Back at it with week two of my meal planning on the blog! This week's meals are my way of cleaning out the fridge and freezer. We leave for vacation soon so I don't want a bunch of stuff to end up going bad on us. Sunday is looking to be my favorite meal of this week because my husband and I are going out for our 3 year wedding anniversary! We chose one of our favorite places which is a contemporary Japanese place that cooks all your food in front of you. It's super yummy and really filling. I always end up having left overs for lunch the following day LOL

So I ended up mixing up my days on this week's meal plan and ended up making Sunday's dinner Saturday night, which ended up really working out for me because we decided to venture to the zoo and spent most of the day out. Coming home worn out from a long & fun day knowing dinner was just a scoop into a bowl away from being done was an amazing feeling! Not to mention it tasted pretty freaking delicious!

Not to mention I used my Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners like I always do (well since my Mom introduced me to them!) to make clean up just as easy!

You literally put the bag in (and its big enough to fit up to 6.5 quart pots!) fill up your ingredients and cook! The bags have never melted or torn on us!

And once dinner was finished all I had to do was lift the bag up, pour the leftovers into a tupperware, toss the bag into the garbage and take a damp sponge to the inside of the crock pot to wipe away some residual condensation from cooking all day!

Now for the recipe:


  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 cup - onion, diced (1 medium/large size)
  • 14-1/2 oz can Red Gold diced tomatoes with Roasted Garlic and Onions
  • 2 cups - green peppers and/or red peppers, chopped (I just used 2 green peppers)
  • 15 oz can Red Gold tomato sauce
  • 3 cups - beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon - dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon - dried oregano
  • 1 cup rice


  1. Brown your beef with your onion in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Drain your beef and onions and place in your slow cooker.
  3. Add your Red Gold tomatoes (juice and all) and the rest of your ingredients.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

I've recently started to doing weekly meal planning, I had tried to do it previously but never seemed to stick with it or follow the plan however in the last few weeks I have found that it has been a true blessing to sit down on Sunday's and plan my week out. I've always been one that gravitates towards organization and I'm a HUGE planner but becoming a parent you learn there is no such thing is really having a set plan. Kids will always tend to throw you a curve ball into the mix. (Not that that is a bad thing!)

Being a full time working mother I've found that not only does planning my meals out for the week saves me a LOT of time (no "uh crap what should I make for dinner tonight?!"; no "lets just grab something to go" or even last minute grocery store trips for something to make), its also saved me money! Sitting down on Sunday mornings over a cup of more than likely cold coffee (hey toddler mom life! LOL) I'll take a quick peak in the freezer / fridge and figuring out what I should make for dinner that week (I don't worry about breakfast or lunch cause breakfast is pretty simple for us and lunch is a mix up of a couple options for each individual). Sometimes I'll take a gander through my Food :: Dinner Pinterest board and then begin to make decisions on what will be a part of our week's meals.

I always try and work my way through what is in the house first and when a recipe calls for something not in the house it gets added to the grocery list. Recently I've also started checking out Aldi for shopping and have been incredibly impressed with their selection and pricing! It can be a bit crazy there on the weekends but I just go with the flow.

When I started doing my meal planning I was just using a notebook and writing everything out but the graphic designer in me finally stepped up and created a fun and clean form I can print and fill out.

Here's a sample of the layout with this week's meals:

I am going to try and upload my weekly meal plans for you all in case you too are looking for ideas in your meals. Feel free to share some of your favorite meals with me! I'm always looking for new ideas.

If you'd like to use my Weekly Meal Plan form feel free to download it here! (Free Printable!)
Wow long time no see huh?! It has been over a year since my last post and I can't lie I do miss blogging and I am hoping to get back into it!

This past weekend was Father's Day and was the second Father's Day my husband was able to celebrate. We decided to have an at home day and do things he wanted to do. Naturally the first thing he wanted to do was bust his smoker out which funny enough was his Father's Day present from Nathan last year. He had prepped the meat the day before to allow it to marinate and on went the beef round for some home made beef jerky (which is DELICIOUS). Next up was a trip to Home Depot to pick up some things to finish up projects around the house. Apparently instead of relaxing he just wanted to knock some projects out we've been talking about for weeks but haven't gotten to yet. 

We decided to get some lunch and to keep up with the smoking theme we were gonna hit our local BBQ place but realized they were closed for Sunday so we decided to try our favorite hot dog stand only to find they were also closed for Father's Day but luckily there was a Chinese food place at the end of the strip we decided to check out and we were so happy we did! Lunch was delicious and my husband who really isn't food picky but is a serious critic when it comes to eating out actually said he was pretty impressed so that was added to the list of places we would check out again!

Once we got home from our afternoon adventures it was time to take the jerky off the smoker and build some shelving for our shed while Nathan napped. We lucked out cause Nathan actually took a nice and long nap so we were able to get the shelf completely knocked out, everything put back into the shed AND sit down and relax for a bit.

We finished the evening off with a super yummy dinner and a movie on the couch. He said it was a perfect Father's Day. #MissionAccomplished 

Now as for the Whiskey Jerky, my husband has seriously made this now twice and I'm not normally a beef jerky person but I've seriously gobbled up sooo much of this the past two weeks I can't get enough of it! So here it is:

  • 1 tbsp - Paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp - Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp - Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp - Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp - Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup - Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup - Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup - Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 1/4 cup - Water
  • 2 lbs - Beef Round


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Slice Beef Round into thin-ish strips.
  3. Marinate overnight.
  4.  Lay out layer of paper towels (we did this on a cookie sheet), lay meat out on top then add another layer of paper towels on top. Pat to remove excess juice.
  5. Heat your smoker to 180°F and use hickory wood chucks.
  6.  Smoke for 5-7 hours, allow to cool some and enjoy!