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.

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Dedicate a song to your Valentine!

Aaaaaah I haven’t blogged in a week, and Valentine’s Day is next week!

Remember the blog where I asked you about getting free music? Well, I think that I have figured out how I can do it, but (waves hands around mysteriously)ALL WILL BE REVEALED next week…

Until then, Here’s my  ♥Valentine♥  to all of you dear readers!

  1. Comment below with your and your sweetie’s  song (or any luuuuuurve song you like).
  2. Together, we will create a Valentine’s Day playlist. But that’s not all!!!!
  3. I’ll pick a couple songs from your list, do an a capella cover of  as many songs as I have time to record (sorry, the only instrument I have any skill with is my larynx), and post the songs on Monday, on my blog.

You get a free Valentine’s Day Playlist out of the deal, as well as a free MP3!

I am excited. I hope you are, too. Post as many songs as you want.

Also, tell your friends. I might choose their song!

Hint: If you include a sweet story about why that’s your song, I may be more likely to choose it.
Also hint: I really can’t stand do country music justice. If you give me a country song, it won’t sound like country when I’m done with it.