Good morning and happy Sunday! It's finally March -- which means that spring is on the way!☀️🌷 I'm wrapping up a jam-packed week full of work, sports, and time with friends. Keith was traveling most of the week, so by Friday I was ready for a serious break. Solo parenting is NO JOKE. But I survived! All of the highlights from the past few days, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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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.
First, a quick note that my latest article for Taste of Home is now live HERE. I hope you’ll check it out and give the No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies a try soon! They're made with just a few pantry staples that you probably already have on hand, and they're ready in about 30 minutes (no oven required). Definitely a kid favorite!
Now let's back up to last weekend...
We were blessed with sunny, spring-like weather on Sunday, so we took full advantage -- starting with my morning walk. I met a girlfriend bright and early for some fresh air and exercise before returning home to spend a couple of hours testing recipes in the kitchen.
Afternoon hike at White Oak Canyon with all of my boys!
Keith grilled pork chops for dinner and we dreamed of summer.☺️
We paired the pork chops with my great grandmother's potato pancakes (a childhood favorite!), applesauce and a salad.
Plus the end of an amazing book! The Dutch House is my favorite novel by Ann Patchett so far (although I haven't read them all). Definitely one of the best books I've read in awhile!
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when they’re finally forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.
Gibbs stayed home sick on Monday, so with the exception of a few short dog walks up the street, we were basically housebound for the day.
We did make it out to the doctor's office for a strep test, though! This is how a 10-year-old boy responds when Mom asks him to "smile."🙄
I spent most of the afternoon getting work done on the computer, but I also took a break to prepare a meal for my aunt and uncle (who is recovering from a surgery), plus a pan of brownies for dessert. I actually made two of everything so that we could enjoy the effort, too!
My parents stopped by for lunch on Tuesday, and brought sandwiches with them from the deli at Yoder's Country Market. We combined the sandwiches with fruit, leftover coleslaw from the night before, and chips for a delicious lunch!
Tuesday night's dinner was a couple of containers of store-bought creamy tomato soup, which I paired with grilled cheese sandwiches for the boys and one of these Dave's Killer Bread toasted English muffins for myself. Not fancy, but just keepin' it real!
If you have a few extra minutes and want to make your own homemade creamy tomato soup, this is my favorite recipe!
On a very gray, damp Wednesday morning, I headed over to my friend's farm for a walk before the rain arrived.
I also called my Great Aunt Bee to wish her a happy 100th birthday!!! Can you even believe it? This amazing lady is still living on her own in North Carolina, riding her bike around the neighborhood, and enjoying life with her son and grandkids nearby. While we're not technically related, Aunt Bee was my grandmother's best friend and my mom's godmother, so she has been like a surrogate grandmother to me over the years. I adore her, and you may remember some of her famous recipes from the blog, including her Swedish Meatballs, her Tuna Noodle Casserole and her Shrimp and Pasta Salad.
When I was talking to her on the phone that morning, Aunt Bee told me that her only secret to longevity is "eating a lot of watercress." WHAT?! That wasn't exactly the answer that I was expecting to hear, but apparently she has enjoyed plenty of watercress and cream cheese tea sandwiches over the years. I'm afraid I'm terribly behind the curve and need to add watercress to my grocery list...STAT.😂
The older boys had a very late basketball practice that night, so Hannah (our babysitter) came to stay at the house while Spencer slept so that I could take Gibbs and Casey to the gym. Before we left, I served everyone my One Skillet "Egg Roll in a Bowl" with a side of rice to make it more filling. Always tasty!
The sun returned on Thursday morning, so I met my friend Ashley for a windy (but pretty) walk as soon as the kids went to school.
Back home, the rest of my day was spent in the kitchen working on recipes and photos for a client for two upcoming Cinco de Mayo campaigns.
Casey went home with a friend after school, so he was dropped off just in time for me to give everyone a quick supper, and then get back to the gym for the older boys' 6:00 p.m. basketball game. Knowing that it would be a rushed evening, I prepped dinner in advance in the slow cooker so that it would be ready when we needed it quickly. We had another kid-friendly meal: Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles, which I paired with buttered French-cut green beans.
I met my friend at the gym on Friday morning, and then ran some errands in Culpeper while I was in town. On my way home from Target, I swung by the drive-through at Panera to grab a tuna salad sandwich and soup for lunch. My fave!
The rest of the afternoon involved work at the computer and many loads of laundry. I was tired and not interested in cooking dinner that night, so I was happy to have a pan of Easy Beef Enchiladas in the freezer. This was the meal that I had prepped earlier in the week to share with my aunt and uncle, so I doubled everything and kept some for us.
We paired the enchiladas with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and Tex-Mex seasoned pinto beans.
Not much to report from Saturday! There was a break in basketball games for the weekend, which worked out well because Gibbs woke up that morning with a fever. Not sure if it's lingering illness from earlier in the week or something completely new?
With the exception of a couple of dog walks and a trip to the grocery store, I stayed home all day and played nurse to my sick patient (again).
Meanwhile, Keith was back home, so he took the younger boys up to Culpeper for a chicken nugget lunch date -- and just to get them out of the house!
I prepared a batch of our favorite homemade Marinara Sauce for dinner that night, which I served with pasta and pan-fried Italian sausage. That sauce is so good, and with a can of crushed tomatoes it's ready in less than 30 minutes! We also had salad and garlic breadsticks on the side.
So there you go, friends! Another week of easy, quick and family-friendly dinner ideas. I hope that you found a few new options to add to your own meals in the coming days. Thanks so much for stopping by!❤️