Meal Planning Monday ~ It’s Picnic Time!

This week’s post is by Kim Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors.

It’s Picnic Time! Summer starts with a bang – heading to friends’ houses for BBQs, congregations lining up church picnic outings, and my husband’s company puts several picnic outings together over the summer. What do all these have in common? Yummy food, of course, with good friends.

Certainly, you know almost every picnic will have your traditional burgers, chips, salads and watermelon, but I wanted to come up with a few different and memorable dishes you can bring along with you!

Now, my first picnic dish is our Black Bean Salsa. It’s a simple recipe that is so tasty with chips, over chicken, or for a side. We’re asked at every outing for the recipe, so now we bring recipe cards for friends to take with them.

Does anyone bring brownies and cookies to picnics? Well, here we have a recipe that is a brownie cupcake with a cookie surprise. Every kid loves these at picnics! Top them with frosting and a cherry for a sweeter look.

My new favorite outing dessert is our pies in a jar. Yep, make individual pies in  canning jars. I stock up on pie filling so everyone has their favorite pie. These are so cute, easy and everyone will be impressed!

We have a large family and when we go off for the day I pack our food most of the time. One thing we purchased secondhand was a tailgating grill. This past weekend we went to the mountains one day and the ocean the next. There’s nothing like a Tailgating Picnic- eating hot BBQ chicken and steak by the beach, especially when the people next to us are having PB&J.

Here’s a twist on chocolate covered strawberries, another picnic dessert that will vanish before your eyes. I simply melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it’s all melted. Then I roll my strawberries in the melted chocolate, then in crushed toffee. (You can find crushed Heath bar in a bag in the aisle with the chocolate chips.)   I make an extra batch and leave them at home-this makes my family very happy!

The fun thing about picnics and BBQs are that you don’t have to limit yourself to the boring basics. Be creative and have fun!  Watch for more delicious picnic recipes in my Picnic Series.

I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on
my blog,
Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save!

Meal Planning Monday ~ Best of Summer


Happy Memorial Day!  Much love and respect to our troops, past and present, and to the families of our fallen soldiers.

I know that the official first day of summer is June 21st, but for me the start of summer is Memorial Day weekend.  Everyone is out manning the grills, mowing the lawns, and opening the swimming pools.  So I thought I would highlight some of the “Best of Summer” Meal Planning posts so you can make sure your summer meals are both easy and tasty.  Here are some of my favorites!


Save Big, But Still Impress, at Your Summer BBQ ~ How to have an awesome BBQ without breaking the bank!
Favorite Picnic Side Dishes ~ Inspiration for your side dishes to accompany your burgers and hot dogs!
Keeping It Cool in the Kitchen ~ Get tips for cooking great summer meals without heating up the kitchen.
Summer Desserts ~ A round up of sweet, cool treats for hot, sticky days!
I am an Ice Cream Evil Genius!  For those of you with an ice cream maker, don’t miss these delicious recipes.
Happy Campers ~ Great recipes for your summer camping trips.
Summer Fun ~ These aren’t recipes to eat, but for fun activities to keep your kids occupied and happy all summer!
What are  your best tips for successful meal planning during the summer months?

Meal Planning Monday ~ Family Friendly Cooking

This week’s post is by Kimberly Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors.

Hi! I’m Kimberly. I’m excited to be a guest here on Christine’s blog chatting with you about some quick, kid and teen friendly, family meals. We have a pretty large family of 5 kids, youngest being 11, oldest being 15 and they are always hungry. I don’t know how it is in your house, but when my kids get home at 2:30 PM from school, their backpacks haven’t even hit the floor and they’re already asking what’s for dinner. Can anyone relate? I used to love making gourmet dinners but I got tired of them picking through the food to pull out bits of peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. I came to the realization that most of my kids are pretty basic eaters for now and I needed to just go with the flow. That being said, I have one of their favorite recipes for you below. It’s quick, easy and tasty. I hope you enjoy it.


No Fuss Stuffed Shells

I call these No Fuss Stuffed Shells because you won’t have to fuss over making them. They’re very quick and simple to put together on a busy night and they’re great to make ahead or to freeze. These are not your traditional shells with Ricotta Cheese and kids won’t be fussing over bits and pieces of onions in them. Yet, these No Fuss Stuffed Shells are full of flavor and a family favorite!


  • 1lb of ground beef or ground turkey, cooked
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese + 1/4 cup reserved for top of shells
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 T Basil
  • 2 T Onion powder
  • 2 T Garlic powder
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 T Pepper
  • 1-24 oz. Jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 14 Jumbo pasta shells



Preheat oven to 375.

Boil shells according to directions and drain.

Mix meat, cheeses and herbs and 1/2 jar of pasta sauce in mixing bowl.

In a shallow casserole dish, pour the other half of the sauce on the bottom.

Stuff shells with mixture, I use a muffin scoop to fill them. Place shells on top of sauce in casserole dish.

Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella cheese over the shells.

Bake uncovered in oven 25 minutes.

We serve ours with sliced oranges, a diced cuke and tomato salad and, of course, garlic bread!


Another family favorite of ours, believe it or not is Quiche. Again, this isn’t your typical quiche with veggies and just 4 slices of bacon! This is a quiche recipe for you bacon lovers! I put this recipe together so that my family would like quiche and they love this recipe. Quiche is super to have for any meal. When I serve it as breakfast, I offer cantaloupe wedges with it. For lunch or dinner, I’ll make a tossed salad and sometimes some French bread.

If your house is busy on a school mornings like ours is, you’ll appreciate this breakfast recipe. Throw it together the night before and everyone will quickly be running down the stairs for breakfast! It’s a nice change from cold cereal or a breakfast bar on the run!

My next recipe is one that I’ve been making since I was probably 4 years old with my Gram. Anytime I slept over her house, I had the choice of whatever I wanted for dinner. Almost every time, I’d choose her homemade macaroni and cheese and we’d always make it together. Most time we make this as our main meal, but certainly you can use it as a side dish.

You’ll love this next recipe. We love grilling pizza. I live in New Hampshire, where it’s very snowy and freezing all winter. Yet we pull out our grill and throw together dinner in a jiffy when we make these crispy BBQ Grilled Pizzas! It’s a delicious recipe for  anytime of the year.

I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on my blog, Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save!