This Week In My Home: Menu and Work Plans

I believe this is the first January in ten years I haven't started out with a Pantry Freezer Challenge.  Truth is January is a fairly flush month for us.  We usually begin it with holiday pay from Christmas and New Year's. In the past I've avoided stocking up as I might otherwise have done and limited myself to just the purchases needed to piece out pantry menus, then rued it mightily in March which has no holidays.  This Christmas season was not a tough one with lots of added expenses.  We put money back into savings from the budget we'd set...then John got his annual bonus and not having urgent need of funds we put that into savings as well.  In the end we put over half of the funds we had taken back into the savings account.  I had an overage in our checking account that allowed us to pay for our meats last week without dipping into the grocery budget.   I've always used this month to balance the books and this year it's not necessary.  Instead I will plan to focus on my pantry holes and stock those...which we started New Year's Eve when went to meat market.    And I'll save my pantry freezer challenge time for months with no holidays and less funds, such as March and August...and other lean periods that might appear.

I've decided to rethink some of my 'acceptable expense' areas.  We've allowed ourselves a package of breaded chicken fillets each month that are tasty as can be.  We use them mostly for sandwiches and that makes for a pricey sandwich.  I will be looking at other sandwich options that cost less.  Frankly I'd get more bang for my buck buying a pound of Deli beef bologna and far more sandwiches. It seems with the New Year we've also been saying no to chips more often, but it's obvious we want something for a snack, so I'm checking out my cookbooks for inexpensive but tasty options.  Here lately it seems like my mind is just ticking along with new ways to save. 

Well, in the meantime, it's time to plan a new week's worth of meals. 

Banana Nut muffins, cream cheese, Clementines
Fried Eggs, Toast
Blueberry Muffins, Cheese
Egg Muffins, Grits
Breakfast Sandwiches
Bacon and Cheese Biscuits
Oatmeal, Peanut Butter Toast

Tuna Melts, Chips
Grilled Cheese sandwich, Cream of Tomato Soup
PB&V sandwich, chips (The V stands for vegetable.  Shredded carrots and minced's really good!)
Nachos with chili and cheese
Cream of Potato Soup, BLT sandwich
Corned Beef and Swiss on Sour Dough
One night on my own so leftovers

3 Bean and Beef Chili over Rice, Cornbread,  Salad
Homemade chili using extra beans  and tomatoes. I purposely made a large batch of chili with the outlook for leftovers. I made chili this weekend and had two almost full quart jars leftover.  I put one in the freezer will make supper and another dinner from the  1 quart in the fridge.

Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad, Baby Carrots, Rolls
John didn't care for the idea of Chinese today and although I had options here at home I hadn't yet made up my mind which I'd use.  He went into the grocery for eggs and came out with Chicken and Macaroni Salad. I'd meant to fry chicken this week but I never look a  kindness in the mouth and frown about it.  We'll get two meals and likely his lunch off this 8 piece box, so I will make it a frugal deal.

 Tortilla Towers,  Sweet Potatoes, Green Salad
 This is a dish Mama used to make.  It's thin cornmeal pancakes layered with chili and cheese in a casserole (hence the 'tower) and then baked in the oven.  I'll add some canned corn to the chili mixture.  

Vegetable Soup, Crackers, Cheese, Rice Pudding
I purposely cooked more rice than needed when I made chili.  I've been just hungry for rice pudding.  In the past I've made it with lemon zest which makes it seem very delicate, but this week I'll add in raisins and cinnamon.

Chicken Spaghetti,  Butter Beans, Salad, Rolls 
I'll use the wings and a thigh to make up the chicken in this dish which calls for just 1/2 cup of meat.  If there's extra I'll turn it into chicken salad.  In the past I'd have just gone on and added the extra but really it only runs up the cost of the meal doesn't it?  We've never felt we were missing protein when we ate this dish as written in the past, so why put in extra? 

Chinese take out on my own

Lazy Days Beef Stew, Corn Muffins, Coleslaw
This is one of my favorite oven meals.  It's just loaded with good vegetables.

Jobs Last Week

Plan a month of menus
Plan goals for 2015
Plan Blog work for 2015
Plan 2015 Budget and First Quarter Budget
Plan Shopping for 2015...

Planning, Planning, Planning!

Jobs This Week
Deep Clean the laundry/back entry/kitchen sitting area
Get Christmas things into shed and back into bins and boxes
Plant peas 
Thrift store
Work on booth
Grocery shop
Pay bills and run errands


M Ripples said...

The tortilla towers sounds awesome.

I struggle with snack ideas. I'd like to find some snacks that are inexpensive that I can make and keep on hand. Chips are a staple in my house. There are usually a couple different kinds in the cupboard. Need to find something healthier for snacking.

Anonymous said...

Caramel corn! Nuff said!

vickie morgan said...

January must give us a boost of energy to save money. Good thing!

We always seem to have chips here too..hubby always wants them. Tonight I just had air popped corn. Snacks are a hard one to think of.

Maranda DiSanto said...

I replaced our chips and candy with air popped popcorn and homemade granola bars. Healthier and less expensive= win/win! I switch up the ingredients in the granola bars so that my husband never gets tired of them.

Rebecca said...

How about a step-by-step recipe for those tortilla towers?? They sound delicious!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it lovely when there is extra money to put in savings?!

Have fun planning. My hubby made the comment last night about my menu and how it was so helpful. I told him it really is freeing. I was taking out a ham bone for soup today. Made yummy veggie ham soup. I put the bone back in the freezer to use again. I think there is still some goodness in it. Pam

Sparkiedoll said...

I found this which may inspire with snack planning

Have a Healthy and Happy New Year x

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