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

 

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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 – NinjaMegan’s IIFYM Menu

menu-plan-monday

For our first Meal Plan Monday, we’re linking up with OrgJunkie.com ‘s Menu Plan Monday link up. You can find her menu plan for the week here.

One of the things that most of us Ninjas do is some sort of meal planning, whether it’s planning meals for each day or prepping ingredients in advance so that there’s several options to throw together for a meal. I find it easier for my family to plan dinners in advance, but keep everything pretty flexible, e.g., if I decide I want Friday’s dinner on Wednesday, it’s easy to switch around. I’ll also mention that we’re a If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) family – I was eating IIFYM before I got pregnant and loved it and then Greg started eating that way not too long ago and is really enjoying it. Since Greg requires more protein, if I make any modifications for his dinner, I’ve indicated that in italics.

Copycat P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps - so quick & delicious!

Copycat P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps – so quick & delicious!

Dinners:

Monday: Burgers, Green Salad (double patty of extra lean ground beef for Greg)

Tuesday: Chicken Tzatziki Lettuce Wraps, Greek Salad, Grilled Greek Potatoes

Wednesday: California Chopped Salad with Shrimp (adding more grilled chicken for Greg)

Thursday: Wings and nachos (Splurge Day! NFL Pre-season starts)

Friday: Copycat PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Sesame Noodles

Saturday: My night off from cooking!

Sunday: Southwestern Chopped Salad

Lunches:

Lunches are often leftovers (I’m a big believer in cook once, eat at least twice), but I also have the following things pre made or the ingredients so they can be quickly thrown together:

– Taco Salads

– Greek Salad (with grilled Greek-style chicken breast for Greg)

– Cottage Cheese Spinach Casserole with a salad (this is a family favourite – freezes great and perfect for macros as it has a lot of protein. I’ll share the recipe in a future post)

Breakfasts:

Greg has the same thing for breakfast everyday:

– A cup of coffee with milk, 2 eggs & 3 eggwhites scrambled; 1 piece of Silver Hills whole grain bread with jam and nitrite-free turkey sausages

– Monkey’s been on a kick of cinnamon raisin bread right now, so he often has that, some fresh fruit and I add some sort of protein to that as well – either a cheese stick, turkey sausage or scrambled eggs; sometimes he also asks for oatmeal (even when it’s 90 degrees out)

– Me, I kind of scrounge around since most of the time I have a hard time eating breakfast.

Meal Planning Bonus!

NinjaEm’s up at her family’s cottage this week, but that didn’t stop her from meal planning. Here’s her yummy meal plan too:

NinjaEm

 

Enjoy!

I Like Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the Rain…

I could go for one of these (and a beach) right about now...

I could go for one of these (and a beach) right about now… (photo credit 1)

Like NinjaEm so eloquently posted the other day, the whole “Tell me about yourself” statement can be tough for me. I often try to be funny and quote the ever-so-wise Jimmy Buffett Rupert Holmes* by saying, “I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain”, which is true, but that wouldn’t really help you get to know the woman behind the NinjaMegan posts. So…

This is an old photo, but one of my favourites - plus my hair is almost back to this colour ;-)

This is an old photo, but one of my favourites – plus my hair is almost back to this colour 😉

I’m Megan, a SAHM and one of the resident foodie Ninjas. I’ve always been into food (I do believe I was the only 10 year old to be checking out Mastering the Art of French Cooking from our small town library) and culture (I have a degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia). As a result, I often like to explore cultures through their food – so I love to try out new recipes and foods and play with new cookbooks. Some are hits, some well, aren’t! 😉

My husband Greg & I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this past January - I have a feeling it will be the first of many Disney races!

My husband Greg & I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this past January – I have a feeling it will be the first of many Disney races!

When I’m not thinking about food, you can find me doing one of the following: reading, listening to NPR/CBC podcasts and music, watching classic movies, learning about essential oils and natural health, traveling to a Disney destination, drinking wine and running. However, I haven’t been drinking wine or running lately due to the fact that I’m pregnant with our second child, though I’m hoping to restart a light exercise plan now that I’ve been cleared to do so. I like to say that I’m a dabbler in different hobbies and interests – or a friend once eloquently called me a dilettante – which is probably reflective of the fact that I was diagnosed with ADD several years ago. While my ADD can be frustrating at times, I also believe it’s an incredible gift that’s blessed me with many positive aspects as well. So if you see me jumping around topics in my posts, now you know why! 😉

Me entirely too happy to get a CBC pin outside of CBC Vancouver (yep, I'm a big ol' nerd).

Me entirely too happy to get a CBC pin outside of CBC Vancouver (yep, I’m a big ol’ nerd).

Greg and I have been married for over 10 years now (we were high school sweethearts) and I can’t imagine being married to a better husband. We definitely balance each other out! We  live near Vancouver, BC, with Monkey, who’s 3 (& soon baby #2) and we’re pretty lucky to live here as Vancouver’s a beautiful part of the world, has great outdoor activities, a thriving arts community and an interesting and diverse food culture. So from me and my little part of the world, welcome to Being Ninjas!

Cheers!
Megan

photo credit 1: nettsu via photopin cc

*Edited to add: A wise (and much more knowledgable music-wise) significant other of one of the Ninjas just pointed out to me that it was Rupert Holmes who sang Escape, not Jimmy Buffett. I always thought it was Buffett – Mind = blown!