Week 6 Dinner Menu
Week 5 Dinner Menu
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Week 5 Dinner Menu

IMG_6338 (1)Wow, week 5 of my new blog!  Time is really flying and Spring is in full bloom here in the midwest.  My favorite time of year with the promise of new growth in my garden, and a (hopefully) nice warm and sunny summer ahead!  We have some good stuff coming your way with this week’s dinner menu.  Still loving the cookbook I talked a lot about last week, Better Homes and Gardens Calorie Smart Meals so we have a few dishes from that cookbook this week, along with my own recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese, and a little help from Cooking Light Magazine , Giada De Laurentiis from her show on The Food Network, Giada at Home, and another great cookbook from my collection, Family Table by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner.

Let’s get cooking!






Click on below menu items for links to the recipes.  A printable grocery list is included for all 6 meals at the bottom of this post.


1. I really love to have one or two meatless meals on my list each week.  They can be as hearty and filling as dishes with meat in them, and it feels so good knowing you are providing your family with healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Maybe you want to serve Portobello Goat Cheese Pitas with Chili Aioli for a Meatless Monday (or a meatless any day) from the cookbook mentioned above, BH&G Calorie Smart Meals!  We LOVED this dish and you could serve it with some veggie sticks with ranch for dipping and I don’t think you’ll have any complaints.




2.  Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese.  Recipe by Me!  This is a family favorite.  I don’t know if you feel the same, but who doesn’t love spaghetti with meat sauce?!  I have been making it for years and years and this is my go to sauce.  It’s nothing super fancy or difficult, but everyone in my family loves it so I stick with what works.  Serve with a Green Salad topped with croutons and your meal will be complete.  Fun fact from ilovepasta.orgthe Spanish explorer Cortez brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519. Even then, almost 200 years passed before spaghetti with tomato sauce made its way into Italian kitchens.   Make ahead option:  Sauce could be made ahead of time and kept warm in a crock pot or made the day before, refrigerated and reheated before serving.  Wash lettuce ahead for ease of meal preparation at the busy dinner hour.  The clean lettuce will the ready to throw into a bowl.




3.  From Family Table – Favorite Staff Meals cookbook comes Union Square Café Fried Chicken served with Corn Bread Muffins and Mashed Potatoes.  A comfort food favorite!  Make ahead option:  Corn bread muffins can be made ahead and so can mashed potatoes and reheated before serving.




4.  I am a fan of the Food Network and love watching these cooking shows to gather some great recipes and tips.  One of our dinner options this week comes from a show titled Giada at Home from Giada De Laurentiis, and the name of the episode is All Grown Up.  Here Giada brings us a recipe called, Giada’s Grown Up Franks and Beans.   If you are a fan of the movie, Something About Mary like I am, you might always chuckle a little to yourself when you hear “Franks and Beans”!  I know I do!  I paired this recipe with a Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and it was delicious!




5.  BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw & Waffle Fries.  Easy, peasy!  Let the crock pot do all the work and you will have dinner on the table in no time.  I got this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, May 2016, but have adapted it a bit and cook my chicken in the crock pot which I find much easier.  The coleslaw and store bought waffle fries come together in a jiffy so this is an easy meal to get on the table when you don’t have a lot of time.  Make ahead option:  With the exception of the waffle fries which are put in the oven right before serving, everything else can be made ahead and then the sandwiches can be assembled in minutes.




6.  Finally we finish things up with a healthy pizza and another meatless meal from BH&G Calorie Smart Meals.  Pizza…healthy, you ask?!  Yes, when the crust is made out of cauliflower!  This may sound really weird at first, but I promise, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you give this a try.  It is worth the effort!  Serve it with a side of pasta and a garden salad if desired.  Yummy!  Cauliflower-crusted Pizza.



Click here for Week 5 Grocery List

Don’t forget to check pantry staples before you shop!

Bon Appétit from Menu Mutt!


Have a great week!






Week 4 Dinner Menu
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Week 4 Dinner Menu

I have some FANTASTIC recipes coming your way this week!  The first meals 3 come from one of my favorite go to’s for good recipes that are great for the family, and that is Food Network Magazine .   The remaining 3 come from what is fast becoming my new FAVORITE cookbook!  I received it from my mom who as I’ve mentioned before gifts me with new cookbooks for every occasion which I love!  When I first received this cookbook and took a peek inside, I had a dozen recipes earmarked within minutes that I knew I must try!  I made several this week and every single one of them was a hit.  Not only with me as a cook for ease of preparation and execution, but also with everyone in my family who all gave each and every recipe 2 giant thumbs up for deliciousness!  And that is quite a feat given that I have a few very picky eaters in my house!   What is this wonderful cookbook you may be asking?  It is titled, Better Homes and Gardens Calorie Smart Mealsand I just LOVE it!  It breaks down all of the recipes into different calorie categories and also has a guide with each recipe to check off whether it is gluten-free, make-ahead, high fiber, 30-minute, or vegetarian.  It begins with a wonderful introduction on what exactly a calorie is, has some cook smart tips, and also in addition to all of the wonderful main dish recipes, contains chapters on Savvy Snacks and Smart Desserts.  With simple directions, amazing pictures, and all the information you need to make healthy choices, I am definitely thrilled to have added this amazing cookbook to my collection!  Now, let’s get on with the meal plan and recipes for this week!  Happy Cooking!


Click on below menu items for links to the recipes.  A printable grocery list is included for all 6 meals at the bottom of this post.

1. Spinach Salami Stromboli adapted from Food Network Magazine , April 2016 served with an Almond, Celery, Spinach Salad.  I say adapted because the FN Mag’s recipe was an Artichoke-Salami Stromboli.  I left out the artichokes.  My kids don’t care for artichokes so I knew if I left them in there it would ruin the dish for them.  If you like artichokes however, you may want to go with the original recipe.  Make it meatless if you choose by omitting the salami and adding a veggie instead such as bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, the possibilities are endless.  Serve accompanied by the Spinach Salad and there you have it!  My kids absolutely loved this meal…they are still talking about it.  It was delish!  It is easy to double or even triple the recipe for a larger family or group.  I double it here and include all items needed to do so in this week’s grocery list.  The 4 serving recipe from the magazine is just not enough!  You’ll see!  Make ahead option:  The Stromboli can be completely assembled and refrigerated until ready to bake.  Make salad ahead, store in fridge, and hold off on dressing it until right before serving.  Easy stuff!

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2.  The cover recipe from the April 2016, Food Network Magazine, Pesto Pasta with Shrimp.  This pesto is good, folks!  I almost wanted to just eat it with a spoon when I got done making it.  It’s super easy to make too, and all you have to do is cook up some  pasta, sauté some shrimp and you have a meal worthy of the cover photo on a major food magazine!  When I first got this issue in the mail, I knew right away that I had to make this dish!  Make ahead option:  You could definitely make the pesto ahead of time and store in fridge until ready to use.  Being that I live in the midwest and don’t have great access to fresh seafood, I use frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp.  All that needs to be done with the shrimp is to thaw (if using frozen) and cook which only takes a few minutes for each process so you would not have to do any work ahead of time for the shrimp and as the shrimp is thawing and cooking, you can boil water and cook the pasta and steam or roast the asparagus, so if you have the pesto made ahead (or even if you don’t) this dish comes together very quickly!  Note:  The recipe calls for steaming the asparagus, but I roasted mine in the oven because I prefer it this way.  Totally up to you. Roasted Asparagus.

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3.  Our final recipe from Food Network Magazine this week, Chopped Cheeseburgers served with Roasted Broccoli & Potato Chips is sure to be a hit!  This recipe is super easy, very kid friendly, enjoyable for adults as well, and you’ll have dinner on the table in 25 minutes!  If you have kids you know that cheeseburgers are usually a safe bet.  This is a nice way to mix it up a little without feeling like you’re having the same old burgers again.  Just like the Cheeseburger Cups from my week 3 dinner menu, this is a fun way to change things up while sticking to a familiar favorite that works at the same time.  Options:  You can swap out the American cheese for any cheese you like, I used cheddar, and you can also omit the pickled hot peppers if you don’t care for those.

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4.  ~From Better Homes & Gardens Calorie Smart Meals comes a delicious meal of Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Onion & Bacon Dressing, served with Roasted Green Bean, Feta, Cranberry, Almond side dish.  This was the first recipe I tried from this cookbook and it did not disappoint!  As I tried another recipe and then another, everything was equally delicious and the recipes were so simple to follow.  As I already mentioned, this cookbook has quickly become a favorite and I will use it often.  The original recipe divides the dressing/chicken mixture into 4 individual casserole dishes.  I assembled mine in one 13 x 9 casserole dish instead.  Make ahead option:  This dish could be prepared and assembled up to the final baking step and stored in the fridge until ready to put in the oven.  For the green bean side you could wash and trim the green beans and have them on a baking sheet ready to roast.  I think you’ll be happy with this “Comfort Food” meal!

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5. Also from Better Homes & Gardens Calorie Smart Meals comes a most delicious soup that is hearty enough for a main meal!  Black Bean and Tortellini Soup.  Serve it with a Green Salad w/ Carrot Ribbons, Pumpkin Seeds & vinaigrette, and you will have a happy crew!  When I make a big pot of soup, I usually always have some left over.  After we were done with this soup, there was not a morsel to be spared.  Really, really good…and the best part…it couldn’t be easier!  You can whip this soup up in no time!  Start to finish:  3o minutes.  Make ahead option:  You could make the broth of this soup ahead of time and either keep warm in a crock pot or refrigerate until ready to re-heat.  I would not add the tortellini in the make ahead option as it would get too soft and soggy.  If you make the broth ahead, re-heat on the stove top and then continue with the addition of the tortellini and follow instructions from there.  Salad can be made ahead and dressed right before serving.

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6. Lastly for our final entry this week, we have another great dish from Better Homes & Gardens Calorie Smart Meals.  I’m telling you, I have had major luck with every recipe I have tried from this cookbook!  I can’t wait to try some more recipes in the weeks ahead!  Here we have Spicy Pork Sandwiches with Grilled Mango Chutney served with Baked Beans.  As you may have noticed, we have 2 sandwiches or Hoagies on the menu this week.  For my kids this is fantastic as they love all things sandwich, and they can’t get enough calories with all the activities and practices they have each week.  If you would prefer to forgo the bread here to keep the dish a little lighter, that would work out just fine.  I actually did that for myself and just ate the pork, salsa and baked beans without putting it on a hoagie roll.  Just an option that I wanted to throw out there for you.  Make ahead option:  The mango chutney can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge and the baked beans can be made ahead as well and kept warm in a crock pot until ready to serve.

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Week 4 Grocery List~Click Here


Don’t forget to check pantry staples before shopping!


I hope you have a Super week, and I hope you try and enjoy these delicious recipes!  I would love to hear from you if you do!  🙂













Week 3 Dinner Menu
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Week 3 Dinner Menu

Here we are…another week, another convenient dinner menu with accompanying grocery list to help you save time, save money and save yourself from the stress of not knowing what you will make for dinner each night this week.  Being organized when it comes to meal planning is not only healthier for you because you will make better choices, but it also gives you a sense of calm each day knowing exactly what you will be serving your family for dinner.  If your schedule permits, preparing certain items ahead of time can help your evening run more smoothly if you have other activities going on at this time.  This is possible when you have a plan in place and know what meals you will be making ahead of time.  By reading the notes that accompany each menu item below, you will see what steps you can do earlier in the day or even the day/night before with some of the recipes to help make your dinner preparation and service seamless.  Also, you may want to double some of the recipes depending on how many people you are serving.  For example this week, when I cook meals 3 & 5 I double the recipe to have enough for my family of 5.  I have 3 teenage sons so we have a lot of big eaters in my house.  You may want to do the same for these recipes if you think you may need a little more for your crowd.  As a reminder, when you are reading the grocery list, you will notice a number in parentheses after each item.  This corresponds to the numbers from the list of meals below.  That way you will know exactly what items go with which meal so whether you are making all of them or just one you will be able to locate what items from the grocery list go with each meal and cross off the items that you may not need.  And don’t forget you can make these meals in any particular order depending on what works best for you.  That is why I do not label them by days of the week.  You will have all the ingredients needed from the provided grocery list so prepare and enjoy the meals in the order that suits you.  If you have tried any of the recipes and used the grocery lists I would love to hear from you!  Have a great week and Happy Meal Planning!



Click on below menu items for links to the recipes.  A printable grocery list is included for all 6 meals at the bottom of this post.


1.Make it a Meatless Monday or a Taco Tuesday with Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos served with Pineapple from one of my new favorite cookbook finds, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by cookbook author and blogger, Deb Perelman.  Lots of great vegetarian options in this great cookbook!

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2.  Also from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook this week, Chicken Milanese, Roasted Yellow Potatoes and Broccoli Slaw.  2 Great recipes from Deb Perelman…I look forward to trying many more soon!  Make ahead option:  For the chicken, prepare through coating the chicken with breadcrumbs, and then arrange on a large tray and chill them in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 1 day covered with plastic wrap.  The broccoli slaw can be made ahead and kept in fridge until ready to use.  Hold off on adding the dressing until right before serving.

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3.  Yummy Cheeseburger Cups and Sweet Potato Fries.  Check out the awesome site Tasty on Buzzfeed.com for this recipe and many, many more amazing recipes.  Their recipe/cooking video snippets on Facebook and IG are super.  Give them a visit!  Make ahead option:  You may peel and cut the sweet potatoes and store them in a bowl or baggie of cold water in the fridge until ready to cook.  Drain, pat dry, and cook according to directions.  You could also cook the meat mixture for the cheeseburger cups ahead of time, store in fridge, and then reheat quickly in skillet on stovetop or in the microwave before assembling the cups to cook.  The meat will heat up when you cook it in the biscuits, but if it’s been sitting cold in fridge, I would recommend heating it separately before you assemble so it is all the way heated through and not still cold in the center when the biscuits are done.  You may want to double this recipe.  These are gone in minutes in my house!  The original recipe calls for 8 biscuits, but you may want to double this if you have a larger group or super hungry folks.  I always double it for my group.  Just don’t forget to add another package of biscuits and another pound of ground beef to your grocery list, and when cooking you can double the seasonings used for the meat.

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4.  Creamy Tomato & White Bean Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers…a kid favorite and another meatless meal option!   Recipe by Tara Bench for Family Fun Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016 issue.  This soup is really, really good, and so very easy to make.  The best part is that once you purée the soup to a smooth consistency the little kiddies will not even know there is a super, duper helping of beans in there which kick this recipe up a notch and pack a protein punch!  My picky twin boys who are now 13 and still picky love this soup and they won’t eat anything with beans in it.  Sshhh…let’s keep that little secret just between us!  Make ahead option:  You can make the soup from start to finish ahead of time either the morning of or day before you are serving and store in fridge.  Just reheat on the stovetop before serving and you are all set.

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5.  Do you realize how easy it is to make Bacon and Cheese Quiche with Caesar Salad?!  With a store bought frozen pie crust, you can whip up the filling for this quiche in no time and have dinner on the table in a jiffy!  I have been making quiche for years and this recipe is my own adapted from several different ones I’ve tried over the years.  If your diet doesn’t permit you to eat bacon or if you just want another meatless option (we have several good ones this week!) omit the bacon and instead add another veggie such as mushrooms, onions, bell peppers or spinach.  My kids didn’t think they liked quiche until they tried this for the first time.  They love it and usually can’t get enough when I make it!  Double it:  For my family of 5 I actually make 2 quiches because one is not enough for my hungry boys!  If you would like to do the same, just double the ingredients for the quiche on this week’s grocery list (items w/ a (5) after them, except for the salad items) and you can easily make 2 quiches too!  Make ahead option:  This meal is actually so easy there is not much you would need to do ahead of time, but if you know you will be really pressed for time, you could cook the bacon if using ahead of time and wash the lettuce as well.  With the store bought crusts, all you have to do is whisk the egg mixture, pour it in the crust and assemble the salad so this is a pretty speedy recipe as far as prep goes.

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6.  Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Roasted Asparagus.  With a yummy center oozing with melted cheese this recipe makes your average spaghetti and meatball dish a little more exciting!  Recipe by Alla’s Yummy Food.  Visit Alla’s Facebook page for more recipes and cooking videos!  In her video for this recipe which is in the above link you will see that she makes her own tomato sauce to go with these meatballs.  For this recipe I used a store bought marinara sauce that I like.  On occasion it is great to make your own sauce so please do so if you choose, but for the sake of time this week I used a prepared sauce and that is what I included on the grocery list.  If you wish to make your own, don’t forget to add those items for the homemade sauce which are in the above link to the grocery list!  Make ahead option:  The meatballs can be made and assembled ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to bake.  Asparagus can be washed and trimmed ahead until ready to roast.

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Click Here for Week 3 Grocery List


Have a Great Week!



Week 2 Dinner Menu

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 Week 2 Dinner Menu                            

We hope you enjoy this week’s menu!  To get the recipes for each menu item, simply click on that item on this page.  Some individual recipes can also be found under the Recipes tab in the sidebar menu to the right.  You will find a complete grocery list for all of the following meals 1-6 at the bottom of this page, and it is printable so you can conveniently take it with you to the grocery store.   The grocery list for this and every week is also posted under the Grocery Lists category in the sidebar menu to the right.  We are happy here at Menu Mutt to help you save time and money, and you will be happy seeing all of those smiling faces sitting around your dinner table when your family sits down to a delicious, healthy meal!

Happy Shopping and Happy Cooking!

(Please see Recipe Notes & Helpful Hints at bottom of post.)

 1.  No Bake Tamale Pie & Baby Spinach Salad ~ from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook by the Editors of Good Housekeeping Magazine.



2.  Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini & Butternut Squash Apple Soup ~ from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2016 edition & The Good Housekeeping Cookbook respectively.



3.  Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans served with Roasted Carrots ~ from webmd.com via yummly.com.

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4. The Cheeseburger Salad with Onion Rings ~ salad from Cooking Light Magazine (April 2016)


5.  Easy Cashew Chicken with Rice(cook according to package directions) and Parmesan Zucchini Crisps ~ from Bellyfull.net via Yummly.com and DamnDelicious.net respectively.


6.  Breakfast for Dinner!…Cinnamon Toast French Toast , Turkey Breakfast Sausage, Hashbrowns and Fresh Berries ~ French Toast bake from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (awesome!) by Deb Perelman, creator of Smitten Kitchen.com.


Click Here for Week 2 Grocery List!



Recipe Notes~

~My family is not huge on onions or garlic.  Often times I will omit them from recipes so I don’t have unhappy customers!  I will usually make a note of it for each recipe and you can keep them in if you wish to use them when you make the recipe.
~For dishes #1 & #4 this week I use reduced fat cheeses.  It is totally up to you if you’d prefer to use regular.  Everyone is different on tastes and diet so choose what works best for you.
~For Recipe #2, the Waffle Turkey Paninis, I oil my waffle maker instead of spraying the sandwiches with cooking spray as the recipe calls for.  Whole grain bread was used for the sandwiches, but you can use any bread you wish.
~Meal #3, I omitted the onion and garlic.  Add 1 medium yellow onion and 1 head of garlic to the grocery list if you would like to use these in your meal.  I used spinach vs. chard in this recipe.
~Meal #4, omitted red onion.  If desired, add 1 lg. red onion to grocery list.  Also the recipe calls for reduced fat potato chips, I used regular.
~Meal #5, did not use garlic or scallions.  Add both to grocery list if you wish to include as seen in the recipe.
~Meal #6, I used whole grain bread for the French Toast.  The recipe calls for white bread so you can use what works best for you.  Also, for my family of 5 I used 2 packages of turkey sausage to have enough.  If you don’t need that much, only purchase 1 package and adjust on the grocery list.



Week 1 Dinner Menu

Recipes 1,2,3 & 5 are from one of my favorite cookbooks, Comfort Food Makeovers, by America’s Test Kitchen.  I received it last Halloween as a gift from my mom…thanks mom!     Print This Post Print This Post

Recipe #4 is by Molly Gilbert from Family Fun Magazine September 2015, pg. 38

Following the menu items for this week you will find the grocery list that goes with all of these recipes.  To make it easy for you if you are not going to make every recipe, I have put the number of the menu items below after each item on the grocery list so you know which meal it goes with.  If you are not making the # 3 meal for this week, the calzones for example, you would not need to purchase anything with a (3) after it as those items would be for that meal.  You could cross all of those off your list.

To access the recipes, click on the menu items below.  They are all printable for your convenience as is the grocery list.

1.Nut Crusted Chicken w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Green Salad

2.Corn Chowder w/ BLT Sandwiches

3.Cheese & Sausage Calzones w/ Roasted Broccoli

4.One Pan Chicken Fajitas w/ Brown Rice & Refried Beans

5.Pasta O’s w/ Meatballs, Spinach Salad & Carrot Sticks


Click Here for Week 1 Grocery List