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Good morning, and happy Sunday! It’s been quite the whirlwind around here as we celebrated Christmas, visited family, and worked to keep three busy boys entertained on vacation. All of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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…

I met my friend for an early walk on Sunday morning — in spite of the 23 degree temperature! It was sunny, and it warmed up quickly, so it really wasn’t too bad (I just wore about 15 layers to be comfortable).☺️

I also made a stop at the grocery store to pick up the items that I needed for our Christmas meals, and look what I found! This Coffee Cake ice cream was basically made for me. Just listen to this description:

Cake Batter-flavored ice cream with cinnamon graham cracker swirl, Vanilla-flavored ice cream, and Cinnamon ice cream with cinnamon chips. Heck yeah!

We went for a hike as a family after lunch,

…and then came home to watch football and get dinner started. I thawed two of these 16-ounce packs of wild-caught sea scallops from ButcherBox, which Keith grilled outside.

In addition to the scallops, I prepared two boxes of Rice-a-Roni (a kid favorite) and sautéed spinach in a big skillet with butter, olive oil and garlic.

Everything on a plate! Four out of five of us loved the scallops (Spencer was a hard sell), everyone ate the rice, and Spencer said that the spinach will “make me barf.” So there you go — a typical mealtime at our house.????

Monday was our last day to “get stuff done” before our official holiday celebrations started, so it was largely spent running errands. I took the boys with me to meet a friend and her kids at the gym in Culpeper that morning, and then made a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts before returning to Madison. Spencer couldn’t wait to use the “credit card” that he received as a Christmas gift from his teacher!

Keith took the boys with him to run errands for the afternoon, while I got a hair cut and made a trip to Charlottesville to pick up my parents’ dog. We took care of Tiller while my folks were out of town for the holidays.

The older boys had basketball practice that evening, so we ate an early dinner before they hustled out the door. I served my 3-ingredient Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with a side of pasta and marinara sauce and steamed green beans. Keeping it simple when there were so many other things on the agenda!

Close up front shot of sliced parmesan crusted chicken breast on a blue and white plate

Tuesday was Christmas Eve, so we took a mini road trip up to Northern Virginia to visit Keith’s family for the day.

Keith was very happy when we went for a walk and came across the UNC football team practicing on his old high school football field! The team was in town for the Military Bowl, so we had fun watching their drills for a little while.

We opened presents with my in-laws, visited with his brothers, and enjoyed my mother-in-law’s traditional Christmas Eve meal: her delicious lasagna, salad, ambrosia and rolls.

Plus a slice of s’mores pie for dessert! Then we made the trip home to change the kids into their new Christmas pajamas, enjoy some Christmas cookies, and get ready for Santa…

Oh! I almost forgot — on the drive home, I finished another Louise Penny mystery. A Fatal Grace is the second in her Chief Inspector Gamache series, and I’m totally hooked! This was even better than her first (Still Life) — I highly recommend these well-written page-turners.

PS — Other Louise Penny super fans have advised me to read these in order, so if you’re just getting started with her books, definitely start at the beginning with Still Life. You’ll get to know the characters and their stories that way!

We were blessed with a very beautiful Christmas on Wednesday, which started bright and early at 6:00 a.m. (the earliest that the kids were allowed up).

In reality, Casey had been awake and reading since 4:30 a.m.!! To say they were excited would be an understatement.

After opening presents, I served a delicious and easy breakfast: country ham biscuits, Dump-and-Bake Hash Brown Casserole (prepped the night before), fruit salad (also prepped the night before), eggs, and the most decadent, warm cinnamon rolls from Yoder’s Country Market.

Front shot of half of a bowl of fresh fruit salad close up

Other than a dog walk and some clean up around the house, we stayed close to home and had a quiet day. The kids played with their new toys, and Aunt Barbara and Uncle Gary came for a visit in the afternoon.

I set out some snacks to enjoy while they were here, since they weren’t planning to stay for dinner. We had my 3-ingredient Sausage Balls, a cheese board, Chex Mix from my neighbor, and some candied pecans.

Three sausage balls with toothpicks on an appetizer plate

It was just our family of 5 for dinner that night, but I still wanted the meal to feel special. Since we had already enjoyed our traditional Southern Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin at my parents’ house a few days earlier, we changed up our Christmas Day menu this year.

We had a 4-Ingredient Pork Loin Roast (which had marinated in the fridge for 2 days, so it was especially flavorful).

On the side, I prepared Jiffy Corn Casserole,

Close up shot of a wooden spoon scooping up Jiffy Corn Casserole

Christmas Salad,

Cranberry Fluff,

Easy Broccoli Casserole, and a pan of dinner rolls.

For dessert, I made a Southern Red Velvet Cake…BUT! I am not a baker, so I opted for a shortcut (as usual). Instead of making the cake from scratch, I used a box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix, and then frosted the cake with this homemade cream cheese frosting. It was perfect — and definitely my favorite food that I enjoyed all season!

Thursday morning I had to do one of the hardest things that any pet owner ever has to do: put a dog to sleep. My parents’ pup, Tiller, was an old man (13 years!) who had lived a very long, very good life. Unfortunately, a brain tumor finally got the best of him this week and it quickly became obvious that it was his time to go. The timing was unfortunate with my parents out of town, but (with my mom’s support from afar) I took him to our vet first thing on Thursday morning so that the sweet boy wouldn’t have to suffer any longer than necessary.❤️

After an emotionally exhausting few days, I was ready for some fresh air, sunshine and time with a friend. I met Mollie for a walk at her farm before lunch, where Teddy desperately tried to chase the geese on her pond. Hah — no chance!

The rest of the day included a grocery run and some post-Christmas cleanup. It’s always bitter sweet when the holiday is over, but it’s also nice to get my house back in order!

I made Frito Pie for dinner, which we enjoyed with a salad on the side. The kids loved scooping up the meat mixture with extra chips (of course)!

Front shot of bowl of ground beef casserole made with chili beans and corn chips

I spent Friday morning in the kitchen photographing a couple of recipes, while Keith took the boys to Charlottesville to use their Christmas gift cards at Target and to have lunch at Five Guys. They came back with a lot of loot — shopping with Dad is fun!

We enjoyed the sunshine that afternoon and took advantage of the 60+ degree weather with plenty of time outside (including a trip to the school playground).

Keith was at a hockey game for the night, so the boys and I had Chicken Tetrazzini for dinner with a side of broccoli and went to bed early. The holidays exhausted all of us!

Front shot of chicken tetrazzini in a blue and white bowl with fresh herbs in background

I just can’t get over how perfect our weather was this week, and Saturday was no exception!

When it reached nearly 70 degrees that afternoon, Keith opened up the house and we pretended that it was spring…

The day was spent at home — playing in tree forts, walking the dog, washing large amounts of laundry, and cleaning out over-crowded bookshelves (among other things).

Spencer’s friend came over to play for the afternoon, so that entertained everyone until dinnertime, when I served Pasta Fagioli Soup, along with a salad and French bread on the side. YUM.

Overhead shot of pasta e fagioli in a blue and white bowl with a spoon

And that’s where I’ll leave it for now, friends! Thanks so much for stopping by during this busy time. I appreciate your love and support this year, and I’ll see you back here next weekend for a New Year’s recap!


Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

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  1. Tiller was such a special dog. I loved hm. Sorry you had to deal with this. I knew his time was coming near after speaking to mom. Sounds like you were surrounded with lots of happy kids and delicious food. Wishing you and the family the Happiest and Healthiest New Year! Have Caryn tell you about andrew’s Xmas visit. It’s one for the record. It will crack u up!!

  2. So sorry about Tiller-very difficult to experience …. I had to put my much loved ChiChidog down in May this year (2019) so my Holidays and, actually most of this year has been horrible and heart breaking-can’t imagine having to do this during the Holidays-had to be very hard for your parents not to be there…. On a brighter thought, was wondering if you. (or a reader) have ever tried your Tetrazzini dish with tuna?? Gotta give it a try!! Enjoy your blog and LOVE the easy meals!! ???? Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Sherrie! Our pets are like members of our family, so it’s definitely an incredibly hard situation. I’m sorry for your loss, too. 🙁

      I haven’t personally tried tuna in the tetrazzini recipe, but I imagine it should work perfectly! Thanks for your note, and have a great week!

  3. So sorry about Tiller. But he’s over the Rainbow Bridge and not suffering any longer. Call me jealous of your 70 degrees yesterday. Only made it to the 50’s in SE PA.

    1. Thank you, Janine! You’re absolutely right — he’s in a much better place!

      Don’t be too jealous of our weather now…it’s raining today! 🙂

  4. Happy New Year Blair, I have been on a lasagna recipe search recently. Am wondering if your mom would be willing to share her lasagna recipe, including size and description of pan. Thanks! Enjoy your blog immensely.

  5. I’ll have to try the Coffee Cake ice cream. The Turkey Hill brand also has a Colombian Coffee flavor that we absolutely love!
    We experienced the same Spring-like weather in the Northwestern Piedmont of NC, but the rain has arrived here as well.
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  6. I’ll have to try the Coffee Cake ice cream. The Turkey Hill brand also has a Colombian Coffee flavor that we absolutely love!
    We experienced the same Spring-ish weather in the Northwestern Piedmont of NC, but the rain has arrived here as well.
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  7. Thank you for your blog! I look forward to it every week and love your recipes. So sorry about Tiller. Always hard to part with a dog. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Abby! It’s so sad, but it’s also much easier when you know that the animal was suffering here on Earth. 🙁 I’m at peace with that!

      Have a great New Year!

  8. So sorry for the loss of your parents’ dog. It must’ve been even more difficult with them out of town and it being right around the holidays. That ice cream sounds amazing!

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about Tiller.
    I made your Jiffy Corn Casserole for Christmas and it was a big hit! I cannot believe, as much as I love corn, that I had never made this before! It is def initely going to be made regulaly now!
    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Lee! I’m so glad that your family enjoyed it!

      We miss Tiller, but it was definitely the right decision to make for him. We’re at peace knowing that he’s no longer suffering.

      Happy New Year!