Monday, May 04, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Beginnings

So it has been a while since I've been really active in this blog. Pregnancy and bed rest usually cut in to a girl's kitchen-time. Getting casseroles brought over by friends during your postpartum days is enough to spoil you away from the kitchen for quite some time, too. We got in the habit of eating out fast food when the casseroles stopped. It wasn't until a month after the baby was born that I actually cooked a meal. I heart my homeschool and church friends!

Now that I'm back in the cooking mode, I figured I would start posting menu plans on Mondays to keep myself accountable. It wouldn't hurt to have them typed up so I can post them on the fridge.

Not only is cooking at home a healthier choice, it is a financially wise choice, too!
These days when the banks are failing, the economy is diving and jobs are shaky... it is always good to save money in areas where you CAN. Eating at home is WAY cheaper than eating out. If you do the math, it will astound you. Even fast food like McDonald's, if it doesn't send you to the ER with cardiac arrest over those delicious fries, it will be the hole in your wallet. My mom says she went to a seminar where the lady told the audience they didn't deserve to eat out if they had outstanding debt. Eating out is a luxury (never thought of Chick-Fil-A as a luxury, but I'm listening...). Since I'm BENT on getting out of debt in the next year or so, I have decided that eating out is going to have to go away for a while.

I pulled out the paper and pencil and began my pantry inventory Saturday night. By Sunday after church the kids and I had a two week plan written down. I'm not one of those domestic types that was born kitchen-organized. I have to work at these things. Having been spoiled to eating out most of my life (Houston is the restaurant capitol of the USA and I lived there many years), I don't like a one-week menu that stays the same. We have to have some variety... and casseroles only go so far to making my man happy. There has to be some TLC in our menu to make our picky eaters happy - or we'll all end up going out again. That being said, my menu is not a fix-it-and-forget it type of list. Truth be known, I don't even know how to work my crock pot (shhhh!). I burned some oatmeal-thing in it and then put it back in the pantry to collect dust and mason-jar lids.

I can throw one or two casseroles a month in to our menu; there's nothing wrong with them... IF (big IF) I can pass them by my husband! Me and the kids are not as picky and we aren't above consuming beef franks or fish sticks on a weekday for a quick lunch. We eat cheap frozen foods to save time too often (*blush*). You'll be amused at the differences in lunch verses dinners at our house. Lunch is when Daddy is NOT here. He won't eat 'junk' foods. He has granola bars and bottled waters for lunch most days at work so he can work through and get more done. We kid him that he eats bird food.

Have a look at what we came up with for our first week back to menu planning after the baby. Amazingly we stuck to it on day one! That's nice. At least something went as-planned today!

* The slashes ( / ) indicate that someone had different items than someone else (mom has tea, kids have water - etc.)

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soup, crackers, fruit cocktail, soda/tea
Snack: Trail mix, chocolate, cheese stick, water
Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken, green beans, Rice-a-Roni, buttered bread, water
Dessert: Cookies/Apple Tarts

Breakfast: Kashi instant oatmeal, juice, water, kiwi slices
Lunch: Breaded chicken, mac&cheese, peas, tea/soda
Snack: Trail mix, sherbet, cheese stick, water
Dinner: Roasted chicken, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, broccoli-rice casserole, tea
Dessert: Ice cream or cookies

Breakfast: Shakes (Isogenix), waffles, eggs, turkey bacon
Lunch: PBJ sandwiches, pickles, chips, soda
Snack: Crackers & cheese, chocolate, water
Dinner: Lasagna, salad, tea
Dessert: Home made cookies

Breakfast: Cheese toast, chocolate milk
Lunch: Frozen dinners, yogurt and frozen berries (oat topping)
Snack: Trail mix, chocolate, cheese stick, water
Dinner: Enchiladas, beans, rice, tea
Dessert: Cookies

Breakfast: Shakes (Isogenix), cereal, banana, water
Lunch: Sack Lunch (sandwiches/chips/pickles/cookies)
Snack: Trail mix, chocolate, chips, crackers, water
Dinner: Fried rice, sesame-chicken-fingers
Dessert: ?

Breakfast: Cereal, water
Lunch: Sack Lunch (see Friday)
Snack: Finish up Friday's car snacks
Dinner: Out (affordable restaurant)
Dessert: ?

Breakfast: Cereal, water, coffee
Lunch: Sack Lunch (see Friday)
Snack: Finish up Friday's car snacks
Dinner: Fast food on the way home
Dessert: N/A

Hope we can stick to the plan for the rest of the week (and for the rest of this YEAR). If we cancel our weekend trip, we might be adding in a few meals on the "Sack Lunch" days. I think we have enough food in the pantry and freezer to wing-it for a few days.

Stay tuned for our menus each week if you are a menu-loving kind of mom. I enjoy seeing what others are eating. It gives me ideas to put on our upcoming weeks. Just recently I saw a friend make a bagel and cream cheese for lunch and it sounded really good! Then I got a "bagelini" at Jason's Deli last week with guacamole and pico on it. What a great way to use up turkey lunch meat! I had never really thought about using bagels for lunch. Now I have some in my freezer!

Leave me your links in my comments box and I'll come see your menus!

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Leanne said...

Hi Heather, I have to tell you that I love reading/listening to your emails. You sound alot like me. I love to eat good meals, but cooking.....much better if someone else has prepared it :)
I too have to WORK at being organized in the kitchen. One thing that is great in the Pot Crock is apple sauce, nothing better than homemade applesauce. Try it, just google it, very easy!
Have a great day, from Salem NH

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Leanne. ;) I am glad someone came in and commented in here. I totally neglect this blog. Hopefully that will change if I can keep myself busy in the kitchen to save us some extra money! Share your links if you have a menu posted. :)

The applesauce sounds great... I'll have to try it. I like pears much better than apples, though. So maybe I'll try it with pears and blueberries instead. ;)

Truth be known, I eat one of those pear and wild blueberry babyfood cups almost daily! It is a fetish of mine since I was pregnant with baby K!

Julie said...

I love reading through menus too. You can find mine posted at my frugal blog, "For Free Ya Take". :)


Gerky said...

Great sounding menu. I noticed you don't serve milk with most of your meals. I serve milk with every I haven't had cheese toast in years. I might have to introduce that to the picklets.