Monday, January 17, 2011

The Week Ahead Menu Planner...

When I sit down to make my menu planner for the week, I first do a quick look in the pantry.  I keep a running list of what's in the freeze (we have 2- a deep chest outside in the garage, and the one in the refigerator inside.)

For a time, my husband was being paid once a month.  So I "pretended" we lived way out in the country and made a once a month trip to do bulk shopping.  (at the time I did not have a car during the shopping took place on the weekends (ugh)) 
And when he started getting paid every 2 weeks, and it was quite an surprised me how hard it was to readjust to shorter shopping trips, and some part of me missed the once a month shopping.  It somehow made it SO much easier.

I hung on to several "once a month" shopping ideas, as well as OAMC ...and today, even though we are down to the 3 of us (me and my grown sons), and we are not always home together in the evenings, I still use some of them. 

When I plan for the week, lately, I check what is being cooked in the different groups.  FFWD is Fridays, give or take, so I plan that in.  And I am trying out Nigella's new book starting next week, so I will add a recipe from her each week.  And then there are 2 or 3 baking groups...(MORE actually, but I am baking myself into a corner!  I Love to bake!) I plan for 5-7 meals, give or take, (depending on the week), and as far as "emergency" meals, I keep the pantry stocked....   One or two of them might be using left overs, either from the same week or the week before.  And the "emergency" meals are from the pantry and freezer.

This is what I came up with today for the week ahead (I do not plan set days...things change very quickly around here.)

A steak Soba noodle salad (using left over London Broil ..I gave the meat and potato guys a break last week, and had some left over...which I put in the freezer.) on mesclun salad and vegetables.

Barbequed shredded Pork (also from the freezer-a slow cooked pork shoulder last week) sandwiches with homemade cole slaw.

Stuffed shells, with salad and sour dough It bread.

Cod and Corn chowder, with crusty bread

FFDW this week, is Chicken B'stilla (which is more or less a chicken pie in a filo crust). Not sure how French it is, but I will serve it with a spinach salad with pink grapefruit and chopped toasted pecans and vinaigrette.

The rest of this week will be using what is left from the week before. (that counts as an "emergency" meal, and there's always tuna sandwiches, pancakes, French Toast or Waffles, or Omeletts, or even fried rice since we eat a lot of brown rice, and I always have pasta, Mozzarella, fresh Parmesan and Romano, (and other cheeses) olives, and the fixin's for fast sauces, whether tomato or Puttanesca, or even lemon and garlic and oil, for pasta or even pizza, in the pantry.  And of course, there's ALWAYS fresh eggs.)
Vegetables I buy fresh each week.

I saw (and I am sorry that I do not remember where to give anyone credit) a tip using a calendar.  They list whatever is leftover from dinner that night, on a kitchen calendar.  As they use it they cross it off.  I have been putting an "F" next to any left overs I freeze.  And a "P" next to leftovers that I am planning on using later in the week.  This is working out very nicely.  My son's know what is in the refrigerator to eat, and we have no more mystery green surprises!  I have a nice calendar from Farmer's Almanac with recipes on it, and that's the one I use.

That's what I have for this week.  Another day I will write what my currently out of work son and I have for lunches.  (which is way different then dinner because we have no limits!!  haha!  Some times our lunches are actually our dinner since the oldest works where they have a very good and healthy cafeteria.)

See ya later,

Enjoy your day,


  1. Hi Janie,
    I have GOT to get back and plan my menus again but life got away from me. I challenged myself once to plan my menu for the entire year and did it! But I have the check the box kind of attitude then when I accomplish something I check the box and move on to something else. Sigh. But I love having a menu to work from. Have a great week! Robn Sue

  2. It makes it easier to shop, although I have to say, many many times the menu falls by the wayside because "things" come up...I try to make sure I at least use all the fresh things I buy.

  3. You do great with your plan ahead menu!I never know what to cook.Thanks for stopping by my blog.I'll be back for more ideas.


  4. Thanks Kate,

    I find that when I don't plan what to cook, I not only spend more money but end up not having very good meals. I try to keep it loose. I don't like to be tied to a rigid schedule (for anything) except feeding the animals. And even that isn't set in stone.

    I want to try the idea you had for painting the chair covers. Such a nice touch and it really changed the look.