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This Week’s Menu Plan

We didn’t completely follow our menu last week because I was sick. I’m so grateful we had food in our freezer — it was a huge blessing when I didn’t feel like cooking. I’m finally on the mend and feeling more like myself again (thank you, God!).

It has been SO hot here — it was 111 degrees on Sunday! — so I’m not doing much cooking or baking in order to keep the house cooler. In fact, I’m hoping to only turn on the oven once or twice this week. Otherwise, we’re using the crock pot, grill, microwave, or eating something that doesn’t need to be heated.

Blueberry Muffins
Scrambled eggs and toast, fruit
Fruit Smoothies
Blueberry muffins, fruit, scrambled eggs
Mango Lassi, toast
Hard-boiled eggs, toast

Lunch out with friends
Salad with hard-boiled eggs, bagels, fruit
Refried beans with rice, carrot sticks, fruit
Salad with chicken, fruit, peas
Leftovers x 2

Watermelon Frosties
All Natural No Bake Energy Bites

Southwest Rollups, steamed veggies, fruit salad
Italian Pasta BakeBread Machine Bread Sticks, edemame, fruit
Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken, fruit, Bread Machine Bread Sticks
Steak, fruit, tossed salad, baked potatoes
Dinner with extended family
Asian Barbecue Chicken, rice, steamed veggies, fruit salad

Freezer-Cooking-In-An-Hour Plan (I’ll share pictures/details on how this goes on Thursday!)
Bread Machine Bread Sticks
Lemon Garlic Marinated Chicken
All Natural No Bake Energy Bites

Did you make a menu plan this week? If so, I’d love to have you share your link in the comments. Any great hot-weather recipe recommendations?

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    • says

      We’ve been doing a $100/week budget too. Our CSA is about $20/week and then I have $80 left for other items.

      During the summer I rarely use the oven – I love cooking on the grill, using the crockpot and sometimes the stovetop. I always make my beans in the crockpot and it works well for beets too. This week’s menu has some of all three. My favorite being the grilled venison fajitas (I plan on posting the recipe this week) for those of you who don’t have venison, the recipe I took it from called for beef. http://delicious-nutritious.blogspot.com/2011/07/this-weeks-meal-plan-7112011.html

    • Meredith says

      LOL! Yay grits!! I was JUST thinking the other day “It seems like no one ever lists grits on their breakfast menus…” it’s one of our favorites for the weekend. Can I ask a silly question – how do you make your cheese toast for the morning? I think this would be a great thing to add to my little one’s breakfasts (I can’t have cheese) because he’ll be starting full day kindergarten in August and the protein will be great to stick with him till morning snack time. Thanks!!

      • says

        Hi Meredith!

        Glad to meet another grits lover. :)

        As far as the cheese toast goes, I “cheat”. I put the bread in the toaster for a couple of minutes, place a piece of sliced cheddar cheese (not American) on top and microwave for 20 seconds.

        My children are older and make their own, but if I were making it for a crowd I would butter the bread, put it on a cookie sheet, place the cheese slices on top and broil for a couple of minutes.

        Hope this helps! :)

  1. charity crawford says

    I actually make the chewy granola bars from HEAVENLY HOMEMAKERS website and they are so wonderful and they are a lot like the energy bite recipe you have posted except the ones i make have coconut oil in them as well and let me tell you they are melt in your mouth wonderful!

  2. says

    I haven’t posted my menu but just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to start writing one out for the week. It has not only proven to save me money, it saves my sanity when I can’t “think” of what there is to eat in the house (under pressure)! I was so thankful to have the oatmeal pb choc chip cookies in the freezer today!

  3. says

    I don’t have a menu to share, but I wanted to comment on the Watermelon Frosties recipe you have linked. These things are amazing! My husband said they’re the best “smoothies” he’s ever had and the kids are fighting over the last drop. We have now found a preferred method for using our watermelon. I’m so glad it’s watermelon season and prices are low.
    I look forward to your weekly menu plan and freezer cooking. I always find great new recipes to try. While we have to eat food allergy-free in our home, I can often change up the ingredients pretty easily to meet our needs.
    Thank you! Thank you!
    Michelle from WillingCook.com

  4. says

    Last night (and tonight, since I was a little behind today so I utilized the leftovers for dinner) I made Grilled Steak Gyros with Grilled Bell Peppers and Onions (from the garden) served with a Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and warm pita bread. (Phew, that was a mouthful :) It was delicious, though.
    The rest of the week we’re doing:
    -Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
    -Italian Chicken Pasta Salad with Focaccia Bread
    -BBQ Chicken Ranch Salad (http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2011/05/cook-once-eat-twice-leftover-bbq.html) with Warm Tortillas
    -Beef Tamales with Crock Pot Black Beans and Green Salad (http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2011/05/if-you-make-one-recipe-this-weekmake.html)

    I spent $33 this week on groceries so far, and have only to get bread, milk, and lettuce. I had set my budget for $50, but will hit somewhere around $40. That includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well.

    For breakfasts this week we’re having pancakes and fruit. (We make a big batch of pancakes on Saturdays and eat them through the week.) For lunch, we have leftovers typically.

  5. grace says

    I love the summer my husband grills a lot and so we have extras for the week as well as I froze some for later. I dont know any crock pot recipes good for summertime but we are using the inseason berries along with the yogurt from the yogurt maker to make smoothies for breakfast and or snacks!

  6. Tami says

    We grilled the Asian Barbecue Chicken last night and used the leftovers to make a salad tonight. It is delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    Crystal: I have those breadsticks on Pinterest and have made them three times in the past three weeks – my family ADORES them and says they are better than our local Italian restaurants garlic breadsticks (I add garlic powder in with the parm. cheese – yum)!!

      • says

        I got my invite within 24 hours, although other people have told me they’ve had to re-apply – if you don’t get “accepted” (for lack of a better word!) e-mail me and I can invite you and then you can sign up right away!

        I warn you though – it’s addicting – I think I spend more time on there than Facebook!

        • says

          Hi Jessica. If you wouldn’t mind, could you kindly send me an invitation to Pinterest? I’m not sure why I cannot get accepted. I tried to send you an email, but that wouldn’t go through either. :( What exactly is Pinterest? Is it a place to catalog your favorite projects? I hope so… as I have so many blogs saved on my computer’s “favorites” tab specifically for that reason. It would be nice to have one spot to save everything! Thank you so much for your help & I will hop in on your blog periodically… looks like you have some great ideas! God bless!

  8. Meredith says

    Okay… so you know your week is off to a wonky start when you haven’t even thought about your menu plan LOL Had a “fun” overnight stay at the hospital last night – only 35 weeks right now – but no delivery and no real labor right now – so I’m back home and JUST realized “I need to look at what’s on the list for supper tomorrow!” We had Marinated Grilled Shrimp tonight with rice and yummy snap peas from a friend’s garden http://allrecipes.com/recipe/marinated-grilled-shrimp/detail.aspx, tomorrow is split pea soup w/sandwiches who want them, Burrito Pie http://allrecipes.com/recipe/burrito-pie/detail.aspx, Au Gratin Potatoes & Ham, Friday is take out night, and Saturday is my husband’s night to cook and we’ll be having Ropa Vieja with rice (he’s Cuban & is a great cook – I would never attempt anything beyond black beans for rice LOL). Hope everyone has a good week!

  9. says

    I can’t help but notice that there isn’t much protein in your meal plan except for dinners. I have found that if I don’t load myself and my kids up with protein early in the day that we have serious blood sugar swings throughout the rest of the day and get very cranky with each other. Have you ever noticed this with your children or is it just us?

    • says

      We don’t usually eat meat for breakfast and not too often for lunch (unless it’s leftovers). We do eat quite a few farm-fresh eggs, though, so I often make those for breakfast and/or lunches. My children are still young, so we might change this when they get older if I notice that the lack of protein is affecting their mood.

    • peever says

      I make sure my kids get a good dose of fiber and protein for breakfast or it seems like they’re starving all day. If not, they usually can’t make it past 10am without complaining that they’re hungry and they want to snack all day.

      We rarely have meat for breakfast, but my son usually has whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter. I make sure my daughter gets fiber in, but unfortunately she doesn’t really like peanut butter so she’s always hungry before my son and tends to have more of the hypoglycemic mood swings. I sometimes do eggs for breakfast for her to help with that.

    • Sharon says

      I am so surprised someone would actually question your meal plans… I see loads of protein in breakfast and lunch- eggs, beans, chicken, yogurt. While protein is very healthy and important for kids fiber and complex carbs are also necessary for stabalizing blood sugar and will make more of an impact on that. Protein is more for building muscle and fueling the body- provides energy.

      • says

        Sharon, in no way shape or form was I insulting Crystal or her meal plan. I was simply relaying an observation about my family and wondering if she had noticed anything similar. peever’s comment only serves to validate my observations further.

        We eat a very healthy diet. We never eat fast food, rarely eat at restaurants, and I make as much as possible from scratch. I work hard to ensure that we get a good mixture of fiber, carbs, and protein at each meal. I have simply found that if I skimp on the protein earlier in the day, we all get crabby with each other earlier. If that somehow insults Crystal, I sincerely apologize, but I am flabbergasted as to how it could have.

  10. Shell says

    Hot here as well. I live in the South, so my oven is pretty much off limits on some days. I did discover a nice cooking tool recently. I bought a refurbished Wolfgang Puck electric skillet on Ebay. I think the price was well worth it. It even bakes cakes. I made a meat loaf with carrots and potatoes in it this past week that turned out great. It fries, bakes , roasts, does just about anything. It cooked everything much faster than my crockpot and didn’t heat up my kitchen like the oven. I was reluctant to buy it at first, but this is one of those times where I spent money to save money and to be able to cook some of the foods my family enjoys.

          • J says

            Agreed. It is very personal and I know way too many women who have had miscarriages and secondary infertility to not be sensitive about it. “When are you going to have another baby?” Well, what makes you think they don’t want one and can’t have one and you’re just rubbing it in your face, or maybe they’re fine and happy and not trying but they don’t need your nagging.

  11. Cara says

    I’m new to the whole Freezer Cooking, when you do the Lemon Chicken do you just place everything in the bag and then place it in the freezer until time to use? I’ve read the recipe on the website and it states to put it in the fridge. Thanks for your help.

  12. says

    It’s been hot here, too…105 was the high yesterday. We always eat much lighter (and much healthier) in the summer. I feel like I’ve been making lots of the same things every week, but they are so good with summer produce. I’ve been making cheese quesadillas with homemade pico and guacamole at least once a week (with farmer’s market tomatoes and fresh cilantro…YUM!) and we’ve been eating alot of salads. We’ve also been using the grill like crazy–burgers, chicken, sausages, corn and other veggies. Summer eating is definitely the best! Glad you’re feeling better…cooking when you’re sick is definitely not fun!

  13. says

    This week’s menu plan is really simple – I’m just using up things from the pantry and freezer.


    We keep Kosher and there was a great deal on whole chickens at the local Kosher grocery store – $1.99/lb. I bought 2 4 lb chickens and popped one in the freezer and one in the slow cooker this morning. I’m going to look for recipes throughout the day of what to do with all the chicken – I’m excited!

    • says

      Hi, Sarah. I haven’t checked our your menu so I don’t know what types of things your family eats. That being said, this is one of my favorite things to make when I get great deals on whole chickens. I actually have it planned for tomorrow. I call it pulled chicken but..:) In a crockpot, put about 2 cups of ketchup, about 3/4 cup brown sugar, and some crushed red pepper flakes. All of that is guessing amounts, sorry. When it is done, I pull the chicken off of the bone and “shred” it . I keep it on simmer in a skillet b/c this can take a little while to complete. I add some of the “juices” from the crockpot. We eat this on a bun with potato salad as a side. It is a hit with my family!

        • Cara Ivey says

          I love getting whole chicken, boiling with vegetables, saving the stock for later use, and shredding the meat. I just made Chicken and black bean enchiladas with 1/2 a chicken. Only I replaced the enchilada sauce with thinned out BBQ ( the enchilada sauce had a funk to it and I wasn’t about to use it. I went for the BBQ in a pinch) It was AWESOME!! A new family favorite!!
          The next night I made BBQ chicken pizza! Homeade whole wheat dough, The rest of my shredded chicken, BBQ sauce, I smear some BBQ Baked beans mixed with the sauce as my pizza sauce. (weird yet oh so good…) Carmalized red onion, sliced bell pepper, cheese. Always a family favorite. And if you make a double batch of pizza dough, you can freeze one for next time!!

  14. Julie in IN says

    You can “bake” your potatoes in the crock pot to save turning on the oven; the flavor of the potatoes intensifies and they can be very moist if you dot them with butter or evoo.

    Maybe you should bake bread in the bread maker to avoid heating up the kitchen; we put our crock pots and bread maker in the garage to avoid heating up the house.

    • Cara Ivey says

      Me too! What’s up with that? I turn into friggin Martha Stewart the second we get over 100 degrees!! :)

  15. Lynn says

    Your energy bites look fabulous! I’ll have to try those next. I make something similar with only 3 ingredients! They’re very similar to Lara Bars.
    In a large food processor mix the following:
    1 c. nuts (peanuts, cashews….)
    1 c. dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes….)
    1-2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (optional)

    Process 1-2 minutes until well combined. They should be somewhat sticky and hold together. I distribute small amounts into an ice cube tray to create individual bites. You can also form them into balls or press the mixture into a pan to create bars. Keep refrigerated! Easy and yummy!

    • Amanda says

      Ooh, add some cocoa or chocolate and those are raw brownies!

      Was coming here to mention that if anyone makes the mango lassi, to use the cardamom if at all possible. It’s not very expensive in Indian grocery stores, and it makes a huge difference in flavor. I make mango jam (turns out it has a lot of pectin) and that spice takes it from meh to delicious. I also like the little orange/yellow mangoes a lot better than the big red/green ones. They’re sweeter and less fibrous.

  16. J says

    I hope you are all recovered! I’ve had a sinus infection for about 2 weeks and there is nothing like a sinus infection to wipe out all energy! I’m thankful for a freezer stash, too. I couldn’t believe you said it was your first one, I have had so many I’m sure I couldn’t count them.
    Have you ever put your crock pot outside to cook in the summer? I haven’t tried that yet but the Econonimides (America’s Cheapest Family) mentioned that in their book you had on your list.

  17. holly says

    Your southwest roll ups, if frozen, heat up wonderfully in the crockpot. I freeze mine wrapped in foil, put them in the crockpot on low before church, and we come home to an easy- and done- meal!

  18. Erin says

    I make a Chicken Ranch Bacon Cheese Pasta salad for dinner when it’s really hot. :) Great way to throw leftovers together, too!

  19. C.Holmes says

    I made the energy bites today after seeing them in your menu plan and they are awesome! So yummy. My husband gobbled up a few when he got home and didn’t believe I had put wheat germ and flax seed in them. The kids liked them too. I like them because I secretly love to eat cookie dough and they remind me of eating cookie dough but much better for you. 😉

  20. says

    Here is my plan for this week (I have some recipes on my blog):

    Monday – Beef and Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
    Tuesday – Caesar Salad
    Wednesday – Tequila-Grazed Grilled Chicken Thighs
    Thursday – Leftovers
    Friday – Jagerschnitzel
    Saturday – Open Face Burgers
    Sunday – Sausage, Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

    lots of fruit!

    Homemade popsicles
    Peach Crisp
    No-Bake Energy Bites

    Homemade Waffles with Homemade Syrup (see recipe below)

  21. Barbara says

    Thank you for posting you menus. I get ideas to try with my 4 & 6 year olds. I do have a question. My children will not eat casseroles. How did you get your children to eat them? My kids also will not eat salad. How did you get your little ones to eat that? And of course, my kids don’t like smoothies – but they will eat a piece of fruit and yogurt.

  22. Cara says

    Thanks to freezer cooking I have been able to completly cut out all store bought snacks. (fruit snacks, chips, crackers, ect.) I have started making everything from scratch, lots of muffins, breads, smoothies. Having so many snacky foods stocked in my freezerallows the kids to constantly have a different snack. (Kids get fed up with eating nothiong but Apple muffins for days.. :)) I make HUGE batches of my veggie filled turkey pasta sauce and freeze it. I make all different kinds of pancakes to freeze, Perogies, burritoes, breakfast burritoes, banana and zucchini bread, “hot pockets”… I save all bones and scrap veggies and make lots of chicken stock to freeze at the end of the week.
    We have cut out almost all food waste. I love knowing exactly what’s going into my kids mouths, not a whole long list of things I can’t even pronounce. I also love that I have cut my grocery bill down to $100 a weeks. I have 4 kids (5 yrs, 3 yrs, and twin 1 yr olds), and feeding 6 people on a budget is a fun challenge I take on every week. I LOVE you ideas!! Thank you!!

    • Barb says

      I would love to hear how you make perogies. I have made them once and it was so labor intensive, I don’t want to do it again!

      • Cara Ivey says


        Here is where I got my recipe! I made them for the first time not too long ago. I do it on one of my days off so I’m not feeling rushed or overwhelmed trying to get them done. When the house is quiet, this means the twins are SLEEPING, I pour some coffe and get to it. I find it a relaxing task when I don’t have 4 kids running around hungry asking when it’ll be ready. I could sit and make these for hours while listening to some good tunes. And they freeze so well! Freeze before boiling them. Then I grill them with some turkey keilbasa, make a vinagrette using grainy mustard, and serve over an arugala herb salad. YUMMY!! Pick a rainy day to give it another go. And be sure to give yourself no time limit! It just may be fun!

  23. says

    I just made the energy balls! They taste really great! I just picking at them while balling them haha. And I added a few scoops of protein to them becuase my husband has been trying to really eat a lot of protein after his workouts.

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