Monday, January 11, 2010

Meal planning Monday - January 11th

I don't usually plan my meals on Monday, but it sounded good, right?

Actually, I do plan my meals weekly, most often on Sundays. It's usually a laid-back day, so I can sit and look through what I've got on hand, what's on sale, and combine those with our schedule to determine what's the best fit for each day. I recommend that you plan meals on days that make sense for YOU! I know many people who plan biweekly or even monthly. I wish I was that organized!

This week I'm starting off today on-call for jury duty. I'm also scheduled to take an exam. And finally, we've got a Cub Scout meeting tonight. So, let's make sure that tonight's dinner is EASY, shall we? Wednesday is another really busy day around our house. Friday night is our now-traditional homemade pizza night. In the frig we've got beets, turnips, lettuce, carrots, and celery. You'll notice that some of these are "cascading meals" -- they are using ingredients from previous cooking, in my case the ham and turkey. Or, cook extra for another meal (I made two quiches one day last week -- one went into the freezer). This is a great way to stretch your money, plus get the most out of your ingredients AND your time. So, here's the plan:

  • Sunday (last night): beet greens quiche (from freezer)
  • Monday: Lentil soup with ham (already in the crockpot)
  • Tuesday: Beef stew
  • Wednesday: Bulgar pilaf/chickpeas/apricots
  • Thursday: spaghetti with meatballs, french bread (extra loaf made earlier is in the freezer), salad
  • Friday: Pizza night -- ham(freezer) and pineapple, BBQ/turkey(freezer) and onion
  • Saturday: Broccoli soup, or leftovers
  • Sunday: mashed potatoes and turnips, salad, chicken

Also, one day this week I'll make broth. I save all my veggie trimmings and pop them in a bag in my freezer. Every couple weeks, they all go into a pot to simmer for an hour or two. If I have bones I'll put those in too. If not, it's vegetable broth. Strain and freeze if you won't be using it immediately. Use the broth in place of water in any recipe!

That takes us through next week. So all I have to shop for is some broccoli and some fruit. I'll make that trip when we run out of milk (with a 14 year old in the house, that's never that far off!). Take advantage of any reduced price items whenever you're in the store. Make sure you know where your grocery store puts it's "bargain" items for sale - meats, bread, fruit, discontinued items. Poke around and see what you can find! Our local store has them spread around in different places, depending on the item. I make sure to swing by those locations whenever I'm there!

Make a plan, and have fun!

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