Tag Archive | "Family Meals"

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Week 2 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge

Posted on 07 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Sunday, I was a little laid back in writing out our weekly meal plan for Week 2 of our Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge.  It was Super Bowl Sunday as you all know and although we’re not die hard sports fans, I enjoy watching who’s going to sing our national anthem and watch the halftime show. Even some of the commercials are a little entertaining.

I was putting off writing out the weekly meal plan I was thinking about until Monday morning. Little did I know that I was going to be blasted with a crazy day at the office on Monday. I only give myself one hour to read and answer emails and write my posts in the morning before heading to the office. I simple just ran out of time yesterday. Yes, it does happen. I’m only human after all.

For ideas in the weekly meal plan, I’m listing meals I can make or prep on one day to have another day during the week. Some of the recipes you’ll find on my Recipe Index page with grocery list included.

My Weekly Meal Plan

Having a well stocked freezer from the BOGO sale in the meat department at the grocery store helps out the weekly meal plan a lot, so most of my meal plan will be using those items. At the end of the week, I’ll probably make a quick trip to the store to grab any great stock ahead deals for the pantry and replenish any produce or dairy needs we might have.

Sunday: Game Day Favorites–basically any finger foods like chicken wings, hot dogs, chips and salsa with guacamole dip, etc. ( Apple Crumb Top Baked Oatmeal for breakfast).

Monday: Bacon Guacamole Burgers on Homemade Wheat Rolls, steak fries and veggies. (I’ll season the beef rib roast and place it in the crock pot for tomorrow night’s dinner.)

Tuesday: Beef and Bean Burritos Tacos (using the shredded beef  filling I cooked in the crock pot and crock pot pinto beans from the freezer. New recipe for cooking the beef roast in the crock pot later in the week–it’s so simple!). Will freezer any leftovers for lunches or a future dinner.

Wednesday: Crock Pot Roasted Chicken, roasted potatoes and steamed veggies.

Thursday: Pasta Bar, (Homemade Foccacia Bread-a recipe I’m still trying to perfect).

Friday: Family Pizza Night

Saturday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, cheese bread (hope to post this one too later this week too!) I’ll be using Homemade Chicken Stock from the freezer adding leftover Crock Pot Roasted Chicken from Wednesday night, adding noodles on hand in the pantry, carrots, celery, leeks, onions, etc.)

What is on your weekly meal plan this week? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Plan Your Meal By What’s On Sale!

As you’re writing out your weekly meal plan, remember that there are some items that are always going to be on sale at the grocery store. This past week, seasonal items on sale were: avacados, spinach and cabbage. Remember to keep an eye out for cold weather fixings for chili, soups and stews.

*Click on the links below to go directly to recipes for each item!

To catch up on previous week’s in the challenge, click on the links below:


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Week 1 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge!

Posted on 30 January 2012 by noelskitchen


Welcome to our first week of Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge!

As we move into the first week of our meal planning challenge, for February, my goal is to make a lot of meals in 30 minutes or less during the weeknight and for those weekend days when I just want to slow down, let the meal take it’s own sweet time; whether it be cooked in the crock pot or slowly roasted in the oven.

We’ve started off the week with an easy Sunday meal of BBQ Chicken Sliders topped with cole slaw. It was nice having an easy meal after a busy weekend of celebrating our son’s birthday with family and friends. There’s just enough leftovers for lunch later in the week.

Last week, I got pretty well stocked up on many of my pantry items, adding a few new items to my pantry:

  • artichoke hearts
  • Greek Kalamata olives
  • roasted red peppers
  • chipotle peppers in adobe sauce

I don’t normally keep ingredients like these on hand but after watching Pioneer Woman’s Stocking The Pantry episode, I was inspired to give a few of her ideas a try like using the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce in this Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork recipe.

Here’s what the rest of the week’s menu looks like: (recipes will be shared throughout the week as this is a new meal plan for us.)

Monday: I’m making  Sloppy Jose’s; a Mexican type twist to the good old fashioned Sloppy Joes. (I was inspired with this idea  from making a 7-layer bean dip on Saturday for our son’s birthday party. Using leftovers from this dip with ground beef and tortillas.

Tuesday: Curried Chicken and Apple Stew over Rice

Wednesday: Spaghetti Casserole

Thursday: Blender Cheese  Soufflé

 Friday: Cheese Steak Pizza

 Saturday: One Potato, Two~ So easy you can double the recipe for more. Our kids love these!

As you’re putting together your weekly meal plan, remember that there are some items that are always going to be on sale during the month. Be sure and check your local grocery store ads for what’s on sale in your area.

It’s National Oatmeal Month!  So if you haven’t already, stock up for making favorite recipes like my Quick Handy Breakfast Oatmeal Packets and Sweet Apple Oatmeal and Coconut Cookies.

  • Granola Bars
  • Granola Cereal with dried fruits like cranberries, blueberries or apples
  • Fiber Bars
This month is also a great opportunity to stock up on those Super Bowl Party Foods. No, I’m not talking about the chips and soda. Grocery stores have items on sale:
  • Lunch meat for sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Chili ingredients (Try my Chili in a Bread Bowl recipe)
  • Snack items
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
You should also find great sales on several food items that we naturally associate with winter weather and colder temperatures:
  • Hot Teas
  • Hot Cider
  • Hot Cocoa Mix (homemade recipe posting soon)
  • Soups, Stews and Chili

What is on your weekly meal plan this week? I’d love to hear your ideas!~ You can participate in the 6-Week Just In Time! Family Meal Planning Challenge by adding your weekly meal plan below. And for more ideas on how you can participate and spread the word, visit Here.

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Just In Time! Family Meal Planning Challenge!

Posted on 11 January 2012 by noelskitchen

There are many of you out there who completely agree that meal planning is a good idea, but there are those of you who struggle to actually do it. When I started meal planning years ago, we noticed a dramatically different change for the better not just in our in our grocery budget but in our family meal times.

Still, sometimes it isn’t always easy.  Each family goes through different periods of time where things in life happen and our routines change. Meal Planning can be flexible for your family. If you’ve never meal planned or started meal planning and gave up, here’s a way to get inspired to give it another try.

Just Do It! Family Meal Planning Challenge

 No more stressing out at 5pm  about what to eat. No more compromise meals that are only sort of healthy because you weren’t thinking ahead enough to make something truly wholesome and nourishing. No more last-minute expenses for things you’ve run out of that so easily blow your budget.

The 6-Week Just In Time! Family Meal Planning Challenge

Just In Time! was inspired by rummaging through some old cookbooks, new cookbooks and some of my favorite family recipes. I had already been brainstorming on the idea of a challenge that helped to inspire us to meal plan, by coming up with 15-minute meal plans that are just as tasty but cook faster, 30-minute meal plans to get in and out of the kitchen and 60-minute meal plans for those nights where we just want to enjoy a lazy day when you actually can spend more time in the kitchen.

The basic idea? To encourage and help each other as we plan out regular, weekly meal plans for our families.

The goals? To serve healthier more enjoyable foods to our family, reduce our grocery budgets, and put meals on the table with a smile.

Since this is only a weekly event, we’ll do it for 42 days, or 6 weeks.

How does the challenge work?

Every Monday morning, you can expect to come to Noel’s Kitchen Tips to find my own meal plan for the week, including recipe links and one new recipe each week. (I’ll have my links up on the home page.)

There will also be a link up, for all those who blog and want to share their own meal plans. For those who don’t, this will also be a great place for you to find menu inspiration and new recipes to add to your family collection!

Ways to get involved and be a part of this challenge:

:: Join our Facebook group, Family Meals Matter Cooking Club, where we will be sharing recipes, meal ideas, inspiration, encouragement, our own progress updates and more. To join, just click on this link and near the top of the page, click on Like to Join Group.

:: Use the Twitter hashtag #mealplan to join in at any time with other challenge participants. We’ll share recipes and ideas, let each other how we’re doing, and just chat about simple and family-friendly meals in general.

:: For all bloggers, share your meal plan every Monday and join the link up here at Noel’s Kitchen Tips. This will happen every Monday, starting January 30th, and go for the whole 6 weeks of the challenge. If you’re lacking inspiration and ideas, this will be the perfect place to visit every Monday!

As we get ready…

Remember, the point of this challenge is to help and encourage you in this challenge to meal plan. And PLEASE, don’t hesitate to share your struggles. We all have them.

Make sure to check back later next week, as I will be sharing some helpful resources for learning how to meal plan, different methods of meal planning, places to find wholesome and family-friendly recipes and more.

And the week after that? Monday, January 30th, we’ll get cracking. I’m excited to do this with you!

So, who’s with me? Are you ready to tackle this 6-week Just In Time! menu planning challenge?

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Freezer Cooking and 10 Minutes to the Table Meal Plan

Posted on 25 September 2011 by noelskitchen

I like simple recipes on weeknights that get me in and out of the kitchen fast, so my family and I can spend more time together. This week’s meal plan is focused on freezer cooking meals and 10 Minutes to the Table meals. After my recent Costco trip, I mapped out a meal plan to include a few of those types of meals. Here’s some meals that I’ve come with:


10 Minutes to the Table Meals:

  • Salmon Quesadillas, Salad with Simple Salad Dressing
  • Broccoli, Ham ‘N’ Noodle Toss
  • Zesty Tomato Soup
  • Grilled Sandwiches
  • Cajun Chicken Strips, Corn Bread Casserole, Homemade Banana Pudding

Freezer Cooking Meals:

  • Freezer Beef Stew-one batch in crock pot for tomorrow night’s dinner, one batch for freezer
  • Beef Hot Tamale Pie-one batch in refrigerator for tonight’s dinner, one batch for freezer
  • Easy Meatballs and Pasta-still have to make meatballs
  • Pizza Soup
  • Hash Brown Beef Pie
  • Beef Pasties

30-Minute Meals

  • Crispy Chicken, Vegetable Rice Medley, Southwestern Cheese Dip (for fresh veggies)
  • Huevos Rancheros

 I’ll be sharing these recipes throughout the upcoming week.

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Tags: , Cappuccino, Creme Brulee, , Oatmeal

Fall Features Great Traditional Comfort Recipes

Posted on 25 September 2011 by noelskitchen

My family enjoys waking up in the morning to a hearty breakfast. They favor sitting down to oatmeal bubbling like a Crème brûlée with a carmelized brown sugar topping. To accompany this deliciousbreakfast treat, I serve bacon sizzled sizzled and popped in between thin slices of crunchy whole-grain toast, along with a fresh fruit arrangement; and for the hubby and I, a steamy cappuccino dusted with lots of cinnamon. This is a good breakfast menu on a glorious Fall morning.

 Fall features some of the best comfort recipes around: oatmeal brulee, macaroni and cheese, soups, stews, chilis, hot cocoa, and flavored coffees such as cappuccino’s and lattes. There’s no end to the good recipes to be had. And when you enjoy them with friends and family, it’s so much better.

Here’s the start of what’s cooking in our house this Fall:

Quick Cappuccino

You don’t need a fancy espresso machine to make a delicious cappuccino. This fool-proof blender method ensures a frothy, steamy cup of cappuccino in just minutes and you no longer have to make a Starbuck’s run.

Ingredients: (4-6 servings)

  • 2 cups hot strong brewed coffee
  • 4 cups milk
  • Cinnamon


  • Heat the container of a blender by running it under hot water.
  • Add the coffee and milk and blend until foamy, 1 to 2 seconds.
  • Pour the cappuccino into large cappuccino cups or mugs.
  • Dust with cinnamon

Oatmeal  Brûlée

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons packed brown sugar


  • Preheat the broiler. In a large saucepan, combine the milk and salt. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Slowly sprinkle the oatmeal into the milk and boil over moderate heat, stirring until the oats are tender but still slightly chewy., about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and stir.
  • Spoon the oatmeal into 4 heatproof bowls or ramekins. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream around the edge of each bowl and sprinkle the center with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • Place the bowls under the broiler and broil until the sugar melts and begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Serve hot.

What fall traditional comfort recipes does your family enjoy?

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