Menu Monday!

Hello Friends! I'm back from vacation and ready to tackle a new week. Getting away was a real blessing. I'll share more about it all on Wednesday but the break certainly gave me a chance to reset my thoughts on many things, including menu planning.

Cooking for two has been a challenge as I've shared before. Now I'm thinking even more so about how to manage portion sizes (it's really hard not to cook for an army when you've been doing that nearly all your life :), and continue to find meals that are simple to make. I also want to be more purposeful in my meal planning when it comes to leftovers. If I want meals in the freezer (either extra for us or meals set aside for my hubby to take to work) then I want it to be part of my plan, not just because I cooked to much once again.

For today I've pulled out about a ½ pound of chicken tenders to defrost (boneless, skinless, frozen from Costco) and I also have a bowl of stir fry veggies defrosting (I buy these in a large bag from Costco). My plan is to cook some rice, cut up my chicken and stir fry it with the veggies. It will be served in a single bowl (also know as Asian Rice Bowls). For seasoning the chicken and veggies I'll use Yoshidas Sauce because it's easy and tastes good.

The rest of the weeks is looking like this:

Baked Salmon
While I was at my daughters house in California she served some yummy tasting baked salmon. What surprised me was it was from Costco, already seasoned and in a little foil pan ready for baking. How easy is that? :) So, I'm hoping to find this at our Costco when I go grocery shopping this week. I'll serve it with potatoes of some sort and a big salad.

Burgers on the BBQ
The weather here did improve while we were gone and I think a meal of bbq burgers sounds good this week. This will be served with all the usual trimmings and some potato chips. And I'll probably make a salad or coleslaw as well.

This meal will be made with the intention of having leftovers to put in the freezer for my hubby to take to work. He has a microwave at work and is happy when the meals are simple, and are in 1 container and can be heated up easily. So I keep that in mind when I'm meal planning. I'll serve chips & salsa and a salad on the side. 

I'm not sure if I've shared my basic chili recipe or not, but I'll share it here now..

Instant Pot (or stove top) Chili

1lb hamburger
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans (or small red beans), do not drain
1 can chili beans (found with canned beans in the grocery store), do not drain
½ small onion, cut up
1 – 4oz can green chilies
¼ cup celery, sliced
1t cumin
2T chili powder
1t pepper
2t salt
1 cup water

Instant Pot Instructions:

Push the Sautee button and wait until it reads “hot”. Cook your hamburger until it's no longer pink. Turn IP off. Add remaining ingredients. Put the lid on, turn knob to sealing, press “Manual” and adjust the time to 20 minutes. When it's done you can let the pressure drop on it's own for about 10 minutes and then turn the know to “Vent” and let the rest of the pressure release. Open up and you're ready to serve dinner.

Stove Top
In a 4 or 6 quart pot cook hamburger until it is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.


I'm pretty sure this should do it for the two of us this week.


  1. Hi Crystal,
    Glad to "see" you back! Glad you had a nice vacation.

    I'm sort of on the same page as you about the cooking for two but we still have an adult son living with us so I cook for him as well as making sure there are enough meals frozen for when he goes to work out of town on the weekends.

    I'm trying to scale down and then I need leftovers and then one daughter comes home for a while and then a second daughter comes home. So I can have up to three kids at home in and out all summer long. Now that they are all college grads the in and out is even more prevalent until they get settled in their jobs. One daughter teaches outside the country so she is home every summer, our son works 1/2 time in town and 1/2 time out of town, other daughter is recent college grad at an internship for the summer then grad. school this fall.

    Sometimes keeping up with them is so difficult and then I have to plan to cook for 5 or 6 and other days 2 or 3. I still have a packed freezer just for this. And the Instant Pot has been a life saver so many times. It is the best appliance ever.



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