Sunday, March 15, 2009

5 Week Menu Plan

Confession: This is not an original idea...I got this idea from Lisa at Lisa's Homeschool Circus. She is a Super Mom who has come up with an idea to drastically reduce our grocery bills. It has worked for us so far...our grocery bill has been cut by at least $100 a week. I had a couple of requests for our version of the plan, so I decided to share it here. I've added an afternoon snack to our days because my children would chew their own arms off if they didn't have one. Please comment and let us know how it works...I'll pass it along to Lisa as well!

The way this is done is you make out a separate shopping list for each week. You put EVERYTHING you could possibly need for every meal (including things you may already have like salt, pepper, pancake syrup, etc.) I keep a master copy on my kitchen computer and one in the Menu File that I keep in my kitchen. Then before you go shopping, you go through your pantry and cross off everything that you already have. What's left on the list is ALL you need to buy (for the exception of your standard household necessities). This keeps you from buying extra stuff that you won't use. And since you're making out your menus for 5 weeks out, you can keep like ingredients in mind when you're planning your meals. For instance, I have pancakes every week. So I buy the big box of Bisquick one week and then I don't have to keep buying it each week.

I have plans to also upload my Shopping Lists as well...we'll see how that goes!! :)

It goes Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, Dessert.

Week 1

Smoothies, Cereal Bars, Pulled Pork Sandwiches/Chips, Fruit Salad, Roast Chicken/Rice/Broccoli, Ice Cream Sundaes

Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Cheese and Crackers, Potato Soup with Yeast Rolls, Banana, Tacos/Salad/Chips/Salsa, Sugar Free Fudge Pops

Cinnamon Rolls, Cereal Bars, Quesadillas/Carrot Sticks, Apples & Peanut Butter, Pizza/Salad, Lemon Poke Cake

Granola Bars, Graham Crackers and Pudding, Ham Roll-Ups/Chips, Fruit Salad, Italian Chicken/Salad, Sugar Free Fudge Pops

Cereal, Trail Mix, Chicken Noodle Soup/Crackers, Banana Pops, Taco Soup/Corn Chips, Cake

Muffins, Cereal Bars, Chicken Nuggets/Chips, Fruit Salad, Fried Pork Chops/Mashed Potatoes, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs/Biscuits/Bacon or Sausage, Trail Mix, Leftovers or Sandwiches, Jell-O, Hamburgers/French Fries, Sugar Free Fudge Pops.

Week 2

Smoothies, Popcorn, Ham/Turkey Sandwiches and Chips, Apples with Peanut Butter, Baked Ham/Potatoes/Green Beans, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Cream Cheese and Crackers, Chicken Noodle Soup and Crackers, Bananas, Taco Pie with Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

English Muffins with Eggs, Cereal Bars, Bean & Cheese Nachos, Pudding, Chicken Spaghetti, Cake

Granola Bars with Yogurt, Graham Crackers with Pudding, Mac n Cheese / Fruit Cocktail, Fruit Salad, Potato Bar and Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Popcorn, Pizza and Salad, Banana Pops, Beef Stew with Biscuits, Cake

Muffins, Monkey Chow, Fish Sticks with Chips, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sloppy Joes with French Fries, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Omelets with Bacon, Trail Mix, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Chips, Jell-O, Cheddar Potato Soup with Baconbits, shredded cheese and Cornbread, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 3

Smoothies, Donuts, Left Over Potato Soup / Cornbread, Fruit Salad, Chili/Fritos or Crackers/Cheese, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Graham Crackers with Peanut Butter, Ham/Turkey Sandwiches with chips, Bananas, Pot Roast with potatoes onions and carrots, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Breakfast Pizza, Popcorn, Alphabet Soup with crackers, Apples with Peanut Butter, Chicken Enchiladas and Salad, Cake

Oatmeal, Tic Tac Toe Mix (just Chex Mix with some flair), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with chips, Fruit Salad, Lasagna with Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Carrot Sticks with Ranch, Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers, Cookies, Pizza with Salad, Cake

Muffins, Yogurt with Homemade Granola, Ravioli, Fruit Salad, Hash with Green Beans, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs with Toast, Tic Tac Toe Mix, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Jell-O, Beef/Broccoli Stir Fry with Rice, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 4

Smoothies, Cereal Bars, Alphabet Soup with crackers, Fruit Salad, Meatball Subs, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Monkey Chow, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Chips, Bananas, Nachos, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Graham Crackers with Peanut Butter, Nachos (leftover), Chips and Salsa, Spaghetti/Salad/Breadsticks, Cake

Oatmeal, Cereal Bars, Spaghetti-O's, Fruit Salad, Sloppy Joes with French Fries, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Muffins, Trail Mix, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with Chips, Rice Krispy Treats, Pepper Steak with Rice, Cake

Homemade Breakfast Tortillas, Yogurt with Granola, Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Pizza with Salad, Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs with Biscuits and Bacon or Sausage, Monkey Chow, Chicken Strips and Carrot Sticks, Jell-O, Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 5

Smoothies, Goldfish, Alphabet Soup with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes (left over) and Peas, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Popcorn, Chicken Salad with Crackers and Grapes, Banana, Burritos with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cinnamon Rolls, Cereal Bars, Spaghetti-O's, Apples with Peanut Butter, Baked Ziti with Salad, Cake

Granola Bars, Monkey Chow, Fish Sticks with Carrots, Fruit Salad, Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Trail Mix, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with Chips, Banana Pops, Chicken Packets with Peppers, Squash, and Zucchini, Cake

Muffins, Cereal Bars, Ham Salad with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Pizza with Salad, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Biscuits and Gravy, Trail Mix, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with chips, Jell-O, Crockpot Dinner with Cornbread, Popsicles or Fudge Pops.

Here are a few of the recipes that weren't already self explanatory:

Italian Chicken
Enough chicken breasts for every member of your family. Bread them in bread crumbs or Shake n Bake, whichever your family likes. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Take out of oven and pour spaghetti sauce over top. Top with Mozzarella Cheese. Bake for 30 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve with salad.

My Trail Mix Recipe (one of many)
I don’t measure any of this...just eyeball it.

2 packages of Dried Fruit (we like pineapple mango)
Captain Crunch Cereal (we like crunch berries)
Mixed Nuts
Lots of M & Ms

It makes a lot, so I measure out 1 cup servings and put it in snack size baggies. Then I put all of those baggies into a gallon size baggie and store in the pantry. This will last a couple of weeks in our house.

Potato Soup
On the days when I don't have time to make this from scratch, I use the Bear Creek Country Kitchens Packets (usually on the top shelf above the other soups) in the green pouches. We add on some bacon bits, and some shredded cheese. It tastes just like homemade. :)

Banana Pops
Just 1/2 a banana, stuck on a popsicle stick and dipped in chocolate. I use the ice cream topping that hardens after a few minutes. Stick it in the freezer to cool off before serving. My kids love these.

Taco Pie
2 lbs. Ground Beef , browned, drained
One 29-30oz. Can of Enchilada Sauce (Mild, Medium or Hot)
1 Large Onion, diced
4 Cups Cheese, grated cheddar
1/4 to 1/2 Large Bag Tortilla or Corn Chips, crumbled

Layer in 9x13 in casserole:
Several spoonfuls of enchilada sauce
Layer of Chips
Ground Beef
2 cups cheese
Half of enchilada sauce
Rest of enchilada sauce
2 more cups cheese

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour. Take off foil and bake an additional 10—15 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad. :)

Monkey Chow (as seen on Jon and Kate plus 8)
Corn Chex
Capt. Crunch
Lots of M&M’s
Milk Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar

Put 1st 5 items in gallon size Ziploc bag and shake/mix. Add in a dollop of peanut butter and mix together. Add in some powdered sugar and shake. Go ahead and put these in the snack size Ziplocs because it will go FAST otherwise!! :)

Chicken Enchiladas
My mom showed me this easy version: boil one bag of frozen chicken breasts. When done, cool and cube. Put in big bowl and add as much of the Pancho’s cheese dip (either white or yellow) until it’s at the consistency you like. That’s it. Spoon into tortillas and roll em up. I spoon a little salsa into the bottom of my baking pan so the enchiladas don’t stick to the bottom. Then I top it with shredded cheese and bake for about 30 minutes until it’s all hot. My mom will make her chicken ahead and stick in the fridge. If you do that, you’ll have to increase your baking time because your chicken will take longer to heat back up. Serve with tortilla chips, the rest of the panchos dip, and some salsa. I always throw together a salad, too.

Tic Tac Toe Mix
Lol...just my fun name for the pre-packaged chex party mix. Sometimes I make my own, but I usually end up just buying it. The kids say they don’t like the chex mix, but somehow they LOVE Tic Tac Toe mix. I buy the caramel flavored kind. :) Lisa's Homeschool Circus has a Tic Tac Toe Mix listed on her plan...I have no idea what that is...if you are curious about that one, check out her blog.

2—3 cups beef (cooked and cut up)
2 bags 10 oz frozen hash browns potatoes thawed
1 onion , finely chopped
1/4 cup butter/marg. Melted
1 cup gravy or beef broth (I use the juices from the pot roast)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Salad - I love this recipe!!
Stiff Purple Grapes
1/2 cup mayo
Walnut pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3—4 tbsp sugar
3—4 chicken breasts

Boil chicken breast until fully cooked, then cut up into chunks. Chunk up grapes, celery and walnuts. Mix together after chicken has cooled. Add salt and pepper. Add sour cream, mayo and sugar. Mix until well blended, taste and add more of any ingredient as needed.

It’s awesome!! :)

Meatball Subs:
I just buy frozen meatballs (my family informed me they like these better than my homemade version...I'm NOT complaining!!) and put them in the oven until they’re done, then dump a jar of heated through spaghetti sauce over them. Put them on a Sub roll and top with Mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese. I save the left-overs for Spaghetti on Tuesday.

Pepper Steak:
I use the stir-fry beef and LOTS of bell peppers. Serve over rice.

Baked Ziti:
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 (26oz) jars spaghetti sauce
6 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Cook ziti pasta, drain. Brown onion and ground beef. Add spaghetti sauce, simmer 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Layer the following:
1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Chicken Packets:
I have Gary put these on the grill for me, but you could bake them in a 350 degree oven for an hour or so if you want.

Just put a boneless skinless chicken breast on a piece of aluminum foil. Cut up some sticks of squash, zucchini, and some bell peppers, and put with the chicken. Fold up into a “packet” and stick it on the grill. Really good, and easy clean up!! :) I also get creative with this sometimes. We’ve done bbq chicken packets, chicken and potatoes, you name it! :)

Crockpot Dinner: (I got a recipe from, and TWEAKED it - here's my version)
Brown some ground beef and drain. Put in crock pot with 1 lb sliced kielbasa, 2 cans white Great Northern beans, 2 cans pork n beans, and 1 can kidney beans. Add a couple of squirts of ketchup, and a little mustard. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and stir up. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over corn bread. Very Yummy!!

Ham Salad:
3 cups cubed ham
1 hard boiled egg
2 tbsp finely chopped celery
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish (I leave this out and it’s not on the shopping list)
3/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp mustard
Ritz Crackers

In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Combine mayo and mustard; add to the ham mixture and mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers.

1 comment:

  1. Your list looks great! Our tic tac toe mix is sort of like chex mix but with white chocolate poured over top and then broken up when hardened. I just finished my summer list and will be uploading it to my blog this week sometime. I sure am glad that it's working for you!