One of the goals I am working with for the new year is to do a better job of planning our meals. When I plan meals, we make better use of the food we have on hand and spend less on grocery shopping. I love to use coupons and planning a menu helps me to use the coupons we have on hand to further reduce our food costs. All of that is good! I also post our menu on the fridge which gives my kids a chance to get excited about the meals they love and to prepare themselves for the meals they loathe. :)
Another bonus? Maybe this doesn't happen to you, but when we work without a plan, healthy meals can fall by the wayside and we eat out more than we would like. I have also noticed that encouraging my kids to try new foods is important but often neglected. When we eat the same meals often, I find myself feeling bored with meal preparation which is no good for anyone! So, it is time for me to take the initiative and start planning! Want to know what's cooking here this week?
The kids went back to school today so we are back in routine mode. Breakfast is important to us but it also matters that the kids can make breakfast, most days, on their own. With kids leaving in shifts and being driven to two different campuses, I am not always available to cook a hot breakfast. So this week, the kids are given choices of cereal, toast and eggs or oatmeal. My older boys know how to quickly scramble an egg so this works well! In addition to these items, we have yogurt and string cheese and fruit on hand to round out the morning meal. For days when I am available to cook, we will have eggs and sausage, waffles and sausage or pumpkin muffins.
My kids carry a lunch to school daily. They enjoy a wide variety of foods for this, though not all are as healthy as I would like. On the menu this week for packed lunches are: sandwiches supplies (peanut butter, honey, ham and cheese), mac and cheese, canned soups, pizza rolls, lean pockets, whole wheat crackers, fruit snacks, fresh fruit, chips, oatmeal cookies, etc...
Now for dinner! I began this week's menu based on what I had gotten on sale last week. With the holidays over, we picked up a turkey on a great sale. Even though that will make a lot of work for me today, roasting a turkey this afternoon will help to feed us for several meals. So here are our dinners for this week:
Monday: Roasted turkey dinner with all the fixings! I will make mashed potatoes, fresh bread, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and stuffing.
Tuesday: Turkey soup! I have a speaking engagement on Tuesday so using my crock pot will be really helpful. We have a shortcut for making soup... When tight on time, try picking out some cans of a healthy soup and using them as a base for a home-made version you can personalize. Add fresh or frozen veggies, roasted meat and spices to taste. We have also thrown a bit of gravy into our soup which makes the broth much richer. We will serve rolls or fresh bread with this.
Wednesday: Smoked sausage, mac and cheese and veggies! After two days of turkey, I know we won't want another! :) I am planning here for an easy meal that the kids can help with. I have a coupon for smoked sausage and have mac and cheese on hand. Roasted broccoli or kale chips will round this out.
Thursday: Lasagna, garlic bread and roasted veggies! I have a speaking engagement on Thursday, too. An easy meal will help a ton! I have a frozen lasagna to use so that is great for this week! Are you noticing a trend here with our veggies? My kids will eat almost anything we roast. :) If you ask them about their favorite veggies, they will quickly say broccoli and Brussels sprouts but we serve both roasted. It is easy to do! A little olive oil and a hot oven and veggies taste amazing!
Friday: Turkey enchiladas! Using the last of our turkey, I will make enchiladas. I have tortillas, enchilada sauce and black beans on hand. I only need to pick up some cheese and mix this one up! We will serve this dinner with Mexican rice and corn we froze last summer.
Saturday: Fun and easy dinner... Chili dogs! This was one of the new meals I began introducing to my kids. I know it could be healthier so I will serve it with pita chips and hummus. My kids are still not sold on hummus but we are chipping away at that a bit at a time.
Sunday: Pork roast and all the fixings! We make a big Sunday dinner every week but try to make enough to help my menu for the next week. On Sunday, we will have pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn casserole, roasted broccoli, homemade applesauce and homemade bread. Next week, our leftover pork roast will make for hot sandwiches from the crock pot!
So, that is what we are eating this week. What about you? What is on your menu? What do you do to help your kids try new (and healthier?) foods? How do you save on your dinner menu? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about menu planning at home!
Blessings on your day!
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