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 February 22-26

Teachers know that when teaching reading, background knowledge is so important. And what we find is that with our high ELL population, they don’t always have the background knowledge we assume every child has. So we talk about books, we discuss the type of writing (fiction or non-fiction), we look at subject specific language and we draw on the experiences the kids have had. All before we read a single word in a book.

So, I gathered my little group of boys around the guided reading table and we started the discussion. The book we were reading was a fiction piece written in the style of a journal called “My Monster Week” (those teachers out there familiar with LPEY have probably read it a thousand times…)

As we started to flip through the pages I asked the boys “What kind of book is this? There are dates at the top of each page…what kind of writing has that?”

The boys flipped through, rolling the question over and finally one of the little boys figured it out.

His eyes got big and he shot his hand up. “I know” he said excitedly “It’s a diarrhea.”

“It’s a diary, yes!” I said quickly as to not draw attention to the the word diarrhea at a table full of 8 year old boys. No one skipped a beat, they all repeated the word diary after me under their breaths and we talked about how it was like writing in your journal…and how sometimes you lock a diary so no one else can read it.

This is why I get paid the big bucks people, to decide when it is important to build background knowledge and explain words…and when it is best to just keep moving on.

It’s teachers convention this week! A favorite time of year for all teachers. Professional development and a mental health break to connect with old friends and colleagues. But it also means breakfasts and lunches with friends…and they are not always that good for me. So I am trying keeping suppers light and fiber-full.

MondaySplit Pea Soup
TuesdayChicken Noodle Soup
ThursdayAn assortment of leftover soups
FridayFrozen Pizza

Grocery List:

  • Dried lentils
  • Dried split peas
  • Ham steak
  • Chicken broth x 4
  • Marjoram
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Basil
  • Mustard
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Chicken breasts
  • Egg noodles or your favorite noodles
  • Ground beef
  • Beans x 2
  • Tomato soup
  • BBQ sauce
  • Green pepper
  • Canned mushrooms


I have to work late on Monday night, so something in the slow cooker is the best option because then it is ready when I get home (when I will be very, very hungry). Split pea soup is perfect…full of fiber and flavor.



More soup!



Chili is like soup…but you can eat it with lots of cheese and taco chips! So maybe this is not as healthy as it could be when I add all that other stuff, but beans are healthy right?



I’m pretty sure we are going to have TONS of soup/chili leftovers…so we can choose what we like best and enjoy it again tonight.