Meal Plan

Simple BLT Wrap Recipe

This post was written in partnership with the National Pork Board, all opinions are my own.

Every day might be a blur, but bacon is the cure.  I couldn’t agree more.  Who doesn’t love bacon?  I teamed up with National Pork Board to share this super simple BLT wrap recipe perfect for a busy weeknight or your next picnic.  It’s so delicious and filled with bacon goodness.  Plus, I am going to spill the secret on how to get perfectly crispy bacon and spoiler, it’s so simple!

Let’s get cooking, shall we?

BLT wrap recipe 5 ingredients

Simple BLT Wrap Recipe Ingredients

1 pound bacon 

4 large flour tortilla wraps

Mayonnaise

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Lettuce (2-3 leaves per wrap, 8-10 leaves total)

**This recipe is adapted from this recipe provided by the National Pork Board & Yummly

Simple BLT Wrap Recipe Directions

How do you Cook Perfectly Crispy Bacon?

crispy bacon in oven

Let’s cook up some crispy bacon first.  I went to the experts at the National Pork Board to learn how to make crispy bacon once and for all.

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, grab a lipped cookie sheet and cover with tin foil.  Place a cookie cooling rack inside and spray both sides with non-stick cooking spray to prevent the bacon from cooking. 

Start placing the bacon on the cooling rack.  Make sure to leave a bit of space between each bacon strip.  This space helps the bacon get extra crispy and the secret tip!  

Place the bacon in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (My oven was 20 minutes on the dot.)  When the bacon is finished cooking, allow cooling on a paper towel covered plate.

 

Let’s Make that BLT Wrap

While the bacon is cooling, go ahead and wash the lettuce and tomatoes.  Then, dice up the tomatoes.  You can chop up the lettuce too, it’s up to you.  I just place the leaves whole into the wrap.  

Now, let get wrapping.  Start by spreading about a tablespoon of mayonnaise onto the large tortilla wrap.  Then, layer on the lettuce, tomatoes, and 3 strips of bacon (or more)!   Then fold two sides in and roll.  Squeeze as you roll so you get a tight wrap.  Once you have rolled cut in half on a diagonal and you are ready to serve.

BLT Wrap recipe

It’s Time to Serve Up the BLT 

BLT’s are the perfect summer meal idea.  It pairs well with a dill pickle, some chips, and fresh fruit and vegetables.  Top off the meal with delicious and simple strawberry shortcake (find the simple recipe here) for the quintessential summer meal. 

 

Check Out These Other Awesome Bacon Recipes – 

Bacon Breakfast Pizza

Simple Bacon Egg Bake

 

Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

 

 

Find out more about the National Pork Board

To find more great recipes and learn more about the National Pork Board, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

 

This post was written in partnership with the National Pork Board, all opinions are my own.

BLT wrap recipe idea

10 Ways to Stretch Meat & Save Money

Across the United States, grocery stores are starting to limit the amount of meat you can buy.  It can be A LOT to disconcerting especially when you have a growing family as I do.  So, what are some ways you can stretch your meat and get creative with your meal plan this week?  

 

So, how can you stretch meat and save money?

 

Check out this delicious and simple egg bake recipe!

Skip the Meat

I know that sounds crazy, that the number one tip when it comes to stretching meat is to skip it but there are a lot of delicious recipes you might make with meat that if you took the meat out, you might not miss it at all.  For example, soups, salads, pasta dishes, pizza, quesadillas, and sandwiches.

Check out this breakfast pizza recipe, quiche recipe, and egg bake recipe.  Just skip the breakfast meat in each of the recipes!  

50 easy meatless meals ideas

Download your free copy of 50 meatless meal ideas printable by signing up here.

 

 

Swap Out the Meat

You might be used to fresh chicken breast for your favorite dish but in this season tried canned chicken instead.  This chicken pot pie recipe and chicken salad recipe work great with canned chicken.  Lunchmeat is a great alternative as well.  Instead, of using a roast for french dip sandwiches, consider using lunchmeat instead.  I love to make chicken parmesan with chicken nuggets. 

 

Check out this delicious and simple corn bean salsa recipe!

 

Sub Out the Meat

Instead of swapping or skipping the meat, how about sub it in for another protein.  Think eggs, lentils, beans, and nut butter.  

 

Thin Out the Meat

If you don’t want to get rid of the meat altogether, try stretching it with a filler.  I like to stretch ground beef by adding  1 12 oz can of black beans to make 2 lbs of a meat mix.  I will also add in canned carrots for nearly no added taste and extra vegetables.  This is a great option for Mexican dishes.

 

Don’t Make Meat the Star

Instead of a traditional meat and side meal.  Consider, stretching that meat by making dishes that you add meat to. Dishes like pasta, Mexican, and oriental dishes. When it isn’t the star and just the supporting actor, we can stretch meat a little bit further.

 

Think Outside the Meat Box

When it comes to meals, we usually have a meat-heavy hitter that goes with that meal.  Tacos = ground beef but what if you did shrimp tacos or pulled pork tacos.  If you make meat for one dish, how can you reimagine that meat for another dish later in the week or freeze it and save it for another time?

 

Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe

 

Add More Sides

To stretch your meat even further, consider adding a few additional sides like fruits and vegetables so tummies are still filled but with more variety and you can stretch that meat even further.

Speaking of fruits and veggies, buy fruits and veggies with a variety of shelf lives. My kids love strawberries but they don’t last long so then I buy apples, bananas, grapes, and applesauce for later in the week. That way I don’t waste food and we still get a variety into our diet.

Don’t be afraid of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables as well so you can stretch the time between your grocery shopping sessions.

 

Make 1 Meal Per Seating

I know this has nothing to do with meat but many of you might feel like a short-order cook. Now’s the time to communicate with your family that you are making 1 meal. Kids will eat when they are hungry and serve some sides you know they will like to help them get excited about mealtime.  Want more help with picky eaters?  Check out this post with 15 tips to get your picky eater to eat.

 

Meal Planning Journal sample weekly meal plan

Grab your meal planner here!

 

Meal Plan

Making a weekly meal plan helps you reduce food waste and stretch your meat and your grocery budget. I record what we need at home before I go throughout the week in my  Meal plan journal.

Then, I look for simple meals we love and make my meal plan while I shop. You can download a free printable with 50 meal ideas to help you get started by signing up here.

 

Keep Meals Simple

We are not getting awards for how fancy or complicated are meals are right now. The other night we had grilled cheese, we have had to build your own cheese pizzas this week and everyone has never eaten better.  Snack tray suppers are another fan favorite and perfect for a night you don’t feel like cooking. 

 

Just Remember…

Don’t stress if you can’t find enough meat at the store, there are a lot of meatless options or meals that don’t require a lot of meat.  If you need more ideas, you can signup here and download your copy of over 50 meatless meal ideas to get you started. 

 

You might like these posts – 

15 Simple Ways To Save Money on Groceries

12 Items We Stopped Buying at the Grocery Store to Save Money

10 Simple Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

25 Simple Family Meals

 

Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

HOW TO STRETCH MEAT

 

Weekly Meal Planning in under 15 Minutes

If creating a meal plan for your family makes you want to pull your hair out, you are not alone.  Meal planning can be such a chore but can make your life so much more simple if you take a few minutes and do it.

There are also a lot of misconceptions about meal planning.  Like, since I meal plan I must make these elaborate meals every night for my family and let me say emphatically, that is simply not true.   Today, I am going to share how I weekly meal plan in under 15 minutes.  

How do you create a weekly meal plan in under 15 minutes?

Meal Planning Journal sample weekly meal plan

1. Choose a 15-minute block of time & set a timer

I normally sit down on Friday afternoons but there is no magic day.  Some choose Sunday afternoons, others like to wait until the grocery store ads come out so they can plan meals according to deals.  You just need time to do it.  Put it on your to-do list for a specific day and do it!  Set a timer.  Read this article about why setting a timer makes you way more productive.

2. Grab your family calendar and check your weekly schedule before you meal plan

This piece is critical, you don’t want to plan a meal that takes a lot of prep work on the night you are running carpool.  Thursday night is notoriously busy for us so I plan an extra simple meal on that night.  Sandwiches, leftovers or frozen pizza usually!

3.  Choose 5  meals for your meal plan

We eat at home every night of the week.  Occasionally, we will eat out but I do not plan on it. However, even though we eat at home every night, I don’t cook every night.  I plan on making 5 meals and then plan for leftovers and simple meals for the other nights.

How do you choose dinners?

Ask your family what they want.  This also helps with picky eaters wanting to eat.  Read all my picky eater tips and tricks here.

Consult the meal planning ideas printable (shown below).  Print it off, there are 50 meals to choose from!  You can get your meal planning printable by signing up here.

Look at past meal plans.  Keep all your meal plans in one spot in the 52-week meal planning journal, buy it here.

4.  Record your meal plan ideas in your meal planner

Now that you have your 5 dinner ideas, plug the meals into your meal plan based on your schedule.  The Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner is a great tool.

 

Buy Your Meal Planner Here

 

5.  Make your grocery list that matches your meal plan

If you use the Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner, then you can jot down your grocery list on the adjacent perforated page.  Make sure to check your meal plan twice, so you don’t forget any ingredients.  Add in any breakfast, lunch, and snack staples you need as well.

If you don’t like grocery shopping or you are running short on time, you should really try Walmart’s online grocery order and pick-up service.  I can’t remember the last time I went grocery shopping.  I can check my list twice and if I forget something, there is time to add it on before pick-up!  Use this code for $10 off your first order.

6.  Take a look at the meal plan every morning

I keep my meal plan on my fridge with a magnet, while my coffee is brewing in the morning I take a look at what’s for dinner.  I grab out any meat that needs to thaw and put anything in the crockpot that needs to cook.

7.  Enjoy dinner with your family

When it comes time to make dinner for your family, make what’s listed on the meal plan.  If something comes up, you can easily switch to another planned meal.  You are in the driver’s seat and your pantry and fridge have all the necessary ingredients for the week so it’s okay to make a switch.

 

Need some more help with your meal plan?

Check out these resources – 

Simple Kid-friendly Lunch Ideas

25 Simple Meal Ideas 

 

Just Remember-

Meal planning helps you to know exactly what you are going to have for dinner every night of the week, less stress and more time to do what matters with those that matter.  You can do it!  If you need help getting started, download my free meal ideas printable with over 50 meal ideas by signing up here.

 

 

Want help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

10 Simple Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

Anyone else feel like they are cooking LOTS of meals right now?  Just me?  However, I will say that my kids don’t mind eating the same thing even though I feel the pressure to provide ample variety int their diet.  So, I thought I would share 10 simple kid-friendly lunch ideas that are on repeat around here in case you are on the hunt for new ideas like I am!

10 Simple Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

 

1.  BBQ Smokies or Meatballs

This simple and delicious recipe takes no time at all and is perfect paired with some raw fruits and vegetables for a quick and simple lunch at home.  I made these the other day and there were no leftovers.  You can either use little smokies or meatballs for this 3 ingredient recipe. check out all the details in this post.

 

2.  Peanut Butter 

Peanut butter on anything.  Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter toast, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter with celery.  You can even warm up a dollop in the microwave and drizzle over cut up bananas.  Cutting up the bread in various shapes and sizes make the meal new again.  One day you can do squares, the next triangles and then strips (as seen above).
 
 
 

3.  Snack Trays

Clean out your fridge and place all the little leftovers, fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses on a tray and enjoy.  Check out these simple smoothie recipes!
 

4. Grilled or Baked Sandwiches

Elevate a plain old sandwich by grilling it and serving it warm.  Try the classic grilled cheese or add some pepperoni for a fun grilled “pizza” cheese.  You can add some meat to that as well for a little added variety.
Instead of grilling, try a baked sandwich like this baked pesto turkey sandwich.
 
Speaking of sandwiches, you should try this apple chicken salad recipe.  It’s so good!
 
 

5.  Quesadillas

 
There is no limit to creativity with quesadillas.  You can make simple cheese ones.  Try breakfast quesadillas filled with egg, cheese, and meat.  You can add some cheese and pepperoni and serve with a marinara sauce for an Italian twist.    You can even do peanut butter and banana quesadillas.  They are so simple but so tasty and fun!
 
 

6.  Crescent Roll Roll-ups

 
I keep a sleeve of these in my fridge at all times.  They make a great base to whatever you want to add inside.  From hot dogs to string cheese, breakfast sausage or pepperoni.  Bonus — your kids will love helping roll them up.  These are perfect for kids to help prepare.  I have found when you invite your children to help prepare the food, they are way more likely to eat it. 
 
To make pizza roll-ups, as seen above, grab a sleeve of crescent rolls, pepperoni, and 4 string cheese.  Cut the string cheese in half.  Unroll a crescent roll and layer on 4-6 pieces of pepperoni then place 1/2 string cheese on and roll-up.  Cook as the directions indicated on the wrapper.  Usually, that is 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees or until the crescent rolls are golden brown.  You can dip in marinara sauce!

 

 

7.  Breakfast for Lunch 

I mean everyone’s favorite meal of the day is breakfast so why not have it for lunch?  You can either make up some homemade pancakes and freeze them or buy pre-made frozen pancakes or waffles to microwave or toast!   Cut them up in strips, triangles, or bite-size for fun twists.  You can serve eggs, breakfast meats, and fruit smoothies too.  Check out these simple smoothie recipes!
 
 
 

8.  Homemade Lunchables

My kids love Lunchables but they can get expensive fast.  So, we will pull out a plate-like above or serve in a bento box like this and make our own Lunchables with a variety of meat, cheese, and crackers.
 
You can make a week’s worth of meals just with those 3 items.  Who doesn’t love a meat and cheese tray? It’s like your very own homemade Lunchable.  I do love the bought ones too especially when they are on sale for a $1 ;).
 

9.  Macaroni & Cheese

No matter what type of diet you follow, there is a box of macaroni and cheese that probably fits it.  It’s normally a kid favorite and easily made and stored for leftovers the next day.
 
My tip with macaroni and cheese leftovers is rather than just microwaving it, place the leftovers in a saucepan with a little bit of milk and stir as you rewarm.  It turns back into what looks like original macaroni and cheese.  My kids will not eat macaroni and cheese rewarmed in the microwave but I have found a way to trick them ;).
 

10. Don’t Forget Freezer Favorites

 
Don’t forget about all those things you can stock up in the freezer section.  Serve alongside some fruits and veggies to balance it all out!
  • Pizza rolls
  • Taquitos
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Mini corn dogs
  • Frozen Pizza

Don’t Forget About Leftovers…

Never underestimate the power of a good meal rewarmed.  I know not all meals are a hit but plan your dinner meals to include extras for leftovers.  Leftovers my kids especially love leftovers are pizza and taco/Mexican dishes.  I try to include both of these into our menu every week for this purpose.

These recipes make great leftovers – 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Baked Mexican Casserole

Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffing Bake

 

When All Else Fails…

Sometimes, you just need to go through the drive-thru or text a friend to meet at Chick Fil-a!  One friend used to always go out on Friday for lunch with her kids.  Remember variety isn’t as important to them as it is to us.   If all else fails, having some fun items to make eating more appealing never hurts.  Here are a few ideas to add to your wish list!

 

Mix up Your Meal  with Fun Utensils

We have these plates and I pull them out when we are going through a particularly rough phase with eating or I know dinner might not be a favorite ;).  My kids also love to eat with different utensils so those cute animal toothpicks are so fun.  We have the construction silverware and they are in high demand along with these spoon/fork combos.

 

 

Just remember this when it comes to kid-friendly lunch ideas…

Mealtime with littles can be downright crazy but hopefully, these kid-friendly lunch ideas will help you to get on the right track to smoother meal times so everyone enjoys eating.  If you have a picky eater, check out these 15 tips to get your picky eater to eat.  

As moms, we feel the need to serve a great variety because we like variety and we feel the pressure too!  I have come to find if I stick to these basic and simple kid-friendly lunch ideas and rotate, everyone is happy.  What kids lunch ideas do you have?

 

Need Some Family Meals Ideas? 

 
 
 

 

Want help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

crescent roll pizza with text 10 kid lunch ideas

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15 Tips to Help Get Your Picky Eater to Eat

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to meal planning has nothing to do with how to meal plan at all.  Rather, nearly every day someone asks me, “how do you get a picky eater to eat what you meal planned/made?”

Yes, I have picky eaters at my house.  Yes, we have learned a few tips and tricks that help us overcome picky eating so I thought I would share them with you.  Dinner time is more fun and enjoyable when you aren’t in a fight over food, amen?

It goes without saying to keep an eye on your child’s response to food.   One of our children had a hard time eating certain foods and would gag when they were younger,  it wasn’t that he didn’t like the food. It’s important to rule out allergies, intolerances and physiological reasons first.

 

little girl eating dinner

 

1. Remember Everyone has food preferences & Be A Role Model

I am sure there are certain foods you don’t love.  I can’t stand olives!  Gross!  We all have food aversions and foods we don’t care to eat.  I also can’t stand a fish that still has its head on, ew!  Kids are no different.  Don’t forget our kids are watching so be a role model when it comes to trying and eating new and different foods.

 

2. Create a Bite Rule

Since kids often assume they don’t like things before they even try something, it’s important to have them get in the habit of trying at least one new bite of new food.  Ask them to try a “no thank you” bite.

Studies show that we have to try new food between 10-15 times before they “like” it.  So, don’t give up too soon and assume they “don’t like it.”

In our home we also have our kids eat the number of bites they are old to be excused.  So, if they are 4 years old that’s 4 bites of an item.  You could also stick to a 3 bite rule for everyone.  

 

4. Pair New Food with Food They Like

If you are trying out new meat like shrimp and your child loves tacos, pair the shrimp with a taco.   If it’s a food you know they don’t love, make sure you also have healthy sides like fruits and vegetables that they do love.  

Create connections between food.  If your child refuses to try asparagus but they love green beans, help them make a connection that both are green.

 

5. Serve A Food in A New Way

Maybe it’s not the food they dislike but rather the way it’s prepared.  I don’t love cooked carrots but I love raw carrots.  How can you serve food your kids don’t love in a new and different way?

 

6.  Let Your Child Experience the Food

Let your child experience the food with all 5 senses.  Allow them to smell it, touch it and maybe even just lick it.  

grocery shop with picky eaters

 

7.  Invite Your Kids to Help Meal Plan

Kids love to have some control and say, who doesn’t?  So, if your kids aren’t loving what you are serving, ask them what they would like for dinner.  Then, pick a meal they want and add it to the meal plan.  If they want macaroni and cheese one night, great!  Then, serve something you want another night.  Then, invite kids to go to the grocery store with you to pick out the food.  

 

 8.  Offer Choose Your Own Adventure Meals

We also called these “bar” nights.  Think taco bar, salad bar, or pasta bar.  Leave the foods “deconstructed” and let them choose their own adventure so to speak as they put the foods on their plate.   Give them rules like you need to have at least one vegetable, one fruit, and one meat and let them choose how they do it.

 

9.  Limit Snacks

We all eat better when we are hungry.  I don’t know about your kids but my kids LOVE snacks.  They would eat snacks all day long if I let them but when we fill our bellies with preferred snacks we are less likely to try new things.

 

cook with picky eaters

 

10.  Have Kids Help in the Kitchen

I know it can be messy and chaotic to have kids joining you in preparing dinner but occasionally invite them to prepare dinner with you.  They will have a sense of pride and will be more inclined to try the food they prepared.

 

11.  Communicate Why

It’s important we let our kids know we have food preferences too.  Explain to your children that different foods help nourish and fuel our body so we can be strong and healthy.  

 

12.  Offer Praise

Don’t forget the power of praise.  Praise them profusely when they try new things.  We all love positive reinforcement and we are more inclined to do it again!

 

13.  Offer Condiments

I don’t know what it is about ketchup but my two-year-old will dip ANYTHING in ketchup including fruit.  He loves it.  

 

14.  Be Consistent

Whatever you decide is your family’s policy stick to it.  You know your kids best so what you decide for your family is the right choice.  Just keep the policy simple and be consistent, they can sniff out inconsistency quick.

switch up dinner with picky eaters

 

15.  Make Mealtime Fun

Instead of a fork, try letting them eat it with a toothpick.  Grab plates that are divided so their foods can stay separate.  Skip the table all together and dine on a picnic blanket.  If things are stressful at the dinner table, think about how you can make it less of a fight and more fun again!  One of my kid’s favorite parts of mealtime is sharing their highs and lows from the day.  We call them roses & thorns!

 


 

Just remember this when it comes to your picky eater…

Food doesn’t have to be a fight.  You also don’t have to eat chicken nuggets for the rest of your life and you don’t have to cook a different meal for each family member.  

Trying new things or in this case, new foods is an important life lesson.  If you don’t try something, you might just be missing out on something great.  You won’t know unless you try! Don’t give up on your picky eater too soon, you’ve got this!   How do you get a picky eater to eat?  Share your best tips in the comments below?

 

Need Some Family Meals Ideas? 

 
 
 

Want help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

 

25 Simple Family Meals

25 family meals for meal planning

Download your free meal ideas printable by signing up here.

With a family of 6, I feel like I am making my family meals left and right.  Sometimes, I can get stuck in a rut about what to make for family meals, maybe you do too? So, I am going to share 25 simple family meal ideas that your whole family will eat or most of your family because who am I kidding, there’s always one who refuses to eat!

 

25 Simple Family Meals

From the Grill Meals

1.  Cheeseburgers, fries, and raw vegetables (pictured above)

2.  Hot dogs, chips, and raw vegetables

3.  Grilled meat, baked potatoes & steamed vegetables

4.  Marinated grilled meat, rice & sauteed vegetables

5.  Meat & vegetable kabobs with rice

 

 

Breakfast for Dinner

6.  Eggs, breakfast sausage, and cinnamon rolls

7.  Simple Quiche (find the recipe here)

8.  Simple Egg bake (find the recipe here)

9.  Pancakes and breakfast sausage or bacon

10.  Biscuits & gravy

 

 

Soups, Salads & Sandwiches

11.  Chicken Tortilla Soup with fixings (find the recipe here

12.  Apple Chicken Salad Sandwiches (find the recipe here)

13.  Turkey Pesto Baked Sandwich (find the recipe here)

14.  Classic Chili (find the recipe here)

15.  Corn Bean Salad Recipe (find the recipe here)

 

Slow Cooker & Oven Favorites

16.  Chicken Stuffing Bake (find the recipe here)

17.  Italian Chicken, Green Beans & Potatoes (find the recipe here)

18.  Baked Mexican Casserole (find the recipe here)

19.  Sweet BBQ Meatballs (find the recipe here)

20.  Chicken Pot Pie (find the recipe here)

21.  Chicken Enchiladas (find the recipe here)

22.  Slow Cooker Roast & Root Vegetables 

 

 

Other Favorites

23.  Walking Tacos (find the recipe here)

24. Quesadillas 

25.  Make your own pizza

 

Want more family meal ideas for your meal plan?

 

 

 

Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

How do you get your kids to eat what you serve?

Our rule is you eat as many bites as you are old.  So if you are 5, you need to eat 5 bites to be excused from the table.  I normally give them the number of bites on their plate at the start.  If they want more, that’s always welcome (I am looking at you my growing boy #eatingmeoutofhouseandhome).  
 
What are you eating these days that your kids are loving?

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

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Simple 7 Day Aldi Meal Plan

Aldi is my go-to for great groceries on a budget.  Aldi keeps their prices low because many of their products are not name brand.  However, if you are like me you don’t want to waste your time or your money on food that doesn’t taste good so I rounded up 7 simple Aldi meal plan ideas.  These 7 meals are perfect for a busy night and can easily be scaled up or back to accommodate the size of your family.

 

7 Simple Aldi Meal Plan Dinner Ideas

 

Italian Grilled Sandwiches

One of my favorite things to get at Panera is a toasted panini sandwich.  It’s cooked on the griddle and so yummy.  Grab some sourdough or ciabatta bread, pesto sauce, sliced cheese, turkey and salami for this recipe and serve it with a Caesar salad bagged kit.

To make the sandwiches, lightly brush both pieces of bread with a little bit of butter.  Then, brush the inside of one the bread slices with pesto.  Top with the meat and cheese.  Grill on a hot skillet.  Cover to allow the cheese and meat to warm.  

 

Crab & Tomato Ravioli

Aldi has lots of ravioli options.  They have ravioli in the dry pasta aisle, as well as in the refrigerated and freezer section.  Choose a ravioli that works for your taste buds and wallet.  Cook the ravioli based on the package directions.

To make a simple sauce, buy a package of cherry tomatoes and slice in half.  Liberally coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat.  When the olive oil is warm, place the cherry tomatoes in the pan.  Add 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning or fresh basil.  Allow the cherry tomatoes to cook down.  

Once the pasta is cooked, place the pasta in with the tomatoes and toss to coat.  Serve the tomato and crab ravioli with a bagged Caesar salad kit for a simple meal you can make in under 15 minutes.

If you would prefer to not make your own sauce, grab a marinara sauce of your choice at the store and warm up.  Then, toss the pasta and sauce together before serving.

 

Meatballs & Steamed Vegetables

Pre-made meatballs are perfect for a quick meal.  You can toss them in a slow cooker with marinara sauce or try this easy sweet BBQ meatball recipe for a different twist.  Serve with some steamed vegetables and a side of fruit.

 

Marinated Pork Loin & Risotto

 

You can really change up meat with a marinade.  Aldi has lots of great pre-marinated meat choices in the refrigerated meat section.  Check out their marinated chicken options as well.  In the summer, we love to grill these marinated pork loins but in the winter I just put it in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. 

We serve it with rice or this delicious risotto found in the dry pasta section at Aldi.  Pair it with a mixed vegetable medley and fruit and you have yourself a delicious meal for a busy weeknight.  If you have a larger family or want leftover, grab two pork loins!

 

Pancakes & Sausage

 

This meal is perfect for a quick breakfast, a babysitter or a SUPER simple busy weeknight meal.  Just reheat the pre-cooked sausage and warm up some pancakes and you have yourself a meal faster than you can go to a drive-thru.   We often pair breakfast for dinner with smoothies, check out this super simple smoothie recipe.

 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast 

 

This is a fan favorite at our house and it’s so SIMPLE you will never make a pot roast any other way.  Grab the Pub Style pot roast marinade at Aldi.  It’s located by the pickles and dressings.  Then, just put the pot roast in the slow cooker and top with the marinade.  

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Pull out of the slow cooker and shred.  You can strain the juices and repour in with the meat to keep the meat moist.

We served it with leftover sourdough bread from the panini sandwiches, vegetables, and white rice.  

 

Breakfast Casserole

 

 

A breakfast casserole is a perfect weekend morning meal or brunch.  Get the full directions to this easy and simple egg bake recipes here.  

Serve this easy egg bake up with some cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit for a simple weeknight meal.

 

Just Remember…

Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated.  You can keep it simple, on budget and prepare delicious meals for your family.  If you haven’t shopped at Aldi, I would encourage you to check it out.  What are your favorite meals to make with ingredients you find at Aldi?  Let me know in the comments.

 

Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

 

You might also like –

7 More Simple Aldi Meal Ideas
10 Best Products to Buy at Aldi
Favorite Aldi Products

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Simple Game Day Food Ideas

It’s almost time for the biggest game of the year (so far).  Who are you rooting for?  We live in the midwest but I am married to a man that grew up in the Joe Montana era so I guess we will cheer for the game day food, commercials, and the halftime show.   I don’t know about you but the game day menu is almost as important as the game itself.  Here are some simple game day food ideas to serve your big game day fans!

 

Sweet BBQ Meatballs

These deliciously sweet and savory bbq meatballs are so simple to make.  Mix up the 3 ingredients and cook in the slow cooker.  No one will believe how easy they are to make.

 

Baked Mexican Dip

Who doesn’t love a Mexican dip?  Make this simple baked Mexican dip ahead and pop it in the oven right before the game.  It also reheats well.  

 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip is always a fan favorite served with bread or tortilla chips.  This easy spinach artichoke dip is just 6 ingredients so its super simple to whip up before the big game.  

 

Walking Tacos

Recreate a stadium staple at home with a walking taco bar for the big game.  Prepare all the fixings ahead of time and your guests can make their own walking tacos just how they like it.

 

Apple Nachos

Looking for a healthier option?  Try an apple nacho bar.  Slice up some apples and serve it with a few toppings.  Your guests will be raving about this delicious snack.

 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Speaking of healthy but oh so good, you need to make this simple black bean and corn salsa.  A great way to get some vegetables in your game day spread. 

 

Magic Bars

These magic bars are good they are mouth-wateringly good!  Layer on chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut with a graham cracker crust and you have a game-winning dessert for your next party.

 

Classic Chili

Is there anything that screams game day more than a big pot of chili?  Perfect for a crowd and a cold day.  Try this super simple classic chili.

 

Aldi Appetizer Finds

I went to Aldi the other day and picked up a few more simple foods to add to our spread.  Who doesn’t love some chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and queso?  Add these items to what you make and you will have a winning spread.

 

Just Remember…

A good rule of thumb when hosting is to cook 30% and buy pre-made the other 70%.  My Grandma always told me a candy bar tastes great on a silver platter so when in doubt, buy something and keep it simple.  That’s the name of my game and I am sticking to it!  

What are you serving for game day?  Do you host a party? 

 

Need help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Simple Holiday Meal Ideas

With the holidays next week, it’s time to start thinking about the food.  No holiday is complete without a delicious spread of sweet and savory foods. However, if you are hosting it can be daunting planning out several days of food. So, what are some simple holiday meal ideas?

How I Holiday Meal Plan – 

First things first, it’s important to have a plan.  Your sanity will thank you for taking a little time upfront.  Grab your Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner (shop here) and get to work.  

Usually, I just meal plan dinners a week at a time (check out these 7 tips to meal plan) but when I host guests I like to meal plan all 3 meals.  That way so I can make sure to get all the necessary groceries and so I can enjoy them without having to think about what to cook.  It’s all planned and ready to go.

You know me though I am keeping things very simple.  So, I rarely try new recipes when I am hosting guests.  I don’t want to be stressed if it turns out and I also buy lots of store-bought items to help lower the stress.  You can always unwrap something and put it on a platter ;).

So What’s On My Holiday Menu?

Christmas Eve Menu

On Christmas Eve, we normally go to church and then come home and enjoy appetizers while we open gifts.  The great thing about appetizers is they can be made ahead and warm in the slow cooker or oven until you are ready to eat them.  

Try these simple appetizer recipes – 

Baked Mexican Dip

Slow Cooker Sweet BBQ Meatballs

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Along with these delicious homemade dips, you can also serve veggies and dip, fruit and cheese, cured meats and crackers.  We also love serving chips, salsa, and guacamole.  I usually buy all of these items from the store.  Add in some delicious Christmas cookies and some store-bought candies for a little sweet treat.

Christmas Day Menu

We have little kids so we spend the bulk of our morning cozying up by the Christmas tree playing and assembling all the fun presents Santa brought.  I whip up some super simple reindeer doughnuts for an early breakfast before we pause for a larger brunch later.

woman holding reindeer doughnut

Reindeer Doughnuts

I just put a red m&m in the middle of a mini chocolate doughnut and add two broken pretzels to the top to resemble antlers.  The kids love them, they are yummy and don’t take any time at all.  They might even like to make them.

Christmas Brunch Menu

Then, for brunch, I will make a few quiches ahead of time to reheat in the oven.  Check out this simple quiche recipe.  I serve alongside refrigerated cinnamon rolls that I shape into Christmas trees.  Add a little bit of green food dye to the frosting for a festive tree-shaped cinnamon “roll”.

Christmas tree refrigerated cinnamon roll

Christmas Dinner

Since we set out a tray of cookies and have brunch.  We normally forego lunch and just have an early dinner.  This year we will just have our family of 6 so instead of a whole turkey, I just plan to make a turkey breast in the slow cooker.  I will use this recipe.

While the turkey is cooking, I will boil up some red-skinned potatoes.  I love using those because I don’t have to peel them.  I just use my mixer to mash them up, skin and all.  I add a little milk and butter until I get the right consistency.

Last but not least, you can serve it up with some package gravy, steamed vegetables, rolls and any leftover appetizers you might have.  If you want a delicious dessert besides cookies, you could try this simple no-bake oreo pie or simple ice cream pie recipe.

Need More Simple Holiday Meal Ideas?

With guests in town, we often go out to dinner one night and order pizza another night.  I also love to serve a soup or something made in the slow cooker.  I have listed some simple recipes below so you can add one of those to your meal plan.

Try these simple recipes for the other nights – 

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

Simple Classic Chili Recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Simple Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Walking Tacos Recipe (perfect for a large crowd)

 

Just Remember…

I can get stressed about the food and what to make but remember at the end of the day it’s about who’s gathered around the table.  The first year I hosted a major holiday meal at my house, the ham went up in smoke literally.  I served charred ham and you know what it makes a great story now!  Enjoy the season and remember to keep it simple on purpose, you will thank yourself later!

Take some time to sit down and plan out your meals, make a grocery list and order your groceries online.  You will avoid the crowds and added stress and have everything ready so you can enjoy your guests when they arrive.  Oh, and grab some paper plates while you are at it so you don’t have to dishes for every meal!

Check out the meal grocery list and meal planner here.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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15 Simple Ways To Save Money on Groceries

Have you ever gotten to the cash register at the grocery store and gone bug-eyed at the amount of money you just spent?  Do you just wish you could save money on your groceries?

Since we have been saving for the adoption one of the biggest ways we have curbed our spending is by eating out less and sticking to our grocery budget.

I have learned a few simple tips along the way that have helped me save money on groceries, I thought I would share them with you.  Sharing is caring after all!

 

15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries –

1. Set a Budget

First things first, you have to know how much you want to spend so that you have a target to shoot for.  On average, your food bill including eating out and groceries should be 11% of your monthly salary (source).  Take into consideration the diet you have and location you live as those factor into the total cost.

When you start making a food budget, look back over the last 2 months and get a baseline of what you have spent.  You might be surprised.

2. Don’t Go To The Store Hungry

Seriously, this is so simple but have you ever gone to the store hungry?  Suddenly everything looks really good.  Grab a quick snack or a big glass of water before you go so that your stomach doesn’t tempt you into spending more.

3.  Stop Going to the Grocery Store So Often

The more often you go to the grocery store, the higher the chance of buying more items you don’t need.  Meal plan weekly, make a grocery list that matches and only go to the store once per week.  If something comes up and you find you need an item, put it on the grocery list for next week.

 

4. Make a Meal Plan

Avoid the urge to make an aspirational meal plan.  It might look good in print but it might not fit your budget, match your food preferences or your schedule.  Read more about how to successfully meal plan here.

5. Stick to Your Grocery List

After you make a meal plan, create a grocery list that matches it.  Not only will you save money by sticking to a list, but you will also waste less food.

6. Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are a fraction of the cost and they last a whole lot longer.  Did you know on average 50% produce is thrown away in the United States which amounts to $160 billion dollars of money wasted annually? (source)

 

 

7. Shop at an Actual Grocery Store

I love places like Target and Wal-mart but I have blown my budget because I am tempted by a pair of cute shoes or a new fun nail color and they hop into my cart.  If you struggle with adding things to your cart, forego these types of stores in favor of places like Aldi and local grocery stores.

8. Try Online Ordering

If you have a budget in mind and you want to make sure you only spend so much but struggle to do that, try online grocery shopping.  Places like Wal-mart offer it. The app totals your groceries as you go so you can stay on budget.

9. Shop the Bottom Shelf & Buy Generic

I have my favorite name-brand items but by and large, we buy generic brand for many items from cereal to canned soups and frozen produce.  Most of the time grocery stores place more expensive name brand items at eye level so shop the bottom shelf for generic brands and items that cost less.

10.  Shop Alone

We used to shop after church on Sunday, not only were we hungry which I already told you was a no, no but I brought the whole family.  Even if every person picks one thing that’s not on the list, it can add up in a hurry.

Instead of inviting your family along which can be stressful in and of itself, ask them if there’s anything they would like from the store before you go!

11. Calculate the Cost As You Go

If you don’t want to online shop, take a calculator with you and keep a tally of how much you are spending as you shop.  Knowing how much you are spending will keep you accountable for what you are putting in your cart.  It’s always fun to see how close you were when you get to the cash register!

12. Buy In-Season & Sale Produce

Out of season produce is not only expensive but also not as tasty.  Save the berries for berry season and peaches for peach season.  Bananas, apples, and grapes are always good options year round but check the local store ads and buy produce that’s on special. This way you get more variety in your diet too!

13.  Use Coupons

They don’t just to be the kind your mom cut out of the newspaper.  Many stores now have apps that you can pick coupons that work for you and then scan at the end!  Just take a few minutes after your list is made to see if there are any coupons.  A few dollars here and there really adds up!

 

14. Skip Pre-packaged Snacks.

Instead of the pre-packaged Goldfish crackers, I buy a big container for 7.99 and can get more servings and make the servings be what I want.  Get in the habit of packing up snacks after you go to the store or have your kids help you.

15.  Shop Your Pantry & Freezer

I’ll add an item to my grocery list and then open my pantry only to realize I already have it on hand.  You can save yourself lots of money by checking your pantry and freezer to see what you already have on hand.

You can even start there and make your meal plan around what you already have and save even more money!

You Can Save Money at the Grocery Store

Buying groceries is a fact of life for most of us but there are ways to save your hard-earned money!  Apply these simple tips and save yourself hundreds of dollars at the store.  I don’t know about you but there are always things we are saving for and every dollar saved adds up!

How do you save money at the grocery store?

You might also like…
12 Items I Stopped Buying at the Grocery Store
7 Steps to Create a Weekly Meal Plan
Aldi 7-Day Meal Plan + Grocery List
Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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