What’s for Dinner? Week of March 17, 2014

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!!!  I’m not the slightest bit Irish (3/4 Italian, 1/8 Spanish, 1/8 German) but it’s always fun to celebrate.  I have a new menu for the week and because I am not Irish I sort of forget to incorporate an Irish inspired meal to celebrate.  I was actually more focused on finding meals that had no cheese in them.  Yup, still going strong on my “no cheese” Lent.  So the following dishes have no cheese in them, or I at least left it out.  Of course, you can always put cheese on tacos, but I just left it out and didn’t even miss it 🙂  After being almost 2 weeks in, I have to say, it hasn’t been easy.  But it has been a great accomplishment so far and I look forward to being successful.  Enjoy the menu below and I hope it gives you some ideas on meals without cheese!!  Make the first bite count!!

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MondayDouble Pork Sandwiches

TuesdayHoney Mustard Chicken | Baked Sweet Potatoes

WednesdaySlow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos  (CookingClassy.com)

Thursday – Leftover Night!!

Friday – Baked Tilapia with Bread Crumbs | Sautéed Spinach with Garlic

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What’s for Dinner? Week of January 26, 2014

PRINTABLE

Weekly Dinner Menu Grocery List

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It is already the end of January, and I have no idea where the last month went already.  Time flies when you having fun!  And I have been having fun cooking, taking pictures and posting recipes to share with you.  I hope you have enjoyed them, as I have enjoyed creating and presenting them to you.  The menu for this week involves some old, some new, some borrowed.  The new BBQ Bacon Chicken is delicious served with the old Twice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli.  Reuse some of the leftover fresh broccoli to make a great, healthy side to the fabulous cheesy Mac n Cheese.  The leftover bacon from the BBQ Bacon Chicken can be used in the Chicken Cordon Bleu pasta.  Shredded beef tacos are done right in the crock pot and served with tortillas.  You can even use the tortillas to make Chicken Caesar wraps instead of just plain old salads.  It’s all about reusing ingredients in different ways so that nothing goes to waste.  By planning dinners this way it is also less to buy at the grocery store; you will find your list is much shorter when ingredients are reused.  So print out that Weekly Dinner Menu Grocery List above, make your list and do that shopping.  Just once per week is all you need at the grocery store if you simply take just 15 extra minutes to make a plan.  Make the first bite count!

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Monday – Shredded Beef Tacos  (Cooking Classy)

TuesdayBBQ Bacon ChickenTwice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli  (Make the First Bite Count)

Wednesday – Chicken Cordon Blue Pasta  (Chef in Training)

ThursdayChicken Caesar Salads (Make the First Bite Count)

Friday – John Legend’s Mac ‘n Cheese (Martha Stewart) | Roasted Parmesan Broccoli  (Make the First Bite Count)

What’s for Dinner? Week of January 12, 2014

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I hope those resolutions are serving us all well and that we haven’t given up just yet.  If you are trying better to eat right and save some money, you have found the right place.  I have created a dinner menu for the week of delicious, healthy options and by not eating out and shopping for all your ingredients in one big grocery trip for the week, you will even save some money too.  What could be better!  I don’t know about you, but I am a planner.  I love to plan anything (menus, parties, weekend plans, what I’m wearing tomorrow), but mostly I like to plan weekly dinner menus.  I’m here to help those who don’t necessarily like to plan out anything.  I’ve done most of the planning for you.  All you have to do is grab my Weekly Dinner Menu Grocery List, fill it in with all the ingredients you will need to make this week’s dinners (minus the ingredients you have on hand and plus any additional items needed for the week) and you are on your way.  Let me tell you what I have found helpful as well:  Print out a few grocery lists and store them in a folder.  Label the folder ‘Grocery.’  I’ve said before I am no extreme couponer and I stand by that, but sometimes I come across a coupon of an item I use or I know I will buy in the near future.  Whenever you do this, just clip the coupon and place it in your ‘Grocery’ folder.  Then, once a week, I pull out the folder, plan my dinners, make my list, search through any coupons I can use and head to the store.  The whole process, from pulling out my menu to planning dinners to making the list to going to the grocery store to coming home to unpacking all the items, doesn’t take me more than about 2 hours.  Not bad for a week’s worth of delicious dinners and money saved from not eating out.

So, as you can see below, there are dinners planned for Monday through Friday.  Usually, I tend to make a little extra and the leftovers become my lunch for the next day.  Simple and easy and no extra time required.  Or, you can even use the extras you have in another meal later in the week.  This is a huge time and money saver.  This week, that is done with the Turkey Chili.  On Tuesday, you make one big batch of the Turkey Chili and perhaps serve with cornbread, and then on Friday you take the leftover chili and throw together some Nachos.  It’s a great meal to throw together on a Friday after a long week.  The other days contain meals from my website as well, some that haven’t been used in a while.  Nothing is set in stone.  I encourage you to swamp out dinners for your family favorites or take a browse on this website to see what other delicious meals there are.  Either way, make a plan and enjoy the ease throughout the week of always knowing the answer to the question, “What’s for Dinner?”  Make the first bite count!

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MondayChicken Kiev with Egg Noodles | Roasted Parmesan Broccoli  (Make the First Bite Count)

TuesdayTurkey Chili  (Make the First Bite Count)

WednesdayBowtie Pasta with Chicken and Spinach  (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayBeef and Broccoli  (Make the First Bite Count)

FridayNacho Night!  (Make the First Bite Count)

What’s for Dinner? Week of January 5, 2014 (plus Free Printable!)

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The first full week of the new year and even a free printable to share with you (see the link at the end of this paragraph). This is the time where we will put those resolutions to the test. Let’s stay focused and motivated and we can all make ourselves better :). One of your resolutions may have been to save money. Well, one way to save money is to cut back on the take out food. You will be surprised by the delicious restaurant-style dinners you can prepare right in your own kitchen, and for half the price. My biggest tip about planning a weekly dinner menu is to make one list for the week and one trip to the grocery store. Plan out dinners you would like to prepare that week, check your pantry for ingredients you may already have on hand, then make a list of everything else you will need. Make one trip, and you will be surprised how much you can save. How many times have you gone to the grocery store to pick up items to make for dinner and end up buying 3-4 things that you did not need or intend to buy? I know I have.  But, if you only go to the store once, you will save yourself the cost of those extra items that could have probably waited until the next week (or not at all). Now, I’m no extreme couponer by any means, but I do believe a good place to start saving pennies is by making that one-stop shop for the week. I have even created a printable Weekly Dinner Menu Grocery List to make your life easier. Simply fill in the items you need under the appropriate category to organize your trip according to the sections of the store. Try it this week and let me know what you think.

The menu for this week consists of some recipes already posted on this blog as well as one recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Giada, that I cooked up for my family over the Christmas holiday. Giada’s recipe is simple and elegant and tastes like you ordered it from a restaurant, definitely worth trying. The other recipes are ones right from Make the First Bite Count and have been neglected recently. I wanted to highlight some recipes that are easy and inexpensive to start off the new year. You will see that the ingredients/leftovers from one dinner can be used in dinners later in the week.  For example, leftover meatballs from Wednesday’s Rigatoni and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce can be used on Friday for Meatball Sandwiches.   You can even toast up extra almonds for the strings bean on Tuesday to use in the Buffalo Chicken Salads on Thursday.  Don’t be afraid to alter as you see fit for your own taste buds as well as your family’s.  Enjoy the dinner menu this week and let me know what you think. Make the first bite count!

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MondayPenne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce | Salad  (Giada – Foodnetwork,com)

TuesdayApricot Chicken | Brown Butter String Beans with Toasted Almonds  (Make the First Bite Count)

WednesdayRigatoni and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce  (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayBuffalo Chicken Salads  (Make the First Bite Count)

FridayMeatball Sandwiches  (Make the First Bite Count)

What’s for Dinner? Week of December 15, 2013

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It’s still prime holiday season with people bustling around to shop for that perfect gift.  I luckily have most of my shopping done and about half of my wrapping done.  There are still a few things left on the list; a present to buy, cards to send out and the last few ornaments to hang on the tree.  I try hard not to let it stress me out too much, and really instead try to enjoy the spirit of the holiday.  I’m excited for another excuse to get together with friends and family and eat and drink and just have a good time.  Try to enjoy the holiday this year!  Take a deep breath (and maybe a sip of wine) and think about all the things in your life you are lucky to have.  I’m lucky to have my amazing husband, my cuddly lab, and a beautiful home to call our own.

While you are taking time to enjoy the holidays this year, take time to enjoy a nice family dinner.  Some of the meals this week are quick and easy (Apricot Chicken and Beef and Broccoli) and perfect for those late nights shopping at the mall.  While other meals this week are comfort foods to the max (Eggplant Parmesan and Jambalaya), they can be made with the help of your family to take time again to appreciate the important things in your life.  All meals this week come from this very blog and are yours to create, share and make your own.  Recipes are only guidelines, so don’t be afraid to tweak them to your own tastes and likes.  So write down those ingredients that you don’t have on hand, head to the grocery store that one time this week and enjoy dinners for a week.  A little planning goes a long way.  Make the first bite count!

 

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MondayEggplant Parmesan | Italian Bread (Make the First Bite Count)

TuesdayApricot Chicken | Roasted Asparagus (Make the First Bite Count)

WednesdayBeef and Broccoli (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayJambalaya (Make the First Bite Count)

Friday – Grilled Chicken | Twice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli (Make the First Bite Count)

What’s for Dinner? Week of December 9, 2013

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Holiday season is bustling with people shopping, wrapping, baking and decorating. I love this time of year, but I do admit it can be a bit overwhelming. Planning home-cooked dinners for the week is sometimes that last thing on our minds, but in the long run it is healthier and will save you money :). Something I know I wouldn’t mind doing this time of year. For dinners this week I reached back and picked some classics that I know are easy to prepare and taste great. On Monday, I tried a Pinterest recipe from Budget Bytes, Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas, and they were delicious. A little bit of chopping then throw it all in the oven. Comes out delicious and just like the restaurants. Tuesday, I made a comfort food classic, Turkey Chili. Warm and satisfying, your family won’t even know you used turkey. This chili is great for leftovers, too, like on the Nachos for dinner on Friday. On Wednesday I grilled up some steaks and made some of the deliciously creamy bacon stuffed mushrooms and for Thursday we went a little healthier with our Grilled Chicken Caesar Salads. So, don’t let the stress of the holidays overwhelm you into grabbing take out every night. Make a list and a quick stop at the grocery store, and make delicious home-cooked dinners all week long. (Your wallet will thank you too) Make the first bite count!

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MondayOven Baked Chicken Fajitas (Budget Bytes)

TuesdayTurkey Chili   (Make the First Bite Count)

Wednesday – Grilled Steak | Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms   (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayChicken Caesar Salads   (Make the First Bite Count)

FridayNacho Night   (Make the First Bite Count)

What’s for Dinner? Week of December 1, 2013

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! My husband and I were traveling like crazy to see family, but it was so worth it. Our Thanksgiving was full of food, family, wine and catch phrase. It was a blast. We even took time this weekend to cut down our Christmas tree and start to decorate for the holidays. Christmas is so close so I feel like there is a time crunch, but we always keep our decorations up for a little bit after Christmas (does anyone else do this?) so I figured if we get a late start it’s not so bad. This is one of my favorite times of year. I can’t wait to finish decorating, bake cookies, wrap presents and, of course, cook for my family. I have lots of ideas of meals and appetizers, so stay tuned over the next few weeks to get ideas for your own family holiday meal.

But I’m back and ready to post a dinner menu for the week.  If you notice, there is no night for leftovers.  I will try to avoid this night now as my husband is starting to take lunch to work.  He loves leftovers, so they get all used up for his lunches.  But no big deal, just gives a chance to post another delicious recipe.  The last 3 recipes (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) all come from my blog.  The salad with a tangy poppy seed dressing, the garlicky roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwiches, and the chicken marsala all come from previous posts on this very site.  All delicious, too, by the way 🙂  The white chicken chili comes from Cooking Classy (link below) and it was delicious.  It was creamy and filling and there was plenty to take for lunch the next day.  We even froze some to use for a future dinner.  The chicken and broccoli noodle casserole comes from Skinny Taste (link also below) and is a recipe I have made a few times already.  It is low in fat and calories and is a perfect meal; leftovers are even better the next day.  So take a peek at the recipes, write down your ingredients and make that one stop shop for the week.  Save time, save money and enjoy delicious dinners for the week.  Make the first bite count!

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MondayWhite Chicken Chili   (Cooking Classy)

TuesdayChicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole   (Skinny Taste)

WednesdaySweet and Tangy Chicken Salads   (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayRoast Pork and Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches   (Make the First Bite Count)

FridayChicken Marsala with pasta | Roasted Parmesan Broccoli   (Make the First Bite Count)