Monday, February 6, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

It seems like we just can't settle into a normal dinner routine at our house. Between Alex's work schedule and vacation, everything has been thrown off, and this week is no exception.

With the hubs working nights...again (didn't that just happen???)...we'll be eating early dinners so we can have at least a little family togetherness before he heads out to the hospital. I'd really rather not spend my afternoons, the only awake time we'll be seeing Alex for the next week, cooking meals, so I'm planning a menu of quick and/or easy meals.

I started by surveying the cabinets and fridge, trying to build off of what we already have in house. It looks like we're well stocked, and my grocery shopping will be mostly for produce and perishables like milk and eggs. Yay, for easy shopping!

My Weekly Menu

Spaghetti with Homemade Meat Sauce
I made sauce last week and froze it in meal sized portions. Most of the ingredients I used were either free or inexpensive, bought during sales. Making your own sauce is a very cost effective alternative to buying jars (think about it - you will get 3-5 meals from one pot). I also prefer the taste, and I LOVE knowing exactly which ingredients went into it.

Each time I make sauce, I use my own in my head recipe. It's altered a bit each time, but here's a rough idea:
Saute 1/2-1 diced onion and crushed or minced garlic.
Add 1 pound ground beef, brown, and drain of fat.
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 small cans tomato paste
Spices to taste:
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
1-2 bay leaves
Cover and simmer at least 45 minutes.

Tilapia with Black Beans and Veggies
Last week, I bought a 2 pound bag of tilapia at Aldi for less than $6.00. The bag contains twelve fillets, which means we'll get about three meals out of it - $2.00 per meal/$1.00 per serving - not a bad price in my opinion.

I picked this meal for this week because it will take just minutes to prepare. I'll pan fry the tilapia and saute the veggies. I envision whipping up some type of sauce that involves lime and cilantro. We'll see. If I'm feeling lazy, I'll just throw on some cajun seasoning and call it a day.

Teriyaki Chicken with Brown Rice and Broccoli
This is a meal found on Pinterest, that I always plan to make, and it just never happens. It's a crock pot dinner, which should be a perfect fit for the busy week. I like that this recipe uses ingredients that are usually in stock in our kitchen. I might adjust the recipe a bit to add a little spice in with the sweet. I'm also thinking that brown sugar might taste better than white.

I bought the broccoli at Aldi for $0.89/lb and the brown rice for $0.25 at Harris Teeter (Minute Rice Steamers). The chicken was also an inexpensive buy. I picked it up a few weeks ago when it was a Manager's Special at Kroger.

Ratatouille with a fresh baguette
I found this recipe on an i pad recipe app. I'm hoping to work a few vegetarian meals into our weekly routine, and I already have some of the veggies needed to make the dish, but I'll need to pick up eggplant and mushrooms. I know that mushrooms are on sale at Aldi for less than $1/pack until.

Falafel Wraps (in whole wheat tortillas) 
I found the falafel recipe on the same app mentioned above. I have everything in the house to make it (will be my first time trying to make falafel). I'm not sure which toppings I want to use - go the traditional route and make tzatziki sauce, or make due with what's in the house and just add toppings like cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado.

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken
I'm making this one up as I go. The plan, as it sits in my mind right now, involves diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and assorted spices, cooked in the slow cooker with chicken breasts, then served with pasta. We'll see.

Reader Response: What's for dinner at your house this week? Share your meal ideas by leaving a comment, or provide a link to your meal plan.


  1. leftovers from the weekend, including this yummy bean salsa which reminds me of summer but is mostly pantry items
    other than tonight - this is going to be a simple week of homemade chicken soup, tacos, broiled tilapia, and a night out

  2. A simple week sounds perfect. :)