Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

So, I have officially quit trying to do a month long, in depth, menu plan.  It just plain does NOT work for me, as much as I wish it would.  I'm just too flighty in my cooking methods, I think, or something.  I constantly find myself redoing the menu depending on what is on sale that week or redoing things because of what meat I found on reduced compared to what I thought would be on sale cheap, etc.  I am trying another way to plan out a month of menus, kind of, at a time, by doing a list of meals that we'd like to have that month (I take requests from the family members) and then supplementing with things I know will stretch what we already have or things that I would like to make that month.  So far I'm still kind of dialing it in a bit as I go, but I do like having that list of meals that the family likes to eat, so if I find myself one night staring at the fridge and freezer in despair, not knowing what to cook, I can pull out the list and by figuring out what ingredients we have in the house, I can make it work.

By the way, in the photo above, no that's not meat for the week or anything...I'll get more into that when I hit on my shopping for this week, but those packages are sitting there till I could break them up into freezer bags and store them :).

We are kind of bleeding money right now, so I'm trying to do fun menus with things I have around the house and stuff while being VERY careful with the funds we have as there aren't a lot to go all.  We have new tires for the car to get, a vet appointment to get one cat their shots as he keeps trying to break out of the house now that he senses Spring is near (with another cat the wings to get done), a medical bill to pay for the husband that popped up (about 200.00), an orthodontist bill to pay for the daughter and potentially a pretty big dental bill...I'm bribing her to wiggle out the baby teeth that need to come out after learning to get them pulled is nearly 500.00 AFTER insurance and none of the pediatric dentists around here (including ours, unfortunately, don't take Care Credit, so I have to somehow cough up that amount really fast...that would hurt...a LOT!).

So, this week's menu is going to be kind of fun around here.  My husband found this video which he thought I would find interesting about a restaurant that serves the first class menu that was served on the Titanic the night it sunk.  I DID find it utterly fascinating, which led me on a research hunt (which was a lot of fun) to see what recipes were served on the Titanic to the second and third class passengers that night as well, and then it led me to research what meals were served on the Zepplins in their hay day (and the Hindenburg, of course) and also what meals used to be served on the different railway lines back in ye olden times (no tragedy offset that research for me, I just started going through all of the different vehicles of transport *laugh*).  And, of course, I threw in some 18th Century meals as well just because if I was going to have fun doing some historical meals, I might as well go all out ;).

So, here you are folks.  Our menu for this week (there are regular meals scattered in here by the way *laugh*).

Thursday:  Leftover stuffed pork chops, cantaloupe slices, salad 
Friday:  Home made pizza, bread sticks (for the son), garlic bread, salad with Italian dressing.  Lemon syllabubs for dessert (18th Century recipe that Townsends shared on a live stream :). 
Saturday:  Salmon with Mousseline sauce (I'm going to go with a recipe for Hollandaise that contains a LOT less better to cut down on cost and saturated fat, though and then use the portion of whipping cream listed there, albeit less to accommodate the fact that I'm cutting down the recipe, to add to the sauce), beef broth (I MIGHT try to clarify it to go for a consomme, but I'm not really sure how motivated I am to do that *laugh*), braised greens.  Rice pudding with stewed figs for dessert (technically a third class menu item from the Titanic, but it still sounds yummy, so I'm going to make it).  I'm going to cut that recipe in 1/2 and use evaporated milk instead of half and half (because that is what I got). 
Sunday:  Scotch Collops (use leftover beef broth/consomme to make gravy), corn muffins, leftover braised greens. 
Monday:  Chicken Lyonnaise (served on the Titanic and I also found a few references to a similar dish served on the Zeppelins, so it does double duty here ;), salad, rolls
Tuesday:  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, rolls/garlic bread (depending on what I get made). 
Wednesday:  Grilled chicken breasts with Frankfurter Sauce (cut down on the portions a lot on that sauce recipe), roasted potatoes, sauteed green beans.  I found a recipe for a chicken dish with a "spicy sauce" on a Zeppelin menu, but when I looked it up online and researched it, most people say that Frankfurter Sauce is the most common type of sauce used in that instance, so I'm going to give it a shot and see what it tastes like :).

Other Desserts:  Leftover melon (cantaloupe), lemon sugar cookies (to make yet), ice cream, spice cake (to make from scratch if I can find time).

And there you go folks.  Our menu for this week.  How about you?  Making anything fun this week?


  1. Your menu sounds intriguing! I do a month's worth of menus but I always end up adjusting a day or two a week based on having to use up small portions of meals that accumulated in the fridge. No matter how well I plan, someone either didn't eat their share or ate out while away from home (I have 2 kids in their late teens and early twenties). They're unpredictable sometimes.
    Nevertheless, for me, I find it much less stressful to plan for a month because I base it mostly on what I already have in the house and on a few items I need to buy (for example: a cabbage for various planned salads and dishes). Even if I have to adjust here and there at least I know what the MAJORITY of my meals will be and that gives me peace of mind. Crazy, I know.

    For the remainder of the month my menus will be rather boring because I'm eating through our pantry. I'm focussing on using mostly canned goods that are close to their expiration date so many of the meals use similar ingredients. I'll freshen up the dishes with fresh or frozen produce.

    Thursday: Canned salmon made into salmon patties; mashed potato croquettes (using dehydrated mashed potatoes), cucumber salad, steamed carrots and peas.

    Friday: Broccoli and Chicken Divan (using canned cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk).
    Dessert: Pumpkin Custard (basically pumpkin pie filling) made with evaporated milk.

    Saturday: Beef, Ricotta and Spinach stuffed shells; marinara sauce; caesar salad.

    Sunday: Pork chops glazed with store-bought honey garlic sauce; barley and dehydrated vegetable casserole; canned corn.
    Dessert: Coconut cream pie using canned evaporated milk.

    Monday: Canned pork and beans and sliced weiners over toast; cucumbers and tomatoes.

    Tuesday: Veggie stew made with canned cream of mushroom soup, canned corn and some fresh and frozen veg.; topped with homemade herbed biscuits.
    Dessert: Gingerbread muffins using home-canned applesauce as a replacement for some of the fat. The remaining muffins will be eaten for breakfast and snacks.

    Wednesday: Beef chili using canned beans; cornbread.
    Dessert: Chocolate-mocha pudding using canned evaporated milk; homemade Pecan icebox cookies.

    A fairly mundane menu, but it'll get the job done. By the end of this month, I'll have used up all the older canned goods and even some older pantry items, like the Honey Garlic Sauce. Yay! It'll be a relief to not have to throw any food out.

  2. Wow! I’m impressed with the work you did researching the recipes! I love the name ‘Scotch Collops’.
    No menu plan this week. With just two of us, i’ll make a couple of dishes, using up bits and pieces, and those will last two or three meals. I have noodles that need to be used so i’ll make goulash. I bought squash ‘noodles’ so that will use up exta spaghetti sauce. I also have cabbage so that will go into two pans of lazy cabbage rolls. So, although there’s no real plan, I have something to go by. Not as exciting as Scotch Collops!
    Have a fabulous week!

  3. I always feel guilty when I read you take your pets to the vet. We have an outside cat, he got his inital shots and spaying, and thats it. We will go to the free rabies shot day every now and then. My mom took hers frequently, bought the fancy food they sold, and she's gone through 3 in 10 years, and we atill have our 2, one nearing 7 and one 18. They've always been healthy and eat kit and cabootle. I know a lot of people talk badly about regular cat foods but Mom really thinks this time it was the special fancy food that killed her cat, it was part of some big recall. I guess maybe we should do more, but don't really feel like for us it's necessary. I am sure it saves a bunch too.

    As always remain you sound great! My husband probably go crazy if I did those! Our week is pretty simple sausage skillets, breakfast for dinner, chicken bake, spaghetti, grilled cheese and soup, leftover pulled pork. Monthly menu planning what I do is not necessarily plan an entire month at once but I print out blank monthly calendars and put it up on my fridge. Since my oldest has scouts every Wednesday Wednesday is alternate between being spaghetti or breakfast dinner so I feel that in. Sunday's I try and make a little bit nicer one day of the week is always some sort of a skillet and every other week we do pizza so once I start writing those things in on the menu it doesn't leave too many spaces left to fill and then I'll look around what I have at the house or if I find something great on special at the grocery store then I'll start putting those in on those blank spots on the menu and before you know it the menus filled up. That's not to say that I don't have little arrows like I have one now I'd switched Thursday and Friday menu this week and next week because of my son school carnival were switching two days again, but after about a year of doing it this way I find I generally stay at least 2 weeks ahead on the menu and then I really only have a few days to fill in if I get to a week that didn't have everything planned. It's much less stressful than back when I used to sit down and force myself to do a menu all at once that was just frustrating and drove me crazy now I can be like oh I have some cabbage that's going to go bad soon and some sausage in the freezer so let me add some carrots and onions and potatoes and make a sausage skillet on Saturday. That sort of thing. I stopped asking what everyone else wants because my husband would just say sandwiches every night LOL same with my oldest and my youngest only wants chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes. He always gets those but it's nice to at least offer him the other things! Then I can pretend I'm at least exposing him LOL

    1. With the pets, honestly in the past I’ve been pretty bad about taking animals in to get shots and things. The only reason I am doing so right now is so I can get the booster shots done from the shots the cats got last year. After that I will try to keep up on Prince’s shots because he is constantly running around outside and we have animals carrying rabies now up here. After this booster I won’t have to worry about shots for a few years and if we, by some financial miracle, end up moving that is one less thing I have to worry about getting done :).

    2. I used to be a veterinary techincian (basically an animal nurse) so let me give you some frugal advice on vaccinating pets. When you get the booster done, ask the vet how long the booster is good for. Rabies vaccines are usually good for 3 years. You may not need to go every year to get the shots done, if you can confirm how long the vaccine is good for. In fact, the whole purpose of a vaccine booster is to restimulate the immune system to keep the antibodies active in the body. Think about how frequently we get vaccine boosters...when is the last time you had one? Probably not every year.

    3. Yeah, this is year one on the shots so they recommended going in this year to get them done. After that we only have to take them in every other year or so, so that’ll be nice.

  4. Erika, I make a list of all the meals I can make from what we have in our pantry & freezer. I need a minimum of 30 or 31 meals, but often can list more to give us lots of flexibility. If there are good sales on something or I find an interesting new recipe, I add it to the list. Some of the meals are super quick (pasta or chicken fingers), and others are more complex.

    Each morning, I choose the meal we will make that day with some help from the family. I take into consideration what we are doing that day(e.g. if we have a lot happening that day, I choose super easy meals), what we feel like eating that day and what our previously meals were to ensure variety (I prefer to avoid having chicken 5 nights in a row). As we eat the meal, I cross it off the list, so we only eat each meal once a month (again, to ensure variety and avoid burn out on certain meals). Since the list is actually a word document on my computer, I can easily copy the list and modify it for the next month. Easy peasy, lemon squeezie! I've been doing this since the first of this year and has been working amazingly well for our family.

    1. That sounds like a really good system, Rhonda! Thank you! I might give it a shot :).

  5. Thank you for the links - they look so interesting!
    Nothing too interesting for this week as I'm going out of town for a few days. I'm working on using up most of the veggies and bits & pieces in the fridge and pantry so that nothing goes to waste.
    I usually don't make a day by day menu plan since it's just me - so what I do is make a couple of mains each Sunday, roast some veggies, prep other veggies for salad, hard boil eggs - and then mix & match throughout the week. If I get tired of some items they get packaged up for the freezer - I can then take out a couple of things from the freezer made previously if needed.
    Because I've stockpiled pantry and freezer items I can now buy whatever comes up for sale each week and either use it then or add it to the freezer for later.

    1. When I lived on my own my diet was so boring lol! I’d make a big pot of something on my “weekend” like chicken and rice or beef stew and then bring that to work for lunch. I was on such a tight income (I worked for Disney in Florida) that the majority of my budget would go to the lunch meal. Then I’d buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a container of jam or jelly, get a couple small frozen meals (or say a bag of salad and some discounted steak or something) and I’d have PB and J for breakfast and whatever I found cheap for dinner, but sometimes I was having PB and J twice a day. Your menu sounds a lot more appealing lol!

    2. Both of your diets sound so much better than mine when I was first out on my own (I was 19. That was over 30 yrs. ago). Some nights after work, I was too lazy to cook anything substantial or healthy for that matter, and so I'd pop up a huge pot of popcorn and eat that along with celery sticks. I'd take the leftovers to work. Or, if I was being "healthy", and I had some extra money to buy actual groceries, I'd eat cheese and lettuce sandwiches, and peanut butter and jam. Not a great diet by any means. When I really craved some good home cooking, I'd head over to mom and dad's. There was always some "good eats" there.

    3. *gasp* Working for disney is my old age dream! I would loooove to be around all those pins.

  6. I have tried so many kinds of menu planning, but always end up just buying what's a good price at the store, then making meals from my freezer, cupboards, garden, and what I bought. I love to change it up, so I'm about ready to make another weekly plan, just to keep me organized. If I have a list of some sort, I can quickly make something when things are busy, and they seem to be busy around here a LOT!