Meal Planning and Tuna Noodle Casserole

At the end of February I strayed from my meal planning. During the month of March I flew by the seat of my pants and wrote nothing down. NOTHING! I am back at it for the month of April and beyond.

Everyone does some form of meal planning. Some people are disciplined. They write everything down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and stick with it. On the other end of the spectrum there are those that grab what they can for breakfast and lunch and throw frozen pizza in the oven at the last minute or zoom through a drive thru restaurant for dinner. I fall somewhere in the middle (I think!). I have been doing my version of meal planning for the last 10+ years and it has served me well. It is healthier and has saved us money from eating out.  It helps me use up leftovers and food that will go bad soon.

First, I visit calendars.com to print off a current or future month, for free! Next, I pencil in events that will effect prep and cook times of meals, or special events for which we will be eating out. I plan meals and grocery shop for two weeks at a time. Then, I fill in dinners for each day of the week keeping in mind ingredients we have on hand and writing on the grocery list what we need to buy. I only plan the DINNERS of each day. The same breakfast and lunch ingredients are always kept on hand. The grocery list and dinner calendar are always done at the same time, Thursday or Friday morning.

 

Sometimes I stop the meal planning because I am short on time. If I only have time to make the grocery list and get out the door, the calendar meal plan has to wait until later. Later never comes. I have been working on April’s meal plan and have been sticking to it. Yesterday, the chicken I pulled from the chest freezer wasn’t thawed enough. I had to come up with something quickly. I settled for “Tuna Noodle Casserole”. I haven’t made it in weeks and it felt like it was time for some creamy tuna goodness! Download the printable recipe here: Tuna Noodle Casserole

I have been using this recipe since 2008!

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE 2008 – Serves 3-4

  • 4 oz. dry noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 (7 oz.) tuna (drained)
  • 1 can (10.5 oz.) cr. mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 small can (4 oz.) tuna, drained, flaked

TOPPING:

  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles, drain.
  2. In a medium bowl mix soup, milk, mayo, and dry mustard.
  3. Stir in noodles and cheese; gently fold in tuna.
  4. Turn into a greased 1.5 qt baking dish (8in x 8in or 9in x 9in)
  5. Combine butter and bread crumbs in a small dish. Sprinkle over casserole.
  6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through.

This serves my husband, toddler, and me with leftovers. Double, triple, or make what you need. You can make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Pop it in the oven after work. Serve with salad or cooked veggies. Enjoy!

Missie S.

Missie in the Kitchen with Rice

I think I am on week four of morning sickness and it is such a bummer!  There is so much stuff I could be/should be doing, and I just lack focus.  My biggest challenge everyday is dinner: planning and making it.  Nothing sounds good.  I can’t tell if my family wants to each what I make or not.  I was the leftover eater of the house and now we save NOTHING.  Oh, baby, I know this will be worth it!

Saturday evening I didn’t know what to do with myself after dinner.  We had just gotten done eating Burger King and I was not going to crawl in bed and spend the next how many hours under the covers, not yet.  (You cannot begin to imagine the nightmares and insomnia I had that night and I blame it on the Burger King!)  I grabbed a deck of Snoopy cards and played two games of solitaire.  I got bored with that and had a sudden urge to organize something.  I have this old box of recipes on recipe cards from my mom.  It is filled with old recipes from my mom, grandma, and other ladies that had swapped recipes long ago.  The box needed to be organized because a few years ago, I dropped the box on the floor and most of the cards fell out.  Organizing the box has been on my list of things to do for a long time.  I didn’t get very far on sorting everything, but I found some good recipes that I can use in the near future.

Included in the box are recipe cards from Minute Rice.  I am so psyched to use some of those recipes, mostly because you can make them in 20 minutes.  Last night I made their Cheeseburger Rice recipe.  So easy, and my husband thinks it tastes like McDonald’s cheeseburger.  The recipe made a large amount too.  My husband, daughter, and I ate about half of the dish.  I threw the other half in the freezer for a later time.  I am hoping the rice will freeze well.  If not, I am not very concerned right now.

Cheeseburger Rice by Minute Rice
Cheeseburger Rice Recipe – Minute Rice

Dinner tonight will be “Tuna ‘n Rice Dinner”.  Prep. Time: 20 min

Tuna ‘n Rice Dinner by Minute Rice
Tuna ‘n Rice Dinner Recipe – Minute Rice

I HAD to “Like” the Minute Rice page on Facebook.  I am hoping they will share other great, fast recipes.  Check them out on Facebook and Like their page: Minute Rice Facebook

Pregnancy is hard, Minute Rice recipes are easy! Bless you Minute Rice!

Have a nice Monday!

Missie 😀

Taxes and Newspapers

I love getting the newspaper and I hate getting the newspaper.

Love: Recipes, comics, coupons, news, travel in that order.  The coupons come out first.  If I can’t clip them right away, they go into my grocery shopping binder for later.  Next, I read the rest of the ads, then the comics.  Then, I dig deeper and see what’s going on in the world with the news.  The main reason for my subscription to the Journal Sentinel out of Milwaukee, WI, is the recipes.  I especially love this section during summer and holidays.  There are rare times when I find nothing I will use, but I usually clip out at least one recipe or tip.

Hate: News.  It’s either depressing or biased towards the Democrats.  I want an unbiased media.  Also, they rarely report GOOD news.  There is good news out there and I want more of it!

Over the holiday my newspaper pile really stacked up.  I had so many papers I couldn’t get to, that they stacked up under the coffee table.  I couldn’t fit anymore under there and I was afraid my husband would start calling me a hoarder again.  This past weekend I forced myself to go through the stack and toss out the unnecessary.   I only got half way through, but found more great recipes!

While reading through a comic section from a week or two ago, I came to my favorite comic strip: Family Circus.  I love the drawings and scenes of family life in this comic.  At first, I looked at the comic and thought it was cute.  It was really simple, Bill Keane was saying, “Here we go again” and there was a whirlwind of activities that encompass the whole year.  The drawing had New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, going to the beach, back to school, Christmas and everything in between.  When I looked at each of the little drawings that made up a year, I became really happy!  Why?  This is a difficult time of year.  We are done with Christmas, it’s tax time, the weather is cold and dreary, and whatever you have to deal with right now is just more depressing.  However, looking at all the things that are coming up in this new year makes me look forward in anticipation.  What will I learn? Who will I meet?  What new goals can I set and achieve?  Where will I go?  What will I see?  What drawings will I add to MY whirlwind at the end of the year?

Family Circus Comic
Family Circus Whirlwind of Drawings

Before anything else can be planned on and anticipated, I must pay my sales taxes for giggleFritz and Co. this week.  Today is paperwork and sales tax prep day.  Yuck!  I was sick this weekend, but I did manage to get some things done around the condo so I wouldn’t have to worry about them this week.  Christmas finally got packed away in storage for next year.  Laundry got done.  I am off to do my taxes!

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Missie

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not very upset that Hostess has gone out of business.  It has been years since I have purchased a Twinkie, HoHo, Fruit Pie, or Zinger.  I really like to bake our snacks and treats.  It is healthier, cheaper, and I always learn new things when I work in my kitchen.

I have been collecting recipes for years.  I have a cupboard filled with cookbooks and notebooks shoved with clipped out recipes from newspapers and magazines.  I also have a good number of recipes inherited from my Mom and Grandma.  I have probably made 25% of the recipes in my possession, but I enjoy sorting through them once or twice a year and discovering something that I could make in the next menu lineup.  I also love the mishmash of color and texture of the pieces of paper I have collected.

Part of my Recipe Collection

One of the best cookie-bar recipes I have been using is the Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from the Gold Medal unbleached flour package.   There’s a good amount of fiber in these cookies, they are soft, and they taste great.  I have been making them into bars.  We freeze have the bars immediately after they cool.  We enjoy the other half of the bars for dessert and in lunches for three days.  When they thaw out later, they are perfect!

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Bars
Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Bars ready for freezer

Here is the recipe from General Mills:

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

©2010 General Mills

Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 ½ cups Gold Medal unbleached flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

 

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  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until blended, or hand mix with wooden spoon.  Add oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by rounded spoonful 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden.  Cool for one minute on cookie sheets then place on cooling racks.

 

These also make GREAT bars and are even faster to make!

Instead of dropping into cookies, spread into a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet and bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.

To print this recipe from a Word document, click here: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies download

Enjoy your cookies/bars!

~Missie 😀