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First menu sampling

Well, I promised you all that I would share some of my menus, in addition to recipes and experiences.  A little more on the experiences later.  But for now, I wanted to share with you some sample menus.  I’m not tacking any recipes onto this one, but if you’re interested in having a recipe for a particular meal/dish, just let me know and I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I can, rather than just whenever I come across it in my binder.

(I run my menus from Monday to Sunday)

Monday: meatloaf and green beans
Tuesday: pork tenderloin and sweet potatoes
Wednesday: spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
Thursday: fish and fries
Friday: pizza (I did tell you that we mostly do pizza on Fridays!)
Saturday: sandwiches
Sunday: macaroni and cheese and leftovers

Note: when I do a porkloin, I usually buy the biggest one I can find because I know my husband likes to take some for lunch and I usually like to re-purpose some of the meat into carnitas (pork tacos) or pork fried rice, or use it to add a twist to gallo pinto (pronounced guy-o peent-o), which is one of my most favorite easy recipes ever.

Monday: chicken and broccoli
Tuesday: pelmeni, Polish sausage and peppers
Wednesday: porkchops, corn, and couscous
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: pizza
Saturday: fish and fries
Sunday: (out to dinner)

Note: I was pregnant from when these two menus were done and I love, love, loved fish and fries.  So it showed up on our menus a lot.  God bless my husband for not complaining!  Plus, it helps that the meals weren’t repeated too closely  together 😉  Also, pelmeni is a Russian meat and chive dumpling, traditionally boiled in beef broth and served with a heavily dilled sour cream sauce.  I buy them frozen from a Euro deli here in town.  If I ever find a recipe for them, I’ll post it, but frankly, I’m too lazy to make my own from scratch when the ones I can buy are so darn tasty!

Monday: hamburgers, baked beans, coleslaw
Tuesday: sweet and sour hamballs and rice
Wednesday: salmon and zucchini gratin, salad, garlic bread
Thursday: stuffed chicken, couscous, peppers
Friday: porkchops, cheesy baked faro, peas
Saturday: steak, baked potatoes, corn, salad
Sunday: pizza

Note: faro is pearled barley.  This is a really hearty recipe (one I will for sure be posting) and it is delicious the first time and even more so as leftovers.  It is a healthier option than just plain old macaroni and cheese, but is close enough that you could fool some picky eaters with it.  Hamballs are made with a savory pork loaf that I have only been able to find in Michigan where I grew up.  They are delicious and scrumptious and I was seriously bummed when I moved to Colorado and discovered that pork loaves are not available everywhere.  Thankfully, my parents drive out a few times a year to see us and always bring out pork loaves with them.

And one last menu on this entry, for good measure.  If you have a large freezer, you could shop for the bulk of this entire menu sampler and just get your produce weekly…

Monday: gallo pinto
Tuesday: pierogi, pelmeni, Polish sausage, peppers
Wednesday: ham, sweet potatoes, zucchini gratin
Thursday: salmon/rice/green bean packets
Friday: lasagna, salad
Saturday: pizza
Sunday: linguine alfredo, salad

Note: for the pierogi, I just buy the box of the Mrs. T’s frozen pierogi from my grocery store.  Also, anytime you see peppers on my menu, I’m just julienne-ing them (slicing them into thin strips) and carmelizing them in just a bit of oil – they add a sweet dash to any meal and are a great way to get extra nutrients into your diet.  A well-rounded diet, any nutritionist will tell you, will consist of a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables.  I tend to favor the red, orange, and yellow peppers as they are sweeter.  I always remove the ribs and seeds so they are easier to eat (those stupid seeds stick in your teeth!) and you don’t have as much heat as you do just pure flavor.  Nine times out of ten, if you see alfredo in my menu, it’s just a jarred sauce.  Lastly, the fish packets?  Super duper easy prep and clean up.  I will for sure post a recipe of them.  Promise.

I hope these four sample menus give you a clearer idea of how I rotate some of my favorite meals in with others so I don’t bore my husband to tears with our dinners and also keep our diets better rounded than they used to be.  Also, I should mention that when I grocery shop, if I can, I buy the bulk of our food for two weeks, so that I don’t have to do a complete grocery trip every week.  So I will menu-plan for two weeks, and buy the meat portion of eat meal at that time.  Then for the second week, I just have to buy our produce for the week and some other odds and ends.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but when I plan ahead like that, we waste far less money throwing out produce that has gone bad before we can use it.  Happy planning!