In the past, we’ve participated in Eat-In month with The Chic Life. It’s always a great challenge and we learn a lot about our eating-out habits. (They are bad.) This year, I decided to do things a little differently. My job requires me to eat out more frequently (so I’m definitely going to make smarter choices), and we have some travels planned….
I decided to do a month full of meal planning. We’ll plan for some of our dining out experiences, but I’m curious to see how we can stick to a monthly meal plan versus a weekly meal plan. I have 31 meals listed below – a few meals are duplicates. And I don’t have any of our eating out nights in this list. If we have to shift meals around, it will be ok. We do grocery shopping once a week, so I know we will have everything on hand (and can move meals to the following week if necessary.) Several of the meals are linked to their recipes. Some are recipes not online, and some of the meals are pizza or grilled cheese.
In order for food to not go bad, we try to eat what is freshest earlier in the week. Fresh vegetables are imperative to be eaten early on. Vegetables that can last 5 or 6 days get pushed to Thursday and Friday. Occasionally, we’ll swing by the store to pick up something late in the week if we don’t think it’s going to last long.
One of our local stores just had chicken on sale (organic, no antibiotics) for $3.28/pound. My husband had bought some for this week, and I had bought some chicken to have on hand “just in case” – we tend to eat a lot of chicken. I imagine that same store will have beef on sale (again, no antibiotics) soon, so I’ll stock up again. I really love buying the organic meat in bulk when it’s on sale.
Now, onto our menu….
Thu – pork chops with black eyed peas and kale.
Fri – Pizza (from the freezer – I like to buy these in bulk and have them on hand.)
Sat – Kale and quinoa soup from Frontier Soups
Sun – Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup
Mon – Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken
Tue – Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (my specialty)
Wed – Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Thu – Cajun Chicken Bites with Sweet Potato Fries
Fri – Steak and salad on the side
Sat – Breakfast for Dinner
Sun – Weight Watchers Chicken Pot Pie
Mon – Spaghetti
Tue – Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Wed – Company Beans & Rice
Thu – Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Fri – Salmon packets (with couscous, cranberries and pistachios)
Sat – Pizza
Sun – Fajitas
Mon – Crock Pot Balsamic Pot Roast
Tue – BBQ Chicken Pita Pizzas
Wed – Penne Pasta with Spinach & Chicken
Thu – Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken
Fri – Grilled lemon lime basil chicken
Sat – Meatloaf (This will make two and I’ll freeze one.)
Sun – Homemade Mac & Cheese
Mon – Slow Cooker Garlic Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Tue – Weight Watchers (slow cooker) Vegetarian Chili
Wed – Slow Cooker Roast Chicken (I’ll season the chicken, and stick it in the slow cooker.)
Thu – Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Stew
Fri – Breakfast for Dinner
Sat – Pizza
Here’s how I came up with our menu…
I know that my husband’s Thursdays are almost always busy (except the fourth Thursday of the month. Random, right?) He’ll also be traveling a few days, so I put meals that he doesn’t necessarily love on those days. (My son and I LOVE homemade mac & cheese!) I made sure each Thursday is a slow cook or a very fast meal.
I like to go to ceramics class on Tuesdays, which means I have to eat and run. Get out of the house before 6. So most Tuesdays are also fast. I like to do slow cooker recipes during the week because of our work schedules – and who really loves cooking after a long day of work? Not me.
I will spend more time cooking on weekends, and some weekends will involve me making a double batch – so I can freeze something for down the road. We love to do this with some chili recipes and meatloaf. They’re excellent for freezing and quick meals.
I’m also using eMeals for several of my meals. We’ve tried so many this past year and have found a few tried and true recipes to add to our rotation. I love being able to look back at old plans on my app.
We’ll still do grocery shopping weekly, but at least we have a plan now. And if there is a sale on whole chickens, I know I can buy at least 2 or 3 since I know when I want to cook them.
And as I’ve stated, this menu isn’t set in stone. We want to have at least one date night that will more than likely involve dinner. And we usually eat out once a week. We may not eat out every week, so at least I know we have a plan!
(For fun, I’m linking up with OrgJunkie. I haven’t done that in a while!)
Have you ever planned for an entire month of meals?