Good morning, and happy Sunday! I hope that you've stayed warm this week! We've been tucked inside for the past few days, still recovering from the flu, and keeping our germs to ourselves. I’m sharing all of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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 dinners 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…
Our house was gradually returning to normal on Sunday after being knocked down for a week from the flu. I mentioned in last week's post that all 3 of the kids and I came down with the illness, and a few of you have since wondered if we received the flu shot prior to getting sick. The answer is yes -- we all had the flu shot last fall at the beginning of flu season, with the exception of Casey (because Casey has an allergic reaction to the shot so the doctors will not allow him to receive it). Unfortunately, in this case, the vaccination didn't do any good.???? And now back to Sunday...
I spent the morning changing bed sheets and sanitizing anything that I could get my hands on, and then I took Casey and Spencer up to Culpeper for swimming lessons after lunch.
Gibbs was still not feeling well, so he stayed home with me while Keith took Casey to indoor soccer later that afternoon.
In between loads of laundry, I popped a quick, cozy dinner in the oven: Dump-and-Bake Cheesy Chicken and Rice, which I served with a side of broccoli. This delicious new recipe will be on the blog soon, but in the meantime you can try this similar Dump-and-Bake Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole.
Honey and tea by the fire while watching football, because the flu is NO JOKE and I was still exhausted!
It was 12 degrees F on Monday morning, and everyone in our house was home for the MLK Jr. holiday.
The younger boys needed to get out of the house, so Keith took them to Charlottesville for lunch at their favorite Chinese buffet and some swimming at the indoor pool. Meanwhile, Gibbs and I stayed home to rest!
I assembled a super-easy comfort food dish for supper that night, which required minimal effort on my part: Dump-and-Bake 3-Cheese Baked Ziti. You don't even have to boil the pasta before this vegetarian meal goes in the oven!
Served with a salad on the side, this was a huge hit with the whole family.
Keith returned to work and the younger boys returned to school on Tuesday morning, but Gibbs was still stuck at home in bed.
I picked up some work from his teachers, so we sat together and did that for a little while before Spencer got off the bus at lunchtime.
When I picked Casey up from school later in the day, he handed me a note in an envelope. Apparently he had some free time in class, so he chose to spend his spare minutes writing me the following note:
"Dear Mom: I'm getting as tall as a hotdog. You have very good cooking!" Hah! I seriously never know what's going to come out of his quirky little brain...????
Before Casey's basketball practice that night, I whipped up one of my favorite 20-minute dinners: Chicken Fried Rice with Thai Peanut Sauce. It's loaded with lean protein and veggies, so this is a healthy option that the kids enjoy too (thanks to that delicious peanut sauce)!
Gibbs's fever returned on Wednesday, so he didn't move from the couch all day. Fortunately, Keith was working from home, so I was able to escape the house after over a week of "nurse" duties to meet my friend Mollie at the gym for a strength class.
It was just an hour, but it felt so good to get out, interact with other adults, and feel like I was a functioning member of society again! ????
I came home to meet Spencer's bus before lunch, and we spent some time outside with the dog before the rain arrived.
He hung a bird feeder that he made at school using a pinecone, peanut butter, and birdseed!
Since the weather was cold and dreary, and since I still had a sick child in the house, soup was on the dinner menu that night!
I made my favorite 30-minute creamy Tomato Basil Soup, which I served with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. Instead of vegetable broth, I used the homemade chicken stock that I made last week. Any extra nutrition that I can squeeze into our bodies is a good thing at this point!
I spent a very rainy Thursday morning running errands in town that had been neglected over the past week, while Gibbs rode along in the car. We took Teddy to the groomer, filled up my gas tank, mailed something at the post office, and picked up an online grocery order.
I also had time to restock my granola stash in the pantry with a quick batch of my crunchy Stovetop Cinnamon Pecan Granola. This makes the best breakfast or snack option with milk, yogurt, or fruit!
My friend Mollie came over for a walk on our property later that afternoon when the rain stopped, and then I was off to pick Casey up from school.
Dinner that night was an oldie-but-goodie: Dump-and-Bake Cool Ranch Chicken Casserole served with side salads. I actually divided the chicken mixture between two separate baking dishes so that I could feed the boys a casserole early in the evening before basketball practice, and then bake a separate small casserole for Keith when he came home later.
Oh, and I finished my latest book that evening, which was a really fun, light read! After Bear Town, I need something fluffy, and One Day in December was perfect! Loved it.
Day #8 with the flu, and Gibbs finally woke up on Friday morning feeling better! After eating nothing but a handful of crackers for the past week, I knew that he was on the mend when his appetite returned. He started with a small bowl of Kix cereal for breakfast, and then continued snacking throughout the morning -- peanut butter Ritz crackers, mini muffins, and applesauce (to name a few).
By lunchtime, he just HAD to have a Little Caesar's Pretzel Crust Pizza (which he saw advertised on TV), so we placed an order and then drove 20 minutes to Ruckersville to pick it up as soon as Spencer got off the school bus.
Unfortunately, we didn't realize that the pretzel crust pizza came with a cheese sauce instead of a regular red tomato-based sauce, so he only ate about ½ a slice before throwing the rest away. It was so gross!
After a cold, early morning dog walk,
I spent the rest of the morning in the gym watching Casey's two basketball games at 9:00 and 11:00.
The cheerleaders are the cutest!
Meanwhile, Keith took Spencer on an adventure! They had a box for the Monster Jam event in D.C. (Spence loves Monster trucks), so they made it a day trip and met up with Keith's brother, my nephew, and a few other friends.
Casey and Gibbs were originally planning to join them, but Casey had two basketball games and we thought that Gibbs should stay home to rest and continue his recovery.
I made Baked Taquitos for dinner that night, which we served with chips, salsa, corn and guacamole. I'll share this easy recipe on the blog soon, but if you need a taquitos "fix" sooner, these 4-Ingredient Chicken Taquitos are pretty similar.
And there you have it! Another week of easy dinners for your meal planning inspiration. Have a wonderful week, friends!
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