Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stockpile Dinner Menu 10-10 to 10-14

One of my pet peeves is spending a day racking my brain as to what we should have for dinner. It really drives me nuts; literally. To avoid this pain in my brain, I started making dinner menus. I would say it's been a part of our family's survival for about 4 years. It makes sense to me to spend 10-15 minutes making a menu for the month versus an all day, everyday, nonstop and painful thought process in my brain. 15 minutes? Sounds so much better to me.

When I started couponing, my menu making had to change. I used to make the menu and base my shopping trip off of it, but now I base my menu off of what I've stocked up on. This is a great way to make sure I'm using the items I got a great deal on and it also helps me only stock up on the things we use. Some of my favorite things to stock up on are pasta, meats (we buy a cow every year and I love the Zaycon chicken), cereal, Better Oats Oatmeal, pasta sauces, Rice-A-Roni (the Natures Way kinds only have 5-7 ingredients and sugar and high fructose are not one of them), tortillas, cooking sauces like Franks Red Hot, Worcestershire Sauce, Teriyaki, ect., beans, shredded cheese and olives (you'll learn that about me quite quickly; I love olives and ranch).

Here's what I'm putting together as my menu for this week. I try making easy meals on busy days and more labor intensive meals when I can, all based off my stockpile from couponing.

  • Monday- Chicken Fajitas - This will use my tortillas, chicken, shredded cheese, diced veggies and olives.
  • Tuesday- Burrito Casserole w/Salad - I will use tortillas, beans, cheese, and a red sauce w/ Frank's Red Hot sauce and one of my free salads I received from Vocalpoint.
  • Wednesday- Spaghetti and Meatballs w/ green beans - spaghetti noodles, red sauce, meat w/seasoning & a bag of Green Giant Steamers Green Beans (I got a bunch of these when they first came out for about $.50 I think. Gotta love new products)
  • Thursday- Shepherd's Pie - Hamburger, Mashed Potatoes, Vegetable Beef soup, Shredded cheese
  • Friday - Homemade Pizzas - Tortillas, left over red sauces, shredded cheese, diced veggies and olives w/left over salad.
Okay, so all I will need to get this week will be my produce and my free salads. Other than that, I have everything down in my freezer or store room. It's going to be a pretty easy week.

Rachel's Recipes:
Here are a few recipes of items listed above. I love simplicity, but healthy (well sorta). I try to make sure we get all food groups in our meals (minus the junk food of course). Some days are better than others, just so you know. :)

Burrito Casserole
This is a great back up meal. I always have the items in my house for this and spaghetti just in case I don't have time to make what's on the menu or for sick days and such.

What you'll need:
  • Tortillas (enough for everyone to have 1)
  • 1-2 can of refried beans and/or black beans
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese (your choice of cheese)
  • 1 jar of a red sauce like spaghetti, tomato, or even enchilada sauce (I love the enchilada sauce)
  • diced veggies like peppers, carrots, tomatoes or onion (totally your choice)
How to make:
1. Fill your tortillas with a portion of beans and cheese.
2. Wrap like a burrito and place in 9x11 (or smaller depending on family size) baking dish.
3. Cover your burritos with sauce, cheese and veggies
4. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until warm in center
5. Serve and enjoy!

A few options here are that you can use pre-made burritos and you can also put the veggie in the burritos. I happen to like my veggies in the sauce and if I'm in a huge hurry, I may skip the veggies all together and serve a salad or carrot sticks instead.

My Shepherds' Pie
I have made this recipe based off of one my mom made when I was little. Come to think of it, so did the burrito casserole (it was cheap enchiladas to us). I have made it this way for years and everyone who has had it loves it. It is a big request around here. It's easy to make it healthier than I do, but this week it lands on a busy day, so quick is how I will make it which ends up not being the healthiest. Make adjustments as you see fit.

What you'll need:
  • 1 lb. of cooked ground beef (I like to add black pepper and minced garlic)
  • 3-4 cups of mashed potatoes (this is where I will use 2 Idahoan Potato Pouches. Just add boiling water and mix)
  • 1 Family Size or 3 cans of Vegetable Beef Soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
How to make:
1. Put cooked ground beef in the bottom of a baking dish (9x11 is what I think mine is)
2. Spread mashed potatoes out over ground beef (we're doing the layering effect here)
3. Pour and spread your soup on top of the mashed potatoes
4. Sprinkle shredded cheese across the top
5. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes or until warm in center (I use the finger test for this)
6. Serve and enjoy! (makes enough to feed 5 if you serve nothing else. If you serve a salad or something, this will go a lot further)

If you're interested in starting a menu, you should print this out!

Also, check out this shopping list!

The shopping list is great for making a list of your top 10 items you love to stock up on. Also, your family can add things you need to pick up through out the week.

How to use these printables!
Print out these sheets and put them in a page protector sleeve. Then grab a dry erase marker to start your menus and list. Simply wipe clean when needed. Hang on your fridge with magnets and you're good to go.

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