Tag Archives: meal plans

Menu Plan: 5/18-5/23

It’s Monday again, and you know what that means. Not only is it the beginning of the week (a week before a holiday!), but it’s also time for a menu plan.

Summertime arrives early in North Carolina, and that means fresh fruits and vegetables are not only delicious, but cheap! So we’re cooking with more veggies, eating fruit for snacks, and enjoying big salads.

I’m also trying to cut carbs again — not drastically, but we’re cutting back on pastas and potatoes in our meals. Since I’m avoiding heavy breads, our weekly Friday standby of homemade pizza is also out for the time being. :( Pasta and pizza are staples for us, so it’s a challenge for us to plan meals without them. I would love some suggestions for low-fat, low-carb recipes.

This week pork tenderloin was on sale, so we’re using it in three meals. Our total at the grocery store was $57. I’ll be eating salad for lunch at work when leftovers aren’t possible.

Here’s our menu for the week:

Sunday: Rosemary roasted pork tenderloin and green beans
Monday: Pork stir fry
Tuesday: Chef’s salad
Wednesday: Pork fajitas
Thursday: Grilled chicken breasts with vegetable succotash (we substitute the butter with a little olive oil in this succotash recipe)
Friday: Chicken Caesar wraps and steamed edamame

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

A Mother’s Day meal fit for a queen — the frugal way

lobsterThis weekend, my parents are coming to visit. I haven’t seen them since Christmas, and I can’t wait.

Last weekend my mom celebrated her birthday. And of course, this weekend we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day with her. We really want to do something special for her, so we started brainstorming super luxurious meals we could cook.

Since one of our goals for 2011 is cooking lobster at home and it’s one of her favorite foods, we decided surf and turf would be the perfect Mother’s Day feast.

Steak and lobster meals typically cost about $25 in chain restaurants, and even more than that in gourmet establishments. We figured by cooking it at home we could keep it healthier and save a little money. I was surprised to find out just how much this meal can cost even at home.

Tony really wanted to cook live lobster. At $14.99 a pound and roughly 1.5 pounds per lobster, we would have spent about $90 on lobster alone if we each ate a whole one. The most economical option is buying two whole lobsters, which would probably yield plenty of meat for the four of us. But that would cut down on the amount of tail meat that each person gets, and the lobster tail is the best part. Not only that, but I wasn’t too excited about the gruesome reality of cooking a live lobster. I’m a little squeamish about eating anything with eyes. Yuck.

We decided to go for frozen lobster tails instead. Our grocery store typically sells frozen lobster tails at $9.99 each for about 4.5 ounces. That’s about $35.50/pound. I had no idea lobster was so pricey!

In a tremendous stroke of luck, it turns out frozen lobster tails are half price this week at our grocery store. So we’re buying 4 frozen lobster tails for $20, or about $17 a pound. It’s more expensive per pound, but we’re not paying for the inedible waste we’d have with whole lobsters. I have a feeling that when you weigh only the edible parts of the whole lobster, the per pound price would probably be more than $14.99.

We were prepared to serve any type of steak, but after shopping around we discovered that we could get beautiful cuts of filet mignon for $7.99 a pound at Costco. We normally wouldn’t spring for a pricier cut of meat like that, but this is my mom’s birthday/Mother’s Day meal after all.

For side dishes, we’re serving creamed spinach and baked potatoes. All together, this feast for four people will cost less than $60, or about $15 per person, including a nice bottle of wine. That’s a pretty pricey home-cooked meal, but when you consider what we’d spend at a restaurant, I’d say it’s a steal.

Tony says lobster tails don’t count and he still wants to cook a live lobster, but I’m still going to cross that one off the list anyway. :)

Photo by tangaroo

Menu Plan: 5/2-5/8

We spent all day Sunday cleaning our apartment. We cleared our cabinets and closets, vacuumed under furniture, and tried to reach every crevass that has been neglected during the winter months. It feels great!

At the grocery store we spent $56. We’ve been getting really bored with our old standby menus, so we’re trying to change things up with a couple of new meals. My parents are arriving for a visit this weekend (yay!), so we’ll be going out to eat Friday.

Sunday: Chicken paninis
Monday: Taco salad
Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas
Wednesday: BLTs
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Dinner with parents

For more menu plans, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Hope you’re all enjoying the start of your week! Happy Monday!

Menu Plan: 4/18-4/24

This was quite an expensive week at the grocery store — $68. Yikes. But we needed olive oil, and we ended up needing two separate types of meat, something that doesn’t usually happen.

This week we tried to focus on planning lunches for me. I’ve been struggling to find lunch ideas that are healthy, cost-efficient, and tasty enough to help me avoid the temptation of my co-workers’ daily lunch invitations.

Here’s the menu for the week, broken down by lunch and dinner.


Roast, potatoes, and green beans

Lunch: Leftover hash with roast, potatoes & veggies
Dinner: Leftovers/sandwiches

Lunch: Sub sandwich
Dinner: Pasta primavera

Lunch: Leftover pasta
Dinner: Tacos

Lunch: Leftover tacos
Dinner: Balsamic chicken with baby spinach

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly
Dinner: Pizza

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 4/11 – 4/18

It’s been a refreshing long weekend, mostly full of rest and relaxation. It’s time to get back to work, but even after the three-day weekend I’m feeling unprepared. Don’t you hate when that happens?

We’re keeping it very simple this week. Our menu plan is made up of staples and easy dishes. We’re making a couple of pasta dishes simply because I’m still struggling to find dishes that are easy and tasty enough the next day for lunch.

Here’s the menu:

Sunday: Stuffed manicotti
Monday: Sandwiches/leftovers
Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce
Wednesday: BLTs
Thursday: Chicken and broccoli stir fry
Friday: Pizza

For more menu ideas, check out OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 4/4-4/10

Over the weekend we got in some much needed time outside. We attended a cookout on Saturday, and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. It was sunny and 75 degrees. Sunday was even warmer, so we spent the morning at the state park walking the dog on the nature trails.

But now it’s back to work and back to menu planning. I’m glad it’s a short week this week. I’m looking forward to the three-day weekend to relax, catch up on some sleep, and get some work done around the house.

It was time to stock up on coffee for the month, which increased our bill a bit, but we did okay for the most part. Our total was about $60, and we spent $14 on a month’s supply of coffee.

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Sunday: Chicken and broccoli pasta with Alfredo sauce
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Quesadillas and refried beans
Wednesday: Spinach pesto
Thursday: Italian grilled cheese sandwiches with basil and tomatoes
Friday: Spinach and broccoli pizza

Spinach and broccoli pizza is a specialty pizza that was served at our favorite pizza place in our college town. We haven’t been able to find it anywhere else, so we did our best to recreate the recipe. It’s white sauce (we just use our homemade Alfredo recipe), spinach, and broccoli with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. I know it sounds weird, but it’s delicious! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it:


Pizza crust
Alfredo sauce (recipe below)
Mozzarella cheese
Cheddar cheese

Alfredo sauce:

1/2 cup half and half
1/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Heat half and half on medium low. Add butter and whisk to combine. Stir in cheese. Season with black pepper.

Wilt two cups fresh spinach in a little olive oil or thaw a half package of frozen spinach. Cook the broccoli in boiling water until a little tender, but not soft. Top pizza crust with Alfredo, wilted or thawed spinach, and broccoli. Sprinkle on mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Have a great week! Hope it’s a short one for you!

For more menu ideas, visit OrgJunkie.

Menu Plan: 3/28 – 4/3

We had a wonderful relaxing Saturday doing nothing, but that meant we spent all day Sunday running around trying to make up for lost time. Now I wish I had just one more day to relax. :(

But I really can’t complain. I slept a full 12 hours Friday and Saturday night to make up for my post-trip exhaustion. It was glorious.

We had a surprisingly good week at the grocery store. There was a great deal on chicken breasts, so we stocked up with $15 worth (about 9 pounds). Even with the chicken and a small skirt steak for the fajitas, our total was only $57.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Sunday: Bacon-wrapped chicken and roasted new potatoes
Monday: Leftovers/sandwiches
Tuesday: Steak fajitas
Wednesday: Chicken and vegetable spring rolls with rice
Thursday: Bean and cheese burritos
Friday: Pizza

Lunch for me: Artichoke pasta salad

For more menu ideas, check out OrgJunkie. Happy Monday!

Menu Plan: 3/14-3/20

Somehow time got away from me yesterday, and I completely forgot to get my menu plan for the week posted. No time now for anything but the menu today.

It’s a really simple week this week, and fortunately a really inexpensive one. Our total was $52.

Sunday: Pasta with meat sauce
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: BLTs
Wednesday: Whole wheat pasta with pesto
Thursday: Chicken wraps
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday: Restaurant with visiting friends

For more menu plan ideas, visit OrgJunkie.

I hope your Monday is a little less rushed than mine!

Menu Plan: 3/7-3/13

Menu planning for this week was especially difficult, because we’re hosting my husband’s parents for 4 days. We’re cooking for two extra people, and we wanted our meals to be special. We also wanted to stay as close to our budget as possible.

We didn’t do too badly. Our total for the week (including meals after Tony’s parents leave on Wednesday) was $65. That’s only $10-$15 more than our normal grocery costs.

Here’s our menu plan for frugal entertaining:

Saturday: Restaurant (Tony’s parents insist on treating us to a meal out. We told them it’s not necessary, but you know how parents are. :) )
Sunday: Spinach and cheese lasagna
Monday: Steaks, baked potatoes, and creamed spinach
Tuesday: Homemade pizza
Wednesday: Whole wheat pasta with marinara
Thursday: Quesadillas and refried beans
Friday: Homemade pizza (twice in one week!)

Now I’m off to entertain our guests! For more menu plan ideas, check out OrgJunkie.