-  it always tastes best when it is in season.

Without further ado, here's our menu for the week with links to recipes when available-  what's cooking at your house? 

Creamy spaghetti squash with peas; refreshing berry salad
Creamy Spaghetti Squash w/Peas
Refreshing Berry Salad
Ground beef stroganoff; tossed salad w/honey Catalina dressing
Ground Beef Stroganoff
Easy cheese and onion enchilada bake; refried beans; Spanish rice; guacamole; citrus salad
Easy Enchilada Bake
Chicken parmesan; angel hair pasta; Caprese salad
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan
Breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs; bacon; blueberry muffins; honeydew melon cubes

Choice of turkey veggie loaf or Gigi's magic meatloaf; Cali blend veggies in a light cheese sauce (frozen, bought on clearance); salad w/choice of dressing
Turkey Veggie Loaf
Magic Meatloaf
Smoked pork loin w/apple cider glaze; alfredo (box); antioxidant blend veggies (frozen)
Smoked Pork Loin w/Apple Cider Glaze
If you try any of our recipes, please let us know what you think.  For more menu ideas, head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie

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Gigi's Magic Meatloaf

Gigi's Magic Meatloaf
Have you ever had people say "I hate meatloaf"?  I have, plenty of times.  This is the loaf that will win them over.  Ian was asking what was for dinner, and his Auntie told him meatloaf.  He informed her he didn't like it.  His mama has the you have to try something before you say you don't like it rule, so he knew he would at least have to try it.

He wasn't convinced he'd like it, but after his Auntie told him that this wasn't just any old meatloaf, but Gigi's magic meatloaf, he perked up a bit.  She told him the story of how she had a friend who was staying for dinner and she also told us she didn't like meatloaf but she was willing to try it.  She liked it so much that she ate not only seconds, but thirds.  She was a very good friend and close neighbor and she ate over at least once a week since I babysat for her and her sister while her mom took a college course, and every time she was going to stay for dinner, she asked if we were going to have meatloaf.

Ian made a face, but tried it reluctantly.  And he tried another bite, and another, and another until he too ate a third helping and had to be reminded to eat his mashed potatoes and veggies, usually his favorite part of any meal. 

I always make a large batch of meatloaf since you can make a mess once and have two or three meals from it, but if that's not your thing you can make a half or third loaf, and I have been known to double and even occasionally quadruple (I rarely turn the oven on the summer since it gets so hot here) to have plenty to freeze.  Cold meatloaf sandwiches are one of my very favorite things.

If beef is not your thing, you might want to try Dev's Turkey Veggie Loaf, it is moist and delicious.

Gigi's Magic Meatloaf


Ingredients
  • 5 lbs Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Milk*
  • 1/4 cup A-1 sauce
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder*
  • 2 Tbsp or to taste Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients, divide among 2 or 3 loaf pans*, bake 375 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (if using smaller loaf pan) or until done. 
*We usually have skim milk on hand, but really, you want something to soak the breadcrumbs with and we've used everything from evaporated milk to half and half to heavy cream that needed to be used up.  Any of the latter make it particularly  decadent, but all are good.

*You can use diced onions, but they can make people gassy (burpy), we have found onion powder or minced dried onions won't have that effect, so you get the flavor without the unwanted side effects.

*Mini loaf pans or cupcake tins also work, just cut the time down -  I have a 4 loaf mini pan that makes pretty good sized loafs and takes 40 minutes, cupcake tins or smaller mini loaf pans take 25 to 30 minutes.  (The pictures shows 1/3 of one of the loaves from the 4 loaf mini pan, to give you an idea of size, that is enough for the dogs and I to share.)

If you made the large batch, cool completely before wrapping for the freezer.

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Turkey Veggie Loaf

Dev wanted to try her hand at a turkey meatloaf, we didn't want a duplicate of our regular meatloaf, aka Gigi's magic meatloaf, so we played around and came up with a very moist, tasty loaf that we've since repeated and shared with many others.  Always a hit.
Turkey Veggie Loaf


Turkey Veggie Loaf

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Mixed Veggies*, rough chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup Old Fashioned Oats*
  • 1/4 cup Skim Milk*
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 - 3 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together, place in loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  
*Can use any combination of vegetables you like -  cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc can be overwhelming to the turkey so use sparingly if at all.  Some faves are peas, carrots, corn, snap or snow peas, celery, or onions or bags of the pre-mixed frozen veggies.  We put them in the blender, bullet or food processor and pulse a few times so as to still have texture, but you can feel free to pulverize and hide them completely to sneak them in. 

*We use 100% whole grain oats since that's what we keep on hand since they pack more of a nutritional punch, you can use instant if that's what you have.

*Use any milk or cream, evaporated milk (even skim) will give a richer taste, we use regular skim since that's what we use for cereal.

The first time we made this, Ken had fixed himself some eggs for lunch and I didn't realize we were out.  Instead of going to the store we decided to use the mayo.  We've made it both ways since and find we like it with just mayo or one egg and a blop of mayo best, but you really can't get it wrong.
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Menu for week of 9/16 - 9/22

Another week, another menu plan.  What's cooking at your house this week?

Oven Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Swedish meatballs over egg noodles; cranberry orange salad (very chunky cranberry sauce); baby spinach and pear salad w/candied walnuts and blue cheese vinaigrette

Loaded baked potatoes: butter, sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, shredded cheddar, chives; fruit salad

Spinach and mixed green salad w/grilled chicken, artichoke hearts; grape tomatoes; shredded carrots, yellow squash, red onion topped w/choice of salad dressings; pretzel rolls

Breakfast for dinner: western omelets w/ham, green peppers & onions; hash browns patties; grapefruit

Oven baked eggplant parmesan; angel hair pasta w/marinara; breadsticks
Beef Stew

Filet of fish sandwiches (not from processed) w/cheddar cheese, lettuce & tomato, choice of tartar sauce or mayo; tater tots; coleslaw

Grandma's pressure cooker beef stew; dinner rolls; carrot & celery sticks


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Creamy Spaghetti Squash with Peas

Ingredients for Creamy Spaghetti Squash with Peas
 A few humble ingredients, 20 minutes and you have a delicious, decadent, restaurant worthy meal.
Creamy Spaghetti Squash w/Peas
Round it out with a nice salad that you make while it cooks like our Triple Berry Spinach Salad 
Triple Berry Spinach Salad
I usually just toss spaghetti squash with seasoned diced tomatoes or quickie marinara sauce, or maybe butter and Parmesan cheese but remembered I had picked up a tub of mascarpone (rich Italian cream cheese often found in tiramisu) on clearance and after debating with myself decided to ask Dev which I felt like, butter and parm or use the mascarpone.  Mascarpone won and we ended up with a rich, decadent dinner in less than 20 minutes.

After adding the cheeses we felt like it might want a little something, so decided on peas.  1 medium / average sized squash is enough for 4, especially if you serve with a nice salad.  Cheap, easy, fast and most important, delicious.


Creamy Spaghetti Squash with Peas

Ingredients
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup Mascarpone
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag frozen Green Peas
  • To taste Salt & Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Wash squash and poke holes with a fork in several places around.
  2. Microwave on high power for 8 to 14 minutes.
  3. Remove from microwave and set aside.
  4. Cook peas according to package directions. (Ours took 4 minutes plus standing time.)
  5. Cut squash in half width wise for longer strands, like spaghetti, or length wise for shorter noodle-y strands.
  6. Remove seeds and discard, with a fork peel/shred the squash into serving bowl.
  7. Add cheeses, salt & pepper; mix well, allowing cheese to melt into squash.
  8. Drain peas, add to squash mixture and toss lightly.
  9. Enjoy. 
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Lentil Stew with Smoked Sausage

Lentil Stew w/Smoked Sausage
It has been insanely hot here, so we've been doing a lot of lighter foods and about 11 one night Dev and I were on an I want something and salad, a sandwich or snack foods just aren't going to cut it kick so I scrounged the cupboards, fridge and freezer and this is what I came up with.  Super tasty, super easy and really, really yummy.  We have made this twice so far since that first time I made it last week, so you know it is a keeper.  It makes a lot, and I was planning to freeze some, but Kyra had some dental problems and wasn't able to eat solids until the antibiotics kicked in so I sent her home with a care package of broccoli cheese soup and this stew. Bonus-  it costs less than $6 to make, is done in under an hour (less than 5 minutes of prep time) and there are at least 10 servings. 

Lentil Stew with Smoked Sausage


Ingredients
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes*
  • 1 bag frozen Cajun style mire poix mix**
  • 6 cups chicken stock***
  • 1 12 oz pkg smoked sausage, diced
  • garlic powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Just dump everything into your pressure cooker, (yes, the veggies were still frozen), give it a little stir (or not) and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Release pressure, stir to make sure everything is evenly distributed, ladle into bowls and enjoy.
Yes, it really is that quick and easy- often the best things are. 

*I used seasoned - fire roasted the first time, Italian seasoned the second- if you use plain, just add spices of your choice

**diced onions, celery, green pepper

***I use water and powdered broth base and seasoning

You can use sliced sausage, but if we quarter then slice even the carnivores don't realize how little actual meat you use

Enjoy.
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