Hello, hello friendly faces! It's Sunday, which means that it's time for another 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…
Keith left town last Sunday on a 5 a.m. flight to meet a couple of his high school friends for a boys' weekend (which included a NFL Monday Night Football game). The kids and I stayed busy at the house in the morning (cooking, laundry, housework, etc.), and then we headed south in the afternoon for a visit with my parents.
The watched birds in the pond from the comfort of the porch,
and my dad took Casey to find cattails by the lake since Casey had been asking for them on our last visit.
We hadn't had rain in Central Virginia in ages, so the water levels were crazy low!
Success! He hit the cattail jackpot, and even brought souvenirs home with him.
Supper was a team effort that evening. I brought my favorite Minestrone Soup, and my dad baked two loaves of cheddar cheese French bread. It was the perfect meal for a cool fall evening!
At Gibbs's request, my mom made a lemon bundt cake for dessert. Delicious!
While the boys were at school on Monday morning, I walked with my friend Mollie and then picked up a few groceries for a friend at the store. My mother-in-law arrived around lunchtime when I picked Spencer up from school, so the two of them played together all afternoon while I got to work in the kitchen.
Sallie just had a baby, so I wanted to bring them a meal (and meet baby Will) on Tuesday. I made a coffee cake for them to have for breakfast, and then since the herbs in my garden are still going strong, I prepared a big batch of my Garlic & Herb Tomato Sauce. I added about a pound of cooked Italian sausage to the sauce, and finished the meal with a box of rigatoni pasta, a loaf of bread, and a Caesar salad. Plus brownies for dessert! Gotta spoil tired new moms (and dads)!
Both of the older boys had soccer practice on Monday evening, so for dinner we had an easy Dump-and-Bake Cool Ranch Chicken Casserole that I had prepared on Sunday morning and then just kept in the fridge until I wanted to bake it. This was a twist on my Doritos Nacho Cheese Taco Bake, which so many of you have enjoyed. I will share the ranch chicken version next month!
Spence and I stayed home on Tuesday morning and spent quite a bit of time outside enjoying the cool sunshine. This was as close to a "selfie" as I could get with him...
After lunch I pulled out my milk frother and made myself a Pumpkin Spice Latte, since I live in the middle of nowhere and there's no Starbucks in sight!
I use pumpkin spice coffee (so I guess it's not technically a latte), and then I combine milk and pumpkin spice creamer in my milk frother. It takes two seconds and it tastes great. Slightly sweet, creamy, foamy, but not syrup-y sweet like you get with some of the store-bought lattes.
We made a delivery to Sallie's house in the afternoon to drop off dinner and to meet the baby before heading on to pick up the older boys at school. Keith also returned home from his trip on Tuesday afternoon, so we were all home for dinner again. I served the same meal that I made for Sallie's family: rigatoni pasta with my homemade sauce (and added Italian sausage), a salad, and bread.
A quick note about the sauce -- my family loved the addition of the Italian sausage, but I tweaked the original recipe slightly to accommodate the added meat. If you want to try it yourself, here's what I did: brown 1 lb. of bulk Italian sausage in a skillet until no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Prepare a batch of my 20-Minute Garlic & Herb Tomato Sauce, but add 1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes (NOT drained), ¼ cup of tomato paste, and 1 cup of chicken stock to that recipe. When the sauce is done simmering, stir in the cooked sausage and heat through. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve! Adding the extra tomatoes and liquid thins the sauce so that it's not too thick when you add the meat to it. Enjoy!
I took advantage of the cool weather on Wednesday morning and went for a walk in town after dropping Spencer off at the preschool. It was a quiet way to stretch my legs before returning home to get some work and laundry done!
Gibbs had a soccer game that evening, so I fed everyone a quick supper on our way out the door. The dinner was inspired by this week's Simply Mailed meal plan: Barbecue Chicken Cornbread Casserole served with a salad on the side.
One more quick note from Wednesday night! My sister-in-law sent me these cute photos of my nephews. James was making my Dump-and-Bake 3-Cheese Baked Ziti for dinner,
and Alex was enjoying it shortly after! Have you tried the recipe yet? Our family loves it, and it's the best shortcut for cooking pasta!
I put together a meal plan and grocery list for the coming week, and Spencer and I headed to the store on Thursday morning.
All 3 boys had haircuts that afternoon, which wasn't their idea of a good time, but it was long overdue! Hey, at least she has a great trampoline outside where they can entertain themselves while they're waiting!
For dinner we had a total comfort food dinner: The Easiest Classic Pot Roast! I cooked the meat early in the day and then sliced it and tucked it inside hoagie rolls for dinner. I topped the beef sandwiches with sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms, added a slice of Provolone cheese, and popped them back in the oven until the cheese melted. This is definitely Keith's preferred way of eating pot roast. I'll share the recipe for the tender meat next month.
On Friday morning I took a quick walk after dropping Spencer off at school.
It was a great way to kill an hour before I had to be back at the school to chaperone his class's field trip to the post office in town.
The kids learned about a mail carrier's job and learned how the mail gets sorted for individual routes. Of course, Spencer's favorite part was seeing the inside of the mail truck!
I served an oldie-but-goodie recipe for dinner that night: Linguine with Clam Sauce! I posted this recipe years ago (when I was still pregnant with Spencer), and I still have friends and family who make it on a regular basis and love it. It's so fast (20 minutes from start to finish), and even kids love the mild sauce. Definitely try it if you haven't already!
We had our pasta with a loaf of my neighbor's multigrain bread and a salad on the side.
We started Saturday morning on the soccer fields, as usual.
After Casey's game we drove over to Sperryville, which is a tiny little town "next door" to Madison. It's at the base of the mountains and right next to an entrance to Skyline Drive. The leaves haven't started to change much yet, but it was still a beautiful drive.
Our first stop was a visit to a furniture shop's showroom. They make custom Virginia farm tables using antique reclaimed wood, so I wanted to go pick out the design, finish, etc. before placing an order. So excited for a bigger dining room table that can accommodate our family!
After looking at the tables, everyone was ready for lunch. We drove about ¼ mile up the road to the Sperryville Trading restaurant. It was a perfect fall day to sit outside on the porch!
I had a tuna sandwich,
plus a salad for lunch.
The boys had cones for dessert, and we all left happy and full!
I made a new-to-me recipe for supper that night, which I got from a blog reader. I can't wait to share Diana's "Country Comfort Casserole" with you all soon! It has hash brown potatoes, cheese, and sausage all mixed in one delicious dump-and-bake dish!
We had our casserole with broccoli and dinner rolls on the side.
After supper the kids and I decorated this Haunted House that my mother-in-law brought for them.
While they took this job very seriously and our house was weighed down with candy, I think they ate just as much as they stuck on.????
And speaking of dessert, I have a quick PSA for all of the butter pecan ice cream lovers out there. This Texas Pecan Pie flavor is sooooooooo good! Grab some if you can find it -- I think it might be a seasonal flavor!
Have a wonderful week, friends!
Need some help planning your family's meals? When you join Simply Mailed, I will send you 3 quick-prep dinner recipes and a grocery shopping list each week (for less than $1 per week!!!). This super-affordable service takes the stress out of dinner, saves you time and money, and brings your family together at the end of the day. There are even options for smaller households of just 1 or 2!