Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Food

So January is over, huh! It's been a whirlwind. And quite the cold one, brr. Hot chocolate = best friend.

I think I made about half of the meals I planned, which is honestly better than some past months. We actually didn't eat out that much, but some nights just found something we had at home. I still believe that a bowl of cereal is a fantastic dinner.

My reviews: The jambalaya, risotto, pulled pork, red beans & rice, and chili were all delicious! If you try to make a marinated chicken - don't use a George Foreman grill. Major mess to clean up. Not fun. 

This month I learned something big:

Planning a meal for every day is too many. With only two of us, we sometimes end up with more leftovers than we want to eat. Which means more waste than I'd like. And planning one for every day can get costly, especially if they involve meat. I found that I blew through our grocery budget within the first few weeks, then threw together meals off the plan towards the end, which meant lots of spaghetti/sauce and frozen pizza, and pulling old stuff out of the freezer (which is definitely not a bad thing). I don't always stick exactly to the plan anyway, but definitely want to spread out the good ones. And honestly, as a working professional, I am finding it is a little too ambitious to try to cook every night. I just don't want to. I want some tv time too.

So for this month, I am only going to plan 3-4 meals a week, and allow for more flexibility. On those days that we don't cook something off the list, we will have some built in standbys, either in the freezer or easy to throw together. And I will probably plan for a few less meals with meat each week, maybe one beef, one chicken, one pasta, and one wild card. If one can be a slow cooker meal, that will save some time too. It also leaves room to put in Family Dinners (which we do some weeks and not others), and a meal out every once in awhile. 

So here is the modified plan for February:

Week One
Pioneer Woman's Sunday Night Stew
Gnocchi in a Tomato Broth (I'll use gnocchi we have on hand...not making from scratch)
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Week Two
Pioneer Woman's Perfect Potato Soup (without the bacon, of course)
Swedish Meatballs
Hummus Crusted Chicken Breast
Slow Cooker Brats

Week Three
Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti

Chicken and Lime Soup
Cheesy Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Week Four
Maid Rites (Iowa loose meat sandwiches) - I've missed these!
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Salad

It will be nice to try this out with a short month! To prep, I am also thinking we can do the following:
  • Cook and freeze taco meat into two-serving portions.
  • Bake lasagna in bread loaf pans and freeze.
  • Keep baked potatoes on hand, with some possible toppings.
Have you cooked anything delicious lately? 

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