Menu Day - Shaking Things Up
Vacation is over...Insert extremely sad face...It was grand, truly it was and I had the best time all around. Now Shabat is over and it is the start of a new week. I thought I'd like to tackle menu plans right away from now on. After all this is my 'first day' and the day when I really need my plans for the week to start afresh.
I didn't plan meals last week, except to take some meat from the freezer at night and start thawing overnight in the fridge. I was flying by the seat of my pants. Take out a packet of meat and have NO plan in mind? That was tough! Especially when my refrigerator is so low on fresh produce. I will be happy to shop for groceries on Wednesday. In the meantime I shall do my best to use what I have. I do hope to make it to the grocery early tomorrow morning to pick up a few sales/coupon specials that I would like to take advantage of but it won't be a big shop by any means. Just a few items that will nicely add to our foodstuffs over the next few weeks, or pantry staples that we need to restock while the prices are good.
I'm happy to say that this past month my 'experiment' went rather well. Even including the vacation foods, I came within $12 of my goal for the month. Thank you, new plan of attack! That would be mostly Aldi purchases, the meat market and a very few items from drugstore and another couple of grocery stores. It wasn't easy, it meant finagling what I had on hand and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g foods out to serve an extra meal here and there. The results show. I'm proud and pleased and I even managed to put a few more items in the freezer than I took out. I'm keeping track so I can share my at home 'harvest' with you at end of the month.
I sat down yesterday with three of my cookbooks and made out a month's worth of menus for June. Yes, I planned meals using mostly what I have on hand. I am not, however, doing a pantry/freezer challenge this month. I mean to do one in July when the next fiscal quarter starts. I just find cooking is more tedious in the warmer months of the year. Inspiration is wanted and having 24 meals to choose from for dinners, 14 each for breakfast and suppers will make things a whole lot easier. I'll follow a few to the letter, shake a few up using the same basic ingredients to make another meal entirely and ditch a few altogether because someone has a craving for a certain dish. I use my menus as guidelines not hard and fast rules. You'll note I left six open slots on the dinner menu. I know one of those meals will be Katie's birthday meal. She's already placed her order for the meal. The other five we'll either eat out or figure out on the fly. It may well be that we have leftovers from other meals (we so often do).
Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Carrot Raisin Salad
Homemade nuggets are so tasty and rather than fry I use the oven fry method. French Fries cook alongside. I don't have a great deal of fresh lettuce, so I'll use the carrots to make my salad. I may add a bit of crushed pineapple to it.
Shepherd's Pie, Green Beans, Waldorf Salad, Tiny Biscuits
Years ago I purchased a frozen beef pot pie at Sam's club that was simple and awesome. A pastry shell bottom, creamed hamburger middle and simple mashed potato topping. That's what I'm going for in this menu. I'll make extra biscuits to use for breakfasts.
Lemon Chicken, Rice, Stir Fry Vegetables, Pineapple Slices
I usually package breasts two to a packet. I think I'll be able to use just one breast half for the nuggets and for this meal as well. If the chicken seems skimpy I'll revamp the meal and toss the chicken in with the vegetables to stretch the meal.
Pizzaroni, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread, Pudding Parfaits
I first made Pizzaroni when my oldest two were little babes and the meal is still a favorite in my household. Macaroni is cooked al dente, mixed with pizza sauce, pepperoni slices, cottage or ricotta cheese (I'll use cottage since it's less expensive) and shredded Italian cheese You can top with garlic bread crumbs if you'd like, but it's not necessary.
Club Salad, Homemade Croutons, Creamy Tomato Soup, Marble Loaf Cake
I have turkey, turkey bacon, and at this point of the week will have produce a plenty. I'll replicate a club sandwich in salad form. I think a soup and salad meal will do nicely on these hot days we're having of late.
Marinated Beef Roast, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pan Roasted Potatoes, Green Salad
Mama used to marinate rolled beef roasts in the summer months, then Daddy would grill. I'm going to try my hand at this. I can put the potatoes on the grill to cook too, in a pie pan. The heat will be slow and low. We should have leftovers of the meat.
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Chips, Pickle Spears
An easy meal for Shabat. We can toast the sliced rolls in the toaster, heat the sandwiches in the microwave.