Make-Ahead Monday

It looks like this year Monday and Tuesday are going to be our crazy days. On Mondays Jack has soccer practice from 5:45-7, and on Tuesdays Isla has ballet until 5. We also have soccer practice on Friday evenings, but that’s less of an issue since we don’t have to worry about homework and can go straight from soccer to our weekly Tex-Mex date (Friday margarita is non-negotiable). Anyway, I guess it’s good that we’re getting the busy stuff out of the way at the beginning of the week…?

The Monday night practice is particularly tough because I either have to feed them at 5:00 or wait until 7:15. And they’re starving by that point, so dinner has to be READY when we get home. Looks like we’ll be doing a lot of Instant Pot/Slow Cooker on Mondays. Tonight I fell back on Skinnytaste’s Unstuffed Cabbage Bowls in the Instant Pot.

To make life easier, I chopped the onion, garlic and cabbage when I got home from the grocery store this morning. I didn’t have any marjoram so I substituted Italian seasoning and just dumped it in the bag with the onions and garlic.

Ingredients:

Before practice I browned the beef in the Instant Pot, then added the onions/garlic/seasoning, tomato sauce, broth and raisins. Set to manual for 15 minutes. Once the timer went off, I quick-released the pressure and then stirred in the chopped cabbage. I ended up leaving out the rice to save carbs. Cooked another 3 minutes on manual, then QR’d again and let it hang out on Warm until we were ready to eat.

Topped with a little Greek yogurt:

Such a healthy, easy meal. You could sub ground turkey for the beef, too, but I feel like the beef flavor adds a lot in this dish.

Any other good make-ahead crock pot or Instant Pot recipes for me??

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Broccoli-Turkey Stir Fry

I had planned on serving leftovers for dinner tonight… but then I ate all of our leftovers for lunch. Whoops.

A few weeks ago I tried The Lemon Bowl’s Szechuan turkey and green beans, and tonight I did a variation of that. Instead of green beans I used broccoli, and I also added mushrooms. Otherwise I kept everything the same! It’s so easy. I literally cooked the entire meal while the kids were eating their dinner (don’t even get me started- 2 separate meals every night because I’m obviously super awesome at parenting).

Served over jasmine rice:

It’s not the prettiest but it tastes good, I promise.

Tomorrow’s Friday! I’m pretty excited. Sleep has been in short supply this week so I’m hoping we ALL can catch up. Have a great weekend!

Posted in August 2017 | 1 Comment

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Today I skipped the gym and got SO MUCH DONE at home. Cleaned my closet, cleaned both kids rooms, put away laundry, vacuumed, washed towels, actually showered and dried my hair for a change. I’m really bad about thinking of a million errands to run rather than going home and actually getting stuff done there, and I’m trying to be better about that. But let’s be honest, cleaning sucks.

This afternoon I had a room mom meeting for Isla’s class that ran way longer than I thought it would. My parents picked the kids up from school, but by the time I drove to their house, grabbed the kids and drove home, it was after 6. Meaning dinner was quick and a little boring- more of that Banza chickpea pasta (LOVE) and some turkey meat sauce that I froze last week.

BUT! I have a good lunch routine going this week. On Sunday I bought a big bag (I think 2.5-3lbs) of frozen chicken breasts and threw them in the Instant Pot- still frozen- with a chopped onion, about 3/4 bottle of Stubb’s BBQ sauce and maybe 1/2 cup of water? Sorry I can’t remember exactly how much!! Then cooked on manual for 40 minutes and let the pressure release naturally. Removed the chicken, shredded, then added more BBQ sauce. I stashed the shredded chicken in the fridge and have been using it all week for lunch. I just microwave a sweet potato, then stuff it with steamed kale (found in the frozen section at Sprouts) and a bunch of BBQ chicken. It’s so good and filling!!

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

MYO Pickles

Between the eclipse and most of our friends starting their first day of school, it was a pretty exciting day on Facebook. My day was less thrilling- started week TWO of school (we’re old pros now), then the usual gym/errands/chores routine. I did find this at Sprouts, so that’s almost as exciting as a solar eclipse:

A make-your-own pickle kit!! You just slice the cucumbers, stuff them back in the bucket, pour in the included spice packet, add vinegar & water, then let them hang out in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

For dinner I made Andie Mitchell’s turkey meatloaf again. It’s just so EASY, and as long as I remember to grab ground turkey, I usually have all of the remaining ingredients on hand.

Mashed cauliflower and green beans on the side:

Homework starts this week, as does ballet… and soccer soon to follow. Womp womp, summer’s over!!

Posted in August 2017 | 2 Comments

Easy Weeknight Fajitas

It’s almost FRIDAY! Meaning we’ve almost survived the first week of school. Also meaning I don’t have to set my alarm for 5:45. I’ve been *trying* to get up a half hour before the kids but so far that’s not really happening. We have been getting them up about 30 minutes earlier than last year and it’s made for a MUCH better morning, so hopefully we can keep that up.

I headed to the gym this morning, then to grab a few groceries, and finally home for a little dinner prep. We also met friends for ice cream after school. Next week homework starts (NOOOOOO), plus ballet and then soccer, so we’re taking advantage of our free afternoons while they last.

For dinner I made two favorite recipes: sheet pan chicken fajitas and cheesy refried beans. The fajitas are really simple. You just toss sliced chicken breasts in a mixture of Greek yogurt and fajita seasoning (I let it marinate in the fridge for about 4 hours):

Then you bake them on a sheet pan, along with sliced onions and peppers. I coated the veggies in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt.

Served on these really awesome tortillas that are made in-house at our Kroger. Topped with greek yogurt, salsa and guacamole.

Also THOSE BEANS!!!!! I’ve raved about them before but they are just so good. I made Jack bean and cheese burritos for dinner and he gobbled them up.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in August 2017 | 2 Comments

Chickpea Pasta

As sad as I am to see the summer end… I forgot how much more PRODUCTIVE I can be when the kids are in school all day. It’s kind of amazing. This summer we maybe got 1 errand done per day? And even that was tough. Yesterday I went to the gym, ran to Target/Party City/Ulta/Costco, cleaned the house and ran a load of laundry before it was time for carpool. It was really nice to have a lazy summer but I’m also kind of excited to get back into a routine.

(Less excited about waking up at 6am)

Yesterday at Target I picked up a box of this Banza pasta. It’s made from chickpeas and literally just 3 other ingredients (tapioca, pea protein, xanthan gum) and has LOTS of protein and fiber.

It tastes pretty great, actually. Almost exactly like regular pasta- maybe a little more dense and hearty? It’s also super filling. I think it’s 2 for $5 at Target right now so I will be stocking up! I saw it at Costco a while back too.

For the sauce I threw together a bunch of what we had on hand:

Onions, garlic, carrots (I chopped them pretty finely in the food processor), basil, mushrooms, marinara. Also this turkey Italian sausage:

I sauteed the onions and sausage, then removed from the pan and drained the grease. Added the carrots to the pan with a little olive oil and sauteed for a minute, then stirred in the garlic. Once those had cooked for a few minutes, I deglazed the pan with some red wine, then added the rest of the ingredients (marinara, mushrooms, basil, sausage and onions). Simmered for about 30 minutes.

Another bummer about fall? MAKING LUNCHES. Two days in and I’m over it!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

One Day Down!

One day of school down!

The kids said that they had a great first day. They like their teachers and seem excited about their classes. It’s a particularly big year for Isla because she gets to eat in the cafeteria, go to PE in the gym, take music and Spanish, go to the computer lab, and attend mass with the big kids. It’s a pretty big year for Jack too because he has reconciliation and first communion. Lots of firsts!

We got the kids to school around 7:40, walked them to their classrooms, hit up the parent welcome breakfast, and then Brian headed to work while I had a room mom meeting from 8:30-9:30. Rushed to the gym after that for the 10:00 class, then it was back to school at 11:30 for pick-up (they had a half day today).

We had a playdate this afternoon and got home around 5:30, so I threw some ingredients in the Instant Pot and crossed my fingers:

  • Aidell’s teriyaki pineapple meatballs- they’ve been in our freezer for forever!
  • Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki
  • Pineapple chunks

I dumped the (frozen!) meatballs in the Instant Pot, then topped with about 3/4 of a can of pineapple chunks. Poured 1 cup of the Soyaki on top, closed the lid and set to manual for 5 minutes. Once the timer went off I did a quick pressure release. That’s it!

I was worried that the sauce would scorch in the pot, but it turned out fine! The pineapple chunks were super salty but the meatballs were perfect.

Served over jasmine rice, alongside roasted broccoli.

I was up at 5:45 to start getting everything ready for school, so it’s been a LONG day!! Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

First Day Jitters

Ahhh- first day of school tomorrow!! The backpacks are packed, school clothes laid out, pencils labeled…

Seriously. 24 pencils, 48 crayons, 12 colored pencils and 8 markers. ALL WITH HIS NAME. Whyyyyyyyy?

We had meet the teacher on Friday and both kids seem pretty pumped. They remodeled the pre-k/kinder part of the school over the summer so Isla was particularly excited to check out her new classroom. Not sure what this face was all about:

Jack isn’t in class with his bestie, though I don’t think he was surprised. Pretty sure they got in trouble for talking a LOT last year. All of the girls from Isla’s class last year (all three of them, ha) ended up in the same class this year, so she’s thrilled about that.

We had a fun weekend! Met up with some of Jack’s classmates for dinner on Friday, took the kids swimming on Saturday, met my parents for dinner on Saturday night, took Jack to a cub scouts water fight today, then headed to Kaze (a hibachi restaurant near our house) for our annual back to school dinner.

(Choosing my battles with that t-shirt…)

Wish us luck tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Phoning It In

Remember when I talked about phoning in dinner at the end of the week? Well try Tuesday. This week is just crazy. Tonight we had a play date at Monster Yogurt with a new 2nd grader, tomorrow night I have book club, Thursday night we have kindergarten orientation and Friday evening is meet the teacher. No easing into the school year here, they just throw you right in.

I managed to feed the kids before the play date so that fro-yo wasn’t their ENTIRE dinner. We didn’t get home until after 7, and then Brian didn’t get home from work until 7:30. Sooooo, Trader Joe’s cauliflower cheese pizza to the rescue:

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this one before. It’s definitely not like eating “normal” cheese pizza, but it’s not bad in a pinch. I’ve heard of people having a hard time with the TJ’s plain cauliflower crust and I’m not sure if this version uses the same recipe, but in my experience the bottom crisps up pretty well.  Also you could always add toppings/more cheese (the cheese is a little skimpy).

We also threw together one of the Costco Asian sesame salads. These are so good- I always grab one to keep on hand for nights like this.

So there you have it… just keeping it real, folks!

Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Kale & Coconut

Anyone start off the week with really stellar dinners, but by Thursday you’re microwaving hot dogs and throwing some Pirate’s Booty on a paper plate? No? That’s cool, just asking for a friend…

So, I am conflicted. I really am sad about school starting next week, but if I hear, “What FUN THING are we doing today??” one more time, I’m going to lose my ever loving mind. I mean, I take them to the gym- what more do they want? And then I sometimes even buy them lemon bread at Starbucks afterwards. It’s like a freaking carnival around here.

Isla actually told me in the car today, “When I’m a mom, I’m going to give my children all the sugar and take them to Chuck E Cheese every single day.” I honestly don’t doubt it.

ANYWAY. Dinner tonight was kind of a win! We picked up more of those bourbon glazed pork medallions at Costco, AGAIN. They’re just so good and easy. Just like before, I seared them in a skillet for 1 min/side, then threw them in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.

On the side I made coconut-lime cauliflower rice… also again. Heated up a Tbs of coconut oil in a skillet, threw in a bag of cauliflower crumbles, then sauteed until they started to brown. Added about 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk and the juice of 1/2 a lime, along with seasoned salt. It’s good with cilantro too, but we were out.

I screenshot recipes all. the. time. and then save them in an album on my phone. I found one from a while back for roasted kale with coconut. I honestly don’t even know where it came from… somewhere on Instagram??

Here are the ingredients:

The recipe called for “large flake coconut”- which I’m assuming is not what you see above, since those coconut chips are already roasted and sweetened. But Aldi had those and I thought that the sweetness and crunch might actually be good with the salty roasted kale.

You just whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbs soy sauce and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil. Pour over a large bag’s worth of kale and massage in the dressing. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast at 350 for 10 minutes. Then I sprinkled on about half the bag of those coconut chips, stirred everything together and returned to the oven for 10 more minutes.

Not bad! Next time I might cut back on the soy sauce a little. Also the coconut chips lost their crunch, so I might just leave those sprinkled on top- rather than stirring them in  before returning the kale to the oven (I did like how they toasted a little, though).

Catch y’all tomorrow!

Posted in August 2017 | 1 Comment