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Menu Plan Monday
Ok . .. so last week I did OK .. not great but I want to share a couple of recipes with you that turned out fantastic!

The Crockpot Philly Cheesesteaks were super good, of course I didn’t follow the original recipe . .. but I never seem to be able to follow a recipe!
Here is what I did:
3lb London Broil cut into large chunks
1 large sliced onion
2 bell peppers sliced
3 tbl Worcestershire
3 tbl Steak Sauce
1/3 cup red wine
Grill Seasoning
6 Whole Grain Sub Sandwich Rolls
Lowfat Shredded Italian Cheese

Put meat in slow cooker, toss with grill seasoning, Worcestershire, steak sauce, and wine. Top with onions and peppers and cook on low 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove meat from cooker and chop or shred, and put back in cooker and toss with cooking liquid. Cook on low for 30 minutes. While meat is rewarming and getting all juicy, open your whole wheat rolls, remove extra bread. Spray with butter spray (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter) and smear with either minced jarred or frozen garlic (garlic powder would work too!). Toast in oven under broiler. Top with meat, peppers and cheese, broil until all melty. Top with marinated peppers or condiments of your choice. Yummy!

Citrus Jalapeno Marinade
I used this marinade for chicken breasts for soft tacos which I didn’t actually cook until tonight! But they were spectacular! While the chicken rested I grilled some corn tortillas (La Tortilla Factory Chipotle flavored) and we topped with veggies, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo from the San Ramon Farmer’s Market. You could definitely freeze your chicken in this marinade, I did the inverse. I had frozen chicken breast and put them in the marinade to thaw in my fridge overnight . . . either way this is the best trick I know!

Juice and zest of 2 large oranges
2 jalapenos seeds and membranes removed
7 cloves of garlic (don’t be afraid!!)
1 tbl peppercorns
1tbl salt
1 tbl honey
1 tbl cumin
large handful of cilantro

Add all of it to your food processor or blender and blend until everything is pureed together. Marinade overnight! I had fears this would be too spicy, but it was perfect!

Dessert for this week
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to bake and have dessert! This recipe comes out of the latest Weight Watchers grocery store cookbook (5 Ingredients in 15 Minutes) and is great on a summer evening (especially after you have eaten lots of hot salsa!)

Lemon Berry Tarts
2 cups Cool Whip lite or free
1/4 cup Lemon Curd
Mini store bought graham cracker crusts
Berries of your choice

Melt the curd in the microwave for 15 seconds. Lighten with 1/2 cup of cool whip. Then fold in remaining cool whip and fill each of the 6 mini crusts. Chill for 30 – 60 minutes and top with berries.
4 WW points

Here is my modified menu for this week:

Week 2 – July 6 – July 12

Monday – Chicken Tacos
Tuesday – Pizza Lasagna Rolls, Salad
Wednesday – Chicken Fried Rice (double for freezer meal), Szchewan Green Beans
Thursday – Sloppy Joes (double for freezer meal), Chipotle Baked Beans and Corn
Friday – Leftovers
Saturday – Chicken Ravioli (got these fresh ravioli at Nob Hill last week after coupons $.69 per package!), Salad
Sunday – Meatloaf Muffins, Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Broccoli (double muffins for freezer)

Look for more recipes next week, including and experiment with biscuit breakfast pizzas!

For more menu ideas visit: orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday
With couponing, work and trying to cook healthy and track what I am eating on a regular basis, I just don’t have enough time lately. And what has been suffering with a busy time at work is cooking and tracking what I eat. I definitely did better this week, but I still didn’t get everything done. So I sat down Saturday afternoon and made a menu plan for the whole month. I think this will simplify my shopping, allow me to do a few freezer meals by doubling up a couple of recipes and hopefully keep me on track! You will notice there are plenty of simple nights of tacos, burgers and pizza .. . this will keep me sane and tacos and pizza can use up leftover meats! I will also do my best to share the recipes with you along the way. Each week I will post side dishes, etc and I am sure I will do some adjusting. But I already have picked up some extra meat that was on sale and it feels great to have a plan for it!

Here it is:
Week 1 – June 29 – July 4th
Monday – Marinated Grilled Chicken Tacos
Tuesday – Pizza Lasagna Rolls (double for freezer meal), Salad
Wednesday – Chicken Cobb Salad (leftover from Grilled Chicken Tacos)
Thursday – Pizza
Friday – Crockpot Philly Cheese Steaks, Garlic Sweet Potato Baked Fries
July 4th – Guacamole Burgers, Chipotle Baked Beans and Grilled Corn
Sunday – Meatloaf Muffins, Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Broccoli (double muffins for freezer)

Week 2 – July 6 – July 12

Monday – Pork Chops
Tuesday – Tacos
Wednesday – Chicken Fried Rice (double for freezer meal)
Thursday – Pizza
Friday – Sloppy Joes (double for freezer meal)

Week 3 – July 13 – 19
Monday – Grilled Beef Kabobs (picked up sale london broil this week and I have meals worth sealed in a marinade in my freezer already!)
Tuesday – Oven Fried Chicken
Wednesday – Pizza Lasagna Rolls
Thursday – BBQ Meatballs
Friday – Sunday – Off to Santa Cruz/Monterey!!

Week 4 – July 20 – July 26
Monday – Lettuce Wraps
Tuesday – Tacos
Wednesday – Pork Chops
Thursday – Pizza
Friday – Chicken Fried Rice
Saturday – Out
Sunday – Steak and Artichokes

Week 5 – July 27 – July 31
Monday – Crockpot BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Tuesday – Quesadillas (probably using leftover pork)
Wednesday – Bacon & Sundried Tomato Penne
Thursday – Burgers
Friday – Out

Phew! There it is 5 weeks of meals . . . I now don’t have to think about what’s for dinner until August! This makes me soooo happy! :0) The other great thing is I have 95% of the meat in my freezer and most of the other items in my pantry, so other than deals that pop up and weekly fresh food items, I really don’t need to buy much. I can’t tell you what a relief this is!!

Have a great week!

For menu ideas visit: orgjunkie.com

Well our virus, which we have named Fred, is finally making its retreat. I still have a little cough, but I am over the worst of it and finally have my energy back. I have a few days off, which is also helpful for putting my house back together and getting caught up on life. I have definitely been off track weight loss wise and I am anxious to get back on track. It is way to easy to back slide and harder to keep going. So I am plunging my way back into tracking and menu planning to get me back in the game!

This is also a clean out the freezer week. I have some meat and other things that need to get eaten, plus I would like to have some room in my freezer again!

Monday: Tacos, zucchini and corn
Tuesday: Dinner out (maybe) – We are suppossed to go to Waterworld and celebrate a friends birthday
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, garlic noodles, roasted vegetable salad
Thursday: BBQ Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries, Grilled Corn on the Cob
Friday: Pesto Burgers, Caprese salad

For more menu ideas: orgjunkie.com

So after being sick early in the week last week and my boy out most of last week . . . Saturday I decided to develop the bronchial part of the virus! I managed to tough it out and thought I would be ok to go to Wicked on Sunday. I woke up on Sunday feeling worse . . . but was not about to miss it after waiting 4 months and wasting my very expensive, very wonderful birthday with my sis! So I drugged up and went. I ended up ok, except about half way through our fabulous brunch I started sweating and sweating. The sweat just kept pouring out of me. I didn’t feel feverish or anything, just sweaty! We walked around until the show started, it was an absolutely beautiful day in SF and the breeze felt good.

The sweat continued to pour off of me until about the time we got seated in the theater. Then it seemed to stop and by intermission I was feeling much better and dryer. It was the weirdest thing!!! The show was absolutely fabulous and worth the wait, the cost and sitting through it while sick! My cough got much worse last night, so I am home today with no voice trying to recover. I don’t think I will get around to a menu post today . .. my freezer is stocked with the Smart Ones that were on sale at Target this week and I have a pretty full pantry . .. so I am just going to wing it!

I hope you are having a successful week, menu and are in good health!

I had a fairly good week in terms of Weight Watchers losses and I am back on a downward trend! Next week barring a major issue I should earn my official 25lb sticker (I am only.4lbs away) which is exactly where I was a few weeks ago when I got off track. I feel good getting back on track. I am also busy writing posts from last weeks cooking, there were some very good things. Look for those to go online throughout the week.

BBQChickenSandwich
One of the amazing things I cooked this week was 4 chicken breasts that I had previously frozen in a marinade a few weeks ago. I have made no less than 4 meals out of those stinking chicken breasts, and that is a very important point when it comes to cooking healthfully and frugally. You can lose weight and not break the bank and eat delicious food! It is not super easy, you have to use coupons, watch sales and plan for those essential healthy items like higher priced bread, tortillas, etc.

However, a good example is what I bought this week. If you got Sunday’s paper you got coupons for Nature’s Pride bread (a good choice) for $1.98 with Safeway coupon. Also, I pay close attention to sale produce. I tend to spend about $20 per week in produce . . . I eat my 5 – 6 servings of fruits and veggies! This week you can get 2 cantaloupe for $4, giant artichokes for $1, BOGO raspberries and blueberries, and zucchini for $1 per pound. All of these items are in my fridge waiting to be used in my menu. By shopping this way I save the most money and eat what is in season and freshest. And that chicken I used to make 4 meals this week, I got for $.99/lb . . . that’s $.50 per meal for 2 people!

I am also very proud of my shopping this week! I started keeping a price book, a concept that I have seen on a lot of frugal blogs. I just needed to write out a list of the items I thought were thrifty deals and have a space to match in my coupons and track the rewards. This also helped me budget out what I am spending. This worked really well for me this week. I also pulled all my coupons prior to shopping and stuck in the price book before each stop. This saved me a lot of time, instead of spending over an hour in Walgreens, CVS/Longs, Nob Hill and Safeway. I did the first 3 within 2 hours (including driving) and Safeway in about 30 minutes! And I only spent $70 out of pocket at all 4 stores!

This coming week there are a lot of deals and CVS/Longs is finally using the extra care bucks, so I am going to want to start collecting those. But I already have my price book going for the week and am matching my coupons. Next week, if I have time I will even take a photo of what I get to share with you all. I mean it is amazing how much more I am able to get. Just to give you an idea I got a large pack of paper towels, large pack of TP, 5 boxes of cereal, canned goods, mustard, boxed mac and cheese, toothpaste, tooth brushes, plus all my weekly groceries and produce for that $70!

And now . .. after all my blathering on about sales, my menu!

Menu for 5/31 – 6/6

Sunday: The best chicken sandwich ever (pictured above: toasted bread, fat-free ranch, chicken mixed with bbq sauce, tomato, mixed greens, 1 piece crispy bacon), and to finish up my chicken . . . BBQ Chicken Tortizza and a salad (look for my Tortizza post on Monday!)

Monday: 6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins, OAMC Taco Shells (last of my once a month cooking in April), Mexican Zucchini, Guacamole

Tuesday: Pork Medallions, Rice, Roasted Vegetable Salad

Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken Legs, Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli

Thursday: Homemade Whole Wheat Hot Pockets (using TJ whole wheat pizza dough), Salad

Friday: Dinner Out or Leftovers

Saturday: Out with my friend (belated birthday celebration!)
Sunday: Wicked in SF with my Sis!!!! (another birthday celebration . . . I am having the longest birthday ever!!!)

For more menus visit: Orgjunkie.com

This week started off good, but ended not so good. The good news is I tracked everything, but I had way too much snacking, junk stuff. This week I am going to focus on eating whole foods, fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Staying within my daily points and using my weekly points very sparingly. After making a big cake this weekend I am kind of sweet food out anyways. I am determined to break that 25lb mark . . . it has become a barrier and I need to charge at it and knock it down and never look back. I am using mostly weight watchers/hungry girl recipes as that will definitely give me a solid plan for staying within my daily points!

Also, with Memorial Day coming up (and my birthday) I am totally in the mood for summer food. It was really hot this weekend so I made grilled chicken and greek orzo salad and grilled corn on Sunday night with a big dish of watermelon. It was like summer on a plate! So I have lots of casual summer food this week on my menu. Plus I just got Hungry Girls new cookbook “200 under 200” and there was a buffalo chicken recipe in there that sound right up my buffalo lovin’ boys alley!

Our big local festival is this weekend so I will be very busy on Sunday with its kick off and then on Monday I plan on getting up and going to see the hot air balloon launch! And then enjoying the rest of the day! I don’t have any major plans, but I am going to try and keep the festivities in check so I don’t blow my hard work this week and then next week will really watch it to make up for some birthday splurges. There are a couple of new WW desserts from the new cookbook (only available at the meetings) that I might try instead of just getting a crazy dessert at a restaurant! But we shall see . . . I will let you know how it goes!

Monday: Cajun Chicken Stroganoff (didn’t get to it last week), whole wheat egg noodles, salad
Tuesday: Turkey Burgers, Onion and Zucchini Rings
Wednesday: Hungry Girl Boneless Buffalo Chicken, Butternut Squash Fries, Veggies and dip
Thursday: Jambalaya, rice, broccoli
Friday: Pizza!
Saturday:Turkey Dogs, Baked Beans, Light Potato Salad, Tomato Cucumber Salad
Sunday: Art and Wind Festival!
Monday: My Birthday!

Snacks This week: Watermelon (mmm!), WW Haystack Cookies (1/4 cup choc. chips, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 cup fiber one), and because the boy requested chocolate chip cookies . . . I thought I would give this recipe a try!

For more great menu ideas visit orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday

As promised, I thought I would share some of the things I do with those money saving large size meat packages that go on sale and are just too good of a deal to pass up! I know in my area Safeway has a sale on boneless, skinless chicken breasts every 4-6 weeks, usually down to $1.99/pound and a couple times a year they go down to $.99/pound! I always scoop up a couple of these packages. And I used to just break them up into meal sized bags and add them to the piles of mystery items in my freezer. Now, I do lots of different things with them so that a) they don’t just sit there waiting for inspiration on what do with them and b) make my life easier by having meals ready to go!

Here are some things I did with my recent chicken and ground turkey purchase:

1. Freeze it in a marinade
This is probably my favorite thing to do with any meat purchase. If you like grilled marinaded meat you can make (or buy) your favorite and freeze it in that marinade. The reason is that as the chicken (or beef or pork) defrosts in your refrigerator it will marinade. Otherwise you have to defrost the chicken and then marinade it . . . this saves you a step! Here is one of my favorites:

Garlic, Lemon and Herb Marinade
9 -12 Chicken Breasts
6 Garlic Cloves minced
Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
1/3 cup of chopped Fresh Herbs (I used a combo of parsley, rosemary and thyme)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
Salt and Pepper

2. Grill, poach or roast
If you make casseroles, pizza or salads that use a lot of pre-cooked chicken, you can cook and freeze it and then defrost what you need. You have probably bought the expensive pre-cooked chicken strips at the grocery store or costco. They are very convenient, but very expensive when it takes a little bit of time to cook and freeze yourself. This works well with whole chickens, I will even stick this in the crock pot which is very little effort for a lot of chicken meat for casseroles, etc!

3. Turn ground meat into meatballs, meatloaf and burgers
If you have a favorite burger, meatloaf or meatball recipe you can freeze these either cooked or uncooked. My meatballs I tend to cook, that way I can throw them into sauce or soup for an instant meal. My burgers and meatloaf I tend to freeze raw. For my taste they are much better cooked fresh, and the burgers thaw out in minutes for a great last minute meal!

I hope you like some of my suggestions, and I know I would love to hear about yours! What do you do with your bargain meat?

Menu for 5/11 – 5/16
Monday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Grilled Shrimp, Salad
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (leftover bbq chicken, whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joes and veggies!)
Wednesday: Pesto Burgers and oven fries (recipe to come!)
Thursday: Cajun Chicken Stroganoff, whole wheat egg noodles, zucchini
Friday: Taco Shells, salad
Saturday: My nieces birthday party, making a surfboard cake . . . probably order pizza :0)

For more menu ideas visit: orgjunkie.com

Sorry for the no post last week! It was a busy weekend at work, and I just didn’t feel like making a menu! I ended up improvising all week, which worked out fine (thank god for freezer meals!) and I stayed on plan all week! I was down 2.6 this and 2.4 last week! I seem to be losing really consistently (yeah!). Today I earned my first activity point! When you do above average exercise, you earn activity points (Sex in the City fans insert obvious jokes here!). I have been using the treadmill, but honestly haven’t been working very hard. I did my first Firm video, I have done these before and they really do work! But like all diet exercise programs, you have to do them :-)!

In blog news, I am working on a redesign! I am a web designer and my blog is incredibly boring. So I am working on customizing it to make it more my style. I am working on a couple of blogs for work right now, so this will be good practice figuring out the custom css work arounds. (ending techie speak now!)


Menu 2/22 – 2/27

Sunday
Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins, Frittatta
Dinner: Quick Whole Wheat Bread, Spicy Lentil Chili

Monday
Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday
Stir Fry and Rice

Wednesday
Pork Chops, Fingerling Potatoes, Salad

Thursday
Burger night!

Friday
Dinner Out!

For more menus visit: OrgJunkie.com

img_0452
OH! I made some super yummy pumpkin muffins this morning! Soo good! I am starting to really get a feel for how to make baking modifications to recipes to make them work for my point allotments. I am constantly amazed how many recipes from sites like Cooking Light that are supposed to be light that are still 7 – 8 points (300 calories+). These are 3 points, nice amount of spice with a tender crumb. It was such a rainy day today, it was nice to stay in and enjoy these!


Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cup AP Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tbl Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbl Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Pumpkin
3/4 Fat Free Greek Yogurt (FF Sour Cream would sub)
1/3 cup Fat Free Milk
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1 tbl Turbinado Sugar
1 tsp Brown Sugar

Whisk together dry ingredients and spices, make a well in the center. Combine wet ingredients (through eggs) with a whisk. Pour wet into dry mix until just combined (don’t over mix!). Spoon into 18 sprayed muffin cups. Combine turbinado sugar and brown sugar, sprinkle on top. Bake at 375 for 20 – 25 minutes. Approx 3 points.

Menu Plan Monday

So the last two weeks have been fairly chaotic. Between major work deadlines, a broken toilet and the capper was a nasty cold over the weekend!

The good news is I am beginning to understand how this whole weight watchers lifestyle should work. I am starting to figure out how to put a plate, meal and hopefully a whole day together to make a satisfying plan that covers my bases nutritionally. The big thing is incorporating more vegetables, making them at least half of my lunch and dinner. I made a big batch of the famous zero point soup and have been using that for snacks as well as adding it to a meal as need be. I know this seems pretty basic and simple, but I don’t think I really understood it until last week.

Also, I am having trouble with Friday nights! I weigh-in on Saturday mornings and I also almost always go out and having a couple of cocktails Friday night. I think this is definitely weighing me down. I was up a couple of pounds between Friday morning and Saturday morning. And even though I am counting the points, I think it is doing me harm on Saturday morning. I think I am going to skip my Friday cocktail and see if makes a big difference this week!

Menu 2/6 – 2/13

Monday: Macaroni & Four Cheese, salad
Tuesday: Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce, Mashers, Garlic Broccoli (inspired by Roni’s)
Wednesday: Southwestern Turkey Burgers, Oven Onion and Zucchini Rings, Veggies and FF Dip
Thursday: Spaghetti, Meatballs, Asparagus (a freezer meal . . . yeah!)
Friday: ??? probably dinner out (hold me, I’m scared!)
Saturday Breakfast: Stuffed Strawberry French Toast

I made the Macaroni & Four Cheese tonight. I was a little unsure about this recipe with the squash in it. I only used one package of the frozen squash and it worked out fine. I also upped the cayenne (of course!) and added some dried thyme and basil to the crumb topping. It was excellent. I definitely tasted the squash, which made it less cheesy but still really good. I also used lowfat cheese which I think next time I would add a little real sharp cheddar to up the cheese taste. But it was great comfort food, which after being sick this weekend really tasted good. And my non-mac and cheese eating boy really liked it!!!

mpm8-1
Last week was not a good week! I started out with a great plan, but the week did not go according to plan. I ended up with several lunch and evening work commitments, leaving most of my menu uncooked and having to make tough restaurant choices to try and stay on plan. I did OK, not fabulous. I learned a lot though! I was trying not to negative self talk, and told myself after eating out that I would just get back to it tomorrow/next meal. This is good, however when the next day came around and I still was eating out and not really following the plan as closely as I should have and still telling myself next time . . . I realized that at some point you have to change your behavior! So I give myself a thumbs up for not talking my self down, but thumbs down for not changing the behaviors. The good news is when I stepped on the scale I was down 2.4!

yogiinterrupted
I don’t think it was just my food choices that got neglected last week!

So my plan for this week is to be prepared! Make sure I am fixing my own food to stay on track, it will taste better and cut back on all the extra fat and sodium that I definitely don’t need. I am going to have another crazy busy work week (less eating out though!!). Being prepared will definitely help me be successful. You will notice I have some repeats this week, got to use up last weeks ingredients!!! LOL

Also, I am off to purchase some tennis shoes today. This may sound obvious, but it is very easy to not exercise when you don’t own a pair of appropriate shoes! 🙂 So this week I am working on incorporating some exercise and also going to try and get some more water in me, I am definitely not drinking enough!

Week #3 Menu
Sunday: Blueberry Scones, Breakfast Burrito, Jambalaya, Salad
Monday: Leftover Apple Waffles, Leftover Jambalaya, Chicken with Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Snap Peas
Tuesday: Oatmeal/Cereal and Fruit, Aromatic Noodles, Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
Wednesday: WW Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce and Canadian bacon, Leftover Taco (as a salad), Leftovers
Thursday: Leftover pancakes, Lunch Out, Meatballs and Spaghetti
Friday: Oatmeal/Cereal and Fruit, Leftover Meatballs, Pizza and salad