Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Menu Planning


Menu planning!
It's something I need to do but really struggle with. I will be very organized about this for a while and then just go back to my natural inclination which is to be more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. When you are trying to feed a family of 7, that really isn't practical though. I tend to go to the store and buy what sounds good and is on sale as far as main dish meats. Then I add in a bunch of staples for sides and my shopping is done. I usually have to get creative each day with what is on hand. Because of this, we eat a nice variety of meals and most are pretty good.
I was inspired by this post at the Simple Mom site to get back to menu planning. I like how she has it all online with links to her recipes and set to send her daily reminders. Very clever! So I started making a list of our tried and true dinner favorites. Now, I have been married and cooking for 20 years. I should have a really big list by now, but I was struggling to think of things. What do we eat? We eat a whole bunch of stuff, but a lot of our meals are one time deals using up what is in the pantry/fridge. These are hard to remember and repeat.
So, next I resorted to asking the kids for their opinions.
Some of their suggestions were:
fishsticks
fries
bread
pancakes
[sigh] I had to explain that I was looking for healthy, homemade, economical meals. Then I got the blank stares. You know, there are gonna be times when fish sticks and fries will be served around here (usually when I am gonna be gone ;-). The goal, however, is to eat healthy and cheap. That generally means cooking most everything from scratch instead of buying stuff to heat up.
Here are some of the ideas we have come up with so far:

MEXICAN
Enchiladas-Beef
Enchiladas-Chicken
Enchilada Casserole
Tacos
Taco Salad
Store-bought burritos with enchilada sauce and cheese added
Fajitas

ITALIAN
Spaghetti
Lasagna
Creamy Pasta (Alfredo)
Creamy Tomato Pasta
Chicken Parm
Eggplant Parm
Pizza
Calzones

ORIENTAL
Sushi
Fried Rice
Eggrolls
Stir Fry
Orange Chicken
General Tso's Chicken
Chicken Lo Mein
(some of these I need to come up with good recipes for making these from scratch)

BEEF
Shepherd Pie
Sloppy Joes
Meatloaf
Italian Beef
Grilled Steaks
Hamburgers
Beef and Noodles
Chili
Meatballs
Steak Kabobs
Beef Burgundy
Beef Stroganoff
Onion Steaks

PORK
Grilled chops
Pork Chops a la Jenni
Creamy Tomato Pasta with sausage
Ribs
Ham tetrazini

CHICKEN
Crockpot Chicken
Marinated Grilled
Chicken and Noodles
Chicken Salad
Baked
Casserole

CASSEROLES
Kitchen Sink Surprise
Tuna Noodle

TUNA
Creamed Tuna over Toast
Tuna Croquettes
Tuna Noodle Casserole

SOUP
Clam Chowder
Potato
Vegetable
Chicken Noodle

BREAKFAST TYPE
Pancakes
Omelets
Biscuits and Gravy
Quiche
Egg Casserole
Baked French Toast

MISC.
Baked Potatoes
Hot Dog Pie

SIDES
Mashed Cauliflower
Crash Potatoes

I will continually adding to this as I think of more things. Several of these items (especially those in the Oriental category) are things that I usually buy premade in the freezer section of Sam's Club. Ideally, I need to learn to make them from scratch. I would also like to add in more fish to our diets. Lately, what fish we have been having is frozen from Sam's. We especially love their blackened salmon, but it barely stretches to feed us all and it gets expensive.
I'll have to keep you all updated on how this goes. Maybe I can share my menu plans and some recipes.

3 comments:

anjanette said...

i'm going to have to be more diligent about menu planning now that the hubby will be home for dinner.

ugh.

love the theory...procrastinate at the practice.

Trish Richhart said...

Amen, Sister!

Thriftin and Craftin said...

What a GREAT blog you shared. I always use Google Calendar, and now I've got my meals set for a month. BIG HUG to you. Thanks for sharing!