Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meal Planning

Feeding a family of seven is not for the weak at heart (or for those who can't take the heat!)! Believe me, I am well-versed in figuring out ways to feed our family affordably, easily, and creatively. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don't. Each week I try to write a general meal plan. I usually just jot my ideas for dinner on my calendar on the individual days of the week. Sometimes I stick to the plan perfectly, and other weeks things change and we eat grilled cheese sandwiches or frozen leftovers in place of whatever item was planned.
I try to keep ground beef and boneless skinless chicken on hand in the fridge or freezer so that I can easily make a meal. With my couponing, I seem to always have plenty of boxes of rice and canned veggies to complete a meal as needed. I am well-stocked and can always make something, even when I am not inspired.
This week the children have enjoyed dinner. On Monday night, I made spaghetti. I brown my meat with onion and add spices like oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion salt, parsley and salt and pepper. Per my friend Rachel's suggestion, I sometimes add carrots or mushrooms or green pepper if I have them on hand. I loved her idea of adding carrots... what an easy way to add a vegetable! Most weeks I prepare my ground beef and then add tomato sauce and a prepared sauce like Ragu or Prego or Classico. I buy these items on BOGO weeks (buy one get one) with my coupons and then store them in the garage. Spaghetti is often found on BOGO and I prefer angel hair pasta, so I always have that on hand as well.
Tuesday night I grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts that I marinated in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and some extra balsamic vinaigrette. The raspberry vinaigrette had neared its expiration, so I dumped it in a bowl with the chicken. It gave it a nice flavor! While the chicken cooked, I cooked some great yellow rice by Vigo and some black beans straight out of the can. I brought Publix fresh salsa and Wholly Guacamole to the table for those who wanted to doctor their meal. DH put the salsa over his chicken and DS (Dear Son) and I put guac and salsa on top and mixed the chicken, rice, and beans together. Some of the girls used ketchup with their chicken, and that was fine since they did eat. That's a big one!
Tonight I made roast beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes. My man is happy with me today! The children gobbled up the roast beef. I made it like my Mama makes it. I bought a chuck roast on sale and had it in our freezer. I thawed it and put it in my All Clad roasting pan that I bought with my birthday money last year. LOVE it. I had put tin foil on the bottom of the pan first. I opened a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of celery since I didn't have 2 cream of mushrooms. I poured them over the meat. I added a can of green peas, a chopped onion, and chopped carrots. I wish I had added more carrots. I poured 4 cans of water in there and added more as the meat cooked. I then sprinkled Lipton's onion soup mix over the top. I covered it in tin foil and put it on convection bake at 320*F for at least 5 hours. The meat was still partially frozen. I have to say, it was SLAP YOUR MAMA GOOD! Everyone was happy and there were no leftovers! A first!
Tomorrow night I am helping host an art show, so dinner will be cheap, fast, and easy. Just don't call me that! I don't love processed meat, but we may have pigs in a blanket. Don't shoot me for being honest! A girl in a hurry is a girl in a hurry. Friday night we hope to join our Small Group, in which case we'll break bread with them and I'll just bring a side dish.
How do you plan your weekly meals?


The Niemeyer Nest said...

YUMMY - that roast sounds so good. I meal plan on Wednesdays using the Harris Teeter sales paper. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. That's one good thing about a husband OOT is less cooking but I'd rather have him here. Your post yesterday was timely. I am trying to get organized. Every area of my house is chaos and it's time to get everything back in it's place.

kay said...

Sounds yummy! I usually go to the meat market on Sundays or very early Monday morning. There is an Italian butcher/grocery store that I discovered about 5months ago and I have to say I am in Love!haha. I load up on meats for the week or so. then head off to "Sal's fruit tree" it is a produce store. Well more like a football field with a roof! It has every fruit and veggie you can imagine. And the best part, its cheap!

EntertainingMom said...

I try to plan our meals but sometimes it fails. What works for me is buying enough that there are leftovers... can there ever be leftovers with a family of 7?!! I made salsa chicken and the kids loved it so much they were happy to have it again the very next night. I also bought a spiral ham that can be turned into many meals, sandwiches and soups... the meat can also be frozen for future use!

Melissa said...

Hey! Melissa from Wagner Family! I thought I had your actual email address but did not have it. Dorothy was bulemic (sp?) for years. She had just turned 30 before she died and her heart gave up from all of the 'stress' from the bulemia. Such a sad thing for someone so young. I miss her but rest knowing she is watching over all of us and we will reunite one day.

bevy said...

Tonight I asked J what he wanted me to fix for supper. He said not to chicken, spaghetti, or shrimp... Guess what we had? Oatmeal and frozen waffles!