Meal Plan #5

It’s been a minute y’all. My bad.

We have been eating freezer meals, take out, and begging our parents to cook for us….

Between birthdays, toddler tantrums, holidays, and nursing babies, this mama just hasn’t found the time to sit down and make a meal plan. Or go to the bathroom alone. Or wash my hair. (Side note: Has everyone seen my new red hair?! Obsessed.) BUT feeling a little back on track, so here we go.

These meals are all super simple, and most use the Instant Pot. Obviously.

Who all got a new IP on prime day?! The deal was sooooo good. I almost got a second one. Daddy Darnell seemed to think baby monitors were more important. I mean I guess I need to see the baby while she sleeps.

Enjoy friends.

More posts coming soon. I have several lined up, I just need to find a moment to sit down and type them up. As I sit here and type this one Hixon is literally wiping his nose on his shirt, the baby is crying and Daddy Darnell just laid down for a nap. #momlife #reallife #don’tworryIwillwakehimup

Meal Plan here


meal plan 5


Meal plan 3

Friends! I almost forgot to post this week’s meal plan!

Blame it on the toddler.

Let’s just be real for a minute. The past few days in toddler land have been tough. All the crying. All the whining. All the new baby jealousy. All. The. Emotions.

At one point yesterday I sat in the closet and cried while Hixon cried outside the door. Ugh. Horrible. The worst.

As I sat down to get this meal plan together I wasn’t feelin it. I was so worn down. I had no desire to even cook a grilled cheese at the time.

However, I know that part of the stress of the week is from being unprepared. I knew that having a meal plan would only make next week better. Regardless of how hard the days are, we still have to eat dinner every night. And eating out every night makes us feel like shit.

So here we are. Meal plan number 3. A little uninspired, but a meal plan none the less.

We did it mamas. We made it through another week! Here’s to the weekend, Father’s day celebrations, and family time.

Enjoy 🙂


PS: There are some REAL good instant pot recipes here. You’re welcome.

Click here


meal plan 3

winner meme


Instant Pot love

The Instant Pot. I firmly believe this one kitchen item is MOM GOLD.

Unless you are the Chrissy Teigen type, you need an Instant Pot. Home girl can COOK. (Follow her on Snapchat and prepare to be amazed.)

This crazy thing can cook frozen chicken, cook spaghetti squash, cook rice, boil eggs, make soup, sauté meat, slow cook just like your crock pot, make yogurt, reheat leftovers, and cook a roast. And the newest one can do even more. Y’all. It can MAKE CAKE?!

Also, the newest one has a sanitize function! Like throw all the bottles and pacifiers and clean them?!

Are you convinced yet? Imagine all the cabinet and counter top space you could save if you got rid of your crockpot, rice cooker ,and  yogurt maker (I don’t actually own one of these and never will but I’m sure some super mom out there makes her own yogurt.) Cluttered counter tops make me nuts and this is the answer to my prayers.

Any mama’s like to make their own baby food? Get an Instant Pot. Trust me.

I don’t mean to sound like a crazy person. But I am serious when I say I use my Instant Pot almost every day.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:

  • Chicken. There are so many recipes out there that call for cooked chicken. Boiling chicken on the stove seems to take forever. And for some reason, every single time I try to bake chicken in the oven, I overcook it. Every time. I can throw in a pound of chicken with a cup of chicken broth, set the timer for 9 minutes and walk away. Forgot to thaw your chicken? No worries. Set the timer for 12 minutes. Done.
    • A little secret I learned: if you need to shred your chicken use your hand held mixer. Genius. Just wait until it is cooled down a little. Or have some lavender on hand for when it splatters and burns the shit out of you. Not that I have ever done that….
  • Spaghetti Squash: We are big fans of spaghetti squash around here, but it can take forever to cook in the oven. I follow this recipe for IP spaghetti squash and love it .
  • Boiled eggs: I like my boiled eggs just a little soft so I use the 5:5:5 method for my IP eggs. 5 minute pressure cook. 5 minute natural pressure release or NPR. 5 minute ice bath. Perfect every time. If you like your eggs a little more firm cook for 6 minutes. (Natural pressure release simply means once your IP beeps to tell you that it’s done cooking, don’t touch it. Just let it sit and do its thing.)
  • Rice cooker: This took me a little longer to get the hang of, but I honestly had only made boxed rice prior to my IP. Real rice was totally new to me because who has time for real rice on the stove? 45 minutes? Um no. Get outta here stove. Bye. The IP comes with a small book of instructions which include cooking times. I follow the rice cooking times and water ratios from the book. You can also cook your rice in bulk, freeze it in individual serving sizes, and reheat it in your IP. Just undercook it a tad so it isn’t overcooked after you reheat. Usually reheating only takes about 5 minutes.
  • Reheat leftovers: This is a new one for me. In the Darnell house we use our microwave as little as possible. Because radiation…So when I learned I could reheat my leftovers without making a mess on the stove, I was pumped. Just pour your water into the bottom of the pot, place your metal steam rack in, and put your food in an oven safe glass bowl. Most of my leftovers have been done in less than 5 minutes. I don’t have to stand there and stir it. I can throw the bowl in the dishwasher, and it’s super-fast. Winning.
  • Baby food: I use almost the same method here as I do for leftovers. Water, metal rack, glass bowl. I then add whatever veggies I want into the bowl. Once the veggies are cooked, I simply blend them up and pour them into a Tupperware or reusable pouch. I do the same for fruits I want to add in to sweeten things up (apples and pears are our fav)


So needless to say, I’m obsessed. My family would eat out WAY more often if it wasn’t for our trsuty ol’ Instant Pot.

Convinced you need this in your life immediately? Purchase one here:  (¬ my first affiliate link! Hooray!)

Let me know in the comments if you would like more recipes and how-to on the instant pot.


Now get to cookin!



Mama Darnell

Meal Plan 2


Meal Plan for the week is here!

I hope you all enjoy these meal plans. I will always try to keep them simple and mostly healthy. Don’t ever be afraid to change up the recipes a little to suit your own taste buds! If I don’t like an ingredient I simply leave it out. Or replace it. (This is also why I don’t bake. That shit is like a science experiment. If you leave something out, you’re in trouble.)

Let’s take a quick minute to talk about the instant pot again. For this week’s meal plan I will use mine for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Don’t let your Instant Pot intimidate you! You’re the boss, not the machine. It will not blow up. I promise. My mom’s pressure cooker blew up once and we all survived. Except the wall paper. It was a goner. An my brother will forever have a panic attack at the mere mention of a pressure cooker.

Wednesday: I will cook the chicken in my instant pot ahead of time. If your chicken is thawed already simply put it in the pot with 1 cup of chicken broth or water. Press “manual” and set the time for 9 minutes. Make sure the pressure valve on the top is closed (just push it towards the back of the pot.) The screen will show “on” until it reaches pressure. Then your timer will begin to count down. When the timer goes off push the pressure valve back towards the front to release the pressure. Done! Super easy. If your chicken is frozen, set the timer for 12 minutes. This is the BEST for when you forget to leave the meat out to thaw and it’s five o’clock and your vultures are suddenly starving death and throwing fits. (Anyone else’s kids act like this? No? Just mine?)

Thursday: I will cook the bacon on saute mode first. In this mode your pot won’t need the lid on so you can cook the bacon just like you would in a skillet. When the bacon is finished I will just dump all the other ingredients in, set the timer for five minutes, close the valve and let it cook. Because of the amount of liquid in the pot it will take a little longer than the chicken to come to pressure and start counting down. Let the pressure release on it’s own for soups, or else it will spew out of the top when you try and move the pressure valve. It should take about ten minutes to naturally release the pressure on it’s own. When your timer goes off, the pot will start to count up, showing how many minutes it has been since the pressure started releasing. Sooo basically once I put the lid on and set the timer I will go back to wrangling babies and forget about it until after bedtime and Daddy Darnell and I finally get to sit down and eat.

Friday: I will slice the sausage, chop the cabbage, and throw everything else in. Since the pot needs liquid to come to pressure, add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water. Set the timer for 3 minutes and you’re done. Adding the liquid will make this dish a little more liquidy (is that a word?)  than it would be in a skillet but the three minute cook time is soooooo worth it to me. Remember, my toddler starts circling like a hungry shark around 5 o’clock. I just serve it with a slotted spoon to get rid of some of the extra liquid. This meal is seriously so easy I cook it almost once a week. It’s not Manuel’s favorite, but until he starts making the meal plans and cooking dinner, well, he will keep eating cabbage and sausage 🙂

Let me know in the comments if you have ANY questions on how to use your instant pot.

Link to meal plan below


meal plan 2

Weekly Meal Plan

Special Post!

Let’s talk meal planning real quick. Without a meal plan for the week I am a complete meal time mess. Almost always. If I haven’t thought about dinner way in advance I would rather just order pizza. It really stresses me out. Especially if I try to cook but need to head to the store first. Going to the store everyday is just not a good plan for me. Daddy Darnell has pretty much accepted that if it’s four o’clock and I haven’t mentioned dinner, we are eating leftovers. Or takeout. Or even better, leftovers from last night’s takeout.

fail to plan


Judge me.

So before baby K was here I was really good at sitting down and making a meal plan, then headed to the grocery store and getting exactly what we needed for the week. But let’s be real, simply “heading to the store” with two kids is just not a thing. Taking a toddler to the store is the ABSOLUTE WORST. Literal hell on earth. He hates the cart, but can’t quite walk fast enough to keep up. The only way to keep him happy in the cart is snacks. And those who know my kid know how much he can eat. His thighs are the same size as mine. So keeping him happy with snacks would require so. many. goldfish. and fruit snacks. and puffs. and juice. and whatever else I can dig out of my back before he starts screaming.

I am making a STRONG effort this week to get us back on track. Leaving the toddler with Daddy Darnell of course.

As I made my meal plan for this week I started thinking…maybe you guys would want to use it also? I figure if I am going to spend the time making a meal plan every week, it is super easy to share it with y’all.

Also, I use my Instant Pot almost daily.

You can purchase here: http:///2rOdLIa

Most of my meal plans will include my instant pot meals. My goal is always quick, easy, real food for my family. I just have no desire to cook a meal that takes forever and also uses 85,632 pots, pans and dishes. Just no. I hate doing the dishes. (It would be so nice if I could just throw it all away each night and start over. But I love mother nature a little too much to produce all that trash.)

Let me know in the comments if this is something you’re interested in seeing every week. I could post a meal plan on Friday so you can shop over the weekend? It will help kick my ass into gear and plan for my own family.

Side note: I am still learning how to make links look nice and pretty for y’all, so hang in there. As I keep learning, these kind of things will look better and be easier to use. Until then, if you don’t like it….well…move on 🙂 Unless you are really good at that kind of thing. Then don’t move on. Call me. Come over. Help me. K. Thanks.

PDF Meal Plan below


meal plan 1



Mama Darnell