Thursday, January 7, 2010

Menu Plan for January

Happy New Year!

I am joining with bloggers everywhere (inspired by Life as Mom and Money Saving Mom) and resolving to Eat from the Pantry/Freezer for most of my meals in January. I have been able to stock quite a bit in my freezer in particular over the past few months, and it's time to clean it out. So my inspiration for my meals this month comes from what I already have on hand, supplemented of course with fresh dairy and produce each week.

Following is my menu plan for the month. I've linked to recipes when I can, but I almost always alter recipes I find to make them healthier (using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, applesauce instead of oil, etc.).

1: Homemade pizza (Friday night staple)

2: Ravioli, salad, bread

3: Pancakes (freeze leftovers)

4: Pasta with red sauce, Caesar salad, homemade bread

5: Broccoli & cheese soup for Scott (dinner with friends for me)

6: Chicken tenders, sweet potato casserole, and homemade rolls

7: Mashed potatoes and meatballs (make a double batch to freeze), salad

8: Homemade pizza (Friday night staple)

9: Breakfast for dinner (crustless quiche?)

10: Baked potatoes, salad, carrots

11: Lasagna roll-ups

12: Salmon and black bean frozen dinner

13: Eat out (Awana night)

14: Chicken teriyaki stir fry

15: Homemade pizza (Friday night staple)

16: Breakfast for dinner (frittata?)

17: Leftover stew, dinner rolls

18: Lasagna roll-ups from freezer

19: Chicken tacos, beans, and rice

20: Eat out or have leftovers (Awana night)

21: Macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli

22: Homemade pizza (Friday night staple)

23: Breakfast for dinner (eggs and rosemary potatoes?)

24: Fend for yourself night!

25: Broccoli and cheddar soup, homemade rolls

26: Leftovers

27: Eat out or fend for yourself (Awana night)

28: Bean and cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice, salad

29: (Isaac’s birthday!!) Homemade pizza (Friday night staple)

30: Breakfast for dinner (waffles and eggs?)

31: Leftover meatballs—on subs or spaghetti, salad

I printed out this menu plan and put one on my fridge in a plastic page protector so that I can refer to it whenever I need to. I also bring a copy of it with me whenever I go grocery shopping so that I know exactly what I need to buy--and what I don't. Just having a plan in place helps me feel more organized and has already saved me time and money. I avoid last-minute trips for groceries I forgot (or having to resort to fast food) when I have it all mapped out ahead of time!

When I plan my menu, I try hard to be realistic. I know that Wednesdays, for example, are really crazy for our family. I'm at church from 5:00-8:00 (at least) and don't have the energy to worry about a proper dinner. Typically we drive through Jimmy John's for a sandwich on those nights as a treat. And on Sunday nights we don't get home until after 7:00, so dinner has to be something I can put on the table very quickly.

If you are interested in meal planning and don't know where to begin, I'd suggest these two articles by Simple Mom and Life as Mom. They are both fabulous blogs full of lots of tips for home management and organization.