A few people have expressed an interest in my meal calendar, so I thought I'd elaborate on what I do. It's really very simple. I happen to use and excel spreadsheeet (because I love excel!), but you could use whatever format works for you. You could even take out a ruler and a piece of paper and draw your own calendar. Or buy a pre-made calendar especially for meal planning. But I find excel very easy to work with and it allows me to duplicate things without a lot of work.
Alright, so I am still in the beginning stages of this, but I have been spending a lot of time looking for recipes online that are easy, time efficient, and sound like a family pleaser. I have been using the crockpot A LOT with the help of A Year of Crockpotting, and I have recently started looking at Campbell's Kitchen, and another blog from our ward Communal Kitchen. These have easy, family friendly recipes. If you have another site or blog that you have used in the past, please let me know! I made this month's meal calendar by randomly selecting recipes that sounded delicious and I plugged them into different days depending on time involved. For instance, my mom takes Charlie and Olivia on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I have more time to spend in the kitchen if necessary. So I might put a recipe that takes a little longer on one of those days. After I have the month filled, I broke it down into weeks and made lists of the ingredients I would need for each week. Then when I go to the store, I know exactly what I'm looking for. It may be necessary to hold off on some fresh ingredients depending on when you do your major shopping and when you prepare the meal.
I have the menu for March all ready to go, but it still is mostly things we haven't had before. This is actually a more expensive way to do it, but I think it's necessary if you are trying to build a list of meals you can have ingredients for at all times. So after March is over, we should have a nice list of meals we could repeat monthly. Then each month I will add a new meal just once or twice to fill in. I think I will also designate one night a week to a specific kind of food. Right now I'm thinking:
Mon. Bar Food/appetizers (we love to snack on appetizer type things!)
Sat. Left overs/dinner out/fly by the seat of our pants
Sun. We eat at Laura's every Sunday, so this is a freebie for us.
I am excited to get through March and REALLY start saving $$. I also use CouponMom, and once I have a list of things I always need to have on hand, I can buy them when they are on sale and I have a coupon. It's so exciting! :) When I find great recipes, I will post them to share with everyone. Today I would like to share Buffalo Pizza, because it is the easiest and yummiest thing right now!
*2 shredded chicken breast halves
*Buffalo Wing sauce (as much I detest the restaraunt, I recommend Hooter's sauce. It's thicker and works the best.)
*Shredded Mozzerella and or Cheddar cheese
*Pre-made pizza crust (If you prefer your crust thick, get the dough that you have to bake yourself).
Boil and shred chicken with two forks or fingers.
*If you purchase pizza dough, follow directions on package for baking.
Lightly cover crust with olive oil.
Put a layer of wing sauce on baked crust.
Layer chicken and cheese, with cheese on top.
Drizzle a little sauce over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or so. (If you bought the premade crust, follow the directions for time on that.)
This is enough to make two premade crust pizzas or one very large pizza from the dough. Enjoy!