Menu Plan Monday & Grocery Round up: 9/20-9/26

This week was not as successful as last. Our grand total was $68! Bummer.

We’re entertaining some guests tonight, so a lot of the extra comes from a bigger, fancier than normal spinach lasagna that we’re making tonight. We also had to stock up on some staples like flour, peanut butter and jelly, soy sauce, tea bags and coffee filters.

I know – excuses, excuses. I’m consoling myself by reminding myself that grocery bills like this one have now become the exception instead of the rule. We’ve been within budget for the past three weeks, so I’m willing to cut myself some slack for going over.

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Spinach and four-cheese lasagna with salad and fresh garlic bread
Sunday: Roasted chicken with potatoes and green beans
Monday: Chicken quesadillas with refried beans
Tuesday: Leftovers/Sandwiches
Wednesday: French dip sandwiches
Thursday: Chinese style chicken and broccoli
Friday: Homemade pizza

As part of Menu Plan Monday’s Family Favorite edition, I’m also posting a recipe that’s been passed down from my mom. Her classic lasagna includes meat sauce, but we’ve adapted the recipe to be meat-free. It’s delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Spinach Lasagna

Classic Marinara Sauce:
1/2 of an onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 (5- to 6-ounce) can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of parsley
¼ teaspoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of dried basil
½ cup of red wine

Cheese Filling:
3 cups of ricotta cheese
½ cup of Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and pressed to remove excess water

1lb. lasagna noodles
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Saute onions and garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, parsley, salt, and basil. Stir until tomato paste is blended into sauce. Bring to a slight boil. Add red wine. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and oregano.

Thaw spinach in a microwave or stove top. When it’s cool enough to handle, put it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Incorporate into ricotta cheese mixture.

Boil lasagna noodles for 10-15 minutes according to instructions on packaging.

Build lasagna in an 8×8 pan beginning with a small layer of sauce to avoid sticking. Lay down noodles with no gaps followed by cheese filling, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat twice for a total of three layers. Top with a layer of sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6 people.

If you’d like to make this recipe my mom’s way (with ground beef), just add beef to the onion and garlic and cook it completely before adding the tomato sauce. She also uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta. It’s saltier, and may be a bigger hit with the kiddies.

Keep in mind, this recipe is three in one. The marinara sauce is absolutely divine on spaghetti, and the cheese filling is perfect for stuffed manicotti. Mix it up to maximize your meals!

Check out OrgJunkie for more meal plan inspiration!

8 thoughts on “Menu Plan Monday & Grocery Round up: 9/20-9/26

  1. tiffanie

    don’t get down on yourself. at least you were within budget 3 weeks in a row! that’s progress in my book! :)

    i’ve started making homemade pizza on friday nights too! it keeps our pizza cravings in check and costs a fraction of what we used to pay for ordering in. i love making my crust dough in my bread machine :)

  2. Kacie

    I don’t want you to feel guilty for going over your budget. You’re trying really hard–and ya know what, grocery prices have really gone up lately!

    Don’t beat yourself up if you go a little over.

    And yay for having company over!

  3. Mary

    It’s funny how we’ve both altered mom’s lasagna recipe in completely different directions. For a variation on this recipe, you can add an extra layer to the lasagna composed of sauteed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms (all sliced somewhat thin to fit nicely in the lasagna.) Skip boiling the noodles, or take them out of the boiling water before they’re completely done, because the water from the veggies will further cook the noodles (I usually go with the first option and just build the lasagna with completely uncooked noodles – as long as you make sure the edges are all completely covered, they end up evenly al dente)

    Then, we add another layer of spaghetti squash, the only way my kids eat any squash at all, and they absolutely love it in this. Just cut the squash in half lengthwise, and throw it into the microwave or oven until it’s tender. Once it’s cooled, use a spoon to remove the seeds, then take a fork and run it across the squash – the squash will shred into spaghetti-like strands, hence its name. Take the shredded squash and use it as a layer in your lasagna, I usually throw some coarse sea salt over top of each layer of squash. I also use squash on the very top of the lasagna, it browns nicely and makes a crispy top that is a favorite at my house.

    This is a nice way to get some veggies into the kids diets, and a really nice fall dish. I haven’t used spinach, but now I’m going to incorporate that into my recipe (I’m thinking now about making this tonight…) except I’ll use fresh chopped spinach.

    The thing I love about this recipe, is all of the added veggies make for fewer layers of noodles, sauce and cheese. Instead of reducing my amounts, I make two huge lasagnas, bake one and serve it for dinner, and freeze the other unbaked. That way, on some future night when we have dance or PTA meeting or whatever, I have instant home made dinner to throw in the oven. I do the same with enchiladas whenever I make them.

  4. Karen

    Mary – Love your recipe! We considered going the full-on veggie route, but opted for the spinach and cheese to keep things simple and cheap. I would also prefer fresh spinach, but this lasagna was already throwing my budget off. So I opted for the cheaper frozen spinach to cut corners. :)

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