Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 2/9/09

Okay, so technically it's Tuesday, but that's the week we seem to be having!

I posted about this genius meal plan system last week and I have to say between the ideas I gathered from that plan plus some others I've read about, I was able to morph them all together into this plan that works super for our family. Here are my tricks and my plan for the month:

1. Shop the deals for next month's menu. As I've been shopping, I've been able to take advantage of sales and bargains and put those to use for the next month's menu plan. For example, last month boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.88 a pound two separate times. I was also able to score a couple packages from our grocery's "Reduced for Quick Sale" bin for .98 cents a pound. This month, we're having a chicken night each week plus I'll have a package or two left in the freezer.

2. Cook in bulk when possible. I stumbled across this recipe for a beef mixture that can be used three different ways. By cooking it all at once and freezing it in meal-sized portions, I now have three easy meals for later this month. I have plans to do the same thing for chicken as well.

3. Post the plan on the fridge. When the plan is in plain sight my husband and I are less apt to choose to eat out. No plan=more unplanned eating out=less healthful eating=less money leftover at the end of the month.

4. Try new recipes. That has been especially helpful to me. I tire of making the same things over and over again. Trying a new recipe or a new way of making an old favorite keeps the chore of meal making more enjoyable.

5. Plan for the unexpected. I've been trying to schedule a casserole or soup each week that can be easily doubled or tripled, wrapped and frozen for future use. If we have an especially busy day or sick children or know of a family in need of a meal, it's right at my fingertips with very little preparation involved.

6. Pizza Night! Everyone enjoys a break so we plan to eat pizza once a week. The only stipulation is that I don't have to cook it! Sometimes we order it delivered, sometimes we eat at our favorite pizza parlor, sometimes we pick up take and bake, and sometimes my husband makes the BEST homemade pizza. It's a fun tradition and one carried over from my husband's family as well.

This is our plan for February (we were traveling some of the first few days of the month so I was pretty unorganized that first week...and we ate out too many times, too!)

Mondays (Mexican)
Side Dish: Corn
2/9 Beef Tacos
2/16 Tacozagna
2/23 Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole, Salad

Tuesdays (Chicken)
Side Dish: Green Beans
2/10 Orange Glazed Chicken, Brown Rice
2/17 Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
2/24 California Chicken, Brown Rice

"Must Go's!" (or clean out the refrigerator night!)

Thursdays (Italian)
Side Dish: Salad, Garlic Bread
2/12 Spaghetti and Meatballs
2/19 Lasagna
2/26 Mastaciolli

Fridays (Breakfast for Dinner)
Side Dish: Fruit Salad
2/13 Biscuits and Gravy
2/20 Breakfast Bake Casserole
2/27 Eggs, Toast, Bacon


Sundays (Soup, Salad, Sandwich)
2/15 Sloppy Joe's, Spinach Salad
2/22 Potato-Bean Soup, Cornbread
3/1 Chili, Cornbread, Spinach Salad

The only other comment I have is that I never imagined I would need to be this organized to feed my family! While this might seem like overkill to some, we have four children seven years old and under, no family closer than 3 hours away, we homeschool, and my husband works out of town. I must be organized to keep this ship afloat!

Thanks, Lord, for giving me wisdom and resources in this area. I ask for continued wisdom concerning our home and my homekeeping responsibilities. Guide me. Teach me. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Charity Grace said...

Our situations are so similar. Meals are an area where I really struggle, especially as I try to feed my family more healthfully. I have been trying to figure out how to have the best of both (several?) worlds--healthy foods that do not take too long AND that my husband likes! I'm fortunate that he's a really good cook--much better than me actually--and he sometimes enjoys making a meal for us too. Isn't that helpful?

Ann said...

Looks like a great plan! I need to sit down and do something like that...only problem is I'm regularly over-ridden, and then I have food that I don't know what to do with!

Jen said...

CG--that is so helpful! I never turn down help when it's offered:)

Ann--we finally had to come to an agreement that a plan is a necessity and we can't deviate much from it. But, Charlie is okay with that and doesn't mind just giving input here and there.