Meal Plan Monday – October 6th

This week’s meal plan in our (that would be NinjaMeg’s) family is one where many (if not all) of recipes can be doubled and frozen. We’re deep into prepping meals for after our little Ladybug arrives (I have around 11 weeks left until she’s born – we’re still waiting on a c-section date), so I’m trying to pull as much double duty as I can (doubling the recipe so I only have to prep or cook once). NinjaMichelle is the resident freezer cooking Ninja, so luckily I have someone whom I can ask when I have questions along the way!

We're linking up with orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday be sure to stop by and check out her menu and hundreds of others.

We’re linking up with orgjunkie’s Menu Plan Monday be sure to stop by and check out her menu here & hundreds of others.

 

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Meal Plan for the Week of October 6th

MondayCincinnati Spaghetti, Green Salad (doubling the chili recipe, then freezing the leftovers- it’s great as Cincinnati Spaghetti, but also over baked potatoes, in chili cheese dogs/fries, etc. Note: This recipe does make a lot, even without doubling!)

TuesdayRoasted Garlic & Artichoke Stuffed Chicken (doubling the recipe & freezing 1/2 of the the stuffed chicken breasts raw), Greek Salad, Roasted Lemon Potatoes

WednesdayCrockpot Beef Stew (doubling it, cooking then freezing 1/2 of the batch – after I take out 1/2 of the batch to freeze, I’m going to add in some diced cooked potato) & Homemade Bread (in the bread maker)

ThursdayThai Chicken (this one I’m just freezing some raw chicken to have on hand since I’ve read if you freeze chicken in a marinade with soy sauce & citrus, it can change the texture of the meat), Rice & Bok Choy Salad (it’s just as good without the fried shallots)

FridayBistro-Style Short Ribs (freezing 1/2 of the batch after cooking), Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels sprouts

Saturday – Appetizers for dinner: Buffalo Wings, Veggies & Ranch Dip, Spinach Dip with baguette slices, Hot Onion Soufflé Dip (making full regular recipe, which makes a lot, & freezing 3/4 of it) with baguette slices, Jalapeño Popper Dip (doubling the recipe & freezing 1/2 of it) with tortilla chips

Sunday – Thanksgiving Dinner (Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving, but I like making our dinner on the Sunday): Classic Roast Turkey and Gravy, My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots, Green Salad, Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce. (I’m doubling the stuffing recipe, which makes a lot of stuffing, so that I can make two dishes of my own take on Rachael Ray’s Pilgrim Casserole to freeze – one will be for after Ladybug arrives, one will be for American Thanksgiving).

For lunches, there will be lots of leftovers this week, so that will take care of those. For breakfasts, Monkey’s still on his kick of turkey sausages, whole-grain toast and eggs and I’m still not able to eat too much (Greg takes care of his own breakfasts). So there you go, this week’s meal plan!

~ NinjaMeg

 

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

Since fall is in full swing and everyone’s settling into their fall routines, I thought I’d share this delicious and versatile slow cooker recipe that I came up with a few weeks ago. I had a 5lb chuck roast I needed to get out of my freezer before my in-laws brought us the frozen, butchered quarter cow we buy every year and I ended up taking a bit from 4 different recipes to create my own. I have to say, it was the best slow cooker roast beef recipe I’ve made yet (if I do say so myself ;-), well, Greg agreed with me too).

Here’s some of the ways you could use the meat and sauce from this recipe:
– French Dip Sandwiches
– Philly Style Sandwiches (add sautéed peppers & onions and provolone to the sandwich)
– Italian Beef Sandwiches (add chopped giardinera, pepperoncinis and sautéed peppers & onions)
– BBQ Beef Panini (add BBQ sauce & cheese, then grill)
– Over a baked potato with all of the baked potato toppings (sour cream, bacon bits, chives, etc)
– As part of poutine – a French Canadian dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds (I make a gravy out of the leftover sauce and a touch more broth – so delicious) – This is our favourite way to use the meat
– In quesadillas, burritos, Tex-Mex Enchiladas, taquitos
– Make a stroganoff sauce and add the shredded or chopped meat and serve over rice or egg noodles
– Use the chopped or shredded beef instead of ground beef in a bolognese-style sauce and serve over pasta

See? Told you it’s a versatile recipe!

 

Look at that beefy goodness! ;-)

Look at that beefy goodness! 😉

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

*Note: I like to make this recipe a day ahead, then put it in the fridge overnight still in the slow cooker insert to let the fat on top solidify so that I can remove it. If you’re using a very lean roast, like a round, you may not have to do this step, though I do recommend doing it if you’re using the fattier chuck cut.

1 3-5lb roast (I used chuck, but round or sirloin would be fine too)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 1/2 cups of beef stock (I love the Campbell’s Stock First – it has a lot more flavour than most stocks)

Dry the roast with paper towels and rub with the salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and once the skillet and oil are hot, brown the roast on all sides. Remove the roast from the skillet and place into your slow cooker insert. Sprinkle the rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and bay leaves around the roast.

Melt the butter in the skillet and sauté the onions until a deep golden brown. Add the soy sauce and sherry, deglazing the pan and making sure to get all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Bring to a boil and let the sauce boil for 3 minutes before pouring the onion, soy sauce and sherry mixture over the roast. Add the beef stock directly to the slow cooker and set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, remove the roast and shred. Enjoy!

Meal Plan Monday September 8

We're linking up with orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday be sure to stop by and check out her menu and hundreds of others.

We’re linking up with orgjunkie’s Menu Plan Monday. Be sure to stop by and check out her menu here and hundreds of others.

This week’s menu plan was easier than most because it is a shop in my freezer week. That means as random or plain as the meals are I am determined to clean out my freezer and use up some of my previously prepped food. There are lots of good reasons to do this on a regular basis such as prevent things from being lost in the deep dark depth of your deep freezer, add a little variety, change over to a new season of foods and flavours or your hot water breaks and you have to purchase a new one. Ok maybe that last one was just me, but I really didn’t like the idea of spending another cent after forking out that cash so freezer shopping I went!

Its is also the start of extra curricular activities this week. Those words can strike fear into any brave mother. The driving, the forms, the 3.6 minutes you have to pick up your child, feed them a healthy nutritious meal, wrangle them into some uniform or another and get them to practice.

So with that in mind I went simple!

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Click on the photo to see a bigger version of the menu plan 🙂

 

Stay tuned soon for a post on all our tips and tricks to save time and money while still making sure our families get quality, healthy foods.

 

Tying a knot in my yo-yo

When I was a little girl, I was always so jealous of the kids who could whip their yo-yos around and do all kinds of fancy tricks. I always wanted to be a yo-yo pro.  To be able to whip that thing out and in and up and down and all around.  Little did I know that as an adult I would be a yo-yo pro.  Just not the kind I wanted to be!

yoyo

One of the biggest, loudest and most frustrating common threads between all of us ninjas, is that at one time, or lots of times throughout our adult lives, we’ve struggled with our weight.  I think Ninja Kirsten said it best in her intro, when she said that looking for support in our struggles to find and maintain a healthy lifestyle is what originally brought us all together, so it’s no surprise that for me, it continues to be a struggle.

I took this picture in the winter of 2013.  It's now my go-to picture when I need encouragement!  Plus, I really love my hair in this picture!

I took this picture in the winter of 2013. It’s now my go-to picture when I need encouragement! Plus, I really love my hair in this picture!

Two years ago, I made a bet with my brother and husband that my sister-in-law and I could lose a greater percentage of weight (a la Biggest Loser) than they could.  I worked my butt off (literally) and I lost close to 40 pounds (and totally kicked the boys’ butts I might add!)  I kept it off for a good 6 months and then slowly, the pounds started to creep back on.  It seemed like every time I had my momentum back and felt like I was back in the right head space, something, I like to call it life, got in the way.  Let’s be honest here, I got lazy.  I’m good (no wait, used to be good) at losing.  I seriously suck at maintaining!  Of that almost 40 pounds lost, I’ve gained back about 25.

So, 6 weeks ago I made a decision.  I decided that I was sick of not being happy about how I looked and felt about myself and that I was going to make changes – but changes that I could maintain. Enter Ninja Em’s plan for #38isgonnabegreat!

crazy furry beasts

I have two, big, furry beasts who I affectionately refer to as my girls – in a house full of boys, I’ll take the estrogen in whatever form it comes!  My poor, neglected girls had been under exercised all winter long.  Let’s face it, after a winter like the one we had last year, it wasn’t too hard to find an excuse to not go outside for most of it.  Step one in the plan was to put a hard stop to hibernation mode!  Now, I’m getting out there at least five times a week and doing a 5K lap around the neighbourhood. And just like that, there was a knot in my yo-yo!

The second knot got tied the day I finally found the courage to start and keep doing the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 2.0 I started her original challenge last year, but I’m pretty sure that my motivation jumped off of the ship and rowed ashore around day 20!  This time, I’m happy to report that I just finished day 37 sweating buckets and ready to get back at it tomorrow.  If you’re looking for a fitness program that’s effective, fast and not monotonous, I promise you!  This is the one for you!  I seriously despise most pre-recorded workouts.  I hate doing the same thing over and over again, especially once I’ve done it enough times that I know exactly what they’re going to say, when they’re going to say it and can anticipate a jump to the left before they even do it!  Briana is real, she’s fun and she’s good at what she does!

I’d like to tell you that the pounds are just melting off and that I’m going to be back into my size 8’s in no time.  I’d like to tell you that, but then I’d be lying.  In all honestly, I haven’t stepped on the scale in about 3 weeks, but I can tell from how my clothes are fitting that although there are definite changes in my body – and good ones, the weight loss hasn’t been huge.  So, the next piece of my puzzle needs to be food.  The 3rd knot in my yo-yo is yet to be tied, but I promise you this!  BEFORE the snow flies this fall, it will be.

This, is now my #38isgonnabegreat mantra.  It doesn't matter what I do, as long as I just keep going!

This, is now my #38isgonnabegreat mantra. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I just keep going!

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to experiment with a few different approaches.  I’m honestly petrified to give iifym a try simply because I’m absolutely horrible about weighing and measuring.  No, wait!  That’s not really the truth.  I’m horrible about actually weighing and measuring and then not adding more to what I’ve weighed and measured! Hmmmm, perhaps that’s a problem?  In all honesty though, I do have concerns for how it will work with our family but am not opposed to giving it a whirl! I’d love to hear your real life experiences, so please share any tricks, thoughts, or magical iifym miracle workers you know of!

 

I’m off to perfect my knotted yo-yo tricks!  Three knots is the charm?

~Ninja em

Meal Plan Monday Aug 18, 2014

We're linking up with orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday be sure to stop by and check out her menu and hundreds of others.

We’re linking up with orgjunkie’s Menu Plan Monday be sure to stop by and check out her menu and hundreds of others.

Most of us Ninjas menu plan in some form or another, we all gotta eat right?! And there is nothing worse than standing at the fridge after a long day thinking ‘what’s for dinner?’

I work 9-5 and by the time I pick up my son and drive home it’s nearing 6pm. Trying to fit in dinner, family time and bath and still get little man in bed at a reasonable time is a real struggle, am I right?!

My solution is prepping much of the proteins and some sides for the week on Sunday. I cook up a roast or whole chicken in the slow cooker, grill up some veggies and make a pasta dish for lunches.

Check out my menu plan for this week as well as Leslie and Megan’s and let us know what tricks you use to keep your family fed and happy without being chained to the kitchen.
~Ninja Kirsten

Kirsten's Meal Plan Aug 17-23

Kirsten’s Meal Plan Aug 17-23

leslie's mpmmegan mpm