Mom of My Dreams

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Menu Plan time

I used to be very, very good about planning meals. Also prepping on the weekends for the week ahead. I would also cook for the freezer whenever possible. Somewhere that all got lost in the shuffle...

So, after an argument last week with Jeff.... Or as close as we get to such a thing... He voiced his frustration with recently lackluster dinners. I voiced mine over long hours at work (his) and how difficult it can be to get dinner on the table during the week between homework, kids fighting, and life in general. I decided to re-prioritize. Also, with the rising costs of groceries... It just makes sense to have more than a general idea of what meals I will make for the week.

Also, I have started couponing again. Nothing that will get me "extreme" status, but it was nice to see 1/2 my bill get subtracted last week, and nearly 40 percent today when I shopped. All told, we spend an average of $150 give or take per week. A combination of Safeway, Trader Joes, and Costco. We buy most dairy at Costco - bulk cheese, milk, eggs, frozen ground beef, etc. I get cereal, snacks, nuts, peanut butter, jelly, produce, yogurt, etc. at TJ'S, and the rest at Safeway.

We eat pretty well... I make breakfast and lunches for myself and the kids daily, and dinner for us all most nights. We also have big family weekend brunches at home. We eat largely whole foods, organic when it's practical, and without packaged things with ingredients I can't pronounce. (Or HFCS, MSG, or partially or fully hydrogenated whatever oils.)

But we still get pizza about once a week and go out to eat more than we should. And Ashley will be starting preschool in a couple of weeks. Which equals $200+ a month for tuition. So, I'm hoping to change our spending habits - and eat better in the process.

I've signed up for Food on the Table (which is FREE - for LIFE with the coupon code MARFREE during the month of March!)

There is a Food on the Table iPhone app with recipes and integrated shopping list (although I use Cozi for that) and I've made a few of the recipes already with good reviews. The Lemon thyme chicken tenders were good, fast, and had few ingredients.

I also make sure to log-in to Safeway's website and add the "digital coupons" and the "Just 4 U" and "personalized deals" onto my card. I can even do this on my iPhone's web browser! Those can be paired with manufacturer's coupons for even more savings! :)

So for today, I shopped, planned meals for the next week and a half, dinner is in the slow cooker, and the dishes are done... Except for the side dishes, I'm done with dinner before noon!

It feels good to have control over a small aspect of my day - considering I often feel like the ringmaster in a 3-ring circus!

So for those interested... Here's my menu plan for this week.

Tuesday: Boneless pork chops, salt and peppered, then seared for 2-3 minutes per side, I deglazed the pan with a bit of orange juice and chicken broth, added about 3/4 cup of Trader Joe's Island Soyaki sauce - and cooking for 7-ish hours on low in the slow cooker. Then I will remove the pork, thicken sauce with cornstarch slurry, and serve with brown rice, broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas, and water chestnuts.

(Planned Extras for lunch)

Wednesday: Lemon and Garlic roasted chicken and pan gravy

Bacon-mashed potatoes


Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie (using leftover roasted chicken)

Recipe from March 2012 "Everyday Food" magazine


Late night for Jeff - leftovers and Mac & Cheese for the kiddos

Saturday: non-dinner - Chicken stock with roasted
Chicken carcasses plus some from the freezer

Dinner: Slow cooker bolognese

(extra to freeze)

Ravioli baked with bolognese and cheese


Sunday: Creamy baked Jumbo-shells stuffed with Tuna and Spinach
Recipe from March 2012 "Everyday Food" magazine


Monday: Chipotle taco meat with hidden veggies

Rice, beans, cheese, tortillas

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday & Thursday (Thursday is my Stitch 'n Bitch night)
Chili & cornbread
Baked potatoes


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