Monday, November 16, 2020

Menu Monday 11/16/20 Hope for Holidays


As the end of the week approached, headlines began to broadcast: THANKSGIVING IS CANCELLED, or at least that is the summed up version. Cities, and some states, country-wide are cancelling or limiting what families are "allowed" to do with the Thanksgiving holiday on fast approach. It is heartbreaking.

I don't want to get into the political debate on the issue here... I know everyone will have their own persuasion on the matter. What I will say is this: don't let mandates and orders steel your joy. You may find yourself modifying your Thanksgiving menu this week in preparation for next week's big day. But before you do anything drastic, may I recommend my article from this past Wednesday, "Simple Thankful Celebrations", it shares my experiences with trimmed-down holiday fare and makes recommendations for keeping Thanksgiving special. The executive summary: you can still make Thanksgiving (and other holidays) memorable even inside of guest list changes. Focus on Thankful and let the giving, fall into place!

So, go ahead, hop over to the link in text above and check that article out. There are also FREE pdf printables for you to download and use as you prep for the holiday.

This Past Week

After trying to add desserts into various nights during our week, my plans failed! We did manage the Apple Cobbler, which was DELICIOUS, but also not so healthy! 3 out of 6 of us are trying to be mindful of our sugars and calories so no mid-week dessert made it to the table. I did, however, keep something sweet and fun on the menu for Friday since once in a while isn't as bad as 3 nights a week with added leftovers of sugary goodness!!

Another wrench in our menu plans was tummy trouble. MIL was having stomach issues this past week. I don't know how much was nerves because of various doctor's appointments and how much was....? But hubby picked up tummy trouble halfway through the week as well so it may be a bug... or a health problem popping up. Not sure which. So meals were adjusted as we went and, this coming week, I am planning a more bland menu. #midlife

This past week I also did a deep clean on my stove to prep for all the holiday baking. If yours gets as messy as mine, I highly recommend a pre-baking season clean to avoid excess smoke or potential oven/stove top fires. 


I also scrubbed down my kitchen sink, which may seem like a bland point to bring up but my sink is an old cast-iron one and requires special attention to look nice. I videoed the process and am going to "try" to upload to Instagram for a weekly thread I am considering: Messy Mondays! I've felt inspired lately to share PROCESS and some of the not-always-seen imperfections of life as we cook and clean and live. If you are interested, come give me a follow on Instagram (if you don't already!)

Now, on with what we cooked up this past week....



Breakfast:  *Eggs and Turkey Sausage

Lunch:  Potato Soup

Dinner:  Havarti and Spinach Stuffed Chicken with *Baked Potato and Green Beans (was going to serve this with Quinoa but went a more traditional route) Week 2 of a Sunday Dessert was this Apple Cobbler recipe (only, I used 7 cups of my apple tree apples in place of their recommendations)


The Stuffed Chicken was a recipe I invented based on magazine inspirations. I made a promise on IG that I would share details today so here goes:

Chicken Breast, filleted and tenderized (pounded flat)
Fresh Spinach
1 pkg Havarti Cheese
butter softened or even melted
olive oil
Dried herbs: basil, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 13x9 baking dish. 

I started by pouring approx 1/3 cup oil into a medium sized metal mixing bowl and stirring it together with approx 1/8 - 1/4 cup butter. Then I mixed in approx 1 tsp each parsley, garlic and onion with about 2 tsp basil (I didn't measure exactly on any of this but did it to what seemed appropriate to our taste). Once this was mixed, I set it aside. I had halved/filleted and pounded 6 chicken breasts which came to about 12 pieces of chicken but I only used 8 of these. I laid the Chicken flat, lined a rough double-layer of spinach leaves and a single slice of Havarti on top. Then I rolled it up in a sort of tri-fold manner and secured it shut with a toothpick. After it was ready, I dredged it through the oil and herb mixture and set in baking dish folded side up, leaving space between each chicken roll. Finally, once all pieces were prepped, I popped it into the oven for about 35-40 minutes, I removed them when they were just starting to tan a bit on top.

This is our new favorite way to have chicken!!! So moist and full of flavor! If I was to do one thing different, I might include some pesto either on the outside or inside. Because the chicken is so thin from being pounded out, you really don't need to worry about under-cooking it either.


Breakfast:  Eggs and Turkey Sausage

Lunch:  Leftover Potato Soup (had planned BLT)

Dinner:  Steak, Herb Roasted Carrots, Green Beans, Garden Salad and a hearty slice of Fresh Bread


Breakfast: Breakfast Bowls (Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Cheese)

Lunch:  *BLT and Chips (in place of planned grilled cheese)

Dinner: Stir-fry Chicken


Breakfast:  Breakfast Smoothie and I *tried my hand at mini bite-sized pancakes per Brooke's request. They were cute and tasty! (I should have taken a picture!!)

Lunch:  Grocery Store Chicken Strips and Chips (had hoped to offer Leftover Stir Fry but I didn't have enough)

Dinner:  Stuffed Shells, Side Salad and French Bread

note: I doubled the cheese stuffing recipe and it would have been great, except, it was lacking substance. It made twice as much as we could eat so I lined a freezable baking pan with the leftovers and tucked them away. When I bring them back out I plan to sprinkle the top with Italian seasoned meat and possibly some spinach.


Breakfast: Breakfast Bowls

Lunch:  *Baked Potato (I wanted to have leftovers but dinner ended up upsetting hubby's stomach so I packed it away pending modification)

Dinner:  Pot Roast and Veggies

I tried using my Pressure Cooker, again, and it failed, again, to make the perfect Pot Roast despite using a good cut of meat and following the directions. We ended up having to slice the roast and pan fry to cook the center which was still VERY raw. Honestly, it did NOT taste that great and I am officially swearing off Insta-Roasts! I already have a GREAT oven roasting recipe I need to stick with.


Breakfast: Eggs and Sausage

Lunch:  Pot Roast Stew for some, *Baked Potato again for others


The one good thing with the roast was making leftover stew. I cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and threw them in a small pot with the leftover gravy and veggies to produce creamy goodness!

Dinner:  Shredded Chicken Tacos in the slow cooker and Homemade Brownies for Dessert


Breakfast:  *Eggs and Sausage (planned Breakfast smoothie)

Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Burgers and Chips


So that was my week in the kitchen... what does yours look like? Is your Thanksgiving due to be altered on account of local policies? Are you planning for the big day yet?

This passage has been encouraging me to not give up on doing good and plugging ahead for others this week. Do you have a verse spurring you on right now?

Happy cooking and prayers hope in the holidays!

*** Why the asterisks? ***
Planning ahead with menus is always a good idea. It helps to stay on budget and balanced in diet... but lets be real, not every day goes as beautifully planned. I know, when I was a young wife, I found menus fascinating but was also often quickly discouraged by how hard it was to stay-on task. As I collected kids and schedules and all those unexpected demands on my time, I learned how to juggle. I like to alternate meats, spice levels and the nutritional balance from meal-to-meal and day-to-day. I also like to try 1-2 new recipes each week, though some weeks are all old favorites! I hope, seeing not just what we ate, but also how it changed, encourages you to menu plan and give yourself grace and flexibility to change it up a bit when needed! 


For an old article on one way I've done menu planning (free printables included) you can visit:

Menu Monday: Menu-Making Edition!


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