Thursday, April 28, 2011

this weeks menu

Menu planning is an essential part of caring for your family, whether youre on a tight budget or not, whether you are gainfully employed or not...and believe me, it saves a lot of money for our family when I plan. I wrote a post on menu planning a while back, and if you havent checked it out, heres the original post: Planning a menu. These are all ideas that have helped me save money for our family over the years.

Lately Ive gotten off menu planning, simply because I am having a hard time figuring out what to make since my taste buds have went off (wayyyy off) the usual things like chicken, pasta, salads, etc. And its hurting our pockets!!! And driving my husband bonkers...So I am bound and determined to make one and STICK TO IT!! For the sake of my husbands sanity.

Now, I personally dont plan for a certain meal for a certain day, I know people who do and it works very well for them, it just doesnt for us. Mostly because of me and what I feel like making. I also ask my husband and kids what they would like on the menu and try to accommodate them if I can. I do stick to the menu, or at least a variation if I change my mind, such as instead of fried chicken I make roasted or grilled, or instead of peas green beans, rice instead of potatoes. But I always use whats on hand. The one problem I have is fruit and veggies. There absolutely must be fresh fruit and veggies on hand all the time, and those are our major cost contributors. But I refuse to budge on that, and will scrimp on other things.

Also, I try and avoid making things my family doesnt like, unless I am seriously craving something.

Heres what I have planned.

Breakfasts will be: fruit, grains and a protein with milk. Grains will include pancakes, waffles, bagel sandwiches with either ham and egg or cream cheese and fruit slices, oatmeal and cereal (whole grain cheerios, shredded wheat or life), or muffins. Fruit will most likely be bananas, oranges or berries. Yogurt may top the waffles. Breakfast burritos may make it on the list as well; containing eggs, bacon or sausage, cheese and salsa in a flour tortilla, or a combo of eggs and toast.

Snacks will be: a protein, a grain and fruit or veggies, milk or juice. Grains may be a muffin, half a bagel, flour tortilla or bread, popcorn, pudding, yogurt or an oatmeal bar. Fruit is the same as breakfasts, but may include apples and grapes. Veggies will be carrot sticks, broccoli, sliced bell peppers, snap peas or cherry tomatoes. Protein is cheese, chicken or turkey rolled up, nuts, or peanut butter. We have snacks twice a day, mid morning and afternoon/after school. The girls take the same in their lunches, unless they buy, then I pack them a snack of fruit, protein and a grain (usually dry cereal or an oatmeal bar, sometimes half a peanut butter sandwich).

Lunches: leftovers, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches (grilled cheese, peanut butter, turkey, chicken, etc), mini pizzas or chicken fingers with a veggie and fruit side, plus mac and cheese (for the chicken).

Dinners for 2 weeks:
  1. Chicken sandwiches, corn, grapes
  2. Grilled pork ribs or chicken, grilled corn and potato salad, strawberries
  3. Chicken alfredo with veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, yellow squash) twice, plus lunch
  4. Beef fajitas with beans and rice, grapes
  5. Beans and ham with bread and a salad, twice
  6. Tostadas from leftover beans with avocado, cabbage and salsa fresca. 
  7. Beef roast with carrots, mashed potatoes, apple sauce and biscuits
  8. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, strawberries.
  9. Shredded beef tacos from leftover beef roast, sauteed bell peppers and corn
  10. Teriyaki chicken, steamed rice, broccoli and carrots
  11. Fish, mac and cheese, peas and carrots
  12. Chicken parmesan with linguini and a salad
If anyone would like a recipe, just let me know and I will happily post it! 
Happy planning!

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