Thursday, May 10, 2012

meal plan: week of 5-13-2012

To save money and sanity (and to keep produce from going rotten!), I try to come up with a meal plan every week.  My husband and I are on a budget, like many other young (and not so young) adults.  I'll share my meal plan every week, include links, and maybe even a grocery list.  I love to cook and to bake.  I hardly ever make the same meal twice, unless we just love it (or my husband requests it).

I've been asked by friends how I do my meal planning.  I'll give a short summary of the process I go through, and then give my meal plan for next week.

The Process:
I am always using Pinterest to link to recipes and ideas I think we'll like.  When I'm in a rut, or need to find a certain recipe, it's a great way to keep organized.  I'll browse my Pinterest at meal-planning time to get ideas.

The first thing I do is scour the sale ads.  I like to see what produce is in season and on sale.  I check out what meats are on sale.  Once I get an idea of what's in season and on sale, I start my meal plan.

I cut coupons from the Sunday paper to help keep expenses down on items like shampoo, toothpaste, and Ziploc baggies.  We have a vegetable and herb garden in the back yard (and containers on the back porch and front porch!) to help keep the grocery bill down as well.  Right now, I'm still harvesting broccoli.  I have almost all the herbs called for available fresh in my containers or raised-bed garden.

If something like Rotel, meat, chicken broth, canned diced tomatoes, rice or canned/dried beans are on sale then I will stock up on those items.  It's nice to be able to shop your own pantry on weeks when the budget is low.

That's it!  No big secrets, just a lot of organization.

Now, on to the good stuff:  this and next week's meal plan!  Hover over the menu items for available links.

Tonight we're having crockpot pulled pork sandwiches.  Easy and fast, so I can get teaching music lessons by 5:30.

Last night we had Buffalo Chicken tortas, fruit smoothies, and roasted broccoli.  Soon I'll write a post to share the torta recipe because it was phenomenal.  We loved it.

Tomorrow night will be a busy night for us, getting ready for a Mother's Day event on Saturday night with our Spanish-speaking group.  We will be having the pulled pork again somehow, maybe pulled pork tacos!  Who knows?

Saturday will be a VERY BUSY DAY.  For lunch I plan to throw together an arugula pasta salad with some shredded lemon chicken from earlier this week.  Dinner will be a meal I'm putting together for our Spanish-speaking group...  stay tuned for that!

Sunday is Mother's Day!  My husband and I are hosting my mom, dad, little brother, and grandma for lunch after morning church.  The menu is red chile chicken enchiladas, latin rice, puerco beans, salad, and pudding cake.  All at my mom's request.  The rice and enchiladas will be made the day before, and heated up.  We are purchasing the puerco beans from a sweet lady in our Spanish-speaking group...  she and her husband make the best beans!  My mom found the recipe for pudding cake, and hopefully it comes out all right.

Monday night:  Lemon garlic grilled chicken breasts with rosemary, spinach tortellini topped with shaved parmesan cheese, broiled artichokes, salad.

Tuesday night:  Quick veggie fajitas from Everyday Food magazine, latin rice leftover from Sunday, maybe some frijoles rancheros, fresh fruit.  I'll put up the recipe and pictures later in the week.

Wednesday night:  Skinny chicken alfredo with broccoli (I double the broccoli, and just throw it in the pasta for the last 3 minutes instead of roasting), roasted squash and zucchini.

Thursday night:  Roasted chicken sausage with potatoes, cherry tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, mushrooms.
*NOTE:  Thursday evenings I start teaching a little after 5:00 PM, so dinner is either a crockpot meal, leftovers, or something really fast!*

Friday night:  OUT!!

Saturday lunch:  Easy Paella
Saturday dinner:  I have a baby shower, so my husband is fending for himself!!

Sunday lunch:  Frito chili pie wraps (I reduce the amount of beef to 0.5-0.75 lbs and add a can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, to save money!), roasted broccoli, salad.
Sunday dinner:  Tuscan soup, homemade focaccia rolls.

Other recipes for this week:
Applesauce walnut bread for snacking on.
Smoothies (I like to add a handful of frozen raspberries or blueberries for extra flavor... this makes a wonderful "dessert"!)

I can't promise, but I'll try to post pictures of the majority of our meals for you to see.  I am in NO WAY a photographer, but I really like to see a picture of a meal before I try to make it, so I'll try to provide you guys with a visual image.  Plus, pictures are just plain FUN.

And since every post needs a picture, I'll leave you with this fun little picture:
instagrammed image of Bella after she face-planted in the garden, chasing her tennis ball... how can anyone resist that face??

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