Archive for the ‘menu planning’ Category

Allow me to set the scene for you:

Katie is typing a quick Facebook status about feeling accomplished this week: “I’ve got my meal plan for next week done. Just need to buy a couple of things and we’re good!!!!”

Katie’s friends”I don’t know how you do it.”

Really? It’s not terribly hard. I don’t say that in a demeaning way, to make anyone feel bad. I say it with all honesty to encourage everyone to give it a try. Anyone from a college student living with roommates to the mom with 7 kids, can meal plan and have one less thing to worry about because you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to do at 3pm on a busy Monday night

Anyone who knows me, knows that on some things, I procrastinate. One look at my office at work, you know I let things stack up before I get so tired of it all and I am in a mad organizing tirade. (I am getting very close to that tirade right  Operation New Years organization is right around the corner. ) I am TELLING YOU, you can do it. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Here is how to start, and please realize this is what works for me. Feel free to change, adjust and implement whatever you need to to make this work best for your schedule;

Do this at your own pace! Some people jump head first into meal planning. They are able to do it religiously week after week, month after month. Some people need to work up to that point. It is OK if you are not transformed into Susie Homemaker immediately upon making the decision that you are going to start meal planning.

Use every resource you have! This is a no-brainer, right? Use cookbooks that you have at home. Pull out your tried and true favorite recipes but also, utilize other sources. The Internet is FULL of fabulous recipes from Allrecipes.com, to The Pioneer Woman, A Year of slow cooking, and Pinterest!!! The possibilities are endless. My personal tips though read reviews. I have found some great recipes on Allrecipes but before I make the dish, I read as many reviews as I can to find out how people have changed up the recipe from the original. Sometimes the results are fantastic.

Take stock of your refigerator, freezer and pantry BEFORE you start planning. Myhusband and I like to stock up our freezer with meats as they go on sale. We also like to hit our local store during triple coupon week for staples like broth, marinades, soy sauce, rice etc. Things we frequently use and that I know are there BEFORE I even think about looking up recipes. Alot of times, for me it helps in determining where I look,and cuts down time spent actually planning.

Write out your week. Whether you use your computer to plan, or use a pre-made template, or you just take a sheet of paper and write it out, think of what yur family has to do that week before you choose to homemade lasagna. I like to have at least one day for leftovers. Generally, I plan meals M-F with one leftover day and the weekend open to either eat out, or “repurpose” my leftovers. 🙂 Below is an example of this coming weeks meal plan for my family:

Meal plan Jan 16-20


Obligations-  Dr appt 2:30pm

Asian style meatballs and rice

Stir fry veggies(Bok choy?)


Obligations- Derek, meeting 7pm

HT “meal deal:

Chicken tenders




Obligations: Katie-work

Mon/Tues leftovers



Mini skillet meat loaves

Twice baked sweet potatoes




Obligations- Derek work(day) Katie work(night)

Pork tenderloin and veggies(crock pot) http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amazing-Pork-Tenderloin-in-the-Slow-Cooker/Detail.aspx

Make a shopping list After I plan, I jot down a shopping list of things I do not have on hand that I will need for my recipes. Makes going to the store alot easier than going in and meal planning in the aisles(I’ve been guilty of that MANY times.) If you coupon, check those binders to see what you can get on sale. Our local store, Harris Teeter, often times offers a meal deal where you get a full meal for $6.99 or so(depending on what they re offering. In the mel plan above (see Tuesday,) they offered Chicken tenders frozen veggies, rolls and a 2 liter of coke for $6.99.  Nice!

Set specific days for planning and shopping.I like to try an do my meal planning on Thursday and shop Sunday(morning or evening after work.) Thursday makes me feel like I still have enough time left in the week to make any changes that I need and to look at sales.

and finally

Put your meal plan somewhere, where you will see it all week. Otherwise you may forget all about it.

Don’t forget to take the meat out to defrost!!!!

I know what you are saying, “Katie, honestly, this is common sense.” Yes, it really is, but if you discipline yourself (set that reminder on your iphone to meal plan, if you must), you will be feeling accomplished every week and alot less stressed when you realize you don’t have to scramble at the last minute trying to think, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”

Good luck and happy planning.


Read Full Post »

I have to say that I am proud of myself. I planned this coming weeks meals out early this past week. mainly because I knew I would have to go shopping today(Saturday) for everything before seeing DH off for his mission trip. I am proud to report that aside from a few things that were “extras”(a pillow form for DD1 who keeps complaining about her car seat hurting her back, and a couple other things; snacks, etc.) I spent less than $85.

So without further ado:

Monday- Tater Tot Casserole.

Unlike many recipes out there, I do not add ground beef or veggies. Mine is simple(and my BIL was never a big fan):

1 pkg tater tots

1 can Cream of mushroom soup

cheddar cheese


green onion (chopped)

mix tater tots(frozen) and soup add in just a little bit of milk(enough to make it coat the tater tots), mix in cheese and green onion( how much you add depends on how much you like. You can add cut up smoked sausage which I do on occasion. Pour mixture into a glass pan and bake at 375 for 20-30 mins, You can also sprinkle more cheese on top.

Tuesday- Impossible Garden Pie

2 c Brocolli OR Cauliflower -Fresh, chopped

1 1/2 c Milk
3/4 c Bisquick or baking mix
1/2 c Onion; chopped

3 Eggs
1/2 c Green pepper; chopped

1 ts Salt
1 c Cheddar cheese; shredded

1/4 ts Pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease pie plate (10″x1 1/2″) Cook brocolli
till almost tender; drain thoroughly*. Mix brocolli, onion, green pepper in
pie plate. Beat remaining ingredients 15 sec in blender or 1 minute with
hand beater or till smooth. Pour in pie plate. Bake till golden brown and
knife inserted in centre comes out clean; aprrox. 35 – 40 minutes. Let
stand 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with tomato slices and parlsey.
*1 pk (10 oz) frozen chopped brocolli (thawed) or cauliflower thawed and
drained may be substituted for the fresh. Do NOT cook.

Wednesday- Leftovers(kids are going to their Auntie’s house and I am getting together with friends to sew!!!)

Thursday-Chicken nuggets and fries

Friday-Homemade pizza

That’s it!!!!! I am also making a goal to sew from 7pm-10pm each night, assuming everyone in the house cooperates? I have much to catch up on!!!!

Read Full Post »

Forgive me.  The menu is now, 2.5 days late???? Well, this is what I get for starting my blog on a Tuesday, right???? I try so hard to plan out a menu for the week (M-F) but there are weeks I forget, and I have to wing it. Luckily I can jog my memory of past recipes that have been a hit. Being married to an Asian, noodles are always a great standby.  Plus the twins LOVE noodles. My oldest only likes them with a soy/ginger type sauce. Crazy kid.

That being said here is the menu for the week of June 2oth

Monday: Asian beef Tacos. (The recipe called for them to be done in the slow cooker but I marinated the meat, and then cooked it up like fajitas, thickening the sauce as I went. My recommendation? Use as little cinnamon as possible.)

Tuesday: Veggie and Shrimp Pasta. (This one is easy: Sautee garlic and olive oil add chopped veggies of your choice: I did red and yellow peppers, yellow squash and zucchini, add cooked shrimp, but I used raw and cooked it in a couple mins, add a can of diced tomatoes, any herbs of your choice and at the very end, add spinach and cook until it wilts. Toss with pasta of your choice.)

Wednesday: leftovers– my honey has a meeting so we’ll have letovers from the last 2 nights. Lord knows we have plenty.

Thursday: Fried Rice-Hubby’s turn to cook. He’ll make enough for leftovers for the wee ones who LOOOOOOOOOVE fried rice.

Friday: Hot dogs. My niece and I will be letterboxing that day, so something simple for sure.

Don’t hate me. I have next weeks menu planned out. I’ll post that this weekend though.

What’s on the sewing plan?

Ice pop sleeves!!!!! These will keep those little hands from freezing while holding those messy ice pops(akak otter pops). made frome a cute outer fabric lined with terry cloth. I can;t wait to get some done to share with you all

In the mail??? Burp cloths!!! I just mailed these off to a friend in CA today:

Read Full Post »