This Week’s Menu Plan: September 26 – October 2

menu template

 

I’m happy to report that last week all of the meals I had planned got made! Now that’s progress! How did you do? Did you try any new recipes that were a hit?

Here’s the plan for September 26 – October 2, 2016:

Breakfasts:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter toast and apples
  • Waffles/cereal

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Smoothies
  • Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Dinner:

Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Oatmeal Pancakes, bacon
Wednesday: Hashay
Thursday: Sausage & Potato Bake
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Snack Party plate
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

What’s on your menu this week? Let up know in the comments!

This Week’s Menu Plan: September 19 – 25

menu template

You guys, I bombed last week’s menu plan. I think the only thing that got made from the list was tacos and that wasn’t even the recipe I linked to last week! (I found some precooked taco meat in the freezer, yay!) Other than that, we ordered Domino’s pizza, I made a bourbon chicken in the slow cooker, we had a “snack party” plate another night and the rest must have been leftovers.

At least we were fed, right? Ha!

 

Since most of the meals never got made last week, I’m just going to roll them over to this week. 😉

Here’s the plan for September 19 – 25, 2016:

Breakfasts:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter toast and apples
  • Waffles

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Smoothies
  • Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Dinner:

MondayOatmeal Pancakes, bacon
Tuesday: Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos 
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies
ThursdayFettuccine Alfredo, carrots
FridayBalsamic Beef Roast, mashed potatoes, veggies
Saturday: Out for our anniversary (yes, we didn’t even do this last week!)
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

What’s on your menu this week? Let up know in the comments!

Turn Jar Pasta Sauce into Homemade Sauce

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!
Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!
Making homemade pasta sauce does not have to be difficult. Especially if you “cheat” a little by using store bought jar sauce along with some other fabulous ingredients. That’s how my dad does it and it’s always delicious! I’m here today to give away his secrets so that you can turn a jar of store bought pasta sauce into a mouthwatering “homemade” pasta sauce.

Here’s how to turn jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps:

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 jars pasta sauce – I like the “plain” ones with only basil added best.
  • 1 lb cooked ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini – optional, but I like to add because it adds some veggies in “disguise”
  • 1 large carrot – shredded
  • 1 can mushrooms – optional
  • 1/2 an onion – chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cook ground beef and chopped onion together in a large pot until meat is cooked through.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots while beef is cooking.
  3. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, sauce, dressing and spices to the cooked ground beef.
  4. Stir together.
  5. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve over spaghetti noodles (or any pasta you like) or use in other dishes like lasagna. I usually like to freeze half of this batch for later use as a quick and easy meal. Bonus!
Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!
Homemade Pasta Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 2 jars pasta sauce - I like the "plain" ones with only basil added best
  • 1 lb cooked ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini - optional, but I like to add because it adds some veggies in "disguise"
  • 1 large carrot - shredded
  • 1 can mushrooms - optional
  • ½ an onion - chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
Instructions
  1. Cook ground beef and chopped onion together in a large pot until meat is cooked through.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots while beef is cooking.
  3. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, sauce, dressing and spices to the cooked ground beef.
  4. Stir together.
  5. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

This Week’s Menu Plan: September 12 – 18

menu template

Well that was a whirl wind week! How about yours? My daughter started back to preschool and she’s now taking a ballet class once a week. Nothing out of the ordinary but I guess I did get used to having a more laid back summer! This coming week will be pretty much the same with school, dance and my husband’s last soccer game of the season. (I’m realizing that I may need to carve out a wee bit of time for something I would enjoy doing! We’ll see.)

Since I’m still learning how to juggle a newish baby, getting my daughter places, new routines and whatnot, I’m planning simple meals this week.

Here’s the plan for September 5 – 11, 2016:

Breakfasts:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter toast and apples
  • Waffles

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Smoothies
  • Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Dinner:

MondayBalsamic Beef Roast, mashed potatoes, veggies
Tuesday: Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos 
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies
ThursdayFettuccine Alfredo, carrots
FridayOatmeal Pancakes, bacon
Saturday: Out for our anniversary
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

This Week’s Menu Plan: September 5 – 11

menu template

How on earth did we hit the end of summer vacation already? It just zipped by! We’re enjoying the long weekend by just spending time together and hitting up a nearby fair. It was the first time my oldest daughter has been and she had a blast!

Also, soup weather has hit! That makes me sort of giddy, because I love soup! There will be a couple of soups on the menu because of that fact. 🙂

Here’s the plan for September 5 – 11, 2016:

Breakfasts:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter toast and apples
  • Waffles

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Smoothies
  • Grilled Cheese

Dinner:

Monday: Dinner at my parents (because we missed yesterday)
TuesdayZuppa Toscana
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies
Thursday: Potato Soup (from Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes), buns
Friday: Pizza (either this dough recipe or on Pita bread with pepperoni or ham)
Saturday: Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos 
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Smooth, velvety, and lick your lips delicious, this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce is the perfect topping for ice cream. You’ll never buy store bought hot fudge again! 

Smooth, velvety, and lick your lips delicious, this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce is the perfect topping for ice cream. You'll never buy store bought hot fudge again!

This recipe is my husband’s personal favorite. He loves hot fudge sauce!  He’s even convinced me on several occasions to get hot fudge instead of my usual caramel when we stop at Dairy Queen or McDonald’s for an ice cream treat.

This hot fudge sauce is so easy to whip together and once you make, you will never go back to store bought!  You can use it immediately or store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. (Heat it in the microwave before serving).

Here’s how to make homemade hot fudge sauce:

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate chips by heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds then stirring and microwaving again until chocolate is melted.
  2. Transfer to a sauce pan over low heat and add butter, salt and sugar.
  3. Add cream in small amounts until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Stir frequently until heated, but not boiling.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Prefer Caramel Sauce? Check out my two ingredient Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce recipe here!

I’ad love to know what flavor of ice cream is your favourite? How about your favourite Sundae topping?

7 Foods Perfect for Packing in Thermoses

Back to school season means it is time for back to school lunches! While you might think this means a year of sandwiches and prepackaged foods, think again. Thermoses are a great investment and perfect for adding flavor and variety to back to school lunches. Take a look below at 7 foods perfect for packing in thermoses so your child can enjoy a lunch that is fun, fueling, and healthy!

7 Foods Perfect for Packing in Thermoses:

Thermoses are a great investment and perfect for adding flavor and variety to back to school lunches. Take a look at these 7 foods perfect for packing in thermoses so your child can enjoy a lunch that is fun, fueling, and healthy!

1. Hot dogs.

Hot dogs store nicely in thermoses. Just add some hot water along with the cooked hot dogs and close tightly. They will say warm and be ready to add to a bun with all the toppings you want. This is also when those carry out condiments come in hand.

2. Pasta dishes.

You can add all sorts of pasta dishes to thermoses including Ramen noodles, spaghetti, ravioli, and alphabet noodles in broth. Add leftover dinner pasta or boil some pasta the night before so you just have to heat before adding to the thermos. Don’t forget a side of bread and butter and mini salad or some veggies to make the perfect lunch.

3. Soups and stews.

This is the perfect winter time lunch! Thermoses are great for chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, leftover stews, chili, and more. Just heat it and add it to the thermos for best results. Add crackers or a sandwich or even a mini fruit salad and you’re all set.

4. Meatballs.

Meatballs are a savory dish that kids will love. Heat frozen meatballs up and add them to the thermos, or heat meatballs from the previous night’s dinner. They pair well with pasta or pack some bread for a meatball sandwich. It’s a filling lunch sure to keep the kids going. Add a small side salad or some fruit to round out the perfect lunch.

5. Rice and beans/Rice and chicken.

Any combination of rice and beans or rice and chicken is perfect for a thermos. Heat before filling the thermos and it’s a hearty lunch idea the kids will enjoy. Make one of these meals for dinner and reserve some for lunch if you wish.

6. Burrito bowls.

Doesn’t a burrito bowl sound amazing? You can place burrito bowl fillers in a thermos for a tasty lunch with a festive spin. Toss in some heated Mexican rice, beans, ground beef or shredded chicken, shredded cheese, lettuce, and a dab of sour cream. Pack some corn chips to top the mixture with for the best lunch ever!

7. Hot chocolate

Pack some hot chocolate in your child’s lunch for an after lunch treat. You can even add a baggie of mini marshmallows on the side. This is a great way to warm them up before heading outside for recess during the cold winter months.

Are you ready to send the kids back to school with lunches that are fun and fueling? Buy a durable thermos and give these 7 foods for packing in a thermos a try. Your kids are sure to enjoy them and be the envy of the class!

What are your go-to lunches for back to school? Let us know in the comments below!

This Week’s Menu Plan: August 29 – September 4

menu template

Well, we’re easing into this whole menu planning thing again, right? Good, because last week’s menu nearly went out the window with unplanned dinner options. We were invited to some friend’s for dinner one night, my Mother in Law took us out another night, and my husband was gone one night for soccer so I invited us over to my parents for dinner. 😉

So on this week’s menu, you’ll see a few repeats from last week because I still have the ingredients on hand to make the meals we skipped. Let’s hope we do better, but I find there are at least one or two unplanned events that happen on a regular basis!

Here’s the plan for August 29 – September 4, 2016:

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Chicken noodle soup (in the freezer)
  • Grilled Cheese
  • I’m doing the PowerBowl Challenge from Healthy Habits Happy Moms, Sienna will eat the above mentioned.

Dinner:

Monday: Cashew Chicken (from Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes), steamed veggies
Tuesday: Perogies and Sausage, peas & corn
Wednesday: Snack party plate (crackers, cheese, fruit, veggies, scrambled eggs)
Thursday: Chicken Skewers with Peanut sauce, tossed salad, corn
Friday: Pizza (either this dough recipe or on Pita bread with pepperoni or ham)
Saturday: Out to Eat
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

I’d love to know, what’s on your menu this week?

This Week’s Menu Plan: August 22 – 28

menu template

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but actually having a written down menu plan actually gets dinner on the table? My husband was quite pleased he had some decent meals with leftovers to take for lunch the next day! I think I went into survival/lazy mode after baby Adelyn was born. That worked for a bit because I had a whole bunch of freezer meals to go through. However, the supply ended and I just didn’t get back into menu planning. I’m feeling much more sane now that I know what we will be eating everyday.

One dinner from last week didn’t get made because my husband ended up having last minute plans and took Sienna with him so I made a smoothie for myself.

Here’s the plan for August 22 – 28 2016:

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Chicken noodle soup (in the freezer)
  • Grilled Cheese
  • I’m doing the PowerBowl Challenge from Healthy Habits Happy Moms, Sienna will eat the above mentioned.

Dinner:

Monday: Cashew Chicken (from Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes), steamed veggies
Tuesday: Sausage and potato bake
Wednesday: Fettucinne Alfredo, Caesar salad
Thursday: Chicken Skewers with Peanut sauce, tossed salad, corn
Friday: Pizza (either this dough recipe or on Pita bread with pepperoni or ham)
Saturday: Out to Eat
Sunday: Dinner at my parents

I’d love to know, what’s on your menu this week?

The First Menu Plan in a Long Time!

You know when you go on and on about how good something is because it saves you money and makes things run smoother? Menu planning is one of those things that I think makes life a whole lot easier. And well, there hasn’t been much menu planning going on around these parts lately. I can blame the new baby and make all sorts of excuses, but really, meal time is a mess around here! Leftovers are being thrown away far too often, we’re eating out more often than we should be and there’s just a general “blah” feeling around dinner time.

Since so many of you mentioned in the recent Simply Frugal survey that you would like to see menu plans again, I thought I’d start doing them again. I used to post our weekly menu plans each Monday back in the “olden days” of Simply Frugal. Time to revive them!

It actually brings me to a happy place when I plan out our menus. I’m saving money because I’m telling our grocery money where to go instead of spending too much on a whole lot of “nothing”. Plus, there’s a lot less scrambling around 5pm because I’ve already got dinner under control.

I’m embarrassed to admit, but I’ve even put our menu planning on autopilot and I still can’t seem to get it together to have one of those meals prepared.

Enough I say! Time to get meal time under control again. Starting today and each following Monday you will see a weekly menu plan from me featuring easy, frugal meals.

This week's menu plan from SimplyFrugal.ca

Here’s the plan for August 15 – 21, 2016:

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Egg sandwiches
  • Grilled Cheese

Dinner:

Monday: Pesto pasta with carrots
Tuesday: Chicken Skewers with Peanut sauce, tossed salad, corn
Wednesday: Hamburgers, watermelon/cantaloupe
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Pizza (either this dough recipe or on Pita bread with pepperoni or ham)
Saturday: Out to Eat
Sunday: Snack Party Plate (fruit, crackers, cheese, veggies, back bacon)

I’d love to know, what’s on your menu this week?