Saturday, October 31, 2015

This Week's Menu plus Menu Planning

It's always been interesting to me how dinner is handled in different houses.  Growing up my parents kind of shared the dinner duty but they were light on the planning.  Most nights involved a last minute trip to the grocery store and dinner was usually around 8.  My best friend growing up's house was the exact opposite.  They had a monthly menu plan that they stuck to completely with no deviations and dinner was at 5PM sharp no exceptions.

I think I fall somewhere in between.  I do 2 week menu plans but I kind of pick and choose which meal we're having on the day of based off what I feel like.  I do my menu plan and grocery list at the same time (in 2 different notebooks because I have a system!) and I try to limit grocery shopping to once every 2 weeks but generally have to make a stop in between for a couple of things.

This coming week my family will be eating (most likely)

Sunday: Out - because after all the Halloween madness I'm not going to feel like cooking though I might not feel like getting out of my pajamas so it may be takeout!

Monday: Chicken in Dijon Cream Sauce from Carla Hall's Carla's Comfort Food cookbook and the Pioneer Woman's Delicious Creamy Mashed Potatoes, pinto beans

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday which around here translates to fajitas.  I use this flour tortilla recipe from Mom on Timeout, saute some chicken with fajita seasoning and then we have shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and pickled red onions (though that's mostly for me)

Wednesday: Garlic and Vinegar Glazed Pork Chops with Scallions from the Chopped Cookbook and brown rice, sugar snap peas

Thursday: Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi from Diary of a Recipe Collector.  I haven't tried anything from this blog before so I'm really curious to see how this recipe turns out.  It looks tasty and I like the look of her blog so I have high hopes.  And a salad

Friday: Tortellini Carbonara from Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook.  This is one of the few things the Tornado eats and it heats up beautifully so I always double the recipe.

Saturday:  This is kind of a freebie.  We may pick something up or go out to eat or I may make one of the meals that I always have the ingredients on hand for like - Stuffed Pizza Sticks from Southern Plate (we call it Inside Out Pizza) or Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos from Six Sisters Stuff

There will also be bread on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday but I tend to pick the recipe that day depending on how if I have time for a yeast bread or a quick bread.

Extras: Every week I like to tackle a fun recipe.  Sometimes it happen and sometimes not so much.  This week I'd like to try Geoffrey Zakarian's Cinnamon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting from his My Perfect Pantry cookbook.
Also, instead of getting my dad a Christmas or birthday gift I basically do a Cookie of the Month club because the man is impossible to buy for.  We made this agreement a couple of years ago and he enjoys getting a different batch of cookies every month and I enjoy experimenting.  For the November entry I'm planning on making Milk Chocolate Thumbprints from Fat Witch Bake Sale which I got from the library last week.

So how does dinner work at your house?  Do you plan or are you more spontaneous?

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. Absolutely nothing like this. For me this is organisation on a higher level!

  2. Southern Living recipes are always good. I'll have to give that one a try. And thanks for the new blog to explore (six sisters). I meal plan, but I'm also flexible. The only thing we eat on a schedule is fish, which I like to cook the day we buy it. And cookies of the month? What an awesome idea.

  3. You little planner, you. So organized.
    Growing up it was a mix of my parents cooking. Although we really had a lot of easy on the go meals because that's how it was in our house. Especially with me. I had soccer all the time(even in winter), plus I did other sports. So there wasn't a lot of sit down meals.
    I go to my best friends house every Sunday for Sunday dinner. Which she grew up on. But I didn't. So that's fun. I hang with her family. Lol.
    Right now I'm living with my dad and step-mom and my dad does all the cooking. He does his shop and most of his meal prep on Saturday. That's his routine.

  4. Dinner happens as we go along. Sometimes it is a receipe. Sometimes something quick-but always homemade.

  5. I sometimes plan, but more often than not I decide that day what to have. I'd like to make a meal plan every week. Maybe I'll go do that now.

  6. I'm a menu planner too, but only one week at a time for me. I try to build in a little flexibility... pick a certain number of dishes and not assign a night, leave one night open for leftovers or going out or something I always have on hand. Soup is a given - I make it at least once a week to have on hand for lunches. And most weeks I like to try a new recipe.

    When the girls were all home, I made a chart with activities influencing dinner prep on the left (games, lessons, meetings, etc), the planned meal in the center, and groceries needed on the right. It really made my life a lot easier!

  7. Oh, the cookie of the month club is a great idea. If I were a bake, I'd do that.

    Your menu looks yummy. I don't do a lot of menu planning but when I do, I pick meal but when I actually cook depends on my schedule. I like leftovers but I live alone so I need recipes that are for 2-4 people. I have a cookbook where the recipes are designed for 1-2 people and I love it.

  8. You have some good recipes planned. I used to shop every week at Trader Joe's. Then my CFO tightened the budget so we started utilizing our Costco membership more. Now I shop once a month at Costco, filling up my cart for the month. I do have to pick a few items from TJ's but yes, I plan a monthly menu now, rather than weekly.

  9. Oh wow. I wish I was good like you! I'm terrible at meal planning for one. I tend to just go with what strikes my mood :D Hope you enjoy all of your meals!

  10. Can I eat at your house? :) I wish I was a meal planner, I do try and then never fix what I say I am going too..sighs.

  11. I'm impressed with your meal planning. Sounds yummy. Like the idea of Cookie of the Month for your Dad. :)

  12. I bet your family loves your menus ! I try (emphasis on *try*) to set up a menu every sunday for the coming week, but I have more energy some weeks than others. This week I was sick, so it was basic/easy cooking. The most difficult part of writing those menus is to please everyone - boyfriend and I loooooove vegetables, onions and mushrooms for example, my daughters hate them - except green salad and spinach, go figure. So I try to include onions and mushrooms but hide them ! It works well in soups. Today, we'll have potatoe pâté and green salad, plus a vegan cheesecake for dessert, I guess we'll be stuffed !

  13. You have some dynamite meals planned here. Love those cookbooks you highlighted. Especially Southern Living, I like those white glasses Carla is wearing but I don't know if that's my style. I need new spectacles so I thought about a completely different style.

  14. I'm going to have to ask my grown-up kids how they think dinnertime planning went at our house. I like to think I did my share of dinner cooking, but they'll probably remember it as Dad did all of it! I have tried menu planning off and on, but that went out the window once I started working full-time and my husband got home before me.

  15. Your menu sounds delicious - can I come over?! I've tried planning ahead, but I'm just not that good at sticking to the plan, especially if I'm tired. Also, we live about a mile from a grocery store, so it's easy to pop out and get something if I've forgotten it or don't have something planned, or have my husband stop in on his way home. I have some standby meals I cook a lot, but every now and then I experiment with a new recipe. I've learned the hard way that while I enjoy baking, and also cooking to some extent, I'm neither willing nor able to put a lot of time into it, so I tend to go for quick and easy -- though I prefer not to serve too many precooked meals or heavily processed foods. (Except sausage and ham; I use those a fair bit.)

  16. Dinner is at 6; whether it is a planned recipe or a regular made with pantry staples depends on my mood Friday night.