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 September 14-18

Well, school is back in full swing. In some ways it doesn’t even really feel like we left…everything just fell back into routine, but with new kids.

My group of 26 this year are completely wonderful. I know it’s only 4 days in and there definitely is a honeymoon phase, but they are sweet and kind and eager to learn.

I think it is going to be a great year.

And if the first 4 days are any indication, I am going to have enough great stories to write a book!

Every day in my room, at some point, we all gather in story corner around my big comfy chair and I read to the kids. It might be a story book or part of a chapter book, but it is time when students get to talk about literature and relate what they see and hear to their own lives.

On Wednesday I read a story called Leo the Late Bloomer.


This is a story about a little lion cub who is way behind the other animals. He can’t read, write, speak or even eat neatly. His dad wonders when he will catch up and his wise mother tells him to just be patient. By the end of the story Leo has “bloomed” and his first sentence is “I made it!”. It’s a great little story to remind kids that they aren’t going to be good at everything the same time as those around them, but in the end they will bloom too.

As we were walking back to our desks, one of my little girls comes up beside me and says

“Mrs. Skinner, I think my brother is a late bloomer.” (Her brother is older than her)

“Oh really?” I asked

“Yeah” she continued “He does NOT eat neatly.”

Like I said, this is going to be a great year…

Here is what we are eating this week:

Coconut Curry ChickpeasSausage, Peppers and OnionsFrench Dip CupcakesBuffalo Chicken CupcakesFrozen Pizza

Grocery List:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Onions
  • 2 red, yellow or orange peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • Ground coriander
  • Red curry paste
  • Tomato paste
  • Minced ginger
  • Minced garlic
  • Rice
  • Roast beef from the deli counter
  • 2 wheels of laughing cow cheese (I bought white cheddar and jalapeno)
  • Canned gravy
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Cheese
  • Chicken breasts
  • Buffalo wing sauce (I have Franks Red Hot on hand)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • A ring of turkey or ham sausage
  • 2-3 potatoes


For meatless Monday, we are having my good friend Colin over! I am excited to swap beginning of school stories with him. He, like me, knows the value of a good chickpea meal. They are high in fibre…and fibre is your friend.


Coconut Curry Garbanzo Beans



This caught my eye on Pinterest and it looks so good! Can’t wait to try it out.

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash


We love these little cupcake bites! They are easy to make, taste great and are super portable for lunch the next day!




Since the package of wonton wrappers has enough in it for two meals, I thought I would try another cupcake recipe. These buffalo chicken ones look pretty tasty too.