Menu Planning Monday: My menu for the week of 6/26

It’s HOT here in Texas and I find that after running around all day in the heat, my energy is zapped and the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking dinner and getting hotter.  These are some quickie meals that you can throw together without a whole lot of effort and several of them can be cooked in the slow cooker, so it doesn’t heat up your house!

The plan listed here just includes our dinner menu and recipes. I have calculated some Weight Watchers points values using the e-tools Recipe Builder, and points values this week are based on the new Points Plus program! (I will update with points values on the others as we have the meals)

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that for the past two years, I have done a $40 weekly budget. With the changes to our eating habits, I’m going to increase our budget to $50 per week and I’m really going to try to stick to that, but I’m not even sure that will be enough. This will be a trial and error experience, so stay tuned!

If you’re new to menu planning or would like tips for getting started, check out this post here.  You can also view hundreds of meal plans each week at

SUNDAY: Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole – This recipe is always, always my trusty standby.  My whole family loves it, it’s easy to throw together, and I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I think my kids would eat it every night if I’d let them.

Thanks to Sandy~Bettyinthekitchen ( Cooking for Your Family Board)

1 lb country ham slices or regular smoked ham in one piece (I just use whatever leftover ham we have on hand)
1 large onion, diced
1 lb elbow macaroni (whole wheat)
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz) – I use reduced fat
1 cup sour cream (I use reduced fat)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use 98% fat free)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted (I don’t use this when I make it)
1 cup dry plain bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 400º.
2. Bring 4 quarts water and ham to boiling in large pot. Once water begins to boil,
remove ham to a plate. Add onion and macaroni to pot. Return water to boiling; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Coarsely chop ham, discarding any fat and bones.
4. Drain macaroni and onion and return to pot. Add ham, cheese, sour cream and soup. Scrape into a 13x9x2 baking dish. Pour melted margarine over top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
5. Bake in heated 400º oven 30 minutes or until heated through and top is golden brown.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: Prepare in two 8×8 casserole dishes, bake one and freeze one (unbaked) for another day. If freezing, top with crumbs and margarine right before baking.

WW points = 9 points per serving (with modifications above), makes 6 servings

MONDAY: Melt in your mouth meatloaf (slow cooker) – I’ve made this several times now for our family.  It’s easy to make, very kid friendly, and yummy!

2 eggs
3/4 c. milk (we use skim)
2/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 tsp dried, minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (we always make this with ground turkey instead and it’s yummy!)
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well (mixture will be moist.) Shape into a round loaf; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon over the meat loaf. Cook 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

WW points = 5 per serving with the ground turkey, ground beef may be more (makes 6 servings)
Sides – Sour cream mashed potatoes (4 pts) and green beans (0 pts)

TUESDAY: Chipotle chicken taco salad – This recipe is from Our Best Bites


4 c. chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 c. chopped grilled chicken (you could use Taco Chicken if you want) – I’m going to use Marci’s Shredded lime chicken recipe
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
1/3 c. vertically-sliced red onions
1 avocado, cubed
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 3/4 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 c. light sour cream
1 1/2 + tsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies
1 tsp. chili powder
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. salt

Tortilla Strips
Make sure all salad ingredients that need to be washed or rinsed have been. Combine lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl and gently mix with your hands (which you have obviously and thoroughly washed, of course! :) ). Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients. I say to start with 1 1/2 tsp. of adobo sauce and then go from there, probably 1/4-1/2 tsp. at a time. If you’re serving this for a crowd, it’s probably better to err on the side of not spicy enough rather than too spicy, but if you’re just making it for your family and you have taste buds of steel, have at it. You could even chop up one of the chilies and toss it in there if you’re feeling super-brave. Then taste the dressing and you’ll know what heaven tastes like. Set dressing aside.

If you’re making tortilla strips, fry those puppies up now. I didn’t make them here because I’m trying my darndest not to be naughty nutritionally, but if I make this salad for some kind of festivity, I always make the tortilla strips. Allow them to cool.

When you’re ready to serve, add avocado, tortilla strips, and dressing. Gently combine with your hands and serve.

WEDNESDAY: Rice meatballs – This is a recipe from my mother in law and I love it because it’s quick and easy to throw together!

1 cup uncooked minute rice
1 lb ground beef (I use 93/7)
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 t. grated onion
2 t. salt (I cut this in half)
1/8 t marjoram
dash pepper
2 1/2 cups tomato juice (or two 8 oz cans tomato sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water)
1/2 t sugar

Combine rice and all other ingredients except tomato juice and sugar. Form balls and arrange in skillet. Pour tomato juice & sugar over meatballs. Bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered 15 minutes.

WW points = 7 points per serving
Sides = green beans, green salad, and watermelon

THURSDAY: Chicken & dumplings (slow cooker)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use 98% fat free)
1 tsp salt, optional
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
2 pkg refrigerated biscuit dough, torn in pieces (I only use one)

Place chicken, vegetables, soups & seasonings in crockpot and fill with enough water to cover.  Cover with lid and cook on low 5-6 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough into the crockpot.  Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

NOTE:  If I don’t have time for the biscuits to cook in the slow cooker, I just cook them in the oven and then tear up the biscuits and add them.

FRIDAY: Pork sammies (slow cooker) – except for the rolls, this is all coming from our stockpile!

2-3 lbs. boneless pork roast
2 onions, chopped (I omit this!)
12 oz. BBQ sauce of your choice
1/4 c. honey

Directions: Place meat in slow cooker. Add onions, bbq sauce and honey. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. At that time the pork should break apart easily and shred with a couple of forks. After you shred it, serve it on rolls.

*Serving suggestion! Place provolone cheese slices on bolillo rolls along with mayonnaise. Toast the rolls open faced with cheese and mayo in a 350 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes before adding the pork and serving.

SATURDAY: Sweet potato foil pack tacos ~ I found these on Marci’s blog a few weeks ago!  Sweet potatoes seems to be the new “in” thing and these can easily be thrown together.  We tried them a few weeks ago and they were a hit, even with my kids! (and that’s not an easy feat!)

1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
2-3 T taco seasoning
1/2 cup tomato sauce (4 ounces)
1 can black, kidney, or pinto beans, drained (I used black)
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups total)
2 T butter
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for garnish
6 12-inch long pieces of aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and beans. Set aside.
To assemble packets, spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place 1 cup sweet potato cubes in the center of each piece. Top with a small piece of butter (about 1 tsp) and a pinch or two of salt. Sprinkle some chopped spinach over the sweet potatoes, followed by about 1/3 cup of taco meat and sprinkle of cheese. Fold the sides in, then bring the top and bottom ends of the foil together in the center and fold, sealing the packet.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing the packets on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.  Makes 6 servings.

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