Thursday, May 8, 2008

Menu Planning Progress

Wow, I had such good comments on yesterday's post about Menu Planning. I am really inspired to try the suggestions I received! Thank you Ms. Ruth, Sharon, Denise, Terri, Mom2fur, Linds, Melinda, Billie Jean and Fit Brits, so much! I can see that menu planning should work for me if I do some initial work and then it will save me time each day. I like all of the suggestions I received in the comments and will be going back to read them for more help as I go along.

If I have our menus planned for two weeks (or longer!) and the groceries bought for two weeks, the menus will be doing a lot of the work I normally do every day, for me. I think the key for this to work for me is to be flexible. For instance if I have a lot of leftovers from one of the planned meals, I can substitute that for a meal later in the week. Or, if an opportunity to go out to eat or something comes up to prevent my cooking the planned meal, it's ok.

On election day, sweetie and I went to vote after we got home from work, about 6:00 P.M. We stopped at the small town grill where we vote and grabbed a little supper. So, the supper I was going to cook that night got moved over to the next night.

This week I have been cooking some new recipes and some old favorites. I have planned the meals for a few days ahead, and writing down what we have each day on the May Menu Planning Calendar sheet I printed out. If I keep doing this and keep this sheet, I can just repeat the meals next month.

This is the menu I have had this week:

Monday: Hamburger Steak, Rice and homemade gravy, green beans
Tuesday: Ate out on Election day.
Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore over pasta, Salad
Thursday: Italian beans, salad and homemade honey wheat bread
Friday: Homemade wheat crust pizza, salad
Saturday: Leftovers, sandwiches, etc. (undecided)
Sunday: Mother's Day: undecided

I'll write the undecided meals on my calendar sheet when they are a "done deal" so that I'll have plenty of meals to choose from on my next sheet.

The Chicken Cacciatore we had last night was wonderful!!! This is the recipe for the Chicken Cacciatore. The only change I made was to use boneless chicken breasts and to add green peppers, since I purchased a huge one to use in tonight's itialian beans recipe. When making this recipe I will use what ever chicken I have on hand. Recently,we purchased individually frozen chicken breasts on sale and I only used 6 of them. They are not very big and I was feeding four hungry appetites. I cut them into bite size pieces which made them go further. My family and I loved this recipe and it was very easy to make after work.

This is the homemade honey wheat bread I made last night to serve with the Italian Beans tonight:

This is the recipe:

Honey Wheat Bread (for bread machine)

1 1/8 cups water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup regular flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat setting, Light Crust, and press Start.

Last night I also cooked the pinto beans that will go in the recipe tonight. Yesterday morning I put them in a pot to soak and when I got home I put them on to cook, placing them in the fridge before going to bed. When I get home the beans will be ready to go in the recipe and the bread will be ready!


Pen Pen said...

Your loaf of bread is beautiful. I can kick myself for giving away my perfectly new bread machine. Someone gave it to me and I never used it. I turned and gave it to someone else. I hope she is using it. I love menu planning... it does make life easier!

Terri & Crew said...

The bread looks great! One other thought about menu planning: the crockpot can be your greatest friend. Even when I'm home, I find if I put something on in the morning it's so much better. I tend to lose steam around 4:00 so I'm less tempted to go out to eat if I've got the crockpot going.

Susan said...

I wish you success with your menu planning! I've been doing it for years and can't imagine not knowing ahead of time what I'm going to cook.

My dh bought me a new bread machine this week for Mother's Day. I think I'm going to try your recipe in it!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, the bread looks sooo good! I think I might try that recipe, thanks for posting!

Love, Tina :)

The Nest Egg said...

Good luck on your new menu plan. Keep us informed of how its working out!


Sonshine said...

That bread looks yummy!! I love making homemade bread, esp. with using one of my "kitchen servants"-the breadmachine!

I have a recipe for honey oatmeal bread that is pretty close to your recipe! I might need to give your recipe a try to see how my crew likes it! :)

Thanks for sharing! :)

She's Here! Victoria!

Its been an exciting week! Victoria arrived on Monday and I kept her brother for 3 days. Only bad thing is that today I am home from work ...