Good morning, and happy Memorial Day weekend! It was the rainiest, coldest week of May that I can remember, so we were especially relieved to see the sun come out yesterday. We celebrated a birthday, baked a lot of treats, and enjoyed plenty of good food while stuck indoors over the past few days. All of the highlights, 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. Now, let’s back up to last weekend…
Sunday was rainy and cool, so we took care of a lot of indoor chores --including bathroom cleaning, laundry, wrapping gifts for Casey's birthday, and pulling out our summer clothes. Exciting stuff!😉 Teddy had the right idea...
I also finished a wonderful book that afternoon! My friend Liz recommended Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb and oh-my-goodness! It was such a unique, heartwarming read. One minute I was laughing out loud, the next minute I was crying. I hope that you'll read this one soon! Here's a quick overview:
Bess Kalb, Emmy-nominated TV writer and New Yorker contributor, saved every voicemail her grandmother Bobby Bell ever left her. Bobby was a force -- irrepressible, glamorous, unapologetically opinionated. Bobby doted on Bess; Bess adored Bobby. Then, at ninety, Bobby died. But in this debut memoir, Bobby is speaking to Bess once more, in a voice as passionate as it ever was in life. Recounting both family lore and family secrets, Bobby brings us four generations of indomitable women and the men who loved them.
Keith grilled Marinated Italian Chicken for dinner that night, which we paired with couscous, salad and...
...yet another loaf of No-Knead Bread. I'm averaging about a loaf per day, because my family is obsessed. Let me know if you've tried it!
Followed by another batch of homemade vanilla soft-serve ice cream! My cone is crooked, but this was our best yet -- so thick and creamy. The kids are especially loving the machine right now!
Monday was Casey's 9th birthday! Now I have a 6-year-old, a 9-year-old, and a 10-year-old. Crazy how time flies!
We obviously couldn't have a traditional birthday party or go out to a restaurant for a meal, so we made the day as special as possible at home. Casey picked the menu -- including McDonald's for lunch! My parents picked up the order on their way to our house, and my aunt and uncle joined us as well for a little birthday picnic on the front porch.
After picking so many strawberries last week, Casey decided that he wanted Strawberry Shortcake for his birthday dessert. I will share my recipe on Tuesday, so stay tuned for that!
He requested Chinese takeout for dinner that night, but the only Chinese restaurant in town was closed. Instead, we had a last-minute change of plans and opted for Miranda's Restaurant takeout instead (basically the only other option available). Chicken Parm subs, chicken tenders and (more) cheeseburgers to the rescue...
For dessert, Casey wanted a "candy buffet," so I set out a bunch of different bulk candies that I picked up from Yoder's last week and let the boys make their own bowls. Not my preference, but Casey was in heaven!
Plus the Cowboy Cookies that my mom made. So many treats (and I'm not complaining)!!!
Thank goodness for birthday presents (like Legos) that kept the kids busy indoors, because Tuesday was another rainy, cool day here.
I chatted with a friend while I walked the dog in the morning, and then spent a good amount of time in the kitchen -- testing recipes, making tacos for lunch, and baking a loaf of bread for dinner.
I also prepared another batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam to take advantage of the final few berries that we picked late last week.
I made Crispy Baked Cod for dinner that night (which I will share on the blog soon), but this time I was testing it in the air fryer. It's very similar to our favorite Fried Catfish recipe, so that's a good option to start with in the meantime.
I made Braised Red Cabbage on the side (which I love), but none of my boys are particularly big fans of cabbage, so I was sure to prepare a few other sides that I knew they would like...
After an early walk up the road with Teddy, I made our weekly run to the grocery store on Wednesday morning.
I hadn't planned to do so, but I ended up deep-cleaning my refrigerator before putting all of my groceries away. It consumed my entire morning, but now it's done and looking much better. It just blows my mind how quickly the days seem to fly by, even when I don't think we have a lot on our "schedule."
It may have been cold, windy and gray outside, but I found a bowl of summer at the store!🍒
I met my friend Ashley for a walk on the trails late in the afternoon, once our husbands were done with work. Then it was back to the house for a quick throw-together dinner: Dump-and-Bake Ravioli Casserole, plus garlic breadsticks and a salad.
There was more rain in the forecast for Thursday, so I made sure to get us out for some fresh air early on.
The boys brought their off-roading remote control trucks to the go-kart track at the county park for a change of scenery. It was the perfect venue!
Gibbs is taking on extra chores these days in order to earn money for a new video game that he really wants. He's become quite the pro at mopping (which I love), and Keith just bought him a lightweight battery powered weed eater so that he can help with outdoor work, too.😀
It was Mexican night for dinner! I made Casey's favorite 5-Ingredient Taco Casserole...
...and paired it with tortilla chips and a side of 7 Layer Bean Dip. I knew we wouldn't need a full recipe, so I just used about half of the ingredients and layered them in a smaller dish. A great side dish that only took about 10 minutes to assemble in advance!
There is a house finch nesting in the wreath on our front door, and the dog is losing his mind!
Casey finally got the Chinese food that he wanted for his birthday. Since the restaurant was open for takeout on Friday, Keith picked up lunch for all of us -- including this Moo Shu Pork and plenty of spring rolls.
It was so nice to see the sun peek out that afternoon for the first time all week!
I walked Teddy on some very muddy trails while Keith played with the boys at the park.
Dinner was inspired by this jar of pizza sauce that I bought from my neighbor at the farmer's market.
I figured that her delicious homemade sauce deserved a delicious homemade crust to go with it, so I made a batch of Bobby Flay's pizza dough, too. One pizza topped with just mozzarella and Parmesan, and the other with pepperoni as well. Plus a salad on the side for some greens!
The upside to all of the rain that we had this past week? A very green, very colorful weekend!
I was so thankful for a long warm, sunny walk on Saturday morning while chatting with a friend on the phone.
And equally thankful for the iced coffee that I enjoyed on the front porch afterwards!
Keith's parents stopped by for a quick visit outside, and then we all went on a short hike up a nearby mountain after lunch.
The boys were most excited about finding a dead frog and a black snake.😩
We've got lots of grilling on the menu for the next few days, including supper last night: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spice Rub,
So there you go -- one more week of easy meal ideas! I hope that you've found some inspiration for your own dinners in the coming days. Let me know if you give any of these recipes a try -- I always love to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend!