Menu Planning

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Menu July 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 8:06 pm

Friday: These were sooo good and a good reminder that homemade burgers are way better than a frozen patty! Served with grilled zucchini and watermelon

Saturday: I found a pack of chicken thighs at Sam’s club for a good price and made this barbecue chicken recipe. I think this was my first time making barbecue chicken and I don’t think I’d ever use another recipe and for me, that’s a big deal. I thought these might be a bit more work than I was wanting, but it was so easy. I also froze the extra for another recipe. Served with corn on the cob and green beans

Sunday: I liked this meal, but the rest of the fam did not. This was supposed to be on last weeks menu, but we ended up not needing as many meals, so I pushed this one back.

Monday: I used a short cut and used 2 Rhodes Bread Loaves. We all enjoyed this meal! It’s a great way to get the kids to eat spinach! Served with salad and fruit.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with sugar snap peas from the garden and garlic bread.

Wednesday: Another popular meal! We did grill some fresh pineapple by brushing some oil and honey on it…so good! We eat a lot of fresh pineapple so I bought a pineapple corer from Pampered Chef, it makes coring a pineapple so easy! I highly recommend one if you like fresh pineapple!

Thursday: This was the first time I made these and I don’t think I will again. The cream cheese didn’t add to the flavor considering all the fat and calories it included. It was also a bit soupy, but that could be remedied by draining the tomatoes a bit. The kids love quesadillas, so they were gobbled up at least. Served with fruit and guacamole.

Friday: Nate’s 6th birthday, so his choice: Dino Chicken Nuggets, Macaroni and Cheese and asparagus.

Saturday: Served with fruit.

Sunday: Chicken Patty Melts (own recipe, grill chicken and slice thin, stack on sourdough with bacon, tomato and swiss and grill). Served with sugar snap peas and cantaloupe

Monday: Served with broccoli and fruit.

Tuesday: We make this a meatless meal sometimes by just doubling the beans and omitting the beef. I like to add extra veggies to this one too! Served with fruit.

Wednesday: Pork stir fry (I’ll just use a teriyaki sauce) with brown rice and pot stickers (frozen)

Thursday: I’ll use the frozen barbecued chicken for this! Served with green beans and fruit.


Breakfast Options and Lunches to Go July 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 2:38 am

So you’ve gotten a tiny glimpse into the variety of food we eat for dinner. Well, since I do spend so much time on dinner, I don’t spend a ton of time on breakfast. It’s pretty basic, but it seems to work. I know breakfast is supposed to be the fuel for the day, but making a huge mess is not what I want to do in the morning. The kids know what we have on what day, so if they get up early, they can make their own and it also cuts down on the ‘we’re having cereal everyday’ rut.

Kids Breakfast

Monday: Cereal (we rotate between Life, Frosted Mini Shredded Wheat and Honey Nut Cheerios)

Tuesday: Waffles (This is where I’m not sure if I’m saving, but the convenience of only buying every other month or so is helpful. I get Eggo’s from Sam’s club)

Wednesday: Smoothies in the summer or oatmeal in the winter

Thursday: Bagels

Friday: Yogurt Parfaits (Vanilla Yogurt with fresh fruit: strawberries, bananas or blueberries with “crunchies”: mixture of grape nuts, Uncle Sam cereal, flax seeds on top or if I’m on top of things I try to plan for Thursdays to be my baking day and have a breakfast bar or muffin made for Friday.

Saturday: Kyle usually makes homemade waffles, pancakes or French toast served with fruit.

Adult Breakfast

I go back and forth between skipping breakfast and finding something I can stomach in the morning. If anything I will make this oatmeal recipe: You can skip the nutella if you want to make it healthier or substitute a plain nut butter. And of course switch out the fruits. I love the steal cut oats and I love it even more since I get several breakfasts out of it! I am horrible at boiling over my oats (stove AND microwave) and making a huge mess! It’s so easy to warm up in the morning and I would imagine it would be super easy after preparing to dish out individual servings into microwave safe bowls, add a few berries and a dab of butter/nutella, seal and bring to the office!

Other than oatmeal I tend to favor plain bagels…I know, lots of wasted calories….Besides oatmeal/cereal/bagels it seems that the other option are breakfast meats and eggs and I just don’t care for those.


One of the huge perks of Kyle’s job is that he works from home four days a week, so we typically have lunch together unless he has a conference call. We typically eat left overs. I know a lot of people are adverse to left overs, but with the delicious meals we make, we typically look forward to our left overs. So I specifically plan to make meals anticipating to have enough to have a smaller portioned lunch the next day. This works for probably 80% or more of the meals. Again since I feel like we have a pretty varied, healthy dinner I don’t feel so guilty the occasional lunch where I serve corn dogs or chicken nuggets. Yes, I will admit we have convenience foods in our freezer. I usually keep a frozen pizza, corn dogs, chicken nuggets or pizza rolls in the freezer for those meals we didn’t have left overs or the “oh, shoot, I forgot to marinade xyz for 8 hours and it’s 1 hour till dinner” or the rare “I just don’t feel like cooking” happens to both Kyle and I.

When I worked and when Kyle was at the office regularly we packed our lunches and we did left overs or sandwiches. When putting dinner away it was easy to put lunch portions in containers to eat at work. That way we didn’t have the excuse to say we ran out of time in the morning and had to get out the door. I remember those mornings too well and I don’t miss them, although these days with getting lunches made for 2 and out the door to school doesn’t seem all that different. As with anything, consistency is key, when taking your lunch daily it becomes part of the routine and the more often you do it the less likely you are to forget your lunch in the fridge! Kyle would often come home telling me that his co-workers were jealous of his home cooked meals rather than their frozen meal, plain sandwich or cafeteria food.


Menu Planning July 4, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 3:31 pm

My sister gave me a recipe box filled with some great recipes when I was in college. Before that I considered Hamburger or Chicken Helper dinner. From those recipes and all those years I have learned a lot about cooking and added to my collection of recipes and I hope to share something that I mostly enjoy doing! Sometimes I still have weeks that I struggle to come up with ideas.

A little about how we eat: I like variety! I don’t have a set rotation of menus (although that could make life a bit easier) I do keep my menus/grocery lists in notebooks and will go thru them if I need some inspiration. Kyle even gets a little frustrated that I don’t make favorites as often as he’d like.

I make one meal. The kids don’t have other options. So far I have 2 really good eaters, 1 not so great and the youngest is too early to call.

We don’t eat a lot of red meat. You’ll see mostly chicken, fish or meatless meals.

Some of my meals are time intensive. I enjoy cooking so this doesn’t bother me. I also find that the more I can do from scratch the better it tastes! Kyle and I are to the point where going out to dinner is disappointing because I’m thinking “we just spent a weeks worth of grocery money on a meal for two that I could have made at home for everybody for 20 dollars, but then I’ll have to do dishes, so never mind :)”

For a family of six (Zane and Nate are close to our portion size and sometimes more and the other two count not quite as one), so closer to 5 at the moment we stick to a budget of 100 a week at Wal-Mart and 150 every 2 weeks at Sam’s Club.

So how I meal plan: I plan 2 weeks of menus at a time. I shop at Sam’s club at the beginning and try to plan to use perishables during the first week. I shop at Wal-Mart every Friday and Sam’s every other Friday. I shop on Friday because the ads come out Wednesday and I can price match at Wal-Mart since the ads (especially the 2 day ads) run on Fridays. I know lots of people detest Wal-Mart, but it’s what I have found to save me the most money.

Loose plan:

  • Sundays – Soup, Salad, Sandwich
  • Monday- Meatless
  • Tuesday- Mexican
  • Wednesday- Asian or Breakfast
  • Thursday- Slow Cooker or Comfort Food
  • Friday- Italian or Fish
  • Saturday- Grill

Here’s the first 2 week menu plan:

Hope this helps you all! Give me feedback, suggestions….share your time saving and money saving tips…and of course your own favorite recipes!