Tag Archives: frugal cooking

Menu plan: 12/12 – 12/18

It’s the final full week before a four-day holiday weekend. That doesn’t really make Monday less painful, though, does it?

Holiday spending has really kind of wrecked our budget. Blerg. We’re trying to keep it low-key this week to lessen the damage. Here’s our menu plan:

Saturday: Holiday party
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Potato soup
Tuesday: Chicken tacos
Wednesday: BLTs
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce
Friday: Pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Have a great Monday!

Menu plan: 12/5 – 12/11

Chicken EnchiladasIt’s finally getting chilly here in the mornings and evenings, which means we’re starting to work more comfort foods into our menus. Call me crazy, but I absolutely love when the weather turns colder. There’s nothing cozier than bundling up in the evening.

We paid full price for organic chicken for the first time this week. Bummer. It is so expensive! In the future, I won’t plan to use this much chicken unless we’ve already got it in the freezer.

Here’s our $50 menu for this week:

Saturday: Chicken wraps
Sunday: Chicken and broccoli stir fry with rice
Monday: Risotto style pasta with chicken and mushrooms
Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Ground chicken meatloaf
Friday: Homemade pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Photo by The Food Network

Thanksgiving menu 2009

ThanksgivingI know I’ve bragged about him before, but it bears repeating: my husband is a fantastic cook, and Thanksgiving is his specialty. For the past two years, he’s whipped up some of the best Thanksgiving dishes I’ve ever tasted.

Last year, we spent Thanksgiving Day at a friend’s house for a potluck meal, but he still insisted on cooking our own Thanksgiving meal from scratch on Friday. He’s kind of obsessed.

This year we’re excited to finally cook a meal for family. Tony’s parents and sister will be visiting us for the long weekend. Instead of posting our weekly meal plan, I’ve decided to share our Thanksgiving menu and the original recipes that inspired our dishes. Tony has made many adaptations to these recipes to make them his own, but I highly recommend trying any of these dishes if you’re looking for a new twist on your Thanksgiving favorites (especially the green bean casserole).

I’ll be doing the baking this year, and I’m making apple pie for the first time. Wish me luck!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? Share a link below!

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Have a great three-day week!

Photo by mil8

Menu Plan: 11/7-11/13

Would you believe I’m still recovering from this awful virus? Yeah. I am not a happy camper. I’ve been sick for over a week. Ugh.

But I’m getting better every day. I’m back at work and feeling mostly okay. I’m just still coughing, and I still feel like I need a little extra sleep. :( I also haven’t felt up to working out for over a week. Hopefully I’ll be back to my old self again (and back in the gym) by the end of the week.

In the meantime, all I have for you today is a meal plan. Enjoy!

I hope you’re all having a great day! Happy Monday!

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

My favorite recipes for cold weather

mac and cheeseThis week there has finally been a chill in the air in North Carolina. I love this weather, and the fact that we have to wait so long for it here makes it that much sweeter.

We keep our apartment pretty chilly throughout the winter. There’s nothing we love more than bundling up in slippers, sweaters, and cozy blankets, and keeping the heat low keeps our electric bill low. It also makes cozy comfort foods more enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a recipe that will keep you warm in the coming months, here are some of my favorites:

What are your favorite recipes for fall and winter? Share a link!

Photo by Real Simple

Menu Plan: 10/17-10/23

It’s finally fall in North Carolina! The temperature will barely reach 70 degrees this week. I know, 65 doesn’t seem that chilly to most of you right now, but it’s finally below 80, so I’ll take what I can get.

Now that it’s gotten a little chilly, we’re finally busting out our fall and winter recipes. Here’s our $63 menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Chicken nachos
Sunday: Broccoli cheddar soup
Monday: Leftovers/ sandwiches
Tuesday: Chicken fajitas with refried beans
Wednesday: Pasta with butternut squash
Thursday: BLTs with oven fries
Friday: Homemade pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 10/10 – 10/16

We’re finally getting the hang of our modified meat shopping plan. Our total for the week was $62, and we even stocked up on three pounds of organic chicken on special.

The only meat we’re eating this week is a pound of organic ground chicken and half a pound of roast beef deli meat.

For lunches we eat leftovers, salads, or peanut butter sandwiches. We always eat whatever fruit is in season and on sale for snacks, so right now it’s locally grown apples. My favorite snack is apple wedges with peanut butter, so I’m in heaven. Breakfast is always cereal, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs.

And for dinner:

Sunday: Chicken burgers with oven fries
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Chicken tacos and refried beans
Wednesday: Pasta with roasted garlic and crushed tomatoes
Thursday: French dip sandwiches
Friday: Homemade pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Hope your week is off to a great start!

Oh, organic food. Why are you so expensive?

foodincWeekend before last, Tony and I saw the documentary “Food Inc.” for free on his campus. It was an incredibly well produced, enjoyable film, even for people who aren’t into documentaries. But it scared the crap out of us.

I won’t go into gory details here. I do recommend watching it, but if you’re squeamish you might want to read about the issues on the website instead. The scenes inside the hatcheries and “farms” are pretty brutal. I’m not particularly squeamish, but it was hard for me to take.

I’ve never really liked the idea of something dying so I can eat, but I’ve never been a vegetarian either. This movie almost pushed me there, not just because I feel guilty, but because I have serious concerns about the sustainability of current farming practices, the effects on our environment and our health.

So. Where am I going with this? I have a point, I promise.

My husband and I decided to try a halfway approach to organic and sustainable food. We’ve always bought organic produce when we can. We shop in season and try to buy locally, which is good for the environment and for our budget. Organic meat is just so expensive. Our solution is to buy the expensive organic meat — only less of it.

This week at the grocery store, we bought a whole organic chicken (marked down 25% because the sell-by date is tomorrow) that we’ll cook tomorrow and use in three meals. We also bought a pound of organic ground chicken that we’ll use next week because it was on sale for half price.

I left the movie feeling pretty powerless. We spend all this time trying to make the right choices for our health and the environment, and yet so many decisions about our food are made before we even have the option to buy it.

Unfortunately, this won’t change unless we’re willing to change our lifestyles — and our budgets. It means shifting the grocery budget to allow healthier food without spending a fortune. The only uplifting part of the movie is that it reminds us how much power we have as consumers. If we demand healthier food from producers, then they will deliver. And as the movie says, “We vote three times a day.” Every time you make a choice about what to eat, you’re telling food producers the type of food you want to buy. If you choose healthier foods, they’ll get the message.

After finishing our grocery shopping this week, we felt empowered. Our grocery bill was only about $5 more than normal, but we bought all organic meat and more organic, local produce than normal. By making smart choices (like buying higher quality meat only less of it or stock piling organic foods when they’re on sale), we can minimize the impact on our budget and still eat a healthier, more eco-friendly diet.

If you want to get involved, you can sign a petition here asking that school lunch programs serve healthier, more nutritious food to children. Or you can also learn more about how to change the food system.

I usually try to keep politics out of my blog, but I really believe this is a bipartisan issue. It affects our environment and, most importantly, our health and the health of our children.

Menu Plan: 9/26-10/2

Is this really the first menu plan of October? Holy cow, where is the year going? I’m not complaining, though. The faster time goes, the faster we get to beautiful fall weather. I can’t wait!

This week was not a good week for our grocery budget. Tony’s birthday was Sunday, and I found myself going a little overboard at the grocery store. We picked up quite a few things that weren’t on the list, including ingredients for a coffee cake he was craving instead of birthday cake and a 12-pack of Coke. Those little extra really add up! The result was a $70 grocery bill. Yikes. It’s been a while since we had one of those.

But he had a fantastic birthday, and if we can’t indulge a little bit for a birthday, when can we do it?

Here’s our $70 menu for this week:

Saturday: Pizza (Tony’s parents sent him some cash for his birthday, so we went out for dinner!)
Sunday: Chicken and dumplings
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Chicken tacos and refried beans
Wednesday: Chicken Caesar salad
Thursday: Bean and cheese burritos
Friday: Homemade pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Have a great Monday!