Tater Tot Casserole

tater tot casserole4

~ ground beef
~ diced onions and garlic
~ tater tots
~ shredded cheese
~ peas
~ seasoning of choice


~ cook ground beef with onions, garlic, and seasoning of your choice (cook mostly done)
~ layer ground beef in pan, then add peas on top
~ sprinkle with shredded cheese
~ layer tater tots and cook at 350 for 40 minutes
~ remove from onion and put a layer of shredded cheese on top


What an amazing and easy dinner. AJ said this was one of his favorites.  

I’m linking up with

   Lori's Culinary Creations

 Epic Mommy Adventures

Epic Mommy Adventures

Mommy and Dino’s Real Food Meals

meal plan blank 00197c color (2)

All recipes and meals are made with organic, real food and/or NON-GMO products.

Dino has informed me that he NO LONGER wants any meat or chicken…sometimes eggs are okay…Some of these recipes still have meat as they are from before he told me and some are for hubby who will always be a meat guy. I still love a good chicken and bone broth, but also love meatless meals…as long as it’s real food, I’m eating it.


Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Casserole

COLLAGE ground beef casserole


~ grass fed ground beef
~ shredded sweet potato
~ cut leeks
~ egg
~ onion and garlic
~ green beans
~ oil and butter
~ seasoning of choice


1. coat skillet first
2. mix all ingredients and place in cast iron skillet
3. layer ground beef on top with seasoning,
4. bake in oven at 350 until cooked…
5. boil pasta and mix with a small amount of sauce to keep from sticking together when cooked.
6. Mix together and serve. 

DINO at it reluctantly…then he told me no more meat or chicken…


Oven Baked Fried Chicken with Wild Rice and Veggies

COLLAGE oven baked fried chicken2


~ chicken thighs
~ seasoning of choice
~ flour
~ wild rice
~ veggies of choice
~ olive oil
~ butter 


1. marinate chicken thighs for a few hours
2. Then coat with flour and place on cast iron skillet
3. Bake at 350 until fully cooked

1. cook wild rice according to directions (I add extra butter and coconut oil with the seasoning)
2. add veggies of choice while it’s simmering
3. fluff with fork and let cool 

Dino was not home for this…though I am going to enjoy eating these leftovers. 


Stir Fry Veggies with Pasta, Topped with Cheese

COLLAGE pasta with veggies and cheese3


~ pasta (already cooked)
~ seasoning of choice
~ olive oil, sesame oil and butter

~ broccoli
~ carrots
~ tomatoes
~ leeks, onions, and garlic
~ shredded cheese


1. add oils and butter to skillet with seasoning and cook veggies…letting them slowly cook
2. throw veggies over pasta

3. top with cheese

Dino was so HAPPY that it was a meat free dinner, he ate it so fast and wanted more. 


Pea Soup with Carrots and Potatoes

pea soup for rice and couscous


~ dry peas
~ water
~ carrots
~ potatoes
~ seasoning of choice
~ garlic, onion, and leeks

~ olive oil and butter


1. add dry split green peas, garlic, onions, leeks, water, and seasoning to the slow cooker
2. set slow cooker to low for 6 hours
3. add carrots and potatoes after three hours

This will be used to add to couscous, rice, barley, and Bulgar mixes


Bulgar with Veggies, Salad, and Fruit

COLLAGE bulgar veggies and pears dinner


~ bulgar
~ water
~ tomatoes and onions
~ olive oil and sesame oil
~ pears
~ onions, garlic, and leeks


1. follow instructions for bulgar, but add olive oil and sesame oil with onions, leeks, and garlic
2. scoop some and add cooked spinach and tomatoes and fresh pairs

Pair with a salad and fresh fruit

Dino loved the food and ate most of his salad, some of the bulgar and veggies, and the fruit….a healthy and balanced meal. 


Kidney Bean, Pepper, and Leek Quesadillas

COLLAGE bean quesadilla


~ kidney beans (already slow cooked)
~ green pepper
~ tomatoes
~ onion and leeks
~ seasoning of choice
~ shredded cheese
~ olive and sesame oil
~ whole wheat tortillas


1. saute peppers, leeks, and onion with olive and sesame oil with
2. once fully cooked, add beans and tomatoes
3. place cheese on half of tortilla, add mixture, top with more cheese, then fold over tortilla
4. repeat as many times as necessary
5. heat on both sides until crispy

Dino ate all three pieces on the way to karate! 


Yes, buying organic/NON-GMO is expensive. Until there is a big change in food production and what consumers buy, healthy choices will always be more expensive. If you want to start small with organic…here are some great tips.

How to eat organic on a budget. Practical ways to eat well when you can’t afford organic. Dear Mom who can’t afford organic.

http://foodbabe.com/ http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

Products that participate in and are NON-GMO can be found here



Mini Van Dreams http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com


Mommy and Dino’s Real Food Meals

meal plan blank 00197c color (2)

All recipes and meals are made with organic, real food and/or NON-GMO products.


Baked Chicken and Fingerling Potatoes with Mushrooms

COLLAGE baked chicken thighs


~ chicken legs
~ olive oil and seasoning of choice and turmeric
~ potatoes


1. coat cast iron skillet with olive oil or butter
2  coat chicken, mushrooms, and potatoes with seasoning and olive oil (I am adding turmeric because of it’s immunity power…learn about it HERE)
3. place on cast iron skillet and layer with cheese
4. bake at 350 until chicken is cooked
5. Serve

6. Dino LOVED it… but forgot to get a pic of him eating. 

Brown Rice, Sausage, and Veggies

COLLAGE brown rice, sausage, veggies


~ brown rice
~ apple chicken sausage
~ veggies of your choice (I chose spinach, peas, carrots, and corn)
~ seasonings of your choice (I chose turmeric, curry, and Italian blend)
~ olive oil, butter
~ cook brown rice according to directions, I added some extra butter


1. cook brown rice according to directions, I added some extra butter
2. After boiling and now simmering, add in cut sausage and veggies
3. add some more water, cover and let simmer until rice is ready. 

4. Dino loves rice mixes and I love that I make them from scratch. 

Roasted Chicken with Veggies

COLLAGE roasted chciken adn veggies


~ whole chicken
~ potatoes and sweet potatoes
~ mushrooms
~ carrots
~ olive oil and seasoning...I added turmeric again to my seasoning…


1. coat chicken with olive oil and seasoning
2. marinate veggies
3. Place everything in a cast iron skillet 
4. bake at 350 until chicken is cooked through

5. WHOA!!! This rocked! Dino said he was eating like a pirate and even hubby loved it! Plus we had leftovers for chicken salad if we needed it with the upcoming storm. 

LEFTOVERS: Chicken Gravy casserole

COLLAGE leftover roasted chicken2


~ leftover chicken and veggies
~ shredded cheese
~ homemade gravy


1. place chicken and veggies on cast iron skillet
1. pour gravy on top
3. Sprinkle cheese on top of gravy
4. cover and bake at 350 for about twenty minutes
5. Serve! 

Dino couldn’t eat this fast enough! 

Baked Apples

COLLAGE apple bake2


~ apples cut in half with slices
~ butter
~ cinnamon
~ flour
~ honey



1. cut apples and make slice marks for the butter and honey to melt into
2. mix cinnamon with flour and put on side
3. melt butter and mix with honey
4. pour melted butter and honey mix on top of apples
5. sprinkle flour mixture on top
6. bake at 350 for about twenty minutes

eat and enjoy…we loved them. 



Yes, buying organic/NON-GMO is expensive. Until there is a big change in food production and what consumers buy, healthy choices will always be more expensive. If you want to start small with organic…here are some great tips.

How to eat organic on a budget. Practical ways to eat well when you can’t afford organic. Dear Mom who can’t afford organic.

http://foodbabe.com/ http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

Products that participate in and are NON-GMO can be found here



Mini Van Dreams http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com


Our Healthy Meals

healthy meal box

I know I haven’t posted about our foods in a LONG time, but we are still buying, cooking, and eating organic and NON-GMO. I know it’s expensive, but the end results are worth it. I am proud to say that Dino knows the organic and NON-GMO labels. I know some people get insulted or think I am “brainwashing” him. The funny thing is that Monsanto and all the food companies are tricking the masses into buying food filled with chemicals. I am teaching my son to know what’s in his food and if it’s real food. How is that wrong? How is that bad? I know I can’t control what he eats ALL THE TIME, but if he is informed then I have done my job.


I sliced and seasoned potatoes and placed them on the cast iron skillet. Then layered frozen vegges on top, then a layer of cut chicken and apple sausage. I put the top on and baked in the oven at 350 for thirty minutes. It was came out so tender, juicy, and tasty. A meal we all loved.

chicken sausage and veggies collage

I find it so easy to slow cook a huge batch of beans, then scoop some out for later use. I throw in rice, and veggies the last half hour. Scoop into a bowl and top with cheese.

rice and beans and cheese collage

Now that the weather is colder, slow cooked chicken soup is needed and loved. I chop all my veggies, coat with seasoning, and place on the bottom of the slow cooker. This time I used mushrooms, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Then I added a cup and a half of barley. Throw in the water, then place a whole chicken on top. Throw some extra seasoning on top of the chicken and set it to go. I have my hubby set it up for me to start at 8 am, if it starts too early I think it gets dried out by the time I get home.

I just love a great tasting chicken soup, this one came out extra thick, but adding some extra water does the trick. I froze the chicken bones to create a chicken broth down the road.

PicMonkey Collage

I have been reading about overnight oats for SOOOO long, I decided to try it and I have fallen in love. They are super easy to make and what a great treat the next day. All you need is your choice of dry oats, peanut butter and milk. You can add any toppings you prefer. I like cacao chips, coconut flakes, and raisins. Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge over night. The next morning you have a super tasty and yummy treat.

overnight oats

I have been shopping at Stop and Shop more often, just to get the gas rewards. I buy the organic and NON-GMO foods that are there and save the items I can’t for Whole Foods. I swear nothing compares to Whole Foods. One week at Stop and Shop they had a huge bag of organic onions, I hated to buy so many…but I chopped them all up and saved in the freezer. They freeze well and I have onions to last me for God knows how long. Here’s just a few of the bags.



Yes, buying organic/NON-GMO is expensive. Until there is a big change in food production and what consumers buy, healthy choices will always be more expensive. If you want to start small with organic…here are some great tips.

How to eat organic on a budgetPractical ways to eat well when you can’t afford organic.  Dear Mom who can’t afford organic.


Products that participate in and are NON-GMO can be found here





  Mini Van Dreams    http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com


Our Healthy Meal Plan

meal plan blank 00197c color

  • 3rd Thurs Dinner: takeout
  • 4th Fri Dinner:  hot dogs, burgers, and potato salad
  • 5th Saturday– family bbq
  • 6th Sunday – girls night with friend
  • 7th Monday –  grilled chicken, coucous, and spinach
  • 8th Tuesday – rice and beans with veggies
  • 9th Wednesday – leftovers

3rd     4th dinner 4th fireworks

To me there is nothing better than homemade potato salad… I had chicken pesto burgers, Dino had organic hot dogs, Hubby had his hot dogs and burgers. We were all happy. Before that Hubby and Dino let off some fireworks in the driveway. I hid on the porch but captured all the pics.

5th bbq

We enjoyed a family bbq, my sister’s mother-in-law invited us and had a pool out for Dino. He loved her dog, Rocky. He was so excited that he looked like a wolf. I think he also understood that he was older and needed more kindness…Dino wanted to hug him goodbye and take a pic with him.


Dino spent to days with my parents, giving me time to hang out with my friend. I was able to buy better fitting bras, since I lost tons of inches, and more workout clothes.


Hubby and I were alone for our dinner, Balboa enjoyed the peace and quiet. We grilled chicken and made couscous with spinach. I used a lemon dill seasoning, but I think there was pepper in the mix…it was TOO HOT… Of course Hubby thought it was fine, I needed extra water with my dinner.


There is nothing better than rice and beans… This time instead of soaking the beans over night…put them in the slow cooker. I put three times the amount of water that I had in pinto beans. I added tons of seasoning and fresh basil and cilantro. Once the beans were soft, I added the jasmine rice and veggies…the water had turned into a delicious sauce, which added tons of flavor to the rice and veggies.



It was a hectic day, poor Balboa had a seizure. We don’t know if it’s from his shots, the heat, or his liver. We are going to keep a close eye on him. I am praying it was just a one time incident.

I cut up the grilled chicken from two nights ago, added some mayo, fresh basil, walnuts, and sliced avocado. Dino now has karate on Wednesdays too! He is doing so well, we wanted him to have two days of it. Therefore we had a quick meal before we went to karate. He also had a container of strawberry almond yogurt. After karate and after Daddy got home from the vet, he quickly grilled his and our hot dogs.


So Dino has been better about eating more almonds and cashews, I am trying to get him to eat some walnuts too. I have been mixing a small amount of the protein mix into his milk.

He loves coconut and almond yogurt, but doesn’t like granola. I am trying to change that.

I’ve also been making trail mixes…using a variety of…annie’s bunny crackers, raisins, chocolate chips, cashews, and chocolate almonds. There are now NON-GMO marshmallows, once they are at Whole foods, I will buy them.

Any other suggestions for trail mix ingredients?


Yes, buying organic/NON-GMO is expensive. Until there is a big change in food production and what consumers buy, healthy choices will always be more expensive. If you want to start small with organic…here are some great tips.

How to eat organic on a budgetPractical ways to eat well when you can’t afford organic.  Dear Mom who can’t afford organic.


Products that participate in and are NON-GMO can be found here





      Mini Van Dreams


Our Meal Plan March 2nd-8th

meal plan main collage

Mar 2nd – 8th

Sun   Italian Bread Pizza
Mon  slow cooked chicken quessadillas in a pita
Tues   ravioli, tomato, spinach & beans sauce
Wed    grilled cheese and soup
Thurs leftovers                           
Fri   frozen leftovers                           
Sat  chicken, Asian stir fry, white rice, soy sauce 

I have decided to rejoin weight watchers after about ten years, thanks to Carlin. She truly inspired me. I love myself and my body, but want to be healthy and in shape for Dino. I want to be in control of my food and stop feeling so sick every time I eat.

After only two weeks, I noticed a big change in my habits and the way I feel. All my digestive issues seem to have vanished. By changing what I eat I have changed my life. Plus I have lost 7.8 pounds so far!!!!! In addition to eating healthier and exercising I (and Dino) have…

  • stopped eating any canned or bottled sauce, opting for fresh tomatoes
  • stopped consuming anything with artificial sweeteners
  • stopped eating low fat, fat free, or sugar free products…only natural foods. If I must buy processed it’s pastas, soups, rice mixes, or pasta mixes.


Italian Bread Pizza – Sunday

pizza Collage

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas – Monday

quesadilla Collage

Raviolis, Beans, Spinach, and Tomatoes – Tuesday

ravioli Collage

Leftovers – Wednesday

Grilled Cheese and Soup –  Thursday

soup and grilled cheese Collage

 Pizza Night From Picolo’s Pizza – Friday 

pizza night collage

Homemade Chinese Food – Saturday

chinese food Collage

Quick and Easy Quesadillas:

  • shredded cheese,
  • slow cooked marinated chicken
  • spinach

Place shredded cheese, shredded chicken, and spinach in wrap on the heated cast iron skillet. Fold wrap, heat on one side, flip, and heat on other side.


Mommy’s Tuna Plates:

  • one can of tuna
  • sliced apple
  • few slices of colby cheese
  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced grape tomatoes
  • spicy mustard
  • crackers

Place sliced apples on plate. Mix tuna with spicy mustard, tomatoes, and cucumbers and lay over apples. Add a few crackers and you’re good to go. 



I also started planning lunches and making them healthier as well. I went back to using EasyLunchBoxes since you can pack a great lunch with snacks all in one container. I know Dino loves his new lunch containers and enjoys helping me make lunch for the next day. He has actually asked for homemade lunches instead of ordering pizza or chicken tenders. That makes me smile…what a healthy boy.

In my lunch bag I can only have one container, so I pack a sliced, fresh fruit and a granola bar. I don’t eat all the items in my lunch container, I save some for morning or afternoon snacks depending on how early or late my lunch is.   

lunch Sun

Mommy-turkey, cheese, and roasted veggies in a pita, rice and beans with veggies, pickles, strawberries
Dino-ham and cheese on bread, rice and beans with veggies, pickles, strawberries

lunch mon

Mommy-leftover pizza, pretzel thins, grapes, 1/3 of a blueberry muffin
Dino-leftover pizza, pretzel thins, grapes, and carrots
Dino Morning Snack-half blueberry muffin and applesauce

lunch tue

Mommy-balsamic vinegar, veggies, turkey, and cheese in a pita, granola bar, cooked string beans with melted cheese, cucumbers, and strawberries 
Dino-ham and cheese sandwich, pretzel thins, cucumbers, strawberries
Dino Morning Snack– chocolate chip pancakes, jelly, cheerios 

lunch wed

Mommy-chicken and cheese quesadilla on whole wheat pita, applesauce, pickle, cheez-its, peanut butter on celery 
Dino-ham and cheese sandwich, pretzel thins, grapes, pickles, pears 
Dino Morning Snack-chocolate chip pancake, applesauce

lunch thur

Mommy-guacamole, chips, strawberries, cheese stick, and celery with peanut butter.
Dino-guacamole, chips, strawberries, cheese stick, and teddy bears.
Dino Morning Snack-one french toast, one chocolate chip pancake, grapes, jelly

lunch fri

Mommy-tuna, tomato, and celery in a mini whole wheat pita, pickle, pretzels, grapes, and a few slices of colby cheese
Dino-tuna with tomato and celery on bread, grapes, pretzels, and apple slices.
Dino Morning Snack-colby cheese slices, tomatoes, crackers

lunch sat

Mommy-(eating on my own) tuna mixed with spicy mustard, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Over sliced apples with crackers.

Possibly linking up with one or more of these blog hops…

Table for 7Table for 7

Tuesday Tastings


Our Mean Plan February 9th – 15th

meal plan main collage

  •  Sun – Leftovers
  • Mon – Italian Bread Pizza 
  • Tues – Broccoli, Rigatoni, sauteed chick peas, olive oil, butter, Parmesan, broth 
  • Wed –  Fish Potatoes, green beans 
  • Thurs – Leftovers
  • Fri – Sausage and Peppers on Rolls
  • Sat – Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, tomatoes, potatoes


On Sunday, I spend the afternoon/evening with my friend. So it was Daddy and Dino on their own for dinner. After some bike riding, they got McDonald’s…a very daddy and son thing to do.

Monday was a crazy day for me…It was supposed to be Italian Bread Pizza, but instead it was freezer meals for us. Dino was so happy to be able to pick his meal…that I think I created a freezer meal monster.  We decided to have leftover ditalini with beans and french onion soup AND rice and beans… leftovers collage Tuesday we had Italian Bread Pizza…I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a pic of all the pizzas…I did get few final pieces. Dino ate an entire slice…he loves it so much. Hubby said that a co-worker thought it was from a fancy restaurant, but Hubby proudly told her that I made it.  pizza collage Wednesday I messed up a bit…I was supposed to make rigatoni, but used the Knorr Parmesan noodles instead…ooops. It all worked out though. In the cast iron skillet I sauteed chick peas, broccoli, cauliflower, Goya seasoning, water, and grated cheese…so tasty. Then I mixed it with the Pasta…what meal. pasta and brocolli collage

Thursday, the night of the big snow storm we had fish, potatoes, string beans, and left over pasta with broccoli. I am so proud of my Dino for eating the everything on his plate (expect for the string beans), but he kept asking for more broccoli and cauliflower. Do you know how happy that makes me????

fish potatoes collage

On Friday night, still can’t believe schools closed again today…looks like the marshmallow land out there. I made sausage and peppers on rolls…so darn tasty. Hubby wanted it on a different roll, oh well, I was trying to save money. He sprinkled some cheese on his. Since I wasn’t feeling well I wasn’t at the top of my game for this dinner…but it was still an awesome and cheap meal.

In the cast iron skillet, I threw in the sausage and peppers with lots of Goya and Caribbean lime seasoning, 1/4 cut water, and popped it in the oven, and baked for twenty minutes at 350. Then I cut the sausage into smaller chunks, stirred, and put the cover back on and let it cook for another twenty minutes, continued baking. Once fully cooked, I sprinkled Bisquick on and stirred, this kept the juices thick and made sure they stuck to the peppers and sausage.

sausage and pepper collage

Saturday to celebrate Valentine’s Day we decided to order Chinese food…it’s so expensive in our town and the portions and plates are getting smaller. Dino and I used to be able to share a meal and egg roll…but in the future I’m going to have to order his own meal. Or we could drive two towns over? Which is worse? 

What meals did you plan? How did they work out? Did you change plans?
Ready for more snow? 

Possibly linking up with one or more of these blog hops…

Table for 7

Tuesday TastingsTuesday Tastings


Sausage, Chicken, and Fish. Oh My!


Last week, instead of mac/cheese I decided to have nachos with beans. I just opened the black beans, plopped them on the tortillas with cheese on top and Dinosaur dipped them in the salsa. A favorite for me and Dino, hubby was still eating another dinner for that night so he was good, besides he would NEVER eat nachos. What last minute meals, quick meals do you have on hand?

bean and cheese nachos


The menu for this week was set, but our weekend plans set us back a day.

Sunday: Monday: Pasta/Sausage Bake I forgot to add the peppers to this, but still came out great.
Monday: Tuesday: Sweet Sour Chicken
Tuesday: Wednesday: Tillapia fillets, potatoes, and veggies
Wednesday: Thursday: French Toast/Ham…becoming a family favorite
Thursday: SAVED FOR NEXT WEEK: Chicken/Mac & Cheese/ Veggies
Friday: Pizza

I have thin sliced pork cutlets for next week. I could bread them…but not in the mood for that. Any suggestions for something different? My mother suggested roasting them with apples and cranberry sauce, which sounds delicious.

pasta sausage casserole

SAUSAGE AND PASTA CASSEROLE: took picture after it was half eaten. It was delicious…Dino even wanted it for lunch today.

sweet and sour chicken

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN: should not have mixed the rice with it yet…looks like a mass of glop…hopefully it will taste good for dinner tonight. I’ll saute some veggies quickly and add them to our bowls.

Linking up with

lbgc - all my bloggy friends2

Sausage and Pasta Casserole


What is in Sausage and Pasta Casserole?

  • sausage
  • boxed pasta and seasoning
  • sliced peppers
  • stewed tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • water
  • shredded cheddar cheese


I smoothed the dried pasta on the pan, after coating with olive. Then I layered on the sausage,  sliced peppers, and stewed tomatoes. Finally sprinkling on the seasoning and adding more water. I baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour and then sprinkled on shredded cheddar cheese.

The result is something so delicious I MUST make it again.

Hubby said it was restaurant quality!

WOW!…that made my day!


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