My Favorite Meals + a Dinner Log


A few months ago, I won this cookbook in a blog giveaway from Allison, which is where I got the brilliant idea to keep a dinner log. So that's what I've been doing since August 7.

Call me crazy or obsessively organized or whatever, but every night for the last two and a half months I've written down what Jordan and I have eaten for dinner. The reasons for this insanity are threefold:

1. I wanted to see if there was a pattern to our dinner menu/repeated meals/etc.
2. I thought it might make future meal planning easier to have a list of our favorite meals to choose from.
3. I just straight up thought it would be interesting.

Instead of boring you with the full list, I've broken down the log into a pie chart! Who doesn't love a good pie chart?

As you can see, the majority of our meals consist of home-cooked meals and leftovers. The Bumgarners are a huge fan of leftovers. We're also a fan of being huge nerds and making pie charts, but we're not going to talk about that.

When we eat out, it pretty much boils down to Chinese, Mexican, or Pizza. Jordan really loves Chinese food, and surprisingly our Oklahoma town has a wide selection of restaurants. So that's awesome/terrible.

"Invited to dinner" just means we didn't eat at home, but we didn't pay for our dinner. Example: when Jordan's mom invites us over for Sunday pot roast or my aunt and uncle call and offer to take us out to eat. Yes, please!

Okay, so now what you really came for: the meals. Not to brag, but I cook a mean dinner and you want these recipes. Of course you can check out all the recipes I've posted on my recipe page HERE and the recipes I've pinned, tried, and liked HERE, but these are the ones we have been eating lately (Vegetarians beware: we eat a LOT of chicken. Poor little chickens.):

 + Chicken pot pie (Pioneer Woman's recipe)

I used to think making a homemade chicken pot pie would be a huge ordeal, but it's so easy! Seriously, if you haven't tried whipping up a pot pie, you're missing out. You can chop up the carrots and celery in advance if you want to make the prep work go faster.

Cheeseburger macaroni

I have a stash of Rotel in my pantry just for this recipe. It's one of the easiest skillet meals to put together, and it's delicious! It's even easier if you cook and freeze your ground beef in advance. I've cooked this so often that I've gotten this down to about 20 minutes from start to finish. Winning.

Chicken & rice bowl

Chances are high you will have the ingredients for this recipe in your freezer at all times. Vegetables, chicken, and rice. Boom. A Bumgarner favorite.

+ Mac 'n' cheese from a box

Don't you dare shake your head at me. (Melinda is shaking her head at me.) 

Kraft macaroni and cheese! This is probably aka definitely the most processed meal we eat (if you don't count Jordan's Ramen noodles, which I DO NOT). We love the "three cheese" flavor, and we buy Polish Kielbasa sausage (Hillshire Farms brand), which we cook on the skillet and then chop up and add to the mac. It makes to more of a meal, and it's so good. Just try it and thank me later. 

Word to the wise: Do not get the cheap brand of sausage. Get the good stuff. We've tried to cheap sausage, and it tastes sausage. Shocker.

+ The Crock-Pot

If you don't use your crock-pot or don't have one, you are missing out on one of life's grander inventions. It's so awesome to pop everything in the crock-pot in the morning and have dinner ready when you get home from work! Our most recent favorite crock-pot meal is this slow-cooker chicken & wild rice. I've already had a few friends make this and tell me it was delicious, so it's not just me.

Make sure you eat it with 189584 pounds of corn like Jordan does.

We have so many more meals we love, but these are the best, the easiest, and the favorites for the rest of time. Or until something better comes along.

What's your go-to meal? 
Leave a link in the comments so I can love it too!
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Linking up with Jessica and Ashley for Taste of Tuesday.
Unknown said...

I love charts! :)
And I love your blog, which I discovered while looking for running tips!

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

Who doesn't like a pie chart?! I do! Is it weird that my post from today is my favorite go to meal!! Greek Chicken Gyros. So easy to put together and the chicken alone is so good!

Lindsay {Typically Late} said...

OK seriously.. I love your pie chart! And I kind of want to make one... I have been meal tracking since February or so, generally for the same reasons - to see what our patterns are like, and to see what my go-to meals are when I can't remember! We are big cook-at-home / leftovers people, too. And I use my crockpot at least once a week! If nothing else, I throw frozen chicken and a can of Rotel in there, then serve it with black beans over rice. Never fails :)

Kate said...

I've been needing new (and easy) things to throw together. Since I live by myself, I really don't see a reason in slaving over the stove every night. (Plus, my parents live 5 minutes away, and my dad is retired and loves to cook. So I never know when he's going to have some huge meal waiting for me.)

And the macaroni thing? When I was younger, if my parents were eating something they knew I would never ever eat (read as: fish. blah.), they would throw together macaroni and sausage for me. Without fail. BUT they refused to buy the boxed kind.

Jessica Miller said...

I wish our pie chart looked like yours - especially with the eating out! Lately it would be the majority, but we're changing our habits today - literally!! And those are two of my faves too! :)

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I have no idea how to make a pie chart, but I like seeing them!

I very rarely repeat meals unless they are very basic ones (baked chicken). I normally cook two meals on Sunday and they get us through most of the week because we love leftovers.

shelleystirs said...

I plan my meals out weekly--usually Tuesday night since I grocery shop on Wednesday. We usually have pasta once a week, as well as tacos/enchiladas and takeout pizza on the Saturdays that I work. One of my favorite recipes right now is this one (but I use 3-4 chicken breasts instead of thighs):

Amber Marie said...

Awesome pie chart :) I have been meal planning with my iCalendar...and it's good to be able to look back at previous weeks and see what I made and what made leftovers...I plan leftovers more than I do the actual meal so that they can land on a night we have a fitness class or some other event to go to before coming home to eat.

shelleystirs said...

and shoot, I forgot a comma after taco/enchiladas. That would be a lot of food for our Saturday night!

Julie @ Just the Joy's said...

Great post and tips! I love the idea of keeping track of your meals. I'm kind of OCD/over organized so that is right up my alley! I also love boxed mac and cheese with sausage! Now I'm craving it... :) My favorite go to meal(s) are chicken in the crockpot with a can of homemade salsa. Super easy and yummy! I serve it over brown rice.


Anonymous said...

I want some of alllll of that. And I love the pie chart. Seriously - who doesn't love a good pie chart? So I'll be trying um, all of those recipes.

Boxed mac & cheese with a can of tuna mixed in is a go-to dinner in our house!


Abbey said...

Hahaha I love this. "We're also a fan of being huge nerds and making pie charts, but we're not going to talk about that." You're awesome.

I need to take better advantage of my crock pot! I told my mom I was worried about leaving it at home all day and she basically laughed at me, so I guess that's about as big an endorsement as you can get!

Unknown said...

Mac and cheese in a box is a must! Just like all the other hamburger helper flavors out there. I'm a fan!

Erin LFF said...

Yay! Great post, tips, recipes AND a pie chart?! You rock lady! Def going to check out some of your fave recipes--- I tend to get bored eating at home a lot and that's when I'm tempted to grab Chipotle ;) SO new recipes are a must to keep things interesting!

Anonymous said...

Umm, your pie chart needs to rub off on me! I bought all of the ingredients last night to make your wild rice chicken dish! It's on the menu for Sunday night!

Megan said...

Mmmm I LOVE chicken pot pie! I've never even considered actually cooking it before; thanks for the inspiration! My go-to is always something with a can of black beans. They're so easy! A quinoa salad with corns and black beans? Done. Quesadillas with black beans, mushrooms and spinach? Done. Black beans and chicken fajitas? Done. It's the one ingredient I always have to keep four cans of around the apartment just in case!

Allie @ Everyday Adventures said...

Uhhh go to meals? :) I get bored making the same things every week, though occasionally I do repeats. One of the only recipes my husband requests on repeat is this Crock Pot corn chowder. (LOVE my Crock. Actually using it right now, haha.) (I leave out the green chilies and hot sauce, but otherwise follow it to a T.)

Jordan said...

Did you notice your pie chart looks like a peace sign? We can only assume this means you are doing the right thing.

And I will be getting down on that cheeseburger macaroni ASAP.

Tara said...

I love hearing what other people's favorite recipes are! We are huge leftover junkies here, too. I have trouble cooking for just two adults, so sometimes it seems like we eat the same leftovers all week- my husband doesn't complain, but now that my baby is eating dinner with us, she does seem to get bored with the same meal pretty quickly. I love the crockpot too, so here is one of my favorites:

Jessica Elyse @ Memoirs of a Mommy said...

I love the fancier Kraft Mac-N-Cheese. I like to add all different kinds of meat, but one of our favorites is adding bacon and corn....and you have to bake it with the crumbles on top. Yummo!

Our go-to meals are - tacos (5 min and bam!), crock pot chili, grilled organic chicken apple sausages and couscous.

I love getting new recipes! We are trying your chicken and rice one tomorrow night. I will let you know how it goes! Question - do you add any water to the soup? It seems too simple. :)

Unknown said...

I post my weekly meal plan on Sunday's, it helps hold me accountable!

Here was this week's plan:

Sarah said...

I LOVE this post and am going to bookmark it so I can refer back to the recipes. :)

Unknown said...

Cheeseburger mac sound awesome! I will def try that one soon!

Per @ Perky Thoughts said...

I would totally try that Cheeseburger macaroni!

Allison said...

YAY!!! So glad you are doing this and it is definitely interesting!!! And I will never turn down Kraft Mac and Cheese ever! Can't wait to make some of your recipes.

Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion said...

Making a dinner pie chart is totally something I would do. Nerding out over food? Yes please. Your favorite recipes sound delicious, and I agree that the CrockPot is a magical invention.

My favorite dinners that produce lots of leftovers:
- pork tenderloin (SO EASY) with mustard and balsamic glazed brussels sprouts
- a whole roast chicken for dinner, turned into plenty of different meals for leftovers: quesadillas, soup, lettuce wraps, etc.
- quinoa cooked with broth plus sauteed veggies--my go-to meal for a quick fix.

Holly @ Hello Audrey Ruth said...

Adam and I used to have Mac&Cheese all the time, he loves the velveeta kind. Then he was diagnosed with Celiac and now can't have any gluten - so bye bye mac and cheese. Now I have to make it from scratch with gluten free noodles and while it tastes delicious it just takes the ease out of it. I love my crock pot too - nothing is better after a long day of work and coming home to dinner already being done. Our favorite go to lately thought is Chicken Vesuvio - (Thank you Harry Caray's in Chicago!)

Rachel said...

Hmmm...I wonder what a meal log would show about my eating habits...
My boxed mac-n-cheese of choice is whatever is the cheapest store brand available. None of that Kraft stuff. Can you tell that perhaps I wasn't raised in the lap of luxury.... :P

TheLane said...

ok i love the idea of a dinner log.
did you make your own? or did the cook book come with one (how-to)?

Unknown said... This. This is a perfect fall meal - orange and black for Halloween, high-fiber, and absolutely delicious.

Unknown said...

Mac&Cheese is the BEST. As you know, I'm terrible at making "quick and easy" meals. Even something that is supposed to be quick and easy, I manage to draw out and need assistance with. :) But I enjoy baked potato soup (not quick and easy), Poppyseed Chicken, aaaannnnd pork chops (which I can actually do pretty quick and easy as long as I don't get overly ambitious with the sides).

The Lady Okie said...

I DO know ;) But the baked potato soup was deeeelicious. And we had fun making it, so it works. Bonding experience and all that. And soupgasms, of course.

The Lady Okie said...

Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

The Lady Okie said...

I just got a notebook and started writing down dates and meals. I'm sure someone somewhere has a fancy meal log, but that person is not me :)