Meal Planning

I know what you’re thinking….Did I just misspell, “Favorite Take-Out Restaurants”?

What can I say, this quarantine has turned me into a person who…cooks. Can you believe it?! ME, the self-designated “worst cook in America”, in the kitchen, serving up meals… multiple times a day. I mean, I think we all know & understand that this isn’t by choice, but that’s beside the point. 😉

I am now a part of the “grocery list-making, meal-planning, dinner cooking” club.

Hashtag quarantine made me do it.

But, actually— it’s been kind of fun–figuring out the meals we love as a family, learning that making them isn’t exactly rocket science, and that sitting down to family dinners every night is something I kind of wish didn’t feel like such a novelty to begin with.

Anyways, I mentioned I was meal planning last weekend and so many of you reached out asking me to share what we were planning to make for the week so I figured I’d share our favorite meals with you! And here’s the thing, guys, if *I* can make these dishes…ANYONE can! 😉

Here’s our Week At-a-Glance for this week, with recipes below!


  • M: Rigatoni Quarantine
  • T: Enchiladas
  • W: Grilled Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Poppyseed Salad
  • Th: Tacos
  • F: Frozen pizzas
  • S: Ribs, asparagus & corn bread
  • Su: Order Out!


Rigatoni Quarantine

We created this recipe over quarantine, thus the name it shall forever go-by.


  • Favorite pasta (we like rigatoni or a thick penne)
  • Favorite sauce (we use vodka sauce)
  • Ground turkey (you could do beef if you prefer)
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • ricotta cheese
  • garlic bread

Directions (à la “Italian Nana” style…aka no measurements):

  1. In a large pan, heat some olive oil & brown some chopped garlic. Then add in turkey meat. We use about 1lb to feed 6 people.
  2. Chop meat into small bits & cook until browned. Add jar of your favorite sauce to the pan & lower heat. Simmer meat & sauce while you cook your pasta in a separate pan.
  3. When pasta is cooked, drain & add noodles to the meat sauce pan. Season and add a larrrge scoop of ricotta cheese. (The ricotta MAKES this dish, so don’t skip…or skimp on this step!!) Mix together in pan with heat still on low. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve with Parmesan cheese and garlic bread (and a glass of red wine!) Yum! It’s my favorite!


Colleen’s Chicken & Sour Cream Enchiladas

These are my mother-in-law’s famous enchiladas, and I got her permission to share the recipe with you. They are so insanely good!!!


  • 2/3 c sour cream
  • can of cream of chicken soup
  • 4 boiled chicken breasts (we use a rotisserie chicken instead bc I’m lazy)
  • 1oz diced green chiles (we skip this step)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 6-10 flour tortillas
  • 1c grated Mexican blend cheese
  • Ryan adds hot sauce to his once plated


  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of sour cream and 1/3 cup soup. Set aside.
  2. In separate bowl, combine remaining sour cream and soup with diced/shredded chicken, chiles (optional), S&P, and cumin.
  3. Spoon chicken mixture into tortillas and roll to close. Place fold side down into greased baking dish. Continue until baking dish is filled with one row of touching tortillas.
  4. Top tortillas with reserved sour cream/soup mixture and sprinkle cheese blend on top.
  5. Bake at 325* for 30-40 min
  6. Serve with taco rice & re-fried beans (or a salad)… & a margarita! 😉

“Summer Dinner”

This easy dinner is a household favorite and we all agree it reminds us of summer nights! The salad is another one of my MIL’s recipes and it’s DELISH!!!


  • Meat for grilling (we do some sort of marinated or BBQ chicken)
  • Twice Baked Potatoes: large russet potatoes, milk, butter, olive oil, salt (and you’ll want shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, etc. for the “fixings”)
  • Poppyseed Salad: romaine, chopped apples, strawberries, blackberries, shredded carrots, tortilla strips, crumbled goat cheese, tomatoes, avocado, poppy seed dressing

Twice Baked Potato Directions:

  1. Scrub Potatoes clean, poke with a fork, then rub with olive oil and sprinkle on some coarse salt. Bake potatoes on baking sheet at 375* for about an hour.
  2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, scoop out insides into a bowl. Make mashed potatoes by adding some milk, butter, sour cream (secret ingredient!), S&P, and garlic powder to taste & mix with hand mixer.
  3. Scoop the mashed potatoes back into the potato shells. Sprinkle the tops with cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake in oven at 350* for 20-30 min.
  5. If you want to make in advance/the night before. Simply Cover with plastic wrap after step 3 and refrigerate. An hour before cooking, take potatoes out and let return to room temp before cooking.
  6. Serve with  your favorite baked potato fixings!

Plate your grilled chicken, baked potato, and salad (bonus points for adding dinner rolls). Pair with a savignon blanc or rosè and eat outside…voilà! Summer Perfection!



Can you tell we miss our Mexican restaurants?

  • Taco Night is usually “buffet style”.  We put chips & salsa out on the table and then fill the counter top with some grilled chicken (sometimes carne asada or ground meat instead), shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, limes, sour cream, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, corn & flour tortillas, crunchy tacos, etc. Everyone makes their own creation and we serve with rice and beans on the side! It’s super easy and super delicious! Since we can’t ruin our “pairing” streak here…serve with a cold beer or a margarita! 😉

Alternate: Taco Salad

  • For the salad: toss chopped romaine, tomatoes, corn, cucumber, tortilla strips, shredded Mexican cheese, sliced avocado and favorite taco meat in salad bowl.
  • Get taco shell bowls. Fill bottom of bowl with a layer of cooked refried beans, top with salad mixture. Add favorite Mexican-style dressing. (We love Habanero Ranch!) Top salad bowls with a scoop of sour cream and an extra sprinkle of shredded cheese if you want. Yum!



Pizza Night

  • We keep Friday nights nice and easy: pizza night. We put some frozen pizzas in the oven (usually a few different kinds) and serve them on a large wooden board, family-style with an Italian or Caesar salad on the side.



Ryan’s Ribs

Another one of my family’s favorites. I obviously opt out of the ribs, and sometimes make myself a veggie burger, a chicken breast or I just eat extra veggies!


  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • S&P
  • olive oil
  • Gates BBQ dry rub
  • Favorite BBQ sauce
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Corn Bread Mix
  • butter

Ryan’s Ribs Directions: (These are from Ryan himself, since I don’t eat them!)

  1.  Rub ribs with olive oil, S&P, and dry rub. Bake in oven at 325* for 30 min
  2. Lower heat to 275* and cook for 2.5-3 hours.
  3. Take ribs out and coat with BBQ sauce. Cook another 30 min. (longer if you want them REALLY falling off the bone)
  • For the asparagus, we like to grill or saute them in oil/garlic and then squeeze lots of lemon on top. There’s no real “recipe” for this. Just google it if you need some guidelines!
  • For the corn bread, I buy the bags of corn bread mix. Believe it or not, the best ones are the “just add water” mixes! You bake your mix, then brush a little honey glaze on top when it’s almost finished baking! Slice it up and serve warm with butter!



Take-Out Sunday

Since Quarantine, we’ve been cooking almost every meal at home (out of safety precaution) but recently we started doing take-out on Sunday nights from our favorite restaurants that we miss so much. We love planning where we’ll order from & then looking forward to it all week!


There you have it, our meals for the week! I’ll keep sharing a few more favorites every week if you’re interested! Happy cooking, friends!



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