Category Archives: Menu

Christmas Week of Special Foods

Well, this week is Christmas and I’m making some things I’ve not made in a very long time. Christmas Eve morning we will have Breakfast Burrito Bake. This is a family favorite and so we are all looking forward to having it. Brian, Lauren, and Liam will be here early that morning and Lauren is the one that reminded me of this dish.

I used to fix Monkey Bread or Bubble Bread with it but I fixed it on Thanksgiving morning and although it was all eaten, it didn’t seem to be a favorite. Since we’ll be having that on Christmas Day at my sister’s house, I decided to make Baked Pecan Pancakes (they are in Trim Healthy Table (THT) page 338) as our sweet dish on Christmas Eve.

Tiffany will be making two apple pies, I think. One will be sugar-free and the other will be Apple Crumble Pie. Then she is also going to make the Pumpkin Trimtastic Roll. I’m so used to our sugar-free lifestyle that I forget that some of these recipes aren’t our old sugary desserts. I hope the pumpkin roll will be liked by my mom.

I’m making a turkey and dressing Wednesday. :D Our Christmas dinner this year was voted to be tacos. So, I’m making a turkey before Christmas. I’m just doing stove top dressing but we like it. :) I’ll fix something like green beans with it and call it good. I spent yesterday thawing the 16 pound bird that Sean got free from a church before Thanksgiving and decided he has had enough turkey at his house, so he gave it to us. :)

When we have had our fill of the leftovers, I’ll sub it in for chicken in some casseroles. Turkey nachos are good if you don’t mind the THM crossover. We always like creamed turkey with leftover turkey.

I’m still considering making cinnamon rolls at some point over the next week and a half. I know my family here would really like them and so would I. I just don’t want to commit to making them by Christmas day. :D

Actually, our family Christmas dinner is taco bar. We are going to have a variety of meats to choose from: salsa chicken, taco seasoned ground beef, and shredded pork. It should be a good variety. Of course we’ll have lots of chips and cheese available. :D

For breakfast Mom makes a hashbrown, egg, and cheese casserole. She’s talked about making some bacon and maybe some sausage with onions to add to it. We’re going to pick up some donuts too. So with the monkey/bubble bread (and Mom’s keiffle, which is small little nut rolls) we’ll have plenty for Christmas morning breakfast. :)

Then on Saturday, instead of our weekly pizza, I’m fixing LASAGNA!!! I absolutely love lasagna! We haven’t had it in years, so I’m looking forward to it. :D

Well, that our week of special meals. What meals do you do special around Christmas?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Chili ~

A Menu for the Week

Well, this week we’d planned to go see lights in Yukon but it was very cold, so we decided it was best not to go. Thankfully I’d planned Trim Train Italian Soup for one day this week. Since it makes a large pot of soup, I chose to make this that night. It fed the four of us and left enough for another complete meal.

I’ve also planned to make minestrone. We’ll have that tonight for dinner. I’ll make with it with seasoned boneless skinless chicken breast, ground up in the food processor. Consequently it will be low fat, so I will include some brown rice elbow macaroni in place of the ditalini but it has lots of veggies, so it will be yummy.

It snowed most of the day on Sunday. It was gorgeous!!! I hear it’s supposed to snow today too. So I’ll be glad for the minestrone soup tonight. :) I gave Michael his choice of soup Sunday. He quickly chose Chili. (I substitute Gentle Sweet and a bit of molasses for the brown sugar.) :) He also asked that it be a double batch. Thankfully I keep the ingredients for chili on hand since it is one of his favorite meals.

Of course, we generally have pizza on Friday or Saturday night. That only left a few meals for the week. We haven’t had tacos in a while and I was wanting them, so they made it on the menu and we had it last night. Yum! I used a low carb tortilla.

The remaining items on our menu for the week are Split Pea Soup and Spaghetti. We’ll use Dreamfields angel hair pasta for the spaghetti.

So this is the menu for the week:

I don’t think anyone needs a recipe for tacos but I intend to put up my latest pizza recipe sometime soon.

I hope this menu helps you create your weekly menu. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Menu ~

Menu for the Week

Sometimes it helps me to see what other people are making to get ideas for my own menu. So I thought I’d share our menu with you this week.

  • Ribs, Caulitaters, and salad (low carb meal)

  • Sourdough Pizza and salad (Healthy carbs, low fat meal)

taco ~

  • Tacos (made with low carb tortillas; low carb meal)

Spaghetti ~

  • Spaghetti and Salad ;) (made with either zoodles, Dreamfields pasta for low carb meal)

This is actually one of my favorite menus. :) Lots of favorite foods.

I hope this helps give you ideas for your next menu or just simply what to eat for dinner. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Making a Menu and Grocery List

I remember when I was first married, I went to the grocery store about every week and a half to two weeks and just bought things that looked good and things that we had run out of. Then after we’d been married about ten years, had moved half-way across the country, and things were a bit tight, my neighbor showed me how she bought food on a tight budget.

It all started with looking over the sales flyers that came in the mail, today you can look on the flipp app. She would see what meat was on sale and plan a menu around sale items, filling in the gaps with inexpensive meals like beans and cornbread and soups.


Since we eat mostly chicken and ground turkey, I don’t bother with looking at what meat is on sale until I shop and then I use the built in portion of my budget to buy a bit of any special meat that might be on sale (like salmon or chicken sausage or bacon).

When temperatures are fluctuating, like they are right now, I take a piece of paper and write down the days for a week and the high temperatures from my weather app. That way I can plan for a nice hearty soup when it is cold and a pasta dish or other item when it is warmer.

I write down dishes that I know I want to include and then either flip through my stack of printed recipes or a cookbook for inspiration for the rest of the days’ meals.

From there, I write down the ingredients I will need that I may not have on one list and the ingredients I know I need to buy on the grocery list, separated by store–we go to 3-4 stores that are all within a mile of each other.

I sometimes write any extra recipes I’m considering making somewhere on the paper (this time on the upper right of the page). Sometimes I note meals I that sound good but I’d already filled in the week’s menu and I want to consider them next week.

I use tally marks when I’m going through the recipes and I encounter duplicates e.g. chicken needed for two meals and two cans of tomato paste are needed this week.

Then I check the questionable list against what is on hand and add any missing items to the grocery list. Then I consider items we eat for the other meals of the day and add needed items to the list as well. Things like eggs, mayonnaise, milk, butter, and such.

I keep a marker board on my refrigerator for adding things throughout the week that need replacing on grocery day. I also keep the menu on the refrigerator so it doesn’t get misplaced.

As you can see, we don’t need many extra things this week. Some of them are carry-overs from last week and got smudged but I still know what they say or I’d re-write them. ;)

Now, just because I have pizza written for Friday’s meal does not mean that we are most definitely having pizza on Friday. We need to run errands Friday and so I will switch up the meal to another day or it may be too hot to have soup one day because it got hotter in the house than I thought it would and so I may switch to another night’s meal or completely change it up and have sandwiches, salad, or a pasta dish. The menu is a tool for me and I am not a slave to it.

I hope this helps you with your menu planning.

Until next time,
Michele ºÜº

A Recent Menu Plan (THM style)

As many of you may know, we follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating here. It’s a family thing. :)

This week I thought I’d share my menu with you. I try to include a good number of E meals (those are healthy carb meals) because some of us do a bit better eating more of those.

  • Black Bean Spaghetti (E) – we were using the brown rice spaghetti from Aldi but they discontinued it. :( So we are trying some different healthy carb pastas out. This week we tried a black bean pasta. I cooked some chicken breast and a bit of turkey bacon with it and added some almond milk and gluccie (glucomannan) to thicken it up a bit. With the brown rice noodles we’d used before, the noodles made it creamy enough. I’ll definitely be looking for some more brown rice spaghetti because I wasn’t thrilled with the black bean spaghetti.  Any way, we had a salad with it that I just massaged a bit of MCT oil on the leaves and added nutritional yeast.
  • Impromptu Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Trim Healthy Table page 341 (S)– This is one of our favorite pancakes and Tiffany wanted them for dinner one night. She added some Turkey Bacon and Michael fixed some fried eggs. Lovely breakfast for dinner. :)
  • Pizza Skillet Salad (S) – We love pizza, generally once a week here. It’s been so crazy hot that we’ve been having pizza-ish foods this summer. This week I took the Pizza Skillet recipe I created and we put it on top of a bed of lettuce. :)
  • Salmon Patties, Mashed Cauliflower, and Creamed Early Peas (S) – Okay, I’m going to have to check this one out a bit more because the way I made it this time (after sooo long of not having it) I might have made it an accidental crossover. But I enjoyed it with a heavy dose of pleasure and will hope it doesn’t mess up my weight reduction. ;) I used Wasa light rye crackers and almond milk in my usual recipe. BUT that coupled with the peas is where I miscalculated. 8)
  • Cowboy Grub from Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook page 59 (E) – This we also serve with a salad like described above or with canned green beans.
  • Creamy Chicken Gravy from Briana Thomas’ Convenient Food page 107 (FP) – we served this with broccoli and I put a bag salad on the table too. This was a new recipe for us and I was surprised that we enjoyed it. I don’t generally like dill weed and curry isn’t a spice we use much of at all. This was nice and creamy and went on that steamed broccoli very nicely.
  • Turkey Hot Dogs, Turkey Burgers (all no bun for me), coleslaw, and baked beans (S) – I’ll only have a couple bites of the beans because I’m not a huge fan but Michael loves this meal. Sometimes I make the psyllium husk bread into rolls for both buns and Michael loves that too. :)

There you have it. These were not eaten in this order though. ;) I generally try to mix up the fuel source for dinners so we don’t have 3 or 4 of one type in a row.  On days we have S meals (which is the healthy fats/low carb meal) I try to make sure that I eat at least one E meal earlier in the day and an E or FP snack.

I hope this menu plan is helpful to you and gives you some ideas for your next menu. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Thighs, Thighs, and More Thighs

Thighs were on sale for 79¢ a pound here and I bought around ten pounds of them. I bagged them in freezer bags in about six per bag, which is usually more than enough for this family of four adults. These are rather large thighs and, believe it or not, one is enough for me at dinner, with a couple sides.

Today I thought I’d share some menu ideas for thighs. I have a freezer full of other meats that I’ve bought on sale, so I’m not stuck with just the thighs but thought I’d go ahead and share some different ideas, in case you find yourself needing to focus on one meat.

  1. The first one is super easy. Soup. Chicken soup is inexpensive and the bone and skin add a great flavor to it.Chicken added ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~
  2. Baked. I place the thawed thighs on rimmed baking sheet, preferably on a silpat for easier cleaning, season, and cook. Serve with a couple side dishes: our go-to side dishes are green beans and salad.Baked Chicken Thighs ~
  3. Baked but with a barbeque flavor instead of the one in the previous link. We just sprinkle some onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, a dash (cap full) of liquid smoke, a couple dashes worcestershire sauce, and some brown sugar substitute. (We use Sukrin Gold but I believe Swerve makes one too.)
  4. San Francisco Chicken. Normally this is made with chicken breast or pork chops but browning the thighs and then adding the sauce, covering and letting it cook about 20 minutes or until the thighs are done, should work nicely. (The original recipe used this procedure with the thicker cut pork chops.) Serve with noodles (we use either Dreamfields or konjac root noodles) or thinly sliced cabbage and broccoli.San Fran Chicken on Noodles ~
  5. Breaded and either fried on the stove top or in the oven. We just coat with a mixture of baking blend and Parmesan cheese after dipping in a beaten egg.
  6. Alfredo. For this one I’d bake extra thighs earlier in the week and get the meat off the bone saving it for this day. When I make plannedovers, I have to hide the extra or my gang will eat it. :D  At any rate, this sauce can be a bit pricey and caloric, so you can just use a cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup for the sauce. It’s good with cauliflower and or broccoli. You could just thicken some almond milk up with some xanthan gum and add some onion powder and garlic powder to it for flavor or you could use the water from a can of mushrooms for part of the liquid and add the mushrooms if your family will eat them. I’ve chopped them up finely to hide them from my kids when they were young. As they got older, I just tell them to pick them out and give them to me. :)
  7. For the last one, I’d make some like for number six but put it as a topping on pizza. If that isn’t an option, make Chicken Parmesan baking breaded chicken and when nearly done, add some tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce) and a little cheese to the top.Chicken Alfredo Pizza ~

Well, that’s my week long menu for using chicken thighs. These links are all mine but have been taken from my many different ways of cooking throughout the years. If you have a particular one you would like me to make suggestions on how to conform it to a particular fuel source (fats or carbs or light on both counts), let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


A Menu Plan for Leftover Turkey

Roasted Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe will go to my sister’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family this Thursday. I love Thanksgiving leftovers but since I don’t make the dinner, I don’t have leftovers. Hence, I buy a turkey and bake it the day after Thanksgiving. :) And I buy a large one, because remember, I said I love leftovers. :)

So this year I was thrilled to get my turkey for 87¢ a pound. That’s a great price for Oklahoma but I saw a friend of mine in Virginia got one for 27¢ a pound! Wow!!! Oh well, I’m still thrilled with my deal.

I thought I’d share my menu plan for using some of those plannedovers. :)

Of course it starts by cooking the bird and having it as the main course with lots of side dishes so that there is lots and lots of turkey leftover. After dinner, I will remove all of the meat off the carcass and bag in portions for the remaining meals and any remainder for sandwiches, as desired. (Hubby loves fresh turkey sandwiches.)

One night I will make Turkey Noodle Casserole, where I just substitute turkey in for the tune of Tuna Noodle Casserole. (Of course, I’m using a THM version and it will be an E meal, as we will use some quinoa and brown rice pasta from Aldi or some red lentil pasta.)

Another night we will have another E meal (that’s one low in fat with some moderate healthy carbs) of the sliced turkey breast, sweet potatoes, rolls, and we’ll probably add in a salad.

Then we’l have a healthy fats meal of Creamed Turkey, fried green beans, and some caulitaters. There may be some kind of “noodles” thrown in for good measure. ;)

We will have turkey sandwiches for lunch after church Sunday and round out our menu with Turkey Soup complete with daikon radish, carrots, and some kind of “noodle”.

We’ll round out our week with this nice Italian Style Hamburger Helper with either some roasted green beans or roasted okra and a salad.

So there you have my after Thanksgiving menu. Of course, you’d need to add one more meal in there if you actually have your main turkey meal on Thanksgiving. One of the things I have done in the past was to make turkey nachos but that would take some thinking to keep it from being a crossover because the way I used to make it was with tortilla chips (or nacho flavored ones), turkey, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. If breast is used, you could use baked Tostitos chips, and go very light on the cheese, all the rest would work. If I wanted to make it a healthy fats (S) meal, I’d use the dark meat too, skip the beans and I’d have to use pork rinds or Joseph’s Lavash or Pita cut pre-crisped into chips. With this version I could add some avocado.

Well, that’s it, our turkey menu. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Weekly Menu Planning

Menu ~ Lifeofjoy.meI don’t know about you but when it comes time to make a menu I frequently have the same meals pop into my mind. I find that every so often I need to remind myself of other things I have previously made and enjoyed or ones I saw and wanted to try. I currently have no schedule for this but am thinking I should do this at least once each season.

Usually when the weather changes I know which recipes I am eager to have once again but after the first couple of weeks, it is a good idea to go through my recipes for menu inspiration.

Fall is approaching and we’ve already had a few cooler weathered days. I never used to be one that cared much for soup but in the past couple of years I have found some soups that I really like. I look forward to sharing those with you over the next several months.

Occasionally I go through my cookbooks and my Pinterest pins to find new recipes to try. It is always fun to make something new but it usually takes longer to make a recipe the first time I make it, I make sure to plan accordingly.

Each week, usually the day before I head to the grocery store, I make a list of what I will make over the next week. From this list or menu if you will, I create my grocery list checking the recipes against what is in my refrigerator/freezer and cabinets. I also keep a small dry erase board on my refrigerator to write down things as we run out of them.

I usually just write down either things I am hungry for or a favorite of a family member. I have read that others make their menu planning easier by having a certain type of food on certain days of the week like Mondays is Chinese food, Tuesdays is Italian and so on; others put a certain type of meat on specific days. I just find it easier to go with what I’m hungry for. Have I mentioned that I love food? I can usually come up with 4 or 5 meals without much struggle. It is usually the last two or three I struggle with. That is when I rely on either something I know a family member likes or browse through my recipes.

Here is the menu I created for this week:
Meatloaf and Scalloped Potatoes
Hamburgers and Baked Beans
San Francisco Chicken and Noodles
Chicken Parmesan, Noodles, and Brussel Sprouts
Chicken Enchiladas

I had planned for us to eat out on Sunday but I wasn’t feeling good so we didn’t leave the house. I had a back-up plan of Waffles, Turkey Bacon, and Sausage. I always keep some breakfast meat in the freezer for either a special Saturday breakfast or breakfast for dinner, like we had Sunday.

I hope this gives you an idea of how to plan a menu and make your weekly grocery list.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº