I’m trying to get back in the habit of posting my weekly menu plan – instead of talking about it on Facebook daily, which apparently annoys my Uncle, and also because I gave up Facebook for Lent, and I still need an outlet lol. Extra bonus, I found a blog link up party over at I’m an Organizing Junkie so I can share with new people and get ideas from others.
I’ve realized recently that I’ve talked about my menu before, and maybe even my small obsession with my crock-pot(s), but never much about my resources or method, so before I talk about what we’re eating this week, I’m going to babble a bit about these topics. 🙂
First, let me introduce you to my menu planner and grocery list, both of which are free printable online. I love the Weekly Menu Plan from Organized Home, as well as the monthly menu planner from the same site. I plan out our dinners a month at a time, the week before the 1st of the month (for instance, I will plan April’s dinners this week) and then on my first grocery shopping day (usually Monday’s) of the month I buy all the meat we will need at Costco for the month. This allows us to buy our meat in bulk, break it into smaller packages for individual dinners, freeze it (I tend to add any dry seasoning the recipe calls for when I freeze the meat) then cook it when the time comes. Since this is how I shop and prep, I try and limit our meat selections to around 3 different types (not including fish, ground meat, or prepackaged meats which I’ll talk about in a minute) each month, so pork loin, ribs, and chicken breasts for instance, or whole chickens, beef roast, and ham. Ground meat I buy in five pound packages, boil, and divide into 13 oz (1 pound cooked down) packages and freeze so that it’s pre-cooked and ready to toss into a jar of pasta sauce, add taco seasoning too for tacos or nachos etc. Fish we tend to have two or three varieties on hand – we get it at Costco and they come in individually packaged/frozen filets and I can just pull out two fillets for dinner (I LOVE this!) and prepackaged meat such as frozen meatballs, or italian sausage links are purchased at the beginning of the month with any other meats but only as needed and in the necessary poundage (so if I have 1 recipe that calls for a 1 pound of italian sausage, 2 that both require 1 pound meatballs, and one that needs 2 pounds shrimp (which I tend to buy raw, and frozen) that’s what I’ll buy, exactly, and freeze just as it comes).
Then, each week (usually on Friday) I sit, transfer the weeks dinners onto my weekly menu plan (which I print out 20 at a time along with my master grocery list (getting to that in a second) then make into a notepad which I keep on the fridge) and then plan out breakfast and lunch for the week as well, I also add any side dishes that I didn’t previously plan for dinners when I planned the monthly menu. As for ideas, these are my main sources for recipes:
A Year of Slow Cooking (Crockpot365)
Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook (which I have both in book form and Kindle version)
Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook I don’t own this book yet, but I recently checked it out from the library, and unlike other books in the Fix-It and Forget-It series (which I own one of and have check out others) I LOVED everything I tried, and I liked the way the recipes were laid out, and that there was a photo of each of them.
As you can see, all these cookbooks are slow cooker cookbooks, thats because in the average month, I use my slow cooker all but maybe 5 times for cooking dinner, and a few times for breakfast (not as often now that we’re heading into summer and thick oatmeals don’t appeal to me the way they did during the fall and winter).
Once I have the full week’s meals planned (which also takes into account any nights we have plans to eat out, have guests over, are taking meals to friends etc.) I get out my Master Grocery List and figure out what I need vs. what I have on hand in the pantry. I love this list because it’s large, covers a lot of what I buy already, and if you use the DOC version is completely customizable – so I’ve been able to take out items I rarely purchase and add items I purchase frequently, as well as put in a section of the list for items I buy at Costco (such as milk, meat, some produce and dry goods) without having to make two separate lists (one of which I would be certain to lose). Chris made me a really awesome “app” for our iPad which I use to keep track of our pantry, garage fridge and freezer, deep freezer, and indoor fridge and freezer’s inventory. Between my menu, and my inventory control app I am able to easily make up my sopping list to both replenish items I keep on hand at all times (chicken and beef broth, canned tomatoes, paper towels, dishwasher detergent etc.) and get the items I need for the coming week (fresh produce, personal items (pull-ups, vitamins, shaving cream, shampoo), cereal).
Now that You’ve got a clear picture of how I plan and shop, let me tell you what we’re cooking!
Breakfast: Apple Turnovers
Lunch: Jimmy John’s
Dinner: Crock-poached Salmon Steaks, Lemon Rice, Broccoli, biscuits
Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs and mashed potatoes
Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Brown Sugar Chicken, Rice, Sugar Snap Peas
Breakfast: Grab Bag (cereal, oatmeal, smoothies etc.)
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Rigatoni and Sausage, Salad, Bread
Breakfast: Breakfast Tacos
Lunch: Grab bag (sandwiches, left overs, lean cuisine etc.)
Dinner: 3 packet pot Roast (I always make a roast of some sort on Sunday (or a whole chicken) and this is my FAVORITE!), Roasted potatoes with garlic & herbs, salad, bread
There you have it, see you back next week – promise it’ll be a shorter post. 😉