Meal Plan; 4-8 September – Building decks, Labor Day, School is back, and more chicken dinners

Friday night, ahead of the Labor Day weekend, we got to see Rod Stewart live at the Bethel Woods venue – the original Woodstock location. Cheap Trick accompanied him, and they entertained the large crowds for 3+ hours.

It was a great evening that started with pre-concert tailgating. I had packed a cooler with beef, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions and jalapenos, and condiments. We brought a table and chairs and the Demerbox to stream music while we ate. The menu consisted of regular smash burgers for the kids, taco smash burgers for the adults – and mandatory sausages to settle any lingering hunger.

Building Decks

Instead of installing an above-ground pool, I decided to build a better outdoor area where we could enjoy summer, food, and the company of friends. As such, I renovated the existing deck, will eventually enhance the firepit area with a lean-in roof, and built a better outdoor kitchen area.

I enjoy building and creating stuff around the house and using the workshop I’ve made in the garage. Every tool I’ve renovated/restored is used to build furniture for the home and outdoor entertainment areas.

School is back on the menu!

I cannot believe that summer is officially over, and kids are starting back to school on Tuesday, the 5th of September. When we kicked off the summer around the 4th of July weekend, we thought we had plenty of time to hang out and do fun stuff.

The girls attended Girl Scout summer camp for six weeks, and our son had extended summer school for six weeks. That brought it to early/mid-August until the kids were officially on summer break, but we couldn’t go anywhere this summer.

My wife lost her job in December of 2022 and recently started a career with a small company. It is a job not in the field in which she’s trained and experienced. Still, it is nevertheless an excellent opportunity to share her experiences with a smaller company and hopefully help them elevate their game and business. Unfortunately, she has limited days for PTO, so we cannot go away.

Also, we cannot afford to travel abroad or even within the US, given we only have one income. Instead, we are spending more time around the house. I took some days off to work on DIY projects, the kids got to sleep in and relax around the house, and we still tried to do some things as a family.

Our oldest daughter is taking a year away from college to work and save up money for the tuition. We do not want her to take a large loan to pay for college. Many families let kids into debt and take degrees with no future, which I do not condone. It is irresponsible for parents to let kids accumulate debt of $100K before they even get a job.

Lunch and Dinners are back on the planner.

So, I’m adding school lunches back to the weekly meal plan.

This week, I’m making a large tray of homemade mac n’ cheese, which should cover at least two school lunches, and we bought some snack bags at BJ, which will last a few weeks – I hope!

I’m grilling a few chicken breasts that I’ve spiced up with simple BBQ rubs, which goes well with the Caesar salad. I’ll make the dressing myself.

For dinner, we will have three simple options. Simple is good, as I can make two dishes in parallel while listening to audiobooks through the Audible app. I’ve completed the entire Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, which are great action stories, and a few have been turned into movies with Tom Cruise and TV series on Amazon Prime with Alan Ritchson.

Alan Ritchson is perfect as the Jack Reacher character, especially if you read any of the books. While Tom Cruise did a good job, he does not have the size and demeanor of Alan.

Talking about cooking in parallel. I made two chicken dishes—one with chicken breasts and one with chicken thighs. The Brazilian coconut dish has unique flavors that smell up the entire house. At the same time, the Pineapple chicken is a lot sweeter, given it is marinaded in pineapple juice and brown sugar. Either dish took 30-40 minutes from start to finish, although the pineapple had to marinate for at least 2 hours before I grilled it on the Traeger.

Lastly, I made a leftover soup. My wife attempted grocery shopping last weekend and bought mushrooms, kale, spinach, and cauliflower despite no recipes on the meal plan leveraging any of these ingredients.

So, I made a roasted mushroom and cauliflower soup using the leftover vegetables and used the spinach and kale for the pineapple chicken as a side dish.

I magically reduced any wasted vegetables, although some vegetables were close to dying naturally. However, no mold or other symptoms indicated that the vegetables were okay, although a little soft.

Meal Plan

MondayLabor DayLabor Day Salmon, Grilled Broccoli & Shrimp
TuesdayCaesar Salad with homemade dressing and grilled chickenBrazilian Coconut Chicken
WednesdayGrilled noodles with peas & shrimpRoasted mushroom & cauliflower soup
ThursdayHomemade mac n’ cheesePineapple chicken with kale, spinach, and pineapple side
FridayHomemade mac n’ cheeseFriday Night 1st week of school BBQ

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

Stay in touch with me through social media!

  • Have you tried this recipe? Snap a picture and tag #vikingheartwithin on Instagram.
  • Like my page on Facebook.

Leave a Reply