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This Week’s Menu

Cinnamon Scones — I’ll post the recipe next week. We had these for our Christmas Eve Brunch and they were delicious!

I’ve had numerous requests to bring back the weekly menu plan feature and I’m excited that this is one thing I’m making a priority in 2011 — along with a number of other new and revived features!

(Stay tuned next week when I share more about goals for 2011 and my blogging plans and new weekly blogging schedule. I hope it will not only mean that you find more quality content on, but that you’ll also have a better idea of what will be posted each week — instead of my typical blogging-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, always-behind style.)

I have a plan for executing this new blogging schedule, and I’m actually pretty optimistic that it’s going to work out fairly smoothly and well. We’ll see, though. Sticking with stuff is not always my strong point, as you all well know. 😉

Menus will be posted weekly on Mondays, starting next Monday. Since it’s my “vacation” week this week, I’m giving myself the freedom to post this on Wednesday!

This Week’s Menu Plan

Crockpot Oatmeal (This royally flopped! Anyone have a reliable Crockpot Oatmeal recipe? All the ones I have tried so far have turned to mushy, icky goop overnight!)
Cold Cereal
Orange Poppyseed Cake
Cold Cereal
Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Stirfry over Brown Rice
Hamburger Vegetable Soup (recipe coming in January!)
Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
Macaroni & Cheese
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

Hamburger Vegetable Soup — I’ll be posting the recipe in January.

The Pioneer Woman’s Beans, Pico de Gallo and The Best Cornbread Ever (I’ve been searching high and low for a fabulous cornbread recipe and I think I’ve finally found it. I’ll share it in January!)
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes, Cooked Veggies, Flat Apple Pie
Hamburger Vegetable Soup, Whole-Wheat Popovers, Raw Veggies and Fruit
Beef Hot Dogs, Cooked Peas, Baked Potatoes
Marinated Chicken over Lettuce with Pico de Gallo and Cheese
Finger Foods for New Year’s Eve (We’re celebrating with friends and family and bringing finger foods and goodies to share!)
Dinner Out

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  • Lisa says:

    That’s funny you mentioned your flop! I can’t find a good crockpot recipe either!!! When and if you find one please share!!

  • Lisa says:

    That’s funny you mentioned your flop! I can’t find a good crockpot recipe either!!! When and if you find one please share!!

  • Kelli says:

    Did you use steelcut or Irish oatmeal? It’s much heartier than Quaker and just might stand up to a night in the crockpot!

  • Bri says:

    I found a great crockpot oatmeal recipe using steel cut oats on…
    1 cup steel cut oats
    2 cups water
    2 1/2 cups milk
    cook on low 8-9 hours
    *I read of some people only cooking theirs on the warm setting which i like too…..actually I’ve found it best to cook on high for about an hour or 2 and then before I go to bed, turn it to the warm setting for the rest of the night. Cooking it only on the warm setting leaves the oatmeal a little crunchy which isn’t my preference and cooking it on the low setting makes it sooo thick and very difficult to clean the crock pot afterwards. But I’m sure all crockpots are different.
    But honestly either way it’s still very tasty and we all love it and devour it no matter how it’s been cooked.

  • Kelly says:

    Try steel-cut oats – they can withstand the longer cooking time without getting mushy. I found this recipe someone might want to try:

    2 c steel cut oats, rinsed
    1 12 oz can ff evap. milk
    1 15 oz can pumpkin
    5.5 c water
    1 c splenda
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1/4 c sf maple syrup (0 pt)

    Just put it all in the crockpot, mix until no chunks of pumpkin left. Cook on low for 8 hours.

  • Andrea says:

    Alton Brown once did a special on bain marie oatmeal…and I distinctly remember him addressing this very issue. Search on under his show, Good Eats, and I bet you’ll find it. It might even be on Hulu or YouTube as well. 🙂

  • LOL, did you get the same cookbook I did for Christmas? I love The Pioneer Woman cookbook! I made the homefried potatoes and the biscuits for Christmas morning breakfast. YUM

  • Amy V. says:

    We use this recipe several times a week–it’s perfect, and soooo yummy!

  • Christina says:

    Just happened to see this in my FB feed and wondered if you had tried it?

  • I’m so ecited about this! Meal planning is one of my goals this coming year, so it’s going to really help me. Thank you!

  • Melinda says:

    Do your kids eat the meals you have planned? The tuna fish sandwiches and lentil soup? Do you have any advice on getting them to eat it?

    • sharlene says:

      @Melinda, As silly as it sounds, I get my 2 year old to eat a lot of things tuna fish, kidney beans, brussel sprouts, by not giving him any, but eating it in front of him and not offering him any. He usually will ask to have some without any prompting. I don’t push or show any interest in whether or not he eats it. It doesn’t work all the time, but often enough.
      The other thing I let him do is put ketchup on anything he wants. As my grandmother reminded me “you don’t have to eat it so get over it” I still cringe when he dips grapes in though.

    • Laura says:


      I got my son to eat a few things using the power of ketchup or telling him to not eat it he can starve (I know it sounds harsh) but it works he’ll tell me I think I’ll taste it first. I also got him eating mushrooms by telling him super mario uses it to grow maybe it works on kids too omg now he loves mushrooms.

  • Melinda says:

    I also have tried Pioneer woman’s bacon wrapped meatloaf and it freezes really well. Our family only eats about 1/2 of that recipe so I double the recipe and freeze a few. 🙂

  • I am in total agreement, The Pioneer Woman has the best recipes and I love her website!

  • Teri Capshaw says:

    Steelcut oats seem to be the best bet for slow cooker oatmeal. Hopefully I’ll actually measure the ingredients I use for the recipe I made up a while back and get it on my blog. One of these days.

    Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that it works great to make a big batch of steelcut oats on the stovetop. You can then refrigerate the extra to be reheated in the microwave later. The cereal stays good for several days this way.

  • Jenn says:

    Thanks for sharing your menus and recipes!
    Looking forward to MORE 🙂

  • Jada says:

    Crystal, I saw you were making a Lentil Soup. our family eats LOTS of lentils. We weren’t raised on them (dh or myself), but we eat a lot now. I have a Lentil Chili on my blog that I make over and over again.

    The kids love it, as it is sort of like a typical chili, but has a sweetness to it from the cinnamon and the molasses.

    If you try it, I hope you enjoy!


  • Elise says:

    The only oatmeal that ever works in a slow cooker are steel cut oats. They are less processed and require the longer cooking time. Anything else will turn to glue in the crockpot.
    We are huge crockpot oatmeal folks — I’m loving the double crockpot (two sides in one crockpot) that I got for Christmas. I made steel cut oats in one side and applesauce in the other side (from the many fruit baskets we received for Christmas). Yummy!!

  • Morgana says:

    I see others have already suggested it: Steel cut oats or groats are the secret to a good crockpot oatmeal.

    I actually use my tiny dip sized crockpot for this
    1 cup groats
    1/4 cup pearl barley
    2 cups milk or cream
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    pinch salt
    dried fruit

    Rinse your groats/barley in cold water and drain well. Add all the ingredients and let cook overnight. It makes the yummiest oatmeal.

  • Heidi says:

    That is so funny, ya’ll I requested the “Pioneer Woman Cookbook” for Christmas as well. We did the beans/cornbread not too long ago, and I love to pair it with “Southern fried cabbage”. Oh man, I love that stuff! Here is a recipe if anyone is interested. It is not an actual recipe, just one of the many cooking methods I learned from some Grandmothers who grew up in the south.

    “Southern Fried Cabbage”
    Fry bacon, and leave the grease (of course, lol in true Pioneer woman fashion) in a frying pan or cast iron skillet
    Remove Bacon, and add pieced cabbage to the pan. (or cast iron skillet)
    Add some more bacon grease if you have any on hand, about a TBSP, and then some cooking oil of your choosing. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes, then cover and reduce heat cooking until cabbage is tender. You may need to stir every now and then just to make sure cabbage doesn’t stick. Drain grease (yes I did say drain the grease although you don’t have to haha), and crumble bacon over the top.

    It is the best!

    Thought I’d share, love this blog, can’t get enough!

  • Maria says:

    Great menu! Yay for menu planning! I have a food blog, if you ever need to “steal” some ideas:) Happy New Year!

  • Misty says:

    If you really want oatmeal flakes instead of steel cut oats, I often measure out the oatmeal, water, bit of salt, and cinnamon, into a pot on the stove. I also add a little wheat flour and yogurt and let it soak overnight, which helps break down the phytic acid and make the oats much more digestible.

    Then in the morning, they only need to be cooked for 5 or so minutes. The less you stir them, the more flaked they will stay, instead of so mushy.

  • Laurie says:

    I’m so glad you’ll be posting your menu again Crystal! I loved when you used to post it – it got me thinking menu planning at our house too 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    I was just thinking the other day how I have missed seeing recipes and meal plans on your site. I’m excited that you’re bringing them back!

  • nancy l. says:

    I’m looking forward to the cinnamon scone recipe. I just tried the whole wheat pumpkin scones recipe and it was a hit here!! Would you also consider posting the banana chocolate chip oatmeal muffin recipe please? My sons would love that too. Thanks!!

  • Julie Zilkie says:

    The most simple recipe for Crockpot Oats…we eat it twice a week, and I can put it together in less than 2 MINUTES!!
    1 cup steel cut oats
    2 cups water
    2 cups milk

    cook on lowest setting or even keep warm over night! You can also add a 1/2 can of pumpkin for extra nutrition!

  • Aimee says:

    I’m so excited you’ll be sharing your weekly meal plans! Can’t wait for the cinnamon scone recipe and would also love the Middle Eastern Lentil Soup recipe. You know what would go really great with the chicken, lettuce and pico de gallo? Homemade tortillas!! 😉 I finally got a tortilla press for Christmas so I’m looking forward to making them often now that the most time consuming part will be done for me!

  • Shantique says:

    I have not done this myself but just saw this on the babycenter blog. Sadly, nobody else in my family likes oatmeal like I do!

  • Lexis says:

    My kids don’t have to eat anything I cook, but if they don’t, the only thing they get to eat instead is a plain peanut butter sandwich. They usually prefer what I prepared!

    • Brandy says:

      @Lexis, My son would choose peanut butter every single time if I gave him this option! He adores peanut butter and asks for a peanut butter sandwich at every meal. I do usually give it to him 2 or 3 of the 7 lunches a week though.

    • Amy V. says:

      @Adrienne, I agree! I don’t know what I like more about this receipe–eating the oatmeal in the morning or the easy, non-soaking, non-crusty cleanup of the bowl inside the crock pot after essentially turning the crock pot into a double boiler.

  • Marie says:

    Here is a crock-pot oatmeal recipe from “A Busy Mom’s Crockpot Cooking Adventures”

    Berry Oatmeal

    1 cup Steel Oats (found in the same place as regular oatmeal)
    1 cup Craisins
    1 cup dried blueberries
    4 cups water
    1/2 cup milk (I used 2% lactose-free)
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. cinnamon

    Place all ingredients in Crock Pot liner and stir.
    Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or HIGH for 5-6.

  • Leslie says:

    Here’s a recipe I have used successfully:
    1 1/2 c. steel cut oats
    6 c. water
    2-3 tbsp. sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp. almond extract (I omit this.)
    1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Mix well, cover, and cook on low 8 hours (overnight). Add fruit, nuts, wheat germ, etc. to oatmeal before eating.

  • Desiree Marts says:

    Have you tried cold oatmeal that sits in the fridge over night?
    I am German so I make my own “Muesli”. Just mix oatmeal with a bit of flax seed, sunflower seeds, any nuts you like with milk and maybe sweeten it with a couple of table spoons of honey. Cover and keep in fridge until morning. You can add your own fruit or dried berries (and I often add more milk) just before serving. I usually don’t eat it warm, but I am sure you could heat it up as well.

  • Meagan says:

    Those scones look SOOOOO very good!!! The picture is totally drool worthy. Can’t wait for the recipe! 🙂

  • jessica says:

    I also do my steel cut oats in the crock pot and use a timer (like what you put on your lights when you’re on vacation) on my crockpot to turn on at midnight.
    4 cups water per 1 cup of steel cut oats. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir well before serving. Add fresh berries or eat plain! No sugar needed.
    Super yummy!!!

  • Katie says:

    Oh, I love crock pot oatmeal. I have an awesome apple oatmeal recipe that I make all of the time. It is healthy and very delicious!

  • Roxanne says:

    Try using steel cut oats instead of rolled oats in your crockpot. They will take longer to cook, but don’t turn mushy when cooked for long periods. Rather, they stay chewy but get creamier as time passes. They also reheat extremely well.

  • tamela penninger says:

    where do you purchase the steel oats at?

    • stephanie says:

      @tamela penninger,
      You can get them at pretty much any supermarket or natural foods store. Bob’s red mill is one brand (check on amazon or their website as well). You might have to ask one of the stock-persons depending on how your market is set up. I have found them in the baking isle, breakfast food isle or natural/health food isle. However, I have gotten them at much better prices at bulk food stores. Several of our fruit markets have them as well. Happy shopping. They are very yummy!

  • Marlene says:

    We don’t do oatmeal in the crockpot; I make muesli instead.

    2 C rolled oats
    1/2 c to 1 C milk (to make it more or less crunchy/chewy)
    1 – 2 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
    Cinnamon to taste and a pinch of salt
    Optional add-ins, like sliced almonds, pecans, raisins, craisins, chopped up oranges, whatever.

    That’s it!

    Mix it all together and refrigerate overnight. We love this – my kids can never get enough of it! So easy to put together and a breeze to serve in the morning. I love muesli; it’s easy, healthy, and completely affordable! Five minutes of prep the night before and breakfast is ready in the morning.

  • Aileen says:

    I have never tried crockpot oatmeal but the baked oatmeal recipe from joy in my kitchen is amazing! Even my “not a breakfast person” husband loves it. I mix up the wet and dry ingredients (but don’t combine them) the night before then just combine and bake in morning. So easy and almost like eating a big soft oatmeal cookie!

  • Sumiko Clark says:

    Here’s my recipe for super delicious crockpot steel-cut oats (from the WinCo bulk bins, of course): My boys eat it plain!

  • Angela says:

    I use steel cut oats in my cockpot instead of regular oatmeal with sugar and fruit and definately made with milk. I also set the crockpot on warm instead of low. Even with long cooking steel cut oats and setting at 10 p.m. they come out very much done.

  • Stephanie says:

    We use the overnight oatmeal recipe from Whole Foods Market. Instead of the crockpot, it is made in the fridge, and we just dress it with our favorite things (sliced almonds, specialty sugars, berries, whatever strikes our fancy) and then place it in the microwave to warm.
    It is a wonderful, healthy breakfast for families on the go!

  • Evelyn says:

    That hamburger soup looks good!

  • LoriAnn says:

    UGH! I want the CINNAMON SCONES recipe now! I’m trapped at home and these look FANTASTIC!

  • Brenda says:

    I am so glad you are bringing back some old favorites. This is why I started reading your blog several years ago. Yeah!

  • Danielle says:

    I LOVE oatmeal but couldn’t find a crock pot recipe that I liked. It didn’t matter what kind of oats I used. Goop… that is a good word;-) I did a lot of reading on the topic and it is the starch that makes it that way. I use this recipe

    I made it the way this review suggested…

    GOOD IDEA, BUT RESCUE THIS RECIPE LIKE SO: The idea for this recipe was almost certainly gleaned from a bed & breakfast cookbook, the idea being that B&B owners are very busy in the morning, so they do as much prep the night before as they can. You can still accomplish the convenience, however, without the awful (think wallpaper paste) texture of crock-pot cooked oatmeal, and still avoid having much to do or clean up in the morning. Here’s how: THE NIGHT BEFORE: toss together the following, and store in an airtight bowl in the fridge: sugar, spices, salt, cut up butter, cut up apples, cranberries (I substituted raisins), and nuts (I used slivered almonds). IN THE MORNING: put 2 1/2 cups water and the bowl full of sugar/fruit into a large pot and bring to a boil. Forget all that juice–too sweet! Notice that the total liquids is significantly reduced from the original recipe, because it’s not sitting all night in a crock pot, getting “pasty”. When it just begins to boil, add 2 cups regular rolled oats and cook 5 minutes. Done! All you had to do in the morning was combine pre-prepared ingredients and cook 5 minutes. You get delicious gourmet oatmeal without the “yucky” texture, and your kitchen is still clean in the morning because you did all the prep and clean-up the night before. One more tip, for those looking for home-made breakfasts without the chaos and mess (and time!) in the mornings: You can make pretty much anything the night before and just bake, cook,

    … perfect!!! It takes only a few minutes in the morning! My family of 8 loves it!

  • Cora-Sue says:

    well,it may not be home made,but the best cornbread I have ate,is Jiffy cornmuffin mix..It’s just as good cold with a big slab of butter on it as it is hot.And cheap!!!!

  • Kristy says:

    Wow, you really have my mouth watering with those scones! Can’t wait for that recipe!

  • Laura says:

    those scones look super yummy cant wait for the recipe

  • There are three recipes from the Pioneer woman that my family goes ga-ga for: Rancher Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Pecan Pie.
    My husband proposed to me all over again because of that pie and that chicken. ( :

  • Kelley says:

    glad you’re bringing the menus back but I must say that with boys 10,12 and 14….alo of it doesn’t work for me….growing boys eat LOTS and would look at me with a strange face if said orange poppyseed cake for breakfast or mac & cheese for lunch(like what else are we having???) and BTW, there are NEVER any leftovers at our house….LOL

    • Crystal says:

      My menus probably won’t work for you or most people, but I share them to hopefully serve as an inspiration — and to help keep me accountable! My mantra is to learn from others and than do what works for you and your situation.

      Your boys actually might like the Poppyseed Cake — my brothers would, at least. It’s much yummier than it might sound. 🙂

      Add some beef in with the Mac & Cheese and I bet your boys would eat it, too! By the way, we have plenty of sides with our meals, I just haven’t been planning them out ahead of time for most meals so I didn’t post those.

  • Cheryl says:

    There were lots of recipes using steel-cut oats, and that can work well. But I have found that whole oats are also wonderful, and much better if you’re watching your blood sugars. The less you do to a grain, the less it will spike your blood sugar. The ratio is 3:1 (3 parts water to 1 part whole oats). I have a 1 1/2 qt. crock pot (small) that I got at Wally World for $10. I use an outlet timer, and set it to come on at 1am, and oats are ready at 6am (on low). I never add anything else to the crock pot, just water and oats. Everything else is added when it’s finished. Delicious, nutritious, filling, and so easy.

  • AllieZirkle says:

    Crystal, the trick is to leave it on warm all night. It cooks at 175*-200*. In the morning, check the liquid, add milk or water if it needs, and click to high for an hour.

    I use my rice cooker and it works great too! Last night I sprayed the interior with nonstick spray, measured in 3 C Oats (I prefer steel cut) and 6 C water and 1 T vanilla. I leave plugged in on the ‘warm’ setting. In the morning, I mix in 1 C milk and ground flax and click on to ‘cook’. It heats up for only a few additional minutes. (This morning, I mixed in 1 C smooth PB & 1.5 C milk and served with mini chocolate chips on top! The kids LOVE an extra splash of milk too.)

    I love the rice cooker method the best. It also works fine in the morning, just toss everything in and click to cook. In 20 minutes, it’ll be ready. The steel oats taste better if they’ve soaked over night on warm. The old fashioned oats taste better if they’ve been cooked in the morning.

    🙂 Allie

    • AllieZirkle says:

      @AllieZirkle, PS- I’m excited to hear about your 2011 goals and bringing back the meal plan. I love your simple dishes and they encourage me to keep it simple too.

      🙂 Allie

    • Crystal says:

      THANK YOU for these fabulous tips! I think my problem has been not using steel cut oats. Excited to try it!

      Oh, and I *love* the chocolate chips idea; my kids will go bananas over that!

  • Lana says:

    I saw steel cut oats at my Aldi last week! One thing I have not seen mentioned but have not tried myself is to put the oats in a heat proof bowl and put that in the crock with water around it so it cooks in a water bath. I think maybe the biggest bebfit would be that the bowl could fit easily in the dishwasher to lessen the cleanup.

  • Risha says:

    My SIL sent me this recipe a while back. I haven’t tried it, but she did and declared it to be very yummy.

  • jessica says:

    what is your poppy seed recipe?? i would love to try it:)
    thank you i have missed this post!

  • Lisa O Shea says:

    When you post the scones recipes, if you know will you state the adjustments for us high up here in Canada please!they look delish!!

  • Angie says:

    I don’t know if any already posted it but i have found alot of her recipes to be delicious

  • I get my steel cut oats at Aldi as well. They are a smaller container than the regular oats, but worth it.

    I alway keep a batch of homemade instant oatmeal on hand for fast mornings, but I really prefer the slow cooked kind. I make a big pot on the stove and then set up a chip and dip tray for toppings. See here for a a photo and topping ideas…

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