Meal Plan, January 21st through 27th

This past week has been pretty crazy.  For various reasons, I didn’t actually follow much of my meal plan (this is RARE).  Also, our friend left us with four pounds of thawed ground venison that will need to be used … Continue reading

Instant Pot Carnitas

There is some misunderstanding about what carnitas are, so for this purpose, the carnitas I’m talking about are shredded pork tacos.

I honestly don’t ever measure how much seasoning I use so I’m going to do my best to give some measurements, but you can always add more or take away based on your taste.  I know that I rarely follow a recipe as is :-).

We make these often when we have people over because it is so easy to make a larger batch.  I have two instant pots: an 8qt and a 6qt.  Typically I make the carnitas in one and beans in another.


I am lucky in that our store (HEB) has carnitas already cut up and easy to use.  I am able to easily layer this way.  You could use a pork roast just as easily, though, you can’t really layer with that.

These are the seasonings that I use.



  • 4lbs of pork roast (or carnita meat)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, diced (I usually use red, yellow, and/or orange)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced very fine
  • About 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 orange, cut into fourths
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (we use dark red)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

Basically, I just layer them in the instant pot.  One layer of meat, one layer of seasoning, one layer of veggies, then repeat.  I top it by squeezing the orange over it and leaving the oranges in.


I then set it on high pressure for 55 minutes.


I usually let it natural pressure release for 10 minutes or so.

After it is finished, we shred it and eat!

My favorite tortillas are some that I buy from our local store.  They are basically homemade.  I also love the type that are a mixture of corn and flour.


Robert makes his “famous” guacamole and we also top them with cheese, sour cream, and maybe some more cilantro.

Instant Pot Pork Tacos



  • 2-3 pounds of pork (HEB sells Carnitas like the ones pictured)
  • 2 small oranges, halved (or one large)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small-medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (not pictured here… I forgot it when I took the pic!)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

First, mix seasonings in a small bowl.


Finely chop cilantro


Finely chop jalapeño and place on top of cilantro.


Dice red bell pepper and place on top of jalapeño.


Dice onion and place on top of everything.


Mix veggies


Pour 1/2 cup of water on the bottom to start with some liquid (you could also use chicken stock).

Place a layer of carnitas meat, sprinkle seasoning, veggies, and garlic.


Second layer of meat, seasoning, garlic, and veggies.  Squeeze the orange and lime and place into the pot.  If you use a pork roast or something similar, you won’t be able to do layers.  Totally fine!


Cook for 50 minutes and natural pressure release for 20-30 minutes.


This is what it looks like cooked.


Pull the meat out into a bowl.


Shred the meat.


I imagine this would work fine in a crock pot.  It would just need to cook 6-8 hours to make it to where it falls apart and is easy to shred.

We eat this on some locally made flour tortillas or corn tortillas.  We typically have Mexican brown rice and pinto beans (I’ll post this recipe soon, I promise!).

This meal costs maybe $8?  It’s a pretty inexpensive meal!

It’s one of our faves!  Enjoy!

Here are some easy-to-follow directions!

  1. Mix seasonings in a small bowl.
  2. Finely chop cilantro
  3. Finely chop jalapeño and place on top of cilantro.
  4. Dice red bell pepper and place on top of jalapeño.
  5. Dice onion and place on top of everything.
  6. Mix veggies
  7. Pour 1/2 cup of water on the bottom to start with some liquid (you could also use chicken stock).
  8. Place a layer of carnitas meat, sprinkle seasoning, veggies, and garlic.
  9. Second layer of meat, seasoning, garlic, and veggies.  Squeeze the orange and lime and place into the pot.  If you use a pork roast or something similar, you won’t be able to do layers.  Totally fine!
  10. Cook for 50 minutes and natural pressure release for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Pull the meat out into a bowl.
  12. Shred the meat.

Weekend Prep


I woke up late today, but have been busy ever since.  I’m finally sitting down (at 2:30) to blog about all that I have been doing today.

The first thing I did when I woke up was have my coffee, plan my day, and spend time in the word.  Today was day 1 of the Ruth study on She Reads Truth.  This is an old study… one that I missed in the past.  I’m not a huge fan of the one that is happening right now, so I went backwards.  It is fantastic.

Then I made beds (well, I had the kids make their beds but I went behind them and straightened them because I’m a perfectionist).

Then I straightened up the house.  This didn’t take very long because I tend to keep it clean these days.  Plus, I have the kids clean up after themselves.  It helps that they are only home in the evenings and on the weekends.

Here’s what the house currently looks like:











I updated my meal plan for the month.




Then I started my meal prep.

First, I cut veggies for lunches and dinners.


Then I made healthy snack muffins.



I prepped lunches.


I made dinners for the nights that I will be going to town.

Veggie and meat sauce


Whole wheat penne


Taco meat



I ordered some items from that I will need this week.  Friday, I will only have to buy ground beef, produce, and dairy!  I will also be picking up some pizzas from Papa Murphy’s for Saturday (my parents will be here).

Next I will be folding and putting away my one load of laundry for the day.

We will end the night by playing games!


Weekly Meal Plan, 2 Weeks



Robert and Ethan will be at Big Bend for 4 out of 7 days next week, so Karis, Levi, and I will be fending for ourselves.  You would think it would be easier to go to the dining hall, but it’s actually easier to stay in and eat easy foods.  So that’s what we’re doing.



  • Sandwich on homemade bread (or a pita), veggies, hummus, and fruit
  • Cottage cheese, boiled egg, veggies, hummus, and Triscuits
  • Leftovers


  • Nuts
  • Triscuits
  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Apple sauce
  • Homemade Greek yogurt


Week of January 16-22

  • Monday-Wednesday: Dining hall
  • Thursday: Breakfast- Cinnamon biscuits (treat) and scrambled eggs
  • Friday: Hot dogs
  • Saturday: Finger foods (uncured salami, boiled eggs, Gouda, veggies, and fruit)
  • Sunday: Instant pot roast, potatoes, and carrots

Week of January 23-29

  • Monday: Burrito Bowls (pinto beans, brown rice, tomato, avocado, sour cream, and cheese)
  • Tuesday: Instant pot meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and corn
  • Wednesday: Grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli, and salad
  • Thursday: Southwestern Soup (will share this recipe soon)
  • Friday-Sunday: Dining hall


  • Bake bread
  • Cut veggies
  • Make green smoothie cakes
  • Make breakfast taco filling

Homemade Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot


Start with homemade BBQ sauce (not pictured here is the molasses… I forgot it!).


You’ll need 2 cups of chicken broth (this is homemade).

4lbs of pork shoulder.  This particular one is in pieces.


Place broth and pork shoulder in instant pot.


Spoon some of the homemade BBQ sauce on to it.


Cook manually for 70 minutes, NPR for 15-20 minutes.




Add more BBQ sauce.



Enjoy!  I use whole wheat buns (sometimes homemade, but not this time), mayo, and pickles.  Yum!


Homemade Pasta Sauce and Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

A regular meal around here is homemade pasta sauce on whole wheat pasta with roasted veggies on the side.  It is really simple and cheap!  Here is how I make it!

For the pasta sauce:



  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (or use minced garlic… sometimes I do this)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 box of whole wheat pasta (pictured here is penne, but I used rotini for the final picture)
  • 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash (not pictured)
  • 2 broccoli crowns and 1 head of cauliflower (not pictured)

First, cube zucchini and squash.  Sauté in a little bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper.


While the squash is sautéing, brown the beef.


Drain meat, return to pan.  Dump all of the remaining ingredients into the pan.  Stir and simmer for 15-20 minutes.


Cut broccoli and cauliflower.


Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and some garlic powder.

Spread on pan and bake on 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

While this is roasting, cook your pasta.

Serve and enjoy!


Meal Planning Sunday, January 1st! (Two Weeks)




  • Sandwiches on sprouted bread with Hormel natural deli meat and Tillamook cheddar, veggies and hummus, fruit
  • Cottage cheese, boiled eggs, veggies and hummus, fruit, Triscuits
  • Leftovers


Week of January 2-8

  • Monday- Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot
  • Tuesday- Pulled pork using our homemade BBQ sauce (for our summer staff that will be here)
  • Wednesday- Dining hall
  • Thursday- Dining hall
  • Friday- Pizza
  • Saturday- Pasta and homemade meat sauce (recipe coming!) and steamed broccoli
  • Sunday- Creamy cauliflower and potato soup

Week of January 9-15

  • Monday- Burrito bowls (brown rice, Instant pot pinto beans, avocado, tomato, cheese, and sour cream)
  • Tuesday- Cheese enchilada stacks (corn tortillas with shredded cheese and canned enchilada sauce) and brown rice
  • Wednesday- Easy Chili and corn bread
  • Thursday- Fish tacos
  • Friday- Pork chops (grilled) and roasted veggies
  • Saturday- Hot Dogs
  • Sunday- Roast, potatoes, and carrots in the instant pot


  • Breakfast cookies 
  • Fruit salad
  • Veggies
  • Cheese sticks
  • Homemade Greek yogurt
  • Austin cracker sandwiches (treat!)
  • Organic cheddar “frogeez”
  • Organic animal cookies

Weekly Prep

  • Bake breakfast recipes
  • Cut veggies for lunches and snacks
  • Make fruit salad for the week
  • Bag up veggies and fruit for lunches
  • Make yogurt

Our Favorite Friday Night Dinner!


(Ignore the mess around the coffee table… cause… life.)

Finger Foods!

  • 3 carrots, cut into strips
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into strips
  • 2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
  • Grape tomatoes
  • 2 bananas, cut
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 apples, cut
  • 1 summer sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, sliced or cut however you want 🙂
  • Ranch or hummus (we use both)

Put on plates in the living room.  Eat while watching Friday night movies (or playing games)!