Monday, April 16, 2012

Menus and Mini- Meatloaves

Last week I had someone ask me if I could help them with making menus.  I don’t know that I’m an authority on making menus. There are so many other people out there that are far more qualified  at this thing than I am. There are so many different variables to menu making that it differs for everybody. Each household has different needs and schedules. You just need to find what works for you.
My main suggestion (and this works for most people) is to write down a list of all the favorite foods that your family enjoys. I would try to come up with at least 20 different meals. You can use a blank calendar you can print one off line here. (I’ve used these for years.)  Just start writing your dinner meal in for the day. Make sure to include MEALS OUT, LEFTOVER NIGHTS, SANDWICH NIGHTS and SPECIAL OCCASION DINNERS (ie: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc)
Menus--- I don't rigidly stick to them--they're more like guidelines anyway!  You can see what I mean by reading last week’s menu and then seeing this week’s menu has what appears to be repeats, but not really.
I make my menus just as a reference point for me. Once I get a set amount of menus figured out—then I just rotate the meals. It depends on what is ‘in season’; what is the season is like; for instance, tonight we’re having stew because the weather has turned cooler. The crock pot comes in handy for this—as it will cook most of the day, not heating up the house too much. But having a warm meal later will be good with very little prep time!  My menus also depend heavily as to what is on sale! Also keep in mind your shopping dates, paydays, etc.
As you begin doing this you’ll see gaps or repeats you can adjust your meals accordingly. After doing this a couple of times it will get easier. There is no perfect way really. Just have fun with it. You may even designate one night a week for ‘Foreign Foods’ night – taking opportunities to try new foods and new recipes! OR ‘NEW COOK night (letting the kids be in charge of making a simple meal for the family)         

 *****This week's Menu****    (April 16~April 22)                      
Crock pot stew  (cool weather makes this reasonable)
Soup (HIM) and Sandwiches (ME) – The Honey is on a liquid diet –nothing by mouth after Midnight
Medical Test at the V.A. for The Honey—I’ll eat sandwich while he’s in his test –
Thursday: Recovering from Procedure -- Something light—probably soup and sandwiches again -
Friday:   TBA
Saturday: TBA
Sunday: TBA
Our schedule this week is a little bit wonky. We will only have one day OUT of the house—traveling again to the V.A. which is about 5 hrs of drive time (both ways) plus the time spent there. The procedure calls for no food 24 hrs prior and light meals afterwards as well, easing back into normal routine eating; so my menu this week is light. That is one of the best things about being retired and at home—it makes weeks like this so much easier. We make our own schedules including menus!

Mini Meatloaves 
I’ve mentioned the last two weeks about mini meatloaves. I did snap a picture of my meatloaves prior to popping them in the oven and last week when we were making our lunch for the road.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pan like this…I love this thing!
This recipe was pretty easy I’ll try to sum it up for you as I didn’t really measure anything…I kind of eye balled it! I do know for sure how much meat I used.
2 lbs lean venison
1 lb Owens pork sausage
1 cup (approx.)  of Ragu traditional sauce (left over from the fridge)
1/4 cup chopped onion (or one small if you like a lot)
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (same as onion)
1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
cooked at 350° for about 50 minutes--
** this made enough for these 8 mini loaves and 1 small 1 lb loaf not pictured. 
 We ate 1 a piece at supper that night and I wrapped the others individually in plastic wrap and placed in a 1 gallon sized zippered baggie. To be used later for meals or sandwiches. I defrosted in the microwave and used when needed. So easy and so delicious.
For our trip to the V.A. last week; we took sandwiches and chips
they were YUMMIE! 100_1102
Do you have any tips on making menus? or meal planning?  Would you share them with us in the comments?

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


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

You know, things would be a lot easier around here if I actually did some advance meal planning! I'm inspired to try it!

♥ my diary♥ said...

im hosting a tuesday's bloghop...please feel free to share your devotional cooking recepee craft any memory something the lord has done in your life im sure you have many...thank you very much if you join...blessed others ...have a very nice tuesday..

Amy Kinser said...

I love your mini meatloaf's. What a great idea especially when you can put the extras in the freezer. My family loves meatloaf.

Have a great day.

Cristina Garay said...

I'm so bad doing advance meal planning! But maybe, just maybe I can get some inspiration from your post! That mini-meat loaf sure looks yummy!

Cindy said...

Your meatloaf idea is great, I shall try that. I only make menus if we are having company for a couple of weeks or if I am trying to lose a pound or so. Then I use recipes from my tasteofhome comfort FOOD diet COOKBOOK.
Good post.
Hugs, Cindy

Pam Kessler said...

I need to buy one of those meatloaf pans. I am horrible at meal planning. I usually plan about the time my husband comes through the door and asks what's for dinner. Uh, let me look and see what we have in the fridge!