Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan for Week 1

To kick off the month of April, I am finally trying to implement this great FREE menu planning resource from Econobusters. I am really enjoying that site and learning a lot of good, free stuff!

I was intimidated by the amount of work that I thought the menu planning for a month would entail. Isn't that how life is? We put off doing what is good for us because of the PERCEPTION of how much time it will take?

Then we actually conquer the thing we've been putting off, look at our clocks all to discover that that the time we spent procrastinating and worrying was so much more than the time it took to actually do it. That is why I developed the blitz. You would be amazed at how much you can get done in one hour if you just put your mind to it (focus) and work hard! You can learn about it here and link up on Fridays.

So, how long did it take me to plan a month's worth of meals? The rough draft took me about one hour. I have a little more research to do, so I'm guessing that I'll need about 15 minutes of planning for each week that things are implemented.

Here's how this works: (go to the website to find out more)
1. Interview your family and find out what their favorite meals are and write them down.
2. Come up with some other meals that work also.
3. Download the forms on the menu planning ebook.
4. Figure out what that week's groceries will entail based on those meals alone.
5. Add the ingredients on the list.
(You will photocopy these master lists and then just add or cross out what you need to on the actual week of shopping)
6. Design as many weeks of meals as you want. I am starting with four weeks.
7. You reuse the grocery lists and menus over and over.

So, I'm giving it a try this week.

So, without further ado, may I introduce... WEEK ONE

Monday: clean out the fridge soup/ homemade bread
Tuesday: chili con carne (in crockpot)
Wednesday: swamp dish
Thursday: Moose and polenta
Friday: grilled chicken (if the weather is nice) and grilled veggies, baked potatoes
Saturday: beans and rice
Sun: lunch: Italian turkey meatballs and spaghetti

For more great menu planning resources and ideas, go to Organizing Junkie's Menu plan Monday.

For those of you who notice that I almost always have clean out the fridge soup EVERY Monday, I thought I'd show you last week's variation of a good thing. Just so you know that clean-out the fridge soup is NOT yucky or boring. (I never serve yucky food here, BTW)

So, I made some fried chicken a few weeks ago from whole chickens that I cut up myself. The backs of the chickens did not look like they had very much meat on them, so I collected them and put them in a freezer bag.

When it came around to making the soup, I just threw the chicken pieces (still frozen) in a pot of cold water and added: celery, carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, fresh ginger, chicken boullion, and salt. I simmered it down for a few hours. I ended up with a rich stock. I strained the stock and threw out the solids. I scavenged the chicken meat, which ended up being about a cup.

So, I put the stock back on and heated it with the left over chicken, added some fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta. VERY YUMMY. I love the ginger and fresh rosemary. (And yes, they were already in the fridge. I'm a glut for fresh herbs) I froze the rest of the stock that wasn't used in the soup.


Niki said...

I recently started the once a month meal planning. Although it is a great deal of work initially it does pay off in the end. I like the idea of rotating months...might have to try that one.

Mrs. Parunak said...

That menu planning system sure does sound tempting. I love the idea of incorporating your family's favorites, and I think that having your shopping lists all ready, too sounds pretty cool.