Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Menus- Week of 3-26 thru 4-1

I meant to post this yesterday—but was having some internet problems.
I’m trying to get back into the habit of making menus ahead of time (before the week starts); because when I know what I’m making, it takes the thought out of it during the week when I’m usually TIRED and don’t KNOW OR HAVE A CLUE what in the World to fix.  That is when I usually resort to TAKE OUT!100_9970
I used to do this (make menus) years ago when the kids were all still at home and I just need to get back in the habit. It’s part of a FOOD AND GROCERY BUDGET… and it’s all part of finances.
You know this isn’t a FINANCE BLOG, really. But, like most of the rest of you; we’re just trying to make do with what we’ve been given, stretch it and have little waste. I say that if you go to the store buy groceries and leave them to sit in the fridge or freezer to go bad and instead eat out… that is wasteful. I don’t want to do that anymore.  I can honestly say, this became a habit for us once Honey retired and certainly after his heart attack.
I’m so hoping I can stick to it and here are a couple of reasons why:
  • It’s healthier: Quality- You know what you’re getting. Quantity- You can control the portion size. Quantitative- You’re not limited to any menu but the one YOU create.
  • It’s cheaper: In terms of per serving (what you pay for a meal for 2 people at a restaurant could total 1 meal 4-5 nights for 2 people); travel time- being away from home costs money-we NEVER JUST GO EAT. We almost always go someplace else, because we’re already out; gasoline (one trip to the store vs. several trips to different restaurants) We live in a rural area, so a trip to town is traveling. 
Monday: Italian Sausage Sandwiches w/ chips
         bkfst: oatmeal w/ dried cranberries and whole wheat toast-
         lunch: left over It.Sausage sandwich w/chips
         supper: bar-b-qued chicken legs- Baked potatoes & Mixed veggies

         lunch: Tuna Salad / crackers
         supper: Cincinnati Chili  and corn salad * cook whole package of venison, save 1/2 cooked portion for Tacos on Friday.

         bkfst: eggs/ sausage/ whole wheat toast
         supper: Individual Meat Loaves and Potato Salad  *meat loaf prepared with venison w/ added pork sausage

         bkfst: PIGS and Coffee  * make enough PIGS for later store in the fridge
         supper: Soft Tacos w/ lettuce and tomato fixings

         bkfst: PIGS and coffee-
         supper: SPECIAL DINNER @ birthday party to attend

         bkfst: cheese toast and coffee-
         supper: early supper after church-- Beef Tips and Rice w/ asparagus and tossed salad
          snack:  early supper means: sandwich or leftovers later
       That’s our menu for this week. I’m pretty much of the opinion. It doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good OR be good for you. I also happen to think you only need about 10-15 GO-TO meals that you can rotate on a menu- because you have sandwich and/ or soup nights, LEFTOVER nights, and SPECIAL DINNER, HOLIDAY, or the rare EAT OUT NIGHT (which I’m trying to avoid right now)  
So how about you; do you have a menu that you make out on a regular basis? 
Do you save money by doing this? 
How have you changed your meal times or eating habits w/ the economy or is it personal preference that determined your decision?  
Is it working for you?
Please leave a  comment and feed back. Let’s discuss this—I’m really interested in how everyone else is doing in this area of homekeeping.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
~Philippians 4:23


Echoes From the Hill said...

I discovered your blog very recently, and really enjoy it.
Yes, I make a weekly menu, and it helps immensely.
I usually plan the meals, using what is available. The plan lets me know if I will need any ingredients, so I can plan for them in advance. It saves time, money, and last minute trips to the store.

I write down the menu in a book like an appointment book. Two years ago, a friend gave me a very nice one for a gift. Last year, I just used a notebook, but at the end of the year, I found a daily planner, and menu book at Goodwill, that was new. I also use it to write down appointments, etc.

When I am organized, life is much easier. I look at the menu each night, and get out anything that is needed, from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator, so it is partially thawed the next day.

I only plan dinner menus. We eat whatever is available for breakfast, and lunch. We usually have leftovers, and always have bread, peanut butter, cheese, eggs, etc. for lunches. We have oatmeal, farina (purchased in bulk) and cold cereal and eggs for breakfasts.

I sometimes make breakfast burritos for the freezer, and have French toast (from bread that is drying out), pancakes, and waffles in the freezer to microwave or pop in the toaster.

We keep our food bill pretty low, and we eat very well. Planning ahead makes a huge difference.


Prior said...

I love it when I have a menu plan, but I don't do it much. The worst part is deciding what to fix and I don't like grocery shopping, or spending my time off shopping at all, unless it is just browsing for junk with friends. What I used to do when I cooked almost every night was just make sure I had 5 meats to cook...pork chop, ground beef, steak...whatever...and keep the other pantry stuff stocked. The other day when I brought in groceries...I threw some out as well, and I thought, this is rediculous. So, I have been comping and trying to do better. Food just becomes such an issue to health, as I try to get Moma to eat and I am tired of food, really I am just always tired at this time in the school year... Good luck staying on your plan.

nannykim said...

I always used to have a menu when my kids were at home. Then I still did for a while when my hubby and I were alone. But since moving to the condo, the store is right around the corner. I often just choose a couple of recipes and use those since there is often left overs. I often see what is in my pantry and frig and just make something from there. So I don't do out a full menu and shopping list any more. I found I was wasting food. I would buy stuff for a menu item and then not make it because we still had left overs or we wanted something else etc and then the food spoiled. We eat mostly vegan with some fish and some chicken. So we eat a lot of veggies, beans and pastas and soups and curries.Bsically I buy the staples--fruit, veggies, pasta, beans, breads, and then just make up something from them. I usually try to do a new recipe at least once a week. This week with the flooring going on we have to eat out because of the lack of a stove and kitchen sink and microwave!

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

I don't like grocery shopping either! I agree...making the decision of what to fix is hard for me too.
I think that is why a menu helps. I like to take a few minutes (make an appointment with myself) and do it...then it comes together much better through the week.
When I was teaching my kiddos here ...this time of year made me tired too. Winding down to school being out for summer...took forever!

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Being on a Vegan diet means more trips to the store for you? Or not?
Do you buy frozen? Do you eat lots of rice and pasta? ... How often do you have to buy the staples?- is what I'm asking. We're having the same trouble with leftovers and food waste...trying to get a better game plan.

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Hi Nancy-- and welcome! so glad you found my blog and enjoy it.

I agree 'life is easier' when we're organized. I used to be a pretty organized person in some areas not all, Menus is an area that I was strong in; (although, paper work, mail, and bills...not so much)
I taught my kids at home, and shopping was sometimes looked at as a 'welcomed adventure' and sometimes a chore!
I really only make menus for dinner...but when I know what I have on hand to eat at other times (snacks, lunches, and brkfast)... I jot those things down too. I'm trying so hard to curtail waste...so this helps.
I like the breakfast burritos for the freezer...that is a good idea and will help in using up the eggs we're getting from the chickens. Same with the French toast. The husband likes Pigs in the blanket...I like to make up some of those to keep on hand for brkfast and snacks.
Our food bill is low-- for groceries. But I have noticed that it is higher for eating out! Like we have a HUGE HOLE in the purse.

Intentional Living Homestead said...

I really hate grocery shopping...but with so many kids who are eating me out of house and home LOL...I don't have a choice. I do however try to always have staples on head...especially ride. And of course my canned goods and frozen veggies.

The Boston Lady said...

I used to use menus when the kids were home. Now that there are just two of us, I find I am always flying by the seat of my pants because some nights neither of are here for dinner. We eat a lot of leftovers. I always roast one chicken a week and that can be used for several meals in different ways. I am not the most creative cook and my husband is not adventurous when it comes to food so I usually stick to the basics and save my food adventures when we travel or visit our kids. THEY got the adventurous genes. I was hoping that wasn't one of your girls in that first picture :-) . Ann

Sandy said...

I don't think I've ever used menus,
even when the kids were young. I just
came home and cooked what I could find
in the fridge/freezer.. Wanted to thank
you for your ranting on my blog today,
about food.. I turned against meat and
anything in boxes and cans and NO
fast food of any kind, many years
ago and there was never soda in our
house and happy to say my kids now eat
the same, except my young daughter, she
feeds her three small boys vegan. They
don't even know any different and are
thriving today....
Good post

RHome410 said...

I used to try more specific menus like yours, but it never worked for me. Often, I'd get to whatever day and not really feel like making/eating what was on the list, or not have enough time or energy...or something that would interfere. What's worked pretty well for me is a looser type of structure that gives me the flexibility I seem to need, and guarantees some variety from day to day in every week.

Our menu for the last couple years has looked something like this:
Monday - Soup, Tuesday - Dinner Salad, Wednesday - open night for meeting yearnings for something or having a little fun... This means we might have breakfast-for-dinner, meatloaf, or lasagna...Whatever some of the family has been wanting. Thursday - "Mexican Chicken Slop" (my eldest son's lovely name for a dinner of unfried, refried beans, rice or quinoa, and shredded chicken cooked in enchilada sauce.), Friday - Pizza, Saturday - Nachos, Chili, or Sandwiches, Sunday - Stir fry, Grilling, or Chicken. (Sunday's choice depends somewhat on the time of year). We're not sticklers, so if we want Breakfast for Dinner on Tuesday, we move the salad to Wed. This gives me a guideline, when I get to 'what should I fix tonight' and a comfort for the kids in knowing what to expect.

Everything we buy and make has a focus on healthiness and frugality. I suppose I could save a little more with more strict planning, but I have to go with what I can make work.