Lately I have been writing out menu plans for two week periods in an effort to help my house run a little smoother at meal times. There are several bloggers out there that are part of Meal Plan Monday web ring and the idea has appealed to me for quite some time. I will post my meal plans on Monday, although I usually make out menus that run Sunday to Saturday. For some reason this cycle of days just works better for me. Plus I make up menus for two weeks at a time, which covers from pay period to pay period.
The advantages of meal planning are many:
1. The kids know what is going to be served by looking at the list on the bulletin board.
2. I know what is going to be served so there is no standing in front of the freezer and trying to put together combinations that sound good.
3. It helps immensely when grocery shopping. I have my list of meals and write the grocery list from there. It also allows me to shop the sales and plan menus based on what is on sale. Big $$$$ saver!
4. It saves money. Since I shop for the ingredients of each menu, I know I have them on hand and will not have to run to the store. Running to the store for one items usually ends with 20 in the cart when it is time to checkout.
5. I have time to think out the menu, find recipes and try new recipes as desired. For example, this month I am cooking from the Once A Month Cooking book and have found 3 recipes that sound good. I've had this book for a while but am finally getting around to making dinners from it. I will try one recipe and if it is a success with the men in the house, I will double it for freezing.
So what is on the menu this week?
Sunday October 18 Roast chicken, mashed potatoes (real potatoes! cheaper and better for you than instant), corn
Strawberry shortcake for dessert using a butter cake recipe that I made and froze to use instead of those weird preservative laden pucks you get at the store.
Monday October 19 Pork Spare ribs (on sale this week) salad and deviled eggs. The original menu was for butter/herb noodles and broccoli. We have a lot of salad that needs to be eaten plus deviled eggs sounded good. dessert is a really easy chocolate peanut butter chip pan cookie I pulled off the Hershey's website.
Even though I had other things planned, I am flexible to a point with the sides. If you have something that needs to be used up like salad greens, you should use them first. Wasted food is wasted money.
Tuesday October 20 Chicken burritos, refried beans, carrot sticks w/ salad dressing to dip.
Wednesday October 21 12 Boy curry (from Once a Month Cooking), rice, canned fruit
Thursday October 22 Baked Jambalya (from Once a Month Cooking), sliced apples
Friday October 23 Homemade Pizza
Saturday October 24 Breakfast : Homemade cinnamon rolls
Lunch: Soup and Sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers with cookies or canned fruit
Sunday October 25 Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage (whatever the boys decide they want)
Lunch: Hot dogs and chips
Dinner: Hamburgers and French Fries. Hubby makes killer homemade french fries using real potatoes. There is no comparison! Carrot sticks and apple pie round out the menu.
I have made a big effort to cook from scratch lately since I am able to plan out meals and decide how much time I have. On days there is a lot of activity, the meal is an easy one. I use the crockpot a lot and will be using it more in the future. The chicken that we cooked last night had a lot of meat left, so it will be picked clean and the meat will go into the chicken burritos we are having later. I did buy bagged chicken breasts since they were on sale for a really good price, and will add to the burrito meat, but the carcass will be frozen for bones to make chicken stock later down the line.