2012 Menu Planning: 1/15 – 1/21/12

Life tosses monkey wrenches into our plans on a regular basis.  And so it was last week.  Lucky for me I had my menu plans!  We only switched two days, which I should have planned for to begin with.  I didn’t consider a wedding reception when I originally planned a homemade bean soup night.  Oops.  So we switched with the next night’s steak dinner, and that allowed us to take advantage of some great grilling weather.  (Yes, the calendar says mid-January in Nebraska.)

I’ve had a few questions lately about how I do my menu plans.  I’ve been doing this for decades, and I use a menu plan grid to fill in my menus on each day, because I’m a visual learner.  You can download and print that form HERE.  If you’re brand new to menu planning and really need to take baby steps, CT recommends Food on the Table

The starting point for this week is my freezer stash.  I’m relying on a lot of that, and pantry overflow.  I did a freezer/pantry inventory last weekend, and I’m good to go for quite a while, with some fresh produce and dairy.  These meals are super-thrifty that way.  I’ve scheduled some fast-to-grab meals, and will be trying out new recipes for old favorites, like Monday’s Parm chicken.  Here’s what’s on our dinner menus this week:

Sunday:  Home-made bean soup with the ham bone.  (The bone had less than 1/2 cup meat!  Ready rescue: a forgotten kielbasa from the freezer ($1), and a leftover handful of tiny pasta tubes.)  The soup came to about $3 for a huge pot with seven large extra portions, so about $1.50 for the meal.  Biscuits (.47 per MasterCook).  About $2.00.

Monday:  Parmesan chicken breasts (trying a new recipe, without sauce) (chicken breasts 2.46, egg .09, bread crumbs .20, Parm .25), rotini pasta (.89), steamed veg blend (.53).  About $4.45.

Tuesday:  Crock Pot sauerkraut (1.30), pan-grilled pork chops (2.36), boiled potatoes (.30).  About $4.00.

Wednesday:  BBQ chicken from the freezer (chicken nearly free, bbq sauce .25), Kahlua baked beans (2.35 per MasterCook), slaw or salad (~.50).  About $3.25.

Thursday:  Leftover pea soup and noodles from the freezer.  Free — cost included in original meal.

Friday:  Spaghetti (free) and meatballs from the freezer (1.79), salads (.50), Parmesan and dressings.  About $1.50.

Saturday:  Two camping, one out, one OYO.

These dinners for four will cost about $15.25!  The scratch cooking is still helping keep the costs down, along with the loss-leader grocery deals.  This week I’ll also be planning out some freezer cooking sessions.

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

 For more inspiration and awe, visit

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