Friday, June 24, 2011

Menu Planning with the MARTIN’S Ad–It’s Back!

I took about a month off from posting my menu planning with the MARTIN’S Ad post.  I had some changes in my work schedule which meant that things at home got shifted and my available blogging time got shifted (or lost). 

I have still tried to keep up with menu planning with some generic keep on hand items for my family to enjoy for dinner.  I have found that even if I get out of the swing of menu planning for a few weeks, it is like riding a bike, you can just jump back into it. 

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 this week.  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 or breakfast for dinner.

Coupons mentioned in this post that do not state where you can find them are listed in my weekly top deals post.  Feel free to check it out for deals on other items that you can pick-up to fill your refrigerator or pantry for less. 

Slow Cooker Barbecue:

I like to pick up a Fresh Whole Shoulder Pork Roast when they are on sale (like this week for $0.99/lb) and just stick it in my slow cooker with a bottle of barbecue sauce. The Kraft barbecue sauce is on sale for $1.   Depending on the barbecue sauce I may add some brown sugar, soy sauce, hot sauce, or whatever I am in the mood for.  I cook it on low for 6-8 hours (varies with size of the roast), then I take it out and chop it. I recently got the Salad Chopper from the Pampered Chef – they make this even easier to chop (after you remove the bone). This usually makes lots of barbecue, more than we need for even two meals so I routinely freeze the leftovers.   The leftovers make a great quick weekend meal.

Now that the weather is hot I am more likely to serve this with something easy like coleslaw which is easy to make yourself with the help of a food processor.  If you are a fan of KFC’s coleslaw here is a recipe that claims to be similar.  I also serve easy sides like steamed frozen vegetables (which I always have on hand in my freezer) or fries.  You can make your own fries or pick up a bag of Alexia French Fries or Onion Rings for $2.99 this week. Don’t forget to pick up some hamburger buns to enjoy with your barbecue.

Chipotle Chicken Wrap:

I was doing a Google search for recipes using the Tyson Grilled Chicken Strips and found this one.  I personally am always leery of already cooked chicken, but after reading her review and this recipe I may give it a try.  The Tyson Grilled Chicken Strips are on sale this week Buy One Get One Free.  I don’t know if these are the refrigerated ones or the frozen ones. There are two different coupons in the 5/8 SmartSource insert depending on which variety.  If you don’t have any barbecue sauce in your pantry or refrigerator the Kraft barbecue sauce is on sale for $1 a bottle.  I don’t see any tortillas on sale but there is a coupon available to reduce the cost of the Chi-Chi’s brand tortillas ($0.50/1 in the 6/12 SmartSource).  I always have cheese on hand, but if you don’t the Kraft shredded cheese is on sale for $2.50. 

These look like a great quick meal that you could easily complete with some frozen veggies or this Corn and Black Bean Salad which is easy to put together the night before with things that I normally keep on hand in my pantry and let it chill in the refrigerator for the next day.

Taco Night:

I personally think that the ground beef prices this week are a little on the high side, but always look for meat that has a yellow sticker on it – that means that it’s sell-by date is the next day or they have too much in stock and need to start moving it before it goes bad.  I have found lots of deals on ground beef and chicken that I have brought home and placed in freezer bags immediately and frozen to save for a week, like this, that I feel like the price is a little too high. 

I do think that the Ortega sale combined with coupons is a good deal.  I like to pick up the seasoning mix and the tortillas separately.  (I have been converting our family over to whole wheat tortillas.)  I know that I can make the seasoning mix, but for only $0.17 a packet (after sale and coupon) I think I will continue to buy it.  

I have shared in the past that I am trying to lose weight with the Weight Watchers Point Plus Program so in an effort to enjoy taco night and save myself some points I have started to use Butter Lettuce or Boston Lettuce and make taco lettuce wraps in place of the taco shells or tortillas.  My girls really like these because they are small and easy to hold. 

The best part about taco night is all of the toppings!  I think the new Breakstone’s Zesty Sour Cream in the Chipotle flavor would be a great addition to taco night, especially for only $0.33 after sale and coupon.  If you don’t have any shredded cheese on hand don’t forget the Kraft shredded cheese that is $2.50 a bag.  If you are making lettuce wraps you don’t need additional lettuce, but if you are using tortillas I like to use the a bagged leafy romaine that is on sale for $2.50 and don’t forget you can combine it with the Dole Salad promotion.  I noticed the Nature’s Promise Canned Beans are $1 a can this week when I was in the store if you want to use black beans or pinto beans.  The Newman’s Own Salsa is also only $1 (after sale and coupon).  If you like to have Mexican rice on the side pick up a pack of the Knorr Lipton Sides rice for $1. 

Garden Salad with Fruit:

I enjoy fresh fruit and like the salads that are available in restaurants now that incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables.  The strawberries and blueberries are both on sale that added to your favorite greens (I prefer romaine) is the base of this salad.  Feel free to add whatever you like or have on hand.  I have seen restaurants offer similar salads with either a poppy seed dressing or some sort of vinaigrette like a balsamic or raspberry.  You can really add whatever you like to the salad like almonds or walnuts, some grilled chicken or hard boiled eggs for protein to make it a complete meal.  I like to add more fruit like 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.

Don’t forget about the Dole Salad Deal when you buy the supplies for this meal!

Happy Menu Planning!


No comments: