Friday, April 9, 2010

{menu planning}

I have my mother and grandmother to thank for my love of cooking. I have a lot of fond memories in the kitchen with my grandma, making sugar cookies, homemade noodles, and picnic food to take to the park.

At home, we always ate dinner as a family, and my mom is a fantastic cook. She taught me a lot about cooking, but when I moved out and went to college, my obsession with Rachael Ray and the Food Network taught me a lot too! I think the first few years were hit and miss with my cooking every once in a while, but Adam stuck through it and was my primary taste tester.....and he doesn't hold back when it comes to telling me if he likes something or not. :)

As a type A person, I am a little obsessed with lists and checklists....including my menu planning and grocery shopping. As I was perusing Nichol's blog the other day, I saw that she has started posting her weekly menu plans (along with recipes), so I decided I'm going to do the same. Typically I look at our local grocery ad, which comes out Wednesday, along with the coupons I have and plan our menus from there. I use these menu planner inserts that fit in my planner, on one side there is space to write out your meals for the week, and on the other you write your grocery list. If I have a coupon for something, I indicate that on the list so I don't forget to give the coupon to the cashier at the checkout.

Since I work full time and have an hour commute each way, I try to get as much prep work done during the weekends that I can. It saves a lot of time (and my sanity) when I get home at 5pm. It's very important to me that our family eats together each evening, and since I really emjoy cooking, it's a win-win. My plan is to share my menus with you each week, because I think it's interesting to see what others fix for dinner, and to share some great recipes with you!

Menu for 4/9-4/15
  • Friday: Grilled steak, baked potato and mixed veggies
  • Saturday: I always make breakfast on the weekends, so we'll be having biscuits and gravy and fruit salad. Adam and I are planning on going out for a late lunch so no more cooking the rest of the day.
  • Sunday: For lunch, ham and scalloped potatoes (I have some leftover ham in the freezer, along with some Betty Crocker sour cream and onion scalloped potatoes. Yes. From a box. lol). For dinner, Italian meatball soup (I haven't made this yet but of course if it's on Ree's blog it has to be good!!) and garlic bread.
  • Monday: Buffalo Chicken Casserole (I will let you know how this turns out but it can't be bad, can it?)
  • Tuesday: Marinated grilled chicken and pasta salad. I like to use the Weber packet marinades (you mix these with oil and water), and let the chicken marinate while I'm at work. The best marinade I have ever found. For the pasta salad, I use Suddenly Salad. Shhhh! But it's good! I add cubes of cheddar and sliced olives to make it mine.
  • Wednesday: Beef enchiladas and spanish rice. All I do is mix cooked ground beef with red enchilada sauce and some shredded cheddar. Roll up in tortillas (flour or corn), pour some more sauce over the top, more shredded cheese and bake.
  • Thursday: Pepperoni pizza and salad. I get the prebaked thin crust pizza crusts and top with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, and turkey pepperoni. My half gets black olives and Adam's half gets sliced mushrooms. I also love to make my own ranch dressing for our salads. Here's the recipe for that.
  • Friday: I usually pick something up, either subs or tacos, or whatever we're in the mood for.
Homemade Ranch
  • 1 cup mayo (not Miracle Whip!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 t Hidden Valley dry ranch mix
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t paprika
  • 1/8 t dill
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
Whisk together and chill before serving. I keep mine in a squeeze bottle in the fridge. You can also add more dill to your taste.

I hope you're inspired and can get some good ideas! Cooking is the only hobby I love almost as much as scrapping and stamping........ :)

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