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This Week’s Menu

Smoothies for our breakfast and reading time… Kaitlynn’s such a ham!

We have a busy week this week, so I’m keeping dinners very simple. And I’m thankful our freezer is starting to fill up which relieves me from having to cook as much!

Cantaloupe Strawberry Smoothies (This was a crazy smoothie creation I came up with on the fly this morning. Everyone drank them, but they weren’t a big hit!), Hard-boiled eggs
Cereal, Pick-Me-Up Smoothies
Waffles (from the freezer), scrambled eggs, fruit
Steel Cut Oats with raw sugar and milk
Breakfast Burritos, Fruit
French Toast Casserole (from the freezer), Fruit

Leftovers x 3
Apple Peanut Butter sandwiches, carrot sticks
Beans & Rice with cheese, peas, fruit
Mac & Cheese, carrot sticks
Cheese Quesadillas, fruit

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Marinated chicken, wild rice, frozen veggies, fruit
Steak on the grill, frozen veggies
Tilapia, rice, steamed broccoli, fruit salad
Barbecued meatballs, sweet potatoes, frozen veggies, fruit
Dinner at church
Dinner out
Dinner with extended family

Freezer-Cooking-In-An-Hour Plan (I’ll share pictures/details on how this goes on Thursday!)
Breakfast Burritos
Southwest Roll-Ups
Lighter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

(You thought my floors weren’t too bad? Well, take a peek at my countertops before I’ve cleaned the kitchen in the morning. They always need serious help after breakfast!)

What’s on your menu this week?

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  • With my $50 budget, I’m going to make 5 dinners, with the leftovers doubling as lunch the next day. Including…Minestrone Soup (plus some for the freezer), Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Quesadillas, and Teriyaki Chicken with Fresh Pineapple…

    The rest of the menu is here:

    • Ena Haynes says:

      I budget $1 per person per serving (household of 5) and portion each meal to be served 3 times. So for a week I cook 5 meals (lunch and dinner included) at $15 per meal. This week’s meals are :

      Pepperoni rolls and tortelini pasta
      Chili cornbread casserole (from the freezer)
      Chicken wraps
      Turkey Burgers
      Chicken Parmesan

      Breakfast is usually waffles, pancakes, or French toast, bacon egg sandwiches, or fritatas

      I am grateful to see others who cook (and budget!) you all keep me inspired on a daily basis. Thanks 🙂

    • Marie says:

      oooh- do you have a recipe for the Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Quesadillas? I’d love it if you could share. My email is thriftymom09 at hotmail dot com

  • Rachel says:

    Your menu sounds really good – simple and easy! I need to menu plan like this more, but I tend to make mine too complicated.

  • Ruth says:

    Your children’s pictures always make me smile! Your little man is getting big. The menu looks great!

  • Bethany says:

    Here is our Menu:

    I love Breakfast burritos and recommend using a roll of Light Sausage with your veggies next time you make them. This cooks super fast, you won’t have to use the butter and once you add in the eggs you’ll have breakfast (or dinner at our house!) on the table in no time!

  • heather says:

    It is GREAT to see that such an incredible woman is also “normal”, too! LOL!! My counters look like this every morning as well…. nice to see that real life happens for even the financially amazing!! 🙂

  • I’ve been meaning to try breakfast burritos – just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m making room in my freezer for the beef we’ll be getting soon. And I need to get my freezer working again… The good news is that I think I have finally perfected my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day! We’re having rolls tonight and they are delish!!

    Here’s my plan, if you’re curious:

  • Okay, so does Silas really drink from that cup without making a complete and utter mess? My daughter (a month or two younger than Silas) is always a DISASTER after we have smoothies, which is one reason we haven’t been having them so much! Any pointers??? 🙂

    • charity crawford says:

      i was thinking the same thing! My son would have dumped it and been done playing in it.

    • Liz says:

      I thought the exact same thing!

    • Meredith says:

      we have always used the few restaurant kids cups with lids we have in the plastic drawer. I sanitize our “disposable” drinking straws, and even have an inch or so cut off of some of them for the kiddie cups – it seems that if the straw isn’t too high it’s less lightly to be knocked over… HTH!

    • Katie says:

      The take and toss straw cups work really well for smoothies! I can’t imagine drinking a smoothie without a straw and so I always give my kids a straw cup when we have smoothies. The take and toss cups don’t have any valves that will stop the flow helping the smoothie come out faster and easier.

      • GREAT idea! I haven’t purchased any of the ones with a straw, but this might be the ticket. Except that my daughter will certainly pull the straw out…ugh! The other day she took her regular straw and flicked berry smoothie in a line down the front of my pink shirt. 🙁 (Thankfully, Shaklee Nature Bright, that my mom kept raving about, got it out!)

        • Sarah Jean says:

          I like my smoothies very thick-I eat them with a spoon, but I’ve found it’s easier for my boys this way: I trimmed the chewed on end off of a Nuby brand sippy cup with one of those rubber lids, and I’ve done the same thing with a regular bottle-my boys call them their smoothie cups b/c that’s all they use them for 🙂

  • Shira says:

    I like that your menu plan is SO full of all the meals! Thank you!

  • Bonnie says:

    Do you bake the french toast casserole before freezing or after?

    • Crystal says:

      I baked it! I’ll try to remember to let you know how it turned out.

    • Annessa says:

      I have never tried this french toast casserole. But I freeze mine first. It usually takes about 36-48 hours to thaw completely. Then bake according to the directions. My family thinks it tastes better. Just like I prepared it that morning.

  • Jen says:

    I am amazed that Silas can drink from a big people cup like that!! When my 2 year old drinks from a real cup, my floors (and everything else) are a huge mess. No, I mean a real mess, not like your “dirty” floor in your other picture! I guess I need to get over it and let him practice or he’ll never learn, but not wanting a disaster with every meal, we just stick to sippy cups.

    • Sarah says:

      I was just thinking the same thing! My daughter is the same age as Silas and she’s on sippy cups or a cup with a straw for smoothies. Obviously I need to start letting her try the “big people cups”!

    • Kat says:

      START SMALL! : ) just an inch at a time. Can’t make too much mess this just an inch, and you don’t have to try to be so brave all teh time. Just when it works for you. : )

      • Meredith says:

        I totally agree! We have some small plastic cups that don’t have lids that we pour only an inch or so in at a time – it’s a lot easier to clean up that much than a whole cupful if it spills – and they work their way up to more as they get practice. 🙂

      • chelsea says:

        Yes that is the trick! Even my 3 yo only gets an inch of water in her glass at mealtime. Its a pain to have to refill it constantly, but much easier than cleaning up a spill. We’re starting to let our 2 yo practice with a regular cup, and thank goodness for warm weather because we can eat outside most of the time!

    • Rae says:

      I would start with a smaller cup. If you start out with a wide grownup cup like the picture shown, it’ll be harder because the toddler will not know to only tip a little bit. So if you don’t have any smaller (height doesn’t count but width does) cups, maybe a sippy cup without a lid. Then once they get used to it, they’ll be able to do it with most cups. And even when doing this, start with a small amount and only water that way if it spills, it will dry without getting sticky 🙂

      • We started out with the small dixie cups and both my kids drink from a cup perfectly now! Noah is 4 and Lizzie is 2.

        We still have messes of them knocking over their cups, but they can drink from them pretty well. (A cup is knocked over in this house at least once a day though, LOL)

    • Summer time is a great time to let them practice! Take their shirt off, let them play outside and give them a cup of water to drink (or spill, or dump, or play with)! My 1 year old is very interested in drinking from a normal cup already, so when ever I take a sip and he’s around, I let him practice! Yes he spills some on his shirt, but it’s just water and you can’t tell a difference from all the drool on his shirt from teething! 🙂

  • We’re doing “real foods” on a budget; just posted our meal plan today 🙂 It’s on my site.

    I’m working on converting my savory chicken pot pie into a beef and potato pie, with a whole wheat herb and cheddar crust. Hope to have a new healthy recipe to share soon!

    Jaime @ LABB

  • Sarah says:

    Nope! Counters still aren’t that bad. LOL

  • jennifer Mercad0 says:

    funny how we were all thinking the same thing!! I have a 2 and 3 year old who have never drank from a cup–only sippy cups!! Im not as brave as you 🙂

  • Amy says:

    I hope you like the pancakes as much as we did, Crystal! I am so honored to have made the menu plan this week. xo

    • Samantha says:

      Are these freezable? I would love to make a big batch tomorrow but I was not sure how to cook, freeze, then heat them up. My daughter loves chocolate chip pancakes but she only eats 2 “silver dollar” pancakes (she is 17 months).

      Thank you!

      • TeamBonk says:

        I make silver dollar pancakes for my children and freeze half the batch. To reheat them I use the toaster! It works like a charm and is quick and with no mess.

  • Your countertops look just like mine do…all the time for me though!

  • Helene says:

    I’m back 🙂 to say nope not your counter tops either. I may have to post a few pictures of my own. Yikes. I’ve never had as many comments on my blog as I had here these past few days 🙂 If anyone wants me to post pictures to show Crystal what truly constitutes “needing serious help”, let me know. Finishing my master’s in 5 weeks (and then on to studying for the CPA exam) on top of working full time and trying to spend quality time with my grandson and dealing with my arthritis-let’s just say your two crumbs on the floor and messy counter tops are not as bad as you think 🙂 Your home is beautiful and even with your recent pictures I wouldn’t hesitate to have people over as I do with my house. After being part of small groups in spotless homes-no way, no how. Not to mention with that gorgeous smile on Silas-who noticed any counter tops??

    • Courtney says:

      “Not to mention with that gorgeous smile on Silas-who noticed any counter tops??”

      That’s what I thought too!!! I had to make myself look past the gorgeous kids to see the countertops. :<} Thanks for some great meals ideas, Crystal!!

  • Mary says:

    LOVE the breakfast burritos! Whenever we have (or plan!) leftovers from our big Sunday breakfasts I wrap them in tortillas and pop them in the freezer. Hubby can grab one on his way to work and it’s ready to nuke by the time he gets to the office. Older kids can also make their own breakfast that way with NO STOVE involved!

  • Brandy says:

    I was wondering the same thing about the french toast casserole is it cooked then frozen or made, frozen, then cooked? Thanks for everything Crystal you’ve been a life saver for our families budget!

  • Emily says:

    We have a busy week too – finishing up After School Program for me, plus we just found out we have to move within a few months! Oh, joy…

    But, alas…we still have to eat, so here’s the plan:

  • June says:

    Thanks for sharing your chocolate chip cookie recipe…our family has been trying to eat healthier (wheat flour instead of white, raw sugar, etc.) Going to try them out tomorrow 🙂

  • Im so curious about the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, I think I’m going to try them! Here is our plan for the week!

  • Sarah says:

    We’re pretty much eating from the pantry this week. But I think I’m going to try to do 1 hour freezer cooking with you this week. Maybe that will help keep me accountable! 🙂

  • maggie says:

    whoa! silas drinking a smoothie with no bib??? and out of a real (breakable) cup?

    • Rae says:

      lol that’s what I was surprised by too. My 2 year old drinks out of regular cups but would have a little trouble with a cup that wide (spillage on the sides). But even if he did get a cup that wide, he’d have a non breakable cup and a bib (or no shirt) for sure (he doesn’t have the greatest of coordination). But then again, I can pretty much guarantee that my boy is WAY more trouble than Silas. The stories posted about things Silas did can be trumped by this one easily in one day (now my first was a little angel but this one is all sorts of naughty).

    • Crystal says:

      I rarely put bibs on him anymore, just because he’s a pretty neat eater (unless it’s chocolate cake or spaghetti!). Some days, I feel like I need to cover him in plastic wrap for all the mud and dirt he gets on himself, though!

      And the cup is really sturdy; I don’t trust him with thin glasses yet!

      • lyss says:

        Wow! I guess this just shows that all kids are different! My 22 mo old boy is the messiest eater ever! Seriously, I have to sweep and mop under his chair after pretty much every meal. I’ve considered going back to spoon feeding him, but that would take longer than mopping up! I use the bibs that can be wiped down or washed in the sink- at Ikea they were only $1. Ah, well…surely one day he’ll be a little neater!
        My kids seem to break everything, too. My daughter even broke a melamine(sp?) measuring cup. I thought those were unbreakable! Maybe plastic is bad, but it’s a must at our house! 🙂

      • Beth T says:

        This is our problem too! The food isn’t the issue, its all the dirt and grass that my 20 month old rolls in all day that makes him dirty! I think the fact that people noticed his cup is hilarious. I guess I didn’t realize this was odd because my 20mo son uses a regular cup whenever we sit at the table (Sippy cups for on the go) the same as your post said 🙂

  • Valerie says:

    I only plan dinners (and do for 2 weeks, picking the meal I want to make each night from the list). Breakfasts are cereal, lunches are sandwiches/salad/pasta 🙂

  • I’ve always loved to see your freezer cooking and meal plans. It’s helpful to get ideas and keep the motivation to plan meals. Thank you! I’ve posted my weekly menu plan on my site at:

  • Sarah says:

    We do marinated chicken, too, but we make it with Italian Dressing mixed with equal parts BBQ sauce. Sounds strange, I know, but it’s yummy. And as BBQ sauce often goes on sale, it makes for an inexpensive meal. Cook on the barbecue and it’s yummy.

    • Crystal says:

      I’ll have to try this!

    • Melanie Walters says:

      Sara, we do the exact same thing. It is really one of our favorite marinades. I don’t buy salad dressings all of the time so sometimes I just subsitute balsamic vinegar and oil and it works just as well. Crystal, this makes for one of the quickest freezers meals ever! Certainly something that would fit well in your hour time slot!

  • Lori says:

    I see KNITTING NEEDLES in the background! Do we get to see what you’re making?

  • Claire says:

    Have you ever posted your recipe for beans and rice? There are so many recipes out there but I’d love to try yours!

  • Evie says:

    I made a tandori whole chicken on Saturday.

    Since my husband works swing and it is just the kids and I we are doing meal that use up the chicken. Chicken tacos, chicken Naan Pizzas.
    I did pull out some left over Easter ham tonight and did a Penne and Ham recipe that is REALLY good and Low fI am also going to do Super Sloppy Jo’s with Turkey… I guess it is a poultry week.

    I would be more embarrassed to see my counters… yours are nothing.

  • Yummy! Love those smoothies, such a great way to use up fruit and veggies that are about to go bad AND squeeze those fruits and veggies into a little one’s diet!

    Here’s our gluten free dinner menu for the week:

  • Beth says:

    Crystal, do you cook the french toast casserole before you put it in the freezer? I LOVE french toast casserole and I’m curious to see how you do it “freezer style.” Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Katie says:

    I made your Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies this weekend – however I converted them to gluten free for my hubby. He loved them. Thanks!

  • Stephanie says:

    So funny Crystal how one picture can strike a thousand questions!! And you’re so sweet to answer them all!

  • Suzanne H says:

    I made your Whole Wheat Oatmeal CC Cookies this past weekend – I put 1/2 the dough in the freezer and baked the other 1/2. I added some flax seed to the dough and no one even noticed. They were delicious! I’ve decided to use the base dough and add raisins instead of chocolate chips and a touch of cinnamon. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  • Melanie Walters says:

    To add and idea to the peanut butter and apple sandwiches…we love to dice apples with peanut butter and granola and sometimes a touch of honey and roll that in tortillas. One of my kids’ faves!

  • My meatless meal of the week will be Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter. This recipe is new to me, and I can’t wait to try it!

  • Michele says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your weekly menus! I work part-time, but it often feels like full time and we struggle to find quick and easy dinner options with a pre-schooler and a toddler running around. I love the make-a-head recipes or freezer recipes that I can do on the weekends. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  • Amber says:

    Love the pic you included of your countertops, and everyone else’s comments that theirs are the same! A great reminder that we’re only human and can only do so much! By the way, my countertops are always a cluttered mess 😉

  • I wouldn’t have even noticed the counter top, had you not commented on them! All the comments on Silas and his cup made me put a post like that on my blog calendar! Here is our menu plan for the week ! I’m really going to need to start taking some pointers on inexpensive meal ideas for when my husband gets laid off, but my family is a little picky, so it’s a little bit harder, I think!

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for the breakfast burrito idea! I spent all weekend making freezer meals. But not for my family….I cooked for my sister-in-law who is battling cancer. My husband & I leave 10 hours away from them, so we can’t help on a daily basis. We drove there this weekend specifically for the purpose of stocking their freezer with meals. It was such a great way to take care of them for weeks to come. And it was a huge blessing to me, too! It challenged me to think of ways to bless others with something simple like a frozen casserole.

  • Barbie says:

    It’s actually kind of a relief to see that your floors and counters aren’t perfectly clean all the time! 🙂

  • Aubrie says:

    When you freeze the french toast casserole do you freeze before or after baking?

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