“8.24.15 weekly spread”

Sweet and Spicy Ground Turkey Stir-Fry (with bok choy, cabbage, carrot, and red bell pepper) with Simple Sesame Noodles

Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Pesto Pasta with Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One Pan Baked Chicken & Brown Rice Vegetable Casserole (subbed broccoli, green beans, and mushrooms for carrots and peas)

Sloppy Joes with Yukon Gold and Green Onion Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

Carnitas Burrito Bowls (with tortillas)

Shopping List

3 lbs ground turkey
4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
½ pound thick cut bacon
4-6 lbs pork shoulder or butt (I purchase mine already marinated)

18 garlic cloves
1 ½ onions, cut into thin wedges
1 -2 cup bok choy, chopped
1 -2 cup Napa cabbage or 1 -2 cup Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
6 whole green onions, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (zest lemon first)
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
5 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and any yellowed/browned outer leaves removed, then sliced in half
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup green beans
1 cup mushrooms
1 whole large green bell pepper, diced
8 russet potatoes
Juice from 1 wedge lime
¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 cup diced avocado, tossed with juice of 2 wedges of lime
2 shallots, minced

Canned and frozen
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sweet corn kernels
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)

Flavor/cooking essentials
1 pinch coriander seed, crushed
4 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sherry wine (optional)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 1⁄2 cup chicken stock (must be cold) (optional)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/3 cup pesto
1-1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons chili powder (more to taste)
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional; to taste)
⅓ cup orange champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 heaping tablespoon hot and sweet mustard
1 cup salsa (homemade or store bought)
Soy sauce
Canola oil
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

White rice
12 ounces, thin spaghetti noodles
1 lb (16 oz.) orecchiette (or any pasta)
1½ cups brown rice

1/4 cup bread crumbs
Hamburger buns

Eggs and dairy
1/2 cup slightly packed finely grated Parmesan
5 tablespoons butter (optional)




“8.17.15 weekly spread”

Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry (with rice)

Moroccan Kefta Kebabs (in flatbread with cucumber and tomato with corn, chickpea, and black bean salad)

Italian Chicken Bake (with couscous with red onion and red bell pepper)

Cheeseburger Pizza

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing (with breadsticks)

Shopping List


1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5-2 lbs ground beef

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts


8 ozs snow peas

1 cup broccoli florets

1 carrot

4 green onions, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped very fine or grated

1 red onion, diced

1 cucumber, diced

3 tomatoes, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 packages salad lettuce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp chopped mint leaves (optional)

Canned and frozen

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts

1 cup chicken broth

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can black beans

1 can corn

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small jar artichoke hearts

1 can pizza or tomato sauce

10 dill pickle chips (about 1 1/2 ounces)

1/4 cup cooked and shelled edamame

1/4 cup fried wontons

Flavor/cooking essentials

Soy sauce

Vegetable oil

Olive oil

Sesame oil


Chinese rice wine or dry sherry






Cayenne pepper


Peanut salad dressing

Cinnamon (optional)





Mediterranean flatbread

1 whole wheat pizza crust dough


Eggs and dairy

2 eggs

1 package shredded mozzarella



“kitchen assistant”

There are a few must-have kitchen items in “meal planning 101.” Of course, quality cookware is imperative. So are salt, pepper, and all of their spice, seasoning, sauce, and condiment buddies (I’ll be sure to post on flavor profiles in the future). But, I’d have to say my best kitchen assistant (besides my four-year-old who’s always anxious to “help”) is roasted garlic oil. It is just such a superstar and makes everything sooo delicious. Now, there are A LOT of cooking oils to choose from…vegetable, coconut, sunflower, grape seed, peanut, sesame, and many more…and some may be healthier for you than others, but I can’t live without my garlic oil. You can sauté, bake, or roast with it – or use as a salad dressing or bread dip – it will all be equally delicious. You can find garlic or roasted garlic oil pretty inexpensively almost anywhere, but here is a great recipe for when you have a moment to spare. That moment will invigorate your Weekly Spread…guaranteed. Enjoy!

homemade roasted garlic oil


“top 21 @ Trader Joe’s”

Why “21,” you ask? Simple. Because when it comes to Trader Joe’s, I’m like a kid in a candy store…I want EVERYTHING. I could never choose my favorite 5…10…or even 15 items, so I went with 21. (Besides, you’ll see this post again…there are sooo many more TJ items to share!)

TJ is like my fun, best friend. I’m married to the market, loyal to the market, and the majority of my groceries come from there each week. But every now and again when I really want to whoop it up (and get into some trouble), I visit TJ. I’m never disappointed with what I buy, and snacks and meals are that much better that week.

Who’s with me? Anyone else enjoy TJ as much as I do? Share some of your favs!

Like The Most Interesting Man in the World…I don’t always go to Trader Joe’s, but when I do, I prefer the items below. Stay hungry, my friends.

avocado's number guacamole

two guacamole packs in one = twice the dipping deliciousness

roasted seaweed snack

perfect salty snack, healthy, and very affordable

parmesan pastry pups

pigs in a blanket on a whole ‘nother level

fig butter

perfect paired with sweet or savory…delicious with brie (or goat milk brie, another TJ fav)

simply almonds, cashews & chocolate trek mix

a must-have for a midday energy boost or snack for the kiddos

white cheddar popcorn

TJ should sell willpower with each bag…nearly impossible to not eat the whole bag in one sitting

silver dollar pancakes

perfect for lil fingers and tummies

porcini mushroom & truffle triangoli

easy quick night dinner with olive oil and fresh herbs

whole wheat pizza dough

amazing and cheap…pile high with toppings and you’ll have no regrets


whether arugula, sorrento salad mix, Persian cucumbers, San Marzano plum tomatoes, or fresh fruit…no trip to TJ is complete without produce

rice pudding

sweet and yum

crumbled goat cheese

probably my most purchased TJ item…sprinkle on everything

thai yellow curry sauce

this + protein and veggies of choice + rice = fast, delicious dinner

vegan chocolate chip cookies

must resist, heavenly

pork gyoza potstickers

great side item to any Asian meal

mango ginger chutney

my four-year-old’s favorite TJ item…scrumptious with the samosas

dark chocolate covered mini pretzels

stick ’em in the freezer when you get home, YUMMM

basmati rice

a Weekly Spread MUST-HAVE

vegetable samosas

perfect savory accompaniment to any meal

party size mini meatballs

on pizza, subs, pasta or solo…these are so delicious (mmm, smother in TJ sweet chili sauce and cranberry sauce)

fig cereal bars

morning staple in our house…other flavors are great (mmm, pumpkin) but fig is our fav



“dinner revolution”


Life in our household is pretty crazy. Maybe you can relate? I’m a mom of two under 5, wife, daughter, sister, friend, doctor-appointment-scheduler, bill-payer, chore queen, play-date-organizer, referee, therapist (and the list continues)…oh yeah, and I have a full time job. Thank goodness for venting sessions, retail therapy, good food, and of course, red wine.

Believe it or not, I also LOVE relieving stress at the grocery store. Alone, of course. Add begging kids to the mix and it is no longer a therapeutic outing! There is just something about roaming the aisles, picking out food, and planning meals that does it for me. I guess my mind is able to wander from the daily routine and I can have some fun searching for ingredients for all the hundreds of Pinterest recipes I’ve pinned over the years!

Going hog-wild at the grocery story can be a dangerous thing though – especially if you’re on a budget. Shopping without a plan can have you frequenting the store way too many times during the week, eating all the wrong things (sadly, sour cream and onion chips and s’mores don’t constitute a proper meal for kiddos)…OR eating out because you’re too tired to go back to the store for ingredients or don’t know what to make with the random things you purchased. Sound familiar? Then it’s time for a dinner revolution…meal planning!

Join me on “The Weekly Spread” for the skinny on what’s for dinner each week. I’ll share tips, deals, shopping lists, meal ideas, and recipe variations to keep things interesting. Meals will be simple, affordable, creative, and nutritious (most of the time!). Disclaimer: I am not a chef, a nutritionist, nor an expert…just a busy mom who needs to get dinner on the table most nights of the week WITHOUT things getting complicated!