Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Menu for 8/19

And I'm back!

One of the nice things about doing this blog is that I have a record of previous menus.  When I just don't feel like figuring out what to eat, it is nice to be able to go back a bit and just grab a menu that I've already done. I know that the sales won't necessarily match up, but it is certainly more reliable than me trying to menu plan when I just don't feel like it.

Anyway, we are on to a new week and looking forward to some beautiful weather.  Pork chops are one sale, as are bratwurst, so those two things are making onto the meal plan for this week.  So we are having:

Pork Chops
Taco Salad
Smoked Sausage and Mac and Cheese
Sandwiches (requested by the kiddo)
Grill Something

There will be lots of grilling this week!  Add some grilled meat with fresh vegetables, and you have pretty much my husband's ideal meal.

So what are you having this week?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Well, it was bound to happen.  Once every couple of months, I get burned out on menu planning.  It happens.  In those times, I fall back on whatever we have on hand as well as take care of meals on a day-by-day basis.  Maybe I should push through and keep on with the planning, but it does seem like I come out on the other side with more energy and ideas for our menus.

So obviously, this is one of those times.  After taking a week and a half off of menu planning, I'm about ready to get back into my regular routine and get back on track.  I will say, the break has been nice.  I'm sure my husband doesn't think so since "we have no food in the house", but I was beginning to feel like I was spending a lot of my time thinking about dinners.  When menu planning gets that time-consuming, it is time to take a break.

Instead of struggling to come up with things to eat, I'm now looking forward to putting several items on the menu for next week.  So I'm going to finish out my week of laziness and come back next week with a renewed energy for feeding myself and my family.

In the meantime, what are you having? I could use some ideas for the next couple of days! ;-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekly Menu for 7/29

It is hard to believe that July is coming to a close. In two weeks, school is starting up again.  I can't believe how fast the summer has gone!  Because of our record-setting heat, we haven't been able to be outside as much as I like.  Hopefully the temperatures will start cooling off soon.  Of course, as we head into our traditionally hottest part of the summer, I think dreams of cooler weather will have to stay dreams for a while longer still.

As much as the weather makes me want to just hole up inside, I still need to keep this family fed.  And to do that with as little stress as possible, I need to stay on top of meal planning.  Even though it feels like a fair amount of work to put it together every week, I know that it saves me time and stress in the long run.  It really helps on any given night to just look at my menu plan and know that I already have everything I need for those items.

This week is going to be heavy on grilling.  There were several good meat prices, so I'm taking advantage of those and putting them on the menu for this week.  I know it isn't the case for all kids, but grilled meats are very kid-friendly in our house.  Also, breakfast for dinner was a huge hit last week and it has been requested to be on the menu again this week.

So this week's menu is:

Cedar Plank Fish
Chicken Tacos
Grilled Pork Steaks
Breakfast (back by popular demand)
Grilled Chicken with Grilled Corn, Poblano, and Black Bean Salad

We didn't get to have the Cedar Plank Fish last week, and since we are land-locked and almost all of our fish comes frozen, it didn't hurt to put it off until this week.  We are also having hamburgers again this week to use up the buns, etc. that we didn't need last week.  Both of those things will definitely help out my $100 budget!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grocery Costs for 7/22

I've done all of my grocery shopping for this week's meal plan and am now ready to see how my spending turned out.  I really like breaking down my spending to see where my money is going and where I can be saving more.  When you are menu planning on a budget, it is helpful to take a good look at where your money goes.

I'm changing the way that I look at my grocery costs.  I realized that it looked like I didn't buy any produce!  Calling fresh fruits and vegetables "Staples" may be accurate, but it isn't that helpful.  During the summer when almost everything is in season, I like to have as much fresh produce as possible.  My kids love fresh fruits and will eat a lot of vegetables, so we have something with almost every meal.  For produce purchased for a particular recipe, I will still include that in my dinner costs.  But when I'm picking up a bunch of bananas or corn on the cob to have with whatever meal, I will put that in their own "Fruits and Veggies" category.

So here is what my spending looked like for this week:

Breakfast: $11.40
Lunch: $6.79
Dinner: $36.54
Staples: $15.65
Fruits and Veggies: $8.36
Buy ahead: $5.98
Splurge: $1.00 (twizzlers :) )

I also picked up some grill tools from the grocery store for $4.48.  We needed a new basting brush and grill cleaner, and they were on clearance.

Everything added together with tax and bag credit came to $98.34

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekly Menu for 7/22

This week is supposed to be crazy hot!  I hope you are able to stay cool.  My plan right now is to generate as little heat in my house as possible.  One of my meals does require the oven to be on for a few minutes, but nothing major.  Other than that, most of the cooking is either minimal, or on the grill.

The sales my stores are running this week make my menu easy on my $100 budget, which is always nice.  Also helping out my budget is that my husband won't be home for dinner one night, so that will be leftover night for me and the kids.  Thank goodness for leftovers!  There isn't much that causes my desire to cook to drop faster than it just being me and the kids.  I'm sure it is mostly laziness, but I know the fact that the kids would be perfectly happy with chicken nuggets plays a part as well.

On the menu for this week is:

Grill Something
Breakfast (waffles, bacon, and eggs)
Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad
Beef Sate with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Club Sandwiches
Cedar Plank Fish (making this up as I go)

I'm making use of having extra bacon from breakfast which is why the club sandwiches made the menu plan for this week.  I'm also going to double the waffle recipe so that we have extra waffles to keep in the freezer for breakfast for the kids.

I know I'll have leftover rotisserie chicken from the pasta salad, so I'm planning on taking that and freezing it until I figure out what to do with it.  Don't be surprised to see something next week that calls for rotisserie chicken.  What do you like to do with cooked chicken?  I'm still on the hunt for a couple of great new recipes.

Update:  I got my grocery costs for this week added up.  You can check out how I did here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekly Menu for 7/15

Vacation is over and I'm now looking forward at another week.  We had a great time, took it easy, and enjoyed our time together as a family.  What did we eat?  Well, I decided to keep things simple, so we grilled several times, I made a large pasta salad, and we had stuff to make quick and easy lunches.  Between grilling and the pasta salad, we had plenty to last us for the few days and nights we were out of the house.

So now looking at the week ahead, I'm starting my menu planning from scratch.  I know frequently we have leftovers to use or a meal that didn't get made from the week before, but this week doesn't have those things that I need to keep in mind.  We are going to be away from home 2 nights, so this week's menu will have 5 meals on it.  Our $100 budget should get us through this week without any problems.  So this week we are going to have:

Fish Tacos
Grill Something
Smoke Something (Pulled Pork and Ribs.  Awesome!)
Veggie Fried Rice

There is nothing new about the menu for this week.  I think I need to shake my meal planning up a bit.  I'll be searching my cooking magazines and online to find at least one new menu item to try out for next week.  Do you have any ideas?  Is there anything new that you are looking to try out?

I know it has been a while since I've posted an accounting of grocery costs.  My goal is to get that done next week.  It's one thing to say that I'm trying to stay within my budget, but I know it helps to show exactly where the money is being spent.  Breaking it down like I do really shows me if I'm spending more than I need in any one area and where I can cut costs.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


We will be on vacation for the next week, so my menu planning will be next to nothing.  If I were a good menu planner, I would have an idea right now what we would be eating while were are gone, but I'm not.  The good news is that I will have a kitchen to make meals while we are gone so that we aren't eating out every meal.  Easy will be the plan for the next several days!

I hope you have a great week and wonderful meals.  See you in a week!