Weekly Menu Plan And An April Challenge

Officially, April marks the start of a new quarter.  Unofficially, I spent last month rehauling our budget after we discovered the tax increase took our raise.  Back to square one...And that led to the great revelation this weekend as I surveyed the dismal outlook on my goals list.  I had done very little towards my goals both in the house and in my life.  Ouch.  Fail. Fail. Struggling with the budget made me feel pretty much that I'd lost the battle on three fronts.

So this month, I'm going back to basics.  Basic home keeping routines, basic goals and basic budget.  Back 2 Basics is my challenge for this month and in the spirit of basics, I thought I'd return to basic grocery shopping as well.  What better place than to shop pretty much exclusively at Aldi for our groceries?  I will buy beef at the meat market (usually enough for 2-3 months when I go).  I will allow myself the occasional shop at the local market, the drug and dollar store, but we'll just make do with what Aldi has to offer.  After one full month of nothing but Aldi we'll pretty much know for sure which products we really don't like and which we would rather buy elsewhere.  I admit after shopping there for more or less a year, there are few items I don't like, but there are some we just can't seem to find on the shelves. We'll just have to live without them or find them in one of the three other stores.

So that is my challenge to myself this month.  I didn't save as much as I'd have liked during my pantry freezer challenge but I saved a bit and I do have new stock in my pantry and poultry in the freezer so there is that bonus.

I did officially make up the first week's difference between regular pay and vacation pay.  At least I can mark one item as 'well under way' on my goals list.

It's warmer outdoors and will be most of the week.  This week we're in the mid70s and next week it's the 80s.  Warm weather foods are definitely in order.  Good thing I went through my recipe notebook this morning and refreshed my memory about what we like to eat in warm months.  There's a glorious sunset outdoors, distracting me at the moment.  My goodness, it's awfully hard to get even work like this done when the outdoors seems to push it's way into the room and demands to be noticed.

The first part of this week will be a continuation of the pantry freezer challenge, since grocery day isn't until the end of the week.  Sort of a bonus week for the budget.

Chicken Tacos, Tossed Salad with corn and black beans
We have plenty of flour tortilla on hand at the moment and I think chicken tacos sound really good. I know I'll have extra chicken, corn and beans,  so I'll just plan to make up a batch of enchiladas from the leftovers for a freezer meal. 

Brazilian Burgers, Parmesan Potato Fingers, Green Beans,  Sliced Tomatoes
The Brazilian burger is seasoned with sherry, green onions, and garlic.  They aren't meant to be eaten like a burger, but sure are tasty.

Orange Beef, Rice, Steamed Broccoli
I have a sirloin steak in the freezer.  It's too big for two.  Since beef is easier to slice when partially frozen, I won't have to thaw the steak  and can slice just a portion of it.  The rest can be saved for another meal.

Mushroom Tortellini with Browned Butter, Sage and Walnuts,  Roasted Asparagus, Wedge Salad, Crusty Bread
 Ever since I had that wedge salad at the restaurant...well I can't get enough!  I had pretty much given up eating iceberg lettuce but I can't resist it when it's icy cold, crisp and beautifully dressed with blue cheese, turkey bacon bits and crisp bread crumbs.
Turkey Italian Sausages with Peppers and Onions, Chips, Chilled Red Grapes

Cornish Game Hens with Cherry Pecan Wild Rice Stuffing, Spring Salad, Pineapple Cheesecake
I had this idea back in the winter and haven't had time to make it.  I'll use dried cherries and toasted pecans in the rice mixture along with caramelized onions.   

Corn Dog Casserole, Coleslaw, Orange Cream Sodas
I saw this idea in a magazine.  Baked Beans with hot dogs are topped with a corn muffin batter crust.  The cream soda will be simply Orange Soda and a bit of half and half (that's an old Weight Watchers recipe).


Denise said...

Hi Terri,
I have been following your blog for several months. I love it!!
My husband and I are in much the same phase of our lives, we have grandchildren grown children,and I have a great marriage after a bad one. Please keep on with the menu plan and challenges, I am a stay at home and am making every penny count, and am happier now than ever!! Your friend Denise

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I'll be interested to read what you think of the Aldi items. Somethings we love, some we like well enough and some I'll never buy again.

Back to Basics sounds like a good challenge.

Can you believe how warm it is already. I had the AC on yesterday and today - I don't do well in the heat. I was hoping for at least a month where I didn't have to have the heat or AC on.

Rhonda said...

I am with you on this back to basics. Our spending has just been too much, I can't only shop at Aldis but I do plan to shop very little, use coupons wisely and cook basic foods.

Karla Neese said...

I tried Aldi a few years ago and my husband was less-than-pleased with many items. I'm interested in trying again, especially the basics that are hard to mess up.

God has really convicted me lately that we (especially me as the main spender) are not being good stewards of what He has given us. I'm on a mission to re-frugalize and re-evaluate and re-budget. Today, in the spirit of trying to be frugal, I subscribed to our local newspaper that has coupons. I'm only doing Sundays at $12 per month (cheaper than buying it week-by-week) and I'll evaluate after 3 months if it's worth my cost. I'd like to double my savings to make it worth the buy.

I always find such inspiration here at the Blue House Journal from you Terri! Your menus are always basic but so tasty sounding and creative! I can't wait to see what this new leaf being turned looks like in my life! Thanks for the continual inspiration.

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