Menu Planning

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January menus January 21, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 5:51 pm

Chili– I’m sure most of you have a favorite chili recipe already. I use the crockpot and simmer everything but the meat all day. I add the meat the last few hours of cooking on low since I think that it tastes funny if it’s been in the crockpot all day. I tweak this recipe a bit, I use stewed and diced tomatoes instead of the juice. That’s just how I like my chili!

Broccoli Soup– First time having this one and it was a bit broth-y for me. I’d like to bulk it up and add some white beans or a potato to thicken it next time. The flavor was great though! Served with sourdough and provolone grilled cheese and fruit.

Southwest Chicken Wraps– Helpful hint, whenever I make a chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken I put any leftovers in a freezer ziplock to accumulate for meals like this. Otherwise I forget to use the little portion left and let it go to waste. Grrrr. Served with cook carrots and guacamole.

Meatball Sandwiches- I cook premade meatballs in a thick spaghetti sauce (can use crockpot) and serve on hoagies and top with shredded mozzarella and toast in the oven to melt the cheese. Served with brussel sprouts and fries.

Breakfast casserole– Served with fruit smoothies and salad.

Baked Ziti– Makes a ton! Only bake half and freeze the other half! Served with Caesar salad and garlic bread.

Chicken Pot Pie– Again, I use my freezer portions of leftover chicken in this recipe! The only shortcut I take in this recipe is using a premade pie crust. Otherwise that’s a lot of dishes for clean-up. The kids used to gobble this one down, but are a bit more reluctant with all the mushrooms. I’ll try some other version next time, but feel like this is a classic.

Autumn Minestrone– This is a great winter, healthy, feel good soup! Served with fruit and hearty whole grain bread.

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese– These taste like spinach artichoke dip! And they are so easy to make! Served with roasted carrots.

Black bean burgers– Served with fries and fruit.

Nachos– used left over frozen topping from last time, worked great!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps– Served with roasted broccoli.

Noodles Romanoff- Again, Kyle’s request. Served with green beans and applesauce. Recipe below:

½ lb egg noodles, wide

1 ½ lbs ground beef

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1 cup cottage cheese

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese

¼ cup sour cream

1/3 cup chopped green onion 

Cook noodles, drain and rinse in hot water. Saute beef in skillet until brown. Drain grease. Stir in tomato sauce and remove from heat. Combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and green onion. Spread ½ of noodles in dish, cover with cheese mixture, then remaining noodles. Pour meat mixture over top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375.




Menus October 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 8:18 pm

Here’s another two weeks!

Friday: Salmon (I just made a compound butter and baked the salmon with it), served with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Saturday: Innervisions Fundraiser

Sunday: Ham Sammies and Tomato Soup served with fruit. (Recipe to follow)

Monday: Fiesta Ravioli, salad and fruit. (Super easy and fast!)

Tuesday: Pork Carnitas served on tortillas with guac and Basmati Rice

Wednesday: Chicken Pad Thai served with Spring Rolls (this is one of those recipes that I make a lot of changes to- like add shredded carrot and increase the sauce and do a lot of taste testing to make sure the sauce tastes right)

Thursday: Sloppy Joes served with tator tots and cooked carrots (Recipe to follow)

Friday: Spicy Tomato Garlic Shrimp served with steamed broccoli (I only use about 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, otherwise the kids wouldn’t be able to eat it! Nate loved this meal so much that he was licking his plate!)

Saturday: Roasted Chicken with potatoes, carrots and onions.

Sunday: Autumn Minestrone with whole wheat baguette (This made a lot, but Nate has been taking it to school for lunch. I would also recommend cooking the bacon separately and sprinkling it on top as a garnish)

Monday: Quinoa Tabbouleh (I just skipped the shrimp and used garbanzo beans instead) served with naan and fruit.

Tuesday: Brats with pasta salad and fruit

Wednesday: Baked Ziti with salad

Thursday: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans. (recipe to follow)


Noodles Romanoff September 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 2:55 am

When I was in college my dear sister Kelly gave me a recipe box full of recipes and this was one of them. That was over 10 years ago and Kyle still requests this dinner just about any time I ask him for suggestions. It’s become a bit of a joke since every two weeks I’ll ask him for his input and if we didn’t just have it, without fail he will say “Noodles Romanoff”. I’ve dismissed the suggestion so many times that he is always giddy excitement when I tell him we are having Noodles Romanoff for dinner!

½ lb egg noodles, wide (I use a whole package now that our family is bigger, half a package should feed a family of 4)

1T butter (I usually omit)

1 ½ lbs ground beef

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1 cup cottage cheese

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese

¼ cup sour cream

1/3 cup chopped green onion


Cook noodles, drain and rinse in hot water. Saute beef in butter in skillet until brown. Drain grease. Stir in tomato sauce and remove from heat. Combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and green onion. Spread ½ of noodles in dish, cover with cheese mixture, then remaining noodles. Pour meat mixture over top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375.



Filed under: Uncategorized — bhrastich @ 2:43 am

Yikes y’all! Time has gotten away from me!

Here’s another 2 week of menus, although there are a few blanks, but hopefully it will help you with inspiration!

Friday: Pizza (picked up Papa Murphy’s)

Saturday: Out of town

Sunday: Out of town

Monday: (I skip the beef and make them vegetarian and bulk up the veggies with extra peppers, onions and mushrooms. Only bake the amount you’ll consume that night, otherwise your chips will be soggy for left overs. This would also be a great recipe to make extra of the topping and freeze- you could use it for nachos again, burritos, tacos, etc!)

Tuesday: Noodles Romanoff (personal recipe that I’ll post), served with broccoli

Wednesday: Matthew’s birthday! He chose Chinese!

Thursday: Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps (Thanks for the recommendation Hilery! They were yummy!). Served with fresh pineapple.

Friday: Stromboli (The kids love this one and so does Kyle. This one takes time for prep since you have to thaw the dough.) Served with salad and plums.

Saturday: Grilled Chili Honey Lime Chicken (new to us!) Served with slaw, grilled peppers and watermelon.

Sunday: Faith Formation (dinner at church)

Monday: Tortellini Salad (we actually just had this on our last menu rotation and I loved it so much I put it on again! It’s a great way to use up the last of the cherub tomatoes! I would suggest reducing the amount of butter as it seemed to be a bit much for me)

Tuesday: Red Beans and Rice (I use the slow cooker method with canned beans. I also add some green pepper. And I always use turkey sausage and serve it over brown rice to make it healthier!)

Wednesday: Balsamic Beef Kabobs (New to us!) Served with grilled red potatoes and zucchini.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner (Make enough for dinner and then after eating make some for tomorrows breakfast!) Served with fruit.


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!