Menu Plan 3/6/14-3/12/14

It ended up being an interesting food week around here: in the past three days we’ve used up almost four pounds of butter, and I may have to make a shopping trip to get more, even though it’s not my normal shopping week! We ended up having a couple of my husband’s siblings stay with us for a couple of days this week, and his sister and I had a baking day: she made fudge, bread and lemon meringue pie and I made eclairs. My first batch of eclair shells was a total flop (we dubbed them bread sticks and ate them with soup), but I figured out what I did wrong and made another batch that turned out much better.

I didn’t get to any of my other baking projects I mentioned  as possibilities for the week, but I did make eclairs, and they turned out very well. Sometimes splurges just need to take precedence over practical choices…

I didn’t end up making deep dish pizza again either–it was one of those days and we ate frozen pizza instead. However I *did* make the oyster soup, which was basically a simple potato soup with that addition of the the can of oysters. (I keep wanting to call it a tin of oysters every time I mention it. Perhaps I’ve been watching too many British tv shows recently…) We ate the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches to stretch it out for having guests, and garlic sauteed asparagus, because asparagus is already going on sale cheap at the grocery stores.

I also tried the spinach gratin recipe, and it was a hit. I used milk instead of stock and parmesan cheese instead of swiss. It still tastes distinctly like spinach, so if you’re looking for a disguised spinach recipe, this won’t help you much. But it did have a soft, almost creamy texture that was lovely, and as an added bonus, 1 lb of fresh spinach made barely three servings (two of us could have easily finished it off), so if you get overwhelmed by trying to eat a whole package of fresh spinach in salads and smoothies, this recipe will easily help you finish off the package.

Dinners:

Sausage and sweet potato hash (This will probably get a last minute side, after I decide whether I feel like counting the sweet potato as a carb or a vegetable that day.)

Deep dish pizza with fruit

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Ground beef and potato hash

Chicken thighs with roasted carrots and mashed potatoes

Turkey ‘pork’ dumplings with peas

Crockpot meatloaf with potatoes and carrots

(Can you tell I’m trying to use a lot of organic potatoes and carrots I got a good deal on?)

Lunches:

By my calculations, I should have leftovers for every lunch except one. I’ll plan on finding something to pull out of the freezer, and hope I’m feeling more creative about it that day than I am right now. I’m getting low on lettuce, so I do need a plan for vegetables for lunches. We still have fresh pineapple, which would do for a couple of lunches. I wonder how long it would take us to get tired of roast carrots if I cooked up a lot of them at once and them used them for lunches several days in a row. What if I made some sort of cold, marinated roast carrot salad to switch it up a bit? I’ll have to think on that.

Breakfasts:

(I hardly followed last week’s breakfast plan at all. I never made muffins or rice pudding, and we ate eclairs for breakfast the day after I made them–but don’t tell anyone, this is supposed to be a healthy food blog.)

Eggs

Oatcakes (I’m really intrigued by this, both because of my Scottish heritage, and because it’s a way to eat oats without the oatmeal texture my husband doesn’t like. Plus, another way to switch up which grains we’re using on a regular basis, instead of falling into the lazy ‘wheat for every meal’ habit.)

Chia Pudding

Yogurt and/or fruit, on it’s own, or with the above

Baking and Extras:

I need to make fermented ginger carrot ‘relish’ this week, plus I’m sure I’ll go through at least one batch of homemade french onion dip for snacking between meals. Obviously I need to make oatcakes and chia pudding if we’re going to eat those for breakfasts. (I’m off the hook for trying the pancakes because we’re out of chocolate chips now.) I may also try to make the rice pudding and/or the muffins I planned on making last week. I got a lot of ‘fun baking’ out of my system with the baking day, but I’d like to continue my developing habit of trying new (or rarely made) fun recipes on a regular basis, so maybe I’ll try something like fermented ginger ale, or homemade granola bars, if I find the time for more baking this week.

Grocery Shopping:

(Sales are for the central IL area.)

As I mentioned, I need to go buy butter even though it’s not my normal shopping week, but I don’t want to make too much of a shopping trip out of it. After a large Azure order this month as well as a Costco trip and needing to buy a gallon of raw honey (a large expense for two person grocery budget), I want to save most of the grocery money I have left for St Patrick’s Day, both stocking up on corned beef when it goes on sale, and having a little extra money to throw at fun food to celebrate St Patricks Day.

That said, there are a few tempting sales this week. Fresh asparagus is on sale again, the cheapest being at HyVee for 99 cents a pound. Aldi’s canned (wild Alaska) salmon is 20 cents cheaper than normal, so 2.49, which makes it a good time to get ahead if canned salmon is staple for you. (Aldi is the cheapest place I’ve found to get canned salmon anyway, so even a small price drop makes it an even better deal.) They also have frozen salmon fillets discounted, and fresh lemons for 99 cents a pound.

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