Menu Plan Monday: 3 Meals to Get You Through a Busy Week!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hi! How was your weekend??
Our's was great!! It was a good mix of getting some things done around the house and just hanging out and playing :)

Okay-I purposely don't commit to very much in December...because life is already busy enough!  With that being said- this week is our busiest week of the month.  We have multiple things going on each day- and while it is ALL fun and festive- it can be a smidge tiring and a tad stressful.  BUT- I have decided NOT to let it be this way! HA!

And one of the ways I am going to keep it nice and calm at my house is to make a few SUPER simple, versatile meals- and use those throughout the week for our dinners. 

I can only imagine this is a busy week for you! Do you have a menu planned out? 
I know for me- having our meals planned out is SO helpful- especially when we need to be out the door by 6:00 pm to get to a Christmas program on time! might want to try one or all 3 of these recipes and build your menu plan around them!

First up: 

"Refried Beans" in the Crock pot!
3 cups of dry pinto (or black) beans (rinsed)
1 onion, peeled & halved
8 cups of water
4 tsp salt
1 3/4 t pepper
2 T minced garlic (I use granulated when I'm in a hurry)
1/8 t ground cumin
Put all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for about 8 hours. **Use a crock pot liner if you have one for easier clean up!** After the beans are soft, drain, reserving the liquid. Mash beans with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to reach the desired consistency. Add liquid, a bit at a time, to desired thickness, remembering they will thicken with time. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! 

(I also add some salsa and cheese to mine and often garlic salt)

I will usually double this recipe and freeze several portions for other meals!  To make bean and cheese burritos- I just put a generous portion of beans in a tortilla, sprinkle on a good amount of sharp cheddar cheese and a couple dollops of sour cream.  I roll up the tortilla and top it with some shredded lettuce and salsa.  The beans are very filling- so you really don't miss the meat!  We also make bean and cheese nachos and bean and cheese quesadillas with these refried beans! 

Next is my husband's favorite soup :) This recipe does take a little bit of time to prep- but one you have everything peeled and chopped- it all just gets dumped into the soup pot :)

Potato Corn Chowder
4 cups diced and peeled potatoes
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup butter or margarine- divided

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon dried dill weed (if you don't have this- totally ok to leave it out!)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like to use sharp cheddar)
1 can (16 oz) cream style corn
OPTIONAL: 1 cup diced, cooked ham or crumbled, fried bacon

Combine potatoes, celery, onion, water and 1/4 cup butter in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add in remaining butter, flour, salt and pepper.  Stir and incorporate flour well.  Gradually add milk.  Add dill.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Stir in corn.  Add ham or bacon if desired.  Heat all the way through over medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pot.

This recipe is from my mom :) I love to make a big batch (I double this recipe) and freeze a bunch to have on hand for easy weeknight dinners.  Pair of big bowl of this soup with a tossed salad and or grilled cheese and you have a perfect meal!

And finally- one of the best crockpot recipes to have in your arsenal!!
My favorite part about this recipe is that it can be used for  (at least) FIVE different meals.  This is so great for saving time and stretching what I spend on my food budget!

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
I love this recipe from  Actually- I love all of Gina's recipes!  They are so healthy, flavorful and for the most part easy!  This is a really adaptable recipe and makes A LOT!

My adapted version of Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken:

3 large chicken breasts
1 can black beans (undrained)
1 can corn (drained) - this is optional- if you have it great- if not- no biggie!
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (undrained)
About 1 cup of your favorite salsa
I "eyeballed" the following seasonings...but the approximate measurements are:
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (a few fresh diced cloves of garlic would be great too)
Couple dashes of chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for about 4 hours.  Shred chicken right in the crock pot about 15-30 minutes before you are ready to eat.
This mixture freezes put your leftover portions in a tupperware and put in the freezer for a dinner later in the month!

Now here is where the fun comes in!  Here are FIVE different ways you can use this Santa Fe chicken mixture:

1)  "Chipotle" Burrito Bowl Style: Make some rice or quinoa, shred lettuce and make a layered bowl of lettuce, rice and chicken mixture.  
Top with sour cream, cheese, salsa and avocado!
2) Baked Crunchy Chicken Tacos:  Take crunchy taco shells, stuff with some chicken mixture and cheese and warm in the oven (at about 475) until they are warmed through and cheese is melted.  Add lettuce and other favorite toppings!
3) Use chicken mixture for filling in enchiladas!  Take soft flour tortillas, fill each with some chicken mixture and some shredded cheese.  Use your favorite enchilada sauce and pour some in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put filled tortillas in dish, top with more enchilada sauce and shredded cheese.  
Bake at 450 until enchiladas are warmed through and cheese is bubbling! 
Serve with your favorite toppings!
4) Chicken Nachos!  Get round tortilla chips or the "scoops" kind. Cover a baking sheet with foil.  Fill or top your chips with chicken mixture and then sprinkle on some cheese.  Put in the oven at 475 until warmed through and cheese is melted.  
Serve with salsa and sour cream!
5) Chicken soft tacos!  Just take your choice of corn tortillas or flour tortillas, chicken mixture and your favorite taco toppings and create the yummiest soft tacos ever!

So using these 3 recipes...your menu plan could look something like this (and remember- all of these recipes are going to give you leftovers- which means you have meals ready to go for next week or in a couple of weeks down the road!!)

Monday: Bean and cheese burritos (using crockpot bean recipe) with lettuce, sour cream and salsa + applesauce

Tuesday: Potato Corn Chowder, grilled cheese and a side tossed salad

Wednesday: Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken- use mixture for "Chipotle" style burrito bowls!

Thursday: Nacho Night! Set out chips, a bowl of (leftover) refried beans, a bowl of (leftover) Crockpot Santa Fe chicken, lots of shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, sliced black olives...maybe even some jalepenos?? And let everyone build their own plate of nachos! You can quickly warm them up under the broiler or in the microwave!

Friday:Pizza Night! Give yourself a night OFF!! 

Saturday: Italian sub sandwiches + Leftover Potato corn chowder

Sunday: Chicken Enchiladas using Santa Fe Crockpot Chicken mixture (plus a side of refried beans (use leftovers from the crockpot recipe) and rice (pick up a seasoned rice packet at the store!)- totally optional but SO good :)

And there you have it- THREE recipes- that will get your through a week's worth of dinner (plus you will probably have leftovers!) 
If you end up trying any of these recipes- let me know what you think! 
If you have any "go-to" recipes that can be stretched into several different meals- I would love to hear about them!! I need all the help I can get in the recipe/dinner making department! HA!

Hope you all have the BEST day!

I am linking up with Laura today!


  1. That potato soup looks so yummy! I will have to try it!

  2. Awesome recipes that will last all week!!! Thanks! And I make Mix & Match Mamas sausage corn chowder that is very similar to your chowder that is super yummy!!

  3. So much food --- so few meals!! Will have to remember to come back to this post for ideas!

  4. Look at you and your awesome recipes and pics! You are such an awesome meal planner and cook! I seriously love those beans! Last week I made a bean dip with those beans and a bag of chips and gave it to a friend who was busy with a whole bunch of family in town. It was so delcious and they loved it! Keep the posts coming!


I love hearing from you! Let's keep it nice though...ain't nobody got time for anything else!