Menu Planning Monday: My menu for the week of 10/25

This week we have some fun Halloween recipes on our menu. If you’re new to my weekly post, our breakfasts are “on the go” – things like cereal, Pop Tarts, and waffles mainly with scrambled eggs thrown in there every now and then. I do try to cook “real” breakfasts on the weekends, but I am not always good about planning ahead for that. Our lunches are also “on the go” – sandwiches for my daughter and salads, leftovers, or frozen meals for me (my son eats at daycare and my husband fends for himself!)

If you have blogged a menu plan for the week (or even just a favorite recipe), please feel free to comment and share your link. I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration and will be happy to share a link to your blog if we try your recipe!

If you need inspiration, check out the weekly meal plans from hundreds of other bloggers here at Organizing Junkie.

SUNDAY: Rachael Ray’s Italian Style Chicken Noodle soup – I found this recipe a couple of years ago – it is a nice change from your standard chicken noodle and my whole family loves it!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
5-6 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
3-4 medium size carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
1 can red beans (15 ounces), rinsed
1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), rinsed
1/2 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound chicken tenders or chicken cutlets, chopped
2 cups parmesan pita chips, for garnish
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a handful)

Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Add celery, carrots, onion and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables to make tender, 8-10 minutes.

Add stock, tomato sauce, beans and chickpeas, then bring soup to a boil. Stir penne into soup, cook a minute or so then stir in chicken and simmer 5-6 minutes more.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with some parmesan pita chips and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

My variation: I make this in the slow cooker. I put all of the ingredients but the pita chips, the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and the noodles into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About an hour before I’m ready to serve, I cook the noodles and add them to the mixture.

MONDAY: Lemony chicken breasts with rice (slow cooker) – This recipe came from All You Magazine (they now have a searchable recipe database with over 800 recipes, which is awesome!) We tried it once before and the family enjoyed it.

Cost per serving: $2.25

4 Servings

•4 tablespoons unsalted butter
•1 onion, finely chopped
•2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•4 boneless chicken breast halves
•Salt and pepper
•4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•2 cups long-grain rice
•1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Scrape into slow cooker.

Sprinkle chicken with salt. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet over medium high heat until foaming. Add chicken breast halves and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add 1 cup broth and lemon juice to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Add to the slow cooker, along with remaining broth, rice and 1 tsp. salt. Stir, cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Remove chicken, stir parsley into rice and season with salt and pepper. Divide rice onto 4 plates and top each with a piece of chicken; serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 534 Fat: 15g (sat 8g) Protein: 20g Carbohydrate: 80g Fiber: 2g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 323mg
All You, MAY 2008

TUESDAY: Meatloaf on a bed of potatoes – even if you don’t like meatloaf, this is SUPER easy to make and very kid/family friendly! we never have leftovers)

From BabyCenter Cooking for Your Family

By: Sandy~Bettyinthekitchen

2 T olive oil
3 large russets, cut into 1 to 1-1/2” chunks
2 lb ground sirloin
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers
3/4 cup ketchup
2 T dehydrated onions (optional)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine oil and potatoes in crock pot, toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on the bottom of the crock.

In a large bowl, combine beef, eggs, crumbs, ketchup, onion, salt and pepper. Mix gently, do not compact. Shape into oval or round, place on top of potatoes. Spread with topping.

Cover and cook on High for 1 hour. Reduce heat to Low and continue to cook for 6-7 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 160º to 165ºF.
Sandy’s notes: I used plain ketchup for the topping since that is my family’s preference. To make the meatloaf easier to remove: Take two long pieces of foil and fold them into two strips. Place them across each other over the potatoes and set the meatloaf on top. Use as handles to remove when the meatloaf is done.

**My notes: When I make this, I sprinkle parsley and Mrs. Dash seasoning over the potatoes.

WEDNESDAY: Honey lime enchiladas – it’s been awhile since I made this (January according to my blog!), but I was browsing Marci’s blog looking for some recipe inspiration and came across this and it sounded good this week. When I make this, I cook the chicken in the crockpot the night before and then just put it all together that morning so I just have to throw it in the oven when I get home!

6 T honey
5 T lime juice (1 large lime)
1 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used leftovers from my slow cooker chicken)
8-10 flour tortillas (I used 12 corn)
1 pound Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)

-Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour.
-Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan.
-Fill tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas.
-Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade (I didn’t have any extra marinade).
-Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.
-Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

THURSDAY: Crispy ranch chicken – I found this recipe on Marci’s blog, too. I’ve got a bunch of Rice Krispies from the Randalls cereal deal a few weeks ago, and I figured this would be a great way to use them and something my kids would like.

-2 c crispy rice cereal
-1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese
-1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix (1 oz)
-2 egg whites
-8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I plan to use chicken breasts)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cereal, cheese and salad dressing mix in a large bowl.
-Place beaten egg whites in a medium bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in the eggs and then in the cereal mixture to coat evenly.
-Arrange the coated chicken on the baking sheet. Bake until golden and juices run clear, 20-25 minutes.

We also have a potluck at work today, and I was assigned to bring a “salad” so I will be bringing this:

FRIDAY: Dinner in a pumpkin – My mom used to make this for us when we were kids, and I’ve always wanted to try it, so I’m going to do it this year for Halloween! (well, the night before, actually, because we always have fondue on Halloween, a tradition that came from my husband) April, who is a member of a recipe swap group I belong to, shared this at a swap last week.

1 medium pumpkin
2-3 lbs ground beef or turkey
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 10.5 oz tomato soup (or cream of mushroom)
1/3 can water or milk
6 cups cooked rice
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
Brown hamburger, add other ingredients. Put in pumpkin with lid on in 375° oven for 1 hour or until pumpkin is tender.

At this point, I’m feeling ambitious and hoping I will still be ambitious enough to make Marci’s Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, too!

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan (I used 9×13). Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing:
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.


Swiss Cheese fondue – I found this recipe in Family Fun magazine a couple of years ago – It is “kid friendly” in that it is milder than regular cheese fondue and uses milk as a base instead of wine.

* 12 oz. Swiss cheese (or Cheddar, Gruyere, or a combination)
* 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
* 1/4 tsp. paprika
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1 garlic clove
* 3 tbsp. butter
* 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups milk
* Juice from a lemon
* Salt and pepper to taste
* Dippers, such as French bread, carrots, peppers, broccoli or cherry
* tomatoes


First, grate the cheese into a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Set aside. Ask kids 10 and up to grate the cheese. Hold the handle firmly, grip the cheese, tuck fingers back and rub against the holes

In a separate small bowl, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour, paprika and nutmeg.

Ask your child to peel the garlic clove. Next, rub the cut clove on the inside of a medium-size saucepan until the bottom and sides are completely seasoned (a fun job for kids).

Melt the butter in the pan over medium-low heat and stir in the flour mixture until it is smooth. Explain to your children that this is called a roux (pronounced roo) and serves as the base that will help the fondue thicken. Add the milk, 1 cup at a time, and stir constantly until the creamy sauce is warm.

Next, add the grated cheese by the handful, stirring well after each addition. Continue until the cheese is used up and the sauce is thoroughly combined. Once the cheese has melted, stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare the dippers for the fondue. Cut the bread into cubes. Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces and steam for a few minutes, if desired, to bring out the flavor.

Arrange the vegetables on a large platter and the bread cubes in a basket or bowl. Pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Invite everyone to spear the bread or vegetables on their fondue forks, then dip into the cheesy sauce. Serves eight people as an appetizer or four as a main course.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue – This is another fun, easy recipe from Family Fun which has been a hit with my kids!


* 3/4 cup milk
* 1 (6-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
* 3/4 cup marshmallow cream

* Hulled strawberries
* Banana slices
* Apple wedges
* Fresh pineapple chunks
* Graham crackers
* Pretzels
* Vanilla wafers


Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until it just starts to simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Add the chocolate chips and let them stand for 1 minute to soften. Then stir until they’re melted and the mixture is well blended.

Stir in the marshmallow cream. Then whisk the sauce until smooth.

Pour the sauce into a fondue pot and set the flame to keep it warm. Serves 4 to 6.


  1. Rona's Home Page says:

    Looks like you have a yummy week planned.
    Have a great Halloween or Harvest Festival!