June 3, 2010

June - Monthly Menu

Well here we go! Month #1 in my attempt at monthly menu planning! Remember I mentioned I was trying this approach a few posts back? I'm hoping it will help me be more organized and focused in the kitchen... which will help with more pantry/fridge organization and less waste. Plus as I enter my 9th month of pregger-ness :) the easier I make my life the better!

Yes - there are not 30 meals here... I'm taking into consideration 1) storage. I just don't have that much room. 2) Days we will be away. 3) Our usual dine out with friends/date night once a week.

June - Main Dishes

  1. Lemon Sage Chicken
  2. Jen's Cream Cheese Chicken (recipe to follow)
  3. Grilled Chicken (quick dish using various marinades on hand)
  4. Crunchy Tacos
  5. Cajun Shrimp Pasta
  6. Shrimp & Grits
  7. Chicken Enchiladas
  8. Chicken & Dumplings (recipe to follow)
  9. Breakfast Night: Pancakes & Bacon
  10. Venison Quesadilla
  11. Spaghetti
  12. Kebabs (another quick dish - use chicken, beef or shrimp + on-hand veggies)
  13. Hamburgers
  14. Broccoli, Cheese and Tater Tot Casserole (slightly altered Picky Palate recipe - completely addicted to this blog!)
  15. BBQ Beef Sandwiches
  16. Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
  17. Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage and Shrimp (recipe to follow)

I'm also keeping a list of side dishes. I think this will be easier than 'pre-assigning' side dishes; I'm trying to be flexible!!

  1. Lemon Rice Pilaf (recipe to follow)
  2. Mexican Rice (recipe to follow)
  3. Veggies - follow what produce is on sale and in season.
  4. Strawberry & Feta Salad (recipe to follow)
  5. Random - for a lot of dishes we scour the fridge for leftover sides, veggies (carrot sticks, sliced tomato, etc.), etc. For example, on hamburger night I would probably serve it with a sliced tomato, baby pickles and pickled okra.
  6. Baked Beans
  7. Baked Potatoes

And I would like to tease you with a few upcoming desserts :)

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Lava Cakes (recipe to follow)
  2. Strawberry Lime Ice Cream (recipe to follow)
  3. Fluffernutter Cookies (another Picky Palate recipe)
  4. Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites (recipe to follow)

I also want to explain my organization methods:

  • First, I created my list of meal ideas. I tried to think of hubbies favorites, my treats and then a few new ideas.
  • Next I took each meal idea and listed the ingredients - I left out things like salt, pepper, flour, items I will always have in stock - creating a master list on my computer I can continually reference as I rotate thru meals/recipes in the upcoming months.
  • I took the list of ingredients and scoured my fridge, freezer and pantry crossing off anything already in stock.
  • Then I made my shopping list.
  • Finally, I am checking sale ads for my local grocery stores and gathering my coupons. Some items I will stock up when possible (for example I have several coupons for pasta that expire soon and they are on sale. I know my pasta container will hold 3 more boxes - so I will stock up!)

Despite my lack of organization in the past... I LOVE to be organized! I have created a master menu planning file on my computer with recipes, the ingredients lists, a master shopping list and each months meal list. So for July... I will look at what we had in June and decide what I want to keep on the list or add. Reference my already created ingredient lists, add needed items to my master shopping list, gather my coupons and get stocked up before the baby arrives! (hopefully!)

I would love to hear from you! How do you menu plan? Any tips?

What meals do you serve often?

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the country cook said...

That's a lot of meals! Can you two eat that much? I find that we generally only can handle 2-3 recipes a week because of leftovers.

I am a weekly meal planner. I have to shop once a week for perishable items like milk and eggs, so that's when I get everything else. Ironically, I'm not a pantry stocker either. We've got the basic baking goods (baking powder, flour, sugar, etc.) and a few cans of veggies, but I generally only stock what we will be eating each week. My mom has this bad habit of buying a bunch of things on sale and then never using them. I don't buy it unless it's on the menu and I waste so much less! Glad to hear you are creating a menu before you go sale shopping too...that's why your name is Kristen. :-)

I would plan for monthly meals, but I honestly think it would take away my fun each week (I'll probably change my mind when I'm 8 months prego too). I just love sitting down with my cookbooks once a week, and planning each week also helps me use up any leftovers more effectively.

I just wrote you an entire essay in the comments section...wow.

Kristen said...

:) Yes, it is quite a few meals! I rarely say, we are having this Monday, this Tuesday, etc. It works better for us to have several things on hand and then just see what we are craving! Plus I have adapted many of my recipes to serve two. Those that are just naturally larger (whole chicken in crockpot, crockpot beans, etc.)I use for my lunches since I brown bag it everyday.

I shop perishables every week too! Mainly milk, eggs and veggies for that week.

I'm still sitting down with my cookbooks (so much fun!!) and favorite internet sites, just it's for a few weeks from now or next month. My main concern is having things stocked and planned for when I'm home on maternity leave and looking for a quick lunch for myself!