Monday, January 26, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 1/26

Good morning everyone! Today is Silas' first official snow day and we are celebrating in style. Pajamas, blankets all over the living room, and snacks - ha! We actually already had about 4 inches fall here on Saturday so I was able to take the boys sledding for the first time. Take a peek:

They're so cute! And they had a total blast. Paul was disappointed he wasn't there (at work) so we're hoping with this lengthy storm today he'll be able to take them.

Here are the posts from last week, in case you missed them:

Lemon Meringue Cake

Tuna BLT Melt

5 Reasons I Plan "Dinner Out" Nights, and Why You Should Too!

Paul starts his seminary classes again this week, so we have a few months of super busy schedules around here until the spring! Here's my menu plan for the week:

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Skillet

Homemade Taco Helper

Roasted Nacho Potatoes

Crockpot Chicken Chili

Roasted Garlic Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Honey Butter

Hoagies for the Super Bowl!

I hope you have a wonderful, wintry week!

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Friday, January 23, 2015

5 Reasons I Plan Dinner Out Nights - and Why You Should Too!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pizza Hut. The opinions and text are all mine.

I am a gigantic proponent of menu planning and the freedom it gives us cooks during the week. The ability to have all ingredients on hand for the entire week to create yummy and nutritious meals for your family is a true sanity saver. I do have one question for those of you that regularly meal plan like me.

Do you plan "dinner out" nights?

It may seem contradictory to my thoughts I just stated, but you really should plan nights to eat out! Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. The cook gets a night off. 
     Ok, this is the one that is making you say, "DUH" to the screen. But hear me out. How many of us are so focused on serving a hot meal and cleaning up, that we really don't get a chance to enjoy the time spent with our family? I know I'm one! Half the time my food is cold before I even sit down! It's so refreshing to just sit and enjoy each other at a restaurant and not have to worry about everyone getting their meal hot and their various drinks and cleaning up spills... etc. 

2. You make healthier choices when you plan to eat out.
     This goes hand in hand with regular menu planning. I don't know about you, but when I don't plan meals and I'm hungry and stressed out, my go to is the drive thru - certainly NOT the most healthy option, but it is the most convenient option at that point in time. When you plan a night out, you can pick a family favorite restaurant that has more nutritious options for your family. 

3. Cooking inspiration abounds! 
     I love, love, LOVE getting inspiration for new meal ideas when I go out to eat! Sometimes when an ingredient I want to try is a bit pricey, I'll order it out first to see if I can come up with ways to incorporate it into meals at home. I've come up with some of my favorite recipes and desserts from the inspiration I get from eating out! And for those of you that don't particularly enjoy being in the kitchen, it just may encourage you to get in there and try something new.

4. It fits within your family's budget.
     There's no doubt about it - when you're rushing around, everyone's hungry, and you have nothing planned for dinner - it's really cheap to get a bag of burgers on your way home from work. You know what's not cheap? Doing it once, twice (or more... yikes!) times per week. It adds up. Quickly. I'm telling you, the temptation to do this goes away if you know you have a planned night out with your family at a favorite restaurant coming up. Of course that sit-down restaurant may cost more, but if you only plan it once or twice per month it's certainly cheaper in the long run. It encourages you to make a dinner plan and stick to it - because you'll be rewarded with an awesome night out!

5. It's totally FUN!
     I mean I know this goes without saying, but it's gotta be one of my favorite reasons to plan a night out. We have a total BLAST with each other! I mean really, who doesn't like to eat out?! My husband and I even occasionally get to (gasp) hold hands across the table! I'm so glad we get to plan for this family activity together.

We have LOADS of local restaurants that have become favorites of ours, and we've recently rediscovered Pizza Hut on a night out together we had planned. We were able to try out their new "Flavor of Now" pizza options - SO fun! The kids of course ordered their favorite personal pan pizzas, remember those from Book-It school reading incentive program? Yes, they still do that! 

Paul and I decided on a stuffed crust pizza, topped with premium crushed tomato, grilled chicken, and a buffalo drizzle. OH MAN was that pizza good! I actually ordered a small side of ranch dressing, which was perfect to cool off the spicy buffalo wing sauce. They give you a choice of 5 new toppings, 6 bold sauces, 8 crust flavors, and 4 drizzles to choose from. We decided that next time we visit, we'll try the salted pretzel crust with creamy garlic parmesan and fresh spinach - yum!

Be sure to check out Pizza Hut's Flavor of Now site to see all of the combinations you can create. Click here to conveniently order your pizza online - hot and ready for you!

Here are some of my favorite pizza recipes:

Meatball Mozzarella Mini Pizzas

Ranch Veggie Pizza

Cheesy Herb Pizza Sticks

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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Give Pizza Hut's all-new menu a try with 5 premium new ingredients, 6 bold new sauces and 10 amazing new crust flavors. Build your own creation now at
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pizza Hut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuna BLT Melt

Tuna, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar stuffed in a wrap and grilled - the perfect lunch!

If there ever was a flavor that can immediately bring me back to my little house in Philadelphia as a kid, it's a tuna sandwich on white bread. Tuna was always a favorite in my house growing up. Why? SO affordable! At least a few cans of tuna were always in our pantry and I think we learned how to whip up a quick sandwich by ourselves while we were still in elementary school! My mom and dad both worked so I remember during the summer when we were bored and hungry, my sister, best friend, and I would make tuna or instant mashed potatoes. The only two things we knew how to make at the time. True story!

Bumble Bee Tuna is STILL one of my favorites, although we enjoy it a bit differently than with my dad's beloved white bread! The boys love it with some cheese on whole wheat. Paul and I love it over spring mix, shredded cheese, and our favorite light balsamic vinaigrette. A few times I've forgone the salad idea, and just stuffed it into a low carb wrap. 

Which is where this brilliant idea got started.

Tuna. Bacon. Tomato. Spring Mix. Cheddar. Grilled. OMG - you NEED to try!

This is a step above the traditional tuna salad sandwich, and you won't look back. What a great way to start the New Year for a New You!

Tuna BLT Melt

Yield: 4 wraps
  • 3 cans Bumble Bee chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup spring mix
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 whole wheat or low carb wraps
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat an indoor counter top grill or panini press. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together drained tuna, mayo, vinegar, dried minced onion, and garlic powder. Spread even amounts of the tuna mixture down the center of each wrap. Top each with 2 bacon slices, tomato, spring mix, and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Wrap tightly and grill for 3 - 4 minutes until cheese is melted and wrap is brown and crispy. Slice on a diagonal and serve.

I really love the Bumble Bee brand tuna specifically because you can find it in the can or the pouch, I've been able to find some fantastic deals at the grocery store as well as coupons available for the pouch variety! Not to mention, of course, the health benefits of tuna: variety of nutrients, lean protein source, healthy fat, and important vitamins and minerals. Something we all could use more of in our diets! 

Here are some more of my favorite tuna recipes:

Skillet Tuna Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Tuna Melt Quesadillas

What are some of your favorite Bumble Bee tuna recipes? Share a link in the comments if you can!

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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