It’s been warm outside recently and heat makes me act like our cat Thor. I just want to flop on the couch and not do much of anything. This week’s meal plan will be simple. We have central A/C but going out in the heat zaps my energy. Some of these recipes might not be exactly heat friendly but they are quick.
Sunday: Homemade Pizza
Monday: Dinner out with a friend
Tuesday: Hot Dogs with carrot sticks
Wednesday: Pasta Chu Chu (FYI- if you make this one, it makes a ton of food. Could feed three or four with this recipe)
As I mentioned a number of times on the blog, Jeff and I have crazy schedules. Trying to put together a meal plan has been somewhat difficult do to all of our meetings and obligations. Making sure we always have leftovers to bring to work for lunch has also been hard.
This week, I decided to try something different. Sunday night, I made a good-sized lasagna; Monday night, I made stew. Since I had meetings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I wasn’t home to make dinner but Jeff and I were able to eat leftovers all week long. We were also able to take these leftovers to work for lunch. Having two of our favorite dishes made it easier not to get bored with the food. We even had stew tonight for dinner rather than making something.
This may not be something I do every week but for those weeks that are especially busy, this was a great option for us. I even made braided cheese bread which was beautiful and delicious. It’s probably the best bread I ever made. It looks complicated but it’s actually very easy. We ate that with the stew and was good even tonight. I took my slice and put it in the toaster for a few moments on low. It was wonderful.
Sometimes making a few large recipes for the week is a great way to go when you know you are going to be super busy. I think after all the take-out we ate the week before, home-cooking was a welcomed change.
I just realized that tonight is Sunday and I’ve better get a meal plan together for the week. I got out my trusty purse notebook and started to jot. It’s amazing that I can now put together a meal plan for the week and my grocery list in about five minutes. It took me longer to look at my calendar for the week to figure out which nights had to be quick nights than to put the plan together. I have to say, I love having the meal plan. On Monday morning, I write the week’s plan on the dry erase board on the fridge and I refer to it all week. It reminds me what I need to take out of the freezer or what I need to prep if I have a few minutes in the kitchen. This week is actually light on evening commitments (I only have two meetings this weeks after 5:00 which is a light week for us). I’m still in summer mode so I have a lot of grilling meals, but I wanted to try a new recipe this week, chicken fried chicken. I’m adapting a chicken fried steak recipe from Cooks Illustrated, so I’ll let you all know how it goes.
I also wanted to let you know about an awesome pancake recipe I found on King Arthur Flour’s website. I’d struggled with pancakes for years. They have always been decent but not one of the best things I’ve ever made. The pancakes I made on Saturday with this recipe were without a doubt the best pancakes ever. They were light and fluffy and just amazing. I added a bit of vanilla to the recipe and cut the milk to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons, since it was very humid that morning. Make sure you let the batter sit for 15 minutes to let the baking powder do it’s thing. I’m now going to be dreaming of pancakes all night. Might have to make some for breakfast in the morning. I don’t think Jeff would mind.
Enough about pancakes, on to the meal plan:
Monday – Homemade Pizza
Tuesday – Lasagna and homemade bread
Wednesday – Steak for Jeff, Chicken for me, Rice-a-Roni and green beans
Thursday – Hot dogs, beans and cottage cheese
Friday – Chicken fried chicken with cream gravy, mashed potatoes and corn
Saturday – Hamburgers and veggie sticks
Sunday – Build your own casserole (recipe on the recipes page)
If you need suggestions for your own meal plan, check out Meal Planning Monday on Laura’s site. I always find lots of new recipes I want to try from the hundreds of bloggers that post their meal plan there. Plus, Laura has always got some great things on her plan.
Now that tax season is over and the semester is winding down, I’m getting back into meal planning mode. I’ve gone through the freezer and pantry to see what I have on hand. I really don’t need to buy much to make this menu, so it should be a small grocery trip.
Today: Sloppy joes and carrot sticks
Tuesday: Chicken parm, pasta and salad
Wednesday: Pork tenderloin, stuffing and corn
Thursday: Baked pasta with salad
Friday: Chili and cornbread
Saturday: Build your own casserole
Sunday: Sweet and sour popcorn chicken with rice
This is the layout I have now, but I might end up moving some things around. One of the things that I try to do with my meal plan is have a few things in there that are really easy to make since there are some days you just don’t feel like cooking. I also put a few things in there that don’t require me to prepare ahead of time. I’m sure I’ll forget to take the pork tenderloin out of the freezer and I’ll have to sub in the baked pasta instead. Having already cooked hamburger in the freezer is a life saver for nights like that since I can just defrost the hamburger in the microwave and dinner will be ready in a flash.
There are a few things from last week’s meal plan that we didn’t eat and a few things we did make this week that I have leftovers from that I want to incorporate this week. Last night, my husband made a roast chicken so I’ll incorporate the leftover meat and then make some stock later in the week.
Monday – Peanut chicken stirfry (w/ leftover chicken from Sunday)
Tuesday – Hamburger skillet
Wednesday – Stew w/ garlic breadsticks
Thursday – Chicken parm (see recipe page)
Friday – Pizza
Saturday – Build your own casserole (see recipe page)
Sunday – Pork chops
I’ll make the stew either in the crockpot or in my dutch oven. I like using the dutch oven because the stew always seems to come out thicker.
I don’t have much shopping to do this week. Just some milk and yogurt. I have everything else on hand from last week or from the freezer.
The menu plan is a bit late this week. I’m changing things up a bit from the plan I posted at the beginning of the month. Not too much but a few changes.
Sunday – Deep Dish Pizza
Monday (last night) – Chicken Parm with pasta and salad
Tuesday – Shepard’s pie
Wednesday – Chicken Cordon Bleu, buttered noodles and green beans (I’m sure I’ll adjust the recipe a bit. I very rarely follow recipes exactly)
Thursday – Pork loin, rice and salad
Friday – Deep Dish Pizza
Saturday – Peanut Chicken Stirfry, rice
Sunday – Stew, rolls
Whenever I make the Deep Dish Pizza recipe, I always make extra potatoes. I grate them, pack them in 1 cup portions and place them in freezer bags. I flatten the bag and get out as much air as I can. The next time I make pizza, the potatoes are already set, I just need to defrost them. This works really well and saves me time and dirty dishes.
I also made some blondies over the weekend so Jeff has a snack for his lunches.
I only need a few things this week:
A few slices of ham
A few slices of swiss cheese
Veggies for the stirfry
Strip steak – It’s on sale so that’ll go into the freezer
Everything else I have in the pantry or the freezer. I’m going to have a huge shopping trip next month since the pantry is going to be pretty well picked through at the end of this month.
I’m not going grocery shopping this week. I don’t want to spend the money and I want to get everything out of the freezer in the basement so I can defrost it. It’ll be a little creative, but not terribly so. I’ll probably bake some bread tomorrow. I made cookies on Saturday. I’ve got a lot of stock in the house, but many pantry items are running low. I might try to do this again next week, but we are starting to run low on meat and the husband might get bitchy.
Monday – Swedish Meatballs (see recipe page for this one).
Tuesday – Pork Chops, rice and some type of frozen veggie from the freezer.
I have a blog? I nearly forgot. This has been a crazy week. The semester is coming to an end and I have a ton of grading to finish. Almost done though!
I did my meal plan last Friday and went shopping. The sales weren’t great at the two stores I normally frequent most, so I went to PriceRite (kinda like Aldi’s for those of you outside New England). I spent $43. I just needed staple stuff and PriceRite is an awesome place for that stuff. I love PriceRite because I walk out with a cart full of groceries for very little money. So I have $125 left for groceries. We are supposed to refill our grocery budget two weeks from tomorrow. I’m going to try to stretch it out a little farther, but we are running out of a lot of stuff and I see a major shopping trip in my future very soon.
A friend of mine emailed me earlier this week frustrated with grocery stores and trying to hit the deals. I don’t know how things work in your neck of the woods, but catching the sales in Northern Connecticut can sometimes cause hysteria and mass panic. We get flyers in the Thursday and Sunday papers. There are three stores in my area what put their flyers in the Thursday paper. One starts its sale on Thursday, the other two on Friday. The two stores that put their ads in the Sunday paper start their sales on Sunday. It’s very difficult to get all the flyers together and match them up with the coupons since the sales start on different days and if you shop on Friday, like I usually do, you’ve got flyers from last week’s Sunday paper plus the flyers from Thursday’s paper. God forbid you want to go shopping on Thursday. Now you’ve got three papers worth of flyers to work with. I can’t be bothered. I either go to one of two stores. I don’t go to multiple stores a week. I pick the store with the best deals and go there. I don’t have the time, energy or gas money to shop multiple stores.
Menu for the week (yes, I know the week is almost over):
Friday: Deep dish pizza
Saturday: Had a late lunch with some friends, no dinner
Sunday: Pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and corn (There were two tenderloins in the package so I made an extra one to use later in the week.
Monday: Shepard’s pie with leftover mashed potatoes and corn
Tuesday: Had a business meeting and ate a salad while there. Husband had leftover pizza.
Wednesday: Chicken parm and pasta with salad
Thursday: Pork soft tacos with the second pork tenderloin I made Sunday
Do you every get frustrated by the craziness that is grocery shopping and hunting for the best deals? One of our local stores stopped doubling coupons for a while and now they are back. Sometimes it feels like you need to call the store each week to see what their policies are today. How do you find the best bang for your grocery buck?
A lot of people don’t think you can eat well on a small grocery budget. We spend about $350 a month on groceries, which feeds us for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We usually eat out twice a week, generally a dinner during the weekend and breakfast or lunch on Saturday or Sunday. I wanted to share with you my meal plan for the past week. All recipes are posted on the recipe page of this site. All dinners are listed. Breakfast is generally toast or a breakfast sandwich (eggs, sausage and cheese on a bagel made at home). Lunch is sandwiches or leftovers. My husband brings leftovers to work everyday so I need to make sure I have meals planned that have enough leftovers for four days of work.
Monday – Sloppy joes and fritos
Tuesday – Roast bone-in chicken breast (salt and pepper on the chicken, baked at 350 for 35-45 minutes), spaetzle noodles (see recipe page), corn and salad.