Mom’s Minute Monthly- eMeals

In case you missed our last MMM, we shared some great ideas as we get back into a routine now that summer has ended. One of those tips was eMeals.

eMeals is a site designed specifically for busy moms (not really, but it is super helpful!).  You can select the plan that you like (for instance, classic, kid-friendly, gluten-free, diabetic, paleo, etc) and your family size. Each Wednesday a new menu plan is emailed to you and includes recipes and a shopping list specifically for your plan. It’s wonderful! If you have a smartphone, you can download the eMeals app and it will allow you to add items to your shopping list, cross off items you already have, and if you have the classic menu plan, it will even calculate your total grocery cost for the week. It has been a huge blessing in the two weeks that I’ve used it!

I signed up for the classic plan with a family size of 3-6 (the most it would allow me to do). I then selected Publix as my grocery store. For my family of 9, I’ve been spending about $80 each week on groceries since starting the program. What I like most about eMeals is that I can preview the recipes prior to shopping so I can adjust the amount of meat I need to purchase. Plus, every meal I have prepared has been so delicious- even my kids love them! I also really like that most of the meals include fresh produce, and I am broadening my cooking skills as I prepare different recipes and dishes.

So, have I sold you on eMeals?! If so, right now if you sign up you can save 20% off a yearly subscription. The dinner-only plan is regularly $58, but when you enter code SCHOOL, you will pay only $46.40. That’s less than $4 per month for stress-free meal planning!


Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Guest post by Erin Bradley

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

These waffles are so easy-peasy to prepare, yet they taste incredible!

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls
waffle iron
non-stick cooking spray
topping of your choice (icing from cinnamon rolls, fruit, whip cream, syrup, etc)


Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Place one cinnamon roll in the center of the pre-heated waffle iron.

Cinnamon Roll

Close lid tightly and cook until light goes off. Flip cinnamon roll and cook an additional two minutes. Top with icing or other favorite topping.Cinnamon Roll Waffle

As a wife and working mother of three girls ages 6, 4, and 2, Erin Bradley enjoys embracing the many life experiences that come with raising young children.  Erin seeks to follow and serve the Lord daily while working hard to provide for the needs of her family. Finding new ways of organizing her home and simplifying different areas of her life has become one of her many passions to make more time for the important things.

Macaroni & Cheese with Ham and Broccoli

Mac cheese

Guest post by Erin Bradley

Enjoy leftovers in a new way and that your kids and hubby are sure to love! Easy, all-in-one homemade Mac & Cheese with leftover ham (or chicken) and broccoli is a quick weeknight meal that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters!

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
16oz. dry noodles of choice
1 dash salt for water
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 1 lb. package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 to 2 cups cooked, diced ham or chicken 

1.       Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2.       Cook noodles according to package directions in lightly salted, boiling water. Drain and return to pot.
3.       While noodles are boiling, whisk together 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. flour over medium heat.
4.       Slowly add 2 cups of milk, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about ten minutes.
5.       Remove pot from heat and add in 2 cups shredded cheese.  Stir until smooth.
6.       Meanwhile, break apart larger broccoli florets into smaller pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the meat and mix together.  Pour contents on top of drained noodles. 
7.       Pour cheese mixture on top of noodle mixture and stir well.  Pour entire mixture into baking dish.
8.       Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of mixture.  Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.  Serves 8

As a wife and working mother of three girls ages 6, 4, and 2, Erin Bradley enjoys embracing the many life experiences that come with raising young children.  Erin seeks to follow and serve the Lord daily while working hard to provide for the needs of her family. Finding new ways of organizing her home and simplifying different areas of her life has become one of her many passions to make more time for the important things.

Blueberry Muffins


Although I wish I could take credit for this recipe, I cannot.  I found it a few years ago in a magazine in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office.  I copied it down on a scrap piece of paper and it soon became my “go-to” muffin recipe.  It yields 24 large muffins and the topping just adds an extra element of flavor.

If you like to bake homemade gifts, you could also pour the batter into a loaf pan to make homemade blueberry bread.  This recipe also freezes well so go ahead and make a batch just for the freezer! I try to keep my freezer stocked so that when I have last minute (or unexpected!) company, I can offer a light refreshment over which to converse.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

Muffin Ingredients
4c flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1c butter, softened
1c granulated sugar
1c packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1c milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2c (1pint) blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Topping Ingredients
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375*.  For muffins, line paper muffin pan or grease with cooking spray. For bread, grease and flour loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Next, add the milk and vanilla until combined.
  4. Slowly add half the flour mixture into the batter. Mix well, scraping the sides. Add the remaining dry ingredients into the wet until incorporated, scraping the sides again.
  5. Fold in the blueberries.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
  7. For the topping, combine the sugar and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  8. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins or bread.
  9. For muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.  For bread, bake for 45-50 minutes. The center should be cooked through and the tops golden brown.

Meals on a Budget- Part 3: Easy Meal Ideas

Keep calm and cook on

This is the third post in the series Meals on a Budget.  In this post, I will share some meal ideas that are easy to prepare. You can find tips to help you stretch your food, and your budget, further here. You can read the first post on planning meals here.

Italian dishes are a great option for those wanting to stretch their budget. These meals can be made with or without meat and can be put together quickly. Examples include spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna rolls, etc. A family favorite (passed down from my grandmother) is Pasta and broccoli- a cheap, yummy meal that reminds me of her every time I make it!  Complete the meal by serving garlic bread and salad.

In the winter, soup is another easy meal that is both budget-friendly and filling. My family’s meatless favorites include Minestrone, Split Pea, Italian Vegetable, and Tomato Parmesan.  Some hearty soups that include meat are Chili, Stuffed Pepper Soup, and Chicken Fiesta soup. Soups can be served with homemade bread sticks, grilled cheese sandwiches, or cornbread and a salad to round out the meal.

A favorite for kids is to have a “breakfast for dinner” night.  Examples include scrambled egg sandwiches, pancakes, or French toast served with hash browns (or tater tots), bacon, and sausage. Breakfast casseroles are easy to put together but keep in mind, most recipes require overnight refrigeration prior to baking.

Some other easy meal ideas include:

  • Baked potato bar that includes cheese, sour cream, salsa, chopped bacon, chives, or chili if you have it. Serve with a salad and this is a very filling and cost-effective meal.
  • Salad bar including hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, cheese, diced lunchmeat or cooked chicken, Craisins, croutons, etc. Complete the meal with a crusty bread or grilled cheese.

Don’t forget about those “leftovers” in the fridge!  You can keep your leftovers and eat them on a certain day each week (i.e. Sunday), eliminating the need for a planned meal. Another option is to freeze leftover meats and serve the remaining side dish items throughout the week. Lunch is also an easy way to get rid of those leftovers!

With some planning and the tips shared here, sharing a meal together at home is possible no matter what your budget.

Share with me- what are some of your favorite recipes or cost-saving tips?

Spicy (or Not!) Chicken Fiesta Soup

This is a healthy meal that tastes great and is super easy to put together making it a perfect match for busy moms. I adapted this recipe from a friend’s and my family loves it!

Chicken Fiesta Soup

2 c cooked chicken, shredded or diced
1 can Rotel (keep liquid)
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can corn (keep liquid)
1 8 oz package Neufchatel cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp Chili powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. (Serves 6-8)


Meals on a Budget- Part 2: Tips

Keep calm and cook on

This is the second post in a series on meals on a budget. In this post, I will share tips to help you stretch your food, and your budget, further. You can read the first post on planning meals here, or the final post containing meal ideas that are easy to prepare here.

One of the easiest ways to add bulk to almost any meal is to serve it with a salad.  All my kids love salad so lettuce is a staple purchase item. I purchase the head lettuce and wash/prepare it myself, which is a cost-cutter. You can add whatever toppings you prefer, but one of our favorites is simply homemade croutons.

If you have an extra freezer, another budget-booster is to purchase meat (beef, chicken, ham, etc) when it’s on sale. Many times my favorite grocery store will offer their meats buy one, get one free. However, as a caution, I recommend you purchase only what you think you will consume within a month or two. This is to help prevent freezer burn because the meat was “forgotten” in the freezer.

Don’t be afraid to try different cuts of meat than what you are normally accustomed. For instance, if whole chickens are on sale, go ahead and buy it! The chicken can easily be roasted in a crock pot or oven. Depending on the size of your family, you can easily get two meals from one whole chicken. Freeze the leftover meat to be used in a recipe at a later date. Another example is split chicken breasts. I love to buy them on the bone because I boil them with carrots, onion, and celery to make a homemade stock. Along with the meat, I strain the broth in cheesecloth and save it to use in soups and stews. It is a lot cheaper than buying it in a can, and I know exactly what is in it!

I was raised in a home where my mom cooked almost every night, but not a lot was “from scratch”.  As my family size has grown, so has my knowledge of foods and cooking. An example of this is with beans: dry beans are equivalent in price to canned, but a 1-pound package of dry beans cooks to double or triple that amount. I soak them overnight and cook according to the recipe (or package directions, depending on what I’m making). Instead of using 2 cans of beans in a recipe, I can use half a bag of dry beans for half the cost.

In the last post I discussed planning a menu. This is to help reduce the “What’s for dinner?” frenzy that most of us moms are familiar with, but also to help you get an idea of what foods your family is eating. We usually only eat red meat one meal per week due to cost. We eat chicken at least twice per week and I prepare it in different ways. We eat an Italian dish at least once per week, and those are typically meatless. We also have “breakfast” for dinner, soups, and a designated leftover night. (You can see a sample menu here.)

In the third post of this series, I will share some of my family’s favorite recipes. Check back soon!