Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Menu Planning

Every family has different needs and plans their menus differently, but heres the method to my madness.

Grocery day is Thursday or Friday every week and, aside from milk (Nick passes the dairy farm on his way home from work), that is my one shot.  No sense in wasting expensive and non-renewable fossil fuels.

Week-time Breakfasts and Lunches are pretty standard.  For Breakfast, I have an egg sandwich & Nick has bagels topped with cream cheese or jelly etc.  For Lunch, Nick has "Chinese"* aka: rice, veggies and some sort of purchased chinese sauce.  My lunches vary a bit more, but lately it's been "pasta carbonera" (aunt annie's organic mac & cheese with bacon & organic peas) or soup.

On the weekend, Breakfast is a big production... omelets, hash-browns, pancakes, the sky's the limit!  Lunches are leftovers or fend-for-yourself.

Mostly, that leaves me only having to plan for dinners.  Let's plan my next week's menu together.

Friday is pizza night.  We always top it with veggies, not meats.  That has typically been our only meat-free meal, but I promised this past week to cut back on our meat consumption.  This got me thinking about Meat-Free Mondays, but of course there are only two people in my house and it stinks cooking for two so I cook for four and plan only 3 meals per week.  Ok...Meat-free Mondays AND Thursdays (or whatever the case may be).  Nick has been begging me to repeat French Onion Soup, and it's quite hearty so I thought that might be a nice way to ease my meat-loving hubby into eating a little less meat.

F          Pizza
T         French Onion Soup
R         French Onion Soup
F         Pizza

This leaves us with with 4 days, or two more meals to plan.  Any other considerations?  Well, I work 'til 5 on Saturday and 'til 7 on Tuesday so I want either quick & easy or reheatable on those days.  Sunday is the Superbowl (Go Steelers!) and we 're bringing stuff to my parent's house for dinner (dunno what yet).  Also, we'll still have one night's worth of enchilada bake from this week.  

F     Pizza
S     Superbowl
W    French Onion Soup
R     Turkey & Biscuits
F     Pizza

Grocery List

Already Have:
Spaghetti Sauce
Better than Bullion
Swiss Cheese
Chicken Broth
Baking Powder

To Buy:
Butter & Buttermilk (Or Heavy Cream & make both)
Turkey or Chicken
Mixed Veggies

As you can tell, I like to make things that utilize what I have on hand as much as possible.  Happy Menu Planning!

* In an effort to keep the hubby happy, I don't enforce my low-chemical diet on him for items only he eats.  I'd love to cuz it keeps him healthy, but peace is more important


  1. Hey!
    I meant to post this on your resolutions post, but better late than never.
    Anyhow, I think I've mentioned, during fast periods (advent, lent, etc), orthodox eat a vegan diet, so I've gotten really good at the whole animal-free thing.
    If you'd like, I'd be glad to give you some starter tips and pointers to help you with decreasing meat intake. (my biggest tip would be to purchase the veganomicon cookbook. It is *the* resource for easing into veg cooking)

  2. I'd love some tips! Of course, i'm not looking to entirely do away with meat, but every night but friday was a bit much (and certainly unnecessary). Thanks Kath

  3. Well here's a few things off the top of my head (in no particular order)
    -Load up on grains and legumes, at least at first. Protein-rich dishes will help you feel satisfied.

    -Also, go for the dense stuff. Chilies, casseroles, curries and the like are good examples, (as opposed to say, salad or thinner soups) Again it's about feeling satisfied.

    -Ethnic food is your friend. Indian is the big winner, but there are lots of naturally veg dishes in east asian, thai, and mexican cuisine too. (Mexican is great for easing in- think bean burritos and enchiladas. It's not exactly health food, but it's good for convincing skeptical spouses that veggie food can be tasty and fill you up)

    -Oh, and on the weightloss front- George is right there with you on loving food and not liking exercise. I can't get him moving for love or money, so I've concentrated on diet, and it's really made a difference (60 lbs worth). Pretty much I eliminated junk food and seriously curtailed meat and dairy. We still drink milk, and use things like cream cheese and butter as condiments, but I rarely cook with dairy or meat. Probably a little extreme (though I don't know, it might be less nuts than those people who live off plain chicken breasts and eggwhite omelets, yech), but I figured I'd share what worked for George.

  4. Meal planning like this is the way to go. I can usually stretch seven meals for about two weeks (which only works because we eat one meal a week with my parents and another with my in-laws). It's so nice to just be able to look through the list on the fridge and know what options you have for dinner.

    Anyways, another quick and easy (and meatless) meal I found online is a soup whose name I have forgotten. It's unusual but makes a great side or lunch since it's not the most filling. The process usually only takes around thirty minutes.

    All you need is:

    some olive oil
    1 rib celery
    1 carrot
    1 clove garlic
    1/4 medium onion (or some leek)
    1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    1/3 broken, uncooked spaghetti noodles
    4 cups chicken (or you could use vegetable) broth
    some basil
    about a tsp. of lemon juice

    Just heat the oil, garlic, and veggies over a medium heat in the pot you're going to use. Salt them and cook them until tender. Then add the uncooked pasta and heat it for about two minutes. Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Next, add the herbs and lemon juice, salt and pepper it to taste, and enjoy!