the plan

I decided last weekend that it would be a good idea to try to do some menu planning for the week. Because I'm not used to planning that far ahead - for dinner, at least - I end up at the store 3-4 times a week sometimes and get just what I want at the time.

From what I understand, menu planning is supposed to help you save money and time - so you don't impulse buy and make less trips to the store. I wasn't exactly sure where to start and my FB friends gave me some good feedback:

  • plan a night to have leftovers
  • get a cheap-o whiteboard to write your menu on
  • look at store fliers for what's on sale that week
  • consider theme nights (i.e. Mexican, Chinese, etc...)
  • use e-mealz.com and have them make your menu for you

I looked at the fliers, but nothing caught my eye in particular, but I did plan a night for leftovers. I'm not savvy enough for themes or whiteboards, yet, either. Baby steps, right? The strategy I went with this time was look up things on the internet that look yummy. That seemed to work out pretty well and I picked 4 things I wanted to make this week - but am realizing I should have accounted for an extra night of leftovers since it's just two of us.

Sunday was Chicken Tequila Fettuccini, which was very good. I followed this recipe for the most part, except the chicken. Instead of doing it how they said, I made it on it's own and mixed it in at the end. I put the soy sauce, some teriyaki, and the chicken in a bowl and rubbed it with the leftover lime - and it was yummy that way. Instead of using heavy cream, I used half-and-half, and added a bit of cornstarch when it was boiling to thicken it. The sauce turned out a little funny because the acidity of the lime juice didn't seem to mesh well with the cream... but it wasn't anything that a little parmesan cheese couldn't cover up. I made the breadsticks, too - Keith said they were a little bland - and I agreed. They were fine, but not super special - my first experience using yeast and making some kind of bread went so-so. But the pasta itself tasted really good - and in my opinion was better the next day reheated.

On Monday I went to dinner with Em - our new weekly tradition. Tuesday was BBQs, as I mentioned in a previous post. Wednesday was leftover BBQs. Thursday was Chinese Chicken Salad. We really liked this, as well, and will likely make it again. I made the dressing using the instructions in the recipe, except I used a little less poppy seeds. For the rest, we just did a make-your-own thing and didn't mix everything together. So it was fresh romaine lettuce, water chestnuts, green onion, almond slices, and chow mein noodles, then topped with the dressing, and finished off with a little breaded chicken. I took a couple of eggs and beat it with 2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce (a Chinese cooking and dipping sauce), dipped the chicken slices into the egg mixture, and breaded with a mixture of corn flakes with some pepper in it. The chicken went very well with the salad and we were pleased.

The problem now is that I have leftover salad now, but I have one recipe left for the week. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I need to make it tomorrow because, as of Saturday morning, I'll be on my own for a few days. What to do...

So, I will try, try again. But it must be working because I haven't gone to the grocery store since Sunday!


  1. Bren- another tip for successful meal planning: do it on Sunday with the paper, coupons, and grocery store flyers. Plan your meals around what is on sale; stock up and freeze meet when you can during a BOGO special. Good luck and happy planning!!


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