Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 27

I believe Spring may be over in NC - we reached 90 on Saturday and are pushing towards 85 today. This is a great time of year! We love the warmer weather and the time outside. We're planning to visit a strawberry patch this week and pick some of the season's first (and hopefully sweetest) berries. I am making a strong effort this week to eat off what we have and stay out of the grocery store! We'll see if I make it all week without a trip in there.

On to the food ...

Weeknight Dinners:
Jambalaya in the crock pot
Spaghetti, Italian breadsticks, salad
Meatloaf cups, mushroom gravy, egg noodles, corn

Baking / Freezer Cooking:
Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit cups (didn't get to these this past week)
Waffles for in the freezer
Almost Nutri-grain bars
Cook 1-2 whole chickens with seasonings and freeze meat for easy suppers

It's a pretty simple week for us. DH and I are praying to get the house on the market by May 1, so we'll be busy packing, painting, and cleaning this week. Visit OrgJunkie for hundreds more menu plans each week.

Casserole Recommendations

Here are a few of my family's favorite casseroles. Some I make as written, some I add more spices to. I have found a lot of casseroles to be pretty bland the first go-round. I wondered about that and then though that often, casseroles are give-away meals, so I guess the flavors have to be milder. If you try any of these, go with the recipe the first time and then "doctor it up" to suit your family's tastes.

King Ranch Chicken ( I prefer the non-condensed soup version, but either one is really good)
Cheesy Pasta Casserole
Chicken enchiladas are a freezer staple in our house. I use this sauce recipe.
Cavatini pasta with meat sauce (I add fresh garlic to this and usually double the spices)
Chicken pot pie is another freezer staple.
BBQ Beef and Bean Casserole
Pizza Casserole

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bulk Cooking and Cooking Clubs

A few months ago, 3 girlfriends from church and I formed a casserole club. It has been wonderful for our families to have nutritious, healthy meals in the freezer for those days when things are just a bit hectic. Our club is pretty basic - we meet once a month (or so) and swap. Each member makes 3 cassseroles and takes home 3 different ones each time.

I have pondered with my mom and another friend here whether actually shopping together and then cooking would be more cost effective. I'm still trying to figure that part out, but Kate over at Happy to Be at Home has done a lot of the legwork for me - hooray! Check out her new series about cooking clubs. She is doing some promotional work for Sam's Club in particular, but the method and tips would certainly apply to any warehouse club.

I'll be following her series and praying about how to incorporate her ideas into our budget and lifestyle. I hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 20

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it ... Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever" ~Psalm 118: 24, 29

I find I often don't rejoice in the day the Lord has given me. I get so caught up in this idea I have of what a stay at home mom should do, ought to do, and could do that I forget that my main job is to be a wife and mother. Not supermom, not a decorating queen, not the best cook in the neighborhood, not the one with the cleanest house, not the one with the "perfect" child ... I am called to be a woman totally dependent on God and HIS mercy and grace. He will get me through everything that is important if I ask! My goal this week is to lean on the Lord for my strength, my focus, and to let Him order my list this week.

He has provided wonderful food in our freezer and pantry and we will be using that up this week. Our grocery budget is just about gone for the month and I'd like to keep the few dollars left for milk and produce next week. Here's my plan for the week:

Monday -
B: Butter Pecan Banana Waffles
D: Taco Pinwheel with lettuce, salsa, and sour cream
Bake: Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit cups
Prep: chicken out of freezer for Wed

Tuesday -
B: Bagels with cream cheese
D: Salmon patties, hash browns, coleslaw
Bake: Banana raisin muffins (start with this recipe and add raisins; bake in muffin tins rather than a loaf pan)
Prep: de-bone chicken for tomorrow night

Wednesday -
B: Banana raisin muffins
D: Chicken tenders, rice pilaf, homemade applesauce
Bake: Bread machine pitas

Thursday -
B: Oatmeal with strawberry sauce
D: Pork fajitas
Prep: turkey breast out of freezer for Sunday

Friday -
B: Pancakes and homemade applesauce
D: Pizza using this crust recipe
Bake: cook 1 whole chicken to use over weekend

Saturday -
B: DH will make eggs, toast, and bacon
L: pitas with hummus and/or curried chicken salad
D: Hamburgers on the grill, coleslaw
Bake: French bread

Sunday - Children's musical at church and DH has a Deacon meeting; that means we have a 20 minute window for dinner :)
B: Baked Pecan French Toast
L: Baby shower and picnic at the park after church - sandwiches and chips
D: Chicken enchiladas with corn, black beans, and this sauce

For hundreds more menu plans, check out!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grocery Trip - April 13

I have decided to use my blog to track my grocery spending since it's getting WAY out of control again. I don't splurge on clothing, entertainment, or eating out. Nope, it's much easier to "justify" being over budget if it's on groceries. After all, I want to feed my family well, right? So ... to stop this cycle in my head, I'm calling for public accountability! I hope to post spending each week and photos of good trips (and hang my head in shame after bad trips!).

Little man and I hit Harris Teeter this morning and scored all this for $33. Let's see if I can stay on track for the rest of this month!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 13

He is risen!!!! What a glorious season of year for those who know the power of Jesus Christ. We had an amazing visit this morning at DH's grandma's church and WOW - the pastor was wonderful! I just love my hubby's family - there are about 40 people including 15 children and food, chaos, hugs, and tons of love! It is great to see our son growing up knowing his cousins and enjoying spending time "down on the farm."

I spent some time looking through my MIL's cooking magazines - Taste of Home, Sandra Lee, Paula Deen - and am inspired to try some new recipes over the next few weeks. We also came home with a van-load of sweets, so there will not be much preparation of true "sweets" in our home this week. I'll do the basics, but nothing over the top with sugar. We all need to get back to our normal eating routine.

On to the menu - as always, check out Org Junkie for more inspiration!

Monday -
B: Waffles with strawberry sauce
D: Pork Carnitas with rice, tortillas, and all the sides
Bake: Banana Bread

Tuesday -
B: Banana Bread with cream cheese, homemade applesauce
D: Aussie Chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday - church night
B: Banana bread and applesauce
D: Pepperoni & Cheese Bread, salad

Thursday -
B: Waffles with strawberry sauce
D: Shrimp Alfredo, salad (I use this recipe for the sauce and add shrimp rather than chicken)

Friday -
B: Scrambled eggs and toast
D: It's my first ever Bunko night, so I'll snack there. I will make chicken nuggets for the men and they can make fries (I know, not healthy!)

Saturday -
B: DH will make pancakes and bacon
D: Grill night (the protein will depend on the grocery store sales this week): meat, onions and potatoes, and asparagus all done on the grill - hooray easy clean up!!!

Sunday -
B: Banana Bread and Butter Pudding (this looks decadent!) with strawberry sauce
D: Chicken Fried Rice

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 6

Woo-hoo!!!! It's Spring Break this week at our house and we are all feeling the "itch" that comes with great NC weather. Little man is down at the in-laws farm for a few days and DH and I are working to get our house ready to go on the market. So, the menu will be pretty simple this week. I'm planning a trip to the Farmer's Market this week and can't wait to see what's there.

You'll gain more inspiration this week from the hundreds of other participant's over at Laura's blog.

Monday -
B: cereal
D: Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry, deviled eggs, coleslaw

Tuesday -
B: Bacon and cheddar biscuits
D: out with friends
Bake: fruit muffins - I need to see what is out at the Farmer's Market and then I'll make a final decision

Wednesday - little man returns home :)
B: fruit muffins
D: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Bake: Almost Nutri Grain bars

Thursday - Maundy Thursday service at church
B: Waffles with fruit sauce
D: Meatloaf cups, mushroom gravy, brown rice, broccoli/carrot/cauliflower mix

Friday - Good Friday!
B: probably grab and go since we're spending the day with my parents
D: at Mom and Dad's

Saturday -
B: DH will make pancakes
D: we're having company over and I'm planning to make peach glazed ham, sweet potato casserole, and creamed corn

Sunday -
B: muffins or cereal since we're having a huge lunch
L: family get together at DH's grandma's house - there will be ham, burgers and hot dogs, potato and pasta salads, baked beans, deviled eggs, and at least 4 desserts that I know of so far!!
D: really, eating again after all that food at lunch???? Not likely!!! If we crave anything, we'll eat some combination of leftovers