Hello, friends! We had an exciting week with the start of school, new teachers, new soccer teams and new routines. Easy dinners to the rescue!
Since it's Sunday, it's time for the regular roundup of Our Week in Meals, so let's jump right in!
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…
I met Mollie for a morning walk at 8:00 a.m. while the Dads entertained our kids.
We were treated to a beautiful, less-humid morning, and I can almost sense fall on the way (too bad that it heated back up to the sweaty 90 degree temps later in the week!)...
We went over to our friend's farm for a visit before lunch, and Mollie served me the most refreshing glass of iced tea while we chatted.
The kids played, our husbands drove around the farm (doing who knows what?), and Spencer was just busy inspecting John Paul's equipment. There was even an excavator digging a pond behind the house. Heavy Equipment Heaven!????
Mollie and John Paul run a cattle operation, so we were lucky enough to come home with a bag full of fresh, local, all natural ground beef. We used some of the meat for dinner that night!
It was a rainy afternoon, so we did some baking while we were stuck indoors. The kids had been requesting their favorite cookies on repeat, so another batch sounded like a good idea!
Dinner that night was grilled hamburgers, which we served with grilled potatoes and salad. Perfect!
Monday was the kids' last day of summer break!
I let them decide how we spent the day, and (not surprisingly) that meant a trip into Charlottesville for Jump Cville.
Rather than jumping around the trampoline park, the 3 boys spent the entire hour in an intense game of dodgeball.???? Any excuse to peg each other with balls...
They were starving and ready for lunch right afterwards, so we made our way across the street to the mall.
We did some (very quick) back-to-school shopping so that they could each pick out new clothes at Gap (they were having great sales on graphic t's and hooded sweatshirts), and then the kids devoured plates of hamburgers and fried chicken at Red Robin.
But first...chips and salsa!
Ensenada Chicken Platter (loved that chicken!!!)
We had storms roll through that afternoon, the temperatures dropped, and on a cool, rainy evening, our dinner hit the spot. My boys love chili, and we haven't had it all summer, so they were very excited about this new Taco Soup.
The soup is thick like a chili, with a bit of taco spice. Everyone loved it, so I'll be sharing the recipe on the blog soon!
My babies went back to school on Tuesday! There were a lot of nerves, but they all handled it like champs.
Spencer is in Pre-K, Casey is in 2nd grade, and Gibbs is in 3rd grade. They look thrilled, right?!????
After I delivered them to school, I took myself on a beautiful morning walk -- solo! It was nice to have a few hours of quiet in the morning.
I stopped by Yoder's for some lunchmeat and fresh bread (which was still warm from the oven!), and then came home to work, do laundry, and scrub my kitchen cabinets clean.
After a summer with the kids at home, I feel like I need to do another 10-Day Challenge to Clean, Organize and Re-Stock my Kitchen! Want to join me? Details are here and you can sign up any time and work through it at your own pace!
Spence got off the bus around lunchtime, so we had a couple of hours of quiet time in the afternoon before the older boys returned home.
And shrimp was on the menu for dinner! After enjoying beef for a couple of nights in a row, I felt like we needed some seafood in the mix.
I turned to my Sheet Pan New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp, which I served with more fresh corn that another neighbor gave us from her garden that morning, as well as steamed broccoli and rice. Such a great meal!
I made my recipe for Old Virginia Plantation Spoon Bread on Wednesday morning while the kids were at school, and I can't wait to share it with you in the coming months. It's a classic cool-weather side dish that pairs nicely with just about any meal (and I always have the 5 ingredients on hand to make it)!
I also took a few minutes to plan out our meals for the week ahead, knowing that I would get to the grocery store on Thursday. If you're curious about how I map out a week's worth of quick dinners, you can jump into this free 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge at any time.
Keith was gone that evening, so I let the boys decide on our dinner. They opted for a fancy schmancy meal of carryout pizza...and who am I to argue?!????
I appreciated the night off from the kitchen!
On Thursday morning I dropped the boys off at school and then drove over to Mollie's farm for an early walk.
Scenes from our stroll...
From there I headed up to Culpeper, where I did a massive grocery shop. By the time I was done, I got home just in time to meet Spence at the bus stop, unpack the car, and have lunch.
Gibbs's soccer season officially started that evening (and the younger two boys will start with their own teams soon), so we're definitely entering the period of weeknight chaos.
Keith was working from home on Thursday, so I was able to feed everyone a normal dinner early before the 6:00 practice. Most other nights, however, I'm juggling early meals for the kids and later meals for Keith, so I tend to rely on slow cooker options, soups, chilis, and other recipes that reheat or keep well for a couple of hours. I know that many of you are dealing with similar struggles during the week, so hopefully my posts like this one will offer new, easy ideas.
That night I thawed pork chops from the freezer to make my Creamy Cider Dijon Pork Chop Recipe (try it this fall when you have some apple cider on hand!).
On the side I served garlic mashed potatoes (purchased from the store!) and Slow Cooker Southern Green Beans. This meal was a huge hit!
I spent Friday morning photographing for an upcoming blog post while all 3 boys were at school.
When Spence came home for lunch, he immediately requested fish sticks -- and carrots with the tops on them! I have no idea where he got this urge, but he has been asking for whole carrots with their green tops for weeks, so of course I grabbed a bunch when I saw them at the store on Thursday.
What's up, Doc?
We popped into a couple of local antique shops later that day. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect antique pie safe for our farmhouse. I found it -- but it wasn't the perfect price -- so the search continues...
I made my go-to Roast Chicken and Vegetables recipe for dinner, which I've mentioned on here a zillion times over the years. It will finally become a post of its own (by popular demand!), so stay tuned for that recipe soon!
We also had spoon bread and leftover Southern Green Beans from the night before on the side!
We had a productive morning at home (recipe testing, chores, etc.), and then made our way into Charlottesville for the afternoon. Keith wanted to try on some new shoes, so we did a little bit of shopping with the entire family in tow -- a rare occurrence!
Spencer thought that the large mirrors at the shoe store were very exciting????
I also ran into Home Goods while Keith was finishing up at the shoe store. The boys tried hard to convince me that we needed a giant gold knight (no, we don't!),
but we did come home with a variety of other treasures -- including new placemats, my favorite Weck jars for kitchen storage, caramel corn, and these Dulce de Leche Pizzelle cookies (great with ice cream) -- among other things.
The kids have been asking to go back to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, so we stopped for an early supper before making our way home.
Casey filled up on peanuts before we even sat down at our table...
I loved my meal -- a house salad,
plus the Smothered Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions, and Creamy Gravy. Yessssss!
And there you have it! Another week of tasty dinners! I hope that you found a couple of new ideas to add to your own meal plan in the coming days. Thanks so much for reading along with us!
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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