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:


I have been gone a long time! This time of year is insane at work and it was everything I could do to keep my head above water. As you can see I am still going on my weight loss, but with travel and craziness I have been hanging around the same weight (up then down, rinse, repeat) for about a month. I think a lot of it has to do with not tracking as diligently as I was and a big part of my tracking success is menu planning. And posting your menu online is one sure way to make sure you create and follow one.

Also, I have developed a new hobby which is helping towards some long term financial goals, couponing! I am becoming a deal queen and learning from some great women bloggers! I haven’t found a lot of fellow SF Bay Area frugal bloggers, so I thought I would share my deals when I find them!

To quick off my return to blogging I thought I would share what I made for Mother’s Day. My mom is out of town (touring Greece!), and I spent a much needed day off on Friday with my sister and nieces, so it is just me and my guy today! You can tell what life stage he is at by my requests for Mother’s Day this year. All I wanted was some help around the house, to make or order whatever food I wanted and no complaining about anything . . . he gave me a look out of the corner of his eye and said “Ok mom!” . .. sigh . . . teenagers!

But so far my day has been great. Did the majority of my errands yesterday, so I took myself out for coffee (and coupon scavenge) while he slept in and then I picked up a few things at Safeway. Which by the way I got 2lbs of strawberries today for FREE!


I downloaded and printed the 1lb free coupon from the Safeway website, then they were on sale for Buy One Get One Free! Do free strawberries taste sweeter, yes . . . yes they do!

Now for my healthy, easy carnitas!


This was inspired by a sample at Trader Joes! They mixed their ready made carnitas with green salsa and it was so tasty. But they use pork shoulder which is too fatty for WW. So I made my own version in the Crock Pot with pork tenderloin . .. oh . . . my … goodness! This the real deal!

2 lbs of Pork Tenderloin (2 tenderloins approximately)
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin (I am such a cumin freak!)
salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp of each)
slice fresh jalapeno (remove seeds and membrane if you like things mild)
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 jar Green Salsa

Layer onions in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with tenderloins and sprinkle on remaining ingredients (except salsa). Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred and toss with salsa. If you like them crispy, spray your non-stick skillet with olive oil spray and crisp them up. Then remove from heat and toss with salsa after they cool for a minute (this is to preserve the texture you worked so hard for!)

6 servings at 4 WW PTS per serving

The great thing about this is I took about half of the recipe and threw it in my freezer for another day . . . it will be great someday in the very near future for quesadillas or burritos! I can’t wait!

For other great recipes:

I will be posting my menu tomorrow and will include some suggestions for small families who buy the family packs of meat to save lots of money!

Happy Mom’s Day to everyone!

This week started off normal, but by mid-week it began to fall apart. My boy disintegrated into the stomach flu Tuesday night. I began to feel the effects on Wednesday and by Thursday night I was begging for mercy from the creature that had invaded my body! It was bad!! Over the course of two days I consumed 8 graham crackers, 12 pretzel slims and some mineral water. By Friday night I felt a little better and had some mashed potatoes. Needless to say my 6lb weight loss this week is about double my norm. Which is fine, but means I am going to have to work hard this week to simply maintain that loss. Over the last 8 weeks I have averaged just over 2lbs per week, so I am about a week and half ahead of where I would be normally.

I am still not quite 100% so my menu this week is more of an outline with some simple stuff thrown in, I am just not in the mood for anything adventurous!

Menu 3/2 – 3/6

Monday: Southwestern Turkey Burgers, sweet potato fries (didn’t get to this last week)
Tuesday: Skillet Lasagna (I will post later in the week the results, winging this one!), Salad
Wednesday: Tacos, Taco Salad or something in this neighborhood!
Thursday: Pork Chops, Smashed Potatoes, Artichokes
Friday: Pizza

For more menus visit

The funny story of last week was Friday night. After not feeling well, and definitely not feeling like cooking I took myself and the boy out to Marie Callendars. The only thing that sound good to me was mashed potatoes, and my son is always up for a burger! He ordered his usual burger that he has had a bunch there, but when he ate it he decided it didn’t taste “right”. After the week we had, I thought oh my god we got some bad meat! All I need is another 24 hours of vomit city!! So as the mom, I took a small bite of the meat, and it tasted like a normal greasy burger nothing off at all. I told him that I think maybe his tastes have changed. He is now used to a lighter turkey burger that has less fat and gets it flavor from added veggies and seasonings. He agreed, he would have rather eaten at home or had pizza! Progress my friends, progress!!!


My dinner tonight was very yummy and was major comfort food! The original recipe for the meatloaf muffins came from one of my favorite cooking magazines Cuisine at Home. However the original recipe called for ground chuck, whole milk and whole eggs. Overall not the most diet friendly. I have always made them with ground turkey, but this time I took what I learned from Roni’s Southwestern Turkey Burgers and included more veggies and used oatmeal and a little parmesan for flavor. The turkey was also extra lean/99% fat free! They were delicious, flavorful and plenty moist.

I also lightened up a twice baked potato. I love this style of spud, but because of the butter and cheese had relished them to Christmas only. But with low fat cheese and greek yogurt you get a really delicious version!

Are you a big meatloaf fan? If so, share your tasty secrets!!

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
20 oz extra lean ground turkey
4 button mushrooms finely diced
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 finely diced bell pepper
1 small finely diced zucchini
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper

1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dijon
1/3 cup brown sugar

Combine meatloaf ingredients, don’t overmix. Scoop into 12 sprayed muffin tin cups (one heaping ice cream scoop works for me). Top with sauce (don’t skip it is so good!). Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serving Size: 2 muffins for 5 WW points.

Twice Baked Potatoes
This recipe will vary based on the size of your potatoes, I purposely chose small potatoes to keep the points low. But a full potato (two halves) was more than I could finish!
4 small baking potatoes
4 oz non fat greek yogurt (ff sour cream would work)
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/3 cup chopped green onion
2/3 cup low fat shredded cheese (I used WW brand)
Salt and Pepper

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for 40 minutes wrapped in foil (you want the insides silky soft). Let cool so you can handle without burning off your skin! Split in half and scoop out insides, leaving enough to keep the skin as a sturdy vessel. Add yogurt and begin to mash with potato masher, add milk until creamy. Mix in green onions, and 1/3 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Place potato shells in baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Fill each evenly. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted, bubbly and the outside a slightly golden and crispy.

Serving size: 2 potato halves for 3 points (again this is for a small potato, the size of the potato really matters!!)

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

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

Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Potatoes, Broccoli

Stir Fry and Rice

Pork Chops, Fingerling Potatoes, Salad

Burger night!

Dinner Out!

For more menus visit:

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!!!

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!

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


I love sweet flavors in the morning! Most weekdays I am satisfied with oatmeal, cereal or whole grain english muffins and fruit. But on the weekends we love to eat big breakfast/brunch. I made the apple waffles yesterday (will post recipe tomorrow) and they were wonderful. I also have made Ellie Kriegers whole grain pancakes with strawberry sauce which are excellent. But I really love muffins, breads and scones. I have found a few recipes and decided to play around with one this morning. This is not a buttery, biscuity type scone, it is almost a muffin top. Next time I might top it with a few toasted sliced almonds to give it a little more texture, but these are really good. Swapping out much of the butter, using buttermilk instead of cream and using half whole wheat flour cut these down to only 2.5 points per scone! If you don’t have a food processor you can cut the butter in with a dough blender thing or a fork. But this recipe takes 5 minutes to put together in the food processor, so I highly recommend it!

My son really liked these, even more than the delicious breakfast burrito sitting next to it!! Quickly after finishing his plate of food, he downed two more scones making happy mouth noises the whole time. (By the way the burrito is simply 3 egg whites, 2 eggs, half a chopped red bell, half a small chopped onion, chopped mushrooms, chopped canadian bacon and topped with a pinch of ww cheese, salsa and greek yogurt). This whole plate of food is 9.5 points. So good! I had a second scone with a cup of coffee for a snack later in the day and they are perfect as a tea time snack as well!

Blueberry Scones
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup AP Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup light butter cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen, unsweetened – don’t thaw)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Add dry ingredients through lemon zest into food processor. Blend for a few seconds until the dry ingredients are combined. Add butter and pulse about 10 times until it is a fine, grainy texture.

Add the wet ingredients and pulse until barely combined. Remove to another bowl. Fold in the blueberries.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto baking sheet into 12 scones. I used an ice cream scooper that was about 3/4 full. Bake 18 minutes. Serve warm.

WW Points: 2.5


I hope the answer to that question is yes! I lost it today and I am fighting that ‘you have no will power’ negative self talk thing. I know in the long run it doesn’t matter, what matters is what I do next and working to reduce the times when I overindulge. But it is hard not to berate myself for making bad choices.

So today started off good! My boy was spending the night at a friends, so I skipped the apple waffles (decided I would get up early and make them for inauguration day instead!). Instead I kept it simple with a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.


On my way to pick up my boy and spend the day with friends I ate this banana.


After this is when it gets dicey! The plan for the day was to take the ferry into SF this afternoon and play tourist at Pier 39, take the kids to the arcade and then head home. A great plan! But first we went to lunch at one of my favorite mexican food places . . .yikes! Now I make mexican style food at home a lot, we like our spicy food! But going to a mexican restaurant is a huge challenge for me. I remember a few years ago when I tried the whole low carb thing, I actually quit the diet at a Chevy’s. If you read Atkins book, he says if you fall off the low carb wagon you will balloon up and literally have to start all over. I think he intended it to give people motivation not to cheat, but I of course took it as a doomsday scenario!

Anyways, I love chips and salsa and guacamole, a lot! And when sitting down hungry in front of a large basket of these things I tend to lose it. When I sat down I decided that instead of constantly dipping into the basket of chips, I would grab 12 at a time (or a ww portion of 3 points) and I would order one of my favorite soft tacos (as opposed to the usual 2) and eat half of my rice and beans. Then my friend ordered guacamole to share after I had already eaten my 12 chips. I proceeded to eat another 2 portions of chips, about 1/2 cup of guac and I also ate most of my rice and about half my beans. The only thing I didn’t do was a big old margarita. YIKES!


Then after walking around Pier 39 I got a cup of coffee and a biscotti, not a horrible choice but I could have done without the additional treat. But, in my defense, everyone else was getting fresh mini-donuts with cinnamon sugar . . . I know no excuse!

It took forever for us to get home on the ferry, and then we had an additional 30 minute drive home from there. So I was really hungry when I got home! So I had a mini cinnamon bagel and a ww 1 point container of cream cheese. Then I made the turkey chili my meeting leader posted on Saturday. It is chock-full of veggies. Her version was a 1 point chili per 1 cup serving (very cool!) However, I thought it needed some more beans, spices and some other ingredients. My version came out to about 3 points for a total of 16 servings. I also finally roasted the pumpkin that was sitting on my counter with a little cinnamon and salt and olive oil spray. Next time I will add some spicy stuff to it with maybe chili powder or cayenne.


Anyways, by the end of the day, I ended up about 8 points over my daily points limit. Not bad for how many treats I had, but sucks to start the week this way! I need to be less swayed by others around me, just because there was chips and guacamole does not mean I have to eat it. How bout all of you, do you struggle with friend eating? What do you do to stay satisfied while dining out with friends?

Turkey Chili (my way!)

20 oz Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, small dice
1 yellow squash, small dice
1 1/2 cups carrots, small dice
1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
4 oz tomato paste
28 oz crushed tomatoes in puree
14 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
14 oz diced tomatoes
4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Spray non-stick stock pot with olive oil spray. Saute all the veggies and garlic together for 3 – 4 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown. Add seasonings and saute 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and caramelize 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add in remaining tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer, cook 15 minutes on medium. Add in beans, simmer 30 minutes. Add in corn and simmer another 10 – 15 minutes.

Serving size: 1 cup for 3 points
Approximately 16 servings


tinkSo today was my niece’s birthday party, with Tinkerbell and a tinkerbell cake made by me! I was so busy I didn’t eat lunch before I left and assumed there would be some type of lunch food at the party. Well there was snacky stuff, but no food, food. Oops! So I snacked on hummus and pita chips and some cheese and crackers. I was busy assisting with crafts, etc. so I didn’t feel overly hungry. When it came time for me to serve cake, I cut and served it. I had a small scrap that fell off, but even though I had given myself permission to have a piece of cake, I didn’t really want one. I have had it several times, it is delicious (I am a good baker), but I didn’t need to have a piece or frankly even wanted to have a piece.?! This is new, I don’t expect it to happen often, but I simply listened to my body. I didn’t want the cake, so I didn’t eat the cake!!! I even brought home a piece for my boy, and my sis asked as I was leaving if that was all I was taking and I said, “yes” and that was that! Go Me!!

Anyways, I was hungry when I got home for a meal. So I grabbed some Southwestern turkey burgers I had premade in the freezer and cut up some shoestring sweet potatoes and baked them in the oven. Sorry for the bad picture, but I had left my camera in the car so it was done on my cell phone! I got this “idea” from Roni over at Green Lite Bites and they are really delicious. In addition to her ingredients I added onion, garlic and some chipotle in adobo. Then I wrapped them individually in freezer wrap and froze them. The take two minutes to defrost in the microwave and 10 minutes to cook on my grill pan! I topped it with ketchup, mustard, red onion, tomato, smashed avocado and fat free jack cheese! This is quite a meal for 9 points! And if you haven’t been to Roni’s site . . . go now!!! They are great!


Onto this weeks menu . . . I will post any recipes that are share worthy later in the week!
Sunday: Breakfast Burritos, Birthday party, Southwest Turkey Burgers and sweet potato fries
Monday: Apple Whole Wheat Waffles (new recipe too!), 1 point Turkey Chili, Baked Sweet potato, Salad
Tuesday: Leftover Waffles, Leftover Turkey Chili as a taco salad, Jambalaya and salad
Wednesday: Oatmeal, Leftover Jambalaya, Chinese Chicken Salad
Thursday: Corn & Green Chile Frittata, Leftover chicken salad, Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce, Yukon Gold Mashed potatoes, snap peas
Friday: Frittata, Leftover Chicken, Pork and Veggie Stir fry, rice
Saturday: Whole wheat pancakes with strawberry sauce, . . .

July 2018
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