Meal Plan: October 25th – October 31st

  • Friday: Roasted Cod with Lemon-Parsley Crumbs and Steamed Green Beans – We really liked this technique that gave the “feel” of fish fry without the mess or fat. Would work well on almost any cut of fish.


Saturday: Zuppa Toscana with Gnocchi and Fresh Bread – I actually didn’t use the cream in this, and substituted with milk instead. I also added some gnocchi at the end, and Jim said it really made the soup work for him.


  • Sunday: Lighter Chicken & Dumplings with Biscuits – This needs to be a regular during the cool months of fall and winter in Wisconsin.



  • Tuesday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARTER! – Chicken Tenders and French Fries


  • Wednesday: Leftovers!
  • Thursday: Meatloaf Muffins with Mashed Potatoes, Greenbeans, and Corn – This is a great recipe that freezes well, and also lends itself to a lot of adaption depending on your tastes. I gave these an Italian flair by adding sausage, Italian seasoning, and some red peppers and celery in with the onion and carrot sauté.

Other Cooking & Baking: French Toast, Mint Oreo Cupcakes




Meal Plan: October 18th – October 24th

  • Friday: Annual Jack-O-Lantern Jaunt with The Renno Family – This is the 3rd year we’ve gotten together with friends for dinner at Fork in the Road in Mukwonago, and then onto the local jack-o-lantern walk to check out the displays. I was a little bummed this year, as the restaurant’s menu has changed, and isn’t nearly as great as I remembered. This used to be a favorite of mine, and, while still good, I don’t know that I’ll be pining to get there more often.



  • Saturday: Roasted Chicken Breasts with Brussels Sprout Gratin, Steamed Carrots, and Mashed Potatoes. Served with Sesame bread and Mini-Apple Pies made by Chef Carter for dessert. – The star of this dinner was the gratin. We all loved it. All of us. Even Carter. Dessert was a recipe Carter made with his 4K class, but he did note that ours didn’t have “slime” like the ones at school. It took me a moment, but I figured out they must have used apple pie filling at school, rather than chopped fresh apples.




  • Sunday: Snacks or Leftovers – Carter I and I attended a birthday party in the morning and then ran some errands, and Jim went to watch the Packer game at his dads. With it just being the two of us, I set out some veggies, dip, cheese, and crackers for “dinner”.
  • Monday: Chili Glazed Salmon with Toasted Garlic Rice Pilaf and Sugar Snap Peas – I roasted the salmon, and then finished with a bit of jalapeño jelly as a glaze. Also, so glad I decided on this pilaf, as I forgot how much we like this side dish.
  •  Tuesday: Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salads – Another winner from Fresh Express’s new line of salad kits. I added corn, olives, red pepper, tomatoes, and chicken. Overall, very good, but the dressing could have benefitted from the slightest additional zip, maybe a little chili powder and/or lime juice. Doing bone-in chicken on Sunday nights is a great way to have meals on the table more quickly for the rest of the week.


  • Wednesday: TJ’s Perline Pasta with Alfredo Sauce, Chicken, and Broccoli – I like having pastas and sauces like these on hand for an easy weeknight meal. I used leftover chicken from earlier in the week to round out the meal.


  • Thursday: WS Beef Chili with Cornbread Muffins – I like having this on hand for a quick to pull together weeknight meal. I use cubed stew meat and black beans in our family’s version and serve over macaroni with shredded cheese and sour cream for topping.



Meal Plan: September 20th – September 26th

  •  Friday: Sushi Take-out
  • Saturday: Happy Birthday Super Fred! Had pizza and cupcakes to celebrate my nephew’s 3rd birthday.


  • Sunday: Packer Sunday – Snacks, Burgers, & Turtle Brownies
  • Monday: Chipotle Short Rib Enchiladas – Another achievement in the use of leftovers.


  • Tuesday: Italian Crusted Chicken Tenders, Pesto Tortellini, and Steamed Green Beans – Carter didn’t want to eat this, and then declared it his favorite dinner ever. Go figure!


  • Wednesday: Pizza and Cheese Bread delivery from Falzo Brother’s with Chopped Parmesan Ranch Salad
  • Thursday: Left-Over-Palooza!

Meal Plan: September 6th – September 12th

  • Friday: Dinner at the Smiths’
  • Saturday: Date Night Dinner at Cooper’s Hawk – This is my 4th or 5th time back here, and I have been pleasantly surprised with everything I’ve tried. We started with the Crispy Shrimp (Jumbo Shrimp Wrapped with Shredded Crispy Phyllo Dough and Served with Sweet Thai Chili and Sesame Mustard Dipping Sauces), which were good, but there are other appetizers I’ve tried here that I enjoyed more. Jim had Flatiron Steak Frites (Seared Flatiron Steak with Chimichurri, Served with Sautéed Green Beans, Sweet Grape Tomato Relish, Parmesan Fries, and Truffle Aioli), which he liked, but the Chimichurri was more like an herbed garlic butter than what was expected. I had my usual Blackened Ahi Tuna (Ahi Seared in Our Special Blackening Spice. Served Rare with Our Wasabi Sauce Over a Bed of Cilantro Citrus Rice with Asian Slaw), and enjoyed it as much as ever.
  • Sunday: Leftovers & Popcorn – The start of football season means Prosecco Sundays are back! The boys were at Jim’s dads for the game, so I finished off my dinner from the night before. When they got home, we made some popcorn to snack on while watching Breaking Bad.
  • Monday: Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki, Oven Fries, and Tabouleh – This dinner is ALWAYS a winner, and Carter even gave unsolicited feedback that, “the chicken is delicious”. The boys didn’t eat the Tabouleh, but I’ve been enjoying this version all week. I adjusted the linked recipe slightly, but using Organic Girl’s Super Greens mix and omitting the mint.


Tuesday: Broccoli Pesto Pasta and Greek Chicken Leftovers with Chopped Salads – Sad to say, neither of my boys cared for it. I think the Greek yogurt gave it a bit too much tang for our tastes.


  • Wednesday: Apple, Feta, and Walnut Salad with Craisins and Balsamic, Crispy Salmon with Steamed Green Beans and Fresh Bread – I used this method for the salmon after dressing it with a layer of coconut oil, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Super simple and delicious, and the top of the salmon had a nice crispness, while the inside was perfectly, and not over, done.


  • Thursday: Pizza Delivery from Falbo Brothers – Seriously, if you’re in the area and haven’t tried take-out or delivery from here, you’re an idiot. It’s like not liking Justin Timberlake. Just. Plain. Dumb.

Other Cooking & Baking: Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Meal Plan: August 30th – September 5th

  • Friday: Dining in the Dark – Came home to find that the power was out, and stayed out for 4+ hours. Luckily, we had veggies, dip, cheese, crackers, and leftover quesadillas to warm on the grill. Oh, and cold cocktails. This was an excellent reminder that we need to buy more flashlights.


  • Saturday: Pizza from Falbo Brothers – The pizza was delicious as usual, and we served a little antipasti and Caprese salad with burratta and heirloom tomatoes we picked up earlier that day from The Delafield Farmer’s Market.

Antipasti & Capreses Salad

  • Sunday: Kurt’s Steakhouse – Honestly, we don’t need a reason to love this place more than we already do, but, remembering Carter and complimenting his good manners is yet another in the long list of reasons we’ll be back.
  • Monday: Carter’s Choice: Hamburgers and Macaroni & Cheese – On the eve of his first day in 4k, I let Carter choose what he wanted for dinner. It’s wins all around though, as I was in the mood for a burger, and Jim always likes seeing macaroni and cheese on the table.
  • Tuesday: Anti-Pasti Stuffed Chicken, Steamed Peas, and Fresh Bread
  • Wednesday: Roasted Drumsticks and Thighs with Chinese Barbecue Sauce, Sesame Roasted Broccoli, and Steamed Rice – I rubbed the chicken with Penzey’s Bangkok Blend prior to roasting. The boys loved how these turned out, so I may have to convert some more wing recipes from this Food Network Magazine pull-out.

Chinese Barbecue Chicken

  • Thursday: Left-overs – I made myself a great Asian Chopped Salad from last night’s chicken

Asian Chopped Salad

Meal Plan: August 16th – August 22nd

  • Friday: Out for Patti’s Birthday Dinner at Butch’s Steakhouse – I hate to say this, but dinner here was mediocre at best, and I don’t see us going back any time soon. However, I do need to note that the service was nothing short of outstanding, and we really enjoyed our waitress.
  • Saturday: Take-Out Pizza from O’Reilly’s Irish Pub in Stone Bank – We’ve been consistently pleased with this little pub less than 10 minutes from our house, and have enjoyed their fish fry, Broasted chicken, and, of course, pizzas along with their extensive beer selection.
  • Sunday: Mexican Roasted Cod with Tomatoes & Onions – I didn’t love this with fish, as it got a bit overcooked before the vegetables got done. That being said, the flavor was nice, and I would be interested to try the same technique with chicken, or more specifically, chicken thighs.

Mexican Roast Fish

  • Monday: Leftover Chinese Take-Out from Emperor’s Kitchen
  • Tuesday: Bacon & Cheddar Stuffed Chicken, Crash Hot Potatoes, and Steamed Farmers’ Market Carrots – After the success of the spinach and feta stuffed chicken, I wanted to try another variation, and figured nothing could be bad when stuffed with bacon and cheese, … I was right. The potatoes, a family favorite, and lightly steamed and seasoned carrots, from the Lake Country Farmers’ Market, were perfect sides.

Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Chicken

  • Wednesday: Turkey Burgers – A little healthier than beef, but still delicious, as I mixed browned bacon into the meat and topped with spicy cheese. I served these alongside veggies and dip, sweet potato fries, and baked breaded mushrooms.

Turkey Burgers

  • Thursday: “Courtesy of Costco” Dinner: Bistro Salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes, and Fresh Multi-Grain Bread – Carter and I did an early evening Costco run, and I knew we’d be hungry by the time we got home. So, the solution was simple, let the store do the work for us. Simple, quick, and delicious. I mean, it was basically take-out.

Meal Plan: August 9th – August 15th

  • Friday: Neighbor’s Dinner: Veggies & Ranch, Spicy Crab & Corn Dip, Buttermilk Chicken Kebabs, Molten Dulce de Leche Cakes – The chicken had great fresh herb flavor, and thighs on the grill continue to be a family favorite. The cakes had good flavor, but I think they got overcooked. Will have to try them again sometime when I’m paying more attention to them. 🙂
  • Saturday: Fair Food @ Oconomowoc Days

Oconomowoc Days

  • Sunday: Beef Short Ribs in Chipotle & Green Chile Sauce, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes – I love short ribs! In fact, I get a little sad when I eat them, as I think about the 30+ years of my life I spent not eating them. If you like rich beef flavor with a little kick, you’ll love these too. The cheesy potatoes were a great side, as they cooled any heat that was a bit much within the meat and sauce. Great Sunday supper.

Chipotle Short Ribs

  • Monday: Shredded Chicken Panini, Veggies & Dip, Saz’s Sour Cream & Chive Fries, and Baked Breaded Mushrooms
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs with Caesar Chopped Salads and Fresh Bread
  • Wednesday: Chinese take out from Emperor’s Kitchen in Delafield: Egg rolls, Crab Rangoon, Kung Pao Beef with Almonds and Pan-fried Noodles, Sesame Combo with Steamed Vegetables and Rice. ‪#‎Yum

Emperor's Kitchen

  • Thursday: Italian Cheese & Veggie plate featuring Burratta and an Italian Vinaigrette

Other Cooking & Baking:

  • Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts – These were fantastic. I wouldn’t change a thing. Seriously. Carter ate every bit on his plate. Every bit. When I was fully prepared to hear, “there’s salad in my chicken” in reference to the spinach. Nope. He had every bit.

Feta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

  • Scratch Made Sloppy Joes – I riffed off of the linked recipe, and now I need to write it down, ’cause it was perfect. It was Carter ate seconds and leftovers perfect.
  • Fresh Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping – I used Fine Cooking’s Blueberry Muffin-Cake recipe, but converted to muffing, cutting the baking time down to 20 to 30 minutes, checking doneness at 20. Before baking, I added a streusel topping by blending the following:
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup Oats

Blueberry  Muffins