Posts tagged menu

What’s for Dinner: Menu Planning 101

Yay… I’m not the only one. Check out this blog entry for some helpful tips in making your meal planning easier for you. No families are going to plan the same, but getting into the habit is key… and perhaps these tips will help you form a good habit??

Hollie's Hobbies

I just don’t have time, it’s too hard to plan a menu, I never have the ingredients I need, these are several complaints I have heard from myself and friends as to why the food in the refrigerator  spoils and we end up eating out, getting take out or relying on convenience foods. The trick is to have a system in place, only buy what you need and to know your weekly schedule in advance. This will help you save time, money and your sanity. There are several ways to do this but I am going to share what works for me.

Pre planning, This can be the most time consuming of the process but is the key. I keep a spiral notebook that I use for everything that way I only have to look in one place for all I need to know. Mine has pockets which are useful…

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April 22 – 28


Monday – Broccoli cheese polenta pizza – Fast Weeknight Favorites – page 258
Tuesday – Chicken/asparagus strata – BHG: New Cookbook – page 238
Wednesday – Savory stuffed loaf – Great American Home Baking – card 13 of main dishes
Thursday – Asparagus and artichoke quiche – The Essential Baking Cookbook – page 201
Friday – leftovers
Saturday – Turkey/broccoli filled lasagna rolls – BHG: New Cookbook – page 355
Sunday – Spinach and Chicken lasagna stacks – FWF – page 136


• Onions x3
• Black olives
• Frozen bread dough x1
• Bread crumbs
• Plum tomatoes x3
• Ricotta cheese (part skim) x2
• Polenta (16oz)
• Asparagus x1 bunch
• Artichoke hearts 4oz
• Cream
• Gruyere cheese (or comte or beaufort OR swiss)
• Lemon
• 4 english muffins
• Swiss cheese
• Ground turkey 6oz
• Lasagna noodles
• Small red pepper
• Chicken WHOLE
• Leeks x2

*This list is not complete shopping list, due to the fact we have some ingredients at home already (i.e. butter, flour, corn starch, spaghetti sauce, etc)  PLEASE review the recipes you want to make PRIOR to shopping to ensure YOUR list is COMPLETE

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April 15 – April 21

Sunday – Nothing planned

Monday – Tortellini and Chicken Supper (from: 1001 Fast Easy Recipes [found here at Amazon] page 273)

Tuesday – Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (from: Better Homes and Gardens: Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes [found here at Amazon] page 297)

Wednesday – Spinach & Lentil Tortellini Soup (from: BHG – Crock Pot; page 49)

Thursday – Spinach Lasagna (from: Better Homes and Gardens: New CookBook – page 352; back of a box of lasagna noodles)

Friday – Creamy Chicken & Dumplings (from: BHG – Crock Pot; page 360)

Saturday – Bacon Wrapped Chicken (from: 1001 FER; page 237)

Shopping List:
• 2- 9oz package ref. tortellini (to save money buy a bigger package and separate as you cook through the week – this is what we did)
• 1 – 10oz package froz. Peas (we bought a slightly bigger bag to add more peas [veggies] to this meal – but you can also buy more to save money and use for another recipe [chicken and dumpling soup] later this week)
• 2 – 8oz tub cream cheese w/chive & onion (again you can buy bigger to save money and only measure out what you need for the recipe – or you can buy indv. tubs)
• 1 tsp Creole seasonings (if you want to add this seasoning you can buy it – we chose to skip it and the meal turned out fine)
• sour cream (we bought a small tub since you only need ½ cup and we had no anticipation to use the rest during the week and didn’t want to waste)
• 9oz frozen chicken breast (if you don’t want to use frozen you can buy fresh chicken and pre-cook it for your meals for the week – the meals this week won’t be harmed by “pre-cooked” meat)
• 7 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves (this is what you need to cover most of the recipes, however if you want to pre-cook the 9oz above buy another breast)
• Butter (in case you don’t have any in your fridge; we always buy real butter – never margarine, but to each their own)
• 6 bacon strips (we love bacon so we bought more)
• 3 cans condensed creamy soup (I like to buy these on sale with coupons, so bulk up, OR make your own [you can use BHG:New CookBook or a website such as: Creators)
• 2c. cooked chicken (again you can buy pre-cooked chicken or just buy more when you pick up your raw chicken [some grocers/farmers discount meat when you buy in bulk])
• 9-10oz frozen mixed veggies (we always buy bigger bags, like 12-14oz… but we like veggies in this soup)
• Pepper (just in case you don’t have any laying around)
• Dried egg noodles (you’ll only use half a bag so you don’t have to buy huge, unless you LOVE this meal like we do then buy big)
• Broth (or you can make your own – I found a great/simple way to make our own in a baby food book [The Baby Food Bible {found here at Amazon} – pages 131 & 132]
• Dried lentils (we buy these in bulk too – just in case)
• Carrots (to cover all your recipes buy a 1lb bag – you can always use leftovers as appetizers….mmmm)
• 2 Onions (large or med would do fine)
• Canadian ham (4oz small package – this was hard for me to find)
• Garlic (in case you don’t have any in your spice cupboard)
• Basil (fresh is better – but if you are like me you might only have dry)
• Thyme (see above comment)
• 4 cups fresh spinach
• Flour (in case you don’t have any on hand)
• Celery (a small amount is fine since you won’t need too much)
• 4.5oz ref. biscuits
• 1c. froz. Peas (again you can buy this separate or with your peas up top)

**Since this week is almost up AND we have already done all the shopping for these meals the price est (I didn’t save the receipts) was around $100 for the week [remember this is feeding FOUR people] if you are feeding more or less you can adjust the recipes.  Your price could also adjust if you have left over ingredients from a  previous week OR if you have all the spices/extras lying around.  We also bought the bulk of what we needed at the local market [Ken’s Market] and the minor stuff that Ken’s didn’t cover we bought at Meijer.

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