Y'all.... it's been TWO years since I updated this place! I can't even believe it. In order to get us back up and running, I thought a quick recap was due.
First of all, last July we brought home a little furball. Fitz (aka Fitzo, Fitzer, or The Fitzenator) weighed only 3.5 lbs when we brought him home. He's now a whopping 12 lbs. He's such a stinker and loves the outdoors, the neighbor kids, playing fetch, stealing TV remotes (and shoes and pillows and pretty much anything else he shouldn't have), and visiting family and, of course, their furry friends. He was introduced to chickens last weekend. He was instantly smitten and very upset that we wouldn't put him in their pen and let him play with them!
Then, in September, we were able to fly out to California and visit Emily's sister, brother-in-law, and itty bitty nephew.
In October we celebrated the announcement of new life, as well as the final breath of a loved one. We said our final goodbye to Emily's grandmother Jeanne just days after learning that Emily's sister Anna and her husband Chris were expecting their first child in the spring.
November and December were months of quiet thanksgiving, reflection, and anticipation. Christmas was splendid as we celebrated with both of our families. (Christmas in 2014 was wrecked by the flu; 2015 was much more festive!)
And here's what our 2016 has looked like so far:
We're looking forward to the rest of this year... celebrating nephews and nieces, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and friends! So, despite a two year gap, we're back!
And you know what? It feels good!
So... last week I shared my stuggle with meal planning.
And by Wednesday the meal plan was shot. Sort of. Wednesday's dinner got bumped to Friday so in the end 3 of the 5 meals happened... just not exactly as I anticipated.
Oh, well.. this week is a new week.
On Saturday I sat down with my planner and created a meal plan based on our schedule. I have three evening appointments this week and Brian is on call for work so, once again, the goal this week was easy and fast so I choose recipes that are simple or crock-pot meals.
This week we're going to have grilled fish tacos with mango salsa (Monday), chicken fiesta soup with cornbread (Tuesday), grilled chicken salad (Wednesday), that orange chicken recipe we were going to do last week with roasted broccoli (Thursday), and individual pizzas (Friday).
All in all, I think we should be able to get through the week with our plan intact.
I love cooking and baking.... I really do. But I seriously struggle with making a meal plan and then sticking to it.
I'm not kidding... I do a lot of things really well but meal planning and grocery shopping/grocery list making aren't some of them. It's a running joke in our house that I will ALWAYS forget at least one thing at the grocery store and even when I do make a meal plan Brian doesn't count on it ever actually happening. Quick chicken quesodillas are a staple in our house because they are something we can make easily on even the most exhausting of days (and we almost always have all the ingredients on hand).
I am determined that this week will be different and so, without further ado, let's get to it.
On Saturday I sat down with the calendar and created this week's meal plan. My theme for the week is easy, fast, and slow-cookers! We have 5pm appointments on Tuesday and Thursday and I am hoping to make it to the gym after work today, Wednesday, and Friday, so I knew that whatever I planned this week had to be simple otherwise the plan just wouldn't happen.
As I made my grocery list I jotted down what ingredients I needed for each meal and then crossed off the ones I knew we already had. Then Sunday night on our way home from a meeting at church we swung by Kroger to pick up the groceries. It was a good thing Brian was with me because without him I would've fogotten to pick up milk and cereal. They didn't even make it onto my list! They're staples (as in I always pick up at least two boxes of Speciak K Chocolatey Delight for Brian EVERY WEEK) and I completely forgot to add them to my list. As it was we picked up only a half-gallon of milk as backup because we could remember how much we had at home already. Turns out we should've picked up two half-gallons. Guess I'll be heading back to the store sooner than I thought!
Tuesday: this beef ragout but with just ground beef instead of ground beef and sausage and without the zucchini and with cornbread instead of polenta
Wednesday: tortellini with red sauce & salad
Friday: Chicken Quesodillas
UPDATE: It's Monday night now and the pancakes have been made and consumed. They were delicious and I was once again suprised with how quickly they come together. I've got the beef ragout already prepped so all I have to do is grab the slow cooker bowl out of the fridge in the morning and throw it onto its base on low and let it cook all day while we are away.
So what are your tips and tricks to getting dinner on the table?
I love snow. I really do... but this winter has just about done me in. Between the 40" of snow we've had this season and the polar vortex that we've come to know so well, I'm ready for spring!
This chili recipe has become our go-to meal this winter. It easy to make and the perfect comfort food for a cold (and dark!) winter evening. We started with this recipe and went from there.
In a large slow cooker (I have a 5 qt. one), combine the following:
Mix everything together really well and cook on low all day. When you're ready to eat, pull the chicken breasts out and shred with a fork and then add back into the chili. Now, add about 1 cup of plain greek yogurt to the chili and mix well. (I know it sounds weird, but trust me... it's delicious!). You may need more or less of the yogurt depending on how much broth you added earlier in the day. You want to end up with a nice creamy chili.
Serve the chili with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and cornbread on the side!
What'd I tell you? This meal is fantastic! I often will combine everything (minus the yogurt) in the slow cooker the night before and then just pull it out of the fridge in the morning and we're good to go! It's an easy, healthy, and comforting meal that takes only 10 minutes or so to throw together.
This is currently my favorite go-to, comfort food? What's yours?