Happy Sunday, friends! It was a week of solo-parenting for me, so I’ve got a lot of really easy dinners to tell you about in today’s roundup. When Keith’s out of town, I tend to take “time off” from the kitchen and simplify things as much as possible.
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 flew out for a business trip to the other side of the world on Saturday afternoon, so the boys and I were on our own all week.
On Sunday morning, we piled in the car and headed to my parents’ house to visit for the day.
It was chilly, but the sun was shining and the kids had a great time outside. Just give a boy a stick and some water, and he’s a happy camper!
Dinner that night was a meal that I could just assemble, using some ingredients from the pantry and fridge. I had photographed this Nicoise Salad a few days before, so I was basically just pulling out leftovers.
The recipe will be on the blog soon!
And PS — this wasn’t necessarily a meal that my boys would love, so they got a “deconstructed” version — the potatoes and green beans that I had prepared for the salad, plus some rotisserie chicken that I had in the fridge from Costco. Compromise!
Spencer’s preschool was on “spring break” for the week, so we had a quiet Monday at home while his brothers were off at school.
He entertained himself with trains while I took care of some work around the house, we roasted veggies to have with dinners during the week (Spence helped me in the kitchen with that task), and we played a few games of hide-and-go-seek. Simple pleasures!
When it warmed up that afternoon, we went for a short hike before picking up the older boys.
I worked on cleaning out the refrigerator for dinner that night. I used the leftover Dump-and-Bake French Onion Chicken that we had last weekend to make chicken salad sandwiches. Sooooo good with that flavorful meat!
I was also testing a new side dish recipe for my Simply Mailed subscribers, so we had these easy 2-ingredient Italian Sugar Snap Peas as well. The veggies got the “thumbs up” from all 3 kiddos, so I’ll consider the recipe a winner!
Carole (my mother-in-law) drove down on Tuesday morning to pick up Spencer for an overnight visit. He was so excited for his first sleepover without his brothers, and I was looking forward to a few hours of uninterrupted quiet time. When he rode off in the car with her though, my heart broke a bit. How is my little sidekick growing up so fast?!
I quickly distracted myself with a phone call to my own mom!😂
I also made sure to take full advantage of the quiet house by checking a number of things off of my to-do list. I grabbed my tea, sat down at my desk, and cranked out some writing, planned our meals for next week, edited photos, folded laundry, picked up the house, and even squeezed in a 30-minute yoga session (I’m loving the 3-Week Yoga Retreat right now).
I also put a batch of Brown Sugar Roasted Carrots in the oven while I worked, since I had a 2-lb. bag of carrots in the fridge (and no plan to use them).
The roasted carrots keep well in the refrigerator for added veggies at lunch and dinner during the week.
On my way to get the older boys at school, I went over to Mollie’s farm for a visit and a walk.
These guys came to say “hi” as we walked by…
You can never go wrong with mac and cheese for dinner, so I whipped up an oldie-but-goodie that evening: Stovetop Chuckwagon Mac.
We also had some Garlic Roasted Broccoli on the side (another easy side dish that I was testing for an upcoming set of Simply Mailed recipes).
It was so quiet having both Keith and Spencer gone for the night! The boys watched A Bee Movie before bed, and then I stayed up way too late catching up on Arie and all of the Bachelor drama.🙄
Since I had a few hours of solo time on Wednesday morning before Spencer came back home, I dropped the older boys at school and then parked myself in the cafe at Yoder’s to sip some coffee and get work done on the computer.
I had a dentist appointment in town, I made a stop at the grocery store, and then Carole brought Spence home around lunchtime.
That afternoon I dragged all 3 boys into Charlottesville for Casey’s dentist appointment, before we finally returned home for supper. It was a long day of running around, so dinner had to be easy.
I let a bag of frozen shrimp thaw in the fridge overnight, and then I just prepared a batch of our fave Baked Italian Shrimp when we walked in the door. Such an easy one-tray supper!
I often serve this shrimp with rice, but that night I didn’t even bother. I just sliced a fresh loaf of bread from Yoder’s and called it good!
Spencer and I were housebound on Thursday while we waited for the tech guys to come fix our internet (which had been down for about a week…talk about frustrating)!
I spent the morning testing a couple of new recipes, and I enjoyed a delicious lunch that I thought I’d share.
I bought these falafel at Costco the weekend before, and then just stuck them in the freezer to have on hand for quick meals. I can microwave as many falafel patties as I need within a matter of seconds.
I stuffed the falafel in pita with spinach, roasted peppers, crumbled feta (which I forgot to add until after I took the photo), and a homemade Tzatziki sauce. You can buy Tzatziki at almost any grocery store, but I had the ingredients at home so I just made my own: stir together plain yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and minced fresh dill. Delicious!
Mollie came over so that we could walk and catch up that afternoon before I had to head out to pick up the kids.
While we walked around our property, Spence joined us outside to show off his latest tricks. The more daring, the better with this one…
Dinner was a new recipe that I created earlier that day — a Dump-and-Bake Southern Chicken Casserole. Served over biscuits, this was a big hit. Details coming to the blog soon!
Spencer and I had a fun date on Friday morning with my friend Kristin and her little guy, Jonathan.
We met at Bounce n’ Play in Charlottesville, where the boys could run around while we chatted. Perfect outing!
A blurry pic because he never stopped moving…
When we were headed home, he was “so staaaaaaarving” he couldn’t possibly make it back to Madison for lunch…so we made a very quick pit stop at Chik-Fil-A!
Keith finally made it home from his trip mid-day on Friday, so I planned one of his favorite recipes for dinner that night (these also happen to be one of the most popular recipes on the blog): Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders! You don’t need to wait until Derby Day to enjoy them.😀
I felt a cold coming on, and Keith was really jet-lagged from his flight, so I think that our entire family was in bed reading by about 8:00 p.m. Wild and crazy Friday night!
We used Saturday as a chance to catch up on house chores. While Keith and the boys did yard work, I stepped out for a very chilly and gray walk. It felt like it could snow out there. Boo!
Gibbs helped me make an “All About Me” board for Spencer that afternoon, since Spencer refused to work on his school project.😂
Why do I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time his big brother steps in to bail him out?!🙄
I’m really working on using up some of our freezer stash for our dinners in the coming week, so that night we used some chicken and bacon that we had on hand to make these delicious 3-Ingredient Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites.
I prepared a small batch of Margeaux’s Coleslaw for the side, along with leftover biscuits from Thursday night’s dinner, steamed broccoli, and corn.
And there you have it — another week in the books!
Now I’m off to enjoy our Sunday before we get back into a work week. Have a great day!
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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