Weekly Meal Plan with Grocery List

Whew, life gets busy sometime & I don’t have time to plan, coupon & sale shop.  I find when I don’t plan and prepare for the week, I eat so much worse than when I do. While this is certainly not the healthiest week of meals, I am moving back in the right direction. 

Meal# 1:  Grilled Pork Chops with Pierogies, Peppers and Onions– Create an aluminum foil pocket and coat bottom with olive oil.  Add Pierogies and the frozen stir fry peppers and onions.  Drizzle more olive oil over top and securely close aluminum foil pocket.  Grill both aluminum foil pocket and pork chops until done.

Meal# 2: Crustless Pizza Casserole– click here for recipe.  I will be taking crescent rolls, unrolling without separating and placing over top of casserole for a different twist. 

Meal #3:  Southwestern Stuffed Peppers– Take 8 peppers and submerge in boiling water for ten minutes.  (This is figuring on a family of 4- 2 peppers per person)  Cook rice and brown hamburg while boiling peppers.  Remove peppers from boiling water and let cool.  Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Meanwhile mix browned hamburg, cooked rice, frozen black beans and corn, diced tomatoes and salsa in a bowl.  Stuff peppers with mix.  Top with Cheddar Cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Meal # 4:  Chicken Cobb Salad– Bake popcorn chicken as package directs.  Boil eggs.  Prepare tossed salad as desired (lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cheese, etc).  Add chicken once done and shelled, sliced boiled eggs.  Drizzle with Italian dressing or dressing of choice.  Top with Sunflower Seeds.

Meal # 5: BLT’s with Caprese Salad– Prepare bacon as package directs.  Toast bread.  Top bread with bacon, lettuce, tomato and condiment of choice.  Toss cubed mozz cheese, diced tomatoes in olive oil and fresh basil for caprese salad. 

Meal #6: Sausage & Potato Stir Fry– in deep frying pan or wok, heat oil.  Add sliced smoke sausage, diced potatoes, diced onions, mushrooms, pepper strips, zucchini and yellow squash slices.  Cover over low heat and cook, stirring often, until potatoes and veggies are tender.

Meal # 7:  Popcorn Chicken & Pasta Salad– Bake Popcorn Chicken as directed.  Boil rotini, then drain water.  Toss with pepperoni, tomatoes, peppers, celery, Italian dressing and shred cheese.  Top with sunflower seeds.  Best served chilled. 

Grocery List:

  • Pork Chops (1)
  • Pierogies (1)
  • Frozen Stir Fry Peppers and Onions (1)
  • Olive Oil (3)
  • Aluminum Foil (1)
  • Pepperoni (2) Tops has Buy Two, Get Three FREE
  • Sliced Fresh Mushrooms (2)
  • Peppers, 12 (4)
  • Onions (2)
  • Sausage (1)
  • Crescent Rolls (1)
  • Marinara Sauce (1)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (2)
  • Hamburger (1)
  • Brown Rice (1)
  • Frozen Black Beans (1)
  • Frozen Corn (1)
  • Cheddar Cheese (3)
  • Salsa (1)
  • Diced Tomatoes (1)
  • Lettuce (2)
  • Tomatoes (3)
  • Bread (1)
  • Bacon (1)
  • Basil (1)
  • Potatoes (1)
  • Smoked Sausage (1) Tops has Buy Two Get Three FREE
  • Zucchini (1)
  • Yellow Squash (1)
  • Popcorn Chicken(2) Tops has Buy Two Get Three FREE
  • Whole Wheat Rotini (1)
  • Celery (2)
  • Italian Dressing (2)
  • Sunflower Seeds (2)
  • Eggs (1)

Q&A with Pat of Black River Cattle Company

I’ve been a bit quiet lately on this page.  I am at constant battle of couponing versus healthy eating.  A majority of coupons are for processed foods.  A majority.  I admit you can find the occasional produce or meat department coupon, but there are a lot of cereal, canned soup, Hamburger Helper coupons.  As I have started to look more into what is in the foods we put in our mouths and in our children’s mouths I have changed our eating and shopping habits. 

So lately I have abandoned shopping at Price Chopper, Tops and other big name stores and started focusing on locally owned shops that offer fresh, locally grown meats and produce.  We are so fortunate to live in an area that is rich in agriculture and locally grown/ raised foods. 

What perfect timing to feature a Q&A with Pat Robbins of Black River Cattle Company.  Cuts of BRCC’s meats are now being sold at Old McDonald’s Farm and are used in dishes as local restaurants such as The Hops Spot in Sackets Harbor. 

1. Tell me who you are and what it is you do?
My name is Patrick Robbins and I manage marketing and sales for Black River Cattle Company (BRCC) and I am also a teacher/educator in Jefferson County. Brian Robbins is the founder and owner of BRCC and the General Manager and equity share owner of North Harbor Dairy.


2. How did you end up going into this line of business?
My nephew Brian and I both grew up on our family farm and after both going away to college to Colorado and Georgia respectively, we both returned to the North Country to be involved in our family operation in some capacity after gaining valuable work experiences in other states. Brian is the general manager of our family’s large dairy and crop farm, and after witnessing a shift in the public consciousness in regards to knowing where their food comes from and in keeping with an underlying tenet of all our related businesses, which is educating the public on agricultural matters (see one of our sister companies, Old McDonald’s Farm), he decided to start raising some beef cattle a few years back. Using his adept knowledge of quality genetics, humane and sustainable farming methods, the infrastructure of our current family farm operation, and the need for a “local”, larger scale beef operation in the area, his little endeavor has proliferated into a herd of over 75 quality raised beef cattle. As a former member of the business world with experiences in marketing, sales, and customer service, we have combined our respective business acumen and our desire to provide a quality, local product back to the community we respect so much, to form BRCC. So far, we have enjoyed much success with our products, but more importantly, we have enjoyed giving back to the community we live and work in.

3. What is the benefit of customers buying in bulk and from local farmers?  Look for answer with #4.

4. Where or how would consumers go about making a purchase from you?
I’ll answer questions 3 & 4 in 2 parts.
First, we have a continuous rotation of wholesale/bulk beef available throughout the year. In some cases, consumers of wholesale/bulk beef often have to wait on a list for 6 months or more while producers either raise the cattle or source it from other farms. At BRCC, we have a year around inventory with a short turnaround time. When one buys wholesale, or rather bulk, the customer buys a whole, half, or quarter side of beef. We take orders directly through or webpage at www.blackrivercattlecompany.com, on Facebook, or through me at 315-778-6998. We charge $2.60 per lb hanging weight which includes the beef, processing to the customer’s specifications, custom packaging, transportation costs, and delivery to the customer. This new streamlined approach is much more efficient for the customer, with only 1 entity to make payment to, and the delivery aspect has really set us apart from other producers. This way of purchasing beef is the most economical as you are getting all customary premium cuts and ground beef for a very competitive price-just think, ground beef in most box retailers from unknown sources has skyrocketed to almost $4.00 lb; a consumer could have a much better product from BRCC for around the same price which not only includes ground beef, but premium cuts also! The consumer also knows where the product is coming from as it raised “right down the road” in Sackets Harbor. We walk the consumer through the whole purchasing process and we are proud of our follow-up with the customers to make sure they are informed every step of the way and their expectations are set and met. Buying local is also a great way to support our local economy!
Second, we currently sell premium ground beef and individual cuts at Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor and will also take pre-orders based on available inventory. We can set up pick-up times at 8 am and 5 pm in Sackets Harbor to accommodate customers. We also are proud to be partnering with the Hops Spot restaurant in Sackets which features our custom chuck and brisket burgers and steak specials. We will have more restaurant opportunities as the summer season begins.

5.  There has been a lot of hype on grass fed beef lately. What are your thoughts on grass fed vs grain fed beef?
All beef is grass fed; some are raised entirely on grass and some only partially. Most grains are of the grass family, grain is just the seed or energy portion of the grass. Haylage or corn silage is natural forage that is preserved under a natural process of fermentation and then becomes more digestible to the animal. Animals raised entirely on grass tend to be older when taken to slaughter due to the lack of energy in the feed. These animals , much of the year don’t have excess energy from the feed to pack on weight and meat; rather meat becomes secondary to life functions which are first. A animal that is supplied grain in addition to grass or silage will have excess energy that can be used to produce muscle. These meats tend to have better marbling and flavor and tenderness due to the early age they can be butchered.

6. Do you eat your own product?
Yes indeed!!
In reality, our 9 year old daughter is the biggest critic of beef that comes from unknown sources. She will not eat nor allow any other beef product in our home. We can notice the indelible differences immediately when consuming beef that is not nurtured and raised to meet proper standards and protocols that we have set forth for our products. It just doesn’t have the same qualities and more importantly, is not as healthy for you. We love our local, all natural, great tasting beef products and we find ourselves to be the best quality control specialist! (See also the answer to #7).

7. What is your favorite dinner?
A great tasting Delmonico from BRCC, of course!! It’s usually accompanied by a mixed green salad with vinaigrette dressing (no onions) and a starch. I also love any kind of seafood, especially scallops and linguini and clams (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention pasta-my wife comes from a large Italian family).

8. Do you have a TV show you can’t miss?
We are “Chopped” junkies; if only I was that quick on my feet in the kitchen. Of course, my early morning pre-workout TV addiction is a little Sports Center to catch up on the scores.

9. What is your favorite thing about Jefferson County?
I love the people and the community-oriented nature of Jefferson County. I have lived in different geographic places in the US ranging from large metropolitan cities to rural communities, and what has always drawn me back to this area has been the sense of community that seems to pervade all aspects of our county, including but not limited to our neighborhoods, our small businesses, and our schools. In fact, after having a child, a decided to leave the Southeast and move back to Jefferson County so my daughter could experience a similar upbringing that I had. Even as our demographic has changed for the better with the growth of Ft. Drum, those not indigenous to the area still seem to embrace and welcome the “family” vibe this area exudes….even considering the long Winters we endure.

10. What is the one material thing you own that you could not imagine going without?
I would have to say my tattered and frayed, 10 year old NY Yankees cap. A well-worn, good fitting cap, which also serves as a cover for my balding head, has become an extension of me. I have become identified by this pseudo appendage and as a huge fan, I don’t think I could ever part with it- even with the best efforts of my wife.

    Click here for pricing and meats available!

    My Visit to Page Fitness Athletic Club

    You already know I love food.  What you might not know is I also love exercising.  I have been a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge my entire life.  To meet me, you might be surprised to learn that I have several 5k’s (probably around 10) under my belt and one 10k.  I’d love to do the Dirty Girl Run later this year.  So when Jessica Page of Page Fitness Athletic Club contacted me about coming to the club for their launch of their new Les Mills fitness classes I said sure…with some hesitation. 

    See I am not a size 2 (or anywhere close to that), I don’t have ripped muscles and I have heard about how intense the Les Mills programs can be.  I have said sure before and at the last minute chickened out.  Amazing how much fear can restrain someone.  I pictured myself lagging behind a bunch of super toned, supermodels.  Me in a heap, gasping for breath, broken and shedding tears. 

    I overcame that fear this morning and I am so pleased that I did.  I had such a great time.  I did half an hour of Body Combat followed by half an hour of Body Jam. 

    First off- I was so happy and thrilled to see that the room the classes are held in are dimly lit.  What a difference that makes to an attendee.  Lights shine on the stage where the amazing instructors lead the class, but other than that there are no lights on.  For someone who gets headaches in bright lights or may be insecure in group classes, this is heavenly.  Plus it really helps you feel bad azz in Combat or like you are at a Club in Jam. 

    The attendees were all shapes and sizes.  In Combat it was a mix of genders but in Jam was just females.  Either way, I felt at ease.  The music really adds to the energy of the class. 

    The instructors are fantastic.  They are high energy, positive and fun.  The encourage the group and just have wonderful and warm personalities.  It’s a bonus that they really know the material they are teaching too. 

    Body Combat- Think Mortal Kombat meets kickboxing.  Fierce, strong, powerful.  LOVED IT!  Intense, but not in an impossible way.  Round house, upper cut, block, jab, knee to the groin!  When I finished I felt like I could take on Chuck Norris and win. 


    Body Jam- Dance Club meets Zumba.  If you have your inner dancer screaming to be let out, this is your class.  I at times felt uncoordinated but really didn’t care because I was having so much fun.  Hip shaking, gyrating, salsa stepping, arms in the air fun!  And even if I didn’t hit the moves perfect each time, I was still moving and shaking (and burning calories!).

    When I was done, one of the owners, Chris, actually sat down with me and discussed how Page Fitness is different from other gyms.  They have a program where one of the trainers will actually go grocery shopping with you and show you how to shop!  They tell you what you should be eating  and what ratio of carbs/proteins/fats you should be getting!  We talked for about twenty minutes and I was just so impressed that the owner of the club would take the time to be one on one with a person.  They are truly hands on with their business and both have credentials that would impress anyone. 


    The staff, instructors and owners were very friendly.  The atmosphere is inviting and clean.  Very, very impressive.  You are going to pay more than a typical gym but you are going to receive so much more back in return.  What would you pay to get the body you want?

    Jessica and Chris are frequently offering group fitness classes for FREE for non-members who want to experience what Page Fitness has to offer, with no strings attached!  What a great way to check out the quality of the services before you commit!  They do have a Bridal Boot Camp for any brides who want to look their best on the day of their wedding!

    Bridal Boot Camp Logo

    To learn more about Page Fitness (located in Watertown, NY) click here for their website, follow them on Facebook by clicking here (this is where they will announce when they have launches for non-members to see what it’s like), or call them at (315) 786-8032. 

    Inside Out Western Omelets

    So I am on a big roll of being creative in the kitchen.  I have a deep love for food and find that when I am making new recipes with delicious ingredients, I enjoy cooking!  Pinterest has been my best friend in helping me branch out with meal plans.  It also got my creative juices flowing. 

    We eat breakfast for dinner once or twice a week.  Eggs are excellent sources of protein, cheap and yummy!  But to not get bored with this, I have to be creative in using eggs for dinner.  Believe me, I’d be happy having an omelet seven nights a week for dinner, but I don’t think the kids would agree. 

    Stuffed pepper meet Western Omelet…Inside Out Western Omelet! 

    Now remember, I am the recipe rebel and dislike measurements. 


    • 6 Green Bell Peppers
    • Deli Ham
    • Eggs
    • Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
    • Diced Onions
    • Olive Oil
    • Roasted Red Tomatoes or Sundried Tomatoes
    • Provolone Cheese
    • Salsa


    • Rinse peppers.  Cut in halves, remove seeds and stems.  Microwave 6 halves at a time for ten minutes.  As the peppers are microwaving scramble up 6-8 eggs.  In a separate pan saute fresh mushrooms and diced onions in olive oil.  Take glass casserole dish and pour just enough salsa in bottom of dish to cover the bottom.  Place microwaved peppers in dish, open side up.  Take 1/2 a slice of deli ham (or could use leftover ham from another dinner) and place in bottom of pepper.  Use scrambled eggs for next layer, evenly distributing the eggs to each pepper.  Then stuff peppers with toppings of choice (mushrooms, tomatoes, onions) according to individual preferences.  Add a tablespoon full of salsa to each pepper.


    •   Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove pan and place 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese over each pepper.  Place pan back in oven for 5 more minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted.  Serve with fresh diced fruit. 


    Our normally picky five year old gobbled this up so fast, it dropped all of our jaws.  Family voted and this is definitely a repeat recipe! 

    Weekly Meal Plan with Grocery List Included!!

    Here is the third installment of the weekly meal plans with the grocery list included.  I know that a big complaint that most women have is trying to plan meals.  So here is seven meals, directions of how to prepre (or links to recipes) and the grocery list of what you will need to prepare these meals.  Print this off, then go to your kitchen and compare the list to what you have already in inventory.  Cross off items you already have.  When you go to the grocery store, take list and cross off items as you put them in the cart. 

    This week I have noted items on sale at Price Chopper with an asterisk*.  Also in parentheses I have noted how many meals in the weekly plan that ingredient will be used for. 

    Meal Plans

    Day One: Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Cottage Cheese, Tomatoes, Avocados: Click here for pork chop recipe and prepare as recipe directs. Top cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes, slices of avocado and fresh ground pepper.

    Day Two: Oven Roasted Sausages, Potatoes and Peppers: Click here for recipe.

    Day Three: Veggie Burgers with French Fries: Mix together one can of organic black beans, ½ cup of oats, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 egg, 1tbsp of cumin, ¼ tsp pepper and ½ cup of diced mushrooms. Process in a food process until well mixed. Press into patties. Grill one side for five minutes, then flip and grill other side for five minutes. Serve on a roll with toppings of choice.  For fries, slice peeled potatoes lenth wise. Lay on a greased cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

    Day Four: Strawberry Bacon Salad with Greek Yogurt Poppyseed Dressing: Click here for recipe.

    Day Five: Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Green Beans: Click here for recipe.

    Day Six: Stuffed Shells with Garlic Bread: Place frozen stuffed shells in a glass casserole dish, side by side. Cover with spaghetti sauce. Bake according to directions on package. Prepare garlic bread as directed.

    Day Seven: Pulled Pork SpareRibs with Coffee, Molasses Barbecue Sauce with Brown Rice and Stewed Tomatoes: Click here for pulled pork recipe. Prepare as directed. Prepare brown rice and heat stewed tomatoes. Serve tomatoes over rice.

    Grocery List

    • Pork Chops (1)*BOGO FREE
    • Chicken Broth (1)
    • Olive Oil (4)
    • Garlic Cloves (3)
    • Paprika (1)
    • Garlic Powder (1)
    • Poultry Seasoning (1)
    • Oregano (1)
    • Basil (1)
    • Cottage Cheese (1) * Price Chopper Brand $ 1.99
    • Grape Tomatoes (1) *$2.50 per pint
    • 2 Avocados (1)
    • Ribs (1) *BOGO Free
    • Coffee (1) *Eight O’Clock Coffee is Buy 1, Get 1 FREE
    • Molasses (1)
    • Dijon Mustard (1)
    • Soy Sauce (1)
    • Worcestershire Sauce (1)
    • Hot Sauce (1)
    • Ketchup (1) * Price Chopper Squeeze Ketchup
    • Brown Rice (1)
    • Stewed Tomatoes (1)
    • Chicken Sausage(1) *Bilinski’s is BOGO Free
    • Potatoes (2) * $ 4.98 for an 8lb bag
    • Onion (1)
    • Banana Peppers-jarred (1) * Mezzetta Brand is BOGO FREE!
    • Bell Peppers (1) * $ 1.69/lb
    • Rosemary (1)
    • 1 Can Organic Black Beans (1)
    • Hamburger or Ciabatta Rolls (1) *Kaiser Rolls 6 pack $ 2.00
    • Oats (1)
    • Eggs (1)
    • Cumin (1)
    • Fresh Mushrooms (1) *$ 2.50 8oz sliced
    • Bacon (1)
    • Almonds (1)
    • Strawberries (1) *Buy 1 16 oz container, get 1 FREE
    • Fresh Spinach (1)
    • Greek Yogurt (1)
    • Mayo (1)
    • White Vingear (1)
    • Sugar (1)
    • Poppyseeds (1)
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Shrimp (1)
    • Fresh Cilantro (1)
    • Lime juice (1)
    • Frozen French Style Green Beans (1)
    • Frozen Stuffed Shells (1) *Pede brand $ 2.00
    • Spaghetti Sauce (1)
    • Garlic Bread (1)

    Weekly Meal Plan with Grocery List Included!

     Day One: Pulled Pork with Baked Beans & Cole Slaw and Garlic Bread: Put thawed pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot. Empty BBQ sauce and beef broth over tenderloin and cover with lid, cook on low 8-10 hours. When finished shred tenderloin and serve with BBQ sauce and black pepper. Prepare coleslaw as liked (mayo with a dash of sugar is how I usually prepare), follow directions to cook baked beans and garlic bread.

    Day Two: Peppered Lime Chicken with Avocado Salad and a Creamy Lime Dressing: Click here for recipe.

    Day Three: Egg Sandwiches with Fresh Fruit Salad: Toast English Muffins as you fry eggs as you prefer your eggs. Heat up slices of deli ham in a separate pan. Stack egg seasoned with black pepper and ham on English muffin and top with a slice of provolone cheese (I also like mustard on my sandwich). Serve with diced fresh fruit (cantaloupe and watermelon).

    Day Four: Chicken Cobb Salad: Boil half a dozen of eggs. Coat bottom of deep pan with olive oil and cook chicken strips. Prepare fresh lettuce, slices of tomatoes, strips of provolone cheese and croutons. Top with sliced boiled eggs and chicken strips. Use dressing of choice (I like Honey Mustard with this salad). Top with black pepper.

    Day Five: Roast with Potatoes and Carrots: Place thawed roast in Crock Pot. Empty beef broth into Crock Pot. Add potatoes and onions that have been halved. Add a bag of peeled baby cut carrots. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

    Day Six: Tilapia with Strawberry Salsa: Click here for recipe. I serve over brown rice.

    Day Seven: Eggless Western Omelet’s with Cottage Cheese: Half 4-5 fresh green peppers and remove stems and seeds. Microwave peppers for ten minutes (if you prefer to not use microwave, boil for 15 minutes). Stuff peppers with shredded deli ham, diced onions and fresh mushrooms. Baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, add a slice of provolone to each pepper half and then bake another 5 minutes. Top with salsa. Top cottage cheese with a few chunks of cantaloupe and some black pepper.

    I have noted which items are on sale at Tops Supermarkets thru 4/6/2013. 

    • · Pork Tenderloin*
    • · Garland Jack’s Secret Six BBQ Sauce**
    • · Bush’s Baked Beans**
    • · 3lb Bag of Russet Potatoes**
    • · Fresh Express Cole Slaw**
    • · Tops 10 oz Garlic Bread**
    • · Sierra Mist 2 Liter**
    • · Tops Premium Ice Cream**
    • · Bush’s Baked Beans (second can) (1)
    • · BBQ Sauce (second bottle) (1)
    • · 2 Beef Broths, boxed not canned (2)
    • · Mayo (2)
    • · Boneless chicken breasts (1) $ 1.99 per lb
    • · Black pepper (all)
    • · Kosher salt (2)
    • · Onion powder (1)
    • · Garlic powder (1)
    • · Ground coriander (1)
    • · Ground cumin (2)
    • · Crushed red pepper flakes (2)
    • · Lime juice (2)
    • · 3 Large Tomatoes (2) Hot House Beefsteak Tomatoes $1.99/lb
    • · 2 Avocados (1)
    • · 2 Red Onions (2)
    • · Fresh Cilantro (2)
    • · Worcestershire Sauce (1)
    • · Paprika (1)
    • · 12-18 Eggs (2)
    • · English Muffins (1) BOGO FREE
    • · Deli Ham, 1 pound (2) $ 5.49 for Russer Canadian Maple Ham at Deli
    • · Provolone Cheese, Sliced, 1 pound (3) Tops Brand Packaged Sliced 2/ $ 5.00
    • · Cantaloupe (2) BOGO FREE
    • · Watermelon (1) BOGO FREE
    • · Sliced Chicken Strips (1) Hormel Natural Choice Chicken Strips 2 for $ 6.00
    • · Lettuce (1) Fresh Express Iceberg Garden Salad $ 0.99
    • · Dressing of Choice (1) Ken’s Light Options $ 1.00
    • · Croutons (1)
    • · Roast (Beef or Pork) (1)
    • · Carrots, bag (1) Peeled Baby Cut Carrots 1 lb $ 0.99
    • · 5-6 White Onions (2) Texas Sweet Onions $ 0.99/lb
    • · 6 Green Peppers (2) $ 0.99/lb
    • · Mushrooms (1) Fresh Sliced 6-12oz pkg 2/$ 5.00
    • · Salsa (1)
    • · Cottage Cheese (1) Tops Brand 24 oz $ 2.79
    • · Olive oil (1)
    • · Garlic, minced (1)
    • · Chili powder (1)
    • · Cayenne pepper (1)
    • · 4-6 Tilapia fillets (1)
    • · 16 oz (1 lb) fresh strawberries (1)
    • · Jalapenos (1)
    • · Brown Rice (1) Success Brown Rice Boil in Bag 2/ $ 4.00

    When you buy this (*) you get these items free (**) at Tops thru 4/6/2013.

    Weekly Meal Plan with BONUS! Grocery List INCLUDED!!

    I have the most amazing friends.  Seriously.  So when two of them (who just happen to be sisters) voiced interest in weekly meal plans with grocery lists included I was happy to provide!  Since I know meal planning/ grocery list making is one of the most difficult aspects of  Mom’s duties, I thought I’d be a peach and share these plans & lists with you all!  Enjoy!

    Meal Plan # 1

    Day One: Orange Shrimp with Asparagus & Brown Rice: Pour enough olive oil into deep frying pan to coat bottom, place fresh asparagus in pan and keep covered over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Start to prepare brown rice in separate pan. When asparagus is soft, remove from pan and place in a bowl. Add shrimp to the pan and sauté until thoroughly cooked. Once cooked, add asparagus back into pan, coat with orange stir fry sauce and cook over low heat until sauce is thoroughly heated. Serve over the brown rice, top with sesame seed. (Shrimp can be replaced with chicken if preferred)

    Day Two: Pesto Pasta & Veggies: Slice up zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, onion, and cherry tomatoes. Take deep frying pan and coat bottom with olive oil. Add veggies, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Start separate pan for the whole wheat spaghetti. Once pasta is done, toss with pesto. When veggies are just about done, add in two teaspoons of minced garlic and stir into veggies. Top pasta with veggies mix, sprinkle with grated cheese. (Chicken or shrimp can be added to this meal for extra protein)

    Day Three: Crustless Quiche: Dice up Red and Green Pepper, Mushrooms, Onions. Crack a dozen eggs into large mixing bowl with a splash of milk. Add in veggies and handful or two of spinach. Mix well. Add in cubes or shredded cheese. Mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees until cooked thru in the center of the quiche (insert knife and comes out clean). May take 35-40 minutes. (Can add ham, bacon, sausage if desired to mix)

    Day Four: African Peanut Soup: Click here for recipe.


    Day Five: Taco Salad: Grill or fry chicken tenderloins. Chop up lettuce, green pepper, cherry tomatoes. Drain & rinse black beans. Combine all ingredients, top with cheese, sour cream & salsa. (Could also use steak, turkey burger with this recipe)

    Day Six: Spinach & Bleu Cheese Meatloaf Muffins: Click here for recipe. Serve with baked sweet potatoes (poke with fork, wrap in aluminum foil & bake in oven until can easily pierce with fork- usually about one hour).


    Day Seven: Pumpkin & Ricotta Stuffed Shells: Click here for recipe.

    Pumpkin & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

    Now let me explain the grocery list.  First of all, take list and compare to what you already have in inventory.  If you already have sage and black pepper, cross them out.  Second of all the number after the ingredient in parentheses is the number of meals you will use this ingredient for in the week.  So don’t use the entire bag of the item on just one thing.  Also in the meals up above if I suggest another item that could be added to the meal, it will not be on the list below so be sure to add it.  Add whatever else you need to last the week and then cross off as you place items in cart.  Don’t buy anything not on the list to stick to budget. 

    · #1 Grocery List:

    • · Shrimp (Can use chicken tenderloin in place if prefer, 1)
    • · Brown Rice (I like Success Instant Brown Rice, 2)
    • · Asparagus (1)
    • · Orange Stir Fry Sauce (1)
    • · Sesame Seed (1)
    • · Green Pepper (Get 3, 3)
    • · Red Pepper (Get 4, 3)
    • · Onions (Get a bag, 4)
    • · Cherry Tomatoes (2)
    • · Zucchini (1)
    • · Pesto (1)
    • · Whole Wheat Spaghetti (1)
    • · Olive Oil (3)
    • · Eggs (I suggest an 18 pack or 2 dozen, 3)
    • · Cheese (any kind you prefer- shredded or sliced with be fine, 2)
    • · Milk (Can be omitted if you prefer to not use it, 1)
    • · Mushrooms (1)
    • · Spinach (Fresh, 2)
    • · Salsa (2)
    • · Green Onions (get a bunch, 2-3)
    • · Minced Garlic (Get a jar, 2)
    • · 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, with liquid (1)
    • · Vegetable broth (1)
    • · Black pepper (3)
    • · Chili powder (1)
    • · Peanut butter (1)
    • · Sour cream (2)
    • · Chicken Tenderloins (1, unless you substitute for shrimp)
    • · Lettuce (1)
    • · Black Beans (1)
    • · 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (about 40 shells) (1)
    • · 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey (1)
    • · Crumbled blue cheese (1)
    • · Italian bread crumbs (1)
    • · Worcestershire sauce (1)
    • · 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin (1)
    • · 16 ounces ricotta cheese (1)
    • · Grated Romano Cheese (2)
    • · Sage (1)
    • · Sea Salt (1)
    • · 1 25.25 ounce jar tomato basil pasta sauce (1)
    • · Sweet Potatoes (1)

    Family Fun Weekend Events: 3/22/13–3/24/13

    I was hoping for Spring to be in the air this weekend but don’t let the Winter weather stop you from attending the The Great Outdoor Family Expo at the YMCA Fairgrounds Fitness Center in Watertown, NY 3/22/13-3/24/13.  The three-day Great Outdoor Family Expo includes exciting exhibits and fun activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Activity highlights include the opportunity to SCUBA dive in the National Aquatic Service’s 11,000 gallon pool. You can also have your trophy buck scored by the Northeast Big Buck Exhibit, attend seminars on Turkey and Game Calls, try Laser Duck Hunting and Learn all about raising Alpaca. Your children will enjoy the wildlife show from the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park, including their New York’s Wild Wonders and Birds of Prey programs. Also, new this year will be an interactive display from the U.S. Army. $ 4.00 General Admission or $ 3.00 with Military ID.  Click here for more details or event hours. 

    This is the second and final weekend for the NYS Maple Weekend Open House!  For more details or for participating locations for this FREE event click here

    Maple Weekend

    South Jefferson High School Music Department will be performing the musical Annie on 3/22/13 and 3/23/13 at 7pm at the Clarke High School Auditorium in Adams, NY.  Admission is $ 6.00, children under 5 admission is FREE!  Click here for more details!

    Fun at Home Idea: Have your children help make their own play dough (click here) or their own finger paints (click here) and then let their creativity flow! 


    Weekly Meal Plans

    I don’t do special meal planning (gluten free, low sodium, etc).  I just try to come up with meals that A) Use very little to no tin canned foods.  B) Give my family a filling and nutrient filled variety of foods. C) Keep my grocery budget as low as possible.  I strongly dislike recipes that call for a bajillion ingredients or take a long time to prepare as I have a lot on my plate like 99.9% of you do!  So here is my recipe plan for this week:

    • Tortellini with Meat Sauce:  Fry burger (turkey for healthier choice) or sausage. In a pot, boil water.  Add in two bags of tortellini and stir occasionally.  When tortellini is all floating, it should be done.  Drain and then return to pot.  Add meat and two jars of spaghetti sauce.  Cook over low heat until sauce is thoroughly heated.  Top with grated parmesan cheese. 
    • Shrimp with Wild Rice:  Prepare shrimp for baking (thaw, shell and/or detail).  Melt butter in a bowl, add minced garlic, freshly ground pepper and a few squirts of lemon juice.  Toss shrimp in bowl until well coated and then place on greased cookie sheet.   Place in pre-heated oven at 435 degrees.  Depending on thickness of shrimp it could take 8-15 minutes to cook thru.  I do cheat and make boxed wild rice but if you want to make wild rice from scratch click here for recipe.  Serve with either stewed tomatoes or string green beans.
    • BBQ Chicken:  Place thawed chicken in Crock Pot, cover with BBQ sauce.  Set on low, cook for 8 hours.  Serve with mashed potatoes and corn.
    • Cabbage Rolls:  With cabbage on sale thanks to St. Patty’s Day I knew it was the perfect chance to make cabbage rolls.  The recipe I use can be found here
    • Taco Salad:  Grilled Chicken cut in strips over a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, green chilies and crushed Doritos.  Add sour cream, salsa and jalapenos if desired.
    • Ham & Pineapple in the Crock Pot:  Place thawed ham in Crock Pot.  Slice up fresh pineapple and cover ham with the slices.  Pour in enough pineapple juice to cover the bottom of the Crock Pot.  (Either buy pineapple juice or juice fresh pineapple.  If you do use canned pineapple just pour in juice & pineapple).  Set on low.  Cook for 8 hours.  Serve with baked sweet potatoes.  Save leftover ham for next day’s dinner!
    • Omelets: Oh yeah, I love breakfast for dinner. We use eggs, ham, cheese and whatever fresh veggies we have on hand to make up yummy omelets. Serve with toast or a side of fresh fruit.

    R.E.A.L (read, Eat and Love) A listing of FREE Kindle eBooks

    **Please keep in mind that any items on Kindle are subject to change at any time. Please be sure the button says FREE before hitting buy now.**

    Children’s Book: Bunnies – A Rhyming Children’s Picture Book by Julie Richmond

    Bunnies - A Rhyming Children's Picture Book ( Fun Ebooks For Kids ) (Fun Picture Books For Children)

    Cookbook/Recipe: Amazing Cakes by Instructables Authors

    Amazing Cakes

    Non-fiction/Lifestyle: Mom’s Know Best: A Book of Reliable Remedies by Michelle McCrary

    Mom Knows Best: A Book of Reliable Remedies

    Romance Book: Tropical Spice by Sandy Loyd

    Tropical Spice (Second Chances Series)

    Fiction: Valley of Thracians by Ellis Shuman

    Valley of Thracians