Hello, hello! We had quite the interesting week around here, as our plans changed drastically and we were left scrambling to rearrange our schedule. I'll explain more below, but in the meantime how about another roundup of Our Week in Meals? Don't miss my latest summer veggie recipe towards the end, too!
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…
After a walk in the morning, I took some photos of a couple of new recipes, we played at the pool in the afternoon, and we made pizzas for dinner. Keith has been requesting grilled pizzas recently, so I finally remembered to buy the dough and all of the toppings at the store last Saturday. He has perfected his pizza-grilling technique! Keith wanted me to tell you that the pizza gets its smoky flavor from the mesquite wood that he uses.????
I served the pizza with a salad that I made using local cucumber and tomato, which is in season at the moment and really good.
I took the boys for a dentist appointment on Monday morning, which is definitely not their idea of a good time.
Nervous, but brave!
We drove through Dunkin' Donuts on the way home, which made the morning's adventure much, much better as far as the kids were concerned.
I had an iced macchiato that was pretty good, Casey had a frozen lemonade, Spence went with the classic glazed donut, and Gibbs won the prize for most decadent purchase: the S'mores Donut (which included a marshmallow filling).???? I took this photo to send to s'mores-obsessed Keith, who was unfortunately at work that day instead of feasting on donuts with his sons.
We hosted Henry for a play date in the afternoon, and later that evening I tested a new recipe for dinner. We had this Dump-and-Bake Chicken Divan with dinner rolls. Definitely a hit, so I'll share the recipe soon! I absolutely love when I can figure out new ways to make classic dishes easier and faster without sacrificing taste, and that's exactly what I did here...
On Tuesday morning I dragged the boys to Walmart to grab a few necessities (like Dran-O and peanut butter) before lunch. Spence picked up some bubbles, too!
I made a batch of chocolate peanut butter No-Bake Cookies (I'll share the recipe soon), and then took the boys to swimming lessons later that afternoon.
Since I knew that we'd get home late, I put a new recipe in the Crock Pot before we left. This was Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (i.e., a good way to use up a lot of the veggies that I had shoved in my fridge drawer)! It turned out well, so the details will be on the blog next month! I served the chicken, veggies, and sauce with some pasta that I tossed in pesto sauce (the boys' favorite).
We didn't have any set plans for Wednesday morning, so I took the kids to the school playground early in the day in order to get some fresh air and exercise before it got too hot. Casey was also excited to check out the progress of his kindergarten class's garden.
We dropped Casey off at Henry's farm for a play date that afternoon, and I served a very easy (but very delicious) dinner that night. Keith was gone for the evening, so the boys and I enjoyed this Dump-and-Bake Beef Stroganoff Casserole on our own, plus a side of broccoli. This recipe will be posted next month, and I can't wait for you to try it!
My mom came for a visit on Thursday! Casey had been invited to his friend's house for the day, so the rest of us had a lunch date at Subway while he was gone!
Mom and I both agreed that the rotisserie chicken sandwich was great!
Mom brought me this book to read (<- affiliate link), which she claims is "the best book she has ever read." That's a strong statement coming from a former English major, lifelong bookworm, and book club member! She's read a lot of good books, so I can't wait to start this one and see what all of the fuss is about. Have you read it yet?
We had swimming lessons late that afternoon, so I kept dinner really easy. It was a refrigerator clean-out night since I knew that we would be leaving town for a few days. I had leftover Chicken Cacciatore, Keith had chicken cordon bleu from the freezer, and the boys were thrilled with mac and cheese + broccoli!
On Friday morning we said goodbye to the farms and mountains, packed our bags into the car, and headed off to the airport.
Our destination was Orlando, Florida to see my brother, my sister-in-law Jackie, and their 4 kids. My newest niece, Riley, was born this month and we were SO excited to meet her (and to see the rest of the crew)!
Cutest traveler ever.
We were flying out of Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, which is a teeny tiny little airport just over the mountain from us. So convenient, so easy to deal with, and SO UNRELIABLE on this particular day. We marched up to the check-in desk an hour before our flight was supposed to leave, only to learn that the airline had just cancelled the flight due to maintenance issues...and that there were no other flights to Florida all weekend. Wahhhhhhh! Talk about disappointment! We had been looking forward to this trip all summer...
It was lunchtime at that point, so we sat down in the empty airport to eat our subs, to regroup, and to figure out what to do next.
Your average Made-to-Order Turkey Sub from Sheetz.
Since there were no other flight options for the weekend within a reasonable price range from any airport in the region at such late notice, we decided to make the most of our afternoon -- especially since Keith had taken the day off from work. We were driving right through Shenandoah National Park on the way back to our house, so we tackled the Hawksbill hike on Skyline Drive.
We changed out of our travel clothes in the parking lot, put on more appropriate hiking attire, and we were off...
The Hawksbill Summit is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, so the views are always stunning. Unfortunately, it was a bit hazy on this particular day, thanks to 100-degree (humid) temps down below.
Panoramic photo courtesy of Keith!
We appreciated the 80-degree, breezy weather up on the mountain, though!
We were starving after hiking so we ate late snacks when we got home, which meant dinner was on the lighter side. And since I thought that we would be out of town for a few days, the refrigerator was bare! We scrounged around the kitchen and pulled together an easy meal that worked just fine in the end: grilled turkey burgers (from the freezer) + carrot sticks and Ranch dip. Not fancy, but neither are we!
On Saturday morning I did some quick meal planning for the week,
and then met Mollie and Sallie for a walk in the woods at Hoover Ridge. I squeezed in a trip to the grocery store before lunch, and then we headed to the pool for the afternoon.
Keith wanted to smoke a pork shoulder for dinner that night, so we had pulled pork barbecue, potato salad, a green salad, and a new veggie side dish made that I made with eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. The boys had their pork barbecue on sandwich buns, which they loved!
Keith's plate: with a heavy emphasis on the pork!????
The eggplant dish was simple and easy, so I'll share the recipe here in case you want to try it with your fresh summer vegetables. I adapted it from a very old Southern Living cookbook, and it would be delicious with some grilled fish and pasta! I'll be enjoying the leftovers for the next few days...
Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini sliced
- 1 28 ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes (you can substitute with about 3 ½ cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes, if preferred)
- 1 large or 2 small eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme, and oregano OR about 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese or more, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sautee onion in oil until tender (about 3-5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Add zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Cover the pot and simmer the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until they’re just crisp tender.
- Transfer vegetables to a large baking dish (about 13 x 9-inches) and sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Place under a broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese melts.
And that's where I'll leave it for the week! We were bummed out by our cancelled vacation, but I've already made arrangements for a quick Florida getaway in the coming weeks before everyone starts school again. Looking forward to that!