extremely hectic and unpredictable. It's getting more difficult to plan the menu in our household, as you might have gleaned from earlier menus and articles we've shared, one of our kids has gone off to college. That might seem like menu planning just got easier (or cheaper), but you know what, it sure it didn't! Since our eldest has moved out, we've gone from 4 scheduled mouths to feed to 3-10 mouths to feed on any given night.
While it's not unusual for our youngest son to have friends over on a whim for dinner, since his older brother has moved- suddenly we have no idea which nights he'll be eating at home, which nights he'll be at work or which nights we'll be having his buddies over for dinner. Then .. add a new twist, when our eldest comes from home college, he frequently brings 4-8 people with him. He may call ahead and say he's bringing a friend, but by the time the car pulls up.. it's several friends.
Don't get me wrong, I love having them all and I don't mind cooking for a crowd, or for two, as the case may be- but at this point, I don't know if I'm coming or going.
Weeks #42 & #43 went right out the window- we went with a group of friends to the coast for a week (which, if you've never done it, is a fantastic way to vacation less expensively. You rent a giant house, split the cost with several couples and enjoy a week of fun!), so rather than create a plan for an entire week, I grabbed a few groceries and decided to "wing it" based on everyones' tastes.
On week #43- that was another one of those "no idea who will be home, who won't", not to mention a fire in our neighborhood, my website crashing causing me to work for 2 days straight with zero sleep and we ended up dining out twice! A big no-no for the dinner budget.
So now, we've hit week #44 and I think that we're back on track. I have a plan for dealing with our unique situation when it comes to the kids and their friends.
This week we purchased the following: lettuce, Pomegranates, pineapple, red & green grapes, grapefruit, cheese, 5 pkgs frozen veggies (Peas/corn/broccoli/etc), 5 lbs Ground Turkey, fresh cranberries, flour (White/Wheat/Pastry), sugar, baking powder, greek yogurt, oats, yeast, carrots, tomatoes
Total Spent $52.65
From the Garden: Sweet Potatoes, Green Peppers, Jalapenos, Onions
Breakfast Options for this week: (Fresh Fruit Choices, Watermelon, bananas, blueberries, Peaches, Cantaloupe)
- Fried Eggs & Hashbrowns
- Apple Walnut Quinoa
- Jam Breakfast Bars
- Cold Hard Boiled Eggs
- Blueberry Maple Oatmeal
- Poached eggs on toast
Lunch Options for this week:
- Leftovers, if desired (Ham Sandwiches, soup, mac & cheese)
- Egg salad sandwiches or wraps
- Tomato & Cheese Po' Boys
- PB & J
Monday November 10th: During our week at the Ocean I had purchased a Ham on Sale at Aldi for $18- the thing is Massive and since one of our other friends brought a ham of her own, we never cooked it. So- we'll be enjoying that this week.
- Dinner: Roast Ham, Baked Sweet Potatoes, sweet peas, salad
Tuesday November 11th:
Wednesday November 12th: This is a Premeditated leftover- planned leftovers from Mondays dinner.
- Dinner: Split Pea Soup, Biscuits
Thursday November 13th:
- Dinner: Southwestern Hamburger Skillet (in this case Turkey!)
Friday November 14th:
Saturday November 15th: Gone Crabbing for the day! Entertainment & Food, all in one. For some reason I always plan a veggie with fresh crab and then NO ONE touches it, so I'm not bothering. While we realize that not everyone has access to fresh crabmeat, the point of our menu is to remind you to use what you have available to YOU Locally!
- Dinner: Steamed Blue Crabs in drawn butter, Pasta Salad
Sunday November 16th:
- Lunch: Quick-n- Easy Beef Chili Soup, Cornbread
- Dinner: Toasted Crabmeat Sandwiches on Homemade Onion Buns, garden salad
Various Snacks & Desserts:
- Fresh Fruit Choices Available- Grapefruit, Homemade Applesauce, Grapes
- Instant Hit Grape Salad
- Magic Middles Cookies
FYI: Here's my plan to combat whether the kids are home or not with their buddies. I've come up with 2 alternative meals that will feed a crowd and with items that I always have on hand in the pantry or freezer. We always have all purpose beef on hand. This is a mixture of precooked ground beef (or turkey) with peppers and onions and makes a great base for lots of casseroles or soups/stews. We always keep homemade gravy mix in the pantry and adding a package of this ground beef mix to a homemade batch of gravy is perfect over garlic smashed potatoes and served with a steamed veggie.
If it ends up being a night of just my spouse and I, we'll have the leftovers for lunches or freeze them in individual serving size portions to enjoy later.
* Hot Chocolate/Cocoa
Less Likely to be used, but still available:
* Copycat Gatorade
* CopyCat Arizona Green Tea
* Iced Coffee Drinks
* Almond Milk