Barbara over at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers is hosting the Homemaking September Shape-up. It’s an all around comprehensive house to home style of posts to help us get our homes and lives whipped into shape.
She has asked me to write some guest posts for the kitchen section and I’m really excited to help her out.
There is more to menu planning than just deciding what to make for dinner, at least for the average family. We’re a military family used to getting paid once a month and trying to make it last. So for me, menu planning also encompasses recipe scouring, coupon clipping (we love to read the Sunday papers and have coffee. One of the things I always go for first is the coupons to see what I can save for us – hubby always laughs when I get excited at a large coupon for something already on the list – LOL), sale ad reading and logical common sense planning. I do participate in Menu Plan Monday, but I actually prepare my menu for the entire month all at once and then just break it up for posting.
I start the last week of the previous month with checking out what I already have in the freezer inventory and then the ads for my local markets for the upcoming week. I see what meats will be going on sale and then scour my recipe file for recipes to match. One of the biggest things I do to help not only with cost of ingredients, but also waste is to make sure to back up recipes to each other that use similar ingredients that I can buy in bulk. For example if a recipe calls for 1/2 an onion for Monday night’s recipe, I make sure Tuesday night’s recipe uses the other 1/2. I also know which meals we’ll probably have leftovers for so I plan to either freeze part of it for a future meal or plan a CORN (clean out refrigerator night) within my plan if there is only going to be a little of this and that leftover. I write my list and then I match up the coupons for whatever staples (flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc…) I need and then the luxuries if there is room within the budget. If there is a really good sale I buy in super bulk for the following month also. Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process takes less than an hour and then it’s done for the month.
9/8 MONDAY ~ Meatloaf & Scalloped Potatoes
9/9 TUESDAY ~ Stuffed Shells & Salad
9/10 WEDNESDAY ~ Seafood Salad & Parmesan Rolls
9/11 THURSDAY ~ Chicken Cacciatore & Salad
9/12 FRIDAY ~ Chicken Carbonara & Salad
9/13 SATURDAY ~ Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken & Rice Pilaf
9/14 SUNDAY ~ Hot Wings and Home made bleu cheese dressing
9/15 MONDAY ~ Out for my birthday dinner
9/16 TUESDAY ~ Mexican Baja Casserole
9/17 WEDNESDAY ~ Spaghetti Bolegnese & Salad
9/18 THURSDAY ~ Sauteed Garlic Shrimp & Salad
9/19 FRIDAY ~ Meatloaf Muffins & Garlic Smashers
9/20 SATURDAY ~ Chicken and Onions in White Cream Sauce
9/21 SUNDAY ~ Beef Stew & Cheddar rolls
thrown in. Anything with seafood is made with shrimp from the freezer. The Beef Stew is also from the freezer and was made previously. By the middle of the month I will harvesting apples from our own tree and putting up applesauce for the winter. As you can see based on the previous pantry and essential ingredient posts, the only fresh ingredients I’ll be buying are the produce as well as milk and eggs.
9/22 MONDAY ~ Taco Ring Salad
9/23 TUESDAY ~ Chicken Cordon Bleu & Applesauce
9/24 WEDNESDAY ~ Orange Honey Chicken & Fried Rice
9/25 THURSDAY ~ Grandma’s Chicken and Noodles – I’m working on a written recipe for this – I’ve made it from scratch for so long – it’s hard to write it down – LOL
9/26 FRIDAY ~ Chili and Beer Bread
9/27 SATURDAY ~ Chicken Enchiladas & Refried Beans
9/28 SUNDAY ~ Stuffed Pork Chops & Salad