Tag Archives: menu

October Menu & a Recipe

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I have been so busy with everything school-related that I let October sneak up on me.  Fortunately, I knew I didn’t have to worry about the first two days of this month because we had church functions both Saturday and Sunday evening.  I feel like I repeat a lot of meals every month, but those are our favorites.  I have added a couple of new recipes that I found on Pinterest, and I also added some soups because it’s getting cooler, and soups are easy and perfect for the crockpot on busy days.  I have included a recipe (below the menu) that I have made before but not in a long time.  I can’t remember where I got this recipe, but it might have come from a Pampered Chef cook book.  Planning this month’s menu was a challenge due to several meetings (mostly my husband but a couple for me), our church activities, and fall events.  Fortunately, we can have leftovers every night that we are home.  I ❤️ leftovers!

  1. Dinner out
  2. Dinner out
  3. Chicken cordon bleu
  4. Leftovers
  5. Mexican Skillet Casserole
  6. Leftovers
  7. Baked Ravioli
  8. Dinner out
  9. Dinner out
  10. Fishsticks and popcorn/butterfly shrimp (from the freezer for a quick meal)
  11. Leftovers
  12. Spicy Sausage Pasta
  13. Leftovers
  14. Grilled chicken, Lyonnaise Potatoes
  15. Dinner out
  16. Dinner out
  17. Meat & Potato Casserole
  18. Cajun Shrimp Quinoa Casserole
  19. Southwest Skillet Chicken & Rice
  20. Leftovers
  21. Parmesan chicken and pasta (see below for recipe)
  22. Dinner out
  23. Dinner out
  24. Chili
  25. Leftovers
  26. Spaghetti
  27. Chicken tortilla soup
  28. Leftovers/Dinner out
  29. Dinner out
  30. Dinner out
  31. Taco Soup


Parmesan Chicken and Pasta (lighter version)

1 lb chicken breasts

2 egg whites

1 garlic clove 

1 cup croutons, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 TBSP flour

8 oz pasta

2 cups pasta sauce

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Trim chicken and cut to make four pieces.  In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.  Press/crush garlic and mix into egg whites.  Add crushed croutons and grated Parmigiano Reggiano to bowl.  Add oregano and pepper; mix well.  Coat chicken breasts with flour.  Then, dip the pieces in the egg white mixture, coating both sides and shaking off the excess.  Place chicken on baking stone and spray the top of each piece lightly with oil.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  Meanwhile, cook pasta and heat sauce.  When everything is done, place a serving of pasta on each plate.  Top with chicken, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1 TBSP mozzarella.  

September Menu

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September Menu

I started working on our menu for next month over the weekend, but I was not able to complete it until Monday afternoon.  I love having a plan.  It helps me plan my grocery shopping list and keeps me from becoming stressed over what to cook each evening.  Links will be included for specific recipes.  I hope this list will give you some ideas, new recipes to try, or motivation to plan your menu.  I have made almost all of these recipes several times, and many of them are family favorites.  Maybe you will find a new favorite for your family.  

  1. Leftovers/yoyo (your on your own)
  2. Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce
  3. Dinner Out
  4. Bacon, scrambled eggs, Biscuits, fresh fruit
  5. Hamburgers
  6. Cajun Chicken Pasta
  7. Crockpot Sloppy Joes/Stuffed Bell Peppers (low carb, gluten-free alternative)
  8. Leftovers/yoyo
  9. Chicken Cordon Bleu
  10. Dinner Out
  11. Chicken Fajitas (grill extra meat)
  12. Grilled Chicken Salads (leftover chicken from previous night)
  13. Leftovers/yoyo
  14. Spaghetti
  15. Leftovers/yoyo
  16. Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice
  17. Dinner Out
  18. Sausage, scrambled eggs, Pancakes, fresh fruit
  19. Cheesy Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole (crockpot)
  20. Tacos
  21. Grilled Chicken, Tex Mex Pasta Salad
  22. Leftovers/yoyo
  23. Hobo Dinners
  24. Dinner Out
  25. Tortilla Chip and Pepper Jack Crusted Chicken
  26. Spicy Sausage Pasta
  27. Leftovers/yoyo
  28. Chicken Enchilada Casserole
  29. Leftovers/yoyo
  30. Baked Ravioli

Now I want to share a little tip that has made my life easier.  We purchased a new set of stainless steel cookware about three years ago.  This was my first experience cooking with stainless steel, and I hated how difficult they were to clean, especially after browning or sautéing meat.  

Even after soaking and scrubbing, the pots and pans would have cloudy white spots all over the inside.  About a year ago, I read somewhere that tomato products would fix this problem, so I tried squirting some ketchup in the pan and adding a little water.  


I heated this mixture over low heat for a few minutes and gently scraped with my nylon spoon, and all of that cooked-on residue came right off!  I have used pasta sauce, tomato paste, salsa, diced tomatoes, etc.  Once the acid in the tomatoes has worked its magic, simply wash and dry the pan as usual.  Now I love using my stainless steel cookware!

August Menu

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I have finally completed our menu for next month.  Planning ahead saves time, money, calories, and frustration, so it is definitely worth the effort.  I probably overthink the entire process, but I need variety or cooking becomes another chore for me.  I try not to have chicken two nights in a row.  I alternate with beef, pork, or shrimp.  I also mix up our cuisines, alternating Italian, Mexican, and American dishes.  My son and I could eat Mexican food every night, but my husband would rather have Italian more frequently.  I do my best to keep things fairly even.  I also try to incorporate recipes using produce from our garden.


Busyness complicates our menu planning as well.  School starts in a few weeks, and we will have a few school functions in the evenings, which will require quick dinners or leftovers.  The girls have gymnastics one afternoon a week, so I plan a crock pot meal that day to have dinner ready when we get home.  My husband has a few meetings in the evenings, and I don’t cook if I have to clean it all up by myself, so we have leftovers then too.  We attend church on Saturday nights, so we are away from home during dinner hours and always pick up fast food on our way home.  

That being said, I have come up with a menu that will work for our family for the coming month.  You are welcome to use my menu or just use some of these recipes.  I have included links for all the recipes I use, most of which I found on Pinterest.  I love trying new recipes.  I hope you find a new recipe that your family will enjoy. 

August 1:  Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice, side salad
August 2:  church function with meal

August 3:  Baked Ravioli, broccoli

August 4:  Pecan-Crusted Chicken BreastsLyonnaise Potatoes

August 5:  Breakfast for Dinner–bacon, scrambled eggs, Biscuits, fresh fruit


August 6:  eat out

August 7:  Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeño Cream, rice, salad

August 8:  Spicy Sausage Pasta, grilled squash

August 9:  leftovers

August 10:  Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin, baked potatoes, Spicy Garlic String Beans

August 11:  Spaghetti, salad, garlic toast

August 12:  leftovers

August 13:  eat out

August 14:  Tomato Basil Chicken, corn

August 15:  Chicken Tortellini Skillet, green beans

August 16:  Beef Enchilada Casserole (recipe to come), guacamole, salad

August 17:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole, broccoli

August 18:  leftovers

August 19:  Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce, grilled veggies

August 20:  eat out

August 21:  Beef Tacos

August 22:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, salad

August 23:  leftovers

August 24:  Hobo Dinners

August 25:  Tortilla Chip and Pepper Jack Crusted Chicken, sliced avocado, corn


August 26:  Crock Pot Sloppy Joes/Stuffed Bell Peppers (omit the bun, fill bell peppers with the meat mixture, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes), Hassleback Potatoes

August 27:  eat out

August 28:  Julia Child’s Quiche, fresh fruit, French bread

August 29:  Italian Chicken Bake with Homemade Basil Pesto, pasta, salad


August 30:  Mexican Skillet Casserole, guacamole

August 31:  Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss, corn

November Recipes

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These are a few of our favorite recipes, and they also happen to be on our menu this month.  Give one a try and let me know what you think!

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef, cooked, crumbled

2 cups frozen corn

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 – 1 can Rotel

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Water

1 can tomato paste (optional)

Combine all ingredients in large pot or slow cooker.  Add enough water to cover all ingredients; stir in tomato paste if you like thicker broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes.  You could also cook this in a slow cooker on low for several hours, adding more water.  


Chicken Cordon Bleu

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4-6 slices of Swiss cheese

4-6 slices of thinly-sliced ham lunch meat

1-2 cups seasoned croutons

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Trim chicken breasts and cut into 4-6 similarly-sized pieces.  Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken to about 1/4″ thickness. Place the croutons in a plastic bag and pound with the meat mallet until breadcrumbs remain.  (You can use store-bought breadcrumbs instead, but I can’t find any without a couple of ingredients I avoid.)  Pour crumbs onto a plate or other shallow dish.  Top each piece of chicken with one slice of Swiss cheese and then one slice of ham.  Roll up each piece of chicken and then roll in breadcrumbs.  Place in a greased baking dish and put in oven for about 20 minutes or until center of chicken is done.  


Pecan-crusted Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into four pieces

3 ounces cream cheese

1 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup seasoned croutons

1 1/4 cup pecans, divided

1/4 tsp salt

seasonings to taste:  onion, garlic, basil, cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix softened cream cheese and butter with about one cup of finely chopped pecans, salt, and seasonings.  Use the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten chicken pieces to about 1/2″ thickness.  Spoon about 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture onto each piece of chicken. Crush croutons in a bag using the meat mallet.  Mix crouton crumbs and about 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans; pour crumb mixture onto a plate or shallow dish.  Roll up chicken pieces to enclose cream cheese.  Use toothpicks, if needed, to keep chicken rolled up. Press chicken in crumb mixture on each side, coating with a layer of crumbs.  Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  

November Menu

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Day 1:  chicken cordon bleu, corn

Day 2:  leftovers

Day 3:  shrimp, fish, broccoli, corn, raw carrots

Day 4:  Cheesy chicken tater tot casserole, green beans

Day 5: Hobo dinners, rice

Day 6:  Chicken enchilada casserole, chips, salsa, guacamole

Day 7:  dinner out

Day 8: beans, cornbread

Day 9:  chicken fajitas, rice, beans, guacamole

Day 10:  leftovers

Day 11:  Slow cooker pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, broccoli

Day 12:  Southwest skillet chicken and rice

Day 13:  spaghetti, salad, garlic knots

Day 14:  dinner out

Day 15:  pizza

Day 16:  Mexican skillet casserole, avocado, chips/tortillas

Day 17:  Spicy sausage pasta, salad, hot rolls

Day 18:  Chili, cornbread

Day 19:  leftovers

Day 20:  bacon, eggs, waffles, fruit

Day 21:  dinner out

Day 22:  dinner out

Day 23:  taco soup, cornbread

Day 24:  Chicken pot pie

Day 25:  Tortilla chip and pepper jack crusted chicken breasts, guacamole, chips

Day 26:  Thanksgiving Day

Day 27:  leftovers

Day 28:  dinner out

Day 29:  pecan-crusted chicken breastsLyonnaise potatoes

Day 30:  Baked tortellini with chicken gratinati, green beans, garlic knots

No-Spend Month: Day 27

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  • The kids and I stayed home all day and ate our meals at home.  I let Big Brother eat the leftovers I had planned to eat for lunch, and I made myself some nachos with diced tomatoes and jalapeño peppers from our garden.  I sure will miss having fresh vegetables.   I used up all of the sour cream and the girls helped me finish off my bag of Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. 
  • My husband thinks he has a cold now, so he bought some more medicine today ($5).  If we could have kept everyone healthy this month, we could have saved even more money!
  • The kids ate shells and cheese for dinner.  I had leftovers, and my husband ate another corn dog.  He had a meeting this evening, so I didn’t try to cook dinner. 
  • Tomorrow, the teachers and staff at our school are having an “eat day,” where people sign up to bring various dishes or items to go with those dishes.  The theme this time is Mexican food, and I signed up to make a version of chicken tortilla soup.  I had all of the ingredients except the salsa verde, but I found a recipe for homemade salsa verde.  I only needed to buy tomatillos to make the recipe, and I had my husband buy those when he went shopping over the weekend.  I only spent a couple dollars to make enough soup to feed a dozen people!  I’m beginning to think I might still have too much food in my pantry and freezer.
  • I planned our menu for November this morning.  I tried to plan meals that require little to no extra ingredients, so that I can use up more of what we already have.  I’ll share my November menu as soon as I have time.  

No-Spend Month: Day 23

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I. Am. Exhausted. Between Big Sister sleep walking at 10:00 pm, a thunderstorm, my husband’s phone going off several times because there was a fire in a neighboring town, the twins waking up at 2:30 am, and then my alarm going off at 5:00 am, I didn’t get much sleep last night.  I feel like I did when I had one newborn.  (Having two newborns was exponentially more exhausting.)  That storm last night and the continued rain today has caused some flash flooding in our area.  We took this photo on our way home from school early this afternoon.  

 There is a creek to the far right in this photo, but it completely flooded this family’s yard.  Part of their driveway was covered with water.  If you zoom in, you can see a basketball goal down the driveway and a tire swing hanging from a tree but almost halfway covered by water.  Fortunately, their house is built on a small hill to the left. 

  • The kids and I packed lunches to take to school today.  My husband had lunch with a friend, who bought his lunch.   He obviously has some great friends.
  • I made southwest skillet chicken and rice for dinner for the first time.  We really enjoyed it, and this meal will definitely go on our monthly menu.  Speaking of that, I need to start working on my menu for November.   I’m hoping to do a better job of planning ahead in regards to groceries and not go to the store as often as I had been before we started this no-spend month.  That’s definitely one lesson I’ve learned this month.  
  • We didn’t spend any money today.  I’ve been so busy since I started teaching that I haven’t posted any garage sale items, so we didn’t make any money either.  I’ll work on that tomorrow because I want to make sure we have enough to get us through the end of the month.  

No-Spend Month: Day 22

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No-Spend Month: Day 22

We are more than two-thirds of the way through the month, and we still have over $100.  That doesn’t sound like much, but it should be plenty.  My son told us a couple days ago that it didn’t feel like we had been doing this no-spend month for twenty days.  I agreed and reminded him that we are still eating like kings.  He said that we would have a cook and a baker if we were kings.  Oh, my literal kid, you are correct, but you missed my point. 

  • The kids and I stayed home all day, so we ate all of our meals at home.  This is not only saving us money but calories as well!  You’d think I would have lost more than one pound by now, but I wasn’t really eating out much more before.  I would give in and take the kids to Sonic once a week, but I don’t drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages, so I rarely order anything other than meals.
  • My husband had a meeting out of town today, and he brought us some treats from our favorite bakery over an hour away.  I’m not sure he understands that we are still in our no-spend month.  Lol.  We have decided not to take the kids to the event we had planned to attend tomorrow night, so that will save us $20, which is just about what he spent today. 
  • I made baked ravioli, broccoli, and garlic knots for dinner.  (See?  Eating like kings!)  
  • I almost forgot to mention that we decided this morning to save my three pay checks to use for Christmas gifts.  I’m so excited to have a plan for that money and to know that we won’t accumulate any debt or dip into our savings this year to pay for Christmas.  

No-Spend Month: Day 21

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Wednesdays are very busy for us this semester.  We stay at school later to allow the big kids time to do their homework (while I grade papers) because they have science and social studies with Grandmother on Tuesday and Thursday and also because the little girls are home on Tuesday and Thursday so I can’t help them as much.  The little girls stay in childcare at school until the older two are finished with their assignments, and the twins finally stayed long enough today to take a nap on the nap mats I made for them.  We came home for thirty minutes to eat a snack and let Big Sister change clothes.  Big Sister has gymnastics from 4:00 to 5:00, and we have just enough time to go home and eat dinner before my husband takes Big Brother to his Bible study group.  I’m exhausted by the end of the day.  Well, more exhausted than usual.  The girls had a bath and then had a little time to play before bed.  Sissy likes to carry her baby doll on her hip like Mama does, and Little Sister likes to put 20 different clips in her hair.  They are a mess!

   

  • The kids and I took lunches to school.  My husband ate breakfast at work and then snacked on leftovers and didn’t eat lunch today. 
  • I veered from our menu a little this week.  I didn’t cook Sunday night, so I moved that to Monday, skipped the homemade pizzas entirely, changed tonight to my backup, family-favorites:  popcorn shrimp, fish sticks, corn, plain spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumbers.  I’ll make tonight’s scheduled meal tomorrow and move that one to Friday because it looks like our Friday night plans will be rained out.  I love planning a menu, but I do so in pencil and change as needed.  I try to schedule around meetings and such, but I don’t have everything on my calendar that everyone else does. 
  • We needed a few things from Costco, so my husband went while waiting for our son to finish his Bible study this evening.  He took cash and spent $42.03 on groceries.
  • I got paid yesterday for teaching for the month of October.  We weren’t expecting a paycheck until next month because that’s how I got paid when I taught public school, but this is nice.  We weren’t sure what to do with that money, since it isn’t regular income, but we are still in a no-spend month, and it will be considered regular income next month, so we are just leaving it in our account and not planning to spend it.  We can use it if we have to, but I’m hoping we can make it 10 more days on what we have left. 

Thank you for following us with this extreme experiment.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you are planning to try a no-spend month or even a week.  I’d love to hear from you!

No-Spend Month: Day 20

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No-Spend Month: Day 20

My sweet seven-year-old wrote me a note yesterday evening and left it on my bathroom counter, where I found it last night after she was asleep.  The second page asked me to have everything on the table by 7:05 this morning.  

 I should have known she didn’t really want blueberry muffins (she only eats banana muffins, but we were out of bananas), but blueberry muffins sounded good to me.  We had all the ingredients for Ellen’s Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins.  I have made these muffins before, but it has been awhile–like maybe a year.  Mornings are usually not the best time for me to bake anything, but I started on it before any of the girls were up this morning, and we enjoyed delicious, warm, moist muffins for breakfast today.  It was closer to 7:45 by the time I had them on the table, but Big Sister didn’t mind, and then she didn’t even eat any.

 

  • Today was a homeschool day, so the kids and I stayed home all day, and, therefore, spent no money.  My husband was able to eat lunch at work again today.
  • I made Spicy Sausage Pasta this evening, and we enjoyed having my husband’s parents join us for dinner.  The recipe says four servings, but five of us ate hearty portions and had one serving leftover (my lunch tomorrow).  The girls ate plain sausage and plain pasta, and I also fixed broccoli for everyone.
  • I sold something through our online garage sale and made $12 today.