Menu planning and saving money really can go hand-in-hand. It is important to realize that you can still enjoy some of your family’s favorite meals by menu planning with a sales flyer, you just need to be flexible.
I am including ideas and recipes for four meals for the week. As I’ve mentioned before, I have found that I really only cook on average four meals a week and that we end up having at least one left-over night, one meal out, and something easy like homemade pizza.
We have been eating even fewer full dinners at home recently. Steve and I are “in training” for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k in April so we have been going to the YMCA together about two nights a week when he gets home from work and leaving the kids in the child watch. We are up to 3-4 miles a day now so when we get home we are eating light high protein things like a salad with grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs. I have been trying to keep both on hand by hard boiling a dozen eggs at a time or grilling a little over a pound of chicken at one time on my George Foreman grill. We have been eating the Balance bars that I stocked up on on our way to the YMCA so that we don’t crash in the middle of our mileage.
Have you tried any of the recipes that I have posted? Do you have a family favorite that you would like to share? I am hoping to make and try the Spaghetti with Parmesan and Bacon tonight. I’ll let you know how it turned out and what my family thought of the recipe.
Eye of Round Roast:
I mentioned in my top deals post that I like to buy the Whole Eye Round Roast when they go on sale and grind some of it for my own lean ground beef. I usually save about 2-3 pounds to cook as a roast. I saw this recipe in the January issue of All You Magazine and was excited to find it on-line so that I didn’t have to type it out. It looks really easy and looks like it could easily be cooked in a slow cooker just cook it on low for about 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. I would sear the meat in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker. You could serve it with mashed potatoes (with the gravy on top) or over egg noodles. The Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles are on sale for $1.25 a bag. You could add a bag of the Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables that are on sale this week for $1.33 when you buy 3 and use the $1/3 coupon in the 1/23 SmartSource insert. You can use the leftover roast for sandwiches for the next day or two on the Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain breads or Deli Flats that are $1.49 each when you buy two and use the $0.75/1 coupon from the 2/13 SmartSource insert.
I am not trying to be one of those “deceptive moms” who hides healthy foods in dishes, but turkey tacos is a great way to introduce your family to ground turkey. The seasoning disguises the fact that it isn’t ground beef. The GIANT Ground Turkey (93% lean) is on sale this week for $2.69/lb. It comes in a 3-lb. package so you can make up a huge batch and freeze the leftovers of just freeze the remaining two pounds for another time. You can pick up an Old El Paso Dinner Kit for only $1.50 when you use this $0.60/2 coupon. The coupon is good for any two Old El Paso items so if you don’t want another dinner kit pick up a can of refried beans or an extra taco seasoning packet. You can get the Sargento shredded cheese for $1.50 when you buy 2 and use the $1/2 coupon from the 1/30 SmartSource insert. GIANT sour cream is $1.29 at an everyday price. Don’t forget to hit the produce section for lettuce and tomatoes for your taco night. You could have the Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Ready Rice as a quick side for only $0.50 when you use the $0.75/1 coupon from the 2/20 RedPlum insert.
White Chicken Chili:
I am always looking for new ways to use boneless skinless chicken breast. This is a recipe that has been passed around by ladies at my church for several years. It has even been submitted to the cookbook that will be available in the Spring. This recipe is the closest I could find to the actual recipe on-line we add an additional 1 tsp. of cumin to ours. I also use fat free evaporated milk in place of the whipping cream. (I have had it both ways. It taste better with the whipping cream, but I feel better about eating it if I have it with the evaporated milk.) We enjoy it with either cornbread or crusty bread. I like to serve a salad so there is something green on our plates as well. Make sure you pick-up the Perdue Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast that are $2.44 a pound and use the $0.75/1 coupon from the 1/23 RedPlum insert. The GIANT Sour Cream is regularly $1.29. You can buy the Old El Paso diced green chilies and use this $0.60/2 coupon.
Strawberry Spinach Salad:
I enjoy fresh fruit and like the salads that are available in restaurants now that incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables. I found this recipe and thought it would be a good starting point for a different way to enjoy the strawberries that are on sale this week for $2 and the GIANT fresh spinach on sale for $1.50. You could buy a poppy seed dressing if you don’t have the time to make the dressing in the recipe and allow it to chill. I have enjoyed similar salads with a raspberry vinaigrette or other fruit vinaigrettes. (The 16oz. Ken’s Salad Dressings are on sale for $1.50 each when you buy 2 and use the $1/2 coupon from the 1/9 SmartSource insert.) You can really add whatever you like – change the almonds to walnuts if you like those better, add some grilled chicken or hard boiled eggs for protein to make it a complete meal. I like to add more fresh fruit such as blueberries, pineapple, or mandarin oranges. It really depends on what is in season and on hand. I sometimes add some crumbled feta or blue cheese. You can easily adjust it to work for what your family likes and dislikes. You will really enjoy it when you realize how easy and inexpensive it is compared to what you would pay in a restaurant.
Happy Menu Planning!