15 October 2013

Meal Planning Newbie & A Recipe

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Hillshire Brand Company but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #buy3save3  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

I have a confession. I have never really "planned" my meals for the week. How awful is that?! As a wife & mama two little boys, you'd think I would spend more time planning out our meals, and at the very least, our dinners. Ugh. There are some things I really enjoy planning, but other things, like meals? Nope. I'm not sure what it is about it. I guess it's that I don't really enjoy cooking that much, unless it's something I've made a trillion times, then it's just second nature. If I'm being honest, I think part of me is nervous to try new recipes. Weird, right? And I think the other part of it, is that I don't like budgeting out my grocery list. Oh and the last part? I don't like cleaning up the kitchen. Who does? But for me, it's just so much easier to go out to eat.

Well regardless of my dislike for meal planning and budgeting, I think it's something that's important, and something I need to spend a little bit more time on. Not only will it save us money, but it will help us to sit down and have more dinners together, which is super important to me.

So here is my goal.

1) Plan at least 2 meals per week. Easy, right?

I think the hardest thing for me will be finding recipes that we can all eat. Both myself & Bennett are fairly picky eaters, and my Husband is on a super low carb diet, err, lifestyle. I'm also looking for recipes that are pretty quick & easy to prepare. 30 minutes or less is my goal. Ideally, they need to contain a good amount of meat (for my hubby), veggies, and preferable some sort of pasta (for me). Luckily, we've found a low-card option pasta that will work well with our meals.

This week? I was sifting through the Hillshire Farm recipes and found like 83 recipes I want to add to my meal plan for this month. But here's the first one I made. I tweaked the recipe just slightly, and this is what I came up with.

This had all of the elements that I was looking for. Meats, veggies & pasta. Plus? It was delicious!! And prep time was amazingly short. Here's your ingredients & directions. And also a coupon for you. Keep reading... :)

  • 1 package of Hillshire Farm Angus Rope Smoked Sausage
  • 8oz of Penne
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2  cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons beef broth
  • 1/2 (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Cut sausage into 1/2" slices. Cook penne according to package directions.
  2. Add olive oil into a large non-stick skillet. Add sausage, mushrooms and onion. Stir frequently for 4-5 minutes or until sausage is lightly browned and vegetable are tender.
  3. Stir in spinach, sun dried tomatoes and beef broth; heat through.

    Finally, toss with cooked penne and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese!! 

And done. This took about 10 minutes of prep and about 10 minutes to cook. And I'm not kidding you when I tell you that this recipe is UH-mazing. I will admit, that it was the smoked sausage that completely made this recipe. It was so flavorful and yummy.

Safeway shoppers! Be sure to sign up for the "Just For U" program, you will get the Buy 3, Save $3 offer on participating Hillshire Farm Products.

When I have a painless, successful meal prep -- it makes me a little more hopeful that I can perhaps tackle this whole meal planning thing. Honestly, don't know what I would do without the internet, it makes it so much easier to plan & prepare for the week.

What are some of your favorite recipes to make??


Erin said...

Yum!! We love Hillshire Farms sausage, it's one meat Jackson will actually eat! Would love for you to share this recipe with Life Created link party. This week's party is now live :)

Meg O. said...

Oh dear goodness, that looks amazing! Come make that for me?

Kate Rogers said...

Once you get the hang of meal planning and find your go to meals, it is soooooo easy!! I used to dread meal planning and it would take me forever but now, I can get it done in 10 minutes. I do weekly meal plans right now because clean eating (everything would go bad) but I hope to be able to start at least planning for the month soon!!

Kate @ www.raisingtherogers.blogspot.com

Olivia Grace said...

Good for you mama!! Meal planning can seem daunting at first but the more you do it, the easier it will get and you will be surprised at how much stress it takes off of you to know exactly what you are serving each week, no more stressing as dinner time rolls around. Just keep practicing, keep trying new recipes, and you will get more and more comfortable with the process. What's the worse that can happen? I have tried many recipes that came out really bad, had to scrap the whole meal and serve sandwiches instead. But my family could have cared less and I knew not to use those recipes again. I use Pinterest for recipes and it's a life saver. Good luck and happy cooking!!

Chelsea said...

This seriously looks and sounds INCREDIBLE! I'm always looking for some meal inspiration since we always seem to get stuck in a rut and make the same things over and over. Can't wait to try this!

amber.m said...

YUM! This looks so good! I TRY to meal plan but it's such a pain sometimes, sometimes I forget all about it until very last minute and then I'm frantic and bothered by it.

Kathe said...

I'd take out the mushrooms (not a lover of fungi, weird I know) and then I would love this recipe! I plan our dinners for 2 weeks so that I only have to hit the store twice a month and I have a tough time too :-)

alexis at thelittlebrunette.com said...

This looks yummy!

Megan Peter said...

I didn't know there was low carb pasta- eek!!!!! I've been doing low carb lifestyle for about six months now and have really missed my pasta (and one can only stomach so much spaghetti squash). Thanks for the tip! For the fall season, try making white chicken chili- it's super yummy and very low-carb friendly.

Kate said...

This looks soo good! I am going to try this for sure! And I do a lot of meal planning! It makes things so much easier!

Aileen Johnston said...

I hate cooking with a passion so my husband does most of it. However he works away for 2 weeks at a time so then I am in charge of feeding myself and our little girl. Before I had our daughter I used to have a full time job and a part time job in the evenings. I got fed at my part time job and then probably ate out twice a week so only had to provide dinner for myself 3 nights a week which was doable. It did tend to be a lot of tortellini with various jarred sauces or sometimes if I was feeling adventurous I would make a spag bol or something. However now I have a daughter I really have to make an effort to make sure we have proper meals (boo!) Plus we are trying to save money as gone are the days of having 2 full incomes coming into the home and being able to spend money like it was our job!. 2 of my favourite quick and easy meals are cheats macaroni cheese http://www.philadelphia.co.uk/Recipes/Macaroni-Cheese-with-Ham-Sweetcorn?r=38659 (i add peas so there are 2 veggies in it) My other is oven roasted salmon, cous cous with roasted vegetables (any of them that are hanging around the fridge) and potato salad with pesto mayonaise. Both very quick, very easy and really tasty!!! xx

Kristin said...

YUm!!! Looks so deliciously easy too!

Pamela said...

Oh my. YUM! I just pinned this!! Looks delicious!!

The Ramblin Rooster {Ashley Mills} said...

YUMMY!!! This looks so delicious and quick - can't wait to try it out!

Leah D said...

Totally right there with you on the cooking part. I'm a picky eater and my Hubs is on a diet..er..lifestyle change. Plus, I am so NOT a cook, so it has to be simple, easy and quick. Oh yea, and yummy.

Joni said...

I think I have told you a dozen times now how delicious this looks. I have to be honest though, I don't think I have ever had sun dried tomatoes, but I am not worried about that at all because I am NOT a picky eater and I know I will like them, probably love them! This is definitely on our menu next week!

Karly Gomez said...

Oh my, I think Rudy would absolutely love this! It incorporates his favorite things: sausage and mushrooms! I may have to make this next week as a surprise for him.

Fran said...

That looks so yummy! I'll have to make it soon :)

Amanda said...

I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms but that does look delicious! I'm loving the sausage/pasta combo idea. I need to try that more often.

Discovery Street said...

just made a meal with hillshire farms two nights ago!

Sarah Halstead said...

Yummy!! That looks delicious!!

Angela Peters said...

That looks absolutely delish!!