Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of July 11th

Last week, I didn't get around to posting my menu plan for the week.  Our 4th of July plans fell through, so I thought I would have time to post, but then I had an allergic reaction to some new make up and slept most of the day away and didn't feel well for most of the week.  I've never had a bad reaction to make up in the 25+ years I've been wearing it!  I bought a new eyeliner and had the same reaction to it each of the three times I wore it.  The first two times, I thought it was a reaction caused by tree pollen.  I didn't wear that particular eyeliner for a while, so I could see if it happened again.  I decided to try it again on July 4th and will not be wearing it again.  Ever! 

With a few added expenses this month, I decided to do a pantry challenge last week.  Of course, each time I decide that we won't spend any money at the grocery store, we end up needing diapers or wipes or something we really can't do without.  Joe stops at the store for those needed items and while he's there, I can't resist texting him a list of a few more items (usually, fresh fruit or veggies).  Or, he sees something on sale that he feels we need to add to our pantry (usually, canned goods or cereal). 

Even though we bought some groceries last week, I did really well with preparing meals from our pantry or freezer:
  • One night we had hot dogs (freezer) served with steak fries (freezer) with canned hot dog sauce (pantry). 

  • Another night, I made Southwestern Potato Hash with Spam.  This was a true clean out the pantry meal!  We loved this recipe!  It made a lot too.  We ate this for dinner twice, plus I had some for lunch one day and Joe finished it for breakfast on another day! 

  • I also made a pot of Simply Tomato Sauce.  We enjoyed this so much the first time I made it, that I decided to make it again.  This time, I used my immersion blender to make the sauce a bit smoother.  I LOVED the results!  We ate this twice over the weekend and still have a bit left to serve again this week. 
We did have one day that we splurged.  On Sunday, we took Grace to a local community event at the park.  I thought we would have eaten a late lunch or early dinner at the event, but Grace was getting ornery since she was up early and also skipped her nap.  She was fine as long as we were moving, so stopping to eat a burger wasn't really an option.  We did share an order of fries while we walked around but that wasn't nearly enough to be considered dinner. 

On our way back to the truck to go home, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things from the deli counter to put together for dinner.  In the prepared foods section, we found an already cooked turkey breast that just needed to be reheated and served.  We also picked up some potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw.  What a wonderful dinner!  I really enjoyed it!  Although this meal went against my self-imposed pantry challenge, I love the fact that I'll be able to stretch this into another meal or two! 

After dinner on Sunday, I went downstairs to check to see what meals I can put together without having to make too many extra purchases.  My goal is to finish out this month with very little grocery shopping. 

Here are some meals I have planned for the rest of the month: 

  • Barbecue Turkey Salad Wraps.  I'll be substituting turkey for the chicken in my Barbecue Chicken Salad recipe.  We'll finish up the potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw from Sunday night. 

  • Pork Chops, spaghetti squash, steamed veggies.  It's been a few months (or more) since we've had spaghetti squash.  My favorite way to serve spaghetti squash is as a side dish to pork chops.  Mmmmm! 

  • BLT wraps.  Bacon, Lettuce and TUNA served on a wrap.  A slice of bacon, some Crunchy Tuna Salad w/ Egg and a little bit of lettuce all rolled up in a tortilla!  Yum!  I'll be trying Turkey Bacon for the very first time after hearing my buddy Nicole rave about it!  I'll serve some steak fries and lettuce wedges on the side. 

  • Beef Stew.  It's a little warm for beef stew, but I have a lot of veggies to use up before they spoil.  Plus I found some beef cubes in the freezer that should be used very soon.  We always have the AC running during July anyway, so it won't be too bad!  I usually make this in the oven, cooking for several hours at a low temperature.  I'll be using the slow cooker this time, instead! 

  • Applesauce Chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables.  I usually like to make this in the fall.  But since we'll be eating chicken several times this month, I was in the mood for something a little different.  Plus, throwing everything in the crock pot makes this a really simple meal! 

  • Chili served over rice.  I love chili and can eat it any time of the year!  I like to use both beef cubes and ground beef along with beans and vegetables.  It's been a while since I've made chili with beef.  Lately, I've been making either Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili or Chipotle Turkey Chili.  By the time we get to this meal, it will be time to stock up on some fresh vegetables. 

  • Beef/Chicken Fajitas.  Quick, easy and low-calorie meal!  Frugal too!  What a great combination!  This will actually be two different meals.  I only make both chicken and beef fajitas if we are having company.  I'll serve rice and refried beans on the side. 

  • Greek Chicken with Vegetables.  I planned on making this a few weeks ago, but didn't get around to it.  Since I have 2 whole chickens in my freezer, I'll be making this very soon! 

  • Rotisserie Chicken, macaroni and cheese, peas.  Years ago, my parents bought us a Ronco Set it and Forget It Rotisserie.  Although, we have the machine for so long, we really only use it to make hot dogs.  I think it's about time to try something new!  

  • Chicken a la King .  The perfect meal for using up leftover chicken!  Most likely, this will be made using the leftover chicken that we cook in the rotisserie.  This is another slow cooker meal.  Throw it together at lunch time and by the time we come in from playing in the yard after naptime, dinner will be ready!

  • Tomato Rice Soup with Scallops.  I found some scallops in the freezer that I forgot about.  I decided to check out to find an easy recipe using scallops and rice.  When I saw this recipe, I knew right away that I wanted to add it to our men plan.  Not only does it look tasty, but I have all (or most) of the ingredients on hand! 

  • Scallops and sauteed vegetables over rice.  I'm really looking forward to this dinner!  Cooking seafood is a bit intimidating to me, but I need to cook the scallops in the freezer before they get freezer burned. 

  • Crock Pot Ravioli.  Found 2 bags of ravioli in the freezer, some spaghetti sauce in my freezer and have tons of shredded mozzarella in the cheese drawer.  This is one of my favorite go-to meals.  So easy.  So tasty.  So cheap...I mean "frugal" 

  • Spaghetti with meatballs.  Nothing fancy here.  Frozen meatballs and jarred sauce.  I'd much rather use homemade sauce and homemade meatballs, but since the challenge is to use from the pantry, I'll just doctor up some jarred sauce with some added spices and vegetables. 

  • Cheesey Spanish Rice Bake with Quesadillas.  I'll be serving this towards the end of my pantry challenge.  So, by the time we get to this meal, I'll probably need to pick up some cheese and tortillas. 

  • Leftovers.  Rather than freezing the leftovers for future meals, I plan on using them right away.  In addition to saving money, my goal for this pantry/freezer challenge is to have an empty (or mostly empty) freezer.  I need to clean and defrost it and would like to get it done before I start making soups for the fall and winter. 

Be sure to check back next week to see how well I do on the pantry/freezer challenge!  In the meantime, check out this week's Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu plan ideas and inspiration! 

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