Hey, friends! 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…
We woke up to a beautiful snow-covered yard on Sunday, and fortunately the sun was shining.
Keith took the boys sledding (before everything melted), while I met my friend Mollie for a walk in the woods.
Since we're chatting about food here, let's discuss the snack that Keith and the kids have been devouring over the past week!
For some unknown reason, Keith ordered a bulk box of Cracker Jacks last week. So retro, right? This was the first time that the boys were introduced to Cracker Jacks, and they're totally hooked now.
But you know what's funny? There's no prize in the box anymore -- you have to redeem the "prize" via an app on your phone.????
After enjoying the Creamy Tomato Soup from Panera last week, I decided that I could easily make my own batch at home.
On Sunday afternoon, I prepped a pot of my favorite Tomato Basil Soup so that I could have it in the refrigerator to reheat during the week. It's so darn good with grilled cheese!
And for dinner that evening I stirred together a cozy Dump-and-Bake Jambalaya (recipe coming soon). This was a HUGE hit, and I always appreciate an easy one-dish meal!
While Spence was at school on Monday morning, I spent time at the house getting work and chores taken care of...all while listening to holiday music on my Echo.
Which reminds me: Keith and I had a heated (fun) debate the other day regarding our favorite types of Christmas music.
I can start listening to holiday tunes in mid-November, while he wants nothing to do with the genre until mid-December. He's into songs like Feliz Navidad, while I prefer the classics.
What do YOU think about this important subject?!
For your listening pleasure, here's my #1 pick for the year???? (it will bring you to tears -- in the best way):
I'd love to hear what you're listening to right now as well!
Dinner that night was an easy family favorite -- tacos! I prepped the meat in the afternoon, and then reheated the beef once Keith was home from work later that evening.
We served the tacos with chips, salsa, and guacamole, plus corn on the side. I had my fixin's all piled on a Taco Salad (the bagged Southwestern Salad kits are great for that)!
Tuesday was a busy (and productive) day. I had a regular check up with my dermatologist in Charlottesville late morning, so my mother-in-law came to stay with Spencer.
I took advantage of some solo time in town and ran errands while I was there. I grabbed lunch at Panera after my appointment,
Roasted Turkey, Apple & Cheddar Sandwich on Cranberry Walnut Bread + Ancient Grain, Arugula + Chicken Salad
stopped in Trader Joe's to snag some of the seasonal items,
picked up a grocery order at Harris Teeter, and went to Target for stocking stuffers.
Mid-afternoon Mom Fuel = Gingerbread Latte
Gibbs had his enrichment program after school, so I made two separate trips to pick up the kids, rushed everyone home for a very fast supper, and then rushed everyone back out the door for the boys' basketball practice at 6 p.m.
Since I needed a dinner that I could pull together quickly, I reheated the Tomato Basil Soup that I prepared on Sunday and made grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. Perfect combo!
I bundled up in my warmest gear for a very cold 25-degree walk with Mollie on Wednesday morning while the kids were all in school.
That afternoon I tried to get some Christmas wrapping done, but with this jokester around, there was a lot of dancing and wrestling going on...and not a lot of gift wrapping happening. He was pretty bored since it was too cold to spend much time outside. It's going to be a loooooooong winter in our house!
In fact, all 3 boys were playing indoor soccer in our hallways that evening...
I served 5-Ingredient Pan Fried Pork Chops for dinner that night.
I'll share the super-simple recipe with you soon, because even if you're not a pork chop lover, these just might change your mind!
I paired the pork with two really simple sides. We had mashed cauliflower and roasted vegetables, which I picked up in the refrigerated produce section at Trader Joe's the day before.
They were a combination of sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red onions, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, olive oil, sea salt, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. Yes, I could make them myself at home, but I appreciated the microwaveable shortcut version and no chopping that night!
I spent Thursday morning in the kitchen!
I had some leftover cream from my Tomato Basil Soup that needed to be used, so I put on a pot of my kids' favorite Quick and Easy Bolognese Sauce. The sauce freezes really well, so I put it away in the deep freezer for easy meals in the coming weeks. The recipe will be on the blog this week, so keep your eye out for that!
I also re-tested my Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Casserole to get it juuuuust right for you guys (and then ate it for lunch)!
Meanwhile, Spencer entertained himself with multiple rounds of Hulabaloo. No surprise...he won every single game since he was the only player (and he acted excited each time)!????
After lunch we headed to the preschool for my monthly Board Meeting, finished in time to pick up the older boys from school, and eventually came home for dinner.
Keith was gone for work that night, so I used the kids as guinea pigs and tried a new recipe for Dump-and-Bake Basil Chicken Breasts. These were tasty, healthy, and SO easy, so I'll post the details in the coming month.
I served the chicken with pesto pasta (a kiddo favorite) and this salad from Trader Joe's.
Friday morning was a usual school day in the morning, while I worked at home and got everyone's suitcases packed.
In the afternoon, I put on some party clothes, picked the boys up from school, and then we all headed a few hours north for a little road trip.
I dropped the kids off with my in-laws for the night, checked into our hotel in Old Town Alexandria, and then rushed off to meet Keith at a holiday party.
Thanks to horrible Northern Virginia traffic, this turned into a 4-hour odyssey...but I made it!
We had cocktails and a 4-course dinner at Landini Brothers, which is an Italian restaurant right in Old Town.
It was incredibly dark in the restaurant, but I snapped photos anyway so that I could (kind of) show you what we ate. The food was great!
First course: Pasta
This was pesto tortellini, a spinach and cheese stuffed ravioli, and penne with Italian sausage in a creamy tomato sauce.
Second Course: Salad
The Insalata Tommaso was a mix of greens, vegetables and tomato in a vinaigrette dressing.
Scampi alla Aglio: fresh jumbo Gulf shrimp lightly dusted with flour and sautéed with butter, garlic, white wine and fresh lemon. It was served with scalloped potatoes and broccolini on the side.
Tiramisu and cannoli????
Thanks to a very late night and the fact that we never sleep very well in a hotel, we were so ready for breakfast sandwiches and COFFEE on Saturday morning.
We snagged a cozy table right next to the fireplace!
My first Peppermint Mocha of the season (and sadly, it was a bit too sweet even for me to finish)! I need to remember to order less sweetener next time...
Keith and I lived in Alexandria in our pre-child days before we moved "to the country" over 10 years ago.
It was fun to wander around our old stomping grounds and do a little bit of shopping before we headed back to Keith's parents' house to pick up the kids.
I brought the boys home mid-day, while Keith stayed in Northern Virginia for an extra night in order to attend an event for his friend on Sunday morning.
We were very happy to get back to the quiet, open countryside with plenty of room to run (and no gridlock traffic)!
I placed an online order for our groceries that afternoon, since I knew that I would NOT want to drag all 3 boys to the store on Sunday to buy a week's worth of food.
This free service is such a lifesaver!
The kids wanted pizza for supper that night, and I was happy to oblige! We picked up carryout from Pie in the Sky and crashed in bed early. We were so wiped out from a lack of sleep the night before...Spencer was tucked in by 6:30 p.m.!????
This was the "Greek-za" pizza: feta cheese, onions, olives, spinach, garlic and oregano. Delish! I paired it with a small Greek salad on the side.
And that's where I'll leave it for today! I'm about to make a big pot of soup in my slow cooker and I have a lot of cookie baking on the agenda for this afternoon (including Keith's favorite Christmas cookies and My Grandmother's Bourbon Balls). Tis the season!
Oh! One more thing before I let you go! Don't forget to grab the free download that my friends at Ultimate Bundles put together. This is a compilation of 55 tips from top bloggers (I'm in there too!) for Stress-Free Holiday Meals! You can access the freebie HERE. Enjoy, and have a great week!
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 about $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!
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