Getting Organized!

7 02 2012
Baked BBQ Chicken & Mac ‘N Cheese

So this week I undertook an additional endeavor to our meal planning.  I like to call it meal organization.  I have been reading and recently subscribing to a website called Once a Month Mom for a while.  The whole purpose behind the site it to get organized, do huge cooking days, and freeze enough meals to feed any family for a month.  While I aspire to this, I have not yet committed to a whole month’s cooking in one day.  And I have not convinced Mario that this is a good idea either.   But someday, this will be reality.

Instead this week, I have been prepping ahead night by night to make my day easier the following day.  On Sunday when I got home from grocery shopping, I began making soup.  While I was doing this, I thought that I should go ahead and make the stuffed shells for Monday.  Very easy…..well, it wasn’t too difficult just a little bit of prep that lasted the entire 1 1/2 to 2 hours that the soup was on. 
I also did another task I had been aspiring to…Salad in a jar.  I had made single salads for next day consumption in a jar previously, but this time I went ahead and got the entire week’s worth of salad ready.  Three days in and still crispy!  Yum!
On Monday night, I felt like I had lots of time handy so I decided to prep ahead the mac and cheese for Tuesday and make French bread.  Ugh, I know.  It was a bit of work, but it had tasty outcomes!  I had frozen a piece of last week’s BBQ chicken for Mario so today all I needed to do was nuke and serve.  It took approximately 5 minutes in the microwave, but I don’t think he even noticed it was frozen!!!  Upon reheating the mac for dinner, I poured an additional 1/4 cup of milk over to prevent it from drying out.  Mario loved it.  It was funny too because last night he mentioned switching meals on Tuesday and Wednesday “to make it easy.”  But it was done!  Hahaha!
On Wednesday, I got a well deserved nap!  No prep aheads today because dinner tomorrow is frozen (not homemade) pot pie for Mario and an Amy’s tamale dinner for me. 
Thursday and Saturday should be easy, but I will have to get the pizza dough ready and the refried beans cooked.  The rest will be mega simple.
I like it!

~ A Sunday with My Love~

5 02 2012

Overall, this Sunday was a nice, peaceful day spend with my fiance Mario.  There were a couple of places we didn’t make.  We had planned on seeing Ivan show his dog Lola this morning at a dog show at the fair grounds, but didn’t make it.  Lola is not just any dog, she is a champion dog that is on her way to being grand champion.  She is a girl with attitude!  We also missed Mass this morning.  

Even though, it was a nice day just spent together.  We have been going so wedding crazy lately that most of our time together has been wedding focused.  The morning was spend just eating breakfast and together.  Then Mario started telling me what he wanted on our meal plan for the week, so I hurried to get a pen and paper.  We are doing some repeats from last week.  Mario really liked some of our choices.  I also told him that we had to be a little more frugal this week with our budget so that influenced our plan.

Here it is!

Sunday: Stoup (Mario named it this) with leftover frozen roast beef and cornbread muffins

Monday: Stuffed shells with veggie meatballs (Mario’s request) and garlic bread

Tuesday: BBQ chicken (leftover) and baked mac ‘n cheese

Wednesday: Frozen Pot Pies….well, Target had no veggie pot pies so I got an Amy’s Tamale Dinner. YUM!

Thursday: Pizza!

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday: Taco Night with Morningstar crumbles!

So when I made our grocery list, I noticed one thing….No Meat Required.  I hate to say this, well no I don’t.  Meat is expensive.  Buying it for Mario costs a lot of money.  This in itself was a money saver.  I like it!

Meatless Menu Planning!

Then we also shared a pizza deal at one of our favorite pizza joints zPizza.  Mario got a Hawaiian pizza and I got a Berkeley Vegan pizza.  Very Yummy!  This place is great.  They always have a vegetarian/vegan option and they also serve gluten free crusts for those who don’t do gluten. 
Hers to the left, his to the right.

After we went shopping, we decided to go back to zPizza because adjacent to it is Pink Spot.  Pink Spot is a lovely coffee/ice cream shop that always changes their flavors.  I love it!  Today they had my favorite, Red Velvet Ice Cream.  We came back because you know how Mario is with ice cream.  We decided that it would be best to get it and then go straight home.

Red Velvet Deliciousness!

Notice how many meatless meals this week- Monday and Saturday.  I love it!

Weekend Fun, Part 1

5 02 2012

Aunt Chilada's

Last Friday night, we went with Ivan to dinner.  Well, first we went with him to Ikea and Arizona Mills.  Then around 9, we were trying to think of a good place to have dinner.  Since we were around Arizona Mills, I suggested Aunt Chilada’s just down the street.  Ok, the real reason I suggested Aunt Chilada’s was because they have the best margarita’s in town.  Delicious!  The food is good too.  I got to have one of my favorite dishes that I never find vegetarian friendly~Vegetable Flautas!  YUM!  That with a pomegranite margarita that I shared with Ivan was dinner.  Yes, Mario was there.  He was the guy taking the picture!  We also shared yummy flan and sopapillas.  So good!

Day 17 Baked Ziti

5 02 2012
Never fails baked ziti

Baked cheesy goodness, that is what baked ziti should be called.  So easy, always good, totally delicious.  This is the dish my sister always requests when she comes over to my house.

The past couple of days have been hard on us.  No updates or posts.  Wednesday Mario had to take off work for personal reasons.  He was going to home at an unknown time.  Luckily he arrived just as this was coming out of the oven. 
Too easy Baked Ziti
1. Boil Noodles
2. Mix noodles with 1 container of ricotta cheese (regular size….8oz)
3. Mix with spaghetti sauce
4. Put in oven safe dish
5. Cover with mozzarella cheese
6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Very, Very Veggie Soup

31 01 2012

Very, Very Roasted Veggie

 Today was a continuance of this week’s theme- YUM.  This soup was fairly easy to assemble and worth it!!  It was a quick, slow (I’ll explain this more in a minute) stew-like soup with a side of roast beef for Mario.  The roast sat in the crock pot today with a can of stewed tomatoes, beef stock, and a sprig of fresh  rosemary.
Very, Very Roasted Veggie Soup
4 small-medium yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and cut in 1/4ths
Place all ingredients on a cookie sheet in a preheated to 400 degrees oven, covered lightly with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasonings.  I cooked mine for approximately 50 minutes with 1 stir half way through.
In the meantime, place the following ingredients in a pot on the stove:
1 1/2 boxes of organic low sodium veg broth
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can Great Northern beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh oregano
Set pot with all ingedients to low heat.  I let mine slowly simmer for the duration of the oven cook time.  Once the roasted veggies are soft and the potatoes are cooked throughout (Yes, pull one out to taste it), place 1/2 of the roasted veggies into a blender.   Turn on to puree speed and add 2 ladles of heated broth.  Make sure your blender’s bottom is attached tightly!!!  Puree until smooth.  This step is crucial to deliciousness!  And a slow cooked taste in a little time.  Once blended, stir back into pot on stove and add the whole roasted veggies.  Place lid and let the flavors marry.  I had about an hour before Mario got home so I let this sit on low until then.  About 20 minutes before he arrived, I stirred in about 1-2 oz. of shell shaped noodles and recovered with the lid.  This could have been done faster if needed.
With Mario’s meal, I placed some of the shredded beef on the bottom of the bowl and then ladled soup on top and stirred.  Mine was just soup.  Cornbread accompanied this.

Very, Very Veggie Soup Carnivore Style


Meatless Monday Deliciousness

30 01 2012

Some days dinner needs to be quick, but delicious...

So we tried this guy out today as gardener.  Let me tell you in 12 hours, he did miracles.  It was well worth the money.  So that inspired me (for some reason) to make cornbread.  Well, technically I was thinking about making rolls with the soup tomorrow.  Then I started thinking that cornbread would be very good with it.  Then I thought, “Why wait until tomorrow?”  I could make it now.  So I did.  I used this recipe from here.  I uh, misread baking soda for powder, but I added some cream of tartar and it worked out deliciously.  Very sweet almost cakelike, but melt in your mouth yummy with butter.  The recipe said to bake for 25 minutes, but in a muffin tin it only took like 18 minutes in my oven.

Golden Sweet Cornbread


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

I also made Hamburger Helper with Crumbles, which is a meatless meal staple, and a lovely salad of romaine, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and bacon bits.  Yes, bacon bits.  Did you know that most bacon bits are made out of textured soy and not animal products?  Yah, it was kind of hard to eat the first few bites until I reminded myself of that.  For more info, please click here.

Weekly Meal Plan…and Shepherd’s Pie

29 01 2012

Veggies cooking!

 So good..that is the theme of the meal plan this week.
Sunday: Shepherd’s Pie (basically followed this recipe with a few additions: mushrooms, purple kale, no parsnips/turnips, celery)

The original vegetarian pie

Meatless Monday: Hamburger Helper with Crumbles
Tuesday: Vegetable Soup with Roast
Wednesday: Baked Ziti with Meatballs
Thursday: BBQ Chicken with Macaroni Salad

Mario's version

Friday: Dinner with Ivan 🙂

Saturday: Candlemas dinner (eating away from from home)