Category Archives: Meal Planning

Build a Better Breakfast that is Quick, Easy & Healthy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterBreakfast #CollectiveBias #ad

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

One of the most important things to me as a parent is making sure that my kids are successful in school and in life… and for our family, that all starts with a healthy breakfast each day.  So to ensure that we always have time for a healthy breakfast, I make sure that we have some healthy options in the refrigerator—and ready for the kids to grab and eat.

One way that I have found to do this for my kids is building a better breakfast with Great Value 2% Milk from Walmart, Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions, and Lender’s Bagels.  I love this combo because, together, it provides a well-balanced breakfast for my boys, which is also quick and easy!  ChooseMyPlate.gov shows how to build a better breakfast by choosing food and beverage from each of the categories: dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein—and Great Value 2% Milk, Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions and Lenders Bagels helps our family choose a healthy plate by hitting each of these categories.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

While we know how important proper nutrition is for academic success, it is a sad reality that many children do not have access to basic nutrition.  Childhood should be filled with playing, learning and growing. But for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk—and the nutrients that help power childhood activities—are missing.  Now, you can help feed a childhood when you shop at Walmart—by purchasing one or more of these products, you are helping Feeding America provide nutrient-rich milk to kids and families in need.  Join Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry children and families who need it most. More than 14 million servings of milk have been delivered to food banks through this first-of-its-kind initiative.

Growing up on a dairy farm, I know the importance of milk in a child’s diet.  Milk is naturally nutrient rich and powers potential—if you have access to it.  Milk’s nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8 ounce serving, can help to ensure that kids have the potential to play, learn, and grow.  Add in a Lender’s Bagel, which is filling, sustaining kids all morning, and a Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusion cup—and voila!—you have a complete and healthy breakfast.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

Of course, this trio of milk, bagel, and fruit cup is quick, easy, and nutritious for the kids to just pull out of the refrigerator and make for themselves, but some mornings—when we have a bit of extra time—it is nice to add in another favorite of my boys—scrambled eggs.  I make a huge pan of scrambled eggs and whatever is not eaten at that meal goes into a storage container and put in the refrigerator to be reheated the next day.  You may not have ever thought of reheating eggs, but they truly do taste just as good as “leftovers.”  This is just another way that I make sure that I have healthy ready-to-eat items in the refrigerator so mornings run smoother.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

And I’ll let you in on my secret way of making scrambled eggs too—it’s really simple, but adds so much flavor!  I usually make a half dozen eggs at a time so I make sure to have enough for leftovers:

  • crack your eggs into a bowl
  • add some Great Value 2% Milk (it makes the eggs nice and fluffy!)
  • add salt and pepper to taste
  • melt a tablespoon of butter in your pan (over medium heat) and spread it around so the eggs won’t stick
  • beat the eggs thoroughly and pour in the pan
  • add some shredded cheese on top of the the uncooked egg mixture (I typically use Colby Jack, but American cheese is good too)
  • stir continually with a silicon spatula until completely cooked
  • top with a bit more cheese while the eggs are warm so it melts…yum!

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

Now that my kids are bigger, we always choose 2% milk because it is good for the kids to drink and I like to use this in any cooking as well.  I’m glad that my kids like drinking milk because this is the base that we work from to build a better breakfast.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

But part of getting good food into kids is allowing them to help pick the foods too.  And Lender’s makes it easy because they have a bagel for everyone—even your pickiest eater will be able to find something that they will like: Plain, Blueberry and Cinnamon-Raisin flavors are kid-friendly & great for the whole family.  My two youngest sons decided that they wanted Blueberry, but my oldest son chose the French Toast bagels from Lender’s premium line of bagels.  I love that bagels for breakfast are timesaving, easy, tasty, and nutritious.  But when you go to the store to look for these, don’t head to the bread aisle… Lender’s Bagels are available in the refrigerated dairy section.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

Over the years, I have to admit, that I have gravitated away from canned fruit items because of the high fructose corn syrup, however, Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions has given me reason to come back… Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions is the only fruit cup product that provides one serving of fruits and veggies in a single cup.  The veg is in the juice but you’d never even know it!  So when your kids want to drink the juice that the fruit is in—it’s actually healthy for them!  There’s no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or sweeteners in these fruit cups—and that’s important to me, as a parent!  So again, knowing that these are healthy, I had the boys pick out which flavors they wanted—because if they get to pick it, they will eat it, right?!  They decided on Apple Pear Watermelon and Cherry Fruit Trio, both were tasty—and easy to pack in school lunches too!  *Look for specially marked Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions packages on the shelf at Walmart for valuable coupons for Del Monte and Lenders products.

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

Visit milklife.com/give to learn more about the Great American Milk Drive.

Now, you can also enter the Build a Better Breakfast Sweepstakes:

Enter to win a weekly prize of $100 Walmart e-gift card or a grand prize of $400 tablet and a $500 Walmart e-gift card:
Enter using hashtag: #BetterBreakfast

#BuildABetterBreakfast Sweepstakes

How will you build a better breakfast?

Build a Better Breakfast | Money Savvy Living

 

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eMeals: Back to school lunches for kids

school lunch

The sound of the school bell ringing will soon be a normal part of your child’s day. Whether your child is 4 or 14, adjusting to school is never easy. This transition can be softened with the help of one of my favorite organizational tools, eMeals! eMeals provides you simple breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert meal plans to help you easily and effectively plan meals for your family.

One of the new favorites is their kid-friendly meal plan. Each meal plan comes with a ready-made shopping list to help you get through the grocery store in no time flat! Sign up for eMeals now and you can get 2 bonuses:
1. 20% off with the code SCHOOL
2. A FREE Back to School Survival Guide filled with fun back to school recipes including 3 Power Breakfast Recipes, 2 Lunch Box Recipes, 2 Weeknight Dinners, 2 After School Snacks, and 1 Yummy Dessert!

Here is an example of one of the recipes from the Back to School kit to enjoy with your kids.

Turkey-Bacon Tortilla Roll-Ups:
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins

8 slices bacon
Mayonnaise
1 (8-oz) package store-bought guacamole
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 lb thinly sliced deli turkey
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or any shredded cheese)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium
heat until crisp; drain. Spread a thin layer of
mayonnaise and guacamole over each tortilla.
Layer turkey, bacon and cheese on each
tortilla. Add lettuce, if desired. Roll up tortillas,
and cut in half. Makes 4 servings.

Homemade Gluten-Free Freezer Pancakes

Delicious and Healthy too!

Delicious and Healthy too!

 

My kids love pancakes and eggs for breakfast, which is fine, except, those things can be time consuming to make from scratch or can get very expensive to buy ready-made. Anyone that has ever tried to get kids ready for school in the morning knows that there is just never enough time. Packing lunches, getting homework gathered up, making sure hair is combed, and making sure everyone is fed is quite a task. So I have figured out a way to make morning less hectic—and save a bit of money in the process!

 

If you have ever bought a box of freezer pancakes, you probably paid about $3.00 for 8 pancake, or $0.38 per pancake. In our house, we would go through one of these boxes in 2 days—and that can really add up! By making my own, I save money, and I know that there are no preservatives or high fructose corn syrup in there: just pancake mix, egg, milk, and oil, so overall, healthier too! You really do need to read the ingredients in the pancake mix as well; there may be hidden preservatives or fillers in there that you don’t want. I have chosen to get gluten free pancake mix (I like Glutino Gluten Free Pantry). My kids don’t even notice the difference from regular pancake mix!

 

From one box of pancake mix, I can make approximately 48 medium sized pancakes. Including other ingredients too, my cost comes out to about $0.13 per pancake! This is about double the price when using regular pancake mix (about $0.06 per pancake), but still about 3 times less than buying them ready-made from the freezer section at the grocery store.

 

Gluten-free Freezer Pancakes

1 c. gluten-free pancake mix
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.  Let sit for 5 minutes before making pancakes.  I have noticed that the batter thickens and makes fluffier pancakes, rather than using right away.

*Helpful Tip* To make pancakes that are uniform in size and shape, use 1/4 cup dry measuring cup to dip out batter and pour onto griddle for the small pancakes or a cookie scoop to measure out the small pancakes. It’s less messy than pouring out of the bowl or a liquid measuring cup too!

For the small pancakes:

Homemade Gluten Free Freezer Pancakes | Money Savvy Living

Let cool completely. Cut parchment paper into 4×4 inch squares. Stack pancakes, putting a piece of parchment paper between each to keep them from sticking together in the freezer.

Put in freezer bag for storage throughout the week. Heat 2-3 pancakes for about 50-60 seconds before serving.

 

For the silver dollar pancakes:

Lay out on a cookie sheet and slide in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  I don’t try to stack these or put wax paper in between them because they are so small, they just get put into a plastic freezer bag.  Putting them into the freezer on the cookie sheet allows them to be put into the bag frozen so they don’t stick together.

Homemade Gluten Free Freezer Pancakes | Money Savvy Living

 

*This post was originally for a guest blog that I did for Simply Save and has been updated.

eMeals Launches New Dessert Plan

What is eMeals? from eMeals on Vimeo.

eMeals is launching their new dessert plan! Get inspired each week to make incredible desserts. With mouth-watering recipes like Chocolate Pretzel Slab Pie, Buttery Toasted Vanilla Clusters or Crunchy Streusel Pumpkin Loaf, this plan is perfect for the dessert lover in all of us. Receive 3 indulgent dessert ideas every week including a mix of Crowd Pleasers, Quick & Easy options, and Skinny Sweets. This variety of sweet endings will fit the bill for weeknight desserts, casual entertaining and even healthy treats.

eMeals, the leader in online meal planning, is a comprehensive meal planning resource that helps provide healthy and delicious dinners for busy families and individuals. Endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey and highlighted in the Oprah Winfrey blog, the eMeals weekly dinner plans include grocery shopping lists and recipe instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

So what does this mean for you, you ask? eMeals can help you save money at the grocery store by generating lists for you based on the meal plan for the week… follow the list and you won’t overspend on impulse buys!

Sign up NOW to get 15% off eMeals with code USFG!

Meal planning: Creating new meals using leftovers

Stuffed peppers are a delicious, complete meal without any side dishes.

Stuffed peppers are a delicious, complete meal without any side dishes.

Stuffed peppers are a great dinner for any money savvy meal because it is an all-in-one kind of dish: meat, vegetables, and rice. I buy the ground beef when it is on sale and freeze it; then I always have some in my freezer to use when I need it. This is also a meal that I would plan on making when the red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are on sale (or fresh from my own garden– which costs next to nothing!), otherwise, they can be pretty expensive. Green peppers can also be more more affordable alternative, but I find these a little less sweet than the red, yellow, or orange.

STUFFED PEPPERS

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS
5 large bell peppers
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion
2-3 baby protabella mushrooms (optional)
1 large can chopped tomoatoes
1/2 c cooked rice
shredded cheese, colby jack
salt, pepper, Nature’s Seasoning or Seasoned Salt to taste

Clean peppers, removing seeds and cut approximately 1/2 inch off the top (to saute with onion). Brown ground beef. (I cook 1 lb of ground beef and set aside the other 1/2 lb for the next meal). Add onion, pepper pieces, and finely chopped muchrooms in with beef and finish cooking. Add crushed tomatoes, along with additional seasonings. Add cooked rice and stir together. Fill bell peppers with beef and rice mixture, top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-60 minutes.

The next day, you can use the leftover peppers (along with the 1/2 lb ground beef, which we set aside) to make a whole new meal.

Put remaining ground beef, onions, peppers and mushrooms in pan. Cut up leftover stuffed peppers and add to pan. All of these ingredients go perfectly with our next-day meal plan: Enchiladas! The ingredients that I used to make my stuffed peppers ALL are items that I would use for enchiladas. Now all I have to do is heat theses items up, add some enchilada sauce (about 1/3 of the can) and shredded cheese for the filling.

ENCHILADAS

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Enchiladas make a great stuffed peppers leftover meal remake.

Enchiladas make a great stuffed peppers leftover meal remake.

INGREDIENTS:
leftover stuffed peppers, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef (reserved from previous meal prep)
New items: 1 can mild, red enchilada sauce, 5 flour tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream

*In order to make this meal, it only costs about $3-4 for the additional ingredients! Think about that: you will be saving money by not wasting leftovers AND you are making a completely new meal for your family for less than $5!

Spoon filling into flour tortilla shells. Roll up and place in baking dish (sprayed with a non-stick spray). Once all enchiladas are filled and placed in baking dish, pour remaining red sauce over the top. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. This is a quick, easy, inexpensive meal; and the best part is you will never know that you are eating leftovers!