Monday, February 1, 2010

On the Menu

Grocery shopping is now one of my least favorite things to do.  I used to love it.  I would coupon clip, stalk sales and see how far our grocery budget could get us every month (I almost always had something left each month).  I also lived in the land of plenty where everything I wanted was readily available and if not at the original location, could be found at one of the other 30 grocery stores in my neighborhood, not to mention the specialty shops or  in the summer, my very favorite- Frank's Fruit Farm.

Now, I must battle a million people in a smallish store with aisles that would make a true claustrophobe cry.   I also have to try and schedule my shopping days against paydays and Sundays  because usually by the time I can get motivated enough to brave the Commissary, if I get there too late on the aforementioned days inevitably something that I want (meat, bread, butter, produce) will be gone.  Have I mentioned too that the store is closed on Mondays? And yes, I could shop on the economy, but the prices are way too high and even with COLA our grocery budget couldn't take that kind of hit, so I choose to be thankful that we are able to buy any groceries and just cross my fingers and try to avoid shopping on Sundays and pay days (unfortunately it doesn't always work out).

We've been here five months and I have only managed to stay within the constraints boundaries of the grocery budget once.  In all of the months we have lived here, I have been unable to make it more than 3 or 4 days at a time without having to go to the Commissary to get something that I needed for dinner.  So, I knew I needed to make a change and sat down and made a menu for the week.  I had been meaning to do this for some time, but just never got around to it.  My sister-in-law sent me an email from http://www.5dollardinners.com/.  I started looking around her site and got sucked into a few others (one of these days, I am going to post a list of all my favorite websites) and got serious about it.  Then, I found out my good buddy Rachel had taken on menu planning as one of her New Years Resolutions, so I felt even more motivated not just to give it a try but to keep up with it.  And guess what, it worked!  For the first time since moving to Guam, I came in under budget last month (by a whopping $7) and for the two weeks that I did menu planning, I only had to go to the store once a week.

I wish I could be as good as Rachel (who also started a cool group on Facebook for all of us meal planners to share recipe ideas, so I'm sure it'll be a great resource for me) and plan 13 meals at one time.  I also wish I had it in me to be like my friends Matt and Jenn and make all of my meals for the week in one day.  But then what I would do with my time?  Probably just sit around and eat bon-bons...

I've decided to start posting my menus here.  Although they aren't expensive, I'm not trying to make the world's cheapest dinner, and I can also promise they won't always be homemade (I heart Velveeta Shells and Cheese with a can of tuna and frozen peas tossed in).  And I'll be honest if something just doesn't work out.

This week's menu is:
Sunday- Pastina with Peas and Carrots
Monday-Flexible 4 Step Chicken (Rustic Chicken with Lemon and Onions), 5 Minute Individual Augratin and green beans of some sort
Tuesday- an old recipe I found in my River Roads cookbook- Casserole Kids Will Love (I'll let ya know if it works out)
Wednesday- leftovers, I am going out and leaving the boys at home
Thursday- supposed to be Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos with homemade tortillas and salsa (but the Comm didn't have sweet potatoes- they also didn't have bananas, which I must have.  So, I may go to the store to get bananas and pick up the sweet potatoes while I'm there.  So much for only going to the store once a week)
Friday or Saturday- Homemade beef ravioli with this incredibly, amazingly simple tomato sauce

So that's it, I'll review the recipes at the end of the week and let you know about any tweaks I make (for instance, the comm didn't have cream- do you see a trend- so for the potatoes au gratin, I had to make my own with milk and butter).

5 comments:

Stacey said...

I print out a blank calendar and write my menus on that and then save them all. You can recycle them every few months and your work is all done for you. I also make a master list of meals that are good so if I get stuck I have something to refer to. I was really good at menu planning last year but have seriously slacked off. It is one of my resolutions once we finally get moved back to SL!

Rachel Bice May said...

You CAN do it!!!!!!! I am adding your 4way chicken to my menu for the next two weeks. It sounds yummy and very easy :) Also on FB is a slow cooker recipe group that I joined - how I have gone this long with out truly using my slower cooker is beyond me. I might use your idea and post my recipes as well on blog. I need some of your inspiration to blog more. Much love to you!!

Terrell said...

Stacey- that's a great idea! I'd also love for you to share some of your recipes. When are y'all moving back to Texas?

Rachel- I have made the chicken twice now (once when we lived in Dayton and then last night). It is pretty easy and quite tasty. I tweaked the recipe some, and will share it later this week.

Stacey said...

What is this 4way chicken? Jayson has already moved back and I am still in georgia trying to get our house sold with the boys. A lot of my recipes involve crescent rolls for some reason=)! Have you ever made chicken pockets?

Terrell said...

I haven't made chicken pockets, but if it's chicken wrapped in a crescent roll, I'm in. Everything tastes better covered in carbs ;)

I hope your house sells soon and you can move back to TX. I know how hard it is to be apart, doing everything on your own and you have 3 times the boys that I do.

Did you ever get your old address at Navy? I have to go down there at some point this week and would gladly take pics for you.

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