Week 2 Grocery List

completed cattle gaurdProduce:

  • zucchini (about 7)
  • onion (about 2)
  • bag of lettuce
  • grape tomatoes
  • red onion
  • cucumber (1-2)
  • red bell pepper
  • green bell pepper
  • lemon
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • avacado
  • iceberg lettuce
  • celery
  • jalapeno (2)
  • roma tomato (3)

Meat:

  • ground beef
  • boneless skinless chicken breast

Dairy/Refrigerated:

  • part skim ricotta cheese
  • eggs
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • feta cheese
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • milk
  • butter

Chips:

  • tortilla chips

Spices/Baking:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cumin

Canned Goods:

  • marinara sauce
  • reduced sodium black beans
  • petit diced tomatoes

Soups/Sauces:

  • unsalted chicken broth
  • taco seasoning

Mexican Food:

  • whole green chilies (26-27 oz can)
  • green enchilada sauce

 

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Week 2 Meals

cattle gaurd

My rancher and I spent the weekend installing a new cattle guard.  There was lots of shovel work involved, and I, of course, was right along side him with shovel in hand.  This is a family operation, so the kids were there  with shovels “helping”(notice that helping is in quotations!).  My boys are in heaven when they get to shovel and work in the dirt!  Needless to say, after a weekend of shoveling, my body is sore and tired!  Some easy meals will be just the ticket for the week.  A recipe using ground meat for two meals again and a recipe for chicken with revamped leftovers will make the week’s eating just as easy as last. Happy eating!

Monday:  Lasagna Zucchini Boats and Salad

This meal is going to be a staple recipe for me!  It was so good.  So long to traditional lasagna or even a lasagna with zucchini strips as noodles.  This was just as easy as it was delicious and reheated well as leftovers for lunch.  My rancher is a big fan of lasagna and surprisingly loved this dish as much as I did.

Lasagna Zucchini Boats

  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into halves through the length
  • 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup marinara sauce

Direction

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4 inch rim to create boats. Set aside.  In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg, and 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender.  Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned ( if using a fattier beef then just drain excess rendered fat). Stir in marinara sauce.

To assemble boats, brush both sides of  zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in a baking dish (I used and a 8 1/2 by 11 glass dish). Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into an even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini- adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.

the original recipe from cooking classy

**Just like last week, brown more hamburger than needed to make Wednesday’s meal prep go even faster!

*Save the scooped out zucchini to sneak some extra veggies into Wednesday’s meal

Salad:

For the salad, just use the ingredients you and your family like.  I am going to use tomato, red onion, and cucumber because these are the ingredients that will go into a Greek salad for tomorrow’s meal.

Tuesday:  Roasted Chicken with Greek Salad

I love doing roasted chicken in the winter when it is too cold to go outside and grill.  The chicken turns out so moist and juicy,  and I always make enough to add into a recipe to use later in the week.

Roasted Chicken:

  • 1-1 1/2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a cookie sheet lined with foil, place chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel.  Evenly rub olive oil on the chicken .  In a bowl, mix together the spices and sprinkle evenly over the chicken breasts.  (if you have little ones, sprinkle spice mixture sparingly because it might be too spicy for little taste buds).  Bake for appx 20-30 minutes.

Greek Salad

Ingredients:
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 large Red Pepper, chopped
1/2 large Green Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 1/2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large glass, plastic or ceramic bowl — toss to incorporate.  Serve immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*If you can find the English cucumbers, you can eliminate the peeling and seeding part!

*This makes a lot of salad and goes great over lettuce for a salad the next day!

Wednesday:  Green Chile Casserole with Avocado salad

I love Mexican flavors.  This recipe is a great casserole for a lower carb lifestyle.  If you are ambitious, roasting your own peppers would take this over the top, but since I am rushed this week, the canned ones will just have to work.  (When the local produce stands start opening up in the summer, they will a have peppers roasted as well, but it isn’t summer yet!).  I use hamburger meat that I have browned earlier in the week to make the meal prep just a little bit easier.  This  recipe came from a blog called Kalyn’s Kitchen.  I have included the link at the bottom.  I have found and used several recipes from this site in the past and they have all turned out really fabulous!

Green Chile Casserole

1 can (26 or 27 oz.) whole green chilies, drained (be careful not to buy whole jalapenos, which look similar)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well with cold water and drained
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb. precooked ground meat
1 T taco seasoning (I use my homemade Taco Seasoning, but a purchased seasoning will work.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 cups Mexican Four Cheese Blend

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dump the whole green chilies into a colander placed in the sink and let them drain while you prep the filling. When the green chilies are drained, move them to a cutting board and then put the black beans in the colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain.

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy non-stick pan. If using the zucchini from Monday night, add zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the precooked ground meat from Monday night. (If not using zucchini eliminate the oil.) Add the taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the diced tomatoes and juice, drained black beans and turn heat to medium low. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated. (When you use the turner to push the mixture aside, the bottom of the pan should look nearly dry.)

While the meat mixture cooks use your fingers to open each of the whole chiles and then use a paper towel to wipe away the seeds and blot each chile as dry as you can get it. (You will need 6-8 paper towels to do all the chiles, but don’t skip this step. If you don’t remove the seeds, this dish will be extra spicy.) Divide the chiles into 2 piles as you dry them.

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of 1/2 of the chiles in the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture. Make another layer of chiles on top of the meat mixture, and top with the other 1/2 of the meat mixture.

Beat the eggs and then whisk in the cup of Green Chile Enchilada sauce. Pour this over the casserole and then use a fork or knife to gently push the ingredients aside so the egg/sauce mixture can run down into the layers. Top with the grated cheese and cover the casserole dish with the lid or foil.

Bake covered for 30 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the casserole is starting to bubble. Remove the lid or foil and bake apx 20 minutes more. This is easier to serve if you let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Kalyn’s Kitchen recipe original recipe

Avocado Salad

  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • avocado, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

In a bowl mix together tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, avocado, and cilantro.  In a smaller bowl mix together lime juice and olive oil.  Pour the dressing on the veggies and mix together.  Add seasonings to taste.  Chill for apx 15 minutes.  Serve over shredded iceberg lettuce.

*for a little heat add some diced and seeded jalapeno

Thursday:  Dance Night!

Friday:  Mexican Zucchini Soup with Chicken

This soup is a nice light and easy soup that makes you feel like you have done your body right.  My kids loved it and my non-soup loving rancher ate it. And of course I really love this uses leftovers in a crafty way(using the chicken from Monday night.)  I love soup and any chance I get to make it I take advantage of!

Mexican Zucchini Soup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced(optional)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 cups diced zucchini (I just use about 3 zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup milk
  • leftover chicken breast (I try to have at least one chicken breast leftover)

In a pot melt butter.  Add onion and celery and cook until tender.  Add zucchini and saute with onion and celery for about 3 minutes.  Stir in corn jalapeno,  chicken broth, chicken, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until zucchini is tender(  about 10 minutes).  Stir in milk and heat until the milk is warm.

When serving, serve in bowls and top with a Mexican blend cheese.  And if you want add some tortilla chips for a little crunch.

*If wanting to stick with a lower carb count do not use the corn or tortilla chips.

completed cattle gaurd

And just like the cattle guard is  completed, so is this weeks meals.  Even though my body was tired and sore doesn’t mean the meals had to be.  So gather the family, ring the dinner bell, and pull up a chair.  It is time for dinner!

Week One Grocery List

week 1Produce:

  • bag of Romaine lettuce
  • red bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • onion (2)
  • green onions
  • bag of shredded carrots
  • bag of broccoli slaw
  • bag of broccoli florets
  • lemon (2)
  • garlic

Meat:

  • beef roast
  • ground meat

Refrigerated/Dairy:

  • parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • crescent rolls

Spices:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • crushed red pepper

Dressings/ Pickles:

  • jar of roasted red peppers
  • Italian dressing

Asian food:

  • low sodium soy sauce
  • sesame oil

Canned goods/ soup:

  • spaghetti sauce
  • Italian style diced tomatoes
  • unsalted beef broth

Pasta:

  • whole wheat penne

 

Week One Meals

week 1When I decided to do this weeks meals, the blog idea had not yet come to me.  So there are no pictures to show yet.  I promise, pictures will come eventually.

Monday:   Italian Beef Roast with Roasted Asparagus

I love shredded meat of any kind.  The juicy flavors, the fall apart tenderness, the convenience of the crockpot, and something my children will eat makes the perfect love story!  And if that isn’t enough of a reason to love shredded meat, lots of times I can find leaner roasts on sale at my local grocery store.  This roast has an Italian twist with roasted red peppers and Italian salad dressing for a different twist.  Also, this makes a lot of meat.  I serve great sandwiches on deli rolls that my rancher loves to eat for lunch and a recipe for revamped leftovers later in the week.  I love it on a salad for lunch when my rancher is eating his sandwich.  What can I say, I have to work harder on my waistline than he does!

Italian Beef Roast:

  • 2-3 lb beef roast  ( I like bottom round.  It tends to be leaner, but I use whatever is in my freezer.  It is also on sale at my local grocery store until Tues.)
  • onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (or less) salt
  • 16 oz jar of roasted red peppers, undrained
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing of your choice
  • 1/4 cup unsalted beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Place onion in the bottom of the crock pot.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and place on top of the onion.  Add garlic and roasted red peppers.  Mix together the salad dressing and beef broth and pour on the top.  Cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for about 6 hours.  When the meat is done it will be falling apart tender.  Take out of the juices and shred with 2 forks, then place shredded meat back in the juices for about 30 minutes.  When ready to eat, just scoop the meat out with a slotted spoon(don’t drain too much of the liquid off) add Parmesan cheese and mix together(and for a guilty pleasure I will sometimes add just a little bit more dressing to the finished meat.)  I will include a link to the original recipe, but this is how I changed it to my taste.     The original link

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1-2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • zest of a lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash, dry, and trim the ends off the asparagus.  Place asparagus on a cookie sheet and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 5-10 minutes.  Take out of the oven and add the garlic and lemon zest.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes.  (The garlic doesn’t take as long to cook so just add it at the end.)

**Little tips for easy cleaning:  I love using crock pot liners.  I just love not having to stand and scrub on my crock pot.  I also when roasting vegetables line my cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  It makes clean up take much less time.

Tuesday:  Unrolled Egg Rolls

This is honestly not one of my ranchers favorites.  When we first were married and lived a little closer to a town with restaurants, I would use meals like this to get taken out to dinner.  Now that isn’t an option, and he has to eat them!

Unrolled Egg Rolls

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • onion
  • 3/4of a  package of broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrots
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • reduced sodium soy sauce

Add 1 tsp of oil to a skillet.  Cook the onions until translucent(about 5 minutes).  Add the ground meat.  (  I like to add pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of salt to my meat to give it a little flavor, but I cant tell you how much!)  Cook the meat until it is fully done.  (The recommended internal temperature for fully cooked hamburger meat is 160 degrees.)  drain meat and set aside.  Add the sesame oil to the skillet and cook the broccoli slaw and carrots until tender.  Add meat back to skillet.  Add green onions.  I drizzle the top soy sauce.  (between 1 and 2 tsp).

Little tips:

  • I will add hamburger meat to a recipe later in the week.  I will go ahead and cook more meat than needed and store in the refrigerator until I need it.  I buy my hamburger meat when it goes on sale and usually it is in a 10 lbs package.  When I buy the meat I will cut it into 4 pieces and store in the freezer.  Also, you can cook it when you buy it and store in the freezer already cooked.
  • When draining the meat add paper towel, foil, or both to the bottom of the bowl to make clean up easier.
  • For the kids, I will also cook some brown rice to give them a little something else.
  • Make this to taste.  My clan doesn’t like onions so I have to use the green onions sparingly.
  • Cole slaw mix also works really well in this, but I will use a little of the broccoli slaw later in the week.

Wednesday:  Italian Beef Pockets with Steamed Broccoli

This is my revamped leftover recipe.  I use the leftover delicious meat from Monday night and stuff it in canned crescent rolls.  My kids scarfed theses down in no time flat.  I know this isn’t fitting in the low carb category, but I just ate the meat from the inside(I might have eaten a bit or 2 of the roll).  This is a great way to use up some of the leftover meat and not feel like you are having the dreaded leftover night.  As I experiment more with trying to have a healthier and lower carb lifestyle I am hoping to find other ways to us the leftovers.

Italian Beef Pockets

  • 1 can of canned crescent rolls(if you can find the seamless rolls those would work better, but I can never find them)
  • Shredded Italian meat
  • Mozzarella cheese sandwich slices

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Unroll the crescent rolls and separate the rolls to make rectangles(this will be 2 of the triangles)  Press together to seal the seams.  If you find the seamless crescent rolls unroll the dough and cut into 4 rectangles with a pizza cutter.  Place 1/2 of a slice of cheese onto the bottom of 1/2 of your dough.  Place meat on top of the cheese.  Fold the half of the dough with nothing on it over the half with he meat and cheese.  Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.  Cook for about 15 minutes  or until golden brown.

Steamed Broccoli

  • 1 head of broccoli, broccoli crowns, or a bag of broccoli florets(these are found in the produce section)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • zest of a lemon

If you don’t use broccoli florets in the bag for convenience,  cut your broccoli off the stem and into pieces.  Wash the broccoli florets(even if you use the bag).  In a 10-12 inch skillet with a lid or a medium size sauce pan with a lid bring water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and replace the lid.  Let steam for about 5-10 minutes until just slightly tender.  Drain off any excess water and add the lemon juice and zest.

Thursday:  Dance Night!!!!!

Friday:  2 Way Spaghetti and Salad

Don’t be thinking, “Spaghetti, seriously?!”  Remember this is a meal planning website!  In my household, spaghetti is a rare meal.  I am not a big fan of noodles and my kids faces after eating spaghetti.  But spaghetti is one of my ranchers favorites, and since I fixed unrolled egg rolls this week, I think that I can compromise a little.  I do use canned spaghetti sauce but I always add to it.  I usually add a can  of Italian style diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, some Italian seasoning, and browned hamburger meat(remember that extra meat from Tuesday?  Yep!  Dump it in!)  I let all this simmer while I cook the 2 way noodles.

For the kids and my rancher, I make any whole wheat pasta I have on and or have picked up.  I really like to use the whole wheat penne because that seams easiest for the kids to eat.  For myself I use the broccoli slaw that I saved from the unrolled egg rolls.  I simply bring a little bit of water to a boil in a skillet and steam the slaw until tender.  I tried the spaghetti squash route one time.  I didn’t mind it, neither did my oldest.  But the youngest daughter could not choke it down, and that I was the last time I tried!  Since it is just me that uses the alternative noodles I can control the portion amount better with the broccoli slaw better and I like the broccoli better than the spaghetti squash.

For the salad, I like to buy the big bags of romaine lettuce and eat on for lunches during the week.  And when preparing my meals it is so easy to rinse really quick and dump in a bowl. I usually will add some of my favorites and family favorites :cucumber, red bell peppers, and some green onion(because I have them.)   I don’t usually top with any dressing because I let each person pick their favorite.

Seriously, could dinner for 4 days be any easier.  So ring the dinner bell, put away the cell phone, pull up a chair, and get ready for the laughter that is about to surround the table.  Its time for dinner!!

 

 

 

 

A Proper Welcome!

shippingWelcome to the ranch!  A place of happiness, children laughing, love, cattle production, and a meal on the table.  It isn’t odd to find kids running around playing bucking horses, the rancher working on something while the kids play, and me preparing the evening’s supper.  This place is our dream.  My husband and I have worked hard side by side to build the operation we have today.  Most nights I am running inside, washing the dirt off my hands, in a mad dash to get dinner on the table to make our memories around the table.  My family and I welcome you into a piece of our paradise as I share these meals and our life with you.

How it Started

This isn’t the story of how my husband and I got started, but how the idea of all this came about.  As I was planning meals by the week, I had interest from several people about what the week had in store to eat.  I was trying to figure out how to share this in the easiest fashion with those who had asked , and the idea of starting a blog came to mind.  The funny part of that is I am the most technologically challenged person you will ever meet.  So between the lack of computer knowledge and slow internet, I welcome you on this adventure with me!

The Idea

This isn’t just a listing of recipes.  My idea is to compose a 4 day dinner plan (and only 4 because I get to pick something up in town on Thursday due to dance night!  Some nights I think that night should be a national holiday!)  complete with links to recipes (I love to cook, but very few of the recipes I use are my own because I am not that creative) and a grocery shopping list for the week’s meals. Look for the following weeks plans on Fridays. This just seemed like a good day to post them with the thinking that the weekend makes a great time to do some early meal time prep.   I usually wing the weekend meals or clean up leftovers, so any new weekend recipes I will include as they come.   Everything you need will be right there at your fingertips and easy to make dinnertime a time of family togetherness, just like here on the ranch.  And of course I will include stories from the day and activities on the ranch as we go.