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Mexican Street Corn

One of the challenges with my kids is finding vegetables that everyone will eat without complaint. It’s not always possible to please everyone but I try to please at least a couple of them with each dinner. The others just have to deal with it. One vegetable that all my kids agree on is corn but I get bored with the same old corn, which is how this Mexican Street Corn happened!

Ingredients:
6 ears of corn, cooked
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp mayo
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 Tbsp lime juice

Directions:
1. Mix together the mayo and garlic powder.
2. Brush over cooked corn.
3. Roll the corn in the feta cheese, pressing down lightly to coat.
4. Sprinkle with chili powder.
5. Drizzle with lime juice.

Mexican Street Corn
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Ingredients
  1. 6 ears of corn, cooked
  2. 1/2 tsp chili powder
  3. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  4. 3 Tbsp mayo
  5. 1/2 cup feta cheese
  6. 1 Tbsp lime juice
Instructions
  1. Mix together the mayo and garlic powder.
  2. Brush over cooked corn.
  3. Roll the corn in the feta cheese, pressing down lightly to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder.
  5. Drizzle with lime juice.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/



Meal Prep & Planning 101: How I Meal Prep

Last week I shared my meal planning process with you. This week I want to share how I meal prep. I split my meal prep into two different days. I do all my produce and fruit prep on Friday mornings after I grocery shop on Thursdays. I do everything else that requires cooking on Sunday mornings. I used to do it all on Sunday’s but it’s football season now and I’m going to be parked on my couch watching football at 1pm on Sundays. It’s tradition. 

First, let’s talk about the produce and fruit prep. I try to buy the vegetables and fruit that are in season to keep the costs down and I almost always buy the weekly specials at ALDI. The kids take at least one fruit every day for lunch and they also like to eat them as snacks so I do buy a wide variety of fruits. This past week I bought strawberries, blueberries, pears, clementines, plums, red and green apples, and red grapes. For our dinner prep, I bought brussel sprouts, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and green beans. 

 

I bought these amazing containers to help extend the freshness of our produce. I got tired of throwing away fruit and vegetables that went bad after a few days because the kids didn’t eat it fast enough. I found some on sale at ALDI for $5.99 and I bought the rest on Amazon. I bought the small size to hold berries, baby carrots, cucumbers, etc. and I bought the large size to hold dinner vegetables and larger quantities of fruits. I can’t believe how much longer our fruits and vegetables last now! Every Friday morning I wash the fruits and vegetables that need washing, slice the ones that need slicing, and put them into containers. I have a drawer dedicated to fruit in my fridge for the stuff that doesn’t need a container such as pears, apples, clementines, plums, peaches, etc. It only takes me half an hour at most. 

On Sunday mornings I get up early to get my weekly prep done. I tend to make similar things every week so it doesn’t take as long now that I have a routine. This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of white cheddar shells, a large container of Big Mac Sloppy Joe meat, a large container of Italian pasta salad, a large container of tossed salad, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 36 Bacon cheeseburger puffs.

Pro Tip: Use one pot to make all the pastas to save on dishes. I make all my pasta dishes back to back with the exception of the spaghetti because it gets made in the Instant Pot. First I boil the noodles for the pasta salad. While the noodles are boiling I cut the vegetables so when the noodles are done I can drain them and pour them immediately into a container where I mix all the other ingredients. I start more water boiling in the same pot for the macaroni and cheese. When the macaroni noodles are done boiling I drain them and pour them into a container where I’ll add the butter, milk, and cheeses to mix so the main pot doesn’t get dirty. Then I can go ahead and start the water boiling for the white cheddar shells and I repeat the same process. After the pasta dishes are done I use the same pot to cook the ground beef. I normally cook 3lbs of ground beef every week. One pound goes into the spaghetti and the other 2 pounds get turned into taco meat or Big Mac Sloppy Joe meat.

The kids eat on the dishes I prep all week long for lunches and for snacks after school or our Find Your Own/Fridge Clean Out dinner nights. I’ve found that this is a really cost effective way to feed my kids. First, having ready made foods they like in the fridge makes them less likely to try and eat the lunch snacks. Second, making everything instead of buying pre-made convenience items is way cheaper. It costs me approximately $4.80 to make a very large container of spaghetti that lasts 4-5 days. And I sneak more vegetables into the spaghetti so it’s healthier than frozen hot pockets and pizza rolls. 

It makes me happy to see my fridge stocked with healthy and easy options for the kids to eat during the week. A little bit of effort on my part has made such a difference in our household. The kids are in much better moods in the early evenings because they can eat a substantial snack when they get home that holds them over until dinner. We typically don’t eat dinner until 6:30-7 so a good snack is vital to the mood stability in my house. Hungry tweens and teens are a bad bad idea.

I don’t place restrictions on the prepped food. If one of my kids is hungry at 9pm then they know it’s perfectly fine for them to come get a bowl of spaghetti or macaroni and cheese. One of mine doesn’t eat breakfast because it hurts her stomach. So she takes an extra snack to school and will eat a large bowl of one of the pasta dishes as soon as she gets home from school. We don’t participate in the clean plate club at our house. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to eat. I require the kids to take at least 2 decent sized bites of whatever vegetable I serve that night but I never force them to clean their plates. Teaching healthy eating habits is important to me because I’ve always had a very complicated relationship with food and I don’t want my kids to follow down that path.

Come back next week to read the first post in my Lunch Prep and Planning series! 



Meal Prep Monday {9.16.19}

 Each Monday I share a weekly menu plan and what I’m prepping for the week. I plan 4 dinners a week, we have 2 leftover/Fridge clean out nights, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday nights. My kids take lunch to school 5 days a week. You can read more about my meal planning and prep HERE. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who needs some dinner or lunch inspiration and don’t forget to pin on Pinterest for later! 

Dinner #1:

Honey Glazed Baked Chicken Legs, Cheesy Garlic Roasted Asparagus, Baked Potatoes

Dinner #2:

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Yellow Rice, Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Dinner #3:

Brown Sugar Dijon Glazed Pork Loin, Sweet Potato Slices, Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #4:

Lasagna Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Butter Herb Rice, Corn on Cob

 

Each week I prep all the produce and fruits ahead of time for the week. I also stock the lunch prep fridge and pantry for the kids’ lunches. I have specific containers that I use for food prep that are designed to maximize the life of the produce which helps when I only shop once a week. You can read more about my process and see pictures of my fridges HERE

This week for the meal produce I transferred the fresh Corn on Cob, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Asparagus to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, blueberries, green grapes, clementines, and peaches. I added baby carrots, cut celery, and mini cucumbers as well for lunches.

This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of taco meat, a large container of Greek pasta salad, a large container of Teriyaki chicken and rice, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 24 baked ham and cheese pinwheels. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been on a mission to completely revamp the way I feed my family. I’ve switched from quick and easy thrown together casseroles to dinners that include a fresh meat, side, and a fresh vegetable. It’s been quite a change and everyone has really enjoyed the new recipes. These Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts were one of the very first new recipes I tried. Everyone loved them- even my pickiest eater who shuns anything green ate every single bite! That’s a win in my house!

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp mayo
1.5 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:
1. Place chicken breasts on cutting board and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Add paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder and onion powder to small bowl and mix.
3. Sprinkle evenly on both sides of chicken.
4. Use sharp knife to cut pocket into each chicken breast.
5. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, mayo, spinach, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt to medium bowl and stir to combine.
6. Spoon spinach mixture into chicken pockets evenly.
7. Place chicken breasts in sprayed baking dish.
8. Bake uncovered at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
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Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken breasts
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp paprika
  4. 1 tsp salt, divided
  5. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  6. 1/4 tsp onion powder
  7. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  8. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  9. 2 Tbsp mayo
  10. 1.5 cups chopped fresh spinach
  11. 1 tsp minced garlic
  12. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts on cutting board and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Add paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder and onion powder to small bowl and mix.
  3. Sprinkle evenly on both sides of chicken.
  4. Use sharp knife to cut pocket into each chicken breast.
  5. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, mayo, spinach, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt to medium bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Spoon spinach mixture into chicken pockets evenly.
  7. Place chicken breasts in sprayed baking dish.
  8. Bake uncovered at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/



Meal Prep & Planning 101: How I Meal Plan

If you missed the introduction to this series you can catch up HERE. Today I want to give you a glimpse into how I do my meal planning and the tools I use to make it easier. I have a limited amount of time to get everything checked off my to-list each day and I have my meal planning streamlined into a very simple process. 

First, there are 4 iOS apps I use religiously to do my meal planning. I’m not sure of their availability on Android but they have really helped me turn a dreaded task into something I can get done in 20 minutes. 

  • Artful Agenda– I use this app for pretty much everything in my life. It’s a digital planner app and my entire life would fall apart without it. I’m not exaggerating. I use the app on my iPhone and I also use the desktop version. It holds my calendar (I have all our calendars synced to it), my weekly menu plan, my to-do lists for the house, family, PTO, and blog, and everything is color coded. I love it. I do pay a $3.99 per month subscription fee but it’s worth so much more than that. I’ll have an in-depth post coming soon about all the amazing features Artful Agenda offers. For the purpose of this post- this is where I do my meal planning. 
  • Flipp– this is the app where I see all the grocery store sales ads in one place. You can set your favorite stores and it will give you the sales ad the day it comes available and for some stores (such as Aldi) it gives you the preview for the next week. This is the only sales app I use and I check it before making my dinner and lunch plans for the week. I build my menu around the meats, vegetables, and fruits that are on sale each week. The app is free. 
  • Shopping List Ease– this is my holy grail of shopping list apps. I have 4 different shopping lists- one for Walmart, ALDI, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Each app lets me save my frequently purchased items from that store along with the price and I can save each item according to aisle or category. It’s so easy to scroll through my saved items each week and choose the items I need to refill. Being able to see my running total at the top lets me adjust my menu as needed to fit into my weekly budget. This app is also free.
  • Recipe Keeper– I keep all of my recipes in this app. I paid a one-time fee of $4.99 for the upgraded unlimited version and it was worth every single penny. I can customize categories and add sub-categories to keep my recipes organized. For example, my main categories include Appetizers, Breakfast, Dessert & Snacks, Main Dish, Side Dish, and Vegetables. Each main category is broken down into sub-categories. For example, the main dish category has 11 sub-categories including Beef, Casserole, Chicken, Fish, Pasta, Pork, Salad, Sauces, Sheet Pan, Soup, and Subs & Sandwiches. This organization is essential to fast and easy meal planning for me. 

Next I want to share the exact steps I take to do my weekly meal planning. I promise it’s very easy and anybody can do it! I do my meal planning and make my grocery lists on Wednesday’s because that’s when the new ad circular’s come out for ALDI. I do the bulk of my shopping at ALDI so I use their sale schedule to plan my week. 

Step One- First thing I do on Wednesday is check the ALDI and Walmart weekly ads. I check to see if any of my weekly staples are on special first and add them to my shopping lists with the sale price.  Next I check to see what fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit are on special for the week and start planning my 4 dinners around the sales. 

Step Two- This is where I actually plan our 4 dinners. On my Artful Agenda app I pull up the weekly meal plan. I know for sure we’re going to do Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday night so I fill it in right away. Next I check our weekly calendar to see which nights are the busiest and make those our 2 leftover/fridge clean out nights. I’m left with 4 nights to plan dinners. If chicken thighs are on sale I know that I will be cooking chicken thighs one night so I use my Recipe Keeper app to look at all of my chicken recipes. Once I’ve chosen the one I want to make I add it to the meal plan. I always add my main meat dish to the meal plan first and then add the sides that complement the main dish the best. This process really only takes me about 5 minutes now that I have the system down. 

Step Three- After my weekly meal plan is set I add all the ingredients I need to buy to my grocery lists. I fill in all the regular staples that I need to refill and I always double check the pantry, fridges, and freezers to be sure I’m not buying stuff we don’t need that week (unless it’s on sale and I’m stocking up). 

Some Notes: 

  • I add new recipes to my app every week. If I find a recipe I want to try I add it immediately so it doesn’t get lost. If we don’t like it then I just delete it or adapt the ingredients to our liking. 
  • I find recipes everywhere- Pinterest, blogs, old cookbooks, Facebook…they’re everywhere!
  • I try to vary the meats I cook so we don’t eat chicken 4 nights a week. I typically do chicken, pork, salmon, and either tilpaia or ground beef.
  • For our side dishes I usually try to do a starch- potatoes in some form, rice, homemade stuffing, pasta, etc. and then a fresh vegetable. 
  • I try to choose recipes that use ingredients I already have on hand. If I’m making a recipe that requires me to buy several ingredients I make sure the other 3 recipes don’t require me to buy anything except the meat. This helps keep the costs down. 
  • I do attempt to make at least 1-2 new recipes per week but I choose recipes that don’t require exotic or unusual ingredients that I won’t use again. 

Next week I’ll be sharing more on how I stock the pantry for our lunch prep! I have over a month’s worth of posts planned solely focused on meal planning and prep and lunch planning and prep!