Meal Planning Magic http://www.mealplanningmagic.com This mom, foodie and self-taught meal planner’s blog provides ideas on how to get organized in the kitchen, save a little money, eat healthier (and family friendly) and have a little fun along the way. Free weekly samples meal plans, cookbook reviews, forms for keeping it all straight, ideas, and inspiration! Fri, 03 Feb 2017 14:06:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.15 Strawberry Fudge Truffles http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/strawberry-fudge-truffles/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/strawberry-fudge-truffles/#respond Fri, 03 Feb 2017 14:03:23 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10931 Y’all, I love fruit and chocolate combinations like these Chocolate Cherry Cut-Out Sugar Cookies or even this Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Latte. Everything’s better with chocolate right? So when I came across this recipe in a magazine I knew I just had to try it! If you love strawberries dipped in chocolate, these Strawberry Fudge...

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Y’all, I love fruit and chocolate combinations like these Chocolate Cherry Cut-Out Sugar Cookies or even this Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Latte. Everything’s better with chocolate right?
So when I came across this recipe in a magazine I knew I just had to try it! If you love strawberries dipped in chocolate, these Strawberry Fudge Truffles are a unique twist on that flavor combination. With only a few ingredients they are super simple to whip up. I actually made these a few days ahead of time and kept them in the freezer until I was ready to serve them. They were still perfectly delicious!
I changed up the original recipe a bit to include fresh strawberry puree instead of strawberry preserves. I added a bit of powdered sugar to my recipe but if you have really sweet strawberries, you can probably skip that altogether.
These would be perfect for a special holiday like Valentine’s Day or just because! These Strawberry Fudge Truffles really are so easy—I hope you give them a try!

strawberry fudge truffles-with bite-resized

Strawberry Fudge Truffles
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 3⁄4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • ½ cup pureed strawberries (I used frozen and pureed them from frozen)
  • 1⁄2cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add melted chocolate, beating until smooth.
  3. Stir in vanilla wafer crumbs and strawberry puree.
  4. Cover and chill one hour.
  5. Shape into one-inch balls; roll in chopped almonds, and chill until ready to serve.

strawberry fudge truffles-with cfkc logo-resized

Today I’m sharing this recipe along with dozens of other food bloggers to bring awareness to the good work being done by Cookies for Kids Cancer. Even though my recipe is not a cookie recipe, it can still be made and sold at a bake sale if you choose to coordinate one. (We did one year and it was a great success! You can read more about that here). Or make them for your loved ones and then make a donation instead to support Cookies for Kids Cancer.

We are doing this event because we want to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Did you know that cancer is the #1 cause of death of children by disease in the U.S.? There are 40,000 U.S. children actively battling cancer right now. With less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget going to all childhood cancer combined, I knew it was important for me to get involved.

Help us make a difference by donating to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer! Our goal is to raise at least $3000. Because these three companies: Dixie Crystals, Land O’Lakes and Mediavine have each pledged to match our donations raised through this campaign up to $3000!!!

Currently, we have raised: $1,465 ALMOST half way towards our $3000 goal, will you help us with a donation today? Every little bit helps!

Donate here.

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Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/creamy-jalapeno-ranch-dip/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/creamy-jalapeno-ranch-dip/#respond Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:16:58 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10915   If you live in the southern or midwest part of the United States and have ever been to a Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant I’m pretty sure you’re going to give me a virtual hug with this recipe. You see, their Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip with chips that is served at every table is legendary. People...

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creamy jalapeno ranch dip-side view with jalapeno-resized

If you live in the southern or midwest part of the United States and have ever been to a Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant I’m pretty sure you’re going to give me a virtual hug with this recipe. You see, their Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip with chips that is served at every table is legendary. People go crazy for it. And by crazy, I mean C-R-A-Z-Y. I’m not sure what they put in it but I’ve never met someone that has tried and didn’t instantly fall in love and crave more!

So when my sister brought a copycat version to a girls weekend get together several years ago I was like “I NEED this recipe!” She shared it and every time I make it everyone gobbles it up like it’s their last meal. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit on that last part but do you get the idea that it’s super yummy? I finally made it and photographed it so I could share it with y’all too.

I lightened it up a bit and used Greek yogurt instead of all sour cream and no one was the wiser. You can serve it with tortilla chips but I’ve also served it with baby sweet peppers (I like to buy them at the wholesale club like Costco or Sam’s Club). The combination of spicy with the crunchy sweet peppers is quite tasty!

creamy jalapeno ranch dip-with veggies-resized

Adjust the heat with the size of the jalapeno that you use. Sometimes they are huge! Other times, they are a little more reasonable. Just do what you like best. This recipe makes A LOT so it’s perfect for serving at parties. If you’re just making it to use at home, you can cut the recipe in half. I think it would also make a tasty salad dressing.

I used my Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix for that part of the recipe but you can also use a purchased mix. I hope you give it a try!

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix (or 2-3 tablespoons Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix)
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 medium jalapenos, stem and seeds removed
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • Lime juice (to taste—about ½-1 teaspoon)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in a blender to combine. Serve immediately or chill at least one hour for flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.

 

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Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup Plus #PowerYourLunchbox Pledge! http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/roasted-vegetable-and-chicken-soup-plus-poweryourlunchbox-pledge/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/roasted-vegetable-and-chicken-soup-plus-poweryourlunchbox-pledge/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10900 We’ve made it halfway through the school year and if you’re like me, we start to lose steam on lunchbox ideas. We seem to get stuck in a rut and that can be b-o-r-i-n-g! Produce for Kids is coming to the rescue by pledging to eat healthier lunches in 2017 with their renewed #PowerYourLunchbox campaign....

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We’ve made it halfway through the school year and if you’re like me, we start to lose steam on lunchbox ideas. We seem to get stuck in a rut and that can be b-o-r-i-n-g! Produce for Kids is coming to the rescue by pledging to eat healthier lunches in 2017 with their renewed #PowerYourLunchbox campaign. You may remember back in September I shared the pledge and some other yummy lunchbox ideas.

2017 Be Re-Inspired 1 square-soup.jpg

When you take the pledge at the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge website you will find tools and tips to help your family and classrooms (share this with your teachers!) to eat healthier lunches, after-school snacks and weekday dinners. After taking the pledge, families will have access to fresh produce coupons valued at $2.50!

“January is a great time for families to resolve to eat a nutritious lunch through the remainder of the school year,” said Trish James, vice president, Produce for Kids. “The holidays can be busy and getting back into a healthy lunchbox-packing groove can be challenging. The Power Your Lunchbox Pledge was designed to re-inspire families return to their routine and start the new year on the right foot.”

You Pledge, We Donate square
What’s even better is that from Jan. 4, 2017– Feb. 15, 2017, for every online pledge, lunchbox-friendly companies supporting Power Your Lunchbox Pledge® will make a collective $1 donation to Feeding America® programs that support families and children. The Power Your Lunchbox Pledge campaign gives families the resources to fuel their kids throughout the day with nutritious, produce-inspired lunches while giving back to families in need. Since 2014, the campaign raised more than $35,000 for kid’s health and wellness programs across the country.

Today, I’m sharing one of the delicious #PowerYourLunchbox recipes for Roasted Vegetable Chicken Soup from Produce For Kids. It’s filled with nutritious and delicious vegetables and whole grains and is a delicious idea for your winter lunchboxes. My kids like to take their Thermos Funtainer jars filled with soup as an alternative to sandwiches.

roasted veggie and chicken and rice soup-side view-resized

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup Plus #PowerYourLunchbox Pledge!
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms , chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1½ cup brown rice, cooked according to package
  • 1 quart reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lay carrots, celery, mushrooms and onion single layer on foil-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Heat oil in large saucepot on medium-high heat; Add chicken and cook 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Add vegetables, spinach, parsley, rice, broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 5-10 minutes, or until heated through.

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 Get Schools Involved

Classrooms across the country can also take advantage of the wonderful resources for teachers in grades K-5 that include fun, free nutrition-focused downloadable lesson plans, certificates for their students and take home materials for families. Every teacher that pledges on behalf of his or her classroom has the chance to win a $500 gift card for classroom supplies. Want to share even more fun eating ideas for students? Be sure to check out The Rainbow Challenge for more free resources to use at school!

Spread the Word

Here are a couple of additional ways families and individuals can get involved in the campaign:
· Show off healthy lunchboxes on social media. Produce for Kids’ Instagram and Twitter followers can use the #PowerYourLunchbox hashtag to show off their healthy lunchboxes to have their lunchboxes featured on the Produce for Kids Facebook page. Follow along on the hashtag to see great ideas from fellow parents.
Take the pledge. Pledge to eat healthier this new year at PowerYourLunchbox.com. Companies supporting the program will make a collective $1 donation for every pledge taken to Feeding America programs that support families and children. It’s so easy–the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge campaign gives parents the resources to help start a healthier new year while giving back to other children in-need!

2017 Re-inspire Lunchboxes Sponsor Logos sqaure
Produce for Kids partners supporting Power Your Lunchbox Pledge 2017 include: Avocados from Mexico – Mexican Hass Avocados, Bee Sweet Citrus, Crispy Fruit Freeze-Dried Fruit Snacks from Crispy Green®, Eat Smart® Fresh Cut Vegetables, Earthbound Farm® Baby Kale, Marie’s® Dressings, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice, Pero Family Farms® Mini Sweet Peppers and Snipped Green Beans, and Wish Farms Strawberries with additional support provided by Bentology™.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links which means that if you choose to purchase an item mentioned here using the link provided, I will receive a small portion of the sale, at no extra cost to you, as a thank you for the referral. Thanks for your support!

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Quick and Easy Pizza Quesadillas http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/pizza-quesadillas-recipe-sundaysupper/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/pizza-quesadillas-recipe-sundaysupper/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=3097 This post originally about four and a half years ago so I figured it was time to update the photos and story a bit. These Quick and Easy Pizza Quesadillas are really that–quick, easy AND delicious! A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, they are perfect for...

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A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, this recipe is quick and easy for a snack or light dinner! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

This post originally about four and a half years ago so I figured it was time to update the photos and story a bit. These Quick and Easy Pizza Quesadillas are really that–quick, easy AND delicious! A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, they are perfect for a snack or light dinner. Pair it with a salad and you’ll be set for a healthier meal too.

I normally use turkey pepperoni as it’s lower in sodium and a tad better for you. But what I also like about these Quick and Easy Pizza Quesadillas is that I can add in some vegetables and my family does not mind! I usually add green bell peppers and onions but I’ll occasionally add some mushrooms too (only a couple of us are fans of those–well, really I’m a lover of mushrooms!) I sprinkle a bit of Italian herb seasoning along with the mozzarella cheese, pan fry them up and voila! I’ve got a tasty snack, lunch or light dinner idea. I normally serve the Pizza Quesadillas with some Homemade Spaghetti Sauce –I just leave out the sausage (or store-bought is ok too). These would also be great appetizers or, paired with a garden salad, an even better dinner.

If you’re a fan of quesadillas like we are, be sure to check out my recipe for Grilled Mango Poblano Pepper Quesadillas too! We love experimenting with new combinations. If you love twists on pizza like we do, don’t miss my Whole Wheat Pepperoni Pizza Bites (perfect for lunch or as an appetizer!) or Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad recipes!

A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, this recipe is quick and easy for a snack or light dinner! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

As I mentioned, this recipe appeared on my blog a LONG time ago and when I first featured it, it was part of a #SundaySupper event. The theme that time was centered around The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman. Katie’s cookbook is full of solutions for all the cooking-for-kids dilemmas that many of us face every day. She offers up a couple of different quesadilla ideas so I just took that as some inspiration and came up with the Quick and Easy Pizza Quesadillas!

A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, this recipe is quick and easy for a snack or light dinner! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Here’s our variation on Katie’s basic recipe:

Pizza Quesadillas Recipe
Serves: 4 quesadillas
 
Ingredients
  • 8 medium-size (8-inch) flour or whole wheat quesadillas
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pizza seasoning (I get mine from Penzey’s but you can also create your own with ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp. basil and ¼ tsp garlic salt)
  • 1 cup pepperoni , cooked sausage or other meat that you prefer
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables like onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.
Instructions
  1. Heat non-stick skillet to medium-high heat (about 300°). Place tortilla in skillet and layer cheese, pizza seasoning and toppings on one tortilla. Top with another tortilla and heat until crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Press down top tortilla into melted ingredients so it will stick together then flip over and grill another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Let the quesadillas sit for a minute before you slice each into six wedges and serve them with pizza sauce.*
  3. *Pizza Sauce: You can use prepared pizza sauce or make your own using a small can of canned tomato sauce with ½ tsp. of pizza seasoning.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: One quesadillas

If you’re not familiar with #SundaySupper, the idea is that we all need to take the time, even if it’s just once a week, to get back to the family dinner table and share our time with family. For generations before ours, it was a weekly tradition and it’s something that we hope to make a tradition once again in households across the globe.

Here are some favorites from other bloggers that we are sharing with you during the original #SundaySupper sharing event. I hope you’ll give some of them a try!

Salads:

  • Japanese      Restaurant Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing Shockingly Delicious @shockinglydlish

Main Dish:

Desserts:

Be on the lookout for next month’s The Mom 100 Cookbook installment too!

A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, this recipe is quick and easy for a snack or light dinner! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

A tasty twist on a traditional quesadillas recipe that combines the favorite flavors of pizza, this recipe is quick and easy for a snack or light dinner! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

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20 Minute Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/peachy-ground-turkey-meatballs/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/peachy-ground-turkey-meatballs/#respond Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:04:57 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10876 When I was first married, my repertoire of recipes was pretty limited. In the years since then, I’ve learned a lot more about cooking and enjoy trying new recipes a lot which I love to share here with you. But when we got married over two decades ago we were setting up our home so...

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Dinner in under 20 minutes with these delicious and simple Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs sauteed in a sweet and sour sauce. Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

When I was first married, my repertoire of recipes was pretty limited. In the years since then, I’ve learned a lot more about cooking and enjoy trying new recipes a lot which I love to share here with you.

But when we got married over two decades ago we were setting up our home so I decided to become a Tupperware consultant. I earned and purchased a TON of Tupperware, some of which I still use today! I remember we would have monthly area consultant meetings and share recipes of things we could make in the different products. These Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs were one of those recipe and original called to be made in the microwave. You can still do that but I know a lot of people prefer to avoid the microwave for longer cooking so I adapted this recipe for the stovetop.

It’s SO easy and best of all, it’s super budget friendly too! You can make the whole dish for under about seven dollars (less than that if you find the ground turkey on sale). The peach preserves and ketchup create a sweet and sour sauce with a hint of ginger. We like to pair our meatballs with steamed brown rice and roasted vegetables (one of our favorites is roasted broccoli!)

Even though I still like to try new recipes, this recipe has been a family favorite since the day I first made it at home so I hope you’ll give it a try too!

For other budget friendly recipes, check out my Tuna Rollups with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and my roundup of Budget Friendly meals. You’ll see how easy it is to eat well and still save money!

Dinner in under 20 minutes with these delicious and simple Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs sauteed in a sweet and sour sauce. Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Peachy Turkey Meatballs
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
  1. In medium mixing bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, green onions, salt and ¼ teaspoon ground ginger. Add ground turkey and mix well. Shape mixtures into meatballs-about 1 ½ inches large.
  2. In small mixing bowl, combine peach preserves, soy sauce, ketchup and ½ teaspoon ginger. Set aside.
  3. In large saute pan, brown meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon peach mixture over meatballs and simmer about 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Dinner in under 20 minutes with these delicious and simple Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs sauteed in a sweet and sour sauce. Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Dinner in under 20 minutes with these delicious and simple Peachy Ground Turkey Meatballs sauteed in a sweet and sour sauce. Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

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Simple Slowcooker Ground Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/simple-slow-cooker-turkey-vegetable-barley-soup/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/simple-slow-cooker-turkey-vegetable-barley-soup/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=7023 This post originally appeared here almost three years ago and it has become one of our family’s all-time favorites! Seriously, my kids LOVE this soup and ask for it. I love that because it is so good for you too with all the vegetables and whole grains. Paired with a garden salad or crusty bread...

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This Simple Slowcooker Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup is a cinch to throw together and better yet, it cooks all day in the slowcooker so dinner's ready at the end of a busy day! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

This post originally appeared here almost three years ago and it has become one of our family’s all-time favorites! Seriously, my kids LOVE this soup and ask for it. I love that because it is so good for you too with all the vegetables and whole grains. Paired with a garden salad or crusty bread makes it an even more delicious complete meal. I’ve said it before, I love my slowcooker and I like to think of my slowcooker like my personal kitchen assistant!

This Simple Slowcooker Ground Turkey, Vegetable and Barley Soup is so simple to put together too. I originally found this recipe in slowcooker book of mine but modified several of the ingredients to make it more to my family’s liking.

We like to serve our soup with oyster crackers or fresh baguette bread from the bakery. We like it so much that I often make it when we have company coming. It takes me less than 15 minutes to put it all together in the slowcooker and in just a few hours dinner is ready. Perfect for the end of a busy day! I hope you’ll give it a try too.

This Simple Slowcooker Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup is a cinch to throw together and better yet, it cooks all day in the slowcooker so dinner's ready at the end of a busy day! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Simple Slowcooker Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup #WeekdaySupper
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, cooked and drained
  • 1 28-ounce petite diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen mixed soup vegetables
  • ½ cup uncooked barley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon dried cumin (depending on your preference)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Cover; cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours or until barley and vegetables are tender.

 

This Simple Slowcooker Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup is a cinch to throw together and better yet, it cooks all day in the slowcooker so dinner's ready at the end of a busy day! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Slow Cooker Turkey Vegetable and Barley Soup | MealPlanningMagic.com

Just a few, easy to find ingredients is all it takes and minimal prep before combining everything in the slow cooker, setting the temp and time and then you’re good to go! (I forgot to include the onions in the original picture so that’s why it gets its own feature!)

Looking for more weeknight dinner ideas? Check out the terrific lineup for this week’s Weekday Supper. The theme this month is red foods (or foods with red ingredients) and bloggers from all around the web share simple weekday meal ideas to help you get dinner to the table more easily!

Sunday Supper Movement

Roasted Red Pepper and Quinoa
Four Cheese Leek and Mushroom Pizza
Tomato and Peppers Frittata
Chicken Tanjine with Tomato and Onion Jam
Simple Slowcooker Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup

Here is the original photo! Slow Cooker Turkey Vegetable and Barley Soup | MealPlanningMagic.com

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Top 20 Most Popular Posts of 2016 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/top-20-most-popular-posts-of-2016/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/top-20-most-popular-posts-of-2016/#respond Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:41:34 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10526   I realize we’re already into the new year but I still wanted to share my most popular blog posts for 2016 so I’ve compiled this list of my Top 20 Most Popular Posts of 2016. It’s always fun for me to look back and see what has been the most popular with my readers....

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top-20-most-popular-posts-of-2016

 

I realize we’re already into the new year but I still wanted to share my most popular blog posts for 2016 so I’ve compiled this list of my Top 20 Most Popular Posts of 2016. It’s always fun for me to look back and see what has been the most popular with my readers. You may remember some of these but you may have forgotten a few so here they are to enjoy again—either way!
I use a variety of analytics reports to develop my list including what is most popular on social media too. I’d love to know which ones were your favorite so be sure to leave a comment below to add one (or more) to the list.

MOST POPULAR RECIPES (counting down to THE most popular!)

These Cheesy Crabmeat Canapes are an deliciously indulgent appetizer that can be made ahead for all your tailgating or holiday hosting occasions! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
15. Crabmeat Canapes

Enjoy the flavors of the season with this Mandarin Tossed Salad. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can throw together a delicious salad and try something new! | Find the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
14. Mandarin Tossed Salad

Simple Slowcooker Steak and Chicken Fajitas are a delicious and easy way to enjoy at Texas regional specialty. Perfect for a weeknight--or when company's visiting! Find the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
13. Slowcooker Steak & Chicken Fajitas

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes are SO easy and with my make-ahead tip, you can make them even on busy weeknights! Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
12. Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Slowcooker Classic American Chili is so simple and delicious! I've been making this for over a decade--a family favorite! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
11. Slowcooker Classic American Chili

This Pumpkin Pie Dessert gives traditional pumpkin pie a makeover for a twist on an old favorite. It's easy to make ahead, too!
10. Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
9. Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Simple and so tasty with fresh fruit like sliced apples, this Creamy Pumpkin Dip is a perfect fall snack or treat anytime! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
8. Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Make ahead and freezer friendly? You won't believe how easy this Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes Casserole is to make and have on hand for any occasion! | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
7. Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes Casserole

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cake-slice1-mealplanningmagic
6. Peanut Butter Pretzel Cake

Slowcooker Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
5. Slowcooker Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

With a Freezer Meals Exchange Group you make up your meals for the frezer, meet with friends to swap and leave with a variety of meals to fill your freezer! | Find out how at MealPlanningMagic.com
4. How to Start a Freezer Meal Exchange Group

You'll love this twist on spinach dip! This Mexican Spinach Dip is made with all-natural ingredients, full of veggies and perfect for any occasion! | Find the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
3. Mexican Spinach Dip

Who says the holidays can't be healthier? This festive Christmas Fruit Salad has very little added sugar (from honey) and is perfect for just about any occasion. | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
2. Christmas Fruit Salad

If you love German chocolate cake, you'll love this German chocolate pie! Creamy chocolate filling with nuts and coconut and SO much easier to make! | Find the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
1. German Sweet Chocolate Pie

MY FAVORITES FOR 2016 (in addition to those listed already)

This Simple Caprese Panini (with Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella) bursts with garden fresh flavor and it's SO super easy to put together! It may just become your new favorite! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
5. Simple Caprese Panini (with Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella)

30 minutes is all it takes for this easy, filling Spanish Rice and Beef Skillet Dinner. Find the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com
4. Spanish Rice & Beef Skillet Dinner

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3. Six Games to Keep Dinnertime More Fun

You'll love this Healthier Decadent Double Chocolate Banana Bread. It's so moist and delicious and has been made healthier from it's original recipe.
2. Healthier Decadent Chocolate Banana Bread

Ginger Molasses cookies-bluenapkin-stacked-resized
1. Soft & Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

What did you rediscover to try or have tried from this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Easy Toffee Almond Bar Cookies http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/easy-toffee-almond-bar-cookies-12-weeks-of-christmas-treats/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/easy-toffee-almond-bar-cookies-12-weeks-of-christmas-treats/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2016 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=3588 Sometimes there’s a recipe that you make over and over again not only because it tastes so good but because of it’s story. That’s what makes it a tradition I suppose and for me, one of those recipes is for these Easy Toffee Almond Bar Cookies. I’ve been making them for over 15 years and...

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Sometimes there’s a recipe that you make over and over again not only because it tastes so good but because of it’s story. That’s what makes it a tradition I suppose and for me, one of those recipes is for these Easy Toffee Almond Bar Cookies. I’ve been making them for over 15 years and not only are they a favorite of my family and everyone I share them with, they are a must have at the holidays because of their story.

You see, I have a December baby and when I was pregnant I REALLY wanted to bake something for the holidays but knew I couldn’t manage a lot of bending and standing for a long time. So I looked for a bar cookie and these were it. The recipe is originally from one of those mini-Gold Medal holiday recipe books you find on the newsstands. I love a good, simple bar cookie and just about anything toffee flavored so these fit the bill nicely. Turns out my father-in-law really enjoyed them too as I had baked them right before delivery…and he enjoyed them when he came to meet his new grandchild!

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These are so simple, that it’s easy to make several batches and are so pretty when wrapped up in holiday containers. I think they look especially nice when put in a simple clear cellophane bag (I buy them at a craft story like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s) and tied up with a pretty bow! These Easy Toffee Almond Bar Cookies freeze well too. What more could you ask for? I hope you enjoy them too!

Easy Toffee Almond Bar Cookies {12 Weeks of Christmas Treats}
Serves: 4 dozen bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350º. Beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolk in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour and salt. Press (or spread) in ungreased pan, 13x9x2 inches.
  2. Bake 25-30 minutes or until very light brown (crust will be soft). Immediately place milk chocolate pieces on baked crust. Let stand about 5 minutes or until softened; spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds.
  3. Cool 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows while warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: One bar.

 

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This post originally appeared in October 2012. I have updated the photos and the post to share again with you all!

These Easy Toffee Almond Bar are simple shortbread bars with a light toffee flavor topped with chocolate and almonds! | Recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

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Weekly Menu Plan {December 12, 2016} http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/weekly-menu-plan-december-12-2016/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/weekly-menu-plan-december-12-2016/#respond Mon, 12 Dec 2016 21:55:29 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10845 It’s around this time of the year that I have a love hate relationship with meal planning. Part of me knows that the time it takes for me to sit down and do some meal planning will really pay off by saving time and money and our waistlines with healthier food options for dinner. But...

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Weekly Menu Plan {December 12,  2016} Find inspiration at MealPlanningMagic.com

It’s around this time of the year that I have a love hate relationship with meal planning. Part of me knows that the time it takes for me to sit down and do some meal planning will really pay off by saving time and money and our waistlines with healthier food options for dinner. But the other part of me just wants to go out to eat or get take-out every night. That just seems easier, am I right?

Well, I’ve got one more week of my Weekly Menu Plan for you this week! Remember, starting in 2017, I won’t be publishing my Weekly Menu Plans here in the same way on my blog. I’ll likely be sharing them in an email but also be sharing them monthly in a blog post. That way you’ll have a few weeks of ideas to help you with your menu planning.

Let’s get to this week’s dinner menu plan then! Here goes:

Monday: Chicken Marsala )from Dream Dinners) with green beans and rice pilaf
Tuesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with sugar snap peas and sliced carrots on the side
Wednesday: Swiss Beef Sliders with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Thursday: Slowcooker Baked Potato Soup with garden salad
Friday: Special activity–pizza takeout!
Saturday: Special activity–no cooking for me!
Sunday: Leftovers

What’s on your menu plan this week?

CHANGES ARE COMING!

After the start of the new year, I’ll be transitioning this Weekly Menu Plan and similar content into a new newsletter I have started Monday Magic. There are lots of reasons but you’ll still be able receive weekly recipe ideas and inspiration–it will just be in a different format! I’m thinking about doing a monthly menu plan post on my blog instead so that you’ll be able to access the same recipe ideas and inspiration on my website but I’ll be able to more regularly share additional content like new recipes or time and money saving tips on my website. My last weekly menu plan published here on the blog will probably be next week actually since the last two weeks of this month will be a mixture of holiday activities and traveling for us so my meal planning will not be so regular.

If you’re not already signed up on my email list, you can CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP. Be sure to choose the Monday Magic Weekly Email Newsletter if you want to keep seeing weekly menu plans. If you want to receive an email every time a new post is published on my blog, you can also choose the RSS Email. You can definitely choose both too!

Also included in that Monday Magic newsletter will be content I discover around the web each week that I think you might enjoy. I’ll also share a little bit more about me–what I’m reading, watching or listening to to let you know that I’m about more than just meal planning! I hope to “see” lots more of you there!

Don’t Miss Out!

Don’t miss out on all kinds of updates from Meal Planning Magic! Be sure to SIGN UP HERE to receive updates via email or RSS feed (you can choose which you prefer or choose to receive both!) And don’t forget you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. They all offer a little something different and are a great way to stay in the loop on new menu plans, recipe ideas, giveaways, organizing tips and more!

Browse my recipe index for more inspiration and ideas! at MealPlanningMagic.com

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Christmas Fruit Salad http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/christmas-fruit-salad/ http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/christmas-fruit-salad/#respond Sun, 11 Dec 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/?p=10524   If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been going through lots of those old cookbooks that compile favorites from home cooks. You know, the ones that are shared by churches, community groups, clubs or just a family? One of the most popular ones I’ve shared lately is this...

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Who says the holidays can't be healthier? This festive Christmas Fruit Salad has very little added sugar (from honey) and is perfect for just about any occasion. | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been going through lots of those old cookbooks that compile favorites from home cooks. You know, the ones that are shared by churches, community groups, clubs or just a family? One of the most popular ones I’ve shared lately is this Mexican Spinach Dip –it’s going crazy on Pinterest! I’ve really been enjoying going through these older recipes because I’m discovering all kinds of new recipes to try. So many of them need to be updated though to make them a bit healthier or just add a photo to the recipe, right?

Who says the holidays can't be healthier? This festive Christmas Fruit Salad has very little added sugar (from honey) and is perfect for just about any occasion. | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

When I first spotted this Christmas Fruit Salad I knew I had to try it! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sweet and especially those treats made only during the holidays. But I love that this is a healthier holiday dish option for parties or family gatherings. I actually made it for a book club meeting I hosted and everyone loved it! I think it would be great to have on Christmas morning too.

With the red and green fruits, it’s so festive! You could try adding strawberries or even pomegranate arils as an addition or alternative to the red fruits too.

Who says the holidays can't be healthier? This festive Christmas Fruit Salad has very little added sugar (from honey) and is perfect for just about any occasion. | Get the recipe at MealPlanningMagic.com

Christmas Fruit Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup dried cherries (may substitute cranberries)
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup diced Granny Smith apple (about one medium size apple)
  • 1 cup diced Red Delicious apple (about one-two small apples)
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced in wedges
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lime peel
  • 1 tablespoons lime juice
Instructions
  1. Boil one cup of water. Add dried cherries to small bowl and cover with boiling water for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain cherries.
  3. In large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  4. Chill for two hours. Serve cold.

The original recipe called for ½ cup of honey but we found that to be way too sweet and there was so much liquid left in the bowl that I cut it to ¼ cup in the recipe. But if you find your fruit salad makes a little bit too much, you can certainly add more honey to taste.

What are some of your favorite healthier holiday dishes?

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