Monday, September 1, 2014

menu plan monday sept 1-7

Breakfast- this week is bagel week.....I bought two different kinds- plain and cinnamon raisin, plus a couple of flavored cream cheeses. I can also top with  peanut butter, cinnamon butter, or jelly (or even an egg if I want a "real" breakfast.) :0) Breakfast worked great last week, I had no problem eating the same thing every morning. I know bagels aren't as healthy, but I think just eating a small breakfast every morning is going to keep me from snacking later in the morning. I actually did feel better last week by starting each day with a little breakfast.

Lunch- pita pizzas and wraps until I use up everything, then maybe I'll switch to salads.

Dinner- planning took less time than I thought. I went through the freezer and fridge and made my menu using things I had on hand. I also decided to plan my weekly menu by using categories.....which I'll cook in no particular order. We'll see how that goes...

  • Chicken
  • Hamburger
  • Seafood
  • One Dish Meal
  • Soup
  • Quick Meal
  • Unplanned/Free Day

Here's this weeks menu so far:

(1) BBQ Chicken/Cole Slaw/Asparagus
(2) Broiled Fish/Baked Beans/Fried Apples/ left-over Cole Slaw
(3) Neapolitan Casserole
(4) Chicken Pot Pie
(5) Clam Chowder
(6) ?
(7) ?

I made a list of things I need from the store, but I had a lot of the ingredients on hand. I know that planning and being organized are the key to saving money! I'll also try to save time and be more organized by prepping as much as I can in one day for upcoming meals. I cooked chicken for two meals: the bbq chicken yesterday and for the chicken pot pie I'll make tomorrow. I also browned two pounds of hamburger with onion/green pepper: I froze one pound for a future meal and have the other ready to make the Neapolitan Casserole on Thursday. Today, I'll fix the broiled fish. I'm already seeing how much time (and money) I'm saving in the kitchen!! I love menu plan monday! :0) Now to keep it up....

Sunday, August 31, 2014

meal planning/grocery budgeting (4)

I am so proud of myself for not only getting through week#1 of eating better and being more organized, but actually enjoying it! I also did much better this week with our grocery budget. I stuck to the breakfast menu, and had no problem eating yogurt w/ granola each morning. I don't eat a lot for breakfast, but usually when I do it's toast with butter....and/or cheese (I really love butter and cheese), the yogurt was definitely healthier. I have also done better with the fruit eating. While I LOVE veggies, I have to really make an effort to eat enough fruit. It really helped having it ready to go in single serve containers. Let's just say I've had my weekly fruit allowance this week!

Lunch has gone well too, although I didn't start until Thursday with the planned lunches. We both love the Pita Pizzas, but Peter wasn't a huge fan of the turkey & cheese wrap on Friday. I thought it was pretty tasty, but I'll try to switch that up a little. I plan to continue through part of next week with the pizzas/wraps, until my stuff is used up. More fruit and/or a few chips on the side, which I also separated into single servings.

I started working on planning a dinner menu. Last week, I concentrated on healthier choices and portions. We had already started this summer with just having a meat and one side, usually just a vegetable. We are trying to cut back on potatoes, noodles, and rice to a few times a week instead of every meal. We LOVE potatoes! I pretty much went day by day this week though. Peter asked for Swedish Meatballs one day, which I served with Brown Rice (something we never eat), steamed broccoli on the side and yesterday, we had Steak Packets (recipe below) and squash w/onions. We've also given up sweet tea for awhile....sigh!! :0(

So, this week was big.....we started actually eating breakfast every day, (even though a small one), I cut out butter, cheese, and white bread and choose healthier options for breakfast, we are more fruit, chose healthier lunch choices, cut back on starch sides with dinner, and a biggie, NO sweet tea this week.......major changes for us!!

Today, I'll plan out this weeks meals and make a list for the grocery store tomorrow. I have lunch taken care of for most of the week, and I have breakfast planned.

I not sure if it's all in my head or not, but I actually do feel better. Now, to keep it up!!

Steak Packets: cut steak into pieces ( I use round steak or cube steak). In a large piece of foil, layer steak, onion slices, and mushrooms. Pour Worcestershire sauce over meat and veggies, then season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap tightly and put on baking tray. Cook for 1-1/2 hours @400 degrees. I make individual packets for each person. Serve with steak sauce. Delish and super easy!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

##tbt-moms tag along

##tbt #seniortripmoms #classof2013 #dreamingofdisney
#WDW #cantwaittogoback 

meal planning / grocery budgeting (3)

Week #1- Lunches

Starting a little late in the week, but I'm determined to do better with meal planning. I decided to alternate two lunches per week since Peter will be eating it too. Peter picked up some whole wheat pita bread yesterday, so Pita Pizza it is! My alternate lunch will be a wrap.

Yesterday, I divided single servings of the tortilla chips (that I had used with the Chicken Tortilla Soup) into ziploc bags and filled a few individual cups with salsa (also on hand).
I cut up the rest of the fresh pineapple and few other stray pieces of fruit in the fridge and made several single servings in plastic containers. 

Today, it only took a few minutes to fix lunch! And it was so good! :0)

Pita Pizza:  On a microwave safe plate, top Pita bread with a little pizza sauce (which I also had on hand), and a little mozzarella. Microwave 1 minute (or until cheese melts). Sprinkle with oregano. You can add other toppings too! Lunch in minutes! Chips w/salsa & orange slices on the side.

Tomorrow, I'll fix a wrap, more fruit, chips w/salsa, or carrots w/ranch. I really love the feeling of being prepared, eating healthier/less,  and saving $$......Hopefully, I can stick with this and get into a routine! Oh, btw.....Peter loved lunch too! :0) :0)

Up next......Dinner!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this today and it was delicious!! Here's the recipe:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I used 3 chicken bouillon cubes + 3 cups hot water)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 red onion - diced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. minced garlic 
  • 3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tomato - diced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • In large pot, whisk together chicken broth, canned tomatoes, diced onion, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, cilantro, corn, and beans, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add raw chicken breasts, cover with lid and cook on medium heat 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Remove chicken and shred. Return shredded chicken to pot and simmer until ready to serve.
  • I topped with shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. Also good with guacamole, sour cream and diced tomatoes.
I totally forgot pictures, this one is from Pinterest.
One Pot Wonder: Chicken Tortilla Soup | Inspired healthy organized

meal planning/grocery budgeting (2)

When I get something on my mind, I tend to get a bit obsessed. I planned this week's breakfast menu and bought enough for the week. I was very happy that this week's breakfast only cost me a little over $1.00 per day! I was even anxious to eat breakfast this morning. :0)

Up next, lunch. Since Peter normally comes home for lunch, I need to consider what he likes too. My lunch of choice is a turkey sandwich, but I pretty much eat whatever's in the fridge. There are also many days during the summer, I get busy at work and skip lunch. (hmmmm......rarely eat breakfast, skipping lunches.....why am I not skinny???)

While I could probably eat the same thing all week, I know Peter won't. For lunch, I'm going to plan two choices, and he can fill in with a can of soup if he gets tired of the same thing. He prefers soup anyway, so I'll keep a few extra cans on hand. I started pinning some lunch ideas, and here are a few of my favorites. (All photos below were taken from Pinterest). So many awesome ideas there!!

Pita Pizza 


Deli Meat & Cheese Wraps/ Sandwiches

I'll add fruit/veggies/chips or pretzels on the side.

Now to get organized for lunch.....but I'll start tomorrow since I'm going out to lunch with my Mom and nephew today!! :0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

meal planning/grocery budgeting (1)

Another area of disorganization for me is in the food area.....all of it.....the not planning out a menu, having an unorganized pantry, the lack of being prepared......I'm spending lots of money on groceries each week, and the freezer & pantry are always stocked (well, pretty much so), but since I don't have a plan, I don't use up the food on hand before buying more. Another thing I'm guilty of.....ex. I'll buy celery and use it for one recipe, then I end up tossing out the rest of it weeks later. I need to start planning more meals for the week that use similar ingredients to make sure I use everything up.

Menu planning and budgeting for groceries is something that I've gone back and forth with since we first got married. In the early years, I was an avid coupon user and refunder. I was very proud of how much money I saved on groceries and how much free stuff I got and how much  money I actually made from refunding/rebating (I mean ALOT)! I have always been a meal planner throughout the years, but somehow get too busy to stick with it. Since I've been working at the b&b, I have done much better at menu planning, but that is normally during the winter months when I'm home all the time. Summer.....not so much. I do like having a menu for the week, I need to get back to Menu Plan Monday.

With Nathan working away from home two weeks out of the month, it should be easier to plan meals and we should be spending less on food. Unfortunately, I'm not doing very good on either of these. So, that's my new goal.....plan more....spend less.....get organized!

I'm starting with breakfast. Nobody really eats breakfast at our house, except for me, and it is usually something light. Problem is, I still by several boxes of cereal, waffles, scrapple, bacon, eggs, bagels/muffins......most of which get opened and half eaten.

I'm trying out an idea Mom gave me for cutting back. Instead of buying stuff for several different breakfasts for the week, plan on eating the same breakfast all week. Buy only the items you will use and enough for the entire week. Of course, if you are big on breakfast, you will probably want a variety, but I think this will work great for me!

I'll plan my breakfast around what's on sale each week, but this week I'm doing yogurt w/ granola (and a serving of fruit?) I've gotten on a yogurt kick, but like adding a spoonful of granola to it. I really love the Chobani Greek Yogurt Flips, but they are more expensive, so I'll do my own.

Week #1- Breakfast

*yogurt x 7

*box of granola (there will be lots left- can be put in the freezer until needed for another week....)

*fruit x 7 (if not eaten for breakfast, I'll use with lunch/as a snack/or freeze for smoothies later)

*One container of juice and one gallon of milk per week..... (until Nathan is home!
I measured out the granola in these little cups from Wal-Mart. I put the rest in a Ziploc bag to store in the fridge for later. I also had a half a bag of leftover almond pieces that I added to the granola. 

That's a much simpler grocery list! :0)