Monday Menu (a day late)

Here it is Tuesday and I don’t have a menu planned for the week. The weekend was so busy that I got off to a slow start yesterday, and only managed to plan Monday’s dinner. What I’d like to do is start a regular feature here called Monday Menu. I’ll post my week’s menu, and I invite you to share yours in the comments. I used to read a blog that did this and I found it invaluable. Not only did it motivate me to get my menu planned at the beginning of the week, but there were lots of ideas to borrow from other people’s menus. Sometimes it was a completely new recipe, sometimes a reminder of a forgotten favorite. That blogger doesn’t post regularly anymore, so I thought it would be nice to host a little menu planning right here!

Some weeks I sit with the grocery ads and plan my menu around what’s on sale. Some weeks (like this one), we have a fairly stocked pantry and I plan around the ingredients we have on hand. This week’s produce: zucchini, carrots, celery, asparagus, kale, grape tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, celery root, pumpkin, potatoes, onions, bananas, avocados, grapefruit, limes, lemons. Meat: ground beef, whole chicken, pork shoulder, beef ribs, T-bone steaks, and a turkey carcass. In the pantry and fridge: pasta, couscous, rice, canned tomatoes, beans, flour tortillas, goat cheese, parmesan, Jarlsberg…I’m sure there are some other surprises lurking in there! I bought produce yesterday, and will have to get more milk, ricotta salata, and some cilantro, but that’s about it for this week’s groceries. I think that will only be about $20 for the week. Not bad!

I write my menu on my Google Calendar, so I have a record of our past menus that I can refer to, and as I’m planning I can shuffle meals around to fit our schedule. I get ideas from food blogs, magazines, and searching Epicurious for recipes with specific ingredients. I try to think about repurposing leftovers, too. This week I’ll use the leftover chicken for taquitos, and then I’ll make broth to freeze. I don’t always plan something specific for the weekends; that’s usually my husband’s chance to get in the kitchen and work some magic. But this weekend I’m guessing he’ll be bringing some work home, and we have a karate tournament and some church activities. I planned one dinner, and we’ll be flexible for the other.

Monday: Cubano sandwiches, baked kale chips, roasted yellow peppers

Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli (steamed and then tossed in a little garlicky olive oil)

Wednesday: Asparagus, goat cheese & lemon pasta (the kids will pick out the asparagus, so we’ll have some veggies and dip on the side), green salad

Thursday: Roast chicken, zucchini fries, rice, tomato and cucumber salad.

Friday: Chicken taquitos, guacamole, refried beans, green salad

Saturday: Pulled pork in the crockpot (I wing it using both this recipe and this one), kale & ricotta salata salad, more veggies and dip for the kids

What are you eating this week? Even if you don’t have the whole week planned out, drop a comment with a couple of ideas or what’s in your pantry. Steal an idea or make a suggestion! If you do have your week’s meals planned, please share!

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5 responses

  1. My menu is planned, but still fluid for changes of appetite, quantity of leftovers, etc. I don’t always plan all the side dishes in advance. Nor do I usually plan all the baking in advance…it’s more of an as-the-mood-strikes activity which typically happens several times each week.
    Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, garlic breadsticks, leftover homemade ice creams – black coffee, milkiest chocolate & salty caramel (can’t recommend “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” enough)
    Tuesday: baked potato soup
    Wednesday: (may turn into left-over night, but originally planned) Roast Chicken Pita Panini with cucumber olive salad, fresh veggies, applesauce
    Thursday: Red Lentil Stew (Dal bhat) – America’s Test Kitchen “Crock Pot Revolution”, salad, homemade naan (the trick to getting kids to like Indian food)
    Friday: homemade pizza night – probably thin crust this week – working to achieve a wood oven type crust
    Saturday: Meatball subs with carmelized onions (thanks to Smitten Kitchen for the idea)
    Sunday: carnitas with jalapeno buttermilk slaw (Homesick Texan), King Cake (yes, I know it doesn’t really match the Tex-Mex main dish) for dessert to begin the subject of Mardi Gras (and more importantly Lent) at the dinner table.

    • Caramelized onions make everything better! I’ve made pita, but I haven’t made naan yet. I’ll have to try it soon! The kids like falafel and pita, though.

      I get the best pizza crust when I do it on the grill in the summer. Lately I’ve been prebaking my crusts about 5 mins. before adding toppings. Then I don’t incinerate the cheese at 500 degrees!

  2. I would love to do this but need to work on using only what I have on hand. I tend to overspend at the grocery if I plan more than a few days at a time, buying ingredients I need. Also, we just bought, that is the man of the house did, a quarter of a cow, and I now have enough hamburger to last for the rest of the year. Any ideas would be welcome.

    • It’s kind of a fun challenge to figure out what to make from what’s already on hand. I tend to shop on Thursday or Friday, at the beginning of the grocery store sale cycle, and buy only what’s a really good deal. Then when I’m planning the menu, I work from what I bought at the end of the previous week. If there are a couple of ingredients I need, I put those dishes at the end of the week when I can pick them up on my next shopping trip. I think when I search for recipes, I tend to use the produce as the search term, since I usually have meat/pasta/etc. to round it out.

      We’re almost out of our stash of ground beef, but we tend to rotate between chili, meatballs (with a variety of sauces, in subs, soups, pasta–even sliced on pizza!), meatloaf, and burgers. Mmmm…there’s also a good Thai ground turkey recipe I should point you to–I’ve used beef and it’s good.

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