In an attempt to stick to our grocery budget and reduce food waste, I decided I needed to get back in the habit of menu planning. I go through phases of being good about this and not so much... But I find when I don't plan, too much food gets tossed.
I also am starting to coupon again... it's been a while! I got so overwhelmed with keeping up on the cutting and filing. It's really time consuming, and if I get even one week behind it's a nightmare to try and catch up. So I read about a different filing method recently, probably on Frugal Living, that requires no cutting! I just stick each week's inserts into a page protector or pocket divider inside my coupon binder and label them with the date. The beauty of frugal living's website is they post all deals and matchups for you, including where to find each coupon. So this way I'm only cutting the coupons I need for each particular deal. Saves me so much time! Most deals they post are local, meaning Portland metro area. But I imagine there are similar websites for different parts of the country.
Here's what I got for free this week: fabric softener crystals, spices, nail clippers, tweezers, nail files, crackers, Frank's red hot sauce and yakisoba noodles. Plus I got 22 cent deodorant, 79 cent dishwasher detergent, 50 cent frozen dinner rolls, 19 cent gum and 50 cent flushable wipes. Woohoo!
So back to the menu. I thought I'd post my meals for this week, along with recipes for some as I get to them. Sometimes I get in a cooking slump and need some inspiration, and I love hearing what others are making for dinner!
I usually go through my recipe binder and pick out 5 or 6 things I'd like to make ( I figure we may eat out once, or have dinner at my parents'...). I try to pick a couple things that use the same ingredients to reduce waste. And I always have to pick a meat dish and a vegetarian dish, hopefully that sort of compliment each other- that way my dinner can be Mike's side dish. Or I'll just pick a great veggie meal, then bake some chicken to go with it. My poor hubby. I am hopeless with the chicken. I was 13 or 14 when I stopped eating meat altogether, and haven't touched it since... sooo I never really learned to cook it. Luckily he isn't a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He likes chicken. That's about it. So that makes my life easier. And he's ok with a vegetarian meal now and then. Love him.
So here's what I chose for this week:
1. Thai chicken bites; Asian spinach salad with baked tofu
2. Pizza puffs (don't laugh, they're yummy); baked potato soup; quinoa salad with parsley and lemon
3. Chicken and potato curry with rice (crockpot, woohoo!); quinoa red pepper salad with tofu
4. Sausage and fennel pasta; carrot apple salad (a new fav, can't wait to post it!), cauli with cilantro lime cream
5. Farfalle with tomato goat cheese sauce; baked chicken of some sort; homemade steak fries
6. Barley and edamame salad; summer squash and corn chowder; mustard parmesan crusted chicken
7. Weekend lunch- black bean tostadas with spicy corn relish
I don't really choose which days to have which meals- I like a little flexibility. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for something. But this makes it super easy to just choose a meal in the morning, and do as much of the prep as I can ahead of time. Makes that cranky-hungry-kids-tired-mama-4:00 time much more bearable.
Hopefully this helps if you need some meal ideas for your menu planning! I'll be posting most of these recipes in the next week or so, as I make them so I can show you pics!
What are you cooking this week?