Menu Plan Monday – 9 Apr 12

With four adults in the house, a baby on the way, three dogs, and very limited finances (I’m not employed, two of us have a part-time job or two, and one of us is employed full-time), things are pretty tight around the household. And I’m sure that many folks are feeling the same way. There is a lot of pantry- and freezer-cooking going on around here, especially now that MIL and I cleaned out the big freezer today to figure out what’s available! Because I’m not working (for pay, outside the home), and probably won’t be offered many opportunities now that I’m in my 7th month of pregnancy, I’ve offered to do meal planning for the family so we can save on groceries, and so I can try to build up a stockpile of healthier food while I’m “out of commission” for a while. Even better, having to meal plan for the family, instead of just the two of us, means I’m held accountable for posting every week! Bonus!

Unlike the last time I tried this (almost a YEAR AGO), I won’t be doing a full day’s meals for the whole week, just suppers and a few desserts. Lunches can be taken care of with leftovers; and breakfast is a pretty routine affair, for me, and basically nonexistent for everyone else.

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Menu Plan Monday – May 9

Contrary to what you may believe, I actually do like Menu Plan Mondays – I like the organization, the search for a recipe, the knowing of future meals (and therefore, the absence of just-in-time stress when dinnertime rolls around and there isn’t anything on the table). I like the game of cutting coupons and searching the sales for the chance to really win at the grocery store. My goal is to one day be like a couple of my friends and get paid to take my groceries home. The problem is, I’m not terribly good at following through with the ideal in my head – it looks good, and I like it, but it is a bit time-consuming and I’m not exactly a master at the couponing or the menu planning. But then again, no one starts out an expert. Even if I don’t stick to the plan to a tee, at least the plan’s there if I need it.

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Here we go: Meal Plan Monday

I know. You thought I was dead. But I’m not, just absent. The new place still doesn’t have Internet (and probably won’t for a while), so I’m limited to Internet at work. And it’s taken a month for the home life to calm down enough that I can start typing up posts to publish. Before too long, maybe I’ll be able to write enough I can actually (gasp!) make a buffer.

Woah, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Meal Plan Monday, first of all. Other posts, forthcoming.

The ever-popular Meal Plan Monday started over at I’m an Organizing Junkie, thanks to Laura. I’ve been trying out MPM without posting it for the past couple of weeks, just so that we can cut back on the grocery bill. I’m coming to like it, even if planning for a whole week’s meals is a little hard to do. Especially when plans don’t work out like you planned at all. But hey, at least I had a plan, right? This week, especially, is difficult – the weather is doing this weird winter-at-night, summer-during-the-day temperature range. What I call “pneumonia weather.” It makes it really hard to plan for fall food when it’s supposed to be 70°F during the day and 40°F after the sun goes down. Nonetheless, we persevere!

(Meatless) Monday: Fettucine marinara with garbanzos, Brussel sprouts

Tuesday: Sunday Leftovers Redux – Pork hash sandwiches, homemade baked macaroni & cheese & broccoli; sugar-free banana pudding

Wednesday: Roast Chicken & Vegetables, Rolls; White Crème Brûlée

Thursday: Grilled garlic pork chops, carrots & young sweet peas

Friday: Date Night Out! :)

Saturday: Ribollita & Crusty Italian Bread

Sunday: DIY

Planning meals, for those of you like me.

And ‘like me’ means that you’re bad at it, mostly because you simply don’t think about it that far in advance. Generally you cook on inspiration or out of sheer need, which can be lovely, but generally just means you want food and you want it soon and leftovers be damned.

Ever heard of Quamut? Yeah, me neither, until B&N sent me a newsletter that I happened to scroll through (it had Breaking Dawn in the title, so I couldn’t help myself). A Quamut is basically a howto guide that comes in three formats: free online, pay-for .pdf or pay-for laminated. This one was a free download for the week and it’s about planning meals. Now, I know that I can’t be the only one that is miserable at planning meals, despite the fact that I’m aware that I should solely for the fact that I often don’t eat until 9:00pm most days because I can’t be arsed to fix anything until I’m so hungry I have to. But this handy little guide is actually pretty useful, I thought. Some of the information is something some of us might know, but especially for new kitchen pioneers, the how-to stuff would be gold. I like the seasonal produce list, and the pantry stock, myself.

Anyone who may be interested, check it out and download it before the week’s over. If you can’t get to it until after the free period’s over, email me and I’ll send you a copy of the .pdf. I don’t think that’s copyright violation… right?