April 26, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

This April has 5 weeks.  While it shouldn’t really matter since the month has 30 days, the same as many others, I have found the budget stretched very thin.  The moneymakers at Walgreens last week really helped, though I’m finding that we are $8 over budget at this point.  If I manage to work a few moneymakers this week, I might be able to bring that number down a bit.  If not, we’ll be over our $350 budget.  Since we have had Easter, house guests, and my father staying with us for a good chunk of the month, I’m not sweating that number too much.  I’m stubborn, though, and I’m pretty determined not to make anymore purchases if I can help it. 

Our monthly budget is a goal number.  If I must spend more, we have a cushion to do so.  I don’t like to overspend, and I take great pleasure in hitting my monthly budget amount.  I take even more pleasure in seeing how much I purchased with the $350. 

What does this mean for my weekly meal plan?  I’ll be using what we have to make some meals so that I don’t spend anymore money at the grocery until the first.  Luckily the garden is starting to pick up and I have a pretty stocked freezer and pantry. 

Just so you know--The summer months are a different story.  Because I preserve so many locally grown foods during the summer, I expand the budget to allow for that.  I WILL have my strawberries.  The window of strawberry picking is relatively short, and if I needed to pick the strawberries today, I’d do so.  I won’t miss peaches or blackberries or canning beets or any of my other favorites from summer if I can help it.  Considering that canning and preservation helps with our budget for the entire year, I give myself a little more cushion in May, June, and July. 

Suppers

Monday—Chicken soup.  I’ll reserve some of the chicken to use for later meals.  We should have plenty of soup to freeze for future meals.

Tuesday—Stir fry using the chicken, bok choi, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and peas.  I’ll probably thin a little more of the broccoli raab too.  I’ll serve it over brown rice.

Wednesday—I’m kind of drawing a blank on what to make for the kids this week.  The sales aren’t that great, and the sales ads aren’t inspiring me much.  Unless I can think of something else, I’ll stick with a snack supper of sandwiches, pretzels, strawberries, and cucumbers.  On a side note, the kids loved the pasta bake and salad that I made last week.  Next week I have plans to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some Mexican food. 

Thursday—Venison tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes, and corn casserole

Friday—Veggies and pasta.  I make a loose sauce by sautéing fresh veggies  in olive oil, adding a little of the pasta water, and adding a bit of balsamic or red wine vinegar and parmesan cheese.  This week I’ll most likely have mushroom, peas, onions, thinned greens, garlic, and zucchini from the freezer. 

Saturday—Hamburgers on the grill, using grass-fed beef bought from a local farmer.  Salad on the side.

Sunday—Either leftovers or a veggie meal, based on what we have that needs using and the variety of foods that I find at the farmers market.

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