A whole month of meals. Right here. Already planned out. I don’t cook on Friday night because I usually work late and the boys end up staying at my mom’s house. I also don’t cook on Saturday because we either have leftovers, we eat out, at my mom’s or I use my creativity to cook for the kids.
I should note that my menu plans don’t include the side of vegetables we always eat. I think I would eat a salad every night if I it were my choice, preferably a Caesar salad (that would also be Ian’s choice). I try to mix it up and have the kids eat a variety of veggies, but I will admit this is the most difficult thing for me to do. I do not like vegetables, and so I find it hard to make them. We do salads, peas, corn (I know it is a starch and not really a vegetable), peas, carrots, beans, and sugar snap peas mostly. These are the easiest to keep on hand and cook or consume raw. Since they are there every night I don’t add them to the plan, I just decide, or sometimes I ask the boys. However, if we are having some kind of Italian food, I like to have Caesar salad and bread with it.
I do like to plan my side dishes when I plan my main course. I was having a hard time finding side dishes recently. I feel like everything I cook is made with cheese. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some cheese, but it might be getting old for other people in my family. So looking at the whole month at once was a nice way to spread out what I am making. There are still a lot of pasta dishes, because let’s get real, that is a main course and side all wrapped in one. I pick my most time-consuming meals for Wed or Sun evenings because those are the days I have off and theoretically have more time to cook.
There is a stretch of Oct where the boys and I will be gone and Hubs will have to fend for himself. And I gotta admit it was nice not having to plan those 4 meals.
With the relay happening on Sunday I was completely exhausted after it. I was up at 4 a.m. on Sunday and didn’t get back home till 9:30 p.m. Then I had to put the boys to bed and Sid did not want to go to sleep, and he woke up in the middle of the night. So come Monday I was absolutely exhausted, I couldn’t see straight. So while I had a menu plan there was no way I was going to write about it!
I have a number of things I am hoping to write about this week. I just need some alone time with my computer….
Well, I told you all I would plan out a month of meals, but then I completely lost track of time and never even got the menus for the first two weeks of Sept. up for you.
We are still getting adjusted to school and soccer has also started, so things are getting crazy.
I am not one of those extreme coupon people, but I do try to save when I can. I love the fact that the stores that have the club cards (like Safeway) allows you to add coupons to your card. Then when you swipe your card, or type your number in the coupons automatically get applied. No more clipping, and forgetting coupons. They don’t do the double coupons, and stuff, so the extremest still use the real thing, but for people like me this is great.
I can get on my phone use the app and save some money. Safeway has come out with some Just for U coupons, so they let you save on the things you buy. And I will be the first to admit that this has led me to shop at Safeway more and more. When I am careful and only buy what is on sale, or buy what I need I save lots of money.
Just the other day I went to the store and saved $60! I know, to some who do this full-time that is nothing, but for me that is pretty darn amazing. And all I did is use their club card and load coupons on it. Nothing special. (oh and just a note, this post was in no way sponsored or endorsed by Safeway, I was just really excited about my savings and wanted to share it with someone)
The pork chops we are having for dinner tonight came as a buy one (pack) get two (packs) free. So that saved me twenty bucks right there, since there are two chops per pack that gives us plenty for dinner and lunch for my husband. They were already seasoned, but it was just seasoning salt, so I can live with that.
Today is Monday and I am back at work after the longest shortest weekend. It wasn’t a long weekend, no holiday, no extra days off or anything. The weeks before were hectic, we had a long 4 day weekend, me and the kids going out-of-town Fri-Mon, coming home to a husband out-of-town, me working on Tues.
Off Wed, taking my nieces and kids to OMSI & going to grocery store for upcoming camping trip.
Working Thurs (husband is still out-of-town till upcoming weekend, when I will be gone again) only to come home and pack for camping.
Work all day Friday, longer than expected, pick up boys. Stop at grocery store for three needed items (water, ice & newspaper), 40 minutes & 3 bathroom trips later leave store with water, ice, cookies, rice krispie treats and one missing shoe (no newspaper to start camp fire, but I did get a paper bag so it worked out). Stop one mile down the road for another bathroom break and finally head up the mountain to meet up with my cousin and her kids for our weekend camping trip.
So I am back at work and not wanting to think about cooking or all the projects I have coming up, how summer is basically over. How I completely missed out on August, school will be starting and Ian will be in Kindergarten.
I have meal planning I need to do, grocery shopping, bills to be paid, actual work at work that needs be done. I have loads and loads of laundry at home because here in the Pac NW all the Forest are on fire (well it seems like it) and our camping trip was visited by smoke, so everything I brought with me smells like camp fire. I am pretty sure the only I know is that we are having tacos tonight because it is the only thing I don’t have to go to the store to make.
*sigh* I feel to tired to think or do any of that….
but I have a plan! Because Aug is almost over, I am going to sit down and figure out my meals for the rest of the year. This seems pretty daunting when I put it like that it is. But really it is only 4 months left, and each month has about 4 weeks and each week I only cook 5 meals. And I don’t have to have new meals each month. So really I need about 20-30 meals to organize over the next 4 months.
First I just go through all my recipes (400+ dinner recipes) and pick some that sound good and add them to my queue.
My Plan to Eat queue
Here is where I will have the meals; main courses, side dishes, soups, back up, etc, that I will be adding to my planner over the next 4 months.
See the recipe? The little picture of the food? The check mark in the bottom left means ‘add to queue’ the clock means ‘add to planner’. So when I am scrolling through my recipe book and see one that might be yummy, I just click on the check mark and it is added to my queue. Easy-peasy-lemon-breezy!
My next step is to plan.
The planning calendar
So once my queue is full to my liking I head to the planner and I can just drag and drop the meals where I want them. If I have a main course and a side dish, I drag both recipes to that day. If it is something I don’t have an online recipe for, I can create my own note on the day to.
For every recipe I add to the planner the ingredients automatically get added to a shopping list for me. I can then access that list from my phone while at the store. I can also alter the list, adding and removing items as needed, like telling it that I already have water and won’t need to get it at the store. If I say I have salt, then salt will not be added to my shopping list until I remove it from my shopping list.
an old example of a shopping list, I hadn’t updated my pantry yet
I have been a member for over 4 years now and I absolutely love it. It does take some time collecting recipes but I use it all the time, and I think it is very easy to use. It is also really easy to share recipes with friends. Plan to Eat offers a 30 day trial to see what they are like, and also you can do a month-to-month payment, but when you purchase a full year it is a much better price. I will also let you know when they offer their black Friday 1/2 off sale! It is an awesome deal1
When I plan my month-long meal plans I will still post them on a weekly basis.
Now, what to cook the rest of the week…..
Menu Plan 8/24-8/30
Mon: Tacos and Spanish Rice
Sat: Kitchen is Closed
Be a HERO by clicking picture and donating today.
Need something to help plan your meals? I use the Plan to Eat online meal planner. Try it free for 30 days