I was on Pinterest for a brief moment today and found this menu planning idea. While I loved the concept, I do like to plan more than 4 meals per week and I wanted something a bit more colorful and fun.
So, I set about to create my own menu planner. The one below is a screen shot of the one that I made. Read the rest of the post because I have a surprise for you at the end.
I love the idea that you can write your dinner meals across the top and then you write your grocery list for each meal underneath. Then you take the list/meal plan to the grocery store with you. When you are all finished grocery shopping, you can put the list up on your fridge. I love this idea.
So often I make a meal plan and a separate grocery list only to lose both of them before we actually make any of the meals that I have planned. It’s one piece of paper which saves me from double work. Did I mention that I love this idea?
The other benefit I see to this is that daddy knows what meals I have planned for the week, while he is shopping, and can add any appropriate extras or compensate accordingly as he shops.
Since I thought you might like it too, I have created a free printable for you. Let me know me what you think in the comments.
What’s For Dinner FREE DOWNLOAD [Download not found]
How do you do your meal planning? Do you have a favorite routine?
We are trying to think outside the box and be more creative with our meals. Today is a perfect example. We cooked chicken breast up, but had no idea what do with it.
Enter the bag of spicy cheese in the freezer, the leftover tortilla shells in the fridge, the cut up peppers, the cut up onions, the bags of chicken bouillon give to us just today, and you have easy enchiladas.
We loosely used this enchilada recipe as a base for our dinner and put our own spin on it. And I have to say it was so yummy. The only thing I have to add is that next time we need to double the recipe. Yes, there will be a next time.
I would love to show you a photo, but I can’t take any pictures because my camera took a swim in a muddy kiddie pool when a child (who shall remain nameless) decided to reenact the story of Noah’s Ark with his Lego figures. More on that coming soon. but for now, go make some yummy enchiladas.
I would love to hear how you make your enchiladas. Share the link to your favorite enchilada recipe in the comments. If you don’t like enchiladas, what do you do with your chicken?
Before the twins, Zion and Hosanna, were born (they turn four in six days) our family went on the gluten-free, casein-free diet to help our oldest son, Elisha, who has autism, with his behavior.
The diet was challenging. The learning curve was steep. I had no idea what was really in some of our foods (and we don’t eat that many “weird” foods), until I started seriously reading labels.
We stayed on the gluten-free, casein-free diet for about two years. We saw great improvements in our son’s behavior and everyone else’s too.
Then along came our twins and…
Allergies and Eczema
We discovered, in the first year of her life, that our daughter, Hosanna, was allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts. She had severe eczema and other issues related to her allergies. It was an obvious choice to me that we dropped the gluten-free, casein-free diet in favor of a diet free of her allergens.
Side note: Moses is allergic to mushrooms and shellfish, so those are out too.
Okay, so are you with me so far?
We were gluten-free, casein-free, but then we turned dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, shellfish-free, and mushroom-free. Try and come up with some fun (and frugal) breakfast ideas. I dare you!
We were told that if we avoided her allergens as completely as possible for at least two years, we could attempt to bring them back in. My daughter, Hosanna, is nearing four now and we have recently added back in dairy to the whole family. She does okay if we have it in moderation, but lately she has had some strange new eczema patches. And now our oldest son, Elisha, is having behavioral issues again.
Side note: While we have tried adding in the dairy and the egg (in baked goods only), I will NOT attempt this with the peanut/nut allergy. With the nut allergy, I would rather further testing to see if she still reacts.
Gluten-free, Casein-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Shellfish-free, and Mushroom-free (What’s For Dinner?)
My husband (Jonah) and I have been discussing our options. I am convinced that the food has something to do with Hosanna’s eczema outbreak as well as Elisha’s recent behavior. I was leaning towards going back on the gluten-free, casein-free diet, as well as staying away from all the other allergens, but the thought scares me.
Since we know that dairy (casein) is the biggest culprit for Elisha, we decided to start by eliminating that first and see how we do. The first 3-6 weeks can often be really bad if he goes through a withdrawal from those foods, so we can only pray for grace.
If we have success, we will stop there and just remain dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, mushroom-free, and shellfish-free. That is a mouthful and it’s no wonder we don’t eat out much.
Planning And Preparation
If we don’t have as much success as we would like, we will continue on and remove the gluten as well. This is a much bigger job and will require more planning and preparation on my part.
All of this means that I must be much more on top of planning meals. I must be going back through my recipes and pulling out the ones that I created based on old war recipes and new vegan ones (thank you Google). I am excited, nervous, and ready for change with our food in the hopes that we see benefits for our family.
I have discussed the changes with my husband and the two middle boys, but not Elisha. I wanted to just go ahead and quietly implement the changes at the end of the month and see if we could sneak them in without him noticing. Here’s hoping he is not a frequent reader of my blog.
If you are dealing with food allergies, feeding a large family on a tight budget, or otherwise challenged in the kitchen, I would love to hear your comments.
We bought a giant roast this month. When I say giant, I mean G-I-A-N-T! The man behind my husband in the line at the grocery store asked who we were feeding with our half a cow. It’s just the seven of us (and my parents), but we shop for a month.
On the Large Family Good Eats menu this week are all things roast beef. I am open to more suggestions and ideas (in the comments).
Beef Stew – onions, cooked beef, peas, corn, green beans, with rice
Beef and Broccoli – beef, broccoli, rice
Pizza – with onions, beef, peppers, olives, mushrooms (for those that can eat them), and homemade pizza dough
Beef Stroganoff – beef, gravy, and fettuccine noodles
Fajita Casserole – Beef, peppers, olives, fajita spice/sauce, with noodles or rice
If you need ideas for your menu this week take a moment and visit my Beautiful Food board on Pinterest.
We have a busy week ahead of us, so it was important to me that I take the time to figure out what our food was going to be for the week. This post is how I hashed all of that out. Come along for the ride.
I was realizing tonight that I need to dig through the pantry and freezer and figure out what food we actually have and think about ways to use it up.
We tend to shove stuff in the freezer and forget about it. Note to self: label bags before you put them in the freezer.
Does anyone know what kind of pen works on a bag that is going in the freezer?
I stumbled onto this post recently about a pantry challenge and decided that it was just what we needed, mostly to clean out the freezer, fridge, and pantry. I went to the blog tonight to read the post while I was writing this post and discovered there is only one day left in the pantry challenge (here is the Pantry Challenge Log). It was still inspiring to me.
There is more stuff in the freezers, pantry, and fridge but these are the things that stood out to me (other stuff could very well have been hiding).
Freezer here I come:
box of sausages
bag of cooked sausages
3 bags of shaved roast
2 bags of falafels (Do they go with tzatziki sauce?)
1 bag of corn
1 bag of peas
bag of chicken patties (that no one likes, ugh)
2 boxes of tart shells
several litres of cream
random bags of weird food
Pantry organization is on its way. The shelves are looking messy and the food needs to be arranged in some kind of logical manners which shouldn’t take too long. Okay, the organizing will wait until tomorrow, I need to get this post finished.
Pantry here I come:
several bottles of salad dressing (Ranch, 1000 Islands, Caesar)
4 boxes of stuffing
several bags of rice
giant cans (4L each) or grapefruit, olives, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
random bags and bottles of strange things
And last but not least, I peaked in the fridge and found some goodies that are still edible. Yes, I need to clean that out, it’s about that time.
Fridge here I come:
a large turnip
a large cabbage
onions (I know they don’t belong in there, but I didn’t put them in there)
tzatziki sauce (Oh, let’s buy or make some pitas.)
and the usual or unusual condiments (HP Sauce, Ketchup, Mayo, Mustard, etc)
Soups For Lunch
We have figured out breakfast, but that is another post (coming soon). I would love to incorporate more soups into our lunch menu. My friend Tonya wrote an awesome series about 10 Days Of Warm Winter Soups. They look so yummy. I even started a Soup Pinboard on Pinterest.
Speaking of Pinterest (you are on Pinterest, right?)
You can check out some of my food related boards on Pinterest: