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Start the New Year Right with this Prep Ahead Healthy Meal Plan

Happy 2018! Let’s start the new year right with my Prep Ahead Healthy Meal Plan for January! Are you ready to cook from scratch in 2018?? Featuring inspiration for 28 quick,  healthy, from scratch meals plus seven easy tasks to fill your freezer, this plan will help you cook from scratch in 2018!

Start the new year right w/ a prep ahead healthy menu plan. 28 recipe ideas and tasks to fill your freezer will help you cook from scratch! #fromscratchcooking #menuplan #prepahead #freezercooking

Start the New Year Right with this Prep Ahead Healthy Menu Plan

If you’re looking to eat start cooking from scratch in 2018 so you can eat healthier and save money, this is your year. Follow along in January as I work with you to do just that. Let’s take control of cooking and eating in 2018, shall we? Let’s all cook from scratch a lot more this year!

homemade opt in

Click Me to say YES to simplified weekly meal planning!

Monthly Menu Ideas

One of my largest obstacles to cooking from scratch is not being prepared. This healthy meal plan is here to save the day! Simply pick one option from each category and fill your week with quick and easy, from scratch meal ideas! There are enough meal ideas here for four full weeks!

Meatless Mondays

Taco Tuesdays

Wing It Wednesdays

Porker or Beef Thursday 😀

Pizza Friday

Soupper Saturday

From the Sea Sunday

Freezer Friendly Leftover Eggnog Waffles

Ditch the Breakfast Cereal with these Homemade Breakfast Ideas

Want to really make from scratch easier? Start filling your freezer! Cook from scratch with these tasks!

Seven – 30 minute {or there about} tasks for filling the freezer

It will help you cook subsequent meals quicker if you do these seven tasks on the first full week of the month. That way you’ll have leftovers for other meals this month that will make meal prep faster. However, if you’re really busy or don’t have the ingredients ready to go, just shift the tasks to a day when you are able to get it done! Again, flexibility is key.

You can read how I fill my freezer in 30 minutes a day over at Premeditated Leftovers – I wrote a blog post there a while ago.

1. On Monday, cook up a huge pot of dried beans and freeze in 3-2 cup portions, with the liquid. Make sure you soak the beans Sunday night! I highly recommend owning a really big stainless steel stock pot. I have a 12 qt stock pot similar to this one that I use for canning and cooking beans. It comes in really handy! I generally cook 8 cups of dried beans, which yields about 3-4 bags for my freezer after we’ve eaten the beans for lunch and also for dinner. If you’re not familiar cooking dried beans, you’ll want to soak the beans over night and then cook about 1-2 hours the next day in fresh water. You can read here for more details, need be.

2. On Tuesday, {preferably the week you eat regular ole tacos, so you also get your dinner prep out of the way too} make a huge batch of taco meat using ground meat of choice and beans from Monday’s cook or the freezer, and freeze extra portions of meat.

3. On Wednesday, roast an extra chicken, in addition to cooking a rotisserie chicken for dinner, so that I have cooked chicken ready for the remainder of the Wednesday chicken meals.

4. On Thursday, make enough crock pot ham so that you have leftovers to freeze. Also, cook up a big batch of bacon in the oven. Freeze some in whole pieces to use on the egg sandwiches, and also freeze some crumbles to use on the bacon pizza! Don’t forget to save the bacon grease as it makes a great, free fat in which to cook your eggs and veggies!

5. On Friday,  Make and freeze 4 extra potions of pizza dough for each of the other pizza nights in January.

6. On Saturday, make a huge batch of homemade bread. I bake bread in 5 loaf quantities and then freeze extra or store in my fridge. This task actually takes about an hour and half, start to finish – but really only about 30 minutes active prep and clean-up. I’d also make up a double batch of Artisan Bread Dough on Saturday too, so you have a nice crusty bread to go with your soups!

7. On Sunday, make a huge batch of fruit and honey granola to enjoy for breakfasts and snacks.

At the end of the 7 days, you should have quite a few meal components added to your freezer to simplify meal prep at a later date!homemade opt in

Let me help you Cook from Scratch! Get your free weekly meal plans by clicking here.

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family

Salmon Street Tacos are one of my newest favorite meals. This meal can be on the table in 15 minutes and is seriously delicious!! Make sure to add it to your menu plan right now!Quick and easy recipe for delicious heart healthy salmon street tacos served with red slaw and lime cream sauce, on the table in 15 minutes!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more heart healthy salmon into my family’s diet, and this recipe for salmon street tacos is approved by five out of six of us. My middle daughter, Cora, has proven to be my pickiest eater and claims she doesn’t like salmon (or anything healthy really). Honestly, I think she just won’t give it a chance. But as long as I serve it with beans, she’ll add a tiny bit of salmon to her bean burrito in an attempt to make me happy.

Salmon Street Tacos with red cabbage slaw and lime cream sauce

The rest of the family, however, thinks these salmon street tacos are delicious! These tacos are a great way to stretch salmon and are so qiuck to make. Check out the recipe below.

How to Make Salmon Street Tacos

The really great thing about this meal is that not only is it delicious, but it’s also quick to make. Seriously, in the ten minutes it takes to cook the salmon, you can have the red cabbage slaw and the lime cream sauce finished for a complete meal. It’s possible to make everything ahead of time for a quick reheat at dinner time too and the slaw actually tastes better if you give it time to absorb the flavors!

salmon street tacos

So let’s get started, shall we?

Saute the salmon in butter over medium high heat

Melt butter in your favorite skillet over medium high heat. Cover salmon with blackened seasoning mix (you can make your own with my recipe here) – only one side if the skin is still on the bottom of the fish. Place salmon skin side down in melted butter and saute for 5 minutes. Flip salmon and saute for 5 more minutes. If you want, remove the skin after you flip it and add more blackened seasoning. Remove salmon from pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, then shred with a fork and set aside.

Make the red cabbage slaw to go with the salmon street tacos
While the fish is cooking, combine all ingredients to make the red cabbage slaw. Place the slaw in the fridge to let the ingredients mingle.

make the lime cream sauce to go with the salmon street tacos
Last, make the lime cream sauce by simply combining all ingredients. If you don’t have one of these microplanes, you need one! It makes zesting citrus and grating hard cheeses a snap! Place cream sauce in the fridge so its flavors can come together too.

serve salmon street tacos with lime wedges, chopped jalapeno, and cilantro
If you have time, heat up the tortillas to make them taste even better! If you want, you can even make your own flour tortillas pretty easily with my recipe here. Serve these yummy salmon street tacos with lime wedges, chopped jalapeno, and cilantro. Enjoy!

These products make this recipe for Salmon Street Tacos a snap!

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family



Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 1/2 head small red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBS EVOO
  • finely chopped jalapeno, to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp REAL Salt

Lime Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice


  1. Melt butter over medium high heat. Cover salmon with blackening seasoning - only one side if the skin is still on the bottom of the fish.
  2. Place salmon skin side down in melted butter and saute for 5 minutes. Flip salmon and saute for 5 more minutes. If you want, remove the skin after you flip it and add more blackening seasoning.
  3. While the fish is cooking, combine all ingredients to make the red cabbage slaw. Place the slaw in the fridge to let the ingredients mingle.
  4. Last, make the lime cream sauce by simply combining all ingredients. Place cream sauce in the fridge so its flavors can come together too.
  5. To assemble the salmon street tacos, simply add a bit of everything to a tortilla of your choice and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1419Total Fat: 83gCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 133g

Yes, tacos? or No, tacos? What’s your call on street tacos? 🙂

You might also like these recipes:

Large Batch Ground Beef Taco Meat – perfect for the freezer

Homemade Blackened Seasoning

Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

Cheesy Salmon Pasta w/ Spinach & Mushrooms

Quick and easy recipe for delicious heart healthy salmon street tacos served with red slaw and lime cream sauce, on the table in 15 minutes!

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

A delicious appetizer perfect to make ahead and serve at parties or for a main dinner course as well, these Baked Taco Empanadas are very tasty {and freezer friendly too}!

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe - Baked Taco Empanadas

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

You guys know that my family is crazy about tacos. So crazy, that I made an entire weekly menu that featured nothing but tacos or taco derivatives. It’s genius actually. Make a huge pot of taco meat using my favorite recipe and homemade taco seasoning, and feed it to the family ALL. WEEK. LONG. lol!

Well, this recipe is another creative way to turn leftover taco meat into something just a little bit different. And wouldn’t you know, it makes a great appetizer too! They take a while to make, but you can do most of the work ahead of time so you can stay out of the kitchen and socialize during the Big Game!

Baked Taco Empanadas

To make this recipe, the first thing to do is make the empanada dough. It’s pretty easy to do if you use your food processor, but if you don’t have one, you can totally mix by hand as well.

Make sure to give yourself enough time for 50 minutes of cooling – 30 minutes of cooling after you make the dough and another 20 minutes of cooling after you’ve put the empanadas together.

roll out the empanada dough

After the dough has cooled for 30 minutes, roll it out and cut it into circles. You can use a circle dough cutter or a mug if you want. I don’t have a biscuit cutter (but I used to!) so I used one of my Starbucks mugs.

taco empanadas - add toppings

Now add 1-2 TBS cooked taco meat, this is my favorite recipe here, a bit of cheese and fold the empanadas. Seal with a fork, brush with egg white wash, and chill for 20 more minutes in the fridge.

taco empanadas

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes on a sheet pan {these are my favorite sheet pans, by the way}, serve with dippers like sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Enjoy!

Freezer Friendly Baked Taco Empanadas from scratch

Yield: 24 empanadas

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

Make Ahead Appetizer Recipe – Baked Taco Empanadas

A delicious make ahead taco appetizer! Who wouldn't want a handheld taco empanada for game day?

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes


For the Empanada Dough

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 1 egg white for an egg wash.

For the Filling

  • 1/2 lb of your favorite taco meat
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese
  • assorted toppings: sour cream, guacamole, salsa


For the Dough

  1. Make the dough in a food processor by first mixing flour and salt.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles peas.
  3. Add in egg and water and pulse until a nice, soft dough forms.
  4. If it's too wet, add a bit more flour. If it's too dry, add a bit more water, 1 tbs at a time.
  5. Make a dough ball and chill in plastic wrap in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

For the Empanadas

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll out dough and cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or a cup if you don't have one.
  3. Add 1-2 TBS taco meat and cheese.
  4. Fold over the top and seal the sides with your fork.
  5. Brush the top of the empanadas with egg white wash.
  6. Chill the empanadas for 20 minutes.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 9g

Nutritional data is not always correct.

The nice thing about these baked taco empanadas is the recipe is also freezer friendly! You can make them up ahead of time and freeze the unbaked empanadas. Then on game day, pull out the frozen beauties in the morning and let them thaw out, then pop them in the oven and bake according to the directions above! How awesome is that? Homemade appetizers with little effort on game day.

60+ More Appetizer Ideas! 

With the football season coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about Big Game parties and inevitably, the recipes you will make and bring to yours! In preparation, I’ve teamed up with my football blogger friends in one final collaboration to bring you some brilliant Big Game recipe ideas. We’ve made appetizers, entrees, desserts and even drinks. Prepare to be inspired, and be sure to check out their links below!

Classic Potato Salad by Celebrating Family
Chili Cheese Burritos by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Fruit Spring Rolls with Key Lime Cheesecake Dip by Body Rebooted
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders by Dash of Herbs
Mediterranean Seven Layer Dip by The Culinary Compass
Chicks in a Blanket with Apricot Sauce by Mom’s Messy Miracles
Jalapeno Pale Ale Chili by Beer Girl Cooks
Jalapeno Popper Pull Apart Bread by The Life Jolie
Sausage Pepperoni Pizza Dip by Feast + West
Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls by Family Food on the Table

Mini Bacon Ranch Cheese Balls by Honey & Birch
Cookie Dough Cheese Ball by Bread Booze Bacon
Hawaiian Pizza Jalapeno Poppers by Love & Flour
Meatloaf Sliders by Foodtastic Mom
Wonton Taco Cups by A Mind Full Mom
Pancetta and Smoked Mozzarella Arancini by The Secret Ingredient Is
Bean and Cheese Taco Bites by The BakerMama
Monte Cristo Poppers by See Aimee Cook
Chile Beer Sangria by Cake ‘n Knife
Low Carb Stuffed Crust Pizza by Sustaining the Powers

Puff Pastry Pizza Bites by The Mexitalian
No Churn Pistachio Baklava Ice Cream by Club Narwhal
Roasted Jalapeno Poppers by Off the Eaten Path
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Hello Little Home
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Wings by Around My Family Table
Gluten Free Bread Sticks by What A Girl Eats
Cheesy Beef Dip by Polka Dotted Blue Jay
Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs by The Crumby Cupcake
Greek Meatballs by Two Places at Once

Cheese Sticks by Coffee Love Travel
Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Meatballs by West via Midwest
Puff Pastry Bacon Pizza Twists by 2 Cookin Mamas
Skillet Chicken Queso Dip by foodbyjonister
Spicy Sausage Rolls by Peanut Blossom
Protein Dark Chocolate Truffles by The Creative Bite
Chickpea Pepper Cheese Poppers by Bucket List Tummy
Maple Cranberry Apple Sangria by Order in the Kitchen
Meyer Lemon Shandies by The Speckled Palate
Game Day Fried Deviled Eggs with Chow Chow Relish by For the Love of Food

Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls by Simple and Savory
Pastrami Nachos by A Little Gathering
Shrimp Ceviche Dip by Glisten and Grace
Football Bourbon Balls + Boozy Lemonade by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Apple Cider Mimosas With A Sparkly Sugar Rim by And She Cooks
Pulled Pork Stuffed Corn Dogs by Nik Snacks
Easy Pepperoni Rolls by Me and My Pink Mixer
Real Boneless Chicken Wings by Macheesmo
Califlower Tater Tots by Living Well Kitchen
Cheeseburger Naan Pizza by Shaws Simple Swaps

Red Velvet Ginger Rum Balls by Cafe Terra
Crab Rangoon by Brunch-n-Bites
Sweet n’ Spicy BBQ Popcorn by Life’s Ambrosia
Buffalo Chicken Rolls by Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Crowd Pleasing Steak Fajita Dip by Lizzy is Dizzy
Sriracha Hummus Pinwheel Sandwiches by Casa de Crews
Simlple Meatball Sub Sliders by Loaves & Dishes
Maple-Mustard Bacon Chicken Bites by An Oregon Cottage
Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese & Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces by A Simpler Grace
Ricotta Stuffed Sausage Meatballs by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Please note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.

Will you watch the big game? What are you eating and who are you rooting for?

Baked Taco Empanandas - Freezer friendly from scratch appetizer recipe


Whole Chicken Kitchen Hacks and Recipes

Using the whole chicken is the most economical way to cook chicken. But what the heck do you do with them? Check out this collection of Whole Chicken Kitchen Hacks and Recipes to help you the biggest bang for your grocery dollar

Are you intimidated to cook with a whole chicken? If so, this post is for you - Whole Chicken Kitchen Hacks and Recipes. Learn how to cook the whole chicken and save money!!

Welcome! If you’re here, you probably like to feed your family healthy foods on a budget! I try to feed my family mostly local, in-season, and organic food. But that can get expensive. Especially when it comes to meat. One way I save money on buying organic meat is to look for less expensive cuts of meats – and when it comes to chicken, that means using the WHOLE chicken. There are a lot of benefits to using the whole chicken in addition to cost, but I know they are overwhelming to contemplate for a lot of people. I hope this post will help you feel better about using the whole chicken, and it’s divided into two parts:

Whole Chicken Kitchen Hacks and Recipes

1. Kitchen Tips, Tricks, & Hacks so you know how to cook the chicken.
2. Delicious recipe ideas for using the whole chicken

These posts will teach you how to cut up a whole chicken and also show you how to cook it properly using a lot of different techniques.

Whole Chicken Recipes

How to get the most out of your whole chicken {7 meals One Chicken} – Don’t Waste the Crumbs

How to butcher a chicken – Just a Taste {A live chicken?}

How to cut up a whole chicken – A Return to Simplicity

Whole Chicken Recipes

How to grill a whole chicken – Tablespoon

How to debone a whole chicken – Parley Sage Sweet

How to cook a whole chicken in a bundt pan – Mr Food

Whole Chicken Recipes

How to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot – The Kitchen Wife

How to butterfly {Spatchcock} a whole chicken – Culinary Ginger

How to brine a whole chicken – Cooking with Kimberly

Now that you know how to prepare the whole chicken, here are some delicious recipe ideas for cooking it!

Whole Chicken Kitchen Hacks

How to smoke a whole chicken – Add a Pinch

How to butterfly roast a chicken in less than an hour – Bon Appetit

How to cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker – Healing Gourmet

Whole Chicken Recipes

 Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk – Platter Talk

Chicken Broth Recipe – My Cultured Palate

5 Ingredient Sticky Stove Top Balsamic Drumsticks – Recipe Tin Eats


If I still haven’t convinced you to try cooking with the whole chicken (because honestly, sometimes I just can’t be bothered with the whole thing), you may enjoy these recipes instead:


One Skillet Mediterranean Chicken – on the table in 30 minutes – one of my favorite meals.


BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich – Easy slow cooker recipe


One pot Greek chicken pasta

Well, are you inspired to cook a whole chicken? Let me know what you made and how it turned out!

Whole Chicken Recipes