Planning to Plan

So, the last few weeks have been…weird. Unsettled. School started, James had major abdominal surgery then got shingles, I got sick…the list goes on and on. Every day, I “planned to plan” meals – dinners and lunches. And every day, I would fall asleep. Or just be lazy, to be honest! And it’s costing time and money.

Meal planning is something so simple, takes hardly any time at all…yet it just seems like pulling my own teeth to get it done! Let’s be honest – what’s the worst thing you can hear at 5:45 p.m. and nothing is out of the freezer? “What’s for dinner?” You’re then left with scrambling to come up with something tasty out of nothing…or spending money on takeaway, or (and this happens more often than a mama should admit) you tell your kids “make yourself a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, will you?” Meanwhile, there’s food in the fridge going bad, food in the freezer getting freezer burn…and the kids are eating bowls of Crunchberry cereal. I am hanging my head in shame…

So, today, I’m planning. Actually, first, you kinda have to plan to plan. In other words, I’m not going to make a dinner plan THEN go to the store…I’m going shopping in my own freezer, fridge and cupboards, then make meal plans based on what I have ALREADY. This saves money and time – money, because I won’t be buying things I already have, but don’t know about. And time, because…well, shockingly enough, I have found enough stuff to come up with about 10 dinners, without even having to step foot in a store! So, no running to the store for forgotten ingredients!

Tonight’s meal will be…Chicken Awesome! I found this recipe on Pinterest (my favorite place to find stuff) – it didn’t have a name, so my Sissy and I started calling it Chicken Awesomeness in a Crockpot…which eventually got shortened to Chicken Awesome. And now, I’d like to present to you the first Food for Thought recipe!

Chicken Awesome

Chicken Awesome
Chicken Awesome

5 -6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (frozen is FINE and actually works best!)
1 12 ounce jar salsa or picante sauce
2 cans of corn, drained
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz block of cream cheese (or neufchatel cheese)
Tortillas OR cooked rice

Place frozen chicken breasts in crockpot (note – those plastic slow cooker liners? FABULOUS!!!) Plop the cream cheese block on top, then pour corn and beans around cream cheese block, and top with salsa. Cook on HIGH for one hour, then stir. Lower to low and cook for another 4 – 5 hours, stirring occasionally. When chicken is done, remove from crock, shred and stir back into bean/corn mixture. Serve wrapped in tortillas or over rice.  This also is WONDERMOUS the next day (leftovers) with tortilla chips!!  And trust me, unless you have a houseful of teenagers who eat like…well…teenagers, you WILL have leftovers!  My family of five has enough left over to have a full meal the next day.

This recipe is a hit for my entire family – any time you can get 5 people to like one meal, with NO complaints from anyone, it’s a keeper of a recipe!! Note – if you want to cook this while you are at work, omit the 1 hour at high, and just cook it on low for the whole time. You don’t need to worry about the stirring unless you remember to do it, and are available to do it 🙂 It still turns out…AWESOME!

I highly suggest meal planning. Just this week alone, meal planning could have saved us over $60. How? Well…we had Chinese takeaway this week. I could have made my own for a fraction of the cost. That’s another post and another bit of Food for Thought!

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