Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekly Menu - 9/16 thru 9/22

Some people are probably wondering what we eat on an average grocery allotment of $200 a month, so I thought I'd post my menus for you to see.

I know breakfast is the most important meal, but Shane and I rarely eat anything that early in the morning, so I don't make a breakfast menu. I do feed breakfast to Kat, and there is always some kind of breakfast food here should we want it. Occasionally, on weekends, I'll make a big breakfast such as eggs, bacon or sausage and toast; homemade biscuits and sausage gravy; or waffles, pancakes or French toast.

I don't plan our lunches either. Kat and I eat leftovers when she's home with me and she eats at daycare when she's there. Shane rarely has a way to heat up leftovers on the construction sites where he works, so he routinely takes some kind of sandwich, chips, fruit, water or sports drink and maybe homemade cookies or other snacks. I don't often plan desserts or snacks. I usually have the ingredients on hand to bake some kind of sweet if we want one, but I don't serve dessert on a daily basis.

Nearly all of my meal planning is for our evening and weekend meals. I make most of our meals in double batches with the intention of eating it twice during the week. I try to spread the meals out a little across the week, but sometimes we end up having the same thing two nights in a row. There's a lot of variety in the meals I cook, so having them seem "dull" by serving them twice is not usually a problem. Doubling up on meals saves time in the kitchen, since the second night is basically a "heat-n-eat" event. It also saves a little money, because I can buy larger packages of meats, cheese, etc., and save a little per pound.

Here is our menu for this week. Almost all of our meals include cottage cheese, which is Kat's favorite side dish, and tortilla chips that Shane thinks he has to eat with almost every meal. He eats them like other people eat bread with their meal.

Once: Salmon Dijonnaise*, Bacon-Tomato Rice Pilaf, Herbed Zucchini Stir-Fry

Twice: Cheese-Stuffed Manicotti w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Toast from Homemade French Bread, Lettuce Salad, Canned Peaches

Twice: Pork Chops** in Onion-Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli-Cauliflower Mix w/Cheese Sauce

Twice: Kung Pao Shrimp*, Fried Rice, Creamed Spinach, and possibly some eggrolls purchases from a local restaurant

*About the seafood. The salmon was caught fresh in Alaska by Shane's boss about three weeks ago, then vacuum-sealed and frozen as soon as it had been cleaned. He gave us enough for four meals, and it tastes wonderful! As for the shrimp, I wait until the 51-60 EZ-peel variety goes on sale here for $3.49 or $3.99 a pound, then buy several pounds at a time and put it in the freezer. Since there is almost no shrinkage during cooking, I feel like we can spend a little more per pound for it than we might on other protein foods.

** I saved money by buying a whole pork loin and cutting it into chops, roasts and cubes myself.

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