8 Lbs. Later………..

As promised last week, I want to devote Thursdays to ANYTHING FOOD!!!  I am finding that food is something that occupies much more of my time now (with four kids and a husband) than it did with just two kids and me.  The kids alone go through a half gallon of milk PER DAY!  Not to mention the amount of lunch foods and snacks we have to have on hand to keep the masses satisfied.

I love a schedule.  So now I am trying to plan our menu for the week by what we can get at Costco and then try to spread the food out so that it makes more than one meal.  For example, a copy of this week’s dinner schedule is below:

I'm pretty sure I gained at least 8 lbs this week... YUM-O

I’m pretty sure I gained at least 8 lbs this week… YUM-O

What my goal was this week was to make all of our meals out of one whole chicken and two pounds of ground beef.  It worked out perfectly and kept this week at a relatively gentle punch to the pocketbook.

This is tough for me because I am sharing a lot of my favorite top secret recipes here… so ENJOY!

Sunday Night: Roasted Chicken, Upside Down Baked Potatoes and Wedge Salad

I LOVE the Pioneer Woman.  A while back (I even start talking like her when I think about her) I watched her roast a chicken on her show and couldn’t wait to try it.  That time finally came on Sunday!  It is a fairly simple recipe and it was very good (how could anything with that much butter NOT be good).

Photo credit: The Pioneer Woman

Photo credit: The Pioneer Woman

I highly recommend it because the flavor was heavenly and although I usually don’t eat chicken skin, the skin was crisp and yummy.  Save the chicken carcass and any stock that remains in the pan.

Another fav of mine is Pinterest.  Although it seems a lot of the recipes on Pinterest I have tried have not met my high expectations of the food I cook, I decided to try the Parmesan Upside Down Baked Potatoes.  Holy Cow.  Yes, the potatoes are essentially fried in parmesan and butter.

How could this be bad???

How could this be bad???

This will definitely go down as a recipe we will make again because it was simple and everyone enjoyed it.  My daughter, who is a bacon aficionado like the rest of our family, said it could only be made better if bacon was sprinkled at the bottom of the baking dish too.

OH MY YUM.

Finally, we had a wedge salad with crumbled bacon, blue cheese and tomatoes.  I used my homemade blue cheese dressing, which is actually the recipe of my ex-husband’s grandmother from whom I have gotten many share-worthy recipes.  This blue cheese dressing is a mix of ranch and blue cheese and is good on anything!

photo(33)

Monday Night: Chicken & Pastry, Fruit

Chicken & Pastry is the perfect thing to have the night after doing the roasted chicken because no matter what anyone tells you, the secret to the best Chicken & Pastry is flavorful chicken broth.  My favorite way to do it is to make the broth the night before when roasting the chicken and put it in the fridge.  That way you can take it out the next night and scoop out the fat that forms on top.

So many people spend so much money buying chicken broth, but I like to throw the carcass of the roasted chicken in a pot and add some or all of the following: onions, carrots, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Pour a whole lot of water in and bring to a boil.  Once that simmers for about 4 hours, you have an amazingly flavorful chicken broth.

A recent chicken broth creation session

A recent chicken broth creation session

Once you have that ready, you can strain it and make your chicken & pastry.

We are partial to the Anne’s Dumplings because they are just like Gran used to make, but without the flour and rolling pin and MESS!  Plus, they are out of Ayden, NC… and since Heritage Plank Floors is also in Ayden, my logical assumption is that EVERYTHING that comes out of Ayden, NC is good.

And there are always leftovers for days and days!

And there are always leftovers for days and days!

Just follow the instructions on the package and you have an amazing pot of Chicken & Pastry!!  We cut up fresh fruit as a refreshing side.

Tuesday Night: Meatloaf, Mac & Cheese, Green Bean Casserole

This may be my favorite menu EVER.  I have never been a fan of meatloaf, but I sure do love this meatloaf.  And the mac and cheese Joe makes is to DIE FOR and makes a TON.  And I can say with 100% certainty that you won’t find a green bean casserole better than this one!

I found this meatloaf recipe from an ANCIENT cookbook that belonged to my grandmother before she died.  The meatloaf has a great flavor, but the sauce is exceptionally tasty.

Keep reapplying juices and sauce throughout the cooking... AMAZING

Keep reapplying juices and sauce throughout the cooking… AMAZING

The recipe calls for 1 ½ lbs of beef, but there were only four of us eating on Tuesday so we made it with 1 lb and cut everything else down a little accordingly.  I am not very proficient at actually following recipes to the letter anyway.

photo(34)This mac & cheese is also wonderful.  Joe has been making this mac and cheese since we met.  I love coming home from work to find this waiting for me:

He really loves me.

He really loves me.

He apparently got the recipe from a friend at church.  It makes an entire baking dish and we have discovered that we always have enough leftover after one night to make Noodley Boogley the next night!

IMG_3321

Joe uses cheddar cheese in place of the pepper jack, but I am sure that kick would taste good!!

Finally, the crown jewel of all of my recipes is Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole!!! I make it to take to any party where a casserole of some sort is requested.  I brought it to my office for a baby shower one day and had to send the recipe out to about 10 different co-workers.  People are fooled by the crushed up Ritz crackers on top and the corn mixed in, but it is indeed green bean casserole.

Print this, cut it out, make copies, share with friends.  It's THAT good.

Print this, cut it out, make copies, share with friends. It’s THAT good.

The kids would eat this every day if I would make it.

Wednesday Night: Noodley Boogley

This recipe was given its name by my mother when I was growing up.  As far as I can tell by doing a quick Google search, this is not a well-known recipe and is evidently just the name my mother made up one night.  It’s my son’s favorite dinner and he requests it nonstop.

It’s fitting that I don’t really have any kind of formal recipe for this.  If you know my mother, then you understand.

I use the leftover mac & cheese from the night before and add extra pasta so there is enough to fill a baking dish.  I make a spaghetti sauce by sautéeing onion and garlic and green pepper and then pour a bottle of marinara over it and simmer.  Once I brown the 1 lb. of meat, then I mix the meat in with the spaghetti sauce.  I think mix it together with the noodles and top with a heap of cheddar cheese.

The kids treat me like I have discovered a cure of cancer when I make this.  They truly think it’s the greatest thing ever.  We didn’t serve I with anything last night because Joe cooked it and then went to softball and by the time I got home with the girls from soccer I was too tired to make anything else!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse at our week’s dinners and I would love for you to share any of your “go-to” weekday recipes that go together from one day to another.  I know people who make beef stew and then use the leftover to make vegetable beef soup to freeze, etc.  Please share your recipes for all of us to enjoy as well.

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