June 2014 Menu Plans

Free June 2014 Menu Plans

Enjoy the delicious recipes in these June Menu Plans!

junesassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan @ the Sassy Slow Cooker

junepocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

junejamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

juneconfess
Monthly Meal Plan @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

Kitchen Gadget of the Month:

Building Bricks and Mini Figure Ice Cube Tray and Candy Mold

bricks mold

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May 2014 Menu Plans

Free May Menu Plans

Enjoy the mouthwatering recipes in these May Menu Plans!

maysassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan @ the Sassy Slow Cooker

maypocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

mayjamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

mayconfess
Monthly Meal Plan @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

Kitchen Gadget of the Month:

pineapple corer
I just ordered this Stainless Pineapple De-Corer. The reviews are great and it is on sale for only $5.99!

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April 2014 Menu Plans

Free April Menu Plans

Enjoy the scrumptious recipes in these April Menu Plans!

aprsassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan @ the Sassy Slow Cooker

aprfrugal
Monthly Meal Plan
@ Frugal Homeschool Family

aprpocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

apr123
Family Meal Plan @ 123 Homeschool 4 Me

aprjamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

aprconfess
Monthly Meal Plan @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

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Healthy, MSG-free Food on a Budget

healthy msg free food on a budget

Once upon a time I was a Coupon Queen. I regularly saved 50-75% off at the grocery store, getting some kind of junkie adrenalin rush as I pushed my cart to the car. Three things happened to change all that:

1. Most of the stores in my area stopped doubling coupons and began limiting the number that could be redeemed.
2. We switched to eating more whole foods.
3. We discovered that my son cannot have msg, which rules out most items that come in a can or box.

The Inspired Bloggers network issued its bloggers a challenge. Can I feed my family for $25 per person per week? For my family of 7, that comes to $175 a week. I manage to hit that mark most weeks. Some of the bloggers are sharing their super-duper menu plans, but I like to think of myself of more of a reverse meal planner. I buy whatever is on sale, on clearance, or has a coupon, and THEN I figure out what to do with it. Controlled chaos … it’s how I roll.

Some of you might look at that total and come up with a list of ways I could drastically reduce my budget. And you would be right. I could make my own bread or organic yogurt- but I’m not going to. I could plant a huge garden – but I would kill it within a month. I used to make my own chicken broth but we left our chest freezer behind when moved and don’t have the space to replace it. I only eat the rice part of rice and beans. What it boils down to is that I am a homeschooling momma of five who is trying to grow a blog, encourage my husband, and serve our church, and can’t multitask to save my life. Something has to give.

My strategy is to save in other areas so I can have more room in my food budget. I stock up on toiletries when they are at rock-bottom prices. We buy (designer) clothes at thrift stores. I buy my kids’ birthday and Christmas presents at the 70% off Target toy sale in July. I’ve also figured out which stores have the healthiest food for the cheapest. We try eat whole grains, and buy organic when it is on sale or replaces a regular food that contains msg.

Here are some of my discoveries:

Dollar Tree has Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread (no HFCS). It sells out quickly, so check often.

Target is the cheapest place for Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese and Applegate Farm Pepperoni. Annie’s Cheese Crackers (a treat) go on sale regularly.

Aldi has an organic line called Simply Nature, supplying us with chicken broth, fresh spinach, and frozen pizza. They have summer sausage with no msg (at least the last time we bought it). I get great deals on fruits, vegetables, spices, oatmeal, maple syrup, olive oil, milk, eggs, butter, and baking mix.

We love Costco. It is worth the membership just to go on a Saturday and eat all the samples.  Many of their foods do not have artificial fillers. I like to pick up chocolate chips, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, provolone, peanut butter, organic spinach, frozen fruit, organic tortilla chips, Pirate’s Booty, and organic strawberry jelly.

Publix has the best meat. It is not always the cheapest, but it doesn’t shrink as much as other stores. Read the labels on your meat-most whole chickens have been injected with broth, and some pork & beef has been injected with a saline or flavoring solution. The Publix brand Italian sausage and organic ketchup are msg-free.

Zaycon chicken is a fantastic way to buy inexpensive healthy chicken! My family can tell if we run out and I substitute from the store.

Here are a few of the meals we eat. I hope to share a few more of these recipes over the coming weeks.

~Breakfast~

~Lunch~

  • Sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • Hot Ham & Cheese Pita Pockets
  • Quesadillas w/leftover chicken
  • Pizza Quesadillas – sauce, cheese, pepperoni
  • Flatbread Pizza
  • Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Frito Pie – fritos, chili, cheese, onions
  • Irish Brown Bread w/ham
  • Chef Salad
  • Nachos
  • leftovers

~Snacks~

  • pretzels & cheddar cheese cubes
  • apples, bananas, clementines, grapes, strawberries
  • popcorn – put  1/4 c. popcorn in a brown paper bag and fold the top down 2-3 times, microwave using your popcorn setting
  • leftover muffins/bread from breakfast
  • yogurt
  • raisins
  • boiled eggs
  • graham crackers & peanut butter
  • tortilla chips & fresh salsa
  • No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars
  • Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

~Dinner~

    • Tacos w/lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese
    • Pork Carnitas w/lime, onion, sour cream, cilantro, salsa
    • Salsa Verde Beef Tacos w/lime, onion, sour cream, cilantro, salsa
    • Burritos
    • Fish Tacos
    • Cheesy Chicken w/ yellow rice & salad
    • Sausage Pie w/roasted potatoes, fresh pineapple
    • Cheeseburgers w/oven fries
    • Spaghetti  w/salad or green beans
    • Lasagna w/salad or green beans
    • Chicken Spaghetti w/ salad or broccoli
    • Chicken Pot Pie
    • Chili w/cornbread or rice
    • Beef Stew w/cornbread
    • BBQ Chicken w/grilled asparagus
    • Meatloaf w/mashed potatoes & fried okra
    • Roast w/potatoes, carrots, green beans
    • Breakfast Burritos-sausage or bacon, cheese, eggs, potatoes
    • Roast Chicken w/loaded baked potatoes
    • Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings w/corn on the cob
    • Stromboli
    • Baked Ziti & Italian Sausage w/salad
    • Baked Potato Soup
    • Smoked Sausage w/macaroni & cheese – macaroni w/a sauce made of butter, milk, cheddar cheese, american cheese, seasoning salt, pepper
    • Cheeseburger Macaroni-the above mac n cheese, seasoned ground beef browned w/diced onions

Click on that little blue guy to see how the other Inspired Bloggers did on their
$100 Grocery Challenge!

Grocery-Challenge

March 2014 Menu Plans

march menu plans

Enjoy the scrumptious recipes in these March Menu Plans!

marchsassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan
@ the Sassy Slow Cooker

marchfrugal
Monthly Meal Plan
@ Frugal Homeschool Family

marchpocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

march123
Family Meal Plan @ 123 Homeschool 4 Me

marchjamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

marchconfess
Monthly Meal Plan @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

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February 2014 Menu Plans

free february menu plans

This month’s menu plans are late due to lots of sick days, but we still need to eat for the rest of February, right? Enjoy these scrumptious recipes.

febsassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan
@ the Sassy Slow Cooker

febfrugal
Monthly Meal Plan
@ Frugal Homeschool Family

febsoyou
Whole Food Menu Plan
@ Managing Your Blessings

febpocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

feb123
Family Meal Plan @ 123 Homeschool 4 Me

febjamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

febconfess
Monthly Meal Plan @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

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Send me an email with your link.
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January 2014 Menu Plans

free january 2014 menu plans

I posted a list of menu plans back in November and it was such a hit that I decided to make it a monthly feature! These bloggers have graciously allowed me to include their meal plans each month.

Enjoy these scrumptious recipes.

jansassy
Slow Cooker Easy Menu Plan
@ the Sassy Slow Cooker

jansoyou
Whole Food Menu Plan
@ So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler?

janpocket
Budget Friendly Menu Plan
@ Pocket Change Gourmet

jan123
Family Meal Plan
@ 123 Homeschool 4 Me

janjamie
Healthy Menu Plan
@ Jamie Cooks It Up!

janconfessions
Monthly Meal Plan
@ Confessions of a Homeschooler

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Send me an email with your link.
Recipes must be included for your menu plan to be listed.

Free Thanksgiving eBooks for Kindle

free thanksgiving ebooks wk 1

I’ve noticed several FREE Thanksgiving eBooks while browsing Amazon, so I decided to do a weekly holiday roundup!

These ebooks were free at the time of posting. As always, check before you click!

thanksgiving ebook1
Good Eating’s Thanksgiving Recipes: Traditional and Unique Holiday Recipes

thanksgiving ebook6
Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

thanksgiving ebook8
40 Best Pie Recipes: Delicious, Quick & Easy Pie Recipes for the Whole Family

thanksgiving ebook9
Circle of Friends: Pies, Crisps & Cobblers

thanksgiving ebook2
Holiday Vegan Desserts

thanksgiving ebook10
Savvy Autumn Entertaining

thanksgiving ebook3
Aunt Jo’s Scrapbag VI: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

thanksgiving ebook4
A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays

thanksgiving ebook5
Let’s Count Turkeys: Learn to Count to 10

thanksgiving ebook7
Thanks: Learning to Appreciate Gratitude for Children

Don’t own a Kindle? You can read Kindle ebooks on your PC.

My affiliate links were used in this post. There is no cost to you to download the free ebooks. I appreciate any shopping you might do while visiting Amazon!

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Save on Chicken with Zaycon

 

zaycon chicken 3

Have you heard of Zaycon Foods?

My mom introduced me to this company a couple of years ago & I am thankful!

They bring fresh meat straight from the farm to the consumer at low prices.

The chicken is absolutely delicious – fresh boneless, skinless breasts with no added hormones, additives, or artificial ingredients. It is also missing that funky raw-chicken smell that usually accompanies packages from the store.

It is so tender and juicy that no knife is required. We ran out once and my husband immediately noticed when I served  grocery store chicken.

The best part? It is only $1.89 a lb!! Note that it is a bulk purchase, but you can easily split with another family. There are several other foods available too, like lean ground beef, premium bacon, salmon, and old fashioned ham.

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for  Zaycon email notifications
  • You will receive an email when there is a food event in your area
  • Place your order & pay online – act quickly because they sell out
  • Print out your receipt to take with you for pick up
  • You will get a reminder email a few days before the event – don’t forget because it is only on one day for a couple of hours!
  • Pick up is soooo easy! My event is in a church parking lot. I drive up, tell them my name & (maybe) show my receipt, and they load my purchase into my van after thoughtfully laying down a plastic sheet. It takes less than a minute.

I thought you might like to see what an order of chicken looks like, and how I get it ready for the freezer. My photography skills are almost non-existent,
but maybe you can figure it out. :)

Supplies:

Your 40 lbs. of chicken will come in a heavy-duty, wax-coated box.

zaycon chicken 7

I like to set up an assembly line in this order –> box of chicken, cutting board, freezer bags (opened w/top folded down), box lid (for holding filled bags)

zaycon chicken 1

The chicken is in 3-4 smaller bags, inside of one large sealed bag. The breasts are butterflied & have a small amount of fat that needs to be trimmed.

zaycon chicken 2

It is tempting to just start dividing up whole breasts and tossing bags into the freezer, but I know that I would regret that later. 30-45 minutes is all it takes to trim the fat and cut up the meat. I leave mine big so I can use them however
I want, but you could go ahead and cut them into tenders or nuggets.
Be sure to label!

There are always little bits & pieces mixed in with the fat sections that can be cut off and saved. I toss them all into a small freezer bag and use them in chicken pot pie, casseroles, soup, or Chinese food.

*Optional* I recently discovered these Ziploc Perfect Portions Bags. They are perfect for those of you who are squeamish about raw chicken. You put your hand inside, pick up your chicken, and turn the bag inside out. I use them because my chicken doesn’t freeze together in one huge lump, allowing me to take out just one portion if I want. (I didn’t use these in the pictures.)

zaycon chicken 3

My (not so) hard work usually results in 12-15 bags of chicken. I am feeding a family of 7, so you might have several more bags if you have a smaller family.

After all my bags are filled, I fold each one over, squeeze out the air, and seal.

zaycon chicken 4

I store these in my deep freeze in one of two ways: piled in the box lid,  or in two plastic baskets that I got at the dollar store.

zaycon chicken 5

Don’t forget about dinner after all that work!! My gang would not be happy if we had all that yumminess & didn’t eat it right away.
I usually marinate some chicken in Italian dressing and toss it on the grill.

zaycon chicken 6

So there you go, an easy and inexpensive way to serve your family healthy food!

Since you will want to share about this food with everyone once you taste it, Zaycon has a referral program. You will earn a $1 credit each time your friend makes a purchase if they first sign up through your link.

*I am not affiliated with Zaycon Foods in any way other than being a very satisfied customer. This post contains my referral link –
I hope you love them as much as we do!!

FHF-FL