I sat down early in January with a calendar print out and my stack of loose recipe pages and the couple of books I had and sketched out a meal plan. I tried to have one of two days of leftovers scheduled in, mostly on busy days or on days where I knew we may have other plans to eat. I also tried to have easier, non complicated recipes during the week. This way, A. can start dinner depending on my schedule and what time I would be home to finish dinner. Earlier in the month A. stated that he wanted to try to eat less pasta, so I’ve made an attempt to only have one-two pasta dishes in a 7 day period. Rice is not included in the pasta category. I also tried to have at least four seafood/fish dish each month.
This is the first attempt; by the end of the month things had been moved around to accommodate schedules/other events in our lives. For example, on Sunday the 17th I had chicken enchiladas listed. I ended up making them on Monday the 18th because we had people over for games and I made enough to feed everyone. I also nixed the southwestern burritos because I pretty much used all the tortilla wraps for enchiladas. We had shrimp stirfry on the 22nd (doubled to feed a crowd with leftovers), one-pot pasta on the 23rd (it was quick and easy before we went out), calzones on the 24th (also made for people over our house). The penne annd frittata had to be moved to the following week.
I’m not sure how I am going to write these out to you, by week, by date, or even just a list of all the meals we’ve eaten this month, some of the recipes linked to where I got them. Maybe I’ll just try each way for the first three months and you can comment on which method you like better.
Week One (4th-9th):
Baked Chicken and tossed salad
Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad (cold)
Leftovers x 2
Sausage and Black Bean Soup
Week Two (10th-16th):
Chicken Agrodolce – without polenta – with Vegetable Quinoa salad
Orange glazed Salmon with snowpeas (did not come out very good, not sure what went wrong)
Trivia/BBQ Food truck
Ropa Vieja over rice
Monthly Winter Soup Series: Spicy Mexican Fiesta Soup (Saturday)
Week Four (24-31):
Leftover Shrimp stirfry
Creamy Chicken Soup with crusty bread moved to February because we ran out of chicken
Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Rice
Penne with broccoli, garlic and oil similar to this one
One-pot Mac-n-cheese with sweet potato
Extra: Browned Butter Salmon with green beans
I did make two pans of the Chicken Pot Pie I had listed for January 31st, but I froze both of them. So I’ll have two meals ready to go for extra busy weeks in February/March!
A. asked me why I was doing the monthly calendar. I told him it was to keep variety in our diet – which is true to most extent. As you read above, this is a learning process and can vary greatly week to week. I did recently read a blog post via Pinterest on buying most of what you need at the beginning of the month – except for the whole month’s fresh produce and dairy. These two you would buy two weeks at a time. I am thinking that by mapping out my meals by month, I can buy all my frozen veggies, most of my meats and household products at one time and substitute in fresh produce and dairy half way through the month. This may or may not work; we shall see. I hope that it will eliminate the need to go to the grocery store mid-week because I ran out of something I didn’t account for earlier or because we are having friends over for a game night and we don’t have anything to offer them… which in the long run should be cutting down our grocery budget?
What are your thoughts?