Menu Planning

I hate planning a menu.  I usually love making lists but I hate cooking and the whole time you plan a menu you have to think about cooking.  Blech.

This week we’re doing Ham and White Beans, Beef Enchiladas, Cheesy Chicken and Rice and Tacos.  I leave a day or two open for pizza or leftovers or a fend-for-yourself (usually frozen meals) night.

What’s on your menu this week?  Do you enjoy the planning?

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About Just Vegas

I'm a 30-something married SAHM which means the nightmare scenario that plagued my early 20's has become reality. Funny thing is, I kinda like it. I have 3 lovely daughters who are educated at home and at a part-time alternative school. I love animals and I love people (in the general sense, not everybody all the time). I have no income to speak of, I'm not crafty and I hate cooking. My skills include reading the internet, watching tv on the internet and conversing with people on the internet. I'm an armchair philosopher, spiritualist, agnostic, feminist, liberal, activist, political pundit and tv critic.
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25 Responses to Menu Planning

  1. Emily says:

    Its hard to plan for just the two of us…this week I’m planning chili but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I love to cook, plan, and grocery shopping but hate buying groceries (actually paying for them). It seems everytime I plan something or take chicken out of the freezer something happens and I end up wasting food which I hate to do.

    • Suzanne says:

      A good menu plan helps eliminate food waste. (I HATE wasting food.) Anyhow, if I could be so bold as to suggest going to http://www.savingdinner.com, you can download a menu mailer there for any kind of food you want, low-carb, vegetarian, thrifty, kosher, etc and then she offers you the entire printable grocery list plus recipes for one price. I ordered a year one time, and after that I was an old pro at planning and buying and everything. I even saved the year (one week’s menus at a time) so I could use them again. I am not affiliated with this website in any way, it was just something I used. I think the last time I looked you could get the recipes/grocery lists scaled for 2 people. Good luck!

  2. AmyG says:

    Each Sunday morning, I go through the grocery fliers and plan out the weeks meals with my husband based on sale items and our schedule. Often, I will cook a meal with the plan of using that meal for leftovers at a later date when time is short. I don’t love cooking or the planning, however it saves money and I get the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing something for my family. I don’t love everything that I have to do, however I love that It allows me to help provide for my kids.
    Thank God that they love Mac ‘n cheese!

  3. Beth says:

    I plan a menu for 2 weeks at a time. I don’t assign specific meals to specific days, I just plan enough meals (and lunches for school) for 2 weeks. I generally am able to buy 2 weeks worth of groceries for the four of us (including lunches for all of us) for $225 every 2 weeks.

    This 2 weeks we’re having:

    Chili & cornbread
    Potato Soup and Garlic Bread
    German Pancakes and Sausage
    Pigs in a blanket with mac & cheese & applesauce
    Sweet & Sour Chicken Legs with Tater Tots and Corn
    Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
    Angel Chicken & Rolls
    Hot Shredded Chicken Sandwhiches with Chips and Baked Beans
    Calzones & Salad
    Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle
    Homemade Chicken Pot Pie & Mashed Potatoes
    Homemade Chicken Nuggets & Buffalo Fries
    Leftovers
    Eat Out

    I usually have some sort of fruit each night too. I LOVE planning meals for my family and I LOVE that I can save money by doing so! Good luck to you all in your planning!

    • vegas710 says:

      I’d love to see your recipe for angel chicken and the chicken taco cornbread!

      • Beth says:

        Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle
        Ingredients
        DRESSING
        1/2 cup ranch dressing
        1/2 cup salsa verde
        1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves

        FILLING
        2 tablespoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
        1/2 cup finely chopped onion
        1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
        1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
        2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
        3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
        1/4 teaspoon black pepper
        1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies

        CRUST
        1 large egg
        1 (7 oz.) package Martha White® Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix
        1/2 cup milk
        3/4 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

        TOPPINGS
        1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
        1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
        3 cups shredded romaine
        1 cup chopped tomatoes

        Preparation Directions
        1. HEAT oven to 400°F. Combine ranch dressing, salsa and 1 cup cilantro leaves in a small food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.
        2. HEAT olive oil in 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, salt, cumin, pepper and tomatoes with green chilies; cook 5 minutes. Remove from skillet. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; grease.
        3. BEAT egg in large bowl. Add cornbread mix and milk; mix well. Place tortilla chips in greased skillet. Pour cornbread mixture over chips. Spoon chicken mixture over cornbread mixture; sprinkle with cheeses.
        4. BAKE 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges. Top with romaine and tomatoes; drizzle with dressing.

        Prep Time: 20 min
        Cooking Time: 20 min
        Serving size: 6 servings

        Angel Chicken (Crock Pot)

        1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
        1/4 cup butter
        1 0.7 oz pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
        1 10 1/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup (I use Cream of Chicken)
        1/4 cup chicken broth
        1/2 of 8 0z tub of cream cheese with chives and onion

        Hot, cooked angel hair pasta

        Place chicken in crock pot. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in dressing mix. Stir in soup, broth, and cream cheese until combined. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Serve over hot cooked pasta. Makes about 6 servings.

    • Mario Saccoccio says:

      Hey! You forgot the bacon!

    • Mario Saccoccio says:

      Let me help you with your meal plan, Beth…

      Chili with Bacon & cornbread.
      Potato Soup topped with crumbled Bacon and Garlic Bread
      German Pancakes and Sausage wrapped in Bacon
      Bacon in a blanket with mac & cheese & applesauce
      Sweet & Sour Bacon with Tater Tots and Corn
      Grilled Cheese with tomato and Bacon and Tomato Soup
      Angel Chicken & Rolls rolled in Bacon fat, covered with crumbled Bacon
      Hot Shredded Chicken Sandwhiches with Chips and Baked Beans with thick chunks of Bacon
      Bacon and Cheese filled Calzones & Salad
      Chicken Taco Cornbread Wedges with Ranchero Cilantro Drizzle, served with Bacon on the side.
      Homemade Chicken Pot Pie & Mashed Potatoes topped with Bacon
      Homemade Bacon Nuggets & Buffalo Fries topped with Bacon
      Leftover Bacon
      Eat Out anywhere that serves BACON!!!
      Just trying to be helpful…

  4. Beth says:

    One of my absolute favorite recipe blogs!!!

    http://picky-palate.com/

  5. GiGi says:

    I am so much happier and productive when I plan out the week and don’t waste as much produce! And, it keeps us from having pasta every day! But, I’ve been lazy so weekly menu planning is actually one of my goals (now that school has FINALLY started).

  6. Middleoftheroadmary says:

    Looking at your menu Vegas…I hope you have a good cardiologist on speed dial. All of the cheese, ham, and beef…how about chicken Caesar salad night? Soup night would stretch your food dollar and be much better for your family than the fatty menu you have planned. Would a vegan lasagna be so bad? You are a grown woman, and your husband is old enough to eat whatever you like…think about your young children and the health of their little hearts. A nice low-cal dessert for the Vegas family could be cut up fresh fruit with some vanilla yogurt.

    • Suzanne says:

      I don’t see anything particularly wrong with ham and beans, seeing as ham merely flavors the beans and beans are a natural statin, e.g. quite heart healthy. Also, I can’t tell what she is putting in her tacos, but it could be black bean tacos, or fish tacos, or even veggie tacos. And if she makes her rice anything at all like I do, it is a handy way to dice itty bitty veggies and get them into her kids diet in a fun and pain-free fashion. Also she hasn’t even mentioned her side dishes… my kids get applesauce a lot of the time, steamed broccoli, and salads, so that even if we are eating Blue Box mac and cheese they are getting some good nutrition.

      I have to say as a busy Mom myself, anytime you are making food for your kids and they are happy and eating goes in the Win box. I am a lot more worried about Moms who only feed their kids from the drive-thru than I am about Vegas who loves her children very, very much.

      • Beth says:

        Kids are hard to cook for sometimes! I have two picky eaters. I get the fruits and veggies in where I can. I happen to know for a fact that Vegas’ kids eat very well and even enjoy a good salad every now and then. Give her a break…life’s busy and for heaven sake she’s only shared one meal a day with us!

        • vegas710 says:

          Thank you Beth and Suzanne. My first reaction was a big fat “screw you!”
          You are both right, of course. The main dishes I listed are only a small part of the meal. This week’s menu was a little beef-heavy because that’s what I could afford. Chicken and rice was a special request from Elliet. My kids are very healthy and they are good eaters if a little picky at times.

          • AmyG says:

            I don’t know if I would waste a “screw you” on MOTRM’s comment, However he does have a point regarding high fat diets and children. Although children need a diet rich in fat for good brain development, just make sure that they get plenty of exercise as well.
            If you can’t afford good, healthy food, supplement your meals with lots of veggies and fruit.
            Just lay off the cheese!

            • vegas710 says:

              Cheese is good for you. It’s full of protein and calcium. As long as it’s in moderation I don’t deny myself or my children any foods.
              The larger point is that no one should be judging how I care for my children based on a list of four meals.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I have learned to love menu planning. It took me awhile, but I am finally there, in the place where I can see the pay-off. Plus I have taught myself to cook and bake a lot of wonderful things and now it is more of a hobby for me and less of a chore. I am a person who tends to need a creative outlet and since I lack the time to pursue my old hobbies cooking has filled the gap nicely for me.

  8. Mario Saccoccio says:

    It takes lots of work to make a healthy meal plans for kids, especially if they’re picky eaters. But it is very important, both for their health today and beyond. Realize that you are doing something good for your family and maybe it will not be viewed as work, but as a labor of love.
    Now, where’s the Bacon?

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