How is it the middle of July already?! We recently returned from a trip to visit my lovely and amazing in-laws at their beautiful home in Lake Lure, NC.  They are so gracious to host one of my family’s most beloved traditions: going to their Lake Lure home for the 4th of July.  The whole weekend is packed with delightful food, time on the water, naps on the “sleeping porch”, wine tastings (juice tastings for the kids), games after dinner, and lots of love and laughter.  My mother and father-in-law are true gems and would easily win an award for being the best hosts anyone could ever hope for.  I’m not sure if they realized when I married their son (and only child) 13+ years ago, that my entire family would soon be knocking at their door to spend time with them and each other.  That’s what happens when you live in a magical place and treat your guests to the warmest, tastiest hospitality the North Carolina mountains can offer. Oh – and if my in-laws don’t already sound cool enough, check out my Mother-in-law’s awesome food blog, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen!

Now that we’re home, we are back on the cooking train, preparing healthy family meals for our family of 4. Here’s the dinner lineup for the week:hot dog, mac and cheese, baked beansverde chicken tacos

Dinner 1: Baked Alfredo Pasta Florentine with salad & garlic bread

This baked pasta dish would be a great for Winter, too.  However, the addition of basil in this dish makes it tasty and irresistible Summer meal!

Dinner 2: Seared Chicken with Mustard Cream, Rice & Summer Fruit Salad

I just sear thinly sliced chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, in a saute pan with olive oil. I double the mustard cream sauce in the recipe linked above and serve overtop the chicken on a bed of rice. I typically do not use the watercress in the recipe as good watercress is not readily available in our area.

Dinner 3: Hot Dogs, Homemade Mac & Cheese and Baked Beans

Nothing fancy here, just a nice weeknight staple. I add yellow mustard, ketchup, brown sugar and bacon to my baked beans.  They are tangy and sweet!

Dinner 4: Crock pot Tacos Verde, Spanish Rice + Guacamole Salad

Vegetarian option: try this crock pot recipe with a can of rinsed/drained black beans + 1 sliced onion + 1 sliced bell pepper in place of the chicken.  Cook the bean mixture for 2-3 hours in the salsa verde, and you’ll enjoy some delicious, healthy vegetarian tacos in the end!

Dinner 5: Chicken & Avocado Caprese Quesadillas and Roasted Broccoli


Printable Menu and Grocery List Update: I’m going to take some time to develop some additional options for the printable menus and grocery lists that I publish.  So… this week, please refer to the blank version of the printable menu and grocery list and try making your very own personal meal plan and shopping list for the week.

Have a great one!