Well hello Monday. How did it come so fast? As our school and social schedules get into full swing the days are flying by this month. We had a normal weekend of yard work, hosting neighbors for cocktails, apple picking, apple pie baking and lots of football watching. Basically an all-American weekend north of the border.

Fall apple pie menu plan

The apple season is in full swing here. We picked cortlands, mackintosh and galas…50 pounds worth! I should be in the kitchen making applesauce but I think I’ll wait till my little helpers are back home. They love giving the food mill a whirl. While we baked a traditional apple pie on Sunday, this no-crust apple pie is also one of my favorite melt-in-your-mouth dessert recipes. Don’t forget vanilla bean ice cream on the side!


The kids were great helpers at the apple orchard we discovered outside of Toronto city limits. It was beautiful to get to the country and the sky was amazing after a big downpour. It’s so much flatter here than I expected and it’s been fun to keep exploring around our new home.

Modern menu planning free printable

I thought I would share this menu planning printable I used last week and shared my Instagram. It was one of my top images this month and you can print the file yourself here.

On to this week’s menu…

Monday~ CORN (for new readers, this means Clean Out Refrigerator Night) We have 3 choices of leftovers (not including pie) that we need to tackle.

Tuesday~ Chicken Nuggets, Roasted Carrots and Israeli Couscous. (which is called Pearl Couscous here and makes much more sense.)

Wednesday~ Veggie Pizza on Naan bread.

Thursday~ It’s our 10 year wedding anniversary so I’m making my favorite guy a new lemon chicken recipe which is always a win for him. It’s a great one pot meal so clean up will be quick!

Friday~ Date night!

Easy weeknight lemon chicken skillet dinner.

Cooking Light recipe

 Have an awesome week everyone!

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.


Did you get a taste of fall last week? The crisp air felt great but I’m excited to see the sun and warmth will return again in the days ahead. Fall and winter cooking is my favorite….but it lasts forever so I’m happy to keep things light this week.

With schedules filling up fast, meal planning is a great opportunity to sit down and map out the week ahead. You can ask family members for their requests (always meatballs from one of the kids) and give yourself a chance to figure out which days need to be crock-pot days or fast dinner ideas. Taking just 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your stress level during the dinner witching hour.

We are making an effort to focus more on Clean Eating. What that means to us is less processed foods, more fruits and veggies and less red meat. There are so many resources out there for Whole30 meals, paleo-friendly dinners and of course Meatless Monday ideas. As I build future meal plans, I’m curious if any of you are following any of these eating strategies? I avoid the word “diet” as I think that feels limiting. These new meal planning ideas are more about adopting a healthy lifestyle approach to eating instead of just “less.”

In addition to Pinterest, I’m finding some great ideas on Instagram by finding #Whole30 or #Paleo hashtag trends. Recently I started reading the Clean Eating magazine and there are some great ideas I’ll test out and share here soon.

Autumn fall chopped salad recipe

On to the menu this week…

Sunday~ Chicken Chasseur I mentioned last week was a winner last night. The recipe made it into the binder. The sauce was great over whole wheat couscous.

Monday~ Meatless Monday Omelettes to order. Mushroom and tomato for grown ups, kids voted for cheese and salsa. Avocado on the side to round out the dinner.

Tuesday~ Fall Salad (recipe) An easy prep ahead dinner for one of our busy nights. Note~ I think the recipe is supposed to include bacon as per the picture above. Or maybe I just think it should include bacon…

Wednesday~ Parm-Style Chicken Sliders. (recipe) It’s a healthy recipe and it’s easy enough to skip the buns and enjoy the Italian flavors on their own.

Thursday~Grilled sirloin steak while it’s still warm enough to enjoy grilling outside. Spinach and strawberry salad on the side.

Friday~ Pizza night! Recipe for homemade pizza dough in bread maker. I cheated and bought a ready made pizza for the kids last weekend…it was awful. Never again.

 Have an awesome week everyone!

Chicken Parm style sliders recipeFor more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.


It’s time for back to school, back to routines and back to meal planning. After a delightful break from writing out our weekly meal plan, it’s finally time to get organized as our kids head to school tomorrow. The past few weeks for us have been focused on shopping for kitchen basics instead of shopping for new recipes. I “think” the kitchen is finally ready to kick off a new season of menu plans for all you readers.

Making the move from Boston to Toronto has been fun and grocery shopping has been an interesting experience as I stand at the deli trying to figure out how to order a pound of cheese. The people here are so nice and helpful when it comes to my blank stare looking at metric quantities. Otherwise, the food choices are very similar. The dairy assortment is probably the biggest different, with milk sold in plastic bags, smaller size quantities for yogurt and less sugar added to cream cheese. Generally all good things when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

For this week’s meal planning, I got a new cookbook to review, Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!) written by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher. Jessica has two blogs I’ve read for years, Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats and the publishers from Boston kindly sent me an advanced copy to read. (You can get yours starting Tuesday!) Many years ago it was Jessica’s meal plans that inspired me to get organized and start sharing all of our past plans here.

Good Cheap Eats Cookbook tips and advice

The new cookbook features easy dinner entrees and side dishes, that are quick but not out of the box. For newer cooks and people who want to feel more comfortable in the kitchen, there are TONS of great tips in the sidebar of the recipes. Even I am getting a bunch of great ideas for prepping food, storing leftovers and how to rethink pizza. (a behind the scenes note, Jessica sent me a personal email about a year ago when one of my Pinterest Pins to my Lunch Love board was driving a lot of traffic to her site thanking me for pinning her article. It’s cool to see her commitment to healthy food hasn’t changed and I hope the cookbook is a success!)

Meal plan for this week…

Monday: Labour Day cookout at friend’s house. We get to bring dessert.

Tuesday: Someone has a birthday so he gets Steak Tips, smashed red potatoes and local corn on the cob. This recipe looks great and will try it with steak tips grilled.

Wednesday: One pan Mexican Quinoa. This is a repeat dish and it’s offered to the kids in hard shell tacos with some cheddar cheese on top.

Thursday: Teriyaki Meatballs from the new cookbook Good Cheap Eats. These may take the max 30 minutes to make, but it may give us some leftovers for the lunch box. I’m also curious about No Brainer Baked Rice recipe in this book too. Green beans on the side rounds out this meal.

Friday: Pizza night for kids and (hopefully) date night to celebrate that birthday this week if we can find a babysitter. The homemade pizza dough has worked just fine up here too.

Saturday: Chicken Chasseur. An easy one-pot dish that can be paired with any leftover rice. Roasted asparagus on the side.

Chicken Chasseur dinner recipe

Chicken Chasseur recipe from Urban Cookery


What are you cooking up for Labor Day this year? Ready for the start of the fall season?

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. (affiliate links included here which help support this site.)


Happy summer friends! I hope the month of July has been good to you with long days and lazy nights. There is so much fresh summer veggies available now, it’s the perfect time to take advantage eating local! Butter and sugar corn is finally at the market and it’s worth the wait.

No cook pasta pea sauce

I’ve been inspired by the many great vegetarian dishes in my beach magazine reading. I recently read the new Rodale Organic Life (second issue) and there are a ton of great recipes and stories. This article with some raw vegetable pasta sauces is one I pinned. Once our schedule settles down a bit we are going to work on making vegetarian dishes the main meal for more of our weeknight dinners. (and yes, my husband is on board.)

On the menu this week…

Monday~ Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks, grilled zucchini (from my dad’s garden) and pasta with herbs. I also want to try to grill some romaine. I’ve seen it so many times in magazines and dying to see how it tastes.

Tuesday~Shrimp scampi and corn on the cob

Wednesday~ Grilled chicken over locally grown mescaline greens.

Thursday~ Family trip to Lake Winnepesaukee! Tag along with our adventure on Instagram.

What are you making this week?



For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. (affiliate links included here which help support this site.)

I am taking a little time off from regular meal planning and I came across the summer meal planning list I pulled together last year. Having a list of go-to meals can be helpful as you look at the week ahead. Many of these dinners are barbecue friendly, and also great for hot summer nights when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

While I’m taking a break from regular meal planning posts, you can find all the past menu plan posts here. I am also spending a fair amount of time on Pinterest updating my favorite boards with new recipe inspiration. I’ve reorganized my boards so it’s easier to find some recipe inspiration. I’m loving my new Salad board and  Beverage board where I’m storing all my new favorite smoothie recipes.

Easy summer dinner ideas

Here are some of my go-to dinner ideas for when the days are lazy and long and it’s too hot to stay in the kitchen.

And get the free printable with bonus ideas so you can hang it on your fridge this summer as a reminder!

  • Hamburgers with native corn 
  • Grilled Chicken with a salad and homemade salad dressing.
  • Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwiches (grill extra chicken the first night, use leftovers for the second.)
  • Grilled/ Pan seared Fish.  All fish usually needs is a little olive oil and salt and pepper for the grill.
  • Fish Sandwiches
  • Steak Tips with grilled zucchini or summer squash
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin
  • Mac and Cheese with ham and corn for lazy nights.
  • Hot Dogs.  (We buy Applegate or something with no nitrates/nitrites)
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches (slow cooker)
  • Salsa Chicken (slow cooker)
  • Frittata with fresh veggies and herbs
  • Boiled Lobster Dinner (a splurge for some, or free for us when I get them from my Dad. My kids LOVE lobster!)
  • Grilled Pizza with pre-made dough from the freezer
  • Pesto Pasta with stir fried chicken. (Recipe for Homemade Basil Pesto)
What are your easy summer dinners to add to the list?

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. (affiliate links included here which help support this site.)

Happy summer friends! I hope this week’s meal plan finds many of you on vacation. In our house, summer vacation still means we are cooking for family and friends so I’m still making a loose plan of the dinners ahead. As time slows down here at the beach house, it’s a fun opportunity to try some new recipes. All the magazine reading at the beach pays off in the kitchen!


You will see a little less content around here this month as we spend time as a family at the beach. It’s hard to find time to sit at a computer when the sand is just a few steps away. Follow along our summer adventure over on Instagram.

On the menu…

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

Make the salad in the morning and it will be ready after a fun day in the sun. (image)

Sunday~ Lobsters and Steak. A perfect summer dinner. Plus lots of fresh greens and veggies from my Dad and stepmom’s garden. We never leave hungry from their house.

Monday~ Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad. I found this recipe in my Instagram feed this week and can’t wait to make it. Large platter salads are generally a win with the kids since they get to control what they pick out. We “gently” encourage them to put everything on their plate, even if they don’t eat it. It’s a great chance to give everyone exposure to the rainbow.

Tuesday~ Hamburgers, oven fries and corn on the cob. Super simple…but a little extra special with lime juice for the corn instead of butter.

Wednesday~ Dinner out in Gloucester. So many choices…

Thursday~ Oven to Grill Baby Back Ribs and coleslaw. The inspiration for this recipe is here, but I may tweak it and cook it in the foil packets in the crock pot instead. No need to introduce more heat in the house!

Friday~Hot dog dinner post beach and then off to see the fireworks!

Saturday~ Family BBQ. I’m making the Sugar Snap Pea, Tomato and Orzo salad from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.  (you could also try this Beet Orzo salad)

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars cookbook

Happy 4th of July!!


Sometimes meal planning needs to take a break, or you need some motivation. One of the first places I turned is surprisingly not Pinterest, it’s our local library. Have you ever taken a walk through the cookbook section in your library? It’s filled with treasures, plus we have the luxury of requesting some of the newest titles from our neighboring libraries. There is something so renewing about looking at new food photography, different ways of explaining recipes and a safe opportunity to explore new cuisines before adding them to your kitchen routine.

I picked up Sunday Suppers, a book by Karen Mordechai. It was widely publicized last year when it came out in a number of foodie magazines. Sunday Suppers is a communal cooking center and website based in Brooklyn. I appreciate their focus on quality ingredients from local markets, simple recipes, and unfussy entertaining. The book is encouraging to plan easy meals as we look ahead to summer and hitting the beach for the next two months. Cream biscuits with jam butters….concentrated coffee with milk…perfectly scrambled eggs. That sounds like a perfect meal for any time of day.

The photos in Sunday Suppers are gorgeous. Taking better pictures is on my lists of goals as I plan to continue the blog after the move to Toronto. Sharing new recipes is one of my favorite things here on the blog and I would love to spend a little more time styling the shots and creating a story. I may pick up one of the Photography ebook Bundles on sale this week, yet I’m struggling to decide between the beginner and intermediate packages. (When do you get to the point when you can say you have mastered the basics?) I think the Unexpected Everyday and the Eat Pretty Things are my first two books to read this summer.

Pineapple Coconut Cashew Rice Recipe

The menu for the week as we clear out those shelves…

Monday: Omelets

Tuesday: Vinegar Glazed Chicken with Creamed Corn (recipe)

Wednesday: Pineapple Coconut Rice (recipe) …way to use up some random items in the cabinet!

Thursday: Pasta, veggies and feta mix-up

Friday: Pizza Night

 Vinegar Glazed Chicken and Creamed Corn

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. (affiliate links included here which help support this site.)

We have just two more weeks to cook in our family kitchen. A part of me is excited to head off to the beach and take a step back from planning. The other part of me looks around and sees all the food we have left in the house and gets slightly overwhelmed. I guess I’ll be having a donation party in the near future! I also discovered that you can often have your local food pantry come pick up any unopened goods that are appropriate for donation. Great tip for people moving or clearing out for the summer months.

Weekly Meal Plan June

On to this week’s meal plan…

Sunday: Grilled chicken over fresh lettuce from the garden. Topped with red onions, avocado and cucumbers. Finally found a quick and easy ranch dressing recipe in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. I could eat this dinner once a week for a good long while.

Monday: Roasted shrimp topped with feta and cilantro. Using up some pasta on the side plus more salad (and ranch dressing.)

Tuesday: Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs (last week’s kabob recipe was a HUGE hit-double the recipe), with orzo and green beans.

Wednesday: Quiche with whatever veggies are left in the fridge to use up. If I had extra time, I would make this Carmelized Pear and Blue Cheese quiche. Maybe in the fall…

Thursday: End of School Year Picnic!

Friday: Pizza night

Chicken Teriyaki Kababs

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

This week’s meal planning session moved outside to the back porch. The early afternoon is so beautiful and is a perfect time to leisurely go through some magazines and cookbooks for a little while. It worked out so well after the kids were exhausted from playing outside all morning. Finding a quiet time to do your meal planning makes all the difference to feel prepared and organized to take on a new week.

Another handy tool to make meal planning easy is to write down all your family favorites. Categorize them into Chicken/Fish/Meat/Vegetarian/Pasta and you have a great start to planning dinners each week. This printable is one of my favorites as it can help you come up with some dinner ideas you may have forgotten, such as soups and sandwiches. (print it here and pick your favorite color combo!)

Family Dinner Favorite List

On the menu this week…

Sunday~ Sweet Basil dinner with our dear friends

Monday~ Broiled Salmon  with Asparagus and Mushrooms. (recipe and image source below). Do you know why you want to pick wild salmon versus farm raised? (hint-it’s because they often dye farmed raised salmon to make it pink. Creepy!) 

Tuesday~ Pineapple Chicken Kebabs with Cilantro Lime Slaw. (Cooking Light recipe) A little jasmine rice on the side.

Wednesday~ Whole Chicken cooked in the slow cooker. Super easy and then shred the chicken to use for tostadas. Toppings of everyone’s choosing. Yum.

Thursday~ CORN (also known as Clean Out Refrigerator Night)

Friday~ Off to Storyland with family-like friends for a fun-filled weekend!

When do you try to plan your recipes for the week ahead?


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

This week’s meal plan is a little different. My challenge to you is to head to your pantry first to see what you need to use up. As summer approaches, now is a great time to clean out the kitchen. That includes the pantry, the shelves and the freezer stock ups. Get through those piles of random grains on your shelves…or is that just mine? As we prepare to move, it’s a major goal to clean through our kitchen inventory by the end of June.

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Checklist

Need some direction to clean out the kitchen? Try this cute printout. (source)

I’m taking a peek at past meal plans and remembering some favorites so I can use up what I have on hand. Check out what I end up making over on Instagram.

  • Use up the rest of the quinoa and make this awesome Mexican Quinoa recipe again.
  • Clear through the coconut milk, chicken thighs and extra veggies with our favorite slow cooker meal.
  • This corn dip looks like a delicious way to use up the extra corn on the cob we cooked up. Served with some eggs it looks like an easy dinner.
  • Elderberry muffins and pancakes are in my future. I have a gallon bag of frozen berries. Any else need some elderberries?
  • Pasta tuna salad. Uses up a ton of canned items.
Corn dip recipe

Corn dip recipe (recipe source)

What are some of your favorite pantry clean out quick tips? If you are leaving town for the summer, don’t forget to clean out your deep freezer and let it defrost.

p.s. Need a dessert recipe? Check out this awesome Strawberry Cookies and Cream cake I made for Connor’s birthday. It was awesome!!

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of posts.