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Easy Menu Planning | cooking uncomplicated

Menu planning for hot summer days

simple easy homemade family menu plan

It’s going to be another hot week here with temps over 100 many days. I know I’m not going to feel like cooking, and so a menu plan is all the more necessary. I might still have to make dinner, but at least I don’t have to think about it.


Breakfasts This Week

  • Monday: Sunday leftovers with scrambled eggs
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: German pancakes
  • Wednesdays & Fridays: muffins I made Saturday and put in the freezer, along with yogurt and blueberries
  • Saturday: Daddy-made pancakes
  • Sunday: whole wheat cinnamon rolls (made on Saturday)

Lunches This Week

  • Monday: chips & cheese
  • Tuesday: quick artisan bread, cheese, fruit & veggies
  • Wednesday: leftover bread from Tuesday, cheese slices, pepperoni, fruit & veggies
  • Thursday: muffins, cheese, and fruit
  • Friday: pb&j

Dinners This Week

Simplified Dinners eBook

  •  Monday: grilled chicken, salad, rice
  • Tuesday: Grandma’s tuna macaroni salad (recipe coming Thursday!)
  • Wednesday: frittata, biscuits, salad
  • Thursday: refried beans (homemade in the crockpot) & nachos, carrot salad
  • Friday: burritos (with leftover beans), salad
  • Saturday: hamburgers

Streamline menu planning, grocery shopping, and dinner cooking with Simplified Dinners!

Whole wheat cinnamon rolls – a recipe for Sunday breakfasts

Off and on now for a couple years, I’ve made cinnamon rolls on Saturday to have for Sunday breakfast. I wanted a way to have a special, set-apart breakfast, but one that didn’t leave the kitchen in shambles Sunday morning or add more things to do before we get everyone spiffied up for church.

I’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years, and my favorite is actually The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls. But, in my mind, those are Holiday cinnamon rolls, not a weekly affair. I want a special breakfast, but not one that is going to give the kids a sugar rush and then crash while we’re at church.

So, I do make special cinnamon rolls for extra special occasions, but for the weekly Lord’s Day breakfast, I stick with whole wheat, lightly sugared affairs that are delicious but substantive.

I began with Rachel’s Cinnamon Triumph Rolls, but have adapted it enough now that it feels legitimate enough to post my own version. Plus, I just recently created a cinnamon roll frosting-glaze that I’m actually happy with, so I’ll share that also!

cinnamon rolls

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll Recipe

In a mixer, dump in

  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour

Knead in the mixer for 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined.

Add 2-3 cups white flour until the dough holds together, but is still smooth and moist. Knead for another 3 minutes.

Put the dough into a large mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise until double (about an hour).

Divide the dough in half. Grease a baking sheet and a 9×13 pan with butter.

Roll out one portion of the dough into a thin rectangle. Crack an egg into the middle and use your fingers to spread the egg over the surface of the dough. After washing your hands, sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the dough and then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.

Roll up from the longest end and then slice two-inch rolls off the log. A dough slicer or pizza cutter makes quick work of it. Place each roll in the greased pans.

Let rise for 20-30 minutes in the pan while the oven preheats to 400. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400.

Best Cinnamon Roll Frosting Recipe

In a mixing bowl, beat 1/4 cup whipping cream until it forms soft peaks.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar, a tad vanilla, and 1 tablespoon very soft butter. Beat until it’s combined.

Spread atop the cinnamon rolls when they are cool.

Menu Plan Monday – summer meals

simple easy homemade family menu plan

While most people are enjoying their laid back summers, we’ve geared back up into our school routines. We took off May-June when the weather was beautiful and now we’re back to our homeschool routines. Although we were all ready for the break, we’re all now ready for the return to routine.

With school routine comes food routine, too.

Routine means less brain power is required for meal planning, shopping, and prepping, so I welcome the return to routine!


Like my free menu plan suggests, I name each day of the week with a certain type of meal in order to make planning simpler. So, Monday is “chicken,” but then each week I decide just what sort of chicken to prepare. This makes planning simple while still allowing flexibility and preventing us from feeling like we’re eating the same thing over and over again.

Breakfasts This Week

  • Monday: cinnamon toast with homemade yogurt
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: German pancakes
  • Wednesdays & Fridays: muffins and homemade yogurt
  • Saturday: Daddy-made pancakes
  • Sunday: whole wheat cinnamon rolls (made on Saturday)

Lunches This Week

  • Monday: peanut butter and jam sandwiches, apricots
  • Tuesday: buttered pasta, carrots & cucumbers
  • Wednesday: corn dog muffins, apricots
  • Thursday: rice with carrots & peas, topped with butter or cheese
  • Friday: microwave nachos with refried beans

Dinners This Week

  •  Monday: grilled chicken thighs (chipotle marinade), cheesy pasta, grilled zucchini
  • Tuesday: grilled sausage, “rustic” mashed potatoes (that means I don’t peel the potatoes), spinach salad
  • Wednesday: grilled cheese sandwiches, salad (made by the 12 year old)
  • Thursday: Our anniversary! Dinner out.
  • Friday: oven frittata & biscuits
  • Saturday: hamburgers

Streamline menu planning, grocery shopping, and dinner cooking with Simplified Dinners!

What do we eat in the summer, again?

~ Capturing the context of contentment – in my kitchen. ~

round button chicken

We’re having a straight week of over-100-degree weather, and although this makes me not want to cook, it doesn’t make anyone around here not want to eat.

Silly people.

I always go through a dinner-fixing crisis when the first heat wave strikes. I know I have meals I’ve done for times like this, because they do happen every year, but what are they again?!

Unfortunately, my daughter and I are the only ones who think a salad makes a great main dish. Fortunately, my husband never minds grilling.

What do you fix for dinner when the temps are high?


how to menu plan 

I’ve been trying to eat more veggies at breakfast and thought this particular plate was worth photographing. Isn’t it pretty?

I love berry season.

And while raw veggies seem like a bit much at breakfast most of the time, when it’s so hot they are welcome, even at 7am. And they’re just pretty.


simple family mealshow to menu plan 

I’ve heard from so many people that you love the German pancakes as much as we do! It’s funny. I thought this was one of those meals everyone knew about but me, but apparently there are still others waiting to discover this perfect breakfast food.

When I make it for a morning, I bake up 15-eggs worth. 2 9×13 pans and 1 8×8 square or a pie plate. And usually this quantity is demolished in short order.

Eggs are brain food, and the flour and milk helps stretch them and make them feel complete. They are a great way to start the day!

Easy German Pancakes in the Oven


how to menu plan 

I posted a picture of my lunch one day and someone commented that it looked fancy. Considering it’s just zucchini planks (I’m so thankful for neighbors with overabundant gardens!) with some Parmesan cheese and salami (well, ok, and a bit of leftover diced ham and bacon bits).

I do get tired of salad for lunch and this was a nice change of pace.

And I doubt zucchini is going to be in short supply anytime in the next 3 months.


how to menu plan 

When the weather report says highs of 111-degrees, that’s just too much. Time for popcorn and chocolate milkshakes!

I used my quick & easy salted chocolate milk recipe and dumped 5-cups-worth into the ice cream maker, let it go for 15 minutes, and voila! delicious, not-too-sweet, very-chocolatey chocolate milkshakes.

It almost makes me hope for another 111 excuse to make them.

know what's for every meal, all week, with this free menu plan printable

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Creamy White Balsamic Dressing Recipe

My favorite salad kit is Costco’s kale mix that comes with pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and a creamy white balsamic dressing.

So, of course, I had to try to replicate the dressing at home, with my basic pantry staples. I did have to buy white balsamic vinegar and poppy seeds, but now I’ve added those to my master pantry list because I absolutely love this dressing!

Creamy white balsamic salad dressing recipe

I searched online and only found white balsamic vinaigrettes; however, I wanted the creamy version. So, I bought a salad kit and examined the ingredient list on the dressing packet. Orange juice and onion powder appeared to be the secrets to the tang I loved.

Here is my own version, then. It is quick and easy, doesn’t require many ingredients or tools, and it keeps for up to a week in the fridge.

Creamy White Balsamic Salad Dressing Recipe

In a small mixing bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together all ingredients:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • dash of salt

It’s best if you let it sit, covered and refrigerated, for an hour or more to let the flavors meld, but it’s still good immediately, too.

You can also substitute sour cream or mayonnaise for the yogurt, but I enjoy the tang and texture of yogurt. You can also substitute brown sugar or even honey for the white sugar. If you must, you could make it without the poppy seeds, too, but they add not only some flavor but also contrast to the creamy dressing.

Uses for creamy white balsamic dressing

  • Spinach
  • Baby kale
  • Power greens blend
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Broccoli slaw

You could also make it with sour cream, less vinegar, and some parsley for a ranch-alternative to dip raw veggies in.

Tools used in the making of this recipe