Menu Planning Monday: My menu plan for the week of 7/1

My in-laws will be in town this week and I’m all about tried and true favorites that are quick and easy to throw together!  Most of the recipes these week are slow cooker meals and they are super easy to make!  Plus they are kid tested and family friendly!

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I have calculated someWeight 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’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: Chicken Tortilla Bake (slow cooker> – I modified a recipe I found on Homemaking Challenged so that it could be used in the slow cooker and I also added enchilada sauce to give it an extra “kick” My entire family (including my kids) loved this one, so we will definitely be making it again! Watch for my recipe review later this week!

2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used the 98% fat free version)
1 can green enchilada sauce (small can)
1 can Ro-Tel (small can)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones)
corn tortillas (approximately 12)
shredded cheese (I used 1 8 oz bag)
Tortilla chips (10-13), crushed

Place chicken breasts, Ro-Tel, enchilada sauce and cream of chicken soup in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hours). Shred chicken when cooked and mix it back into the mixture. Chop up tortillas into bite-size pieces (I used a pizza cutter to do this – it was so easy!). Place a layer of tortillas along the bottom of a square casserole dish. Add a layer of the chicken and sauce mixture. Top with cheese. Repeat this step for 3 layers. I added crushed tortilla chips to the top to give it a crunch. Cook in the oven on 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and it is warmed through. You may want to serve your kids with some sour cream if they don’t do well with “hot” stuff.

MONDAY: Cream Cheese Chicken (slow cooker) – This is one of my family’s favorite meals. We RARELY have any leftovers, and if I would let my kids, they would be licking their plates clean!

TUESDAY: Creamy Tortilla soup (slow cooker) – My in-laws are coming into town today and I know I’ll be busy with last minute cleaning and errands, so I picked this recipe because it’s a family favorite, you can throw it all together (literally) in five minutes or less, and everyone loves it!

WEDNESDAY:  BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs plus fruit salad and pasta salad! 

Pizza pasta salad – I found this recipe on Favorite Family Recipes.  We made it for Memorial Day and it was a hit and so we made it again!

1 bag colored spiral noodles
¾ c. pepperoni cut into wedges
¾ c. mozzarella cut into small cubes
¾ c. fresh tomatoes, diced
½ c. olives, sliced
¼ c. parmesan cheese
1 bottle Bernstein’s Restaurant Recipe Italian Dressing (I’m using Kraft low fat Zesty Italian dressing)

Mix together all ingredients and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.

THURSDAY:  Steak stroganoff (slow cooker)  – This is another family favorite!

2T flour
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 3/4 lb. boneless round steak
2 cans 10 3/4 oz cream of mushroom soup (I use 98% FF)
2 c. water (or 1 can 100% FF beef broth for more flavor)
1 envelope beef stew mix
4 oz can mushrooms, sliced and drained
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T minced parsley

Combine flour, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika in slow cooker. Cut meat into 1 1/2 inch strips. Place in flour mixture and toss until meat is well coated. Add soup, water, and stew mix. Stir until well blended. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. Stir in mushrooms, sour cream, and parsley and then cook on high 10-15 minutes until heated through. Serve over egg noodles. (Depending on the consistency of the sauce, you may need to add cornstarch to thicken or add more water/broth to thin)

To freeze: Pour into gallon freezer bags (I used Ziploc containers for this one). Allow to cool before freezing.

To reheat: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Warm on stove and serve over rice or egg noodles. (Add sour cream when warming if you left it out of the initial recipe)

WW points = 7 points/serving, 6-8 servings (add 3 points for 1/2 c. cooked pasta or 5 points for 1 cup)

FRIDAY:  Chicken ranch tacos (slow cooker) – I made this recipe last week and we loved it so much that I decided to make it again this week!  It’s a totally easy “dump and go” recipe, too!  I’m all about simplifying things this week!

SATURDAY:  Eat out 

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Menu Planning Monday: My Menu Plan for the week of 1/15

I’m trying to stay on track with menu planning.  Having a plan definitely makes it easier to cook!  This week is a crazy week for us because my husband’s been out of town, my dad is having surgery, and I’ve still got work and all the kids activities!  This is my “trying to keep it together” meal plan!

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 and the end of grocery stores in our area doubling and tripling coupons, I’m still experimenting to try to figure out what a reasonable budget is.  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 – Spaghetti – Sometimes I get so wrapped up in checking out and trying new recipes that I forget that sometimes simple is better!  It never fails that I spend a lot of time on a recipe only to have my kids refuse it and then I make something simple like spaghetti and my kids can’t get enough of it!

MONDAY – Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole – This is without a doubt my kids FAVORITE recipe.  They would eat it multiple times a week if that was an option!  The best part?  You can make two at once and freeze the second one!  This was on our menu last week, but we ended up having tacos instead, so it’s back again!

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
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 8 servings  

TUESDAY –  Sweet potato foil pack tacos ~ I found this recipe on Marci’s blog.  My family was skeptical the first time we tried these, but once they actually tasted them, 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.

WEDNESDAY – Melt in your mouth meatloaf (slow cooker) – Whenever I mention this recipe, the most common response I get is something like this “Meatloaf….in the slow cooker?  Really?  I would have never thought of that!”  Yes, REALLY!  This one is super easy and totally family friendly!

THURSDAY – Black bean and chicken burritos (slow cooker) – This is another family favorite and it’s so easy to throw together in the mornings!

FRIDAY – Baked potato bar – I found instructions on Pinterest for making baked potatoes in the slow cooker, so I’m going to test it out!  My sister and her family are in town to help out after my dad’s surgery, so I was thinking this would be a quick and easy “fix” for everyone!

SATURDAY – French bread pizza – I buy a loaf of french bread at the grocery store and everyone gets to add their own toppings on their part of the pizza!