Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekly Menu

Having a meal plan or menu can help save time and money, things we would probably like in greater supply. Menus can be planned a week or even a month is advance. I prefer a week as I like to change my mind often.

A frugal way to plan is to see what is on sale in the grocery store flyers. I access the local store ads on-line since I do not get a newspaper. I then create a menu plan around what is on sale. A way I save time is to have a planned leftover meal as I call it. For example, this week I am making pork chops for Monday's supper. I will cook up enough to feed my family (has to be a large batch as my oldest grasshopper loves pork chops) and have leftovers. The leftover porkchops I will slice up for the Pork over Curly Noodles later in the week. I also place them in the freezer to discourage above mentioned grasshopper from eating them. I save on time and money by creating two meals from one. Another advantage is that the leftovers get a make over so there is less chance of mutiny.

Another money-saver is a meatless or almost meatless meal planned into the week. This week it is Thursday's meal in conjunction with the planned leftovers. I also do a soup and/or sandwich night because it is easy, quick and cheap. I schedule it for the night where we are running off to the four winds. When finances allow, that is also the paper goods night so there are little or no dishes to wash.

My Weekly Menu:
Monday - Grilled Pork Chops, Sweet Potato Fries, Green Salad
Tuesday - BBQ Meatballs, Rice, Italian Spinach Salad, Fresh Fruit
Wednesday - Homemade McChicken Sandwiches, French Fries, Baked Beans
Thursday - Pork over Curly Noodles, Egg Drop Soup, Buttered Green Beans
Friday - Pizza Night (Cheese, Vegetable, Pepperoni)
Saturday - Kids' Cook Night (kids plan/cook with my assistance, if needed, for learning and one-on-one time)
Sunday - Fend for Yourself or FFY (aka clean-out-the-frig, leftovers, etc.)

Italian Spinach Salad
(taken from Simple & Delicious)

4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
8 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
1/2 cup real bacon bits
1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
1-1/2 cups Italian salad dressing
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup croutons

On eight salad plates, arrange the spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, onion and dill if desired. In a small saucepan, cook the salad dressing and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Drizzle over the salads; sprinkle with the croutons. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 25 minutes

Pork Over Curly Noodles
(taken from Simple & Delicious)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
3 packages (3 ounces each) chicken or pork ramen noodles
4-5 pork loin steaks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (14 ounces) bean sprouts, drained

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce and garlic; set aside. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine bread crumbs and contents of two noodle seasoning packets (save the remaining packet for another use). Add chicken, one piece at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large skillet, cook pork in oil over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Remove prok and keep warm. Add peanut butter mixture to skillet; cook and stir until heated through. Drain noodles. Add noodles and bean sprouts to skillet; toss to coat. Serve with pork. Yield: 4 servings Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

(Note: I substitute pork for chicken which is what was called for in the original recipe. I also am using pre-cooked sliced pork from a previous meal instead of cooking it according to recipe's directions.)

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