Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Menu Planning::Part 1

We rarely eat out, and when we do we try our hardest to be as healthy as possible about it. I love to cook, and even Mr. Tall and Handsome cooks quite well.  I don't really do menu planning as much as I do "hey I have this on hand" planning.  We Chadwicks have a few basic meals that we rotate through with an occasional fancy meal thrown in to mix things up.  I have some basic pantry staples that I like to keep on hand, knowing that I can do many different meals with just a few ingredients.  Some of the dry goods I like to stay stocked up on are yeast, flour, pasta, pasta sauce (most of which I make myself), rice (brown and instant white), seasonings, spices, basic baking supplies, dried beans, canned vegetables, and canned fruit.  I also keep the fridge and freezer full of milk, plain Greek yogurt, chicken, cheese, flour tortillas, and "freezer meal" starters.  I say "starters" because I don't really have enough freezer space for full meals.  I make large batches of biscuits from my mother's biscuit recipe and freeze them.  I make several dozen bean, cheese, and rice burritos and tuck them in there.  I do the same with breakfast pockets.  I also like to make a large batch of waffles and cinnamon rolls and freeze some of those, too.  This allows me to pull out what I need and cook a meal without much prep work.  All of the frozen meal starters that I make can go straight from freezer to a pre-heated oven which makes them extra nice.  I also shop at Kroger and keep an eye on their ads to see what weekly items they have on special.  The 10 for $10 products are often what I use in our "special" meals.

I keep track of our weekly meals on the side of the refrigerator with an Expo marker.  At the end of the week I simply wipe it clear with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Here's what a typical week tastes like on Lankford:

Sunday:  Something I can throw into the crockpot (or place in gently depending on what it is).
Monday:  Some kind of pasta dish with vegetables on the side.
Tuesday:  Leftovers.
Wednesday:  A chicken dish with vegetables on the side.
Thursday:  Breakfast for supper.  
Friday:  Homemade pizza.
Saturday:  Leftover pizza.

I also rotate in things like homemade soup or things out of the freezer.  It may seem dull and boring, but there are many many ways to prepare pasta and chicken.  It's basically endless, and I don't always strictly adhere to this format.  Thursdays and Fridays are the exception.  Breakfast for supper is one of my favorites, and you just can't beat a homemade pizza.  I plan on coming back to this topic in the next couple of days to share with you some of the freezer recipes I use for stocking up and some of my basic stand-bys.


  1. We love breakfast for dinner- we're doing that tomorrow, and pizza is usually our Friday night dinner! I always choose one day for a leftovers night, too.

    We use the tear-off paper pads from Michael's to write out our weekly menu (they are $1 and have a block for each day of the week along with a notes section).

  2. Proud of you for being so organized on this and having food 'put by'. You are saving both money and time, and that's so important these days for young families.