Here's a sample menu of what we had the other week for dinner below for you! Lots of people ask me what I make each week, where I get my ideas and if I always have a plan. I try to have a plan 80% of the time and then fly by the seat of my pants the other 20%. Why? Because that is just LIFE and some days we decide we want to order Japanese and some days we end up having something to do late in the evenings that doesn't leave time for dinner making. I don't like being inflexible as it messes with the spontaneous fun in life. However I do have a plan for each week that I stick to unless something pops up...makes my life easier as I'm the ONLY cook in the family LOL. Alexa is sous chef some nights as I'm TRYING...HARD...to teach her the basics of cooking right now.
You can read more about my Meal Planning Tips and how I do it HERE!
I like to mix each week up with some family favorites, some new recipes I may be trying out and I always ask the kids and hubby what they are craving too. I also include items that can be grilled easily if the weather allows and any fresh produce I might have. I find recipes on the web, in magazines like Southern Living and on Food Network tv. Sometimes I have a great meal at a restaurant and want to re-create it "Suzanne" style so I play around with that. It sometimes takes a few tries to get it perfect but that's the fun of it!
I buy most of my groceries on Sunday or Monday for the week...I like FRESH...fresh is best I always say at least when you can. And I shop WITH a menu in mind every time. This makes shopping quicker and cheaper when you KNOW exactly what you are using and needing for that week. And good lordy I NEVER go to the store hungry because I will come back with all kinds of stuff and I try to not take the teens because they like to "add to cart" LOL. Sometimes I will pick up fresh produce or fish mid-week if need be. I don't necessarily shop with coupons...I used to clip them like a mad woman when kids were smaller but its a time issue on my part now. So if I have store coupons then great, I'll use them but I don't go out of my way to clip...nothing wrong with it of course but I just don't have time most weeks anymore for that. I know that some people clip coupons like its a job and end up with free groceries...awesome...just not for me. I keep my grocery budget to about $80-90 a week (that's FOOD ONLY) depending on what we are having and who is over. I regularly have many teens in my house that ALL like to eat so that can add a bit to my bill LOL. Most of our other household items are bought every 5-6 weeks at Costco (papertowels, toilet paper, ketchup, canned tomato sauce, etc...things I use quite often) I have a large pantry system in my garage for Costco items.
-Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Potato Puffs and Cucumber/Tomato salad with
homemade Ranch Dressing
Steak Fajitas, Homemade Guacamole/Tortilla chips and Spanish Rice
Linguine Patties with Homemade Marinara, Fresh Salad, Italian-Garlic Bread
Lemon-Pepper Tilapia filets, Fried Corn and Zucchini Boats
3-Cheese Calzones with homemade Ricotta and Caesar Salad
Grilled Hamburgers & Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, Corn-on-the-Cobb, and Cucumbers in Vinegar
I always get at least ONE night off from cooking :)
So that's a sampling of a weekly menu from the Dean House this month!