Monday, September 7, 2015

This Week's Dinner Plans: 9/7 to 9/13

Each week I peek in my fridge, freezer, and garden, to see what needs to be used up and I take a couple of minutes to think of ways to use up those ingredients in the next few days...

MONDAY:  Bacon Chicken Burgers with Corn on the Cob
  • From the freezer: ground chicken
  • From the pantry: hamburger buns
  • From the fridge: turkey bacon, cheese slices, homemade pickles, light mayo, ketchup, ears of corn, butter
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance:  nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

TUESDAY: Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Potatoes
  • From the freezer: chicken thighs, tomato paste
  • From the pantry: kosher salt, pepper, EVOO, onion, white wine, potatoes
  • From the fridge: minced garlic, baby carrots, green olives
  • Need to harvest: sage, rosemary
  • Need to make in advance: nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

WEDNESDAY: Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes
  • From the freezer: ground beef, diced onion, green beans
  • From the pantry: paprika, garlic powder, salt & pepper, potatoes, EVOO, Italian breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce
  • From the fridge: egg, ketchup
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

THURSDAY: Dad's Chicken Fried Rice*
* Recipe from Woman's World magazine which, apparently, aren't published online.
  • From the freezer: peas, boneless chicken breasts
  • From the pantry: vegetable oil, rice. light sauce sauce
  • From the fridge: eggs
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: cook rice in microwave, cook chicken
  • Need to buy: nothing

FRIDAY: Breakfast for dinner!
  • From the freezer: breakfast sausages
  • From the pantry: flour, sugar, baking powder, vegetable oil
  • From the fridge: egg, milk
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

SATURDAY:  Waffled Ham and Cheese Melt with Maple Butter with Tomato Soup
  • From the freezer: Black Forest ham
  • From the pantry: can of tomato soup
  • From the fridge: bread, Swiss cheese, butter, maple syrup
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: put some butter out to soften, defrost (bone in) chicken breasts for tomorrow!
  • Need to buy: nothing

SUNDAY:  Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Stew with JalapeƱo Buttermilk Corn Bread
  • From the freezer: chicken breasts
  • From the pantry: canned corn, canned black beans, salsa, flour, cornmeal, baking soda
  • From the fridge: buttermilk powder, butter, jalapeƱos
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance:  debone the breasts, put everything in the crockpot, bake corn bread
  • Need to buy: tortilla chips


  1. I love the way you write your list with what you have, what you need and what has to be done. I totally should do that. I think that I make it up each time but it is mostly in my head. Do you write your meal plan down on a calendar or paper at the house? Do you write what you have to do or is it mostly online? I am going to see if I can be so detailed but it might not be able to happen :)

    1. Thanks, I really like it too because it forced me to use up what I have. There's nothing wrong with doing it in your head, but obviously your brain functions much better than mine, hahaha. I'm visual so I need those visual clues.

      Here is my process:

      1) I make a list of what is in my fridge that needs to be used up (on a scrap piece of paper)
      2) I make a list of items that might be sitting on the counter/island as well (breads, veggies that are ripening...)
      3) I consult my freezer list that I keep online on Google Drive
      4) When I'm particularly organized, I remember to look at my Google calendar to see if there are any days when I should plan on using the crockpot (after school events, or if I anticipate being out most of the day and too tired to cook) but I have to admit that recently I have completely forgotten to do that.

      Then I gather the latest recipes that I have clipped from magazines and I see which ones might work this week, depending on what I feel like cooking and what might work with ingredients I already have, especially the ones that I have to use up. I put 5-7 recipes aside. Sometimes I go back and get recipes that I've made before and that we enjoyed (especially for days when I need to plan on using the crockpot). Or I might look for an online recipe if I have something (like cabbage...) that I need to cook this week but no recipe on hand (or none that excites me!).
      I open Blogger, and just start typing. For each recipe's ingredient list, I just add the ingredients that I already have (pantry, freezer, fridge, garden), if I don't have an ingredient, I evaluate whether I can substitute for something that I already have (so pantry, freezer, fridge, garden) or if I should add it to "Need to buy". Most of the time I can substitute because my pantry is really fully stocked at all times!

      As I add things that need to be bought to the menu, I also add them to my shopping list (another spreadsheet I keep in Google Drive).

      If my printout or magazine article tells me where to find the recipe, I look for it online so I can link to it from the blog in case other people might want to try it. Sometimes I can't find it online or I didn't keep track of the original source so I can't do that.

      Then, after I have published the menu, I copy it into a Word document, get rid of all the lines that say "nothing" and "Need to buy" (since those are already in my shopping list), and bold the lines that say "from the freezer", "Need to Harvest" and "Need to Make in Advance". Then I make sure everything will print one just 1 page.

      After I've printed the page, I put it on my fridge. The kids know that's the week's menu and then every morning I have a reminder that rings on my phone to defrost meat for dinner so at that time I refer to the menu to see what I need to defrost, what I'll need to harvest, and if I need to make anything in advance (i.e. before 6:30 p.m., which is when I usually start cooking).

      That works pretty well for me. If I don't feel like cooking something that morning, then I'll switch the dinners around (or decide to make something else completely different).

      Let me know what you end up doing!


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