Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Menu Plan

First, an update on our January quest to "rock whatcha got" and use our pantry and freezer goods to their best. We ended up spending around $50, instead of the estimated $30, for groceries for the month, due to some necessary dairy products (milk for the homemade yogurt and I gotta have my cheese) and produce being a bit more than anticipated. We did stick to the menu for the month, with a few extras thrown in, such as stir-fry and fried rice.

This month we're still trying to use as much from our stockpile as possible, and use coupons and gift cards to purchase the rest. Hopefully, we can stick to the $50 grocery budget this month as well. (We did splurge and go out to eat in downtown Raleigh with a friend this past weekend, but the visit was well worth--always so good to catch up with you, Paul-- it and the food was fabulous. If you're in the area and haven't checked out The Raleigh Times, it's a great bar with fantastic food. I had the Frech Country Salad, and it was to die for with roasted beats and slices of pear.) So, without further ado, here's the menu for the month...

Week 1:
spinach lasagna, supper club meal, acorn squash chili (leftover from what we made for the local campus ministry)
Groceries to purchase: peppers for chili, ricotta cheese, sour cream, acorn squash

Week 2:
chili cheese oven fries, shepherd's pie, stir fry with shrimp, Valentine's dinner
Groceries to purchase: baking potatoes, organic baby spinach, onions, heavy cream, wild caught seafood (whatever's on sale and looks good)

Week 3:
quiche/breakfast casserole (with eggs from my student), black bean burgers (using leftover beans that have been frozen), hot dogs with warm cabbage slaw/kraut, supper club meal
Groceries to purchase: organic milk, organic cabbage, bacon

Week 4:
breakfast for dinner (blueberry or pumpkin pancakes, eggs, grits), vegetable beef soup, pizza
Groceries to purchase: flavored tea for hot breakfast teas, coupon items focusing on dairy and frozen veggies, citrus fruit if available and reasonable

As usual, our breakfasts will consist of one of the following: cereal from the stockpile, muffins (the sunny morning ones were very good, btw), or homemade bread turned toast with homemade jam. Weekend breakfasts will be more along the lines of coffee, eggs, and grits/fresh muffins.

Here's what we'll be using from the pantry/freezer this month: frozen pasta sauce, frozen summer berries, frozen ground turkey, canned chili, canned veggies for soup and shepherd's pie, dried black beans, grits, pancake mix, basic baking supplies

The homemade breads this month will be: pumpkin spice bread, whole wheat hamburger/hotdog buns, sunny morning muffins/lemon poppy seed muffins, beer bread, pizza dough

And, if you're wondering what we'll have for Valentine's dinner (all ingredients will be purchased from EarthFare thanks to a certain Santa's giftcard we stashed away... thanks, Mom), here's that specific menu (maybe you'll like it so much you'll steal it... be my guest)

Valentine's Dinner:

Steamed/sauted seafood seasoned with lemon, sea salt, parsley, and pepper
Warm spinach salad with caramelized onions and a butter sauce
Baked potatoes with butter and sour cream
Homemade cream brulee (using the recipe from The Joy of Cooking served with a warm berry compote

I'm hoping you're finding your meal planning, budget cooking, and couponing as helpful as we are in these lean times. Let me know if you've got any fabulous budget cooking ideas or cookbooks to share. I'd love to hear from you, so leave some love in the comments for me!

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