Author Topic: It's Menu Plan Friday!  (Read 3307 times)

Urchina

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It's Menu Plan Friday!
« on: February 23, 2018, 09:45:53 PM »
Since menu planning results in much less money spent on food as well as much less stress in the after-work / dinner hustle, we plan menus for the upcoming week every Friday. We shop on Saturday, prep on Sunday and are good to go for the week. I'm curious about everyone else's menus, so figured I'd post ours (plus plans for prep work on Sunday) and encourage others to do the same. We plan Sunday to Saturday. Family of 4. Dietary restrictions: I don't eat dairy. Everyone else is fine with it.

Sunday: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas (meatloaf is 40% cooked diced vegetables, 10% cooked grains (often bread crumbs or oats) 50% low-fat ground beef)
Monday: creamy slow-cooker lentil soup (vegan)
Tuesday: chickpea and kale curry over rice; cucumber/onion/tomato salad (vegan)
Wednesday: avocado shrimp salad with beet and carrot salad
Thursday: Pasta with cauliflower white sauce and veggies
Friday: black bean burgers with oven fries and salad (vegan)
Saturday: chili and cornbread (vegetarian; shredded cheese, chopped onion are optional toppings)

Sunday Prep:
1. cook chickpeas and black beans in the Instant Pot; pop in fridge for use in lunches & dinners
2. Hard-boil a dozen eggs and peel; put in fridge for quick snacks
3. Bake 2 loaves whole-wheat sandwich bread for weekly lunches; slice one and put the other in the freezer to bring out mid-week.
4. mix 2 types of salad dressing (lemon-tahini and roasted carrot/ginger this week) for lunch & dinner salads.
5. Roast beets for salad later in the week
6. Dice veggies for Monday's slow-cooker lentil soup
7. Make granola
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 09:50:54 PM by Urchina »

mm1970

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 02:09:33 PM »
My menus change all the time.  I don't make a weekly menu anymore - I make big batches of "stuff" and when it's gone, cook something else.

Anyway, here's what I've got
1.  Last night I made sweet & sour red cabbage/apples with the leftover 1/2 cabbage.  We'll eat that as a side until it's gone, prob 3 more days.  It would go faster, but I'm not sure the kids want it.  Big kid (12) used to like it, but maybe not so much anymore.
2.  Dinner tonight (in the crockpot right now): Red lentil and carrot soup with coconut.  I'll guess I'll see if it's good!
3.  Salads.  We get a produce box every week, and there are always greens and lettuce, and broccoli, apples, carrots, oranges, kale.
4.  Beans & rice.  Because I don't feel  like figuring out anything else.  It's a good go-to.  Burrito bowls with salsa & guac.
5.  Bread.  I need to make another loaf soon.  I don't eat it though.
6.  Make granola to go with the yogurt.

Also on the menu:
1. Brunch tomorrow, fruit salad and asparagus & goat cheese frittata (asparagus on sale this week for 0.98/lb)
2. Roasted brussels sprouts (for me only)
3. Kale chips (always Monday night dinner with leftovers).

Most likely we will alternate the soup and beans &rice until they are gone (with a new veg every night), then make a pot of one pot pasta in the instant pot. 

seemsright

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2018, 02:55:13 PM »
I seem to have a much cheaper food bill when I do not meal plan.

Tonights dinner is open fridge and make dinner. I have some lentils cooked up that need to be eaten, some leftover chicken some salsa that needs to be gone.

I might just throw it all in a pan and make burritos or I might make a pot of rice and throw it on top and make rice bowls. It will depend on how many dishes I feel like washing up tonight.

I have gotten really good at making food by opening the fridge and making dinner. I might make a pulled pork tomorrow just so I can use all of the condiments in the door that have just a bit left.

nara

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 04:48:25 PM »
Our daily menu is something like this:

Breakfast: Smoothies and or oatmeal
Lunch: Baked tofu (in bragg's and balsamic) with steamed veggies and black beans
Dinner: veggie stiry fry with rice and tofu, or lentil soap with potatoes and veggies, or tofu scramble with veggies on tortilla, or veggie curry and rice, or pizza.

We spend about $1 per meal per person.

Urchina

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 02:48:23 PM »
I seem to have a much cheaper food bill when I do not meal plan.

@seemsright , why do you think that is? Curious....

Nickyd£g

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 06:22:28 AM »
I do the same as you do Urchina, but I eat the same meal (maybe with different sauces) two-three times a week. EG:

Breakfasts this week - egg wraps & fruit
Lunches - salad, topped with either tinned tuna with olive & lemon dressing or sliced cooked ham with salad cream
Dinners - alternate roasted salmon fillet or chicken breast with baby potatoes & various vegetables.
Snack - tend to be fruit. Sometimes with a babybel or a teaspoon of peanut butter.

On Sunday I prepped:

Breakfast wraps
Chopped up all the salads, so I just have to add the protein and dressing.

Easy! And I don't have to think too much about it. It isn't too expensive as I tend to buy my meat and fish etc in bulk and freeze, and have frozen or tinned vegetables.  While it's monotonous, I switch up sauces, seasonings or types of veggies. I'm trying to eat a few less carbs at the moment, but if I do add them in I do the same thing - make a batch of spaghetti bolognese/chicken pesto pasta/chilli & rice/curry & rice and alternate it for lunch or dinner.

seemsright

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 09:38:24 AM »
I seem to have a much cheaper food bill when I do not meal plan.

@seemsright , why do you think that is? Curious....

I am able to use what I have on hand. Instead of randomly thinking I want X. I typically buy ingredients that are on sale. I go to the store with a plan of I need veggies, fruits, meats and say pasta. I buy what is on sale and then throw together meals like that. Some cooked rice with Seaseme oil with some veggies and a egg is one of my fav meals. So I tend to cook simple.

BAM

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2018, 03:35:19 PM »
We plan Saturday through Friday here. I shop Friday sometime - usually afternoon, today in the morning.
Dietary restrictions: 16 and 5 year olds can't have corn syrup, 15 year old can't have dairy, egg, peanut, garbanzo, lentils, peas.
We have 7 kids at home and homeschool so other than DH's lunch everything is eaten at home but our breakfast and lunch needs to have minimal prep so we can finish our other tasks for the day.
Last week we took a Sabbath break from school (we school 6 weeks on, 1 week off) so I spent part of the time making and freezing 6 dinners, 6 bean lunches (3 refried, 3 hummus) and tons of granola (about the equivalent of 6 gallon bags) to last us the next 6 weeks of school.

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs for those who want them (15 year old can have some nuts if desired)
15 year old makes breakfast (except eggs which I do over the weekend) while I get littles ready
M- steel oats in crockpot
T- something baked by 13 year old the day before
W - Steel oats again
Th - Something baked by 15 year old
F - regular oats
S/S - cold cereal or homemade granola (enough granola for about 6 weeks already in the pantry)

Lunch - always with raw veggies
16 year old preps this
M - Lunch meat, crackers
T - PBJ (or other nut butter for allergic child)
W - Refried beans with tortillas (beans already cooked, mashed and frozen)
Th - Bagel Pizza (9 year olds bday)
F  - PBJ
S - baked potatoes with toppings
S - leftovers

Snacks - always fruit, whatever is on sale, or smoothie with past prime fruit.

Dinner -
M- chicken and dumplings (already frozen - just need to make and add the dumplings) -I cook
T - ground oryx and bean burritos with sauteed zucchini/yellow squash/onions -16 year old cooks
W - Spaghetti with oryx sausage, salad - 15 year old cooks
Th - tacos, whatever veggies are left - 13 and 10 year old cook
F - movie night/date night for DH and I - kids have cheese sandwiches (lunch meat for 15 year old), veggies, popcorn. DH and I pick up something at the store (ravioli/alfredo this week)
S - breakfast burritos with oryx sausage/eggs/potatoes - DH cooks
S - pancakes - we take turns cooking

Weekend prep:
Hard boil weeks eggs
Make egg salad for DH's lunches. Make sure he has everything for the week (he takes all his lunches in on Monday since he has a fridge in his office)
Start steel oats on Sunday night.
Friday - make sure all last weeks veggies are used for lunch/dinner before new ones are pulled out.

horsepoor

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2018, 09:27:11 PM »
I usually plan Monday through Friday, and free-form the weekends, but I picked up a Bountiful Basket (food co-op thing) tonight and still have stuff leftover from last week's basket, so I figured I'd better start planning how to use it all.  So far the dinner plans are:

Sat - Wedge salad, Chorizo, kale and red potato hash
Sun - Cauliflower, yam and silken tofu curry
Mon - Swiss chard, ham & mozzarella spaghetti squash frittata/casserole
Tue - Chicken fajitas with bell peppers, zucchini, black beans
Wed - Chicken fajitas with bell peppers, zucchini, black beans
Thu - Unstuffed cabbage
Frid - Leftovers, roasted broccoli

Additionally, I ended up with eight cucumbers, which I'll be eating with sardines for lunch.  Also, the basket provides a lot more fruit than I normally buy, so I'll probably make muffins or something as a breakfast for the week, and have an orange each day with lunch.  Might also bake a pear cake to bring in to the office if I get ambitious.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2018, 08:33:46 PM »
None of these meal plans seem to really utilise the meal planning idea. For example

Sunday: roast chicken and veg
Monday: warm roast vegetable salad with feta
Tuesday: chicken fajitas
Wed: chicken and vegetable chowder
etc

Sunday's dinner is essentially stretched across the week. Cook several chickens if required, and bulk veg. It doesn't really matter what your start meal is. What matters is that you buy and cook in bulk, and then stretch it across the week using different flavour profiles to stave off boredom. Ideally you'd be formulating the start meal based on what was on a good special. A large pork roast can become pulled pork, pork and apple hand pies, something mexican etc

Vegetarians could start around a seasonal veg that's on a great special. Eg cauli, which can be served roasted, in soup, in curry etc

Urchina

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 12:18:54 AM »
None of these meal plans seem to really utilise the meal planning idea. For example

Sunday: roast chicken and veg
Monday: warm roast vegetable salad with feta
Tuesday: chicken fajitas
Wed: chicken and vegetable chowder
etc

Sunday's dinner is essentially stretched across the week. Cook several chickens if required, and bulk veg. It doesn't really matter what your start meal is. What matters is that you buy and cook in bulk, and then stretch it across the week using different flavour profiles to stave off boredom. Ideally you'd be formulating the start meal based on what was on a good special. A large pork roast can become pulled pork, pork and apple hand pies, something mexican etc

Vegetarians could start around a seasonal veg that's on a great special. Eg cauli, which can be served roasted, in soup, in curry etc

I tend to define meal planning pretty broadly. It can encompass "cook once, eat 3x" or "take this one ingredient and incorporate a bunch of it in meals throughout the week" or "I have a menu plan for the week so I'm not trying to figure out what to do at 5 p.m. every day and then freak out and get takeout." I think there's a pretty big range of options here and no one right way to do it.

This week's menu plan (subject to change, since no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy) is:
Sunday: Ham, oven-roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower. (Leftover ham is sliced or cubed and used for lunch sandwiches, breakfast scrambles, and a pot of navy bean soup).
Monday: Chickpea & Kale curry over rice. I'd planned this for last week but didn't end up making it (we had leftovers that night instead) so I bumped it to this week. I used this Cooking Light recipe: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/chickpea-and-kale-curry, omitted the salt and added about a tablespoon of Mae Ploy Yellow Curry paste, used light canned coconut milk from our pantry instead of the refrigerated stuff called for in the recipe, served over rice (rice is in pantry, quinoa isn't) and it was delicious, took 1/2 an hour, and everyone agreed we'd happily have it again. Plus, it used up our huge amount of CSA kale. Win! 
Tuesday: Treat night for the kids: Cheese tortellini with chicken and pesto & caesar salad
Wednesday: DIY Burrito Bar (we put out the fixings in little bowls, everyone builds their own burrito. We always do homemade refried beans for this).
Thursday: Chicken posole (using extra chicken from tortellini night)
Friday: Taco Salad (clearly, got a Cali-Mex hankering this week...)



« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 12:20:52 AM by Urchina »

meerkat

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 07:36:26 AM »
We do meal planning to make our lives easier after work, otherwise we get home already hungry and tired and feel like we have a kitchen full of food with nothing to eat.

This week:
Lasagna
Balsamic chicken thighs, buttered peas, rolls
Creamy beef fajita pasta
Tandoori chicken, curried carrots, coconut rice
Mac n cheese
Enchiladas

Other recent meals:
Stir fry with peanut sauce
Chicken and vegetables in slow cooker plus Italian dressing
Turkey, goat cheese/mozzarella, and cranberry paninis.
Slow cooker chicken taco bowls
Jambalaya
Potato pancakes
Roasted vegetable baked ziti
Curried red lentil and pumpkin soup

slughorn

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 06:16:45 PM »
Cook several chickens if required, and bulk veg. It doesn't really matter what your start meal is. What matters is that you buy and cook in bulk, and then stretch it across the week using different flavour profiles to stave off boredom. Ideally you'd be formulating the start meal based on what was on a good special. A large pork roast can become pulled pork, pork and apple hand pies, something mexican etc

Vegetarians could start around a seasonal veg that's on a great special. Eg cauli, which can be served roasted, in soup, in curry etc

Clever idea... We never considered roasting several chickens at once to cut down on work thoroughout the week.

I think whole chickens are going on sale tomorrow....

slughorn

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 06:23:00 PM »
This week's menu plan (subject to change, since no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy) is:

Stealing this quote for next time the family complains 'We were supposed to have tamales  tonight.'  (But all the tamales in the freezer have been eaten up.)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 09:17:13 PM »
Cook several chickens if required, and bulk veg. It doesn't really matter what your start meal is. What matters is that you buy and cook in bulk, and then stretch it across the week using different flavour profiles to stave off boredom. Ideally you'd be formulating the start meal based on what was on a good special. A large pork roast can become pulled pork, pork and apple hand pies, something mexican etc

Vegetarians could start around a seasonal veg that's on a great special. Eg cauli, which can be served roasted, in soup, in curry etc

Clever idea... We never considered roasting several chickens at once to cut down on work thoroughout the week.

I think whole chickens are going on sale tomorrow....

And the oven will be hot already, so no extra energy required! Just fyi, cooked chicken meat can be frozen for use in casseroles, pot pies etc etc. Chicken carcasses can be frozen until you feel like making a massive lot of stock or soup.

Whip up some muffins and stick them in the oven when you pull the chickens out. Even with the oven off, the residual heat will cook them, and then you'll have a batch to pop in the freezer and use for lunches, snacks etc.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 09:22:16 PM by AnnaGrowsAMustache »

BAM

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2018, 03:52:42 PM »
AnnaGrowsAMustache, we used to do that pre-cooking thing all the time. Loved it! Saved me so much time and money.
Some of our ideas were:
roast/veggies in the crockpot with an extra roast, add tomatoes to make stew, use extra roast to make shredded beef burritos/tacos or
pork loin with rice and veggies, shredded BBQ pork sandwiches, shredded pork burritos/tacos, pork/veggie stir fry.
Worked great for us until I had multiple very hungry teenagers and we could finish 1 1/2 large crock pots full of food per meal so the extra food for later would no longer fit. : ) I still batch cook as much as possible and freezer portions of things to use in other meals but no more multi-meal cooking for awhile longer here.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2018, 04:32:20 PM »
AnnaGrowsAMustache, we used to do that pre-cooking thing all the time. Loved it! Saved me so much time and money.
Some of our ideas were:
roast/veggies in the crockpot with an extra roast, add tomatoes to make stew, use extra roast to make shredded beef burritos/tacos or
pork loin with rice and veggies, shredded BBQ pork sandwiches, shredded pork burritos/tacos, pork/veggie stir fry.
Worked great for us until I had multiple very hungry teenagers and we could finish 1 1/2 large crock pots full of food per meal so the extra food for later would no longer fit. : ) I still batch cook as much as possible and freezer portions of things to use in other meals but no more multi-meal cooking for awhile longer here.

Teenagers are bottomless pits! I've seen a whole loaf of bread vanish in a sitting, and that was only one of the boys!

slughorn

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2018, 08:52:35 PM »

Teenagers are bottomless pits! I've seen a whole loaf of bread vanish in a sitting, and that was only one of the boys!

When my (92-lb) daughter was in high school, a date took her to Subway for lunch.  She ordered a foot-long.  When she finished, he asked if she'd like anything else.  "Another foot-long," she said.  And then she ate that one.

BAM

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2018, 02:27:35 PM »
Yes, bottomless pits.
When ours starting hitting the teen years, I was really glad we had taught them to like cheap foods. Picky eating was never allowed here. They can fill up on oats, beans, rice, etc without entirely breaking the bank.

Urchina

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2018, 04:26:14 PM »
Our kids are just about to enter the teenage years, and I'm beginning to see their appetites ramp up. I'm also finding that my plans to make extra and have leftovers are often... not surviving contact with my children's appetites. ;)

Menu plan for the upcoming week is:
Saturday: Thai Drunken Noodles https://food52.com/recipes/33896-drunken-noodles
Sunday: Navy Bean Soup and oatmeal-molasses bread (using the last of the leftover ham from last week)
Monday: chickpea and kale curry (liked it so much last week, wanted to put it on the menu this week!)
Tuesday: Crepes with savory fillings (ham and cheese, mushroom/spinach), fruit salad
Wednesday: Baked falafel with pita & homemade tzaziki; salad
Thursday: crock-pot chili & quesadillas
Friday: spicy chickpea & spinach wraps with tahini dressing. (From Thug Kitchen; interview and (heavily redacted) recipe here: http://www.philly.com/philly/health/fitness/Profanity-filled_Thug_Kitchen_cookbook_urges_healthy_eating.html)

Lunches will be carrot-ginger soup (I'll make a big batch using my InstantPot), salads with baked seasoned tofu, and homemade bread. I can portion out five pint mason jars of soup, five rubbermaid containers of salad, and five slices of bread on Sunday and have grab-and-go for the week.

Urchina

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2018, 07:19:44 PM »


And, the plan has changed already! Just remembered that Wednesday is the 14th - Pi day! So falafel will wait and we'll have chicken pot pie for dinner and homemade apple pie for dessert. I love pie!

asauer

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2018, 07:17:39 AM »
I meal plan on Wednesdays b/c that's when our circular is updated and when I shop.  For this week:
1. Chicken and cauliflower curry
2. Pasta pesto w/ asparagus and peppers
3. Corned beef w/ cabbage, roasted carrots and soda bread (will use the leftover corned beef to make hash for bkfst on Sat.)
4. herb trout with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans
5. Beans and greens bruschetta
6. carnitas
7. roast chicken w/ mashed potatoes and broccoli

Lunches are always leftovers

horsepoor

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2018, 11:55:26 PM »
This week's plan: 

Saturday:  Split pea soup and homemade herb bread
Sunday: Brats and kale colcannon, glazed carrots
Monday:  Pastelon (experiment with bananas that never ripened in place of plantains), sauteed cabbage
Tuesday:  Roast Chicken, salad
Wednesday: Leftover Chicken, salad (or use Groupon for sushi; we have hockey tickets)
Thursday: Lamb chops, lentils with carrots, swiss chard
Friday:  Spaghetti squash casserole

meerkat

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2018, 04:39:31 PM »
Black bean enchiladas
Goulash
Vegetable risotto
Chicken parmesan
Ravioli
Pork roast

alice76

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2018, 06:37:08 PM »
Tonight: Rice, bean, avocado, cheese enchiladas
Sunday: cod and rice
Monday, plus one more night: whole roast chicken and veggies
Tuesday, plus one more night: lentil carrot soup (made w stock from chicken)
Friday: leftovers

Urchina

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Re: It's Menu Plan Friday!
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2018, 05:53:51 PM »
One of the minions and I were on a scout camping trip this weekend, so I got two glorious days off from being responsible for what everyone ate. It was fantastic! Despite my field-marshal tendencies, I really love the occasions when someone else is (competently) in charge.

Here's this week's lineup:

Sunday: BBQ Tri-tip, frijoles borrachos, sauteed greens with garlic
Monday: Pesto pasta with chicken meatballs, kale and citrus salad
Tuesday: Beans and rice (using leftover frijoles borrachos)
Wednesday: Tri-tip French Dips, salad
Thursday: Butternut squash soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
Friday: Sandwiches & fruit