Monday Menu Planning

May be an image of text that says 'If by "meal planning" you mean "constantly planning in my my mind what I'll eat next" then, yes. I do meal planning.'

This describes Zach completely!  I will admit I stole this off Facebook this morning!

One of my long-standing goals for each summer is to meal prep for the following year!  Last year this was off the table due to not having a stove and in 2020 we were receiving school lunch deliveries every day, so I did not need to do much meal preparation at all.  This year I am going to set a goal of 100 prepared recipes that we just need to thaw heat and eat. Some of these like Salisbury steak, and taco meat will have to wait until after we receive our cow but with having some extra time today. I wanted to get started as well as use up some various items in the fridge.  This should allow enough flexibility to eat what we feel like and also speed most dinners along.  If I am able to store more that 100 than that is even better.   One more side story, I needed to get a baked ziti in the freezer to use on our beach trip this summer. When I checked the freezer and cabinets for spaghetti sauce, I realized we were completely out.   As I was scanning the internet, I did find a bolognaise recipe, so I decided to make that in the crockpot to use for the baked ziti!  After making the baked ziti, I still had almost 40 oz left so that was the reason I decided to go ahead and make the million-dollar spaghetti pie.  Today, I have made 2-million-dollar spaghetti pies, 2 chicken/broccoli rice casseroles and prepared the baked potatoes for Wednesday. (Washed and wrapped- we are going to add cheese, sour cream and sloppy joe mix to the top).

Official food preparation count: 9

Breakfast- Saturday- BLT sandwiches (Matt made bacon on his new Blackstone.)    Sunday- Eggs and sausage (on the Blackstone) Monday – Cinnamon Toast sticks from Sam’s Club. Tuesday- Peanut butter baked oatmeal (I also need to prepare another 12 bags to use during the school year).   Wednesday Gravy biscuits (I found frozen biscuits and need to use the milk) Thursday, Friday- find your own with what we have. I did buy cereal and pop tarts so this should be easy!

Lunch- Saturday-Grilled Italian sausage with onions and peppers Sunday- Lunch at friends. For the week, Lunch will either be   sandwiches/ roll up or quesadillas or left overs or hot pockets.

Dinner- Saturday- Lily was at work, Kendall and Zach were at Haley’s so I had chips and salsa   Sunday-Tortellini Alfredo, Monday- Broccoli and Chicken casserole.  Tuesday Pasta salad    Wednesday- Baked potatoes with sloppy joe mix.  Thursday- Grilled Chicken Salad Friday-Dinner at Red Robins for Kendall’s birthday.


Happy Summer!

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was supposed to be a slower than usual weekend however we still managed to get a lot accomplished.

  1.  Decided on our next house project.   We installed a new kitchen floor in March 2020.  The floor has begun to split and we have lots of pieces that no longer fit and it is becoming a hazard.  We have been talking for several months about replacing the floor.  We are not certain which direction that we want to go.  Matt and I talked and decided for the short run (less than a year) we will simply remove the new floor and return to the wood planks underneath. The current plan is to re-adjust the plank and attempt to nail in place. This is definitely not a permanent fix but solves the problem and will at least give us a presentable floor. We are going to undertake this project next weekend.
  2. Ordered the wood to finish the chicken coop and for the fence along the back edge of the yard.
  3. We have been watering the garden using county water for over a week now. It takes around 20 gallons a day to water so I am very hopeful that we will get some rain in the next 24 hours.
  4. Placed a down payment on our cow order. We should receive the cow some time the first couple weeks of August. Now we are focused on trying to decide what meat cuts we want.  I am also working on emptying one of our freezers. My goal is to get this accomplished by the end of July. However, it is fairly difficult when at the same time we are beginning to get in our summer produce.  Check and balance is all I can hope for.
  5. We ended up going to Costco on Friday night to use our reward check, I was very proud that we only ended up spending $26 out of pocket.  But that was short lived as we also went to Sam’s today.  We spend $260 of which over $200 was on food. I did stock up on Slim Jim’s (3 boxes) Hot Pockets (which the kids have been asking for) Biscuits and Pop tarts for breakfast in addition to some treats.
  6. We managed to only eat out one time this weekend. Matt has been practicing cooking on his new Blackstone.  He cooked two meals yesterday in addition to breakfast this morning!

Let’s get this week started on a good note!

Five Things Friday!

  • The weather is awful!  It is hot and dry. We have not had any rain in almost a week. The last rain was really less than a quarter of an inch over two days. Our rain barrels are empty.  We are continuing to water the garden by hand.  I am hopeful that we will get some rain over the next couple of days.
  • We have been harvesting and drying parsley, dill and a tiny bit of basil. We have harvested squash and zucchini.  I did start a second round of both of these plants so that we can get much more for a longer period of time.  I have started basil in three locations with little to no success. Let’s hope that the third time is the charm. My plan is to remove the dill now that it has flowered and start some basil in it’s place.   I also have started a second round of cucumbers in hopes to extend the harvest for a couple of months.   We do have one watermelon growing and several cucumbers that are very close to being ready.  I have ordered more green bean seeds and plan to replant those as well. This hot weather has made things more difficult to grow but I am hoping that a couple of steady showers will help improve everything!
  • The first full week of Summer break has flown by!  Zach is at Baseball camp this week after Kendall enjoyed a week at church camp last week.  Yesterday we spent the day at the pool with Braxton!
  • We have ordered the rest of the supplies to finish the chicken coop area.  I will be posting lots of pictures in the next week or so when it is all finished.
  • Matt purchased a Blackstone grill to use both at home and in the camper for his Father’s Day gift.  He really enjoyed using the one at Haley’s wedding a couple of weeks ago so I hope this one gets lots of use.

Free Meal

I am very honest about my struggles to not waste food. My family has gotten fairly good at eating the left-overs from a restaurant in fact sometime you have to claim ahead of time. However, we are terrible about using the left-over bits of food that  are cooked at home.

Today I am going to declare a win in the zero food waste  along with the free dinner meal we enjoyed. I took left-overs to make pulled pork tator tots and pulled pork mac and cheese.  I used the remaining bits of a veggie tray, single squash and handful of green beans to make a veggie stir fry.  To complete the meal, we added cole slaw from the fridge.

Total out of pocket ZERO!

Monday Menu Plan

Menu planning is going to look a little different during the summer. Instead of just sharing what we are eating, I am planning to also share what we are doing in terms of food preparation and storage as well. My goal for this week is to continue to work on cleaning out the deep freezer as well as slower, time permitting start to re-stock some convivence food and of course the ultimate goal of not wasting food.  This morning I have already frozen the remaining strawberries from the fridge.  I made a large pot of rice to use with several meals this week.  I did have a long talk with the kids yesterday about reducing the amount of eating out that we have been completing.  I need to step up my game for breakfast and make sure that we have something plan to grab before heading out especially with taking Zach to camp.

Breakfast- Saturday- Sausage crescent rolls with donuts    Sunday- Left-overs   Monday- Blueberry baked oatmeal (blueberries from garden) Tuesday- banana muffins and maybe apple sauce muffins?     Wednesday sausage and eggs   Thursday- breakfast pizza, Friday- Special treat likely! Which means Biscuit King unless I decide to try a breakfast casserole.

Lunch- Saturday-Hot Dogs    Sunday- Applebee’s    For the week, Lunch will either by left-overs or sandwiches/ roll up or quesadillas .  Today- Monday- I made egg salad with the last boiled egg and eat it with pretzels.

Dinner- Saturday- Left-overs   Sunday- Bacon and Tomato sandwich   Monday- Taco Rice   Tuesday Pasta salad    Wednesday- Sloppy joes. Thursday- Pork stir fry with veggies from garden over rice   Friday-Tortellini Alfredo

5 Things Friday

  1. The schedule- Months ago when I started to plan for my summer break, my thought process was that I would schedule as many medical appointments as I could this week and get them out of the way.  This would free up several weeks of time instead of needing to go out once a week to a different appointment. I did not take in account how tired I would be after the wedding festivities.  I had schedule 1 or more appointments for each day.  Adding in some services such as land clearing and septic pumping that I needed to get done and car sharing that occurred made this week crazy busy! I am hopeful that next week and the following weeks, I will be glad for more time but at this point, I am exhausted and really need a break.
  2. Menu planning-  Did not happen this week at all. I have managed to get food on the table every day and no one starved.   I may start some planning next week but if not we still have a ton of convivence foods!  My logic is that we are cleaning out the freezers and making room so why not!
  3. Gardening-  For the first time in years, we had to water with our hose this week.  I have expanded the garden but we managed to empty out both 55 gallon drums of rain water. It has been very hot and very dry but it was dishearting to hook up the hose.   We did get a storm last night so that will eliminate the need to use the hose at least for the next couple of days.  I am praying for a nice soaking rain over the next week so that things will even out!  I have moved several plants to different areas just to give myself some more space and hopefully get a better harvest.
  4. Chicken- Matt agreed to allow the kids to get some chickens as pets. We had an area behind our house cleared this week in order to make room for the said chickens.  I am expecting a delivery of the first part of the coup this afternoon.  I want to make this a pretty and useful area as well so I have been spending lots of time thinking and planning the landscape around the chicken coop.
  5. Weather- It is extremely and usually hot.  In fact, this has added to my exhaustion this week. I need to get out and get any yard work done prior to 9 am or after 8pm in order to even survive!  I am so looking forward to sitting by the pool this weekend!

Monday Menu Plan

One week to SUMMER!   This should be the ending to a crazy busy school year and the start of a moderately crazy busy summer!  This week, I am definitely in survival mode. I did have time on Saturday to put together a couple of pasta dishes for dinner.  Tonight I managed to make a couple of salads for my lunches for the next couple of days.  To be honest this might be the last Monday Menu plan for the summer. As I am going to try and use what we have and what I am in the mood for that day! It may change to a what we ate last week post as well.

Breakfast- Saturday- Biscuit King    Sunday-  Bacon and biscuits Monday- Tuesday- , Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- eggs, sausage, bagels, bacon, grits, breakfast burritos or waffles are the current choices available.

Lunch- Saturday-Left-overs   Sunday- Don Juans  I have two salads the kids will eat out one day and figure out something the rest of the time.

Dinner- Saturday- Baked Chicken Alfredo   Sunday- Arby’s   Monday- Pumpkin Pasta   Tuesday sloppy joes   Wednesday- Taco pasta . Thursday- ???? who knows   Friday-Rehearsal dinner