I am trying to stay away from a lot of processed carbs…very tough for me since I have not met a carb that I didn’t love!! But, I need to lose some weight and eat a little healthier. So, my menu plan reflect my new eating style. Yes, you will see there are some potatoes on the menu but my family loves them and I will try to not eat them!!! Wish me luck!!
I make my menu plans based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale…mostly at Market Basket…and what I may find at Friendly Fruit. So here it is. There are links to the recipes from the websites where I found the recipes.
Here’s my weekly installment of my menu plan. Yes, I am a little late but better late than never. So, Ham Croquettes are on the menu this week. You’re probably saying..”Ham Croquettes? What are those?” Well, they were popular probably in the 50’s to use up leftovers. They use mashed potatoes, leftover meat and cheese to make a nice fried pancake or cylinder type dumpling. Really good, when you make them right. I have been trying to perfect these for a while. I went to a great restaurant near me where they were on the menu. Of course, I ordered them and they were fantastic.
Since we had ham on the menu for Easter AND mashed potatoes, I figured I would try out this recipe for Ham and Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes. We will see!!!
I hope you enjoy the menu plan. If you have any questions, just let me know. All recipes and the grocery list can be found on my website in the new section. Menu Plan
Day 1: Ham & Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes & Salad
Day 2: Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast with Roasted Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
Day 3: Cod with Italian Crumb Topping with Steamed Broccoli and Rice Pilaf
Day 4: Pan-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Enjoy and let me know what you think! Again, for all the recipes, just go to Menu Plan under New Section for the recipes, links and grocery list.
Finished Menu Plan for this week!!!! I love it when it is done. I just feel so empowered because I have a plan!! As you can tell I only do 4 days of meals. Why? I like to leave flexibility in my menu for leftover night and nights when we may want to go out to eat. Flexibility and a Plan…it’s the best of both worlds! At the end is the grocery list. I hope you try the menus. I know they are helping me with that rush of what’s for dinner tonight!
Preheat the Double Burner Grill Pan for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
For the marinade, juice the lime to measure 2 tbsp (30 mL). Add the juice, rub, and oil to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl.
Add the steak to one bowl and shrimp to another bowl, stir to coat with the marinade, and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Slice onions and pepper and put on one side of the grill to cook.
Grill the steak first for 7 minutes per side depending upon desired doneness rotating and moving around the grill occasionally to ensure even cooking. Put on cutting board to rest. Then grill shrimp 4 minutes per side or until opaque. Slice the beef against the grain before serving..
In the Rockcrok over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken thighs to slow cooker.
Whisk together soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, and lime juice. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to combine.
Cover and cook until no longer pink, on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon
SAUTÉED GREEN BEANS WITH BACON
8 oz (250 g) fresh green beans
3 slices uncooked bacon
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
Trim ends and cut longer beans in half. Thinly slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Cook bacon in (10-in./24-cm) Skillet over medium-high heat 7-9 minutes or until crisp.
Finely chop shallot. Add shallot to Skillet and cook 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add green beans, water, salt and pepper. Cover; cook 6-8 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
5 cups (1.25 L) mixed salad greens
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2-in. (5 cm) strips
1 cup (250 mL) snow peas
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup (75 mL) snipped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp (30 mL) Asian Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb (500 g)
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
For dressing, combine vinegar, soy sauce, seasoning mix and sugar in Small Batter Bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
For salad, arrange greens on large serving platter. Top with bell pepper, snow peas, onion and cilantro. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. For pork, combine seasoning mix and oil in (1-cup) Prep Bowl; rub over entire surface of pork. Grill pork 15-18 minutes or until Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) for medium doneness or 165°F (75°C) for well done, turning every 5 minutes. Remove pork to Cutting Board and tent with aluminum foil; let stand 5-10 minutes.
To serve, carve pork into thin slices and arrange around edge of salad on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Drizzle with dressing.
2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup (125 mL) ranch dressing
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Cornmeal for dusting
16 oz (450 g) frozen prepared pizza dough, thawed (see Cook’s Tip)
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 thinly sliced green onions
Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. Combine chicken, dressing, pressed garlic, salt and black pepper in medium bowl; toss to coat.
Generously sprinkle Pastry Matwith cornmeal; place dough onto center of mat. Roll dough to an 12-in. (30-cm) circle. Place dough onto BBQ Pizza Pan; gently stretching to cover bottom. Top crust with chicken mixture and tomatoes; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon.
Place pizza pan on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 18-22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown, rotating pan occasionally for even grilling. Remove pan from grill. Sprinkle evenly with green onion. Cut pizza into 12 slices.
6 servings of 2 slices
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 470, Total Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 880 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 26 g
For best results, let pizza dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it out.
I have read many frugal blogs and sites. Many of them rely and support the idea of menu planning for cutting your grocery bill. Those who are supporters of this practice, say they look at the sale flyers and base their menu on the rock bottom prices.
While this may work for some, it really is not realistic for many. Why? Suppose you plan on having Chicken Fajitas for dinner on Tuesday. Tuesday comes along and you just don’t feel like fajitas. But maybe you really feel like a pizza. The menu planning option is too rigid for this type of circumstance. Or, maybe you made too much pasta one night and have leftovers. How do you use up those leftovers with a strict menu plan?
Instead of a menu plan, I rely on stocking my pantry; combining that with shopping sales and special markdowns. Basically, I shop sales to stock up! I always have the basics in my house: eggs, milk, flour, sugar, chicken, basic canned and frozen vegetables, etc. When I see a fabulous sale on any of these items, I stock up. Here’s an example, of one of my trips to the store, I saw a special markdown on sirloin tips and London broil. They were both marked down to $1.99/lb. for quick sale. I (along with other savvy shoppers) stocked up on them. Why…because, I have not seen that price for beef in a long time. My family loves a beef dinner every once in a while and it is nice to not just have ground beef. (I have not seen ground beef at $1.99/lb. in a while) When buying reduced meats, you just need to cook it up right away or store it in the freezer. I normally cook one that night and put the rest in the freezer.
So, how do you make sure that you have all the ingredients for what you want to make? Simple, decide what to cook the night before. While cleaning up from dinner, I plan my next day’s menu. Any leftovers that are enough for one portion, go into my husband’s lunch for the next day. I take anything out of the freezer that needs to defrost and any side dishes I make come from my pantry.
A note on side dishes. I shop for produce at a local fruit market. They don’t have “sales” flyers. They are a restaurant supply store and they stock any leftovers that were not purchased by the restaurants in their store. They (and I) never know when the deliveries will be made for the day and what they will have. Sometimes, I can get bags of salad mix for $2 (we are talking large bags or organic), artichokes 4 for $1, strawberries for $1, gallons of organic orange juice for $1 (I saw a sticker once and it was $21/gallon but I paid $1). I never know what I will get. I make my side dishes based on what I buy at this market. I normally can buy a weeks’ worth of produce for $5-$8. That’s right…$5-$8 of fresh sometimes organic produce. If you don’t have a market like this in your area, shop in the reduced produce section. While your deals may not be as good as the ones I described, they will be substantial. Once the fresh produce for the week is gone, then switch to your frozen or canned supplies.
These tips have helped me maintain an average food bill of $40-$60 per week for 4 people. I hope they help you too.
Now, how do you cook? Meal plan or cook from pantry? Comment below.
My niece, whom I adore, wrote on Facebook, “Why is healthy food so expensive?” She just lost about 100 lbs by eating healthy and exercising. Wahoo!!!! She looks and feels fabulous! She noticed that when she shopped for junk food, she spent far less than when she shops for healthy food. I saw her comment on Facebook and wondered, is it really that expensive? I really don’t think so. I know I am very thrifty and I can find deals. While going through the supermarket, I can see how it seems that healthy food is expensive. With a few strategies, you can find that healthy food at a reasonable price.
Buy Seasonal Produce
I am sure you hear this a lot. Buy seasonal. What does that mean? Each food has a growing and harvesting season. You should buy your produce when it is in season for the best price and optimal quality. For example, zucchini is in season right now. You will find loads of local zucchini at great prices. When it’s winter, you’re not going to find it locally and at that great price. Starting about now, peaches are in season until about late September in the Northeast. You will find the best prices and quality right now and through the summer.
Check Loss Leaders at the Markets
These are the super low priced items on the front and back pages of your sales circulars. These are made to have you go into the store and spend more money on other items. A week ago our local store had Corn on the Cob 12 for $1.97. Great price.
Farmers Markets arefilled with great products from local farms. It’s a great way to support your community and buy the freshest produce. Also, because transportation costs are low, the prices are really great.
There are restaurant supply stores that sell to the general public extra produce the restaurants do not purchase. There are great deals to be had at these outlets. The store I frequent, has amazing deals! I will outline them below.
Auctions and Flea Markets
This is one that we don’t think about much. There are auctions around the country that auction produce, meats, canned goods, etc. Also, many flea markets have produce stands. If you go at the end of the day, many venders do not want to take their produce home and are more likely to give you a deal.
Today I went to my favorite produce store and hit the jackpot. The delivery truck was just coming in and I picked up great deals. What did I spend for this. See below:
2 lb bag chopped romaine lettuce $1
3 stocks of leeks $1
2.04 lbs yellow squash $1.02
3 lbs. (?) bag of broccoli florets $2
1 pineapple $1
1 seedless watermelon $3
1 lbs baby grapes $ 1 (Yum)
2 containers of raspberries $1
1 cantalope $1
.34 lbs sliced mushrooms $.60
My total was $12.98. Not bad for my 20 minutes at the store. I have items that we will eat this week and some that I will chop and put into the freezer for later.
How about you? How do you get the best price on produce?