Menu Plan Monday–April 20

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened–and then I found out by way of a food journal, my system doesn’t tolerate MSG–so I’m making thing from scratch to avoid the nasty stuff!

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in April and probably the first two weeks of May. WISH ME LUCK! LOL

* * *

Not so good this week. Spent double the budget. Sure, that’s only $30 instead of $15 but it was well worth it to get some fresh fruits and veggies and the makings for potato salad and carrot raisin salad. Recipes below! My friend, Toni, made the carrot raisin salad for lunch one Creative Day and I’ve been craving it–so I found a recipe and tweaked it.

Our grandbaby might be coming Wednesday. Jess has an ultrasound and the doctor will decide if she want to induce on Wednesday or the following Monday. I’m going to plan the week just in case.

We rented a condo with a full kitchen down by Jess so I’ll need to make a plan for the week we’re with her. My parents stay here to watch the dogs so I’ll need to pull some food from the deep freeze to the kitchen freezer for them.

I can’t believe this is all happening so soon!!

Monday–ham and beans from the freezer, fresh cornbread

Tuesday–Haluski (Polish comfort food–noodles and cabbage with butter!)

Wednesday–Beef stir fry (with leftover steak from last week)

Thursday–Leftovers

Friday–Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, carrot raisin salad

Saturday–Grilled pork chops

Sunday–If the baby’s not induced Wednesday, we’ll be leaving early in the morning today!

Michelle’s Potato Salad

  • About 10-13 medium russet potatoes, skins on, diced small
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, diced really tiny
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (real Mayo!! Not Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 large chopped sweet onion
  • 3 large celery ribs
  • 1 large chopped dill pickle
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional)

1. Wash and chop potatoes, boil until tender (but not falling apart!) then rinse in cold water for about 5 minutes. Shake excess water away and dump back in pot.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, you can boil your eggs. Unless you thought ahead and boiled them previously. Or have leftover Easter eggs. Of course, if you’re reading this and it is July–please don’t use your leftover Easter eggs.

I use my handy-dandy Pampered Chef egg slicer. I put it in. Slice. Take it out and turn it. Slice. Then one more time I turn it and slice again. It makes a mess, but it’s way less messier than chopping them on a cutting board.

3. Chop everything else (or use your food processor. I don’t like to dirty a ton of dishes, so the potatoes and everything else go back into the pot and I mix it in there. Then I move it to a storage bowl with a lid and stick it in the fridge.

Voila! You have MSG and preservative free Potato Salad! It tastes better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours!

* * *

Carrot Raisin Salad

  • 4 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 diced celery ribs
  • 1 cup raisins (I like the Golden ones!)
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise (Real Mayo–not Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

This is pretty straight forward. Shred your carrots and celery, add everything…

And mix. You’re done! It tastes better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours!

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Menu Plan Monday–April 13

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened–and then I found out by way of a food journal, my system doesn’t tolerate MSG–so I’m making thing from scratch to avoid the nasty stuff!

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in April and probably the first two weeks of May. WISH ME LUCK! LOL

* * *

Update on the $15 food budget: Last week was awesome! However, it was looking pretty bare in the way of fresh veggies so I splurged a little Saturday. Plus, I went to Gordon Food Services with my mom and bought some cheese for cheap. $7.00 for a 2lb block of sharp cheddar and $9.50 for 5lbs (160 slices) of American. I had to make extra cheesy au gratin potatoes (serves 30) for Easter so I used a pound of the cheddar and about 10 American slices for that. The rest of the American I’ll break up to fit in sandwich size Ziplocs and freeze it. The cheddar will appear on the menu plan!

I also bought a bunch of Polish sausage and brats that the meat dept. assured me was MSG free, but I got home, studied the ingredients and realized it said it had 2% MSG. I don’t know the technicalities of eating that much. I don’t know if I should even risk it. I opened two packages of the Polish to make for Easter before I realized, so I’m stuck with those. I can take the other two packs back. So that’s $8 down the tube.

But I did find (no lies!) Chorizo with no MSG! That was $6 but will last awhile. We love to fry chorizo with our scrambled eggs and eat them on tortilla with salsa. Mmmm!!

So while I’m technically over budget starting this week off, I’m not upset because I think the cheese was a rocking deal and we needed makings for salads. The whole time I’ve been trying this $15 food budget, I’ve not even been listing breakfasts and lunches and it seems this week I’ve run out of options and had to spend a little bit more to get us through another couple of weeks.

* * *

Monday–leftover tuna noodle casserole.

Tuesday–leftover Easter food, ham and extra cheesy au gratin potatoes (family gathering size recipe below)

Wednesday–leftover round steak with gravy and mashed potatoes.

Thursday–Grilled steak, potatoes, Brussels sprouts

Friday–ham and beans and cornbread from the freezer

Saturday–steak Quesadillas (leftover from Thursday), chips and salsa

Sunday–Chicken stir fry

* * *

Michelle’s Extra Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes (Large recipe, could be used for Once a Month Cooking groups)

It was 10lbs of potatoes diced
8 cups of milk
4 sticks butter
1lb sharp cheddar
1/2 block velveeta
2 onions
1 cup of my homemade blue cheese dressing**
10 slices American cheese
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Dice potatoes and partially cook them in the milk, after the milk is hot add in the blue cheese** dressing. Grease a full-size food service foil pan (like this) I put the onions in my food processor and gave them a zap then sauteed them in a stick and a half of butter.

Put half of the potatoes and milk in. Chunk up half the Velveeta and disperse. Same with the butter. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Break the American slices in half and lay them over the top. Add in the rest of the potatoes and milk and repeat with the remaining Velveeta and butter, salt and pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes. Stir everything up. Bake for another 25 minutes. Take out and add shredded cheddar to top. Bake 30 more minutes.

This should feed 30-40 people.

**If you don’t like blue cheese you don’t have to use it, but I suggest it highly. My sister hates, hates, hates blue cheese but she loved the potatoes because there aren’t chunks of blue cheese, they melt. But if you don’t trust me…well then you suck. LOL

Homemade blue cheese

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed in
salt and pepper to taste

Mix and refridgerate.

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Menu Plan Monday–April 6

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened–and then I found out by way of a food journal, my system doesn’t tolerate MSG–so I’m making thing from scratch to avoid the nasty stuff!

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in April and probably the first two weeks of May. WISH ME LUCK! LOL

* * *

Last week was a success as far as the budget goes! This week, I planned, shopped, spent $14 ($1 under budget!!) Then realized we were out of dog food and spent $17 more. 🙁

When you do a grocery budget–do you do an entire “everything needed for the household” budget or just a grocery budget and everything else like toilet paper, light bubs, dog food, etc goes on a different budget?

* * *

We didn’t eat a couple of meals I had planned last week for various reasons. We’re not eating the same things two weeks in a row, I’ve just moved them.

Monday–Round Steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans.

Tuesday–Ravioli, garlic bread

Wednesday–Tuna Noodle Casserole (no mushrooms!) Recipe below

Thursday–Stuffed Peppers (Large–Once a Month Cooking-type Recipe), mashed potatoes, green beans

Friday and Saturday–leftover days.

* * *

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 bag egg noodles
1 can of tuna
1 can of (choose one) either cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or cream of celery soup**
1 1/3 cup milk
2 sticks butter (I hate margarine)
2 row of saltine crackers
salt
pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook egg noodles as directed on package. Drain.

3. In a large bowl (large enough to fit all of the noodles as well as other ingredients) mix the can of soup, the milk and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

4. Add the noodles to the mixture and mix well.

5. Put noodle mixture in a 9×11 pan.

4. Melt the stick of butter in a medium sized microwavable bowl (I do it in the microwave–30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted)

5. Crush the crackers in their sleeve. Be careful the sleeve doesn’t pop!

6. Mix the crackers with the melted butter.

7. Place cracker and butter mixture on top of noodle mixture and spread evenly. Make sure all the noodles are covered, if they’re not they’ll get hard when they’re baking (and I don’t like that)

8. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

**Since I cook MSG free, I either have to look for soup cans that say No MSG or I make my own. To make a tasty substitute for a cream of celery soup: melt 2 tablespoons of butter (I hate margarine!) in a saucepan. Chop up some celery and onions and saute them until the onions are clear. Wisk in a cup and a half milk. You can add salt and pepper if you’d like. That’s it!

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Menu Plan Monday–March 30

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened–and then I found out by way of a food journal, my system doesn’t tolerate MSG–so I’m making thing from scratch to avoid the nasty stuff!

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in April and probably the first two weeks of May. WISH ME LUCK! LOL

* * *

Monday–Leftover (frozen) Chicken and Dumplings, biscuits

Tuesday–Leftover (frozen) Broccoli Cauliflower soup, grilled cheese sandwiches

Wednesday–Stuffed Peppers (Large–Once a Month Cooking-type Recipe), mashed potatoes, green beans

Thursday–Round Steak with Gravy, mashed potatoes, corn (See recipe below)

Friday–Grilled pork loin

Saturday–My belated lunch/dinner at mom’s. 🙂

Sunday–Phil’s day to grill. Most likely steaks from the quarter cow we bought.

* * *

Dessert? Blueberry Crisp (with blueberries from last summer’s picking!)

Snacks? Homemade Yogurt!

* * *

Grocery list? Looks like I only need milk, bread, ice cream, butter and a yogurt starter.

Round Steak with Gravy

1 Round Steak cut in pieces (about the size of your palm)
1 stick butter
Salt & pepper

Melt butter in frying pan on low.
Add in round steak pieces. Salt and pepper to your liking.
Cover and cook on low for about 2.5 hours, flipping meat occasionally. If it looks dry, add a little bit of water.

Make either 2 packets of gravy (make sure it’s MSG-free!) or mix your MSG-free beef soup base with water and a bit of flour to make your own gravy. Pour on top of round steak and cover, cook on low another hour.

Serve over noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.

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Menu Plan Monday–March 16

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened.

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in March (and possibly April.)

* * *

This week and next will save my $$ budget plans. We’re leaving Saturday morning for Key West so we’ll only need five meals this week and none until March 29. Sweet!

Phil made extra BBQ on Sunday so we’ll have that for leftovers one day.

Monday–“Springfield” Cashew Chicken. We’ve been making this since we lived around Springfield, Missouri years ago. It made the NY Times! I’ll be adding the recipe Monday afternoon.

Tuesday–Alton Brown’s Corned Beef and Cabbage

Wednesday–Leftovers

Thursday–Leftovers

Friday–Leftovers

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