Monday, March 30, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

One of the easiest ways to begin saving money is by planning your meals in advance. This helps ward off last minute runs to the store to get "just one ingredient" where you come out with 10 extra things, or trips through the drive thru.

I've just gotten serious about this again because I know doing it makes my life so much easier. I don't have "what's for dinner?" hanging over my head all day and it helps me to avoid my "pregnancy paralysis" (which is my seeming inability to make even the smallest decisions while pregnant without stressing over them and all the options entirely too much!)

This week starts a new challenge for my family--balancing sports schedules, music lessons and family dinner. It's also what forced me to write out a dinner calendar for the whole month of April. I marked out which nights have:
-Tball games (which means I need to feed my tball player before the game and have something easy to eat at the ballpark for the rest of us),
-Tball practice (which needs a meal that can be ready for us to eat as soon as we all return home from Tball practice)
-and nights that have piano lessons (which is something that either I can put in the oven before I take my daughter to lessons while my husband stays home, or if I'm staying home something that's easy to prepare but can sit a bit if need be after it's finished to accommodate them getting home a little later.)

Also, since my morning sickness and can be known to be "all day sickness" I'm trying to cook with "planned overs" (not leftovers) in mind, so I can spend less time in the kitchen. You'll see examples of that this week.

And--the best thing I found while planning my month long menu--aside from fresh items like milk and produce--I only need 8 additional things from the store to make my entire month of meals! I planned my meals based on meats and frozen veggies I had in the freezer and other items I already had on my pantry shelves. April will be a month of huge grocery store savings for us!

For this week we have:
Sunday: Burgundy Pork Tenderloin (modified--no celery, used half red wine, half beef broth and topped with sliced onions and mushrooms), mashed potatoes (made double for the previous night's dinner), corn, homemade rolls.

Monday: Mom's night out with friends! (woohoo!) Dad and kids are having frozen pizza, carrots and apple slices.

Tuesday: Pork lo mein (using half of planned over pork tenderloin from Sunday night, remaining pork will be chopped and frozen for fried rice later in the month.)

Wednesday: Tball game Turkey, bacon, guacamole, cheese, salsa, and baby spinach in sun dried tomato basil wraps, chips, and grapes. (turkey breast is on sale at Giant for $4.99/lb. this week and grapes are $

Thursday: Piano practice Cheesy chicken and rice with broccoli, remaining homemade rolls from Sunday. (Make extra rice for tomorrow night's dinner)

Friday: Red beans and rice with corn bread and baby spinach salads. (Recipe: mix 2 cans undrained kidney beans with one can undrained stewed tomatoes--chopped. Add .5-1 tsp dried basil and a couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce. Heat on low for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Want more dinner ideas? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie where you can find tons of Meal Plan Monday ideas! (We're number 234!)