Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Menu for March 7th-21st

argh...it's menu time again...
I was recently asked, "Why?" do I make a menu if I dread making it...
why oh, why
but it is a must if I am to keep the peace in my home during the bewitching hour*

*bewitching hour: the twilight zone of time from picking up kids from school, running them from piano lessons/dance/softball/girl scouts getting homework done to getting dinner of the table.
note...my children take piano lessons once a week...none of us can handle any more activity than that!

so for peace in the bewitching hour I opt for making a menu and modifying it during the week around other activities/errands/and-what-not that pops up....

how do I make the meal...
I look at the next 2 weeks and see what activities are on the calendar that happen every week
~Mondays I work in the kids class room from 7:45- around 10:45
~Wednesday night church from 6-8 (this is a great crock pot night)
~my 'office' hours at the church are pretty flexible but I HAVE to work on Thursday because I provided childcare at MOPS
~Thursday is also piano day and usually the most homework for the girl child...(also a great crock pot night)
~Sundays at church from 7:45am-12:30+...not a day I want to make dinner usually a good night for brinner (breakfast for dinner) or leftover buffet

and now things that aren't normally on the calendar but are happening the next 2 weeks for us...
~we already have dinner at friends scheduled for 2 of the nights this week (woot woot!)
~taking a meal to a family (pray for my friend Kim as she has and recovers from surgery this week!)
~I have a jewelery party on the calendar on Thursday-not serving dinner to the guest but a nice dessert will need to be planned before I do my grocery shopping so I'm not having to run to the store on my busy Thursday
~next week is the church's annual Father Daughter Feast (a date night) so the meal is supplied for Madison and Beau and I will probably take Wilson out on a date with me...so no cooking!

why 2 weeks?
1.  I would do it for longer if I could but we have the smallest refrigerator/freezer known to man...it's one step up for the college size...okay, maybe a little larger...but not much...to give you an idea...our microwave sits on top and the girl child can still reach the microwave!
2.  We get paid twice a month so I can shop around the time we get paid.
3.  Fruits, veggies, and dairy products don't last much longer than 2 weeks...sometimes less!

so quick math...2 weeks = 14 dinners...with 3 taken away with other plans-3=11 dinner menu items I need to have...

so for the next 2 weeks...
Dinner Ideas
~Minestrone soup -in the crock pot (excited to make this...have had it on the menu and it keeps getting pushed off...but it's the meal I'm also taking to my friends family...so it WILL get made this week!)
~Black Bean soup...this was so good that the kids asked me to make it again...and it's SO easy
~Almond Crusted Chicken with creamy gravy & potatoes and spinach salad
~Chili and cornbread
~baked potatoes (with left over chili)
~Chicken in the crock pot (I have a whole chicken in the freezer...not sure yet what I'm going to do with it...but it will be in the crock)
~Chicken -n- Spinach Pasta Bake (new to us recipe-I'll post the recipe if the family likes it!)
~Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs and rice (an easy one to change to spaghetti and meatballs if I have less time!)
~Brinner-Puffed oven pancake, scrambled eggs & bacon
~Leftover buffet

here are a few things I'm also thinking about while making a menu
I try to plan things that work together...
chili one night and a few nights later we can use the leftover chili for the baked potato bar

I try to have a variations of pastas, soups, meats (beef & chicken & pork), vegetarian meals also help keep the price down (lots of soups can be vegetarian)...

I look at the dishes that I will need to buy the same stuff for...
potatoes for at least 2 meals maybe more...
cans of beans for both soups & the chili
ground beef for the meatloaf, meatballs and chili
chicken breast for the almond crusted chicken and chicken bake...
spinach for the minestrone soup,  spinach salad, spinach pasta bake..etc...

I try to take an inventory of the pantry & fridge to see what I have on hand so I'm not buying stuff I already have and so I can plan meals based on stuff I need to use up.

I usually get some meal input from the rest of the family...when I made this yesterday they were all at school/work so I had to just wing it...but I also know most of what they like so I'm sure it'll be okay...

you get the idea!
happy menu planning and grocery shopping!

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