In April, I’m going to try something different. In an effort to help me stay within my food budget, buying meat only once in the month and having a better general idea of the meals I’m going to make in April, I’ve decided to plan out my meals for the month. I’ve done monthly meal planning before, but planning out the entire month doesn’t exactly work out perfectly. Things come up, I get sick, people come over, or I don’t have enough money in the budget to make the meals I planned for the end of the month. But I think I will benefit from having a general idea of what I plan on making in a month, that way I can portion my chicken and ground turkey (our two main meat sources) throughout the month, and not eat it all up at the beginning.
So here’s what I’ve come up with. I made seven meal categories (7 days in the week), breakfast, quick/easy, crock pot, chicken, ground turkey, pizza and miscellaneous. Making breakfast for dinner is a good cheap idea for dinners, especially since I always have pancake/waffle/eggs ingredients on hand. Tuesday night’s I volunteer at my local Pregnancy Resource Center from 6-8, so we need to have an easy prepared and quick to eat meals those nights. I also want to get in a better habit of using my crock pot more often, even if it is a piece of crap. I always enjoy the days when I spend a half hour of my morning to prepare our dinner, and don’t have to do anything else to prepare dinner the rest of the day. I need to better think through my chicken and ground turkey meals, because I try to only buy them at the beginning of the month, at Sam’s Club. That means, I have 6 pounds of chicken and 5 pounds of ground turkey to last me all month. Which means, I can’t use a full pound of chicken at every “chicken” meal, or we’ll only have chicken 6 times. This will require more thought and planning ahead. We like to have pizza once a week, but it could also end up being calzones or stromboli. And miscellaneous, well, for lack of a better name, that’s what I came up with.
Now, I didn’t want to assign each meal/recipe to a specific night because, while our month is pretty packed and we most likely won’t add anything new, things happen. So I’ve gathered four meals/recipes for each category. April is a good month to try this out on, because Jerry will be gone to NY one night, and we will be traveling back home for a week to help with my sister’s move.
Here we go!
- Banana Bread Pancakes
Orange Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes Blueberry French Toast Casserole Apple Pecan Waffles
Easy and Quick
Spaghetti & Peas Spaghetti & Meatsauce
Chicken Tortilla Soup Chicken, Black beans and Carrots
- Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna
Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Chicken & Rice Casserole
Cheesy Chicken Tortellini
- Beef & Bean Taco Salad
Meatloaf Sloppy Joes Spicy Bean & Rice Burritos
- BBQ Chicken
White Pizza Pepperoni
- White Bean & Sausage Stew
- Grilled Veggie & Hummus Wrap
Crockpot Pizza Spaghetti
- Sausage, Cabbage & Potatoes
So, I will still plan for the week, the Friday before, but now this will help me better organize. I will choose one meal from each category, and hopefully choose the ones that will compliment each other (i.e. when I need to buy fresh spinach for one recipe, I’ll make the other spinach recipe that week too) and also make sure I’m not overkilling one item (like too many bean dishes in a week).