Menu Plan Makeover

This week was a fog of planning for my big budgeting talk for the women’s group at my church, but now I am back.   With the onset of fall and payday just behind me, I have inspiration to turn over a new leaf. Pun intended.

It is no secret that my past menu plans on this website have been less than, hmmm, shall we say . . . stellar.

Basically, my menu planning has been a flop for the following reasons.

1. I made the menu without having the food and then never got the right food and so then . . .

2. I made some of the food on a different night than designated and then the whole pattern got messed up . .

3. The menu was too strict.

4. The menu was not strict enough because

5. J made something else with the ingredients that I needed.

6. We got tired of the food pattern. (ie: always having spaghetti on a certain night.)

So . . . . I am trying a new strategy.

What??!? Strategy?

That was not the right word. Strategy implies a design or organized system of rules that follow a schedule.  And if there is one thing that I do not like to do in my house, it is use the “S” word or the “R” word. (Schedule and Rule) They are almost as bad as the “P” word. (Plan–oh wait, that is part of the title of this post. Oh well. I guess that is what turning over a new leaf is all about.)

I am trying a modified menu plan makeover. Here are some components.

1. I am going to make six of the meals featured in the October issue of All You Magazine. They even include a handy shopping list that I used.  I probably won’t do them all in one week, but this will ensure that I try out at least six new recipes and have some variety. Here’s the link if you want to check them out.

2. J gets paid once a month. I used to grocery shop one big time and then little times each week. Then I started couponing and I had to go every week. Now I’ve remembered I HATE going every week. It is beastly. My new plan is to do a massive stockup after pay day and spend half the monthly food budget (Ackk!!) on the main stuff from which I will construct the menu.

3. Now I have already spent the money, so each week I will be FORCED to stick to the menu, only making small trips to buy the produce and perishable portions to the menu.

4. I will make a list of all the meals that I think I can make from the ingredients I have purchased, not assigning them exact days, merely crossing them off as I make them.

5. I will ensure variety by using my headers (like before in my previous menus) but not assigning the headers to particular days, necessarily. I might even leave the list on the fridge and let J and the kids select what they are hungry for. Hooray!

6. SO here’s my list of meal ideas based on the food we already HAVE. (AYR- stands for ALL YOU RECIPE)  I figure that if I have 25 ideas, I can wiggle them around and cover leftovers and drop-outs for the remaining.


  • Slow Cooker (Often Tues since that is a day that I am gone a lot and have no energy to cook)
    • BBQ Turkey Meatballs (AYR)
    • Bratwurst w/ Sauerkraut and Apples (AYR)
    • Chili
    • Meatloaf


  • Seafood –Mostly on Wednesdays?(I get my seafood at ALDI b/c it is such great prices)
    • Tilapia (ALDI $3.99 for 1.5 lbs!!)
    • Shrimp Scampi (ALDI $4.49 for lb e-z peel!!)
    • Salmon w/ Rice (ALDI $3.99 lb)
    • Mrs. Paul’s w/ Tater Tots (This will double on Easy Prep)
  • Easy Prep/ Kid Friendly–Mostly Monday b/c J has lessons and is gone thru dinner hour.
    • Mrs. Paul’s w/ Tater Tots
    • Mac n Cheese and Hot Dogs
    • Stouffers Chicken Dinner
    • Hamburger or Chicken Helpers (I have SCADS of these from HT Super Doubles)
    • Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (also Vegetarian)
    • Frozen Pizza
    • Stromboli (Pillsbury pizza crust w/ pepperoni, cheese, dip in the sauce–or ham and cheese, dip in honey mustard)


  • Mostly Vegetarian
    • Penne w/ Broccoli and Chickpeas (AYR)
    • Spinach Salad w/ Figs and Warm Bacon Vinegrette
    • Butternut Squash Soup and Tossed Salad
    • Black Bean and cheese Quesadillas
    • Stirfry Veggies over Rice
    • Pumpkin Soup w/ Spicy pumpkin seeds (AYR)
  • Fancy Pants (will require a bit more prep)
    • London Broil w/ Garlicky sweet Potatoes (AYR on the potatoes)
    • Bacon and Sage Wrapped Chicken Breasts (AYR)
    • GOING OUT w/ NO KIDS for our 8th anniversary Woo-hooo!
    • Pasta w/ Italian Sausage
    • Chicken Pot pie or shepherds pie
  • Silly Supper/ Breakfast (Shouldn’t every meal be breakfast? I think so.)
    • Western Frittata (AYR)
    • Raised Waffles w/ Sausage
    • Awesome Oatmeal (my specialty)

I think that’s 25 meals, right? I’ll try to update and let you know how it’s going.  Probably I’ll end up being swayed by the weather and making soup every night. It’s been known to happen.  If you have any awesome recipes for the above items, please comment on them!!

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