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 -




Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

Every morning in Grade 3 we start off the same way. We do a little brain warm-up activity and then we get down to our Daily 5 station work. This always kicks off with a story in story corner.

Last week, I chose a story about a farmer who frees a woman from a bramble bush and she turns out to be a fairy who grants him one wish. Of course, being greedy, the farmer wishes that all his wishes would come true. This eventually ends in ruin and the farmer wishes for everything to go back to the way it was.

After our story we usually have a discussion about the book looking for literary elements we are studying, strong vocabulary and how we can relate the book to other things we have seen, heard or read.

A story about wishes, needless to say, sparks a lot of discussion: Was the man being greedy? Why would he wish for the things he did? How could he have been smarter about his wishes?

Finally one boy in my class put up his hand with a thoughtful look on his face.

“Mrs. Skinner, I would have just wished for true love.” he said.

What else can you do but smile?

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

I pinned this recipe a few months ago and finally got around to trying it. It is from one of my favorite blogs and a place where I have found many, many delicious recipes. I knew I had a home run as soon as I found it.

I started with prepping my noodles. It said to soak the noodles for 20 minutes (while preparing the rest of the dish) so that they are nice and soft when ready to add them to the sauce.

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

Now if you have ever stood in the international food aisle of your local grocery store, you will know how many noodle choices there are. And frankly, I think I bought the wrong noodles. They were quite thick, so guess what? By the time 20 minutes had passed, they were not nearly soft enough. But I persevered and let them cook in the sauce and in the end they were ok…a little on the firm side, but ok.

Next I worked on the sauce.

To a frying pan I added

  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1/4 diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

After about 5 minutes I stirred in 2 tablespoons of red curry paste and let it cook another minute or so.

Then I added

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of water (to stretch the sauce a bit…and because I didn’t have any chicken or veggie broth on hand)

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

I let the whole thing bubble and simmer for 15 minutes until it had thickened a bit.

For the veggies for this meal, I just bought a bag of fresh stir fry vegetable (don’t judge) and a bag of broccoli slaw to make it go a little farther. I stir fried these in a little oil in another pan while the sauce was simmering.

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

To assemble I just mixed everything together and served with a little bit of lime juice squeezed on top and some sesame seeds to make it look pretty.

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

The verdict- Ah-mazing! Because of my love of all things coconut, this was right up my alley. The flavors were so delicious. It would be easy to make this a meat-filled dish with either chicken or shrimp, but it was pretty darn delicious on its own.