2012 Menu Planning: 1/8-1/15/12

As part of my committment to try a few new recipes each month, last week we tried Hearty Meat Pie from Taste of Home.  I halved the recipe, just to try it (without the freezing part).  It’s like a meatloaf inside a pie crust — awesome.  This calls for more celery than we prefer, so next time I’ll reduce that.  And my guys commented a few times on the shredded texture of the vegs, so I think I’ll finely chop rather than shred when I make it again.  I like that it goes in uncooked, but magically comes out perfect.  The instructions to start at 375 and reduce to 350 degrees seemed different to me, but the crust and inside were done to perfection.  CT recommends!

This week I’m embarking on my super-thrifty menu planning.  Now, I do have a huge freezer and pantry inventory to use, so I’ll be mixing it up with flavors and meats.  For the most part, though, I’ll be cutting waaaay back on food purchases.  Be sure to check out my “$350 per month in 2012″ post!  That said, I did get an incredible deal on a ham this week, and I’ll be using that as a starting point.  Sunday ham is a no-brainer.

Here’s what’s on our dinner menus this week:

Sunday:  Ham (1.04/# = 1.75), baked potatoes (.24/# = .50), salads (.40), the last (I hope) of all the candy/cookie/cake gifts (free).  About $2.65.

Monday: Baked boneless chicken (2.35), pasta (.55) with Alfredo sauce (.30), broccoli (.53).  About $3.75.

Tuesday:  Spaghetti (.55) with red sauce (.45), Parm cheese (.10), salads (.40), garlic bread (leftover bread, butter, ~.35).  About $1.85

Wednesday:  Ham (leftover ~$1) and potato (~.30) casserole (other ingredients ~.30), peas (.53).   Also making a second one for the freezer.  About $2.15.

Thursday:  Grilled cheese sandwiches (bread ~.75, cheese ~$1, butter .05), tomato soup (.19 from previous stash). About $2.00.

Friday:  Homemade chicken (leftover FREE) garlic (Alfredo sauce .30, garlic .05) pizza (crust ~$1) with added vegs (~.40).  Making extra pizza dough for the freezer, too.  About $1.75.

Saturday:  Ham (bone ~ $1.50) and bean ($1.50) soup (onion, carrot, celery ~ $.75), biscuits (.40).  About $4.15 for TWO dinners, or $2.10 for this meal.

These dinners for four will cost about $16.25, with leftovers!  The scratch cooking is helping keep the costs down.  Adding vegs is helping boost the nutrition and flavor.  Double batches will make life easier down the road — extra ham for the freezer (and sandwiches) is invaluable around here.

What’s on your menu? What deals are you putting to use?

 For more inspiration and awe, visit

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