Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Planning Meals a Week at a Time

I'm going to include a section in the cookbook that is examples of a week's worth of dinners at a time. This is what I write up every Saturday morning before I do my grocery shopping, and since I've started doing it, my food budget shrunk, the wasted food from my kitchen shrunk, I'm feeding my family more vegetables, and I eliminated the weeknight "oh crud, I don't know what do do for dinner" panic. Also, I have in theory eliminated boxed foods. . . except that I sometimes throw out the list halfway through the week and improvise, which sometimes results in boxed mac-n-cheese. :)

What I have jotted down so far. The final version will have page numbers for each of the recipes. Each week will also include the purchase of one or two cupboard staples, such as spices, as well as suggestions for freezing certain things to "save for another week", such as cooked beans. I need to add desserts, too.

Cooking Dinners for a Week at a Time

Staples in cupboard: salt, pepper, flour, butter or oil, . . .

Grocery list: whole chicken, a small ham, brown rice, split peas, carrots, celery, onion, dill (dried), garlic (whole or dried), soy sauce, Swiss cheese, tortillas, Monterey jack cheese, fresh or canned tomato
Saturday: Cook brown rice; freeze any that you don’t expect to use during the week, refrigerate the rest. Bake a chicken and pull all the meat from the bones. Refrigerate the meat and the carcass. Dinner: chicken salad sandwiches with celery and carrot sticks.
Sunday: Use the chicken carcass plus onion, celery, and carrot to make chicken broth. Discard the solids and refrigerate the stock. Dinner: stir-fry (sauté) onion, carrots, and celery with soy sauce and garlic; add chicken, and serve over rice
Monday: quesadillas with salsa made from chopped tomato and garlic
Tuesday: Chicken soup with rice, carrot, celery, onion, milk, dill, and garlic. Add diced ham if the chicken is running low.
Wednesday: grilled cheese sandwiches with leftover chicken soup
Thursday: cook diced ham and carrots in a milk gravy; serve over brown rice
Friday: split pea soup with diced ham, tomato, and garlic. Dice and freeze the remaining ham.

Grocery list: pork shoulder, bread, cabbage, carrots, apples, dry beans, lettuce, cheddar cheese, potatoes, canned tomatoes, corn meal, eggs, milk, pasta
Saturday: Cook a pot of beans; drain and freeze what you don‘t expect to use during the week. Refrigerate the rest. Brine pork shoulder all day for pulled pork. Put in the oven before going to bed. Keep enough pulled pork in the refrigerator for two and a half meals, and freeze the rest for another week. Dinner: Bean and carrot soup, cheese bread
Sunday: pulled pork sandwiches with lettuce, Cole slaw, baked apples
Monday: tuna salad with chopped apples over lettuce.
Tuesday: cheesy potato soup with a little bit of pulled pork added
Wednesday: pulled-pork chili, corn bread
Thursday: Southern gravy over toast, sautéed carrots
Friday: mac-n-cheese, sautéed cabbage

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