What's Cookin'?

Hey everyone!  From what I've been reading, I think Easter weekend was a pretty good one for most of us.  Now I'm trying to decide what I want to blog about....hmmm?  Well, I thought I'd share what I've been cooking lately and how I plan menus.

This is our kitchen desk-buffet and the perfect spot for "Planning Central," with everything I need close at hand.  Now, I no longer grocery shop with coupons, and I really don't pay that much attention to grocery store ads.....unless it's some really smokin' deal.  It's just the two of us, and I did my share of "coupon-clipping" when we had kiddos at home.  My menu plans are created around what we really like to eat, how many meals I actually want to cook for the week, and a few "This sounds good, let's try it!" ideas, usually from Pinterest.

There are so many cute and colorful menu planner sheets on Pinterest, but this one caught my attention Free Printable Menu Planner Sheet.  I printed it off on white cardstock and framed it under glass so I can use a dry-erase pen.

This is my Homekeeping Planner. 
 I've shared before how much I enjoy the "Create 365 Happy Planner" and decided to make a few additional purchases from their vast selection of products to create my own Homekeeping Planner.  

Among the things I added to make it perfect for me, is this Meal Planning section.  One page is for your menu plans for the week, and I always write these in pencil....seriously, life happens and things sometimes get changed or switched around! 

The grocery shopping list is on the other page.  I generally take this entire Homekeeping Planner with me to the store.

Just to the left of "Planning Central," are my most-used cookbooks....within easy reach.

A couple of years ago, I purchased a Becky Higgins Project Life Recipe Kit & this 6X8 album (I got mine at Michael's with a coupon).  I had handwritten recipes, and tons of loose recipes and wanted to get them organized.  I was ruthless in my purging and now everything fits in this album with plenty of room for growth.

I love that there are pocket page protectors so I didn't have to rewrite our old family faves.

With the above tools, the pantry just a few steps away, and the Keurig within easy reach,  I can do my planning quite easily.

Now, maybe you would like to see what's been on the menu plan lately.....please say "yes" and make my day!

I love having a good veggie-filled, whole-meal salad, and this one was so good.  The orange poppy-seed dressing was delicious.  You could add an artisan bread, but we didn't need it.
Cranberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken and Orange Poppyseed Dressing | Cooking Classy

We didn't have a big crop of citrus this year (next year's should be huge), but we had some lemons that were begging me to create something "lemony" and this Lemon Bread was delicious!
Lemon Bread by Cristina

We have chicken several times a week, so I'm always looking for something new to try.  I love using the crockpot, but chicken always cooks so fast and tends to get dry in the crockpot.....breasts do anyway.  So, I'm still working on honing in on the right cooking time for this recipe.  It was truly delicious with the veggies done to perfection....the chicken was just a bit dry.
Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes and Green Beans
Sarah (lots of crockpot recipes)

 I really like having at least one "meatless" meal each week, and this was very good.  If you haven't tried Quinoa, it's good but might take some getting used to.  It's loaded with nutrients, plus it has 5g of fiber & 8g of protein per cup.  With the addition of the black beans in this recipe, you've got a very well-balanced meatless meal.  I did nix the jalapeño and went easy on the chili powder and cumin.....I  can't eat very spicy things.  We added a dollop of sour cream and a few crispy nacho chips to finish off this meal.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa - Wonderfully light, healthy and nutritious. And it's so easy to make - even the quinoa is cooked right in the pan!

I should have known better than to use uncooked rice in this recipe....rice never thoroughly cooks for me in a dish like this.  It was quite good, except for the"al dente" rice!  I'll be cooking the rice ahead of time from now on.  This is another meatless meal, but we didn't have this and the one above in the same week!
Slow-Cooked Stuffed Peppers byTaste of Home

This was delicious and a nice alternative to our typical kielbasa, mashed potatoes & sauerkraut meal....but that's good, too!

Potato Kielbasa Skillet Recipe
 Potato Spinach Kielbasa Skillet by Taste of Home

 This was so good, and the addition of some steamed veggies made it a complete meal.

If you need a dessert in a hurry, just make sure to always have a couple of cake mixes & pie-fillings on hand.  There are a ton of different combos, but this was scrumptious.  The addition of a very small amount of almond flavoring mixed in with the cherries was a nice tip.

This is what is on the plan for tonight.  I love one-pan meals and leftovers.  It's pretty much impossible to cook a meal for just 2 people, and I don't even try.  I plan my weekly menus to utilize leftovers.....cook once, serve twice or sometimes more!  I'll let you know how this turns out, but just look at it...it will have to be good!
One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies | Cooking Classy

Thanks for stopping by and maybe getting some new ideas for good stuff to cook up.  I would like to do this kind of post on a more regular basis, but I'm not committing to anything right now.  If you try any of the above, let me know what you think or how you might have tweaked the recipe.  Hope you have a great rest of your week!

I often party with these lovely bloggers:

Dee at Meatloaf and Melodrama for Merry Monday
Cindy at Dwellings--The Heart of Your Home for Amaze Me Monday
Maria Elena at Our Home Away from Home for Tuesdays at Our Home

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Inspire Me Tuesday

Suzy at Worthing Court for The Scoop

Jemma at  At Home With Jemma for Thoughts of Home on Thursday
Pamela at From My Front Porch to Yours for Treasure Hunt Thursday
Richella at Imparting Grace for Grace at Home


  1. Looks like you cook a lot like me. We are having chicken for him and shrimp for me tonight. He doesn't like seafood of any kind, so I treat myself once a week. I think there are several of these recipes I will try too.

  2. Those meals look so very good to me. Madi and I are lucky if I cook one meal a week! Last night I had a toasted bagel with peanut butter, he had quinoa and veggies! I have become so very lazy in recent months, and gained weight back. I must get back on track. Your planning is so organized and happy looking. I just get too tired by the time I get home from work. Praying you are doing well and beginning to get your energy back! You are thought of often! Blessings, Cindy xo

  3. I love so many of your ideas, Carol. I love to cook and the only way I can keep it going is by being organized and having meals planned and the ingredients on hand. I love that you printed out that planner and framed it to use with an erasable marker. I need to do that. Super cute and better than my scraps of paper!

    Your recipes look great, too. I like the one with the sausage and potatoes. If a recipe is new or a challenge (sort of like a new outfit!), I get more excited to make it. Now I'm marking off recipes I want to make before I go to the grocery store and I buy whatever I need. I'm averaging about 4 new recipes every 2 weeks. Love this post!

    Happy Spring , my friend!

  4. Like you, I also cook every day and I plan our meals in advanced. Lately, I have been getting many recipes from Pinterest just to change things up a bit. I don't use the crockpot a lot, may be I should. :) I love how organized you are with your meal planning. Take care, Maria

  5. That salad looks so good and I love poppyseed dressing. You seem to have a great system for meal planning. Love your write on wipe off menu. I've gotten down to cooking only one day a week. I never really did enjoy cooking, and half the time, only my hubby and I would eat what I cooked (the boys either didn't like it, or were out with friends, etc.) So we pick something up about 5 days a week, I cook one day, and we still have our "fend for yourself" day every Thursday. :)

  6. Everything looks delicious! I also love to cook. :)

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, and I do hope you will try some of the recipes.

      Warm hugs,

  7. These all look delicious Carol! I really like quinoa and have tried a recipe very similar to yours. I will definitely be trying a couple of the ones you shared. Love your recipe binder and homekeeping binder. I hope you have a lovely Friday and weekend.

    Hugs, Vicky

  8. I think I might head over the border for dinner tonight! You can try all of your recipes out on me. I am pinning this Carol as I want to come back and try a few of these recipes. Hope you have a great weekend.

  9. Carol My Dear Friend,

    You are SO organized and in such a fashionable way too, but you know that does not surprise me at all. You are always so put together and naturally your home, meal planning, as well as the presentation would be lovely.
    I really like many of these recipes and I am a crazy woman over Quinoa and of course by adding a Tex-Mex flair, well I hear it calling my name:)
    Thank you so much for sharing all of the goodness with us At Thoughts Of Home Thursday!

  10. Well, I ditto the commenter above...you are SO organized! The recipes you shared all looks so delicious. I mostly cook for me since my hubby works away from home half of the week :( Have a great weekend, Carol!

  11. Ugh, my recipes are crammed into a box! You make me want to do better, Carol. Really...all this good food you are making is very inspiring. We love good food at our house and I fear that reading blogs is keeping me from cooking. :)


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