Meal Planning Monday ~ Holiday Baking

          It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the Luken house!  I’ve put up all of my holiday decorations and Nick helped me put up the tree so I could decorate it today.  I always love pulling out all of our ornaments and remembering where each one came from.  Some I inherited from my parents, others were gifts from loved ones, and many are souvenirs from the trips we’ve taken over the years.  Last year we were on vacation for two weeks in December, so I didn’t bake any Christmas cookies, didn’t put up the tree, and most of my family received gift cards.  Although I wish we were going back to Maui this year, I am going to savor all of the holiday traditions I missed out on last year- especially making Christmas sugar cookies with my Mom.

            From the time I was four or five years old, I’ve helped my Mom make Christmas sugar cookies (from scratch, complete with homemade butter cream frosting, pictured above).  When I was in my early 20’s and my Mom was in college getting her Master’s Degree in Social Work, she stated that she was too busy to make Christmas cookies.  That was the year that I took over the tradition and began making them every year.  Sometimes my Mom helps me, sometimes one of my friends does.  We make a triple batch of sugar cookies, and frost them all in one day.  It is definitely a labor of love!  And I am looking forward to doing it again this year.  I know my friends and family who are the lucky recipients of a bundle of fresh baked cookies are looking forward to it as well!  Many people have asked me for the “secret recipe” for the sugar cookies and frosting.  Sorry, but that is reserved for my niece and nephew who will inherit it at the proper time!

            Now is the time to stock up on all of your baking supplies for the holidays and beyond!  Ingredients like sugar, flour, spices, nuts, chocolate chips, cake mixes, and frosting are all on sale now.  Many of these will keep for months in the pantry and the freezer.  I’ve included the recipe for my Fiery Fried Chicken, which is delicious and easy to make on those hectic evenings leading up to Christmas.

Monday ~ Stroganoff

Tuesday ~ Turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans

Wednesday ~ Fend for Yourself Night

Thursday ~ Chicken Parmesan

Friday ~ Black Bean Chili

Saturday ~ Chicken Tacos

Sunday ~ Fiery Fried Chicken with potatoes and mixed veggies.  This chicken has a great sweet and spicy flavor, thanks to the coconut oil and chili garlic sauce.
Fiery Fried Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbs of Chili Garlic sauce (find it in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1 ½ cups of bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil



  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut oil to the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the pineapple juice and the chili garlic sauce.  Dredge the chicken tenders in this mixture, then coat with bread crumbs.
  3. Cook in the skillet about five minutes per side until coating in golden brown and chicken is no longer pink inside.