Monthly Menus

So I promised this a few weeks ago, but I got sidetracked by, well, life.

 

I have three children under the age of 6. ‘Nuff said.

 

A little bit of background on these menus. Rewind to when #1 was born.

I had pretty bad postpartum depression that I didn’t want to admit to having. One of the things that really bothered me was that I had no idea what I was doing for dinner. It was a valid concern. We didn’t have money to eat out a ton and Hubby is NOT a cook. And I was STARVING with all that breastfeeding.

Since then I have fiddled with various ways to plan menus, but this is what I like best for now. I’ve been doing this for over a year, and it works!

Monthly menus.

Hubby gets paid every two weeks, so our budget is on a 4 week interval. Because we live 45 minutes from the nearest Costco (HUZZAH MAGIC POWERS) I only go once every 4 weeks or so.

To be clear, I don’t plan a meal for every night of the week. I do about 5 meals a week, at least one of which is made up of stuff I always have on hand (grilled cheese and tomato soup, black bean soup, tacos, etc…) That way if we decided to go out one night or we have a ton of leftovers we have a night to eat those.

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Here is my weekly menu board

The weekends are for leftovers (again) or going out to eat for date night and frozen crockpot meals or pancakes or waffles or something simple.  I just don’t have time to cook on the weekends, usually because we are trying to do a project on our house or shop for a new appliance or whatever. Sunday we have church and that just wears me out. I love it, but I always come home exhausted and hungry and totally not in the mood to cook.

I have 5 lists for the month. Yes 5.

1st: Costco (HUZZAH MAGIC POWERS) list. As I compile my menus, I keep a running list for Costco for anything I want in bulk.

The other four lists are weekly lists for stuff I don’t want to buy in bulk like various fruit or veggies that will go bad if I buy them at Costco. Or stuff like Pesto. I don’t need a giant thing of pesto for one meal. If I was having 4 or 5 meals with Pesto, then it would be worth it to buy the Costco one. Got it? Okay.

 

Here is an example menu for a week:

Rockfish Tacos

Meatball Subs

Vegetarian Mulligatawny

Sweet Potato Nachos

BBQ Beef

Just by looking at this list, I know I’m going to need:

Costco:

Fish (we get it and freeze it)

Frozen Meatballs

Sweet Potatoes

BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)

Mozzarella Cheese (did you know you can shred and freeze mozzarella cheese?)

Shredded Cheese (Yes I buy shredded cheese. I am going to chef hell.)

Carrots (I get that big bag of baby carrots, then use it for everything all month)

Chicken Broth (I make my own, which is insanely easy, but if you don’t, the best deal is at Costco)

Grocery Store:

Cilantro

Buns

Apple

Corn tortillas

White Beans (Canned)

Red Pepper

Cabbage

Celery

Spaghetti Sauce (if I don’t have any frozen. Usually I make my own)

Various Spices if mine need a refill (a local grocery store sells bulk spices, so I usually stock up there)

Any other ingredients you might not have on hand.

 

I usually have any meat on hand, as we buy ours in bulk from the butcher or I shop the sales at the local store, so you might need to add that if you don’t already have it.

Also, did you know you can buy an entire pork loin from Costco for about 1.99$ a pound? Then I cut it into chops or roasts depending on what we want. It is a killer deal.

Here is a document of the shopping list that you can download for FREE:

 

Monthly Shopping List

 

It includes a list for Costco and a list for every week. I included an optional 5th week in case you go by the calendar month instead of every four weeks like we do.

 

This just takes out the stress of daily dinner planning for me. I only have to sit down and work it out once a month. I also spend a few minutes before I go to the grocery store every week reviewing the menu for that week and checking to see if I need to add or remove things from my shopping list. Then I know I will have all of the ingredients I will need for whatever meal we have that night. Then I just have to get off my butt and make it rather than worry about it all day. It is SUCH a relief.

One nice thing about this list is it is completely adaptable. If you go to Costco every week or even less, you can adjust as necessary. Just print off an extra sheet of the Costco shopping list and adapt.

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Let me know what you think!

Em

 

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Beans, Beans the magical FRUIT. And a Yummy Salsa recipe.

Beans are a vegetable now. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it does mean that I now eat WAAAAAAY more vegetables.

We eat a lot of beans. They are cheap and everyone likes them, so it is a win-win situation.

But I’m going to talk about how cheap they can be.

 

Buy dried beans. No seriously. You will save a TON of money.

25 pounds of black beans run about 28 dollars or so. (so about a 1$ a pound for my horrible math skills)

a pound of dried black beans makes about 8 cups of cooked beans (true story!)

1 Can of black beans holds about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans.

1 can of black beans costs about 75 cents.

So if you make a pound of dried black beans cost a dollar and makes 5 TIMES as much beans.

It costs (if you buy in bulk) about 13 cents to make the same amount in a can of beans. Which costs 75 cents. (I think. Please don’t correct my math, I’m positive I got something wrong….)

DON”T BUY CANNED AGAIN.

I have a pressure cooker that it awesome for making beans. I ran over to a Cash and Carry and bought some small plastic containers that hold about as much beans as a can would. (a little more actually) So after I make the 8 cups of beans, I put them in the freezer in nice small packages so I can whip them out and nuke them in the microwave for about a minute or so to defrost them.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook them in your slow cooker. It takes about 6 hours if you do it on high and if you don’t soak them. Use a quart of water per cup of beans. They have better texture and less, um, internal discomfort if you soak them. (Gas. I’m talking about flatulence.)

After they are defrosted I like to smash them in olive oil and garlic for a black bean paste that is pretty tasty in taquitos or tacos. Or on a wrap. Mmmmmm….

Here is a recipe for black bean burgers that I CAN’T get enough of. I would copy it over, but I didn’t make any adjustments and I try not to steal people’s recipes outright…

These burgers are yummy and perfectly paired with sweet potato fries. We like ours with smashed Avacado and salsa. I make my own pico de gallo.

Em’s Pico de Gallo

3 vine ripened tomatoes, diced

1/2 a large onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (more if you like spicy, less if you have littlies that will be eating it)

1 TBS Lime Juice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

1/2 bunch of cilantro, diced.

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in your fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours meld. I have made this twice in the last week and a half. YUM. Hubby won’t eat it though. The tomatoes and onions are too big. He really doesn’t like tomatoes and onions. Shame.

Welcome New Hires! (Appliances)

We actually got our new hires a while ago, but we are so excited to announce:

 

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Whirlpool Fridge!!!

We are so excited about your larger fridge section and the bottom freezer. (Huzzah!) We think you will be a wonderful addition to our company. (Sidenote: why on EARTH do they have Refrigerators with the fridge on the BOTTOM?!?! That makes absolutely no sense. You are in the fridge the most and who wants to crouch down every time you want to sort or get something out of the fridge. Seriously. Also, I hate side-by-sides because they don’t have as much room.)

 

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Bosch Dishwasher! We love your stainless steel interior and your very own personal water-heater so we don’t end up taking cold showers! (except if you shower right after Hubby!! LOVE YOU SWEETIE!) Welcome to the company!!

 

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WasteKing garbage disposal!! You don’t LEAK!! And you have 1 horsepower of motor that makes all those peelings and cores a breeze! Welcome to the company.

 

Yup, these are all new hires, but we wanted workers that would last and not crap on us because they were old. (Yes, we are age discriminate around here…)

The little people were THRILLED at the new hires. #1 kept asking if he could turn on the dishwasher. Both of them have tried/opened the freezer and both have tried to crawl into the dishwasher. Whatever keeps them happy…

There will be Lentil Sloppy Joes and Homemade tomato soup in the break room at lunch, everyone is welcome to join!

Not pictured:

We did get a new wheat grinder too. It has been REALLY, REALLY nice. Less mess, easier cleanup and the engine doesn’t overheat anytime I want to grind more than 4 cups of wheat….The only drawback is that it doesn’t grind the hulls very well. My last one you couldn’t even tell there were any hulls.