I really love 'Menu Plan Monday'. It has become a nice habit for me...I enjoy weekly menu planning. It makes the week just feel so much better having a plan. January is a great time of year for soups. I am so lucky that my family truly loves a good bowl of soup....lots of my friends tell me that they can't get their families to eat soup for dinner. Tonight we had a favorite....taco soup. This time I added tons of mushrooms for a different twist.
One thing I have noticed about menu planning among my friends is that my generation really has menu planning backwards. Yes. I say backwards. Why? My generation makes a menu plan, a grocery list based on the menu plan, and then goes shopping for the items on the list. This method does not make the best use of a family's grocery dollar. A wise plan would be to look around the pantry and freezer first to see what is already on hand...and then make a menu plan based on what is on hand (and has been, hopefully,purchased on sale). This is one step that takes a little extra time, but saves money in the end because you are not paying full price for something at the grocery store because a grocery list says you need it. I always take a good look through my freezer and fridge before I determine the week's menu. I look at what is about to expire, or what needs to be eaten up, before I decide on meals. I have a weekly goal of trying one new recipe for dinner...which doesn't always happen for different reason, but I do try. In generations past, meals were made with what was on hand, in the pantry or came from the garden. There was no last minute dashing to the grocery store to buy items at a King's ransom price. My grocery list is always made after I have studied the sales fliers.
I am really surprised by the large number in our generation who either don't cook or eat out several times a week on a regular basis. I know of 2 families among our circle of friends where Mom openly states that she doesn't "like to cook". One mom is a busy mother to 3 children who all have extra-curricular activities, and supper is eaten out 3 or 4 times a week. I can't imagine what their monthly food bill totals. I feel so thankful that I grew up with a mother who cooked supper every single night and always made amazing meals with whatever she had on hand. She set a wonderful example to me. My Grammie Ada was another woman who cooked supper every night and I have vivid memories of her dinner waiting on the stove for my Grandfather to arrive home from work. There was no driving through Mcdonalds for a hamburger. Not ever.
Nothing says 'family' to me like a homemade supper eaten around a dining table with all bodies present. It's an important part of our day and the only daily meal that we eat together.
This week's menu plan:
Monday-Taco Soup with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream. Everything for this meal came from our pantry and freezer.
Tuesday-Paula Deen's wild rice, cheese & shrimp casserole with a spinach salad. This meal is inspired by a box of fresh spinach in our fridge that needs to be eaten, along with shredded cheese that needs to be used very soon.
Wednesday-Baked chicken with roast potatoes, green beans & carrots.
Thursday-Homemade pizza with a whole wheat crust and fresh veggies.
Friday-Pulled pork sandwiches and veggies & dip.
The best part...I didn't need to go to the grocery store this week to buy anything for these meals. I am using what we already have.