Hey, friends! It's almost the end of July and I've got another summer roundup of Our Week in Meals to share with you! Plus, don't miss the new granola recipe later in the post, as well as an exciting invitation for all of you (scroll to the bottom for that)! But first, how about some mealtime inspiration?
For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our meals each night. This series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
It rained most of Sunday morning, so by the time the sun came out after lunch we were all ready for some fresh air.
We drove over to Berry Hollow for a short hike in the woods.
The trees gave us some nice shade, but OH MY gosh -- it was so darn humid!
It felt like we were walking through a Florida swamp! Seeing those leaves on the ground makes me excited for fall!
Spencer requested Marinated Grilled Shrimp for dinner, so that's exactly what we had!
I served the shrimp with a salad, sauteed mushrooms, and a box of good old Rice-a-Roni! I also took a photo of this salad dressing bottle as I was making the marinade so that I would remember to tell you about it. I use this bottle all of the time! While mason jars work well for shaking together homemade salad dressings, this bottle has the added advantage of measurement lines on the side, as well as an easy to open and close pour spout. It works well for salad dressing, sauces, and marinades. Plus, it goes in the dishwasher for easy clean up, which is mandatory around here! (affiliate link)
The boys and I spent a beautiful Monday morning at the pool,
and had a picnic lunch before heading home.
We hosted the kids' friend Henry for a play date that afternoon, and I threw together an easy dinner recipe with 5 minutes of prep! This Dump-and-Bake Smothered Parmesan Chicken dates all of the way back to the early days of the blog (2013, to be exact -- before Spencer was even alive!). It's still delicious!????
I served our chicken with a loaf of Italian bread, as well as the leftover Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Casserole from a few nights before (you can find the eggplant recipe in this post).
I dragged the kids to Costco on Tuesday morning, which is a chore that I had put off for as long as possible. It's not close, the boys don't like to shop, and I just didn't have the energy to hassle with it. Alas, we finally needed to restock paper towels, dish soap, and other household items, so off we went. The kids definitely thought that they'd hit the Costco Sample Jackpot when they came across these double chocolate chip muffins in the bakery section. The samples were sliced from "jumbo" muffins, so each "sample" was basically the size of a standard muffin. Costco's not so bad after all, right boys?!
In spite of the snacks, everyone was still hungry by the time we finished our shopping. That meant lunch in the Costco cafe!
Once we came home and I got everything put away, I threw dinner in the Crock Pot so that it could cook all afternoon while I took the boys to their swimming lessons. By the time we get home from the pool at 5:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, everyone is famished and wants food instantly. Slow cooker to the rescue!
This was a new recipe that I was testing for Slow Cooker Cheesy Salsa Chicken. I'll share it in a blog post soon. I had the chicken over a salad, while the boys had their meat wrapped in tortillas (taco-style). I also served tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa on the side. So easy and so delicious -- this meal was a big hit with the kids!
We stayed close to home on Wednesday morning, while the boys enjoyed some cooler (less humid) outdoor temps.
After lunch I dropped Gibbs off at a friend's house and then headed into Charlottesville with the younger two boys for Casey's annual well-check at the pediatrician.
We picked up Gibbs on the way back from the appointment, and then came home to an AMAZING dinner that I cannot WAIT to share with you. These Dump-and-Bake Boneless Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing are just perfect for fall, so they will be on the blog next month. Yes, we're eating comfort food in July just so that I can test recipes and have them ready when you need them in a few weeks! Let's just say that these particular pork chops surpassed even my own expectations and tasted incredible. Love easy one-dish dinners like that!
The boys and I have been eating Greek yogurt with granola for snack a lot recently, so on Wednesday morning I decided that we were due for another batch of the homemade version. I used the recipe for 10-Minute Cinnamon Almond Skillet Granola from my cookbook, but modified it to create a peanut butter granola instead.
This is salty, sweet, crunchy, delicious, and FAST. I don't have time to worry about baking granola in the oven (and trying not to burn it), so the 10-minute skillet method is the way to go. If you love peanut butter cookies, you'll love this granola. Here's the recipe if you want to make your own batch!
10-Minute Peanut Butter Skillet Granola
- 1 tablespoon oil I used avocado oil, but coconut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil are all fine substitutes
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons salted peanut butter
- ½ cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups Old-Fashioned rolled oats
- Heat oil, maple syrup, peanut butter, peanuts, brown sugar, and salt in a large skillet over medium-low heat until completely combined (about 2 minutes).
- Add oats and continue stirring, to coat, for about 5-10 minutes (or until oats are toasted and golden brown).
- Transfer oats to a cookie sheet or large cutting board to cool in a single layer. I like to use the back of a large spoon or spatula to gently press the granola firmly into the cookie sheet. This helps it clump together as it cools and hardens.
- Store in an airtight container for about 1 week.
Later that morning we had to take Casey to the dentist for a quick 15-minute follow-up appointment. He wasn't thrilled, but he cooperated...
When we returned around lunchtime, I got dinner started in the Crock Pot. I was testing a recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup, so I let that simmer while we went on with the rest of our day.
We had swimming lessons at the pool that afternoon, and then I returned home to a house that smelled good -- just in time for dinner! I added the noodles to the slow cooker at the end of the cooking time, and then we enjoyed our soup with a salad and dinner rolls on the side. Another winner with the kids!
On a rainy Friday morning, I planned our meals for the week ahead and put together a quick grocery list.
Mary Kate arrived to stay with the boys while I went out for a haircut and errands. In the end, Spence decided that he didn't want to leave my side, so my morning of "solo time" turned into some "one-on-one time" with the little man. I dragged him to my hair appointment, the grocery store, and Walmart for school supplies. He was a trooper (maybe because he got a donut at the bakery while we were out)?!
Later that afternoon our very first babysitter, Rebekah, came by for a visit with the kids. Such a fun treat! Rebekah helped raise my boys while I was still working full time and they were all babies. Now she's teaching school and I'm at home, but we still get to see her periodically since she lives on a farm up the road from our house. We love Bek-Bek!
Keith was out of town that night, so I let the boys choose what they wanted to have for dinner. We kept it easy with a very low-key Friday night: carry-out pizza from Giovanna's and The Lego Movie on t.v.!
Other than a short errand to the store on Saturday morning, the kids and I stayed at home until Keith arrived back from his trip around lunchtime. Then we all headed out for some fresh air and exercise at the playground. The weather forecast called for rain all day, but we never saw a drop. Instead, we enjoyed cool, breezy temps. Yesssss!
We had an easy and very kid-friendly dinner last night: 5-Ingredient Baked Spaghetti! I'll share the recipe in the coming weeks. On the side I served sauteed mushrooms with Swiss chard, which Casey randomly picked out in the produce section. Plus some garlic breadsticks from the freezer for the boys!
Today we're focused on housework for the morning (mowing, laundry, etc.), and then we're looking forward to a cookout with friends this afternoon.
Before I sign off for the week, I wanted to give you a quick heads-up about something exciting that I have planned in about 2 weeks. I'll share more details in an upcoming blog post, but I thought I could mention it here first.
So many of you tell me that you struggle with getting organized for grocery shopping, meal planning, and preparing easy dinners each week. In an effort to teach you my simple step-by-step process for serving quick-prep family meals, I have organized a FREE 5-Day Challenge: Meal Planning for 15-Minute Dinners! The 5-Day Challenge will begin on Monday, August 7. I will send you a new "assignment" each day that will take you approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. At the end of the week you will have:
- an organized kitchen;
- a printable weekly meal plan;
- a printable shopping list; and
- a bank of easy, 15-minute recipes to turn to when you need dinner fast!
As I mentioned, there will be more details in an upcoming blog post. However, if you'd like to get your name on the list now and join me for this FREE challenge, I'd love to have you! You can sign up here:
Have a great week!