Ahh March! Winter is supposedly on the run (although I don’t know, we still could get snow any time between now and late April!) and my mind is turning to spring cleaning and gardening tasks. I’ve got lots to do, so being on track with a meal plan really helps keep my evenings organized and my family well fed.
1. I’ve got a blog post that requires me to film in store–so off to Binghamton I go today, but I have to be back by mid afternoon to take Buddy to his annual exam at the local doctor. Then there are a couple nights for evening Karate for Buddy and I, one night both kids have a late dress rehearsal, and Yankee Bill has both NY Guard meeting and his regular pool league. Oh, and he’s gone for drill this weekend and Buddy has a sleepover at the YMCA for scouts. So that’s at least nights that we have to be out the door relatively early in the evening (so easy meals or stuff that’s done during the day), one weeknight (and all weekend) that Yankee Bill won’t be home from supper, and on top of it all I’ve got at least 3 days I’ve got to head into town for various lessons or errands during the day.
2. I really need to use some of the winter squash I’ve been storing–I roasted one over the weekend that I can use during the week. Also, last week I made mashed potatoes and there is enough left to be used for a meal. I’ve got half a can of kidney beans in the fridge that should be used, and a bunch of random fruit juices left from canned fruit that I hate to throw out. There is about a quarter gallon of milk that is pasted the “best by” date but still good for cooking. Oh, and someone at church gave me a bag of salad leftover from a fund raiser dinner.
3. There is fish, pork, beef and venison in the freezer in varying amounts and cuts. There is also quite a bit of frozen home grown veggies left, and I’ve got canned vegetables (mine and storebought) as well. I picked up a couple bags of frozen mixed veggies last week as well because I’m trying to up my vegetable intake.
Taking all that into account here is my game plan:
Monday: Guiness Glazed Salmon with Potato Croquettes and Green Salad
I found a recipe for a yummy Guiness glaze that can be used on fish or chicken last year that I wanted to share with you for St. Patrick’s day (and I’ve got some Guiness that my sister left at my moms house after her Guiness ice cream experiment last year). I’ll make that up and take a photo for all of you! The potato croquettes are made from leftover mashed potato and may be more of a pancake than a little ball or log. All of it will be served with some basic rice and a green salad to use up that bagged salad mix. I’ve got an “empty” bottle of dijon mustard in the fridge–that really isn’t empty because there is a significant amount of mustard stuck to the sides of the squeeze bottle. I think I’ll mix up a homemade honey mustard dressing right in the bottle to use it up.
This is my fish meal for the week.
Tuesday: Butternut Stuffed Shells with Steamed Mixed Vegetables
The cooked butternut in the fridge is easily mashed and mixed up for this stuffed shell recipe (there is cheese in it for protein). The mixed veggies are just a bag of frozen broccoli/cauliflower/carrot. I’ll serve dessert with this (since it’s a pretty light meal)–I was thinking of making Angel food cake and cooking down the fruit syrup/juices in the fridge to make a sauce to drizzle over it–maybe with a bit of fruit (I have frozen blueberries) in it.
This is my meatless meal for the week.
Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore over Angel Hair Pasta with Green Beans
The chicken thighs from the freezer will go into the slow cooker in the morning with a can of spaghetti sauce and cook all day while I’m out and about. Then all I have to do is cook the past and warm up some home canned green beans. I may get all fancy and cook the beans up with some garlic, onion and a bit of diced bacon. . . or I might not.
Thursday: Salisbury Steaks in Gravy with Rice and Stewed Tomatoes
I’m defrosting a pound each of ground beef and ground venison, which will be mixed together with some bread crumbs, herbs and an egg to make Salisbury Steak patties. It’s basically a hamburger served with brown gravy instead of a bun 🙂 I’ll make homemade gravy from beef broth, maybe classed up a bit with some of the drippings from cooking the patties. A pot of rice will be the starch side (which will be yummy with the gravy). This is a bit heavier and filling, so I wanted something with a bit of brightness and acidity to go with it, so I’ll dress up some home canned tomatoes with celery, garlic, onion, and peppers to make homemade stewed tomatoes to have as well.
note: I’ll make an extra big pot of rice because Princess and Buddy LOVE rice pudding and I can use the rice to make some and use up that extra milk.
This is a beef and venison meal for the week.
Friday: Vegetable Venison Soup with Homemade Bread
Any leftover bits and bobs from Thursday’s Salisbury Steaks and Stewed Tomates will get thrown in the pot with dehydrated mixed vegetables, onion, garlic, beef broth (from bullion cubes) and leftover kidney beans. I’m defrosting some venison cube steaks which I’ll cut up and brown a bit before adding to the soup (just for a nicer color and texture-you could toss it in raw). If there isn’t any bread left by Friday (some weeks there is, some weeks there isn’t) then I’ll whip up some biscuits instead.
This is my soup and my bean meal for the week.
Saturday: Leftover Buffet
It’s just Princess and I for dinner on Saturday night, so we’ll just use up the leftovers in the fridge with a “Leftover Buffet”. If by some miracle everything gets eaten and there isn’t anything at all left, we’ll just make Ramen or sandwiches or something.
Sunday: Pork Roast and Gravy, Sauerkraut and Onions, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Vegetables
I’ve got a pork butt roast defrosting. Most likely I’ll just cook it in the crockpot with a bit of broth–maybe I’ll get fancy and cut some slits in it and stuff it with garlic. And maybe I won’t. It depends on how busy Sunday morning is. I’ve got a bunch of potatoes still down in the basement that are starting to sprout eyes. Not the best for baking anymore, but ok in mashed potatoes. The kids happen to love mashed potatoes, so that works. I’ll just saute up an onion or two, add some of my homemade sauerkraut and heat through. The veggies are frozen, and I’ll make a gravy from the pan drippings in the crockpot just before dinner.
This is my pork meal for the week.
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .