Monday Menu Planning

This week appears to be one of the busiest on record. Matt starts his new job which will add an additional 20 hours of scheduled work each week. Each of the kids has multiple evening activities with all 5 evening having at least 2 separate activities and some with three and more. We are continuing to plan on Sunday afternoons which also includes a trip to the building to grab the needed supplies.

Breakfast- Saturday,-breakfast burritos. Sunday,-Left-overs for the girls. Boys had men’s breakfast.. Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, French toast or toast.  This is the easiest meal of the day!

Lunch–Saturday-Food at Community day , Sunday-left-overs Zach is taking lunchables for 2 days, a sandwich and pasta salad. Kendall is doing a mix of dipping days, sushi, uncrustable and a sandwich. My plan is to take pasta salad, 2 days of salad one day of leftovers. Matt is starting to need lunches as well so he has a salad, pasta salad and wraps.

Dinner – Saturday- Breakfast for dinner including bacon and hashbrown casserole.  Sunday–Left-overs or sandwhich We have finally made a dent in the left-overs! Monday-Potato soup from freezer (kids had an orthodontist appointment). Tuesday– Cheeseburger pizza. This is a heat and eat meal.  Wednesday–Chicken sandwiches and French fries. Thursday– Shepherd’s pie (another heat and eat) Friday- Sloppy joes and tator tots.

Saving on Sunday

We have definitely started one of the busy season of our lives. We have a minimum of three ball games a week in addition to scheduled practices and other events. During the month of September, I have two established goals first keep grocery spending to a minimum and second eliminate going out to eat. Today, I want to share how we are able to accomplish both of these goals.

I have a snack bag that I carry in my van all the time. I periodically refill it with snacks, typically you will find granola/fruit bar, rice krispy treats, fruit snacks and packs of applesauce in it. I have a huge purse and simply throw the snack bag in my purse before heading into a ballgame. If we have packs of chips, I let each of the kids add a bag of chips to my purse as well. This eliminates the need/ desire to purchase snacks at the game. Snack usually cost around $1 each for five people that is $5 a game or $15 a week that we are saving by bring in our own snacks.

The second way we save is by bring our drinks. The child that is participating in the game always needs a Gatorade or a water bottle. Each game I see at least one if not three parent buying a drink from the concession stand because they “forget” to bring one. I usually also pack a water per person or can of soda in our small cooler. I have never seen a sign at a school event that says “no outside food or drinks” so I usually just carry the cooler or I can always send the kids back to the car to grab a drink. At competition events, I will bring at least a water bottle in my bag and we do go back to the car to snack and even eat. Most Gatorades are $2 each. I can buy a 6 pack not on sale for less than $4 so I am saving a minimum of $4 a week. This does not include the $1 water for the rest of us or at least $12 a week.

Finally, we always plan ahead for the games. We always try to eat prior to the games. At worse, we have planned a portable meal such as hamburgers, sloppy joes, chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets or burritos. This way, we can eat in the car prior to the game starting or even during the game. Now I do want to say that my whole family REALLY like ball game food. I have not seen nachos or chill cheese fries that don’t look delicious and usually smell even better. However, if we chose to eat even at one game at week, we spend at least $20 a week or $80 a month. Eighty dollars will buy us a nice meal even better than ball game food. One way we enjoy the ball game food is that if we all have eaten dinner prior to the game we can share an order of nachos for $3 or even a couple orders of fries. This way we are still saving at least $15 a week!


Menu Planning Monday

I have definitely up my meal planning game this week. We actually chose the meals we wanted for the week on Saturday prior to my grocery shopping. I did end up spending $80 at Walmart for groceries which puts me at $111 for the month. On Sunday, we spent about 2 hours getting everything prepared for the week. I realized last week that I need to go ahead and get my lunches all prepped as well. I am not a morning person and even grabbing left-overs add an additional 5 minutes to my mornings.

Breakfast- Saturday,-Egg sandwhiches. Sunday,-Toast with either peanutt butter or nuttella and grapes or banana. Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, French toast or toast.  This is the easiest meal of the day!

Lunch–Saturday-Chicken wraps , Sunday-Seasame chicken in the crockpot. This is a new recipe and EVERYONE enjoyed it! Zach is taking lunchables for 4 days and pasta salad. Kendall is doing a mix of dipping days, sushi, uncrustable and a sandwich. My plan is to take pasta salad, salad and chicken salad wrap and one day of leftovers. I made egg salad, chicken salad and pasta salad for lunches this week.

Dinner – Saturday- Lemon Basil Chicken salad  Sunday–Left-overs or sandwhich (The fridges are over-flowing). Monday- Hamburger and French Frie. Tuesday– Sandwhiches or left-overs.  Wednesday–KFC bowls (to prep for this day, I have already made mashed potatos and got all the ingredients together for gravy). Thursday– Pork Chops Friday- Meatloaf muffins and some veggies.

Saving on Saturday- Chicken Thighs

We are doing well with sticking to our weekly menu plan and I have been really focus on keeping out grocery spending as low as possible for the next couple of months. One of the things that I am focusing on is to use things in the freezer and pantry before going out to buy things. I noticed last week that I had two remaining packs of chicken thighs in the freezer. I found these on sale for $0.95 cent a pound in June. Read about the other deals I scored that day as well. Each of the packets had been reduced to $2.10. This weekend, I knew I needed to add some lunch items and also wanted to give some variety to our weekend. The OT at work shared an awesome recipe for Basil Lemon Chicken Salad and I decided I definitely wanted to make some this weekend. So yesterday (Friday) I went down and pull out the two packs of chicken. I was feeling lazy so I threw both packs in the crockpot added some salt and pepper and turned it on low for 12 hours. I did wake up last night at least once and think…”that smells good”.
After the ballgame, we were hungry. Matt, Kendall and I made a chicken and tzatziki sauce wraps. Zach decided plan chicken and ranch would be better for him. For dinner, I made the Lemon Basil Chicken salad which was a huge hit. Matt is not a fan of chicken salad and is really not a fan of chicken thighs but he even said how good it was! We have been able to eat both meals today from those chicken thighs and I have made a huge container of regular chicken salad that will probably provide at least 7 lunches! I threw the skin and bones back in the crockpot and was able to get 20 cups of chicken stock in the freezer as well! I count the chicken stock as totally free! So that is a total of 13 meals for $5.20 or forty cent each for the meat portion which is always the most expensive part! I will definitely call that a win!


Monday Menu Planning

Last week went really smoothly except for the day, Matt forgot to put the pork roast in the crockpot. We decided to have left overs for that meal which worked out fine. I was able to find and purchase chicken breast for $0.99 a pound this week. We purchased a total of 25 pounds. 3 of the 5 pound packs were combined with a bottle of Italian dressing for grilled chicken. The remaining two packs I split into 4 bags to be used for crockpot meals. This week our schedule is starting to pick up with something on every night except for Thursday. I guess that balances out with Monday being Labor Day and everyone home.

Breakfast- Saturday,- Eggs, sausage toast and grits. Sunday, Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, Lunchable brunch French toast or toast.  I purchased some everything bagels this week to add to the mix.

Lunch–Saturday-left-over pizza , Sunday-Pulled pork sandwiches. Monday- Sandwiches. Zach is taking lunchables and Kendall is doing a mix of dipping days, sushi, uncrustable and a sandwich. My plan is to take pasta salad, salad and maybe a couple of days of left-overs or wraps depending on what is available. Matt purchased a bag of chicken nuggets to use in his lunch this week. Everyone is enjoying the extra junk food that is available because of left-overs from Zach’s birthday party.

Dinner – Saturday- Pasta salad- I added fresh tomatoes and green peppers, carrots from the fridge and cut up chicken breast that were left over.  Sunday–Shrimp Scampi- packet in my closet and used left-over spaghetti pasta from the refrigerator. Monday- Grilled chicken- I am hoping for leftovers but this depends on the number of people that come for dinner.  Tuesday– Taco Pasta  Wednesday–Baked potatoes in crockpot. All three kids have a orthodontist appointment so I wanted something soft. Thursday– Cheeseburger Pizza- from the freezer. Friday- Leftovers or sandwiches because I have a meeting.

Monday Menu Planning

Now I get to start to reap the benefits of all the cooking and planning this summer. Today, EVERYONE is back on a regular work and school schedule. We are going to start adding activities over the next several weeks so this is really a slow week for us. It was so nice to be able to come up with a meal plan for the week in less than 10 minutes on Saturday.

Breakfast- Saturday,- steak and gravy biscuits. Sunday, Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, Lunchable brunch French toast or toast. 

Lunch–Saturday-left-overs , Sunday-Stuffed Green Pepper Soup.     Zach is taking lunchables and Kendall is doing a mix of dipping days, sushi, uncrustable and a sandwhich. I am eating out quite a bit this week as we have not started a regular school schedule. Once I return to a regular schedule, I will eat out only one day a week.

Dinner – Saturday-Spaghetti with fresh pasta sauce  Sunday–Chill cheese fries. Monday- Broccoli chicken casserole.  Tuesday– Nachos   Wednesday–Country Style Steak in crockpot Thursday– Pulled pork in crockpot . Friday- Pizza for Zach’s birthday party.

Menu Planning Monday

This week is a back to reality sort of week. I start back to work and Lily begins classes on Tuesday. We have decided to change the way we plan and instead of planning a month at a time, we are going to make a list on Sunday and shop from the freezer. This way, we can add and change as the weather and our activities start to change. This week Thursday night is a hectic night with a quick dinner needed. I am also trying out several new to us recipes. Tonight, Monday, the creamy chicken spaghetti was a huge hit!

Breakfast- I have really focused on getting some easy to finish breakfast plans together for the week. Saturday– BLT sandwiches – Sunday-English muffins with choice of egg, sausage or Nutella, Monday- Smoothies for the kids and Matt I have a breakfast burrito. Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, Lunchable brunch (special treat since the kids are enjoying the last week of summer) or toast. 

Lunch–Saturday-sandwiches , Sunday-Pasta salad    The kids can have a choice of sandwiches, soup, easy pasta or left-overs. I am trying to get my lunch ready the night before so I am no scrambling in the morning. Monday was a grab and go day. Tuesday- Chicken cucumber Ranch wrap, Wednesday- Taco Salad, Thursday-left-overs probably pasta salad. Friday- is my meeting day at work so I eat out.

Dinner – Saturday-left-overs choice  Sunday–Left-overs Monday- Creamy Chicken spaghetti with green beans and garlic toast.  Tuesday– Tacos with choice of hard or soft shell    Wednesday–pork chops Thursday– Chicken filet sandwiches . Friday- Left-overs if any are available or maybe pizza.

Thursday Thoughts

I have been very slack on my posting this month. In fact, this is the 5th post and today is the 15th of the month. I do have a legit reason or a couple of legit reasons for this slackness. I am going to share these with you. Of course, the first reason was vacation. We spent a lovely week at the beach. We really enjoyed time as a family. And to be quiet honest, I just did not feel like posting. I do have a couple more post to share about our beach trip and will hope to get at least one of these up this week. We arrived home on Sunday and actually got ahead of the game by unpacking completely Sunday night.

The second reason that I have not posted a lot this month is that I have been focused on stocking the freezer with breakfast and dinners to use as I start back to work next week. I am so excited to say that I am finished with this task. I currently have 75 dinners and 50 breakfasts pre-made and in the freezer. I wanted to share a little bit about this process with you. But first the reason this has been such a focus for me this week is simple LIFE. All three of the little kids will be involved in an extra curricular activity this fall. This means that not only do we have at least one activity every evening we have two activities most evening and an occasional evening where all three kids need to be somewhere different. Kendall will have a football game to cheer at every Saturday during the months of September and October. My goal is to keep Sundays as a day of rest and day to get things organized for the week.

When we arrived home on Sunday, we found peppers, pimentos, cucumbers and tomatoes ripe in the garden. Matt was able to roast 2 batches of pimentos to use to make pimento cheese during the fall and winter. I started a batch of pasta sauce in the crockpot and with the help of Zach made 10 omelet bags. We use omelet bags for breakfast, simply add the bag contents in a cup with 2 eggs and microwave for 2 minutes. Each omelet bag contains sausage, onions and pepper. Prior to leaving on vacation, I made 20 breakfast burritos to use the eggs, milk and sausage in the refrigerator.

Monday after spending several hours/days researching and book marking recipes during our vacation, I checked in the freezers and pantry and made a list of items that needed to be purchased in order to complete different meals. I added to this list pop tarts, instant oatmeal and cereal to use as well. I made 3 batch of pizza dough and froze along with the toppings (cheeseburger and chicken) for these. The pasta sauce was used to make dinner and two additional containers were placed in the freezer.

Tuesday was a shopping day. Mom and I headed to the local Food Lion and to Walmart with my long list. I am very proud to say that by using coupons, gift cards and sticking to my list, I spending $70 total. I did add two packs of chicken thighs to the crockpot to cook while shopping. For dinner, I unthawed a package of chicken livers and added sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.

Wednesday morning, I made a double batch of French toast using bread we found on sale. I added another batch of omelet bags to the freezer as well. I used the chicken thighs to place a chicken divan in the freezer. I decided to go ahead and make chicken broth with the skin and bones as several of my recipes called for it. After our dinner of chicken and dumplings, I made two bags of slow cooker lasagna. My mom and the kids helped with bagging up the dried basil that has been hanging in my building for several weeks.

Today has been another hectic day of cooking. First I cut and hung 15 stalks of basil in the building to begin the drying process. My goal is to not only preserve the basil but allow new plant growth on the existing plants. I also assembled the chicken casserole that we ate for dinner. All the kids were recruited to help with cooking and carrying things to the freezers today. Zach is awesome at browning/ cooking sausage and meats. I assembled 2 baked ziti, 5 bags of Salisbury steak and 2 packs of hamburger patties. I also bagged and froze an additional 10 cups of chicken stock. My plan is to eat one set of the hamburgers for dinner tomorrow and the other will be a meal later in the school year.

Now that all the cooking is finished, I plan to enjoy the last few days of summer with trips to the pool and Wet and wild. I may even finish my 4 book of the summer.

Beach Menu Planning

I decided to go ahead and publish my beach menu plan a week early for several reasons. First, this will be an easy way to answer my kids questions of “what are we having for breakfast?” Second, I will be able to pull up and follow the plan no matter where I am at easily. This plan looks a lot different than my usual plans but I hate to cook and really want to enjoy the time at the beach. With a family of our size, it could literally break the bank if we attempted to eat out more than one meal a day.

Sunday is a travel day and will consist of at least two meal on the road and dinner will be left-overs from the first two meals or pasta salad.

Monday- breakfast- Eat out
lunch- Sandwich
dinner-chicken enchilada’s (just need to cook)


Tuesday- breakfast- Sausage cresant rolls
lunch- pasta salad-pre-made
dinner-pizza


Wednesday – breakfast- Eat out
lunch- Sandwich
dinner-baked ziti- just need to cook


Thursday breakfast- Jimmy Dean Croissants
lunch- hot dogs
dinner-out to eat


Friday breakfast- Eat out or pop tarts
lunch- Sandwich
dinner-Baked potatoes


Saturday breakfast- Jimmy Dean Croissants
lunch- Sandwich or left overs that need to be eaten
dinner-Out to eat

5 Things Friday

This is a little different this week as I am sharing 5 ways I am adding and managing my stockpile this week.

One thing that I realized during last school year especially the spring when we had multiple activities going on at the same time is that we need meals that are basically heat and eat. During my Spring break, I spent a lot of time cooking and prepping food. This summer, I have decided to try and restock and over stock our freezer with the same type of meals. A couple of weeks ago I made both taco meat and sloppy joes. This week, I have managed to add the following to our freezer stash: 1. Meatloaf muffins x 2
2. Fresh spaghetti Sauce x 4
3. Shredded Chicken Packets, (Made from chicken thighs purchased on sale several weeks ago.

I have continued to shop for sale and add to the stockpile. This week, I found chicken breast at Aldi with the price of 6lbs for $9. I came home and separated the chicken into two packets by cutting up the breast. I added a bottle of Italian dressing to each and now we are ready for grilling. I also grabbed some strawberries on sale for $1.20 a pound and froze to use in smoothies and stuff.

The fifth way, I added to our stockpile this week is probably the most satisfying for me. I was able to take a $25 gift card that Matt earned on Swagbucks and purchase a list of items that we needed. I was able to grab a total of 8 boxes of pasta, 8 cans of soup, 2 containers of mayonnaise and 1 container of Ketchup for ZERO cost!!