Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saving money and time - menu writing!

All right, here it is... my first weekly menu! I have always been one to write out menus for the week, since it makes writing a grocery list a breeze and choosing what to make for dinner even easier! Plus I am convinced I spend less money with a plan than without. Three solid reasons, and only about 20 minutes out of my time every week. A little strategy goes a long way; all you need are 5 - 7 entrees, from varying categories. For example, this week I have chosen soup/stew, poultry, salad, pasta, and eggs. I find 5 is often enough, since some of these meals allow for left overs, and so a 5 day plan turns itself into a 7 day plan. I try to do only 2 meat dishes a week, for health and for budget. Tip: If you have a dish that will have left over prep ingredients, try to incorporate these into another dish. This week I have a squash soup that needs leeks, but only a little, so I chose a frittata that also uses leeks to make sure I use them up and so have no waste.
The only difference from my usual menu to the new menu is that I am also incorporating a new skill into each dish, taking us from a child's menu to a bit more sophisticated one. We are also trying out new foods, like scallops and prosciutto (well, new for the kids, I suppose). Here it goes...


Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Apples

Chicken baked with Prosciutto and Herbs
Vegetable Tagliatelle

Salad of Seared Sea Scallops with Oriental Vinaigrette
Smashed Potatoes

Spaghettini with Basic Tomato Sauce
Salad Greens with Oil and Vinegar dressing

Summer Squash, Spinach and Leek Frittata
Fresh tomato wedges

French Bread
Multigrain Loaf

I quite often pick a couple of snacks to bake up, like muffins or cookies. I have some overripe bananas that are crying out for my attention, so I will whip up banana muffins and perhaps Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. That is, if I have time in between all my bread baking! I have to say though, there is just something about sending the kids off to school, brewing some (strong!) coffee, putting on good music, and kneading dough for 15 minutes. Talk about a stress reliever! People who have had kids, including myself, often wonder - what ever did we do before we had kids!? This morning I caught myself thinking - what ever did I do before bread dough?

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