02 February 2009

Menu Planning

My friend Peggy just started a blog. She wanted to join in on Organizing Junkie's 'Menu Plan Monday'. I told Peggy I'd wait to link to her blog until she had a bit more experience and was more confident about her writing. And no, I'm not going to commit to a weekly post about our menus, but I though it might be interesting to give a snapshot of our next couple of weeks.

We shop big every other Friday and Saturday (after payday). We go to the store every three or four days through the rest of the two weeks for fresh produce, milk, eggs, and bread. I have a master breakfast list and a master lunch list. Each two weeks, I put a star by the meals we have the ingredients for and then we can flex depending on what's going on, who is cooking, and how much time we have.

I plan our dinners more carefully, assigning at least a main dish to each evening (sometimes sides too, if I think it matters that night), trying to take into account the ebb and flow of our week.  For example: we try to make Thursdays an easy meal since it's getting toward the end of the week and we're all running low on energy by then.  We also take into account different activities (fortunately, none are weekly; most are bi-weekly or monthly).  All this is in a Pages document that I print out and post on the fridge, with another to go into my calendar.

Sat: pizza (homemade)

Sun: we girls had our tea party and the boys were out at other parties, so we didn't plan anything

Mon: beef stew and biscuits (except that we've got the flu making the rounds, so we're making a run for the Border instead and we'll bump this to tomorrow since the meat was already defrosted (it's cooking now) - something else on this list will get bumped to next pay period.)

Tues: chili, cornbread, salad

Wed: French dip, carrot sticks (I'm going to try to make this from scratch instead of buying deli beef.)

Thurs: flat iron steak pitas (kind of a pita/fajita tweak, more Greek than Mexican)

Fri: croques monsieur (Drew and I may be out on a date night and this is pretty easy for the kids to make.)

Sat: pizza (homemade, natch!)

Sun: turkey, stuffing, asparagus (The turkey was free at Thanksgiving and tucked into the freezer; I'll use leftovers later in the week and the rest of the meat will be used as lunch or dinner next pay period for one of our favorite easy meals that my Mémère Bert used to make, chicken sauce (pronounced the French way: the au has a long o sound), and I'll boil up the carcass for more turkey broth for the freezer)

Mon: stir fry chicken (or turkey) w/veggies and homemade teriyaki sauce

Tues: acorn squash soup & blt's

Wed: turkey pot pie (made from turkey leftovers)

Thurs: omelets

Fri: spaghetti

We actually eat pretty well.  Last year, I came down with Epstein-Barr, which, in combination with severe adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid, and extremely low iron reserves, pretty much knocked me out.  My wonderful husband took over the meal planning and shopping, but we ate a lot of boxed mixes.  

I've been under a naturopath's care and am feeling much better.  Since I've got more energy, I'm up for more cooking and we're eating better (both taste-wise and health-wise).  The best part is that, as I make more and more from scratch, we're saving lots of money.

I consider myself a bit of a gourmet.  I'm also pretty picky about what I put into my mouth (certain ingredients and dishes are forever banned from my kitchen).   We purchase the best ingredients (when it matters, butter: yes; flour: not so much), but we're spending much, much less.  My goal isn't to drive our grocery budget down as low as it can go (we aren't planning on eating beans everyday for two weeks to cut the budget), but to purchase the best quality ingredients at the best price.  We're also keeping our nicer meals for Sunday and eating more simply during the week (also helpful for the budget!).

Later this week, I'll post my master breakfast list and my master lunch list.  They really aren't anything special, but having them written out is quite helpful.



  1. Ohohoh! Chicken Sauce? is that what i think it is? I may call sometime today or tomorrow and get that recipe and Prickapat Beef (I've been craving that lately...).

    And I'm realizing how differently we shop now, lol. Limited budget and selection (it's Albertson's or Walmart, and WM is a lot cheaper) kinda pushed us in that direction... =)

  2. Um. That was actually your daughter-signed-into-her-love's-account....


  3. Sweetie, you have to remember that, once you got old enough to be aware of grocery shopping and cooking, we had come a long way since we were newlyweds, when we had about $15-25 every two weeks for groceries. These lean times are good for your character and will teach you to rely on the Lord in a way that very little else will. I was amazed to see his provision in unexpected ways through those years. You're on an adventure!

  4. Oh yes, I know. I wasn't complaining!! It's just fun to compare - I don't always realize what our menus look like until I compare them. :) Although I do know for certain that we make a lot more Mexican food (the real thing - I don't know that I could eagerly eat Taco Bell anymore after Drew's green chile chicken cheese enchiladas!). Thankfully we've been able to stock up enough to where shopping isn't the undertaking it was, and Drew's job allows for more leeway than $15-25 - or whatever that would be now with inflation, praise God!

    And it really has been good to see how God has been providing for us, especially now with the job stuff going on (both Drew's and my job-hunt. Did I tell you the newest happenings on that front?). He is faithful!

  5. P.S. I will be calling sometime to get the recipe for Chicken sauce and Prickapat beef (I've been reeeallly craving those recently!). :)