Tag Archive for menu plan

Menu Plan and Shopping List 5/8/14-5/14/14

Remember last week when I said I hoped we were over taking sick days for a while? Well, the flu type bug that my husband came down with finally hit me full force Thursday afternoon. It’s a weird bug, with few and transient symptoms except for extreme fatigue and muscle aches that reminded me of my worse days dealing with Lyme disease symptoms. (So glad that’s not my daily life any more!)

The up shot of all that is that my husband made me take time off to rest and recover, and aside from some brief projects in the kitchen to keep my ferments going properly, he took over all cooking for several days. I had a big crockpot of rice and beans going at the time, meant for freezing, so we ate off that for a little bit before putting the rest in the freezer. We also ate more frozen pizzas than I originally had in my menu plan, along with some other simple food, such as barbecue chicken thighs and hamburgers.

I have to say, it’s nice being married to a man who can cook enough to keep us from existing entirely on frozen pizzas when I’m sick. It’s also completely awesome that he was willing to cook meals (and wash dishes and refill my glass of water and pretty much anything else he could do to keep me from having to get up while I was sick) after coming home from kind of stressful days at work.

I’m still not back up to a normal energy level, but I have taken the kitchen back over (and got some laundry done–yay!), and hopefully meals will resume a more normal course this week. Amongst other projects, that means getting more aggressive about using up the entire case of organic celery I got through Azure Standard. (Celery soda anyone?)


Salmon Salad rollups with celery sticks and carrot sticks

New York Style Pizza (If something happens to prevent me trying this recipe this Friday, I’m totally breaking tradition and making pizza on a day other than Friday. I’m getting impatient to try this recipe!)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Sushi (Not only was I not feeling up to making this for church fellowship meal last week, I was so exhausted we didn’t even stay for the fellowship meal)

Sweet and Sour Lentils (I’ll add some meat–ground beef or ground turkey), corn muffins and green salad

Chicken Drumsticks, Risotto and Celery Gratin



Leftovers, and if needed, my imitation of my nephew Samuel’s version of quesadillas: mozzerella cheese, mushrooms and chili powder.


We ran out of bread, so there was very little toast involved in our breakfasts this past week. Let’s try for more toast and more smoothies this week. Oh, and more refrigerator oatmeal.

Baking and Extras:

I need to make bread, get my kefir grains out of the fridge and going again, keep my kombucha going (I’m quickly becoming a kombucha addict…) and use up as much celery as possible. I also want to try making ginger syrup to use up some (not so) fresh ginger that’s sitting in my fridge. Oh, and fried dandelions! I must make fried dandelions! That sounds  like about enough to fill up my baking time this week. 🙂


Shopping List

I didn’t make it out to the grocery store after all last week, but fortunately, mangoes are still on sale at Aldi this week. 🙂

I also noticed a non food item that’s on sale for $2 this week at Aldi: hula hoops. Hula hooping is one of many, many childhood activities that I was never able to figure out as a child. I can blow bubbles with bubble gum, but it’s hit or miss if I make any noise at all when I try to whistle, and my big yo-yo accomplishment was when I could (usually) make it come back up to my hand instead of dangling at the bottom of the string. So, I’m kind of thinking that for $2 maybe it’s about time I gave another try to this hula hooping thing…

I didn’t see anything really striking in any of the other food ads this week.

I’ll also be dropping by our local farmer’s market to see what they have available at this point in the season. I don’t want to get much produce, as I still have plenty of celery to use up, but I suspect we’ll want something to break up the celery monotony anyway.

Here are the highlights of my Aldi list:

hula hoop, $2

organic salsa, 2/$3

parmesan cheese, about $2.50

mangoes, 4/$2

eggs, about 3 dozen/$4.50

ground turkey, about $1.69

ground beef, 3 lb/$6.99

frozen pizza 3/$6

tuna, about 8/$5.50

Why I Menu Plan

Individual recipes are all well and good, but I thought some of you might enjoy getting a peek at how I put them together into meals, and what kinds of meals we eat in the course of a week. I’ll start posting my weekly menu plans soon, but in the meantime here’s the why and how of it.

I have to admit up front that I don’t always strictly follow my menu plans. Sometimes at the last minute I realize that I have more leftovers than I thought I would and I have to use them up. Sometimes we get invited over to someone’s house for dinner at the last minute, or we invite people over at the last minute and have to stretch out our meal with extra food, or switch to a more stretchable meal.

So why do I menu plan at all?

1. Because it gives me a base to work from when I make my shopping list. I know that if I have two chicken meals, one beef meal and one fish meal this week I should probably get a larger package of chicken to make sure I have enough. Or, looked at the other way round, when I look at the sale items I know how much of say, fresh tomatoes, I can reasonably use up in a week. If I’m standing at the display noticing how cheap they are I might think, “Sure, I’ll use tomatoes every night this week,” but if I’m making the plan ahead of time I’ll realize that we have a birthday party one night and another night is a freezer meal because of a busy day, and I’ll know I need to buy fewer tomatoes, or make time to freeze some.

2. I can sit down once and brainstorm to remember recipes I wanted to try, instead of having to repeatedly brainstorm, or just falling back on the same meals every week.

3. Similarly, it gives me a chance to make sure that we’re getting different kinds of foods over the course of the week. I try to serve fish of some kind, mexican (beans and rice) and homemade pizza weekly, and I’m moving toward eating fermented foods once a day or more. I probably wouldn’t remember to  fit in everything every week without a plan.

4. It gives me a reminder to use up ingredients. When I’m making my menu plan I usually do a quick check of my fridge and fruit/veggie basket to see both what I need to replace while shopping, and what is nearing the end of its life expectancy and needs to be used soon. (I try to clean out my fridge at the same time so it’s ready for new groceries, but that doesn’t always happen.) Then when I read on my menu plan that we’re having baked potatoes, I remember that my potatoes are starting to grow eyes. I might still switch it around and make scalloped potatoes, but I’ll know which ingredients I’m trying to use for the meal.

5. I can plan ahead for out of the ordinary days. If we’re going to need a quick meal or an ‘eat in the car on our way somewhere’ meal I need make sure I have ingredients for easy, portable meals. Usually this means I have to either buy bread or remember to make to make it the day before, and if I’m menu planning I can make the appropriate shopping or task list notes at the same time. Similarly, if I’m going to be gone most of the day, I’ll try to plan an easy crockpot meal for that day.