Bonus Meal Post! Yearly meal planning part 2.5

It’s time to crank up the Chicago because today I’m all about adding some meaning to your life with some meal inspiration!

Before I go any further I should tell you that our family is a rarity. In the year of our Lord, 2017, we have no dietary restrictions. If you’re looking for a plethora of grain free, Whole 30 compliant, or paleo meals, this list probably ain’t gonna be your jam. A lot of our meals are basically meat and veggies but we’re also not afraid of a few nitrites and some bread in a can (I love you, Pillsbury). Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how inspiring this will actually be since we’re also not super adventurous and you’re not going to find exotic things here. If you know me in real life I know you’re probably wicked shocked by this. Oh, and you can’t judge my menu.  I mean, you can, but it’s not going to change the fact that we probably need more fish in our diet and it’s not happening because seafood is gross.

Some of this list is useless because I have a bunch of recipes that I got from real life recipe books and other people’s recipe cards, and I’m not on that kind of recipe-sharing level yet. Plus there are a bunch of meals that just don’t require a recipe. I will, however, link to the Pinterest keepers an the professional, well-formatted, blogs they came from.

Life hack: McCormick marinade packets forever. My fave is Garlic, Herb, and Wine, followed by Zesty Herb. There are a bunch of marinades to choose from and using them is a piece of cake. You can mix up the marinade, throw it in a bag with your chicken, and pop it in the freezer.  Or mix it up, add chicken breasts, and bake. OR, just mix up the marinade and throw it in a skillet with chicken; great on a salad. There’s Chipotle, Baja Citrus, it’s your world, go nuts!

Friday night meals:  Beef stew, baked ziti, crockpot chicken and dumplings, 3 cheese chicken penne pasta, mac ‘n cheese, chicken stew, chop suey, creamy garlic noodles, chicken bacon alfredo roll ups, lasagna, poppy seed chicken casserole, stuffed shells.

In the rotation: honey sesame chicken, cherry chipotle bbq chicken, ham steak, beef tips, pork tenderloin with pan sauce, sweet and sour chicken, ritz chicken, pot roast, spicy garlic chicken, apricot chicken, Mongolian beef, creamy tortellini soup, pulled pork (throw a tenderloin in the crockpot for 4 hours on high, shred it, throw some bbq sauce on it, done.), stir fry (Pinterest inspiration abounds on this one), copy cat Chick-Fil-A nuggets, teriyaki chicken, spaghetti, tacos, fajitas (I use an easy marinade of lime juice, chili powder, and ground cumin. Throw chicken in a skillet with bell peppers and onion, easy peasy.), loaded baked potatoes, pizza, hamburgers, steak, kabobs, hot dogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and you can also get fancy with a cheap panini press and make paninis.

Most of the time we have leftovers for lunch but some easy lunches are: English muffin pizzas, chicken Caesar salad (I get a rotisserie chicken and use the white meat on salad and dark meat on:), quesadillas! Just chop up the dark meat and throw it on a tortilla with cheese and either bbq sauce, or the taco bell chipotle sauce my husband loves. These quick and fresh from the farm pizza rolls, Annie’s mac n cheese (or Kraft, which I really love but has unpleasant side effects on others in our family….), ham and cheese sliders, and these delicious ham/cheese/apple butter sandwiches.  Detour: we made apple butter for wedding favors and discovered this recipe when looking for ways to use all the leftovers. So delicious. Also don’t be intimidated by apple butter- just peel and chop up a bunch of apples and cook them in the crockpot for like 12 hours. Throw it in a blender to make it smooth. Soooooo yummy. SQUIRREL!

So anyway, that’s basically it. And the recipes I linked to? You guys, I would not lead you astray. Some are super easy, some seem a little labor intensive, but all are delicious and the ones my husband asks for all the time. That’s how you know they’re winners, am I right?

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