Menus by the Month

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Happiness is homemade cocoa and a big stack of library books! After being cooped up all week because of the snow, I finally made it out to the library. We’re planning to remodel our very 70s main bathroom, so I got some interesting books on decorating. This is the kids’ bathroom, and Bee wants a beach theme, so I’m looking forward to picking out a fresh, fun color scheme.

At my MOPS meeting last week, we talked about the challenge of menu planning. As you know, I don’t plan menus far in advance. However, in the “Food” section of my HMG, I keep a list that I call “Menus by the Month.” This is a list of 30 meals that my family likes, including side dishes. When I’m lacking ideas for something to make, or don’t have anything particular that I need to use up, I look to this list for inspiration. When I make an item, I write the date next to it, to prevent repetition and insure variety.

My list includes fish, vegetarian, beef, and poultry recipes, and a variety of vegetables. Because I shop to replenish my pantry, I always have the ingredients on hand to make any of these meals, and I’m not tempted to give up and order pizza! This is an excellent frugal strategy which can help you limit (or eliminate) dining out, and reduce the 5:00 PM “what’s for dinner” panic.

To give you ideas, here’s my menu list, in no particular order:

1. Tuna noodle supreme, mixed vegetables
2. Black beans with rice and corn, tortillas
3. Meat loaf, cornbread casserole, candied carrots
4. Stir fried chicken and vegetables, noodles
5. Stuffed peppers, crescent rolls
6. Greek chicken pasta, green salad
7. Beef noodle soup, no-knead Dutch oven bread
8. Salmon patties, scalloped corn
9. 3 cheese manicotti, green salad
10. Porcupine meatballs, egg noodles, green beans
11. Scalloped potatoes and ham, candied carrots
12. Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice
13. Spaghetti with meat sauce, mixed vegetables
14. Chicken noodle soup, popovers
15. Baked halibut, make-ahead mashed potatoes, creamed peas
16. Lentil-bulgur enchiladas with salsa
17. Salisbury steak, egg noodles, seasoned green beans & tomatoes
18. Quick and easy chicken, vegetable rice medley
19. Chili macaroni, Mexi-corn
20. Calico beans and cornbread
21. Beef barley vegetable soup, no-knead Dutch oven bread
22. Homemade macaroni and cheese, broccoli
23. Beef and rice, candied carrots
24. Chicken cacciatore with spaghetti, green salad
25. Lasagna, green salad
26. Homemade pizza with pepperoni and green olives
27. Spanish rice bake, Mexi-corn
28. Chicken Spectacular, green salad
29. Tater tot casserole, peas
30. Lentil soup with ham, cornbread

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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