One of the first concepts that was forced upon me as the mother was that MOMS FEED PEOPLE.
For some reason, it's important to the Handsome Prince that we eat a healthy dinner together as a family every day. Sigh. I see the importance, it's just a major headache.
Now that school is about to begin again, and the food storage has been replenished, here is my plan for the year.
I'll try to have chicken on Monday, beef on Tuesday, soup/chili on Wednesday, leftovers Thursday, kid food Friday, a freezer meal Saturday and a big meal prepared Saturday for Sunday. I have canned chicken, beef, hamburger and tuna in food storage. There are a variety of beef, chicken, sausage, turkey, hamburger, pepperoni, veggies and cheeses in the freezer.
I have 12 meals that I can make just from the things that I have on hand in my food storage*, and about 20 meals that I can make with a little something extra from the freezer or the grocery store. I try to make double and freeze meals when I can, so I have ready-made meals, too.^ At least once a week I'll freeze an extra meal, and then usually once a week we'll have one of the previously frozen meals for dinner.
I'm hoping to rotate the meats as stated above, and also rotate it so that each week I serve one rice meal, one potatoes, one pasta and one bread based.
I'll also rotate American, Mexican, Chinese and Italian.
Stouffers makes all of our lasagna. (Because really, what's the point?) I try to have this in the freezer, too. It counts as real food, or as kid food. Versatile and delicious--should have it every night!
Here are the "Basic Standard Meals":
*Chicken soup/Pot Pie^ (I make a huge amount. Freeze 1 tupperware for another soup meal, make three Pot-pies--1 to freeze for another day, 1 to give away, and one to bake tomorrow, and then add noodles and broth to the rest to serve with home-made bread tonight.) = 4 meals+ leftovers
Cranberry Chicken (Chicken, 1pkg lipton onion soup mix, 1 can cranberry, 1 sm Catalina Dressing)
*Chicken chunk gravy on potatoes
*Beef soup/stew/pot pie^
*Beef chunk gravy on potatoes
Tater tot casserole
Taco variations (Tacos, nachos, taco salad, burrito, 7 layer-bean dip, Navajo Tacos, deep-fried tacos)
*Rice a Roni Casserole
Giant shell meatball casserole
13 bean soup w/ham^
Sausage broccoli stuffing egg bake
Zucchini sausage pasta (There's quite a bit of zucchini in my freezer.)
*Ziti Casserole w/pepperoni or beef
Crock pot chicken
Having all of these mostly-liked standard meals with the spices, etc...on hand should make meal-making easier. Yet, I would default to take-out Chinese, Fried Chicken, Burgers or Pizza every single night if I could. It's a serious weakness. I like to think that I also try new recipes, sometimes. I also cook up hamburger and turkey and keep it in the freezer. The crock-pot gets a lot of use, too. We have less soup in the summer. It would be nice if I could say that we eat more salad, but we probably just eat more fast and/or kid food.
Dinner would be easier if I didn't hear, "EWIE, YUCK!" from at least one source every night except for kid-food and fast-food nights. Our favorite kid food is "Make Your Own Pizza" night. We love to do this with friends. I try to keep all the ingredients for this, too. It's messy, but great fun.
I'm hoping that sticking to this plan will bring down our food bill.