Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter Everyone!



Happy Easter everyone!  I'm so excited for today...I have the girls' dresses laid out with their Easter baskets filled with goodies ready for them to find when they wake up...I'm having a cup of coffee...Hubby is already up getting dressed...Life is good. 

I love Easter...Not just because of all the chocolate that's everywhere, but because it recognizes that Christ rose on the third day and that because of him, Christ - who defeated death - we are now closer to God and all of our sins have been forgiven.  It's an amazing feeling to know Christ.

I love to celebrate Easter as much as I love Christmas.  I feel that they should both be huge holidays.  Huge in the terms that families should be together and take the time to recognize what Christ has done for our relationship with God. 

As my Easter gift to you, I'm posting my April Meal Plan along with with a few tips for quick substitutions.  I have recently been asked by a friend how do I manage to meal plan every single night when life happens and doesn't give me time to make the meal I really want to give my family.  Well, I try to be as flexible as possible and I have some backups ready in my house at all times.  Let's face it, some nights you may not even want to make dinner at all but rest and enjoy your family...or sneak off for an awesome bubble bath.  So I'm going to tell you the tips that I told her. 

Here's my family's April Meal Plan.  I've also posted it on the page for a list of meal plans that my family uses.

Copy it, modify it, use it...in whatever way works for your family.  Just please don't change my google document...make yourself a copy and modify it for your family.  Then you can keep track of your meal planning and once you do, meal planning does become a whole lot easier.  You start to see a trend of which meals your family likes the best and then looking for similar recipes becomes easy!

You will see a lot of meals from March and well, here's why.  I felt like life hasn't stopped being in warp speed since Halloween.  I was so looking forward to a month where nothing would be going on and life could slow down.  Did I say that out loud?  Yeah, I jinxed it.

Guess what is in April....EASTER!!  For one - just a huge holiday.  There's also my grandmother's birthday and my own wedding anniversary.  Lord, have mercy.

Bailey also got an ear infection.  If you know Bailey, you'll know that when she is sick - apparently the cure is for me to carry her around and never put her down or risk listening to screaming and crying all day as the result.

Does this mean that my family sticks to the meal plans like glue?  No way.  We modify things all the time to fit our schedule.  If we find out that we could do something as a family, but cuts into the time to cook - I look for what I can make within that amount of time within what I have available in my kitchen.  I usually write a meal down for every day of the month.  Usually life happens and I have to change our plans...so I'll try to include them in the next month's meal plan if I still have the ingredients on hand.  From March's meal plan, we didn't have the Pierogi Lasagna, Pioneer Woman Bowtie Lasagna Pasta, Chicken Piccata, Lemon Pepper Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo or chopped chicken salad.  I do however, have most of the ingredients, if not all, to make them on a whim in April.  These are some of my favorite meals.

A good back up plan is to keep some frozen pizzas in the freezer.  Hubby and I love Costco pizzas.  We buy two boxes: one for the house and the other goes to the deer camp.  Each box has 4 pizzas.  The cost is less than $5.00 a box.  Compared to ordering Domino's pizza - we were paying $30 or more just for a pizza or two.  I count this as a huge success for my pocketbook.

Another backup plan is taco night.  Every single person in my house loves tacos.  I tend to keep ground meat in my freezer, so thawing is not a problem.  I have a stockpile of taco seasoning and now, tortilla mix.  There is always cheese at my house so I just pull out the cheese grater (cheese by the block is also cheaper and tastes so much better than cheese already shredded in the bag...waiting for someone to buy it).  My family loves just meat and cheese...sometimes I throw in refried beans and it becomes a party.  Sometimes I purchase a small container of pico de gallo, sometimes I'll make it...and if I really want to go all out and crazy - add some guacamole!

A cheap meal that I have added to our weekly menu is sausage, beans, rice, and cornbread...If you know about some awesome family time opportunities but don't want to spend the time cooking - Pull out the crockpot!  This is a huge money saver for us because we already have this in our food storage.

Another cheap and easy meal is to have breakfast for dinner.  Omelets, pancakes, waffles, quiche, or even just a bowl of cereal can be dinner for a super busy day and it's quick to make.  Cereal is not a parenting fail...no mom shaming allowed. 

I even have chopped onions in the freezer ready to throw in my meals.  I purchased a giant bag of onions from Costco because I couldn't believe the price!  I brought them home and used the food processor to chop them up, then scooped them into ziplock bags for the freezer.  I hate chopping onions.  It burns my eyes...but I love the taste and the flavor!  I have to have them.

One of the tricks to meal planning is to meal prep what you can ahead of time.  Tonight, I'm making a different meal than what is on our calendar because Hubby brought home some meat he wants to try...While it's in the oven, I'm also going to make some taco meat.  I already have the meat thawed because tonight is suppose to be taco night, but we will be having chicken instead.  We didn't have chicken last night as the calendar states, instead I found a pork tenderloin that looked lonely in my freezer...so I gave him some friends and threw him in the oven for a party!  There are no leftovers!  It was amazing.  Here's the link to the recipe I used from Pinterest:  Brown Sugar Garlic Tenderloin with potatoes and carrots.  Did I make it exactly like the recipe calls for?  If you have to ask, you don't know me at all...

I didn't have any potatoes laying around and I wasn't taking a sick baby to the store, but I really wanted pork tenderloin!  I used dehydrated potatoes from my food storage...I also had a bunch of carrots to use up from J's ladybug party...a few green beans, a few broccoli pieces, and some sugar snap peas...I used that instead.  I threw it all in a cast iron skillet, seasoned as the recipe called for and cooked it for 45 minutes.  It came out perfect!  I highly recommend you give this super easy one pan recipe a try!  I liked it so much, I tagged my own picture to the recipe in Pinterest.  Can you find it?  Post it in the comments if you do!  Here's the hint: cast iron skillet.  LOL.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to eat well....

Happy Easter Ya'll!


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