Tag Archives: meal plans

Menu Plan: 10/3 – 10/9

We’re slowly trying to adapt our food budget to incorporate healthier, organic foods without spending too much more (more on that later). Unfortunately, that means we had another week over budget — $65.

I’m confident we’ll learn to balance organics and price so we can get healthy, local foods without blowing the budget. We’re just not there yet. :)

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Appetizers! Homemade hummus, bruschetta, Veggies and dip
Sunday: Roasted chicken with new potatoes
Monday: Vegetarian chili
Tuesday: Chicken quesadillas
Wednesday: Spaghetti with spinach pesto
Thursday: Mexican bean skillet
Friday: Homemade pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 9/19 – 9/25

Despite the fact that it’s still too warm to turn off the air conditioning, we can’t wait until it’s gets cooler to bring soup back into our menu plans. If you’re enjoying fall weather, please don’t tell me about it. I have another month of 80-degree weather before we can finally turn off the A/C.

We’re trying to reduce our grocery spending by about $10 a week. Unfortunately, this week we didn’t succeed. We spent about $58, but we’re working on it. Hopefully next week, we’ll be able to get down to $40-$50.

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Pulled chicken nachos (Who says you can’t have nachos for dinner? We’re adults!)
Sunday: Chicken noodle soup
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Fajita chicken with pinto beans and rice
Wednesday: Cheese ravioli with marinara
Thursday: Chicken wraps
Friday: Homemade pizza

Visit Org Junkie for more menu plans. Have a great week!

Menu plan: 9/12-9/18

I’m counting down the days to soups and heartier meals for the colder months, but we’ve still got some weeks to go before fall weather arrives in North Carolina. I’m finding some great compromises in the meantime.

We’re trying something new with our routine, and this week we finished our grocery shopping Friday night. I loved that it left the weekend open for more fun, but I feel like the produce selection was a lower quality than usual. Any other Friday night shoppers have that problem, or is it just an anomaly since we’re approaching the end of the summer?

Here’s our $50 meal plan:

Saturday: Porterhouse steak and baked potatoes
Sunday: Broccoli Cheddar soup
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Black bean quesadillas
Wednesday: Spaghetti with meatless marinara
Thursday: BLTs
Friday: Pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Happy Monday!

Menu Plan: 8/31 – 9/4

Tony has always been a more adventurous cook than I am. It’s not that I don’t like to try new things; it’s just that I think I know what I like, and I’m content to stick with it.

But one of the many reasons that Tony and I are a good match is that he chooses foods that I’m not interested in trying, and he makes it his mission to cook those food for me. It typically takes him a month or two to convince me to add something to our menu plan for the week. There have been some disasters, but he’s usually right. The foods he insists I try usually end up being delicious. And once he’s cooked something. he chooses a new project to force me to try.

Lately he’s been obsessed with making braised beef short ribs. Personally, I thought they looked too fatty for me. Last night I finally gave in and let him make them, and I have to tell you: he was right. They turned out pretty delicious, even if they were a little fattier than I like my meat.

Most importantly, we got four big beef short ribs for about $5. To be honest, this is a meal that I’d recommend more for the cold winter months, but it’s definitely a hearty Sunday meal that I recommend you try. Hint: the gravy is the best part!

And here’s the rest of our $65 menu plan for this week:

Sunday: Braised beef short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and corn on the cob
Monday: Cheeseburgers with baked french fries
Tuesday: Chicken quesadillas
Wednesday: Tomato-basil baked chicken and side salad
Thursday: Chicken Caesar salad
Friday: Bean and cheese burritos

For more menu plans, check out OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 8/22-8/28

coffee and the paper

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend doing nothing at all. We went to the grocery store and the gym, but other than that we didn’t leave the house and barely left the couch. After last week’s marathon road trip to 3 different cities across 2,000 miles, a weekend of nothing was exactly what we needed. I’m feeling refreshed now and ready to start a new week.

Here’s our $59 menu for this week:

Saturday: Homemade pizza
Sunday: Roasted chicken breasts with steamed vegetables
Monday: Chicken fajita tortilla soup
Tuesday: Carne asada & Mexican style beans
Wednesday: Chef’s salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Sweet and sour chicken

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Photo by my wonderful husband Tony

What are your “go-to meals” for hectic weeks?

On weeks like this one after we’ve been traveling or the weekend is too busy to run our usual errands, the last thing we want to do is plan meals and grocery shop on Sunday night or Monday morning. Unfortunately, these are the weeks when planning is most important. The refrigerator and pantry are shockingly empty and we’re too tired at night to be creative with dinner.

The mix of exhaustion, laziness, and disorganization is dangerous for your budget and your health. It’s nights like these when I’m most likely to say, “Forget cooking, let’s order a pizza.” But after a week of overspending and overeating on vacation, fast food is the last thing we need.

For weeks like this, I have a list of meals that are quick, relatively healthy, and simple to prepare. We usually try to be creative and come up with at least one new recipe a week. Not this week. We pulled our menu plan directly from our go-to meal list.

Here are some of the meals I add to my menu when I’m crunched for time:

  • Chicken quesadillas
  • Tacos
  • Bean and cheese burritos
  • Pasta with marinara sauce
  • Homemade pizza
  • Canned soup and sandwiches
  • Grilled cheese
  • BLT sandwiches or salad
  • Breakfast for dinner

These may not be the healthiest options in our recipe book, but they’re healthier than fast food and simple enough that we can cook them up with no hassle.

Kacie at Sense to Save has written about experimenting with batch cooking to make hectic weeks even easier on her. Foods like casseroles or soups can be frozen and heated up later.

How do you get through your craziest weeks without ordering in?

Menu Plan: 8/15-8/21

After 14 hours in the car, we returned home last night at 11 p.m. We cleared our refrigerator and pantry before leaving, so there is absolutely no food in the house, not even the most basic staples like milk and bread. Luckily, our 14-hour car ride came in handy. We had plenty of time for menu planning and list making. All that’s left is to head to the grocery store tonight after work to replenish our stock.

We’re absolutely exhausted, and we had no time last weekend to relax or run any of our usual weekend errands, so we want to keep this week’s meal plan as simple and frugal as possible. Here’s what we’re cooking:

Monday: Beef tacos and refried beans
Tuesday: BLT salad
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (eggs and bacon)
Thursday: Cauliflower mac & cheese
Friday: Turkey wraps

I’m remembering now why we usually plan a day at the end of our vacations to catch up at home and get some rest. But we had such a great time last weekend that I’m glad we stayed the extra day, even if it means we’ll spend the rest of the week playing catch up.

For more menu plans, check out OrgJunkie. Happy Monday! I’m already looking forward to the weekend!

Menu Plan: 7/25 – 7/31

Between my redesign and various errands, we kept pretty busy this weekend. We had a lot to do, and since we’ll be out of town for the next three weekends, we wanted to get as much done as possible.

We decided to try to hang on to some cash for the concert next weekend. We’ll probably want to grab lunch or dinner in the city, so we set a goal to spend as little as possible of our cash allowance. All we needed was toothpaste and groceries, so we only took out $60 in cash.

After picking up a few items that are cheaper at Target (coffee and cereal), we arrived at the grocery store with $42.25 in cash to buy the rest of our groceries. Tony didn’t think we could do it, but I had faith in the amazing ability I’ve developed to estimate grocery prices this summer. I carefully tracked the price of every item we picked up on my list. We weighed produce to figure out exactly what we were spending on each item. We’ve been doing this all summer, so I’ve gotten pretty good at tracking accurately and sticking to the budget.

After the cashier rang us up, the total was $41.19. I think the cashier thought I was a nuts when I looked at Tony with a big grin and said, “Look at that!!!” I couldn’t contain my excitement as I handed over the rest of the cash in my pocket and told her, “That’s exactly how much cash I have!” She seemed a little freaked out. But it’s the little stuff, people!

So here’s my $55 menu plan for the last week of July:

Saturday: Spring rolls with Asian rice and veggies
Sunday: Ravioli
Monday: Fajita chicken with pinto beans and rice
Tuesday: Leftovers/breakfast
Wednesday: Chef’s salad
Thursday: Bean burritos
Friday: Chicken Caesar wraps

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. I hope you’re all having a spectacular Monday!

Menu plan: 7/18 – 7/24

Still no sales on chicken, but pork tenderloin was buy one, get one, so we’re eating pork this week!

We came in right on budget at the grocery story: $60 almost on the dot. If there’s one thing I’ve gotten out of this summer of cash budgeting, it’s estimating grocery costs based on a shopping list and cutting expenses down to fit our budget. We’ve only been at this for about 6 weeks, but it’s already so much easier for me to look at the list, estimate the cost of each item, and whittle it down until we’re without our budget.

We ended the week with $5 in our pockets, but we started with only $80 this week (the ATM where we happened to stop only allowed withdrawals in $20 denominations, so we decided to try to get through the week with $10 less).

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Balsamic chicken with baby spinach
Sunday: Pork kebabs and corn on the cob
Monday: Roasted pork tenderloin with steamed veggies
Tuesday: Pork enchiladas with refried beans
Wednesday: Pork taco salad
Thursday: Vegetarian three-bean chili
Friday: Pork wonton wraps and stir fried veggies

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie. Have a great Monday! Hope you’re not too bummed to see the weekend go.