Menu Planning Monday: My menu plan for the week of 5/8

The end of the school year is always crazy for me, but with my kids now being involved in swim team (with every day practices), soccer, and ballet, I’ve got my hands full.  I also need to have quick fixes for meal times so we don’t end up eating out every night because most nights I won’t get home until 6 and I know by then, my kids will be STARVING!  So, our menu this week either consists of quick fixes or items that can mainly be prepared in the slower cooker and most of the meals are tried and true recipes.  I’m not ready to experiment with new things when I’ve been gone from the house for most of the day and I’m as tired and cranky as the kids!

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) Both kids eat breakfast at home, but my son eats lunch at daycare, my daughter eats lunch at

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: Fajitas ~ This is becoming our new Sunday tradition!  I love Saturdays, but I feel like it’s not much of a day off because I typically spend the entire day running around to different “kid” events, grocery shopping, and cleaning, so on Sundays it’s nice to have a meal that my hubby can throw together easily and that requires minimum clean-up.  Our local grocery store (HEB if you’re in Texas) has pre-seasoned fajita meat so all you have to do is throw it on the grill, and it is SO yummy!

MONDAY: Sweet potato foil pack tacos ~ I have been wanting to try these since I first saw them posted on Marci’s blog a few weeks ago!  Sweet potatoes seems to be the new “in” thing and they look like something I can easily throw together before swim practice, stick in the oven (don’t worry – my husband will be home!) and they’ll be ready to eat when we get home!

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.

TUESDAY: Parsley Parmesan chicken – I got this recipe as part of a freezer swap that I belonged to awhile ago.  It’s delicious and very easy to make!

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 chicken breasts)
1/3 bottle of Italian salad dressing
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 c dry bread crumbs (used Seasoned Italian bread crumbs)
1 1/2 T parsley flakes
1/2 T paprika
Salt & Pepper

Assembly Directions:
Marinate chicken in dressing overnight.
Mix the remaining ingredients and bread each breast with coating.

To Freeze: Lay chicken breasts side by side on baking sheets and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up. Place chicken in labeled gallon size Freezer Bag and freeze.

Cooking Directions:
Thaw & bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes or until done.

Makes 8 (4 oz) chicken breasts

WEDNESDAY: Rice meatballs – This is a recipe from my mother in law.  I’m going to make the meatballs before I go to work so all I have to do is cook them when I get home!

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 and green salad

THURSDAY: Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole – Every time I ask my family to help out with menu planning and give me recipe suggestions, this is always one of the things they choose.  Last night, they all three gave me this when I asked.

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

FRIDAY: Crockpot chicken and rice

2-3 frozen chicken breasts
1 pkg McCormick Zesty Herb chicken seasoning blend (sometimes I substitute the Good Seasonings Italian dressing blend if I have it on hand)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. hot cooked rice
Grated cheese
Bell peppers

Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Mix ingredients for McCormick seasoning according to directions on the packet and pour over the top of chicken. Cook on low for five hours. Shred chicken in crock pot using a knife and fork. Add cream of chicken soup. Let cook for one more hour. Service over rice with additional toppings as desired (we add cheese, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. depending on what we have on hand).

SATURDAY: Bourbon chicken – Keli shared this recipe awhile back in a Menu Planning Monday post on her blog.  Our family loves it and it’s fairly easy to make!

1 1/2-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
1-2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c. apple juice (in the comments section on Recipezaar, some people substituted pineapple juice or orange juice)
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 T ketchup
1 T cider vinegar (in the comments section on Recipezaar, some people substituted balsamic vinger or did half and half)
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

NOTES: On Recipezaar, some people mixed cornstarch and water and added it at the end to thicken the sauce.

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