WE EAT | Family Meal Plan

Happy Friday! 
I must confess to slacking on meal planning.. even making a trip to the grocery store.  Between Thanksgiving, and even the girls’ birthday party  we haven’t done much for dinners over the last two weeks.  We usually keep it simple and fairly similar for breakfast and lunch, so those weren’t an issue.. but I quickly realized how much I really need these meal plans.
We had waffles with peanut butter for dinner last night.  
Yea.. just one of those times:)
This week we are making the transition to skim milk – now that Parker and Jolie are 2 years old (still hasn’t sunk in just yet..) we were given the ‘okay’ at their 2-year well visit to transition out from whole milk to ‘whatever we drink at home.’ 
I’ll have to keep you posted on how this goes, but my kids are obsessed with milk and dairy products in general, so I don’t think it will be an issue.  They went from breast milk to whole milk at 13 months fairly easy, so I’m not counting on this being a struggle.
If your babe (or babes) are younger than 2 years, just replace the milk and dairy in this meal plan with whole milk dairy.  Not a milk/dairy drinker?  Replace with whatever you use at home on the regular – totally acceptable.  
These meal plans are meant as a guide and to hopefully help you to make smart, healthy, and affordable choices when preparing meals for your family!  It helps so much for our family to have these – and I learned that first hand really over the last week.  The week after Thanksgiving was crazy and we had a fridge full of leftovers, so we didn’t go without –
but this week I found myself thinking about ordering pizza or bringing home take out more than once.  Am I right??
I decided to transition from calling these Toddler Menus to Family Meal Plans.  Really- these are for the entire family within reason.  Most often, I’m eating whatever they are eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Trying out a few new recipes this week – I saw a rerun of Giada making her Pizza Pot Pies on the Food Channel last week, and knew I had to make them for Parker and Jolie to try.  Chicken pot pie is a big hit in our house, so I am thinking that this will be great, too!  We are also trying out Chicken Caesar Salad for the entire family.  While we were out to eat for the girls’ birthday dinner, Jolie and Parker basically stole my entire dinner salad right from under my fork! So.  Salad isn’t weird for my 2 year olds, and we are going to have it for dinner:)

Veggie Quinoa Bowl
 1 cup cooked Quinoa (I use Uncle Ben’s Quick Cook Pouches for ease)
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup golden corn
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine cooked quinoa with olive oil, spinach, corn, black beans, S&P.  Serve with salsa and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.  Can be heated up or left cold.
Brown Sugar Oats
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup skim or lowfat milk
Combine oats and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat.  Stir until smooth and oats are soft- about 4 minutes.  Add brown sugar, along with addition milk as needed to thin.
Tortellini w Light Alfredo Sauce & Chicken Sausage
12 ounces frozen cheese tortellini
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 pound chicken sausage(about 4 links), casings removed
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-fat milk (I used skim)
3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, in generously salted water.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add your chicken sausage, browning and breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Drain pasta, then immediately add pasta to the saute pan with alfredo sauce. Toss to combine.
Chicken Fried Rice
3 cups cooked long-grain brown rice (preferably left over rice)
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into 3/4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1/2 cup frozen edamame
1/2 cup frozen carrots
3 green onions chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sriracha, for serving (optional)
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken pieces, season lightly with salt and pepper and saute until cooked through, about 5 – 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Return skillet to medium-high heat, add remaining 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp canola oil. Add edemame, carrots, and green onions and saute 1 minute, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Push veggies to edges of pan, add eggs in center and cook and scramble.
Return chicken to skillet along with rice. Add in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with Sriracha to taste if desired.
Spaghetti Squash w Turkey Meatballs
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 batch of Turkey Meatballs (click)
Your favorite jarred or homemade tomato sauce (we use Classico)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese + more for topping
For the Squash: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then brush both sides with olive oil. Put the squash, cut-side up, in a baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast 20 minutes, then uncover and continue roasting until the squash is tender, about 35 more minutes.
While the squash is roasting, warm your tomato sauce and make your meatballs. 
I usually make the meatballs in advance.
 Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash flesh into strands; transfer to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Season with salt. Divide the squash among bowls and top each with a few meatballs, warmed sauce, and parmesan cheese.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
6 ounces Grilled Chicken Breast
1 heart of Romaine, chopped
2/3 cup croutons
¼ cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
4 ounces Caesar Vinaigrette dressing

Caesar Vinaigrette Dressing
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together ingredients until combined.  Chill until ready to serve.


December 12, 2014

  1. I loved this post! As a mom to four little ones (youngest two being twin boys!) I am always on the lookout for ways to make my life a little less hectic. This post was very helpful and I can't wait to try some of these recipes. Thank you!

  2. I love your new layout for the meal plans. So cute!

  3. Shawna B says:

    I serious LOVE LOVE your 'we eat' series, but every time I try and find a recipe that I found a week or month or year ago, I can't find it :(. A search button would be so appreciated – or better yet, a recipe index: now that would make my year! Loved all the recipes i've tried and can't wait to keep trying more.