Menu Planning/ Preparation Work 12/19/2016

The week before Christmas, we are staying busy in addition to trying to get some things planned ahead. This year, we will have Christmas breakfast (baked oatmeal) head to church and then home for a huge meal with my parents.  Christmas night we are going to have friends over for an snack/leftover festival. I like the idea of having lots of food but really don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, so I am trying to plan and get some preparation work done early in the week. Here is what our schedule for cooking ahead looks like so far, you will notice that I don’t have plan to do anything on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The explanation for this is my work schedule, if I have extra time great but otherwise I am still prepared.

Sunday- Pull all recipes and finalize plans for food.  Lunch will be Turkey and Ham, both in crockpots, squash casserole, pineapple casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and cream corn.  Desert will be pumpkin and sweet potato pie.  Appetizers for dinner including cheese/meat ball, veggies and dip, chips with dip and 2 types of Mexican dip.

Monday- Cut up veggies including celery and onions for all dishes. Fry sausage for breakfast on Saturday morning and Mexician Dip.

Thursday- Sweet potatoes pies and pumpkin pie. Make cheese ball

Saturday- Assemble all casseroles and get everything in crock pots to start on Sunday morning- make sugar cookies for Santa. Cook cranberry sauce.

Of course we still need to eat this week and with all the planning and work for Christmas day it will be really easy to eat out without a plan. My goal for this week is no eating out!

Breakfast–   Saturday- Big Breakfast- grits, eggs, bacon and biscuits.. Sunday- choices  Monday-Fruit. Tuesday-  fried bologna and eggs Wednesday- choices. Thursday-  Choices Friday- Choices.  Saturday (Christmas Eve) Sausage croissants and hashbrown casserole. Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast,, toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have chicken and stars soup,  uncrustables  and homemade lunchable. They are out of school on Thursday and Friday, Zach has already requested pizza Quesada . I have salad, and leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- chill  Dinner- cowboy beans/chilli
Sunday- Lunch- Baked Potato bar. Dinner- Chicken cresant rolls
Monday- Hamburger Helper
Wednesday-  Pork Chops
Thursday- Leftovers or Sandwhiches
Friday- Pigs in a blanket and movie

Lots of food and fun scheduled for this week.

Menu Plan Monday


As I was putting together this post I realized that I have not posted a menu plan in over a month. We are continuing to plan a month at a time but are pretty flexible with changes if need be. Over the past month and again in December, I am making an effort to clean out the freezer. We are purchasing a cow and need to make space to place the meat. One thing you will notice is that we are eating out several times this week. The reason is simple Lily’s birthday.

Breakfast–   Saturday- Left-overs including hash brown casserole, eggs, grits and gravy. Sunday- Choices.  Monday-Left-overs or choices. Tuesday- Baked Banana oatmeal Wednesday- choices. Thursday- Breakfast burrito bowl Friday- Choices.  Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast,, toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have tomato soup, spaghettios, uncrustables x2 and chicken nuggets. I have salad x 2, sandwhich wrap and leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- Pizza Hut (used coupons).   Dinner- Outback .
Sunday- Lunch- Baked Potato bar. Dinner- Chill (leftover from lunch and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Monday- Kielbasa and rice
Tuesday-Taco Tuesday
Wednesday-  Grilled Chicken
Thursday- I have a party so leftovers or soup for the rest
Friday- Kids are having pizza at church and Matt will eat at Taco Bell. Not sure what I will end up doing.

Thursday Thoughts

Many things are going on around here, so are money saving and some are just fun so I thought I would share some .

  • Matt is working on digging holes for our new trees that are scheduled to arrive today. I purchased 6 fruit trees last month. I realize that these may take several (3-5) years to produce but I am so excited to be able to do some eatable landscaping.  We are getting 2 apples and 2 pear trees, so they will cross pollinate, 1 cherry and 1 peach tree.  They are going in our backyard along the property line to create a natural boundary.
  • My goal for the weekend is to get my snow village up and in place. I am so excited to have time to spend on this project this year without feeling rushed. I will refrain from placing other Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving but the snow village can go up now and stay til at least January.
  • We picked up our Zaycon steak order this morning! Both boxes were less than one pound off the promised weight so we have a $15 credit to use on our next order. The steak look amazing! Can’t wait to try them tomorrow night.
  • Menu planning has definitely not gone as planned this week. Last weekend we spent trying to finish up left-overs and made some head way but not enough. We are not eating out just not eating what is scheduled. Today, I am making broccoli-cheese soup and steak will be on Friday. I am betting that Saturday will be left-overs again.
  • No grocery spending this week!
  • The temperature has finally turned to fall and we ended up turning on our heat on Sunday. Our first hard freeze is expected this weekend which means the end of tomatoes and green peppers. I did plant some lettuce and we are getting a small amount from that so I hope that will continue for a few more weeks.

Saving on Saturday-11/05/2016

  • The weather is continuing to cooperate. We have not used heat or air in 45 days! This may one of the longest streaks ever! I am very hopefully to make it till the 15th of November.
  • I washed and hung out to dry 4 loads of sheets today. That saved at least 4 hours of dryer time. Matt was able to wash and hang out a load of my uniforms earlier in the week as well.
  • Eating left-overs, I am in charge of cooking on the weekend and I usually enjoy cooking at least 3 meals in a two day period.  This weekend, beginning on Friday, we are eating out of the fridge. I will make a pot of soup for lunch tomorrow before our pictures but otherwise this is food that will go to waste if we don’t eat so at least four or meals it is. I did make one change to our rules this time. You can only eat breakfast foods for breakfast.
  • Trimmed and polished our nails at home instead of getting manicures before our family pictures on Sunday. This step alone saved at least $75.
  • Found a local photographer who is willing to travel to my brother’s house. None of my family does well in a crowd but we all LOVE pictures. Over the past several years, we have discovered it is much easier for all of us to hire someone to come take family pictures. I also think in the end it saves money and allows a less stressful time.
  • Combining online deals. Zachary’s sheet have a mysterious hole in them. They are unfortunately the only set of “boy” twin sheet we have. I was able to combine a doorbuster deal at JCPenny’s along with a coupon they set to me. I was able to purchase 2 sets of sheets for his bed, a set of flannel sheets for Lily’s bed, a hoodie for Kendall and 4 shirts for me all for $113. I will receive back $10 in JCPenny Rewards in addition to $7 in Swagbucks.  Sheets are normally expensive so I counting all the clothes as free!
  • Meal planning- we have spent $100 at Costco so far this month and I hope that will be the extend of our grocery spending. In order for this to happen, meal planning is a must. We currently have enough meals planned for the entire month of November!
  • Matt and I both are continuing to make an effort to earn money via apps. Our current goal is to make between $150 and $200 a month. We are on track already for November with $50 this first week.

Menu Planning

Our crazy life continues but it appears that we may slow down just a bit after this week. One of the advantages to doing a monthly menu plan is that it allows us to adjust if wanted or needed without running out to the store. I made some big changes from our original plan this week for two reasons. The first was that I was given several food items that need to be used in the next week. Secondly, the weather has finally turned to fall and our garden should be much slower in production in the next couple of weeks. We have been letting our green peppers grow and were rewarded with a HUGE harvest today. I actually had enough to make stuff green peppers for dinner, put away a bag to freeze to use in soup and have enough left to make breakfast burrito bowls later this week.

reakfast–   Saturday- Sausage Cresant Rolls(the fill was actually left-over from last week). Sunday- Choices.  Monday-Overnight Apple French Toast. Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- choices. Thursday- Breakfast burrito bowl Friday- Choices.  Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast, pop-tart or toaster strudel, Breakfast croissant, toast or cereal.

Lunch- Our lunch menu has changed as Kendall had a really rough time with her braces and we decided to buy thermos for both Zach and Kendall to use. Monday-Egg salad for Kendall and chicken nuggets for Zach. Tuesday- Macroni and Beef, Wednesday- Kendall wants left over soup and Zach has chicken nuggets again. Thursday-Tomato soup and goldfish, and Friday- Spaghetti O’s. I have already made two salad for this week and will take leftovers otherwise.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- leftovers.   Dinner- Kimonos(eating out).
Sunday- Lunch- Broccoli- Cheese Soup. Dinner- Stuffed green Peppers. (I also frozen enough stuffing for another meal.)
Monday- Squash peperoni pie. ( Made this up trying to use what we had, if it works will be awesome and easy to throw in again)
Tuesday-Mexican casserole- already in fridge
Wednesday- Kielbasa and rice
Thursday- pulled pork and carrots
Friday- country style steak and gravy or leftovers depends on how the week goes.

Menu Planning

We survived the last couple of weeks!  This week things are a tiny bit slower with no baseball game on Monday!  We have changed to a monthly menu plan and I am really enjoying the way it is working. First, Matt and I both know what is on the plan for dinner but we also know that if something changes grab another night. Second, it allows us to know what items we need to purchase and what things can wait. My goal for the last 3 months of the year, is to keep our grocery budget to less than $300 a month. This is a low low number for us but we have several large meat orders that we are working our way through which helps to significantly reduce the budget in addition to several family birthday and trips that mean we get to eat out more. Finally, we are finally not wasting food, or at least wasting a small amount which gets tossed in the compost bin so not really a waste. In fact that is the theme of this week’s plan… eating up leftovers!

Breakfast–   Saturday-Cereal, Sunday- Trisha Yearwood Breakfast Casserole.  The rest of the week will be a choice of leftovers, cereal, fried eggs, yogurt or breakfast bars.

Lunch- This week, I will have already made a chicken salad for Monday, and Tuesday- salad. Wednesday and Friday will be leftovers.  Zach and Kendall have 2 days of chicken nuggets, 2 Uncrustables with cheese crackers. and a sandwich. Lily and Matt will have frozen burritos or leftovers or pizza or chicken nuggets.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- grilled cheese sandwich. (Trying to use up some bread)   Dinner-Leftover of choice
Sunday- Lunch- Friends provided . Dinner- Pick your left over meat, I cooked green beans, stuffing and fried apples to go along with this.
Monday- Chicken Fried Rice
Tuesday-Amanda’s birthday- Eating out to celebrate
Wednesday- Hamburger Helper
Thursday- Turkey pot pie (To finish up the left over turkey)
Friday- Homemade pizza night

One other important note, Lily is enjoying cooking and is making usually one meal a week. This past week, she actually made stuffed green peppers on Thursday, a cake on Friday and the breakfast casserole on Saturday for Sunday morning.

Menu Planning-10/02/2016

I tried to get things planned and prepped ahead for this week as it would appear to be one of the busiest so far. I will not even make it home on Monday till after cheerleading. I am actually taking two meals with me that day.   One thing that has been working the last couple of weeks for us is Soup on Sunday. It is easy to put everything in the crockpot and let cook while we are at church. After lunch, I have been turning off the crockpot and we can enjoy a second time for dinner. I plan to continue this at least for a month and see if anyone object loudly.

Breakfast–   You will notice I am planning on cooking a lot more than usual this week. One of the reason is I am heading to work later. I always store the leftovers for the next week. Saturday-Gravy Biscuits by request, Sunday- leftovers.  Monday- Breakfast Burrito Bowl- I am not scheduled to work till 9:30 and I have already cut up everything to cook. Tuesday- Cereal or yogurt, Wednesday- Baked Oatmeal, Thursday- Tricia Yearwood’s Breakfast casserole, Friday- Leftovers.

Lunch- This week, I will have leftovers and salad. Zach and Kendall have 2 days of chicken nuggets, 2 Uncrustables with pirate booty and a sandwich. Lily and Matt will have salad or leftovers or pizza or chicken nuggets.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- leftovers.   Dinner- Meatloaf, squash casserole, mashed potatoes and cake.
Sunday- Lunch- Taco Soup. Dinner- Sloppy Joes and French Fries
Monday- leftovers
Tuesday-Chicken pie, green beans from freezer and fruit
Wednesday- Pulled pork, carrots and fruit
Thursday- Country Style Steak, rice and fruit
Friday- Homemade pizza night or leftovers. .

I am amazed to look back and realize how far we really have come in the past year. In October last year, I was excited to say that our eating out budget was contained at $200 which was half of September. This year we have more activities and I am excited to say that we spent less than $50 in September on eating out, except for Zach’s birthday meal.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • Zach got a hit and ran all the way to 3rd base last night. He ran and  touched home plate!  Even a loss is fun when you are learning.
  • We have been without air conditioning or heat for the past week I think we save approximately $25 a week this way.
  • All three kids have field trip this month. I am sad to say that Lily’s trip to play putt putt was the cheapest at $15. What happen to “free public school.”
  • We are continuing to earn extra money to pay toward our next Disney Trip. September has been a great month, by friend we should have earned $100 in gift cards.
  • I get to speak at Kendall school on Thursday.  She is so excited, I hope she will be proud afterwards.

Menu Planning-9/25/2016

Another busy week in store. We are determined to keep our food bill down so with a plan in place here we go.

Breakfast–  Saturday-We splurged- Breakfast from Biscuit King, Sunday- Yogurt and leftovers.  Monday- Grits and Eggs (I am not planning to head to work till 9 so good morning to cook) . The rest of the week will be leftovers including Waffles, cereal, toast including French toast  or yogurt.

Lunch- This week, I will have leftovers and salad. Zach and Kendall have 2 days of chicken nuggets, 2 Uncrustables with pirate booty and a sandwich. Lily and Matt will have salad or leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- leftovers.   Dinner- leftovers.
Sunday- Lunch- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Dinner- Cheeseburger Pizza
Monday- Rice Kreola
Tuesday-Cowboy Beans from freezer
Wednesday- Turkey breast and stuffing
Thursday- Beef and Broccoli or left overs
Friday- Squash lasagna or leftovers.


Simple and quick are the cues for the week. Maybe we will get more creative next week.

Menu Plan- 9/11/2016

This coming week our lives have officially hit the crazy stage again with multiple (yes meaning more than one) practices each night except for Friday. We also have eye appointments this week.  I know that without a plan we would be eating fast food a lot but here is the plan.

Breakfast–  Saturday- Gravy Biscuits, Sunday- Breakfast Burritos.  Monday- Strawberry and Cream Baked Oatmeal. The rest of the week will be leftovers including Waffles, cereal or Sausage Egg Croissants (on sale at Costco)

Lunch- We have enough Lunchables left to finish out the week. I have pre-cut up salad things for several of the days for Lily and myself.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- Fast food.   Dinner- Cookout with neighbors
Sunday- Lunch- “Alice Springs Chicken”, 6 layer salad, and creamed corn.    Dinner-leftovers or sandwiches
Monday- Sloppy Joes and French fries .
Tuesday-Spaghetti and meatballs, Garlic toast
Wednesday- Honey Garlic Shrimp (new recipe) and fruit
Thursday- Beef and Broccoli or left overs
Friday- Shepherd’s pie