Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly menu planning: June 7-13th

What the warm and balmy summer months ahead for the Donato's mean is a lot of commitments; birthdays, graduations, dinners, concerts and events, vacations, anniversaries, and family getaways. It also means it's going to get expensive. Not wanting to miss out on fun and memories, in order for us to attend as many of these as we can we're making another effort to eat at home and plan weekly menus.

Now I'm no stranger to menu planning but have to admit it's not an easy feat when you first begin and it may or may not work for you. There are so many components that make up a successful week. Menu planning is just that, planning, with a pinch of diligence.

The idea of menu planning for the week came suddenly (10 pm last night as we looked ahead at our calendar-followed by an, "oh shit!") and didn't leave much time to sort through recipes and work a creative menu. If you have more time than I did a great place to start is by browsing your weekly grocer's ads, paying close attention to the produce and protein pages. Let them guide you to creating a spectacular meal.

I also found that buying staple items in bulk really go a long way and while it will make a dent in your wallet that first week keep in mind that they will be used more than once and perhaps throughout next week's planning. A bag of rice goes a long way in the Donato home and since there are just three of us in the family I also make it a point not to overpurchase the amount of each item on my list. Unless of course it's say, a double pk of whole fryer chickens on sale, in which case I purchase. Use one for the week and use the other for the next. Ultimately you'll have to weight out what works best and what is financially smart for you and your family.

Before you make your way to the market look through your cupboards. Use what you have in stock to develop your recipes and ideas and make certain you aren't double purchasing items on your list. Work with those spices and sauces. Turn that plain grilled chicken to something exotic with a few dashes of cupboard spices. Add items to your list if you don't have them in stock.

Lists. Yes, lists. Lists keep me on track and keep me from buying items that I would have otherwise unconsciously thrown into my cart. Like that giant bag of cheese flavored chips that I had to get and after just a few bites have been left to stale over. Oops.

I try and keep my trips to the market to a minimum, no more than two maybe three times a week, and stick with what I have on my list. This helps with cutting down on costs of gas, added mileage to your vehicle and having spending your time on this task (which should have been taken care of earlier). Time is money and and to other more precious that that so use it wisely. I went to a couple of market's this morning to buy some ingredients for this week's menu. For the week I spend about $100 with a lot of the items going toward menu's for future weeks. By next week I'd like to keep my budget at $20 a week. Purchases made today went towards the adult menu and some of nugget's picky palate meals. Here's what we're working with this week:

Monday 6/7:
-Breakast: Raspberry danish (left over from Sunday), hot green tea.
Nugget had: sliced of toast, havarti cheese and cup of yogurt

-Snack (shared): Goldfish cheese crackers, raisins and water

-Lunch: Lavash wrap with pimento cheddar spread layered with breaded chicken
breast and romaine lettuce
Nugget had: breaded chicken strips with ketchup
Strawberries, blueberries and grapes (shared and left over from Sunday)

-Dinner: Chicken Pad Thai, choice of cupcakes; carrot or chocolate ganache
Assortment of fruit (left over from Sunday)

Tuesday 6/8:
-Breakfast: Oatmeal with maple syrup and cinnamon, assorted fruit, coffee

-Lunch: Lavash wrap with pimento cheddar spread layered with breaded chicken
breast and romaine lettuce.
Assortment of fruit

-Snack: Banana

-Dinner: Miso soy glazed salmon with sauteed pea sprouts and garlic, basmati rice
Choice of cupcakes; carrot or chocolate ganache
Nugget: Salmon and rice with steamed veggie, perhaps carrots I have
in the freezer

Wednesday 6/9:
-Breakfast: Miso soup with broccoli and carrot slaw I already had in stock, green tea
Nugget: Bowl of Joe's O's (Trader Joe's version of Cheerios),
sliced bananas

-Lunch: Turkey, tomato, havarti and romaine sandwich on TJ's shepard's bread, water

-Dinner: Shrimp, bacon and mushroom alfredo sauce over pasta

Thursday 6/10:
-Breakfast: Sliced toasted shepard's bread with scrambled egg, banana, green tea
Nugget: Toast with scramble egg, yogurt

-Lunch: Lavash wrap with pimento cheddar spread layered with turkey and
romaine lettuce, banana

-Dinner: fried chicken

Friday 6/11:
-Breakfast: Toast with cream cheese and jelly, coffee

-Lunch: Large salad

-Dinner: Bo luc lac, pickled onions, chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, ice cream (MIL brought over) for dessert

Saturday 6/12:
-Breakfast: Steel cut oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, Coffee

-Lunch: Left over's. I'll be working this weekend but my family will be attending a functions so lunch will be provided for them there. Lucky ducks.

-Dinner: Chicken satay skewers, homemade pickles and left over pickled onions.

Sunday 6/13:
-Breakfast: Donuts and coffee provided by the folks at our church. Nugget will likely have a bowl of cereal with a banana and yogurt.

Snack: Cheese cubes, crackers, fruit.

Lunch: Out for lunch

-Dinner: BBQ'd bulgogi, brown rice, roasted veggies, red wine.

Stayed tuned for what's in store next week and what challenges I'll face then.


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