New Year- New Plan

Our Christmas break was wonderful! Long days of sleeping in, lounging with coffee and fun with friends and family.

It was a little difficult to get up Monday morning and return to work…not only for me,  but for the little ones that I teach too.

We made it to Friday even though it was a lot of indoor recess. Thankfully, my sweet students had lots of funny moments to keep me going through the week.

On Friday, when everyone’s patience was coming to an end, I had to take some time to talk about friendships, treating others kindly and respectfully and sharing feelings in a clear way.

After my discussion everyone was quiet for a moment. A little girl in my second row put her hand up.

“Yes?” I said.

“Mrs. Skinner” she said thoughtfully, “You are kind of like a kid therapist.”

Yep…kind of.

Thanks for noticing all the hard work I do. Now let’s go to the gym…I’ll teach you badminton.

I still meal plan every week, but a Christmas gift that Andrew and I got has changed my meal planning ways.

I have to admit, I only bought the meat that we needed each week for our meals. I know that is not the most economical way of doing things, but I HATE repacking meat when I buy it in club packs. And then after I fought with the repacking, I would take it out of the freezer to use, only to find it freezer burned.

Well this little food saver is supposed to make it far easier to repackage, and cut out the freezer burn entirely.

So I sat down and decided I would make a MONTHLY meal plan. I didn’t want to go load up on things I could vacuum seal and then not know what to do with it all.

So here is what I came up with:

From this I figured out I needed

  • 8 servings salmon
  • 1 club pack of ground beef
  • 1 club pack of ground pork
  • 1 club pack of chicken thighs

Now to get repacking!

The chicken thighs were easy. I just split it up into amounts that we would use and vacuum sealed away. It took minutes. Next I split the ground beef into 3 parts. 2 packages of just ground beef, and then I made a double recipe of mozzarella stuffed meatballs and sealed those.

Lastly, I made an entire club pack of ground pork into Asian flavored meatballs. I use these in stir fry bowls and to make my wontons for soup. Before I sealed my meatballs, I did freeze them on a cookie sheet so they would retain their shape…and it was a good idea because that machine sucks all the air out! It would have just been a pile of mush.

The salmon was already frozen so no need to deal with it at all.

I couldn’t believe the difference in price for our club pack meat! I knew I would save SOME money, but I literally saved HALF!

And, my meal planning/grocery shopping lists are ready for a whole month…what will I do with all my free time?

Here are the recipes that I will be making over the next month. I hope you find a few new (or old) favorites to add to your meal plans.

Split Pea Soup


Lemon Rosemary Lentil Stew

This Slow Cooker Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup is one of the easiest soups to ever come out of your kitchen. Fresh vegetables, lemon and rosemary become an amazingly hearty soup with minimal effort. Carrots, onion, yellow bell pepper and red lentils are flavored with garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper and slow cooked until tender.

Crockpot Bolognese

Crockpot Bolognese

Heavenly Salmon Salad

Heavenly Salmon Salad

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Juicy pork Teriyaki Meatball Bowls seasoned with ginger and garlic coated in a sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce served over fluffy rice.

French Dip Cupcakes

French Dip Cupcakes

Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup

Loaded Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup - so full of flavor and so many delicious ingredients. This soup will keep you warm and full any time of year! { }

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Mexican Red Lentil Stew

Mexican Red Lentil Stew -




Weekly Meal Plan April 25-29

On Friday I had to say goodbye to my 5 week student teacher. It was so great to have her as a part of our classroom. The kids loved her, and she really learned a lot and grew as a teacher. It is amazing the difference that one more adult in the room can make. One more person to intervene when kids are struggling, one extra set of hands to help pass out art supplies, do tech support with Chromebooks and work with those students who need one on one support. It is also great to have another adult in the room to look at and smile with when someone is making a paper mask and has it plastered up to their face…

Among other lessons and planning, my student teacher completely took over Art. Art is one of those things that kids adore and teachers…well, teachers don’t mind it, but it is an awful lot of work and can become extremely chaotic quickly. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship.

But my student teacher took it on with gusto and came up with some amazing projects.

Like our Mother’s Day flower pots.



But I think my favorite project she did was related to our Animal Life Cycles unit and the book What if you had Animal Teeth?

After reading the story and writing about what kind of teeth the kids would want to have, they made themselves with the teeth of their choice…priceless.


Now that I am back on the meal train, I am making an addendum to our usual plan of action. I used to just make sure that we had one vegetarian meal a week and that we kind of spread out the different types of meat we were eating (i.e.-not 3 chicken dishes a week) but I’ve noticed my pants getting increasingly more snug over the last few weeks so we need to make some drastic changes. So, every week I am going to try to find one healthy soup recipe, 1 meal sized salad recipe and then fill the rest of the week with our usual repertoire of dishes. I’m hoping that this change, along with more frequent trips to the gym and more bike rides to school, will allow me to not have to go buy a completely new pant wardrobe.

Here is what we are eating this week:

MondayBlack Bean Soup
TuesdayBacon, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Pizza
WednesdayBBQ Chickpea Chopped Salad
ThursdayPulled Pork Sandwiches
FridayFrozen Pizza

Grocery List:

  • Carrots
  • Red pepper
  • Spinach (enough for two recipes)
  • Garlic
  • 2 cans black beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Refried beans
  • Paprika
  • Hot sauce
  • Sour cream, cilantro, salsa and guacamole (whatever you like to top your black bean soup with)
  • Avocado
  • Milk
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine vinegar
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Onion powder
  • Chickpeas
  • BBQ sauce
  • Lettuce
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Green onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Pork tenderloin or shoulder
  • Can/bottle of beer
  • Bread or buns
  • Coleslaw
  • Pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • Bacon
  • Red onion
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Cheese


Here is our soup for the week. One of my all time favorites.



I bought bacon last week for a recipe and did not end up using it all. So I found this great pizza recipe that I cannot wait to try.

Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Spinach Pizza | Cooking Classy


Here is our salad choice for the week. This hearty salad has amazing flavors from the BBQ sauce and the avocado ranch dressing.

BBQ Chickpea Salad


I got an amazing deal on some pork loin roasts when I was grocery shopping, so I decided to turn one of them into pulled pork.