Meal Planning with Food On The Table for FREE

As you know Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog Crystal & Co., have teamed up to help you find simple dinner ideas in 2012.

I would like to share this mommy solution with you….

Food on the Table is an online meal planning site that allows you to meal plan for three days a week for free. They help you meal plan based on the current sales at local grocery stores.

Way cool, right?

Want to kick it up a notch? You can subscribe to their premium meal planning service for $5 a month.

The Mommy Club- Share Your Resources and Solutions #27

Last week we had 123 mom ideas shared on Crystal & Co., and Milk and Cuddles! If you missed it, you can view the full list here.

These are the top five clicked ideas. Make sure you hop over to Milk and Cuddles to see Shannon’s favorite three picks!

  1. Holy Craft shared with us how she converted her closet into a craft room. For real, my friend! This has me convinced we CAN all have a craft room. If there is a will there’s a way.
  2. It’s Overflowing gave us a tutorial that shares all those nifty buttons on your DSLR camera. I’ve been wondering what all those fancy buttons do.
  3. Joyful Homemaking has a plan for organizing boys. Such a task, let me tell ya.
  4. Living Montessori Now knows you can have chocolate and still be mindful of what’s good for you. She created this healthy chocolate muffin recipe.
  5. The Southern Product Queen wanted 20 babies when she was little. And she had a name for all of her babies-to- be. Southern baby names no less. Want a Crystal & Co., confession? When I was about eight years old, I wanted ten children (like my grandmother). I remember I specifically wanted triplet girls I would name Holly, Molly and Polly. I am serious. Instead, I have only BOYS and one set of twins. No Holly, Molly or Polly. (I wanted to name one of them Molly after my favorite actress Molly Ringwald. Hello 80′s!)

Crystal & Co., Mommy Solutions

Make sure you check out all of my Simple Dinner Idea giveaways. Easy of these solutions will help you get dinner on t the table.

Have I mentioned my skin looks better right now then it has since high school?

The Muvazi anti aging skin care system has turned my face around. I am serious! And they are giving one lucky Crystal & Co., reader a 4 piece skin care set valued at $119! They are also offering every reader a $50 discount code- crystalandcomp.

Their products have a 100% guarantee. You have NOTHING to lose.

Ready to share your mom ideas?

Weekly Meal Plan 113 and Clean Mama Printables Menu Planning Giveaway

How is meal planning coming along for you? Is it enabling you to stick to your grocery budget? Isn’t it awesome when 6:00 pm rolls around and there are no questions about what’s for dinner. What is your favorite kind of recipe? Something you can make in the crockpot, simple and easy, etc.?

If you’re new to meal planning, take a minute to read step by step how to meal plan. It really is super easy and I walk you through it with lots of resources. And, we would love for you to linkup and share your meal planning tips.

Here is what I am feeding my family this week.

Ranch Chicken- this is baked and looks very tasty. Simple and short ingredient list. Served with a dinner salad and rolls.

Baked Puerto Rican Chicken- so easy, just three ingredients. Served with rice and steamed veggies.

Breakfast for Dinner- I moved my menu around a bit last week so I could make the Sesame Ginger Chicken, so we still have bacon and eggs on hand to make this week.

Crockpot Ravioli- super easy. Served with fresh fruit and a dinner salad.

Hot Dogs- served with baked tater tots. We are going to have a few warm days here in North Texas this week. We’re going to grill.

Leftover Buffet- use ‘em up!

Clean Mama Printable Menu Planning Kit

How do you pull your meal plan together each week? Do you write it down? Do you make a grocery list? Clean Mama Printables is here to help us! (I love her online printable shop!)

Have I mentioned I love Clean Mama Printables? I think I have just about everything in her shop. In this kit you will get:

  • Perpetual Menu Planner for the Month – with B, L, D spots (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Perpetual Menu Planner for the Month
  • Menu Planner for the Week with a Grocery Shopping List
  • Freezer Inventory – space for item and 15 spots for tracking the number of items in your freezer
  • Pantry Inventory – space for item and 15 spots for tracking the number of items in your pantry
  • Refrigerator Inventory – space for item and 15 spots for tracking the number of items in your refrigerator
  • Recipes to Try – printable to keep track of recipes that you want to try, where to find it, special ingredients you may need, and a place to write whether it’s a keep or toss recipe
  • Recipe Page – a great printable to write down a complete recipe – space for recipe, serves, ingredients, preparation, and from the kitchen of

You can buy this kit for $12 at Clean Mama Printables.

I also have two kits to giveaway! (And so does Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog!)

Giveaway Details

  1. Clean Mam Printables is offering two lucky Crystal & Co., readers her Menu Planning Printable Kit.
  2. Enter once or enter all 9 ways- you choose.
  3. Leave a comment for each entry as well as your email address so I can notify you if you win.
  4. Have all of your entries in by 1/31/12 by 11:59 pm, central time.
  5. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Ways to Enter

  1. Visit the Clean Mama Printables Etsy shop and tell me which printable would be most beneficial in your life right now.
  2. Like Clean Mama Printables on Facebook.  
  3. Like Crystal & Co., on Facebook.
  4. Follow  Clean Mama Printables on Twitter.
  5. Follow Crystal & Co., on Twitter.
  6. Follow Crystal & Co., via Google Friend Connect. (in my footer)
  7. Have Crystal & Co., delivered to your inbox. (enter email in indicated box at end of this post or in my right sidebar.)
  8. Have Clean Mama Printables delivered to your inbox. (enter your email address in her right sidebar)
  9. Tweet this message once per day with the link: RT @crystalandcomp has a @cleanmamablog #menuplanning #printable giveaway for 2 lucky readers! #DinnerIdeas http://bit.ly/zenMzt #win

Feel free to read my disclosure statement.

Rada Cutlery: Dinner Solutions for Busy Moms (Giveaway)

Rada Cutlery is our Simple Dinner Ideas gold sponsor for the month of January. They are helping moms feed their family with simple dinner ideas and other mommy solutions.

About Rada Cutlery

Did you know that Rada carries more than knives? My grandmother was a long time fan of Rada and my mother is as well. Their knives are known for their life time guarantee, durability and quality.

When you go to the Rada website, you will see they also carry cookbooks, baking stones, quick mixes, and more.   Their products are budget friendly and 100% American made.

They have also been offering fundraising opportunities to groups everywhere since 1948, offering you a 40% profit for your organization. Here is an overview of the Rada Fundraising Program.

Rada Dinner Solutions

Last week I made this delicious Sesame Ginger Chicken recipe and served it over steamed rice and with mixed veggies. I made it using a quick mix from Rada.

You can read step by step how I made this easy recipe. My family loved it and there was nothing left over.

I used the Rada Granny Fork to remove the hot chicken from the casserole dish.   The knife is sharp and pierces the meat, making it fast and easy to transfer from the casserole dish to cutting board. It would work beautifully when removing meat from a skewer or slicing steak into strips, etc.

And if you’ve been following my site for a while you know how much I love an easy recipe. If you read my weekly meal plan each week, you also know we eat a lot of chicken in my house. Rada has a variety of budget friendly cookbooks, including Are You Chicken in the Kitchen? which showcases 112 recipes using chicken breasts.

Here are a few recipes from the cookbook I am excited to try:

  1. Chicken Broccoli and Rice Dinner
  2. Italian Chicken Florentine
  3. Chicken Wild Rice Soup
  4. Mozzarella Stick Chicken Rolls
  5. Pesto Chicken Pizza

Hop over the 3 Boys and a Dog and make sure you check out her fun Rada video. She shares with you the items she will be testing out from Rada as well. (And she will have a fun giveaway from them soon.)

Giveaway Details

  1. Rada Cutlery is offering one lucky Crystal & Co., reader one Sweet Sesame Ginger Quick Mix, a Granny Fork and the Are You Chicken in the Kitchen? cookbook.
  2. Enter once or enter all 9 ways- you choose.
  3. Leave a comment for each entry as well as your email address so I can notify you if you win.
  4. Have all of your entries in by 1/31/12 by 11:59 pm, central time.
  5. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Ways to Enter

  1. Visit the Rada Cutlery website and tell me what some of your favorite dinner solutions are.
  2. Follow @RadaCutlery on Twitter.
  3. Like Rada on Facebook.
  4. Like Crystal & Co on Facebook.
  5. Follow Crystal & Co on Twitter.
  6. Watch Kelli’s Rada Video over at 3 Boys and a Dog and come back and tell me what you learned.
  7. Follow Crystal & Co via Google Friend Connect. (in footer)
  8. Have Crystal & Co delivered to your inbox. (enter email address in right sidebar or in the box at the end of this post)
  9. Tweet this message once per day with the link: RT @crystalandcomp has a @RadaCutlery giveaway (quick mix, cookbook and kitchen fork) #DinnerIdeas Details: http://bit.ly/xLjRd1

Feel free to read my disclosure statement.

Weekly Meal Plan 112 and Relish Menu Planning Program Giveaway #DinnerIdeas

Did you know you can prepare a one week or monthly meal plan for your family in 5 easy steps? I have been doing it for 112 weeks and offer you my advice on how to meal plan.Click through to read.

I hope you will read the post and share a link to your site where you share your tips and pointers for getting dinner on the table.

Want some recipe ideas? Want to see what I am feeding my family this week? Here is our menu.

Weekly Meal Plan

Hawaiian Drumsticks- this is a Relish menu planning recipe. It sounds really tasty and includes honey, pineapple, ketchup and brown sugar over chicken legs. If I was a betting woman I would bet this could be prepared in the crockpot. I just might try that. I will serve with rice and a salad.

Crockpot Sunday Chicken-  I have not made this in a while and it is a wonderful winter meal. I have potatoes and carrots I need to use up. This is pretty much an all in one dinner and I will likely serve with dinner rolls.

Bacon, Eggs and Toast- breakfast for dinner is always so much fun.

Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs- served with a dinner salad and fresh fruit.

Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet- this is a delicious one pot Kraft recipe. We have not had this in a while either. It comes together very fast.

Leftover Buffet- use ‘em up!

Online Menu Planning Service

Do you struggle with meal planning? Are you a person like me who works best with tools and resources?

Have you heard of Relish? They offer an online menu planning service that will help you get a hot dinner on the table for your family.

Relish has a database full of recipes with categories like crockpot, quick, kid friendly, lower calorie, and vegetarian just to name a few.

Here is a sample of what one of the recipes looks like:

Each Thursday, Relish releases a new menu with main dish and side recipes for each night of the upcoming week. If you do not like their menu, or want to manipulate it, you can. You just go in and search for recipes according to your preferences and build your own menu.

You can change the serving sizes too. Way cool!

Then, you click one button and it generates a shopping list, by category, that you can save as a PDF and/or print.

Impressive? Totally takes stress out of dinner.

You can subscribe to Relish! for $7.00 per month.  A mommy solution that is certainly thrifty.

Giveaway Details

  1. Relish! is offering one lucky Crystal & Co., reader a FREE 3 month subscription to their online meal planning service.
  2. Enter once or enter all 8 ways- you choose.
  3. Leave a comment for each entry as well as your email address so I can notify you if you win.
  4. Have all of your entries in by 1/30/12 by 11:59 pm, central time.
  5. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.
  6. Want to increase your chances to win even more? Hop over to 3 Boys and a Dog as she is giving a copy away as well.

Ways to Enter

  1. Log in to Relish! and redeem a one-week free trial. Then, leave me a comment telling me your thoughts!
  2. Follow @RelishRelish on Twitter.
  3. Like Relish! on Facebook.
  4. Like Crystal & Co on Facebook.
  5. Follow Crystal & Co on Twitter.
  6. Follow Crystal & Co via Google Friend Connect. (in footer)
  7. Have Crystal & Co delivered to your inbox. (enter email address in right sidebar or in the box at the end of this post)
  8. Tweet this message once per day with the link: RT @crystalandcomp has a meal planning service #giveaway from @RelishRelish! #DinnerIdeas Details: http://bit.ly/x63seq

Feel free to read my disclosure statement.

Weekly Meal Plan 111 and Cook’n Recipe Organizer Giveaway ($99.95 value) #DinnerIdeas

Have you seen my five steps for easy meal planning?

What are you waiting for? You’ve gotta check it out.

You know I am passionate about meal planning and getting a hot meal on the table for my family and in 2012 I want to help busy moms do the same!

Simple Dinner Ideas

Yesterday my friend Kelli and I kicked off our year-long Simple Dinner Ideas campaign.

We have both shared how we make meal planning happen for our families. We have encouraged you to share meal planning tips and tricks so others can be inspired to get dinner on the table for their family as well. You can linkup over on 3 Boys and a Dog or Crystal & Co., and your posts will be seen by both of our readers.

Today I am going to share my meal plan with you as well as an awesome giveaway.

Meal Plan #111

Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake- my kids love this casserole. It is like mac and cheese but casserole style. Served with a dinner salad. So easy.

Puerto Rican Stew- served with red kidney beans and rice.

English Muffin Pizzas- fast and easy. Served with carrot sticks and fruit.

Walking Tacos- this is a recipe from the Cook’n online recipe organizer. It is kind of like taco salad with Fritos. I think my kids will like it.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole- oh yes you can make a casserole in the crockpot. This is a family favorite. Served with a dinner salad and apple slices.

Now it is time for the giveaway.

Some of you have sent me emails and left comments on some of my meal planning posts sharing that you struggle to get dinner on the table.

You get bored with your recipes, you’re too tired to cook, you just can not get it all organized. Well, Cook’n Recipe Organizer has a meal planning solution for us.

Cook’n Recipe Organizer Version 10

Cook’n Recipe Organizer is recipe software that contains a nice group of simple dinner ideas (and appetizers, soups, breakfast ideas, etc.) that are perfect for busy families like yours and mine.

But wait. There is more.

You can also search for recipes on the internet right within the Cook’n program. It is like Google, but Cook’n -style.

You find recipes on the internet that you like and you merge them over to your Cook’n recipe organizer with the click of a button.This could be a recipe from a blog, like mine, or from a website like Food Network.

It gets even better.

Once you bring the recipe over to Cook’n, you can manipulate it to adjust according to the servings you need and omit ingredients you do not like. You can also save a photo of the recipe that is on the orignal blog or site. Cook’n will also save the source for you so that you always know where the recipe came from.

From there you can build a meal plan for a week or a month using their software as well.

Did I mention it also syncs up with your mobile device?

Live Demonstration and Where To Buy

Want to watch a live demonstration of how this program works? It is pretty nifty.

You can buy it now on sale for $79.95!

Giveaway Details

  1. Cook’n is offering this $99.95 program to one lucky Crystal & Co. reader!
  2. Enter once or enter all 8 ways- you choose.
  3. Leave a comment for each entry as well as your email address so I can notify you if you win.
  4. Have all of your entries in by 1/16/12 by 11:59 pm, central time.
  5. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.
  6. Want to increase your chances to win even more? Hop over to 3 Boys and a Dog as she is giving a copy away as well.

Ways to Enter

  1. Visit the DVO website and tell me what you like most about their recipe organizer. 
  2. Subscribe to the Cook’n Free Newsletter. (their right sidebar)
  3. Like Cook’n Recipe Organizer on Facebook.  
  4. Like Crystal & Co on Facebook.
  5. Follow Crystal & Co on Twitter.
  6. Follow Crystal & Co via Google Friend Connect. (in footer)
  7. Have Crystal & Co delivered to your inbox. (enter email address in right sidebar or in the box at the end of this post)
  8. Tweet this message once per day with the link: RT @crystalandcomp has a Cook’n Recipe Organizer #Giveaway ($99.95 value) #dinnerideas #recipe #win http://bit.ly/vpmKfu

Feel free to read my disclosure statement.

 

Simple Dinner Ideas: Setting Up Your Menu Plan #DinnerIdeas

I have been meal planning here at Crystal & Co., for over 110 weeks.

For real. And it is painless.

Each Monday you will find a new meal plan shared here on my site, including the recipes I plan to make for my family each week.

It is essential. Without a plan my children will not have a hot meal on the table come dinner time and we end up in the drive-thru lines which is costly and unhealthy.

In 2012, 3 Boys and a Dog and Crystal & Co., are partnering together to make feeding your family simple. We understand that moms struggle to get dinner on the table every day. Kelli and I are kicking off Simple Dinner Ideas today. Each month we are focusing on a different meal planning topic and providing you with resources and solutions (and giveaways!) to help make feeding your family simple.

Each month our series will have a sponsor. In January Rada Cutlery is helping make dinner a success. As the month goes on we will be introducing you to dinner solutions offered by Rada!

How do I set up my menu each week? I believe there are five steps that help me get dinner on the table.

How to Set Up Your Menu Plan

 

Develop a Recipe Criteria

This is key. Sit down and think about what makes a recipe a good fit for your family and what makes it a deal breaker.

For me, simple ingredient lists, easy preparation with little to no babysitting, and recipes that come together quickly are ideal for me. If a recipe can be made in the crockpot, that makes it even more appealing to me.

When I am searching for new recipes to make for my family, if it requires one hour of prep work, lots of stirring and babysitting, twenty-five ingredients and three hours in the oven, I immediately can say it will not work for my needs or my family’s needs.

Take a peak at my recipe criteria to see what makes a winning dinner idea at my house.

 

Find Recipes

Use your recipe criteria and begin making a list of recipes that meet your criteria.

First start with the recipes you already know and make for your family. Then, begin searching online, in cookbooks, in magazines and at the library for more recipes that meet your lifestyle and needs. If you can come up with a list of twenty-one recipes this will give you three weeks of dinner ideas without repeating a meal once.

It really is that simple. Here is a list of websites that I regularly use to get recipes for dinner.   And don’t forget, Crystal & Co., has a nice collection of easy recipes as well. As time goes on, you’ll be amazed at all of the recipes you collect.

 

Make Your Grocery List

Even though I have a recipe list that is beyond twenty-one recipes, I only meal plan for one week at a time and I only grocery shop for one week at a time. Why? Because it is less overwhelming for me. I do not have the space to store three weeks worth of groceries and I like to take one week at a time. You plan for as many weeks at a time as you want.

Each Sunday night or Monday morning I sit down and determine which 5-6 recipes I plan to make this week. I write them down. (I only do 5-6 because I realistically consider that we will eat out once each week and I also consider that we can have leftovers one night as well.)

Build your grocery list based on the meals on your menu and consider which ingredients you already have on hand. Meal planning is not going to work if you do not have all the ingredients you need when it comes time to make a recipe. Also, you do not want to waste money buying ingredients you already have in our pantry and freezer.

Here are some grocery list resources you might find helpful.

 

Display Your Menu

Once you know what you’re making this week for your family, display it. It can be as simple or as fun and crafty as you want.

Use a sheet of notebook paper and a magnet and post it on your fridge or make a crafty board that inspires you each week to want to meal plan. Here are some fun solutions for displaying your meal plan.

 

Put Your Meal Plan to Work

You’ve done all the steps and now it is time to make your meal plan work for you. I share tips and pointers to help you implement your meal plan.

Ask yourself, can I place meat in the fridge the night before to begin thawing, can you pre-assemble a casserole the night before, what about grilling up fifteen chicken breasts one night instead of just five or six so you have cooked chicken on hand for a future recipe. Here is how I put my meal plan to work each week.

. . . . .

Your Turn to Share

Now tell me, how do you set up your menu each week? Have you previously shared a post about this on your site before? Have we inspired you to write your steps down to make meal planning easier? Kelli and I encourage you to link up any posts that you have sharing how to meal plan. You can also follow more pointer throughout the month on Twitter by searching the hashtag #dinnerideas! Play along with us.

And, don’t forget to hop over and check out Kelli’s tips for setting up a meal plan and her dinner ideas for feeding a family of five.