Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday

To break up the mundane of the week and possibly start a trend, I've decided to share with all of you one of the rituals that I perform every Wednesday - menu planning for the following week.

I've always been one to meal plan.  I am just too "type A" to walk into the grocery store, buy a bunch of stuff, and then come home and try to make meals out of it.  I usually end up spending WAY too much money that way.  Granted, there are some things we always keep on hand, and then other things we only buy if they are on the menu for the week.  I have always cut coupons but here recently I have been doing that a lot more and trying to combine coupons with the sales paper for an even greater savings - big thanks to Southern Savers for doing a majority of that work for me, and to Leslie for introducing me to Southern Savers and giving me great grocery shopping tips!

I really do enjoy cooking and just wish that I had more time for it.  I cook ahead when I have time and try to make our meals as healthy as possible.  I try to abstain from buying meal kits and pre-prepared frozen meals but sometimes...you gotta do what you gotta do!  And we love to have our pizza nights with one or two of our favorite frozen pizzas.  I just try to keep that down to once every week - two weeks.  I am also not a big fan of waste so Wednesday night is usually leftover night at the Smith house (since trash day is Thursday).  So I generally plan 5 meals a week - add in leftover night and one night out to eat and presto, we have a full week's worth of meals so we never have to ask "What's for Dinner?"

So, here is what is on the menu at the Smith house for next week:

1.  Stuffed shells - again, I hate waste and try to reuse whenever I can.  We had spaghetti on Sunday and I made a big pot of sauce, saved the leftovers to use as the sauce for our stuffed shells.

2.  Tortilla soup - I have actually never made this but got this recipe from EatingWell.  One thing I hate about tortilla soup in restaurants is that they usually have a cheese base, and those of you that know me know that I cannot eat cheese.  This recipe does not have cheese; you can add it on the top as a garnish if you wish.  I will let you know how it tastes next week!


3.  Stuffed Bell Peppers - this was a request from Owen.  We haven't made these in FOREVER.  As a matter of fact, it's probably been since before Samantha was born.  I found a new version of Emeril's that I'd like to try from the Food Network that has sausage in it instead of ground beef.  When we went to the Commissary last weekend I stocked UP on bulk turkey sausage because it was only $1.75 a piece, so I will probably use that to make it a bit leaner.  **The Commissary is the grocery store chain located on US military bases.  We have one at the Naval Support station in Millington.  Military ID is required. A great deal if you can manage to get to one, their meat prices are the cheapest around and you do not pay tax, just a surcharge**

4.  Brown Sugar Bourbon-marined Pork Chops, roasted asparagus, and consumme rice - you're probably like, what?  But it's actually really simple.  Take pork chops, trim the fat, and put them in this yummy marinade while we're at work, then pop them in the oven when we get home along with the asparagus, which I'll toss in a little olive oil and seasonings.  The rice is easy - just put one cup of rice in an oven safe dish and add a can of beef consumme and bake at 350 until ready (usually takes about 30 minutes, and this is so much tastier than plain white rice!).  If you want to make more than that, just follow your basic rice-cooking ratios.  I stocked up on pork chops at the Commissary (another steal at only ~$2.50 per package, each has 4 medium-cut chops).  Here's the marinade; we really like this brand and usually buy several flavors:


5.  ??? - I am at a loss this week and would appreciate any recommendations!!!