This weekend, I’m going to TRY to prepare enough dinners to last us 2 weeks. I’ve been interested in once-a-month-cooking for some time now, but haven’t been organized or motivated enough to try it. Really looking at how much we spend eating out has been terrific motivation! The bill for a family of five can easily run $75-100. I absolutely cringe to think of how much we have spent eating out this year. It has become far too easy to grab take out or pick up the kids and go out for a meal rather than cooking one from scratch. Plus I am concerned over how much sugar, fat and salt we are eating.
While I want to have easy, homemade meals to serve my family, I also don’t want to be rehearing ground beef/noodle/rice/cheese/cream-of-whatever dishes. That gets old fast. I also want to mix in some meatless dishes, but I think in the beginning there won’t be as many of these.
To prepare my 2 week menu, I bought a Taste of Home Ultimate Freezer cookbook I saw in Wal-Mart. A Google search will also yield several hundred results. I found one site I think is pretty neat -and it’s free! Check out Once a Month Mom. They have new menus each month, and even recipes for special needs like vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. I wish I had seen this site before I bought my cookbook.
Here is my first 2-week menu, husband approved:
- Meatball Subs
- Chicken Bow Tie Pasta
- Verde Turkey Enchiladas
- Pork Tacos
- Mushroom and Asparagus Quiche
- Beef Stew
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Sloppy Joe’s
- Ground Beef Spiral Bake (maybe)
- Chicken Noodle Soup (maybe rice instead of noodles)
- Spaghetti Beef Casserole
- Mini Meat Loaf
It’s still a little too “beefy” but I have to start somewhere. Plus I plan on mixing the ground beef with some of my soy crumbles to cut down on the fat. I may still trade out the spiral beef casserole for something else – something meat and pasta free. The order isn’t exact, either – I won’t be doing 2 chicken dishes or 2 Mexican dishes in a row. Heck, I could delete a couple of dinners since I’m sure we’ll have leftovers.
I made my shopping list and categorized it according to food type. I have a program that does this on my iPhone, but quite frankly, sometimes I just need to write things out! My next step is to clean up my kitchen and clean out my freezer. I have read a lot on how to freeze the food, including freezing it in the pan, then removing it from the pan so it is “free-standing” so to speak. I worry about doing that, so I’m buying those disposable foil baking pans. I hate to since it is wasteful, but I’m going to see if I can be careful and reuse them.
My oldest son turns 15 tomorrow, so I will be spending most of the day with him – at least until he is sick of me and decides to hang out with his friends. I will likely do my cleaning and shopping late tomorrow. Originally I was going to cook on Sunday but my husband just reminded me that we are going to my MIL’s for her birthday. She lives 45 minutes away so basically the whole day is gone. Oh well, she is worth it. My cooking day will have to be on Monday!