Saturday, January 15, 2011

Momma Hughes is trying something new.

I always get a little chunk of money this time of year that I wouldn't normally have, because Christmas and my Birthday are back to back. Usually I try to come up with some things I think I want, and end up blowing through the money rather quickly. This year I decided that instead of using the money to buy more clothes, I would use the money to look better in the clothes I already have.

That's right. I am joining Weight Watchers. I had to do it. I have so much knowledge about what is right and wrong when it comes to eating, but all that knowledge is just not enough for me. I just don't care enough. I have had plenty of well-meaning friends offer words of advice when it came to eating. None of them motivated me. (sorry friends...and mom) I read more than enough books on the topic of eating healthy, written by very motivating people. Still not enough. (sorry books) I needed some extra tools, and the motivation to put the tools to work. I have seen a couple of dear friends go through WW program, who struggled with food at one time. I watched them lose weight and keep it off. I would think, "Hmmm...I should do what they are doing". Every time I considered joining I would get pregnant, (for real) and then have to deal with nausea and all the other stuff that comes with being pregnant, so I would give up on the idea. I am not some sort of spokesperson for Weight Watchers or anything. Nobody is paying me to make a big deal about Weight Watchers. It's just something I am getting started on, and since our blog is about what we are eating, I thought I would let you in on my journey from the very beginning. (bonus: a little extra accountability that way)
(pictured above: Meal planning mommies with author. I'm the one on the right)

When it is my week to post, I will be offering some satisfying meals that are worth "low points" according to the Weight Watchers Points Plus program. I will let you know how many points those meals "use" as I do them, since I am calculating them for myself anyway. If you are doing Weight Watchers this will be helpful to you. If you are not, you can see how the meals worth 3 points are going to be a healthier choice than the ones worth 25. (some of my meals in the past have been worth more than 25 points, and I would eat two servings...also known as seconds...without thinking twice) 50 points in one meal would not be real wise in the world of Weight Watchers, since 50 points is well over how many points most people (myself included) should be consuming in an entire day. So, time to get that under control a little bit.
(picture of me and my sweet, supportive husband, Scott Hughes, on our wedding day. We just celebrated our 7 year anniversary.)

Here we go. This is the dinner line up for this week, along with the Weight Watchers Points Plus, for one serving, next to them.

Monday: Creamy Chicken-Spinach Soup, 8 pts.
Tuesday: Chicken and Mushroom Soup, 3 pts.!!

Wednesday: Pork Chops, 4 pts.

Thursday: Southwestern Meat Loaf,
8 pts.
Friday: Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes, 6 pts.

Kiwi Magazine Subscription Deal

We don't often posts deals here on Meal Planning Mommies, but when I came across this one I really wanted to share!

Right now, through the 18th of January, you can get a 1 year subscription to Kiwi magazine for $2 or a 2 year subscription for $4. The offer is only good if you have not registered with mamapedia before.

Click on this link, and look for the deal for Kiwi magazine (should be on the right hand side of the page).

Order either 1 year or 2 year subscription and enter the code as follows:

1 year subscription for $2- 1YEARKIWI2

2 year subscription for $4- 2YEARKIWI4

Why Kiwi magazine? I love it because there are great RECIPES for natural and organic foods!

Here are some other highlights of the magazine:
  • 2010 Parent's Choice Magazine Award
  • Eco-friendly crafts, sustainable living tips, and fun educational activities for kids
  • Nutritious and natural recipes, lunchbox tips, and other healthy food options
  • Valuable information to help families make natural and organic choices

Thanks to for this great deal idea!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Give-Away Winner and A Special Offer!

Congratulations Joshua and Stephanie on winning the covered baker from Pampered Chef!

We are glad that you won and wish you many fantastic meals in your new covered baker.

For the rest of us Sara, our gracious give away host, is offering a nice deal. 

·         10% off your entire order
·         FREE SHIPPING!
·         Your choice of our Square Baking Pan or our Loaf Pan – FREE!
·         Set of Weekday Dinners Done! Recipe Cards – FREE!
(            More DCB recipes included, plus shopping guides!)

You can contact  Sara Radginski regarding her special offer on her website.

Thanks Sara and family!

Last Day for the Give-Away!

Don't forget to take this last day to enter our give-away for a Pampered Chef Covered Baker!
Just look at this lovely piece of kitchen equipment!
To enter the give-away, which ends and is announced tonight, click here!
Many Blessings,
The MPM's

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday: Cuban Chicken Tacos, Black Beans and Rice

This recipe has been quite a project! After going through several Cuban recipes, I was able to determine the main ingredients needed to make a Cuban marinade. After several trips to different stores in one day (looking for different ingredients!), I was finally able to come up with this recipe... and I LOVE IT! Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here is what you need:

1 lb cooked & shredded chicken (check out our how to: cook a crock pot chicken; it is exactly how I got my shredded chicken), 1 can of black beans, corn tortillas, orange juice, white rice, 3 cloves garlic, not pictured: red hot sauce, salt, olive oil, lemon juice

shredded cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, lime, avocado (not pictured)

Step 1: Create your marinade

I cannot believe I didn't take more pictures of this process. Maybe my camera ate my photos?!

To make the marinade:

Combine in a blender: 1/2 tsp-3/4 tsp. ground cumin seed, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 tsp (or more depending on how spicy you like it) red hot sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 TB olive oil, 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 TB lemon juice
and the juice from 1/2 of a lime.

Step 2: Add Chicken, put in refrigerator and allow to marinade for 2 1/2 hours or more. (This is a good time to taste your chicken to see if you want to add more hot sauce, orange juice, lime/lemon juice.)

Step 3: Make your white rice (according to package). Then add black beans, rice, 1 tsp. Cumin and heat.

Step 4: After marinading, heat chicken up in saucepan until warm.

Step 5: Heat up Corn Tortillas in a skillet; 15 seconds each side.

Step 6: Dish up your meal:

Serve with cilantro, avocado, cheese and tomatoes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over your chicken and Enjoy!

Cost of meal for a family of 4: $6.00

Cost person: $1.50

Do you have a great Cuban recipe you love?

Leave a comment and share!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday: Black Bean and Mango Tostadas

This has been a very popular meal in the past and it is perfect for beating the winter blahs! This is one of Alisha's meals.

This recipe comes from my latest All You magazine. (the May issue)

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped (didn't add this, although I am sure it would have been great!)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 8-inch flour tortillas
6 ounces grated low-fat Monterey Jack (we used some cheddar and some mozzarella since we already had some on hand)
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped (2 Tbsp.) (we used regular onion, since it's what we had)
1 tablespoon lime juice


1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Combine beans, olive oil, scallions, chili powder and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl.
2. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place tortillas on sheet and spoon bean mixture on top (I added some chicken to ours and it was tasty tasty, but not completely necessary). Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.
3. While tostadas are baking, combine mango, onion, lime juice and 1/4 tsp. salt in a bowl. Remove tostadas from oven, spoon mango mixture on top and serve immediately.

I made this when my mom and dad were visiting, and it was sooooo amazingly delicious!

Kitchen Notes (According to "All You" magazine):

Spice it up. If you like more heat, use pepper Jack cheese instead of plain Monterey Jack.
Swap salsas. Don't care for mango or can't find one? Sub in tomato salsa instead.
Go green. To add another layer of flavor, sprinkle on some chopped avocado and fresh cilantro after assembling.
Put in more fruit. Mango gives the dish a touch of sweetness. Substitute or add chopped papaya, pineapple or kiwi for even more of a tropical taste.
Try another base. We used small flour tortillas for these tostadas, but you can use corn tortillas if you prefer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday: Chicken Penne Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE summer meals. It is light, uses fresh veggies and can be served a variety of ways.

*Sorry about the lack of pictures here! I was making this meal for a church potluck and forgot to take my camera to church with me to take final pictures!

Here is what you need:

5 Basil leaves, 1 tomato, 1/2-1 lb baked chicken
Not pictured: Balsamic Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, 1 box Penne Pasta

Step 1: Bake your chicken. I baked mine in the oven at 350 for 20 min.

Step 2:

Cook your pasta and drain

Step 3: Chop your basil leaves and tomatoes

Step 4: Combine diced chicken, penne, basil leaves, tomatoes, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette, 1 cup mozzarella cheese in a 9x13 pan

Step 5: Top with more mozzarella cheese

Step 6: Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until warm and cheese is melted

Step 7: Serve!

Another variation on this dish is to mix all the ingredients (minus the Parmesan cheese) when the pasta is still warm and serve without baking.

This meal is great for lunch, dinner and potlucks.

Cost of Meal for a family of 4: $5.00

Cost per person: $1.25

Extended Give Away!

HI All,

We are extending the give-away because I have been under the weather and did not get all the information out as we usually do...this means more chances to win a wonderful gift from Pampered Chef! The Give-Away will run until Thursday night! We will announce the winner Thursday evening as well.

To enter this give-away click here!

best Wishes,

The MPM's

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I wish it was Summer... Meal Plan

Winter has been here way too long... already! We have only had one large snowfall here in the Central Illinois area, but I am craving some good time outside in the sunshine! Not only am I missing the sunshine, I am missing the light summer foods that we enjoy during the warmer seasons. Therefore, I am going to bring a bit of summer to my winter doldrums.

Here is a look back at some of my favorite summer dishes that I will be adding to my meal plan this week!

Dinner Menu

Chicken Penne with Basil, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Black Bean and Mango Tostadas

Cuban Chicken, Corn Tortillas and Fresh Pico de Gallo

Pancakes with a wonderful fruit topping, eggs and sausage

Crockpot pulled Pork Bar-b-que with sweet corn

Snack Ideas

Green Smoothies (Have we seriously not posted this before?! I can't find it in our archives... it's about time!)

Frozen Peanut Butter Bananas

Applesauce and Crispy Cinnamon wedges


Katie's Apple and Carrot Muffins (also great for breakfast!)