Monthly Menus: Feb 1st-Feb 15th

I’ve begun the momentous task of menu planning on a tight budget. February’s a good month to start because it has only 28 days!

Since I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom, I’m not quite hopping on the Once a Month cooking bandwagon, and since we are on a tight budget, meals will often be dependent on what is on sale. Here’s what I have to go with so far, including a Superbowl potluck on the 3rd, a party on the 9th, and Valentine’s Day.

Picking 30 meals all at once is overwhelming, so I divide meals into 7 categories, and I only plan for two weeks at a time so I can get fresh fruit and bread and milk more often. I’ve blogged about my seven categories here: Menu Planning and Recipes

We’re going for budget-friendly here, not Vegan or Super Duper Healthy. But everything is homemade, minus the frozen pizzas, and we avoid sour cream at all costs, so right there we are leagues above the normal American diet.* There are plenty of other blogs out there for menus of all kinds for every fancy. This isn’t a foodie blog, but I did think I’d share some ideas for meals, since I know I’m not the only person to wonder what to make for dinner!

*UPDATE: Sorry, this is worded in a confusing manner. Sour cream isn’t the real issue here, though indulging in fatty condiments like it (mayonnaise, ranch dressing, etc.) is pretty standard in a lot of American diets and recipes. The main difference is eating homemade meals. I’m pretty sure you could make a week’s worth of recipes, all including sour cream, and it would be better for your health than eating a diet comprised of processed or fast foods!

2013-Feb-1-15

February 1st – 15th

  1. Friday—Frozen Pizza
  2. Saturday—Leftovers
  3. Sunday—SUPERBOWL POTLUCK—Slow Cooker Tater Tot Hotdish
  4. Monday—TBD, Something meaty with whatever meat is on sale
  5. Tuesday—Tacos with homemade taco seasoning
  6. Wednesday—Greek Style Garlic Chicken
  7. Thursday—On-Sale Fish and Sauteed Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
  8. Friday—Frozen Pizza
  9. Saturday—SPEAKEASY PARTY—Crockpot Hot dogs (and much more; I’ll blog about it)
  10. Sunday—Shepherd’s Pie
  11. Monday—TBD, Something meaty with whatever meat is on sale
  12. Tuesday—Green Sauce Enchiladas
  13. Wednesday—Baked Penne with Italian Sausage
  14. Thursday—VALENTINE’S DAY—Alton Brown’s French Toast with Blueberry Compote
  15. Friday—Frozen Pizza

Shopping List

Produce

  • 4 potatoes
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • Fresh basil

Meat

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 lb hamburger
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 7 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Whatever is on meat special (I’ll make meals on the 4th and 11th depending on the meat sale)
  • Whatever FISH is on special (tilapia or salmon, frozen, wild-caught)
  • Kosher or all-beef hot dogs

Dairy

  • milk
  • butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (sometimes with pasta and/or tomato sauce)
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese

Frozen

  • 3 Frozen Pizzas
  • 16 ounce bag of tater tots
  • 1/2 pound frozen green beans (OR 1 can french style green beans, whichever is cheaper)
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Pantry

  • 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can french style green beans (OR 1/2 pound frozen, whichever is cheaper)
  • 1 can fried onions (6 ounces)
  • 24, 6-in tortillas
  • 24 oz can of green enchilada sauce
  • 11 oz can sweet corn
  • 1 cup + 1 can chicken broth or 2.5 bouillon cubes
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ketchup
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • honey

Spices

  • chili powder
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • crushed red pepper
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper

This shopping list is for dinners only, and I already have quite a few of the ingredients in my pantry. (Thankfully I’ve been stocking up on Frozen Pizzas, so my Fridays for the month are covered.) I’ll post breakfast ideas and lunch ideas either on a weekly basis or all in one mega post. I’m leaning towards mega posts: Breakfast Ideas, Lunch Ideas, and Dinner Ideas divided by type of meat or lack thereof. Meat is usually the most expensive thing on the list, and it’s usually what we tend to get in a rut in with most, so dividing it that way makes sense to me. Within each of the dinner posts, I’ll divide it into those 7 categories.

Usually we have leftovers for lunch. I plan on starting to make a huge batch of soup each Sunday for lunches as well. Otherwise it’s sandwiches over here.

As for sides, I have a bunch of frozen veggies for steaming, or we have a salad, or we have pasta or rice. I’ll try to be a bit more inventive when I post the dinner ideas later.

3 thoughts on “Monthly Menus: Feb 1st-Feb 15th

  1. This is so ambitious and awesome! I wish we could do something more along these lines, I bet it does help a ton with the budget, but I’m not home for dinner 3 weeknights a week (I work seconds on those days) and as much as I adore my husband, I’m not sure he would do well with a meal schedule. Maybe I should aim for just the nights I’m home…anyway, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Just curious as why Sour Cream is so taboo? We keep it on hand – though I only have it once a month or so. My husband uses it constantly.

      Love that frozen pizza is on there – big go to meal for me and the family. Though I have been keeping frozen veggies on hand to have as a side so that frozen pizza isn’t the whole meal.

      • It’s not taboo so much as overused. A huge amount of the recipes I was looking through listed sour cream, and those saturated fats add up, fast!
        http://www.livestrong.com/article/415066-is-sour-cream-good-for-you/

        The biggest thing for us is taste and texture. Neither the Captain nor myself like sour cream or whipped cream. If we are going to be adding the calories, we’d rather choose something we actually like the taste of.

        I use cream or a combination of milk and melted butter for sauces, use cream cheese for dips, use butter as a condiment on potatoes, and use cheese as a condiment on Mexican dishes.

        We don’t use ranch or mayonnaise, either.

        If you like the taste of sour cream, then by all means, use it! It doesn’t have extra crap added to it like ranch or mayo; it’s just 100% cream that has been fermented. (The fermenting process is how it gets the tangy flavor.)

        But like all high-fat foods, use it sparingly. Once a month isn’t bad. Once a week is okay. Adding a cup of it to every casserole, every dinner? No thanks, I’ll look elsewhere for recipes.

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