Back to the Basics- Meal Planning and an Easy Crockpot Pork

Hey all! The new school year is almost upon us. Back to those busy nights filled with homework and after school activities. Back to those nights where we all get home and everyone wants to know that dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” Well, look no further. I have got you covered.

I am back to work…school for me starts tomorrow. Teacher pre-planning; the bane of my existence. Becca has nightly cheer camp this week; Katie has gymnastics; Lizzie is in the midst of her treatments soon…we have a lot going on here. We all still have to eat though, and our health and wallets cannot afford to go out too much, so home cooked meals are necessary. So what is a busy and slightly frantic mom to do? Start back my weekly meal planning and pull out my crock pot and freezer meal ideas…

Here is what I plan to do for this CRAZY week.

Sun- I realize that this is Monday, but what I made last night is another meal for this week. In case you missed it yesterday, here is what we had…

Monday- Easy Crockpot Pork- I took a boneless pork butt seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, and dried Italian seasoning. I added rough chopped onion, 2 cloves smashed and chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire, and 1 container of beef broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. The pork turned out moist and full of flavor. You could drain the juices, but I would keep them. This oniony meaty broth would be a great base for a soup. Heck, you could even add some of this pork to it in a bowl and voila, pork soup!


I had this pork and a side of the onions with a side of BBQ sauce.

Tuesday- Leftover pasta

Wednesday- Leftover pork

Thursday- Homemade Sub sandwiches at the pool

Friday- Pizza delivered to the pool

Well, those last 2 days are my plan anyway. It is still only August, so there are lots of hot pool night ahead, right?

Olive Oil Fried Eggs

Skip the spray and butter! Instead use a good layer of olive oil in the bottom of your pan to fry up some yummy eggs. Cook to your liking. I love mine sunny side up!


Serve with some toast to soak up all that yummy yolk. For the kids, cut up the toast in strips. We call them dipping strips or soldiers. Fun and delicious!

Sausage and Rigatoni

I needed to take a trip to the grocery store today, but instead I opted to spend the day at the pool. Summer is almost gone for us, so I need to soak up all the last summer fun I can. Instead, I raided the fridge and pantry and decided to make this delicious dish. Sausage and rigatoni with a quick homemade marinara sauce. Family approved!

Sausage and Rigatoni


Sausage- I had kielbasa in the fridge. I think Italian sweet or spicy sausage would have been great with this. Even a ground sausage would be fine.
Rigatoni- use whatever pasta you have- bowtie, spaghetti, penne, etc.
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
fresh herbs- basil, sage, oregano, and, marjoram
1 cup of mozzarella cheese


Use a large heavy pot. Add in a bit of oil. Cook your sausage. Take out of the pan and slice in to bite sized chunks.
Add in your diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes or so, then add in your garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add in your tomato paste and mix for a minute or so. Then add in your cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix together. Add back in your sausage. Simmer on low.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta. Drain and add in to your sauce. Add the cheese to the top and place in the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until your cheese begins to become bubbly and brown.





Spicy Quick Pickle Veggies

I had a ton of okra, beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and peppers I got from the farmer’s market the other day, so I decided to make a jar of quick pickles. These guys turned out so good; super flavorful and very spicy.


a couple handfuls of okra- Trim off ends and slice okra in half
2 sweet peppers- 1 yellow, 1 green sliced in thin strips
1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half- I used the ribs and seeds, but you can take them out if you wish
handful of beans (green, purple, yellow)- Trim off ends
handful of cherry tomatoes, whole
3 garlic cloves, peeled, whole
3 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups water
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups water


Add all the trimmed vegetables, except the garlic, into a large, stainless steel mixing bowl or stockpot. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in another large saucepan, and bring to a boil over med-high heat.

Carefully pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, and make sure all the ingredients are submerged in the brine by using some large plates or glass platters to hold them under the liquid.

Cover and let cool to room temperature. Add them to your mason/Bell jar. Transfer to refrigerator and chill before serving. Pickled vegetables can be kept refrigerated, completely submerged in their liquid, in an airtight container, for up to 2 months. =) Enjoy!



Veggie Stir Fry with Orzo

Happy hump day! I went to my farmer’s market yesterday afternoon and hit the jackpot! Tons of amazing veggies and lots of watermelon, peaches, and berries. Planning it all out? Nope. Just going with the flow and making stuff up as I go along. Last night I made this …
I also quick pickled okra, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. I am going to put up that recipe soon.

Tonight I decided to make a veggie stir fry and add in the rest of my leftover orzo. One pot vegetarian wonder! I added beans (purple and green (taste the same and the purple ones turn green when you cook them), peppers (sweet and spicy- 1/2 jalapeno with seeds ), and halved cherry tomatoes added to 3 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. I cooked them down for a few minutes with a touch of salt and pepper. Then I added a bit of hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, and stir fry sauce. Not a lot…I really just eye-balled it, adding about 1 tablespoon of each. Then at the end, I added in my orzo and stirred very well.

Such a gorgeous dish! The jalapeno added a subtle heat that just kept building as I ate each bite. You can just taste that these veggies came straight from the garden. Fresh and tender; each amazing veggie’s flavor came through.




Orzo and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

Forget Meatless Monday! Eat what you want when you want. Lots of veggie options today from my local market. I found a pretty heirloom tomato. The guy said it was hollow and needed to be stuffed. #challengeaccepted

Orzo and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

All I did was cut off the top and hollow out the inside of a summer heirloom tomato… I filled it with leftover cooked orzo and topped with mozzarella. Broiled on low for 10 minutes. YUM!



Seafood Steamed in Garlic, Butter, and Wine

My lunch today was pretty special. I was at the grocery store and passed by the seafood department. There were these little clams and mussels that seemed to be calling my name. I decided to get some. Then I noticed the shrimp and lobster tails were on sale, so I bought a small serving of each.

I decided to cook them in this creamy rich sauce. Garlic and butter go hand and hand with seafood. I had juice running all down my arms and face. I loved sopping up all that juice with my crusty bread. In Italian, that is called “scarpetta.” You could serve this with pasta or on top a fresh bed of sauteed veggies. Me? I just loved enjoying all the flavors of the seafood and garlicky butter. So succulent!

Seafood Steamed in Garlic, Butter, and Wine


1 lobster tail
6-8 shrimp
6-8 mussels
6-8 clams
3 cloves garlic
3/4 stick of butter
splash of white wine


In a large pot (I used a circular dutch oven)
melt your butter
cook your garlic for about 3-4 minutes
add your wine- cook down for about 3-4 minutes
add all your seafood
stir, put a lid on it
cook for about 6 minutes or until all the clams and mussels have opened (throw out the ones that do not open) Your shrimp should be pink and your lobster tail should be red

Serve with a side of crusty bread for sopping up all that delicious juice!