Crock Pot, Meal Planning, Oktoberfest, Recipe Reviews, Recipes

Meal Planning, Week Three!

As promised, back again for another round of recipe reviews and meal planning menus! Ok so admittedly I am one day late. Between hockey and lacrosse and decorating for fall (more on that later) and lesson planning, something had to give this weekend and my little blog had to be it. This being my first working year while attempting to fit blogging in amongst all of my other responsibilities is certainly proving to be a challenge. It makes me that much more thankful that I made the commitment to publish all of my weekly menus — even if they’re tardy! Ahh, good old accountability. Anyhow, I digress.

Last week’s menu was relatively successful. Everything I made ended up being delicious and well loved by the Bash Brothers, but not everything I made was necessarily on the menu (hence “relatively” successful). A couple of the recipes I had planned (the Cowboy Steak Salad and Eggs Florentine Pizza) were derailed by a few additions to the schedule (hello, Back to School Night) and I was forced to reroute the dinner course. I ended up subbing in a few quick tried and true crockpot meals instead that added some much needed minutes to my day by eliminating the stress steps where I obsess over perfecting a new recipe on the first try. 
These little babies ended up being absolutely delicious. We had a few beautiful days last week that were very crisp and cool and called for just this kind of comforting sandwich. I had some leftover potato and leek soup in the freezer that I thawed as a side dish and the boys saw as the perfect dip for their sandwiches. The Mornay sauce is a little bit of a high maintenance addition to a simple sandwich, but it really does serve as the icing to the cake (in sandwich form) so it is certainly something I will be making again. 
The crockpot pork tenderloin was a hit as well, although I have the smallest of bones to pick with the nature of the recipe itself. (Please indulge me as I step on my soap box) To me, the best kinds of crockpot dishes are recipes that require absolutely zero work aside from the putting of all ingredients into the crockpot. It can’t require broiling, or basting, or sauce-thickening, or anything of the like. I’m absolutely not interested in recipes that require me to complete additional steps “one hour before serving” during the work week. No, no, no. One hour before serving I am usually peeling sweaty hockey equipment off of two little bodies, dreaming of the meal I made at 5:30 this morning that should be waiting for me now — and done. The only final step I’m interested in taking is the putting of said meal onto the paper plates. To be eaten. Not to be glazed or broiled in other pans. Pans that then need to be washed. And put away. (You get the picture.) So, all this being said, when I read the “optional” steps in this recipe I was really hoping they would actually be optional. 
Optional they were not. 
So indeed I stood whisking, glazing, and broiling while yelling politely asking my two boys to neatly air out the contents of their hockey bags in the garage. 
Thankfully, the pork was worth it. As it usually almost always is. 
This week, I made sure to carefully comb through the recipes I narrowed down to avoid a replay of the aforementioned scene. Without further delay, here’s what is going down on our table this week: 
Tuesday: The Pioneer Woman’s Meatloaf (Made ahead on Monday night)
Wednesday: Chicken Cheddar Pot Pie (Made ahead on Tuesday night)
Friday: Slow-cooker Thai Peanut Chicken & Rice (Obviously avoid if there are nut allergies present!)
This week I am taking advantage of the two week nights/afternoons where we have zero after school commitments, as that is a rare and precious gift, and using some of the extra time to make two dinners ahead of time. I love my crock pot, but there are so many yummy things I want to make using traditional cooking methods and making them ahead is one of the only ways I can do that during the work week without losing any sanity. Stay tuned for reviews! 
I cannot close out this post without mentioning what a momentous day this is on every (particularly Bavarian) German’s calendar as it marks the official start of the 183rd Oktoberfest Festival! Coincidentally, it is also my beloved parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. (For any of you wondering if the merging of these two events was purely coincidental, I can assure you they were not.) As Germans celebrate Oktoberfest throughout the rest of September and into the early days of October, in the coming weeks I will be sharing with you many of my favorite recipes and traditions of this beautiful celebration of food and family. 
In the meantime, I would love any feedback from anyone who tried any of the recipes from week two, for better or for worse. 🙂 
Guten Appetit! 

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