Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dinner and my attempt at a month long plan

For some reason dinner stresses me out. Lunch sometimes does too but I can usually throw together something decent. I feel like as a SAHM I should be able to manage dinner, you know?
 Get started early, have it ready when its dinner time,  it should be delicious and healthy and I could have the dishes done before bed time. Bahahahha
Unfortunately life gets in the way.
Example of why dinner time is stressful:
#1: My 1 year old is hungry around 5 pm, my husband is not home at 5 pm
#2: My preschooler loves raw vegetable, my 1 year old cant eat hard veggies yet
#3: I enjoy spice, I have kids that don't love strong flavors or spicy foods
#4: I think we are fairly healthy eaters, and I'm trying to keep us that way
So as you can see, the time we eat, what we eat, how we eat just puts me in a place of UGH about dinner, even thought I love to cook and I'm a SAHM (most of the time).
So I decided to try a month long meal plan and I want to share.
So heres the plan and the steps to get to your own if it sounds like something you'd like to try to make your life simpler. (Instructions at the end)

A month of “Boo-ya” dinners
Week 1
1. Peanut Butter Noodle (
2. BBQ Beef Cups, cucumber salad
3. Salmon, rice and asparagus (   
4. Sloppy Joes
5.  Bean burritos with Guac and side salad
Left overs
Week 2
1.  Mushroom Pork Chops and mack-e cheese
2.  Beef and bean chimichangas
3.  Tuna Casserole
4.  Left overs
5. Fish & good bread & caesar salad
Left overs

Store list for weeks 1-2
S: Spaghetti noodles, garlic, cucumber sticks, Water chestnuts, ginger
M: Beef, onion, biscuit dough, shredded cheddar, bbq sauce
T: Salmon, rice and asparagus
W: refried or black beans, 2 avocados, 1 tomato, onion, garlic, whole wheat tortillas, lettuce, cheddar
R: ground beef, onion, bell pepper

2S: mushrooms, pork chops, onions, elbow mac, milk, butter, cheddar ch.
M: 1lb lean ground beef, corn, bell pepper, taco sauce, 1 can refried beans, tortillas, 1 tomato
T: egg noodles, onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms, milk, frozen peas (1cup), ched cheese (1c.)
R: Fish(sale), bakery bread, lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese 
Week 3
1.  Broiled Tilapia Parmesan & cauliflower
2.  Shrimp, Cheese Grits & corn on the cob
3.  Greek Salad ( grilled pita
4.  Chicken Alfredo lasagna
5.  Lasagna goes a long way
Left overs
Some type of large salad or healthy take out
Week 4
1.  Slow Cooker Ham with green beans
2.  Yummy pasta salad and broiled sweet potatoes
3.  Veggie soup and chicken noodle for kids, bread
4.  Left overs
5.  Grilled Salmon with Asparagus and garlic toast
Left overs
Store list week 3-4
3M: 2 lbs tilapia, mayo, celery seed, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs
T: shrimp, grits, cheddar cheese, corn on cob (fzen or frsh), red pepper
W: tomato, seedless cucumber, red pepper, pitted kalamata, red onion, fresh parsley, evoo, feta, pita bread (wheat)
R: chicken, lasagna noodles, 2 pints ricotta, mozzarella, Alfred pasta sauce, frozen spinach

4M: bone in picnic ham, green beans
T: Spiral pasta, Italian dressing, cheese, cucumbers, carrots, pepperoni, 2 sweet potatoes
W: onion, garlic (3cloves), celery, carrots, chicken broth, tomato sauce, red wine, kidney beans, green beans, zucchinis, fresh oregano/basil, seashell pasta, parm cheese
R: 4 filets salmon, asparagus, garlic bread

Extra dinner ideas:

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole, taco salad, Slow cooker chicken taco soup, Mexican lasagna, Margarita Pizza and wedge salad, Stuffed Shells and Brussels sprouts,  One pot mushroom spinach pasta, Eggplant Parmesan (nuggets for the kids), Chicken fried rice and egg rolls

Steps of month long menu planning.
1.     Pick a bad ass title for your menu
2.     List out your most used dinners, even things as simple as spaghetti and salad
3.     Use a variety of protein, such as white meat, red meat, beans, nuts, fish
4.     If you have a “we do pizza every Friday” or something you will not need list 31 meals
5.     Also if you tend to have left overs in the fridge, we do because ½ of our eaters are little people, then you can take that into account as well and have a day for left overs (Americans waste a ton of food and designating a day to left overs could help you not waste and save some $)
6.     Check your “Go To” websites and blogs for the rest of the meals, think easy and inexpensive (if you’re into that sort of thing)
7.     Break the list into 4 weeks and rearrange if necessary, such as, if you have 3 fish dinners in one week and none in another week cut and paste to make each week have one fish, and one meatless dinner. Obviously if you are vegetarian or don’t eat red meat adjust accordingly.
8.     Add weekdays and make adjustments for your schedule, if you know Tuesdays are a super busy day then make that your left overs day
9.     Add easy sides such as salad, rice or corn on the cob. I googled some sides, such as “what goes good with pork chops”10. Once things make sense for your schedule start the store list on the bottom of the menu. I’m trying out a 2 week list but may end up doing weekly bc we go to the store quite often.
11. Break down each day on the menu and the main ingredients or the ingredients that aren't regularly in your pantry, I had to go into and make sure I “favorited” each dinner that was not in my memory or personal recipes so I know where to find it quickly.
12. Use M,T,W,R,F,S,Su. for the week to make sure you are not forgetting any major items on your store list
13. See how it goes

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