Archive for the ‘Menu Plan’ Category

Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu! Sticking to my menus have really been saving us money, and we’re working through the pantry staples. I’m happy to report that I have stayed on budget for the month and will end the month with a little left over for the savings goal at this rate!

We taste tested hot cocoa for Scratch vs. Store Bought yesterday for a fun treat. Come back later in the week for this week’s Scratch vs. Store Bought is stove top stuffing.

Monday: Chicken tortilla soup

Tuesday: Shepherd’s pie with lots of veggies

Wednesday: use up the leftovers!

Thursday: Barbecue chicken, cornbread, kale

Friday: Broiled fish, brown rice, zucchini

Saturday: Creamed chicken with stove top stuffing, carrots

Sunday: Monastery lentils, green beans, crusty bread

For more menus, check out I’m an Organized Junkie, and check out Life As Mom for more pantry menus.


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Occasionally, whole, sustainably-raised, local chickens go on sale at our independent market for $.99 per pound. At that price, cheaper than their conventionally raised counterparts, I stock up and fill the chest freezer. When it’s time to cook them, I s-t-r-e-t-c-h the meat so they last until the next great sale. Generally, I get 4 meals out of each 4-5 pound bird. Here’s how I do it.

1. Cut the chicken into quarters and remove skin and visible fat. Cook it in the pressure cooker with an onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by at least an inch.

2. Shred or cut the cooked meat off the bone. I keep the bones and return them to the pot, but stock will be Wednesday’s post!

3. Package shredded/diced meat into 1 1/2 cup portions, and freeze the portions to be used later in the week. Generally I can get at least 4 meal sized portions out of one chicken, plus about 6 cups of stock. If you’re using this method, it’s just as easy to do two chickens at once (if your pressure cooker is big enough) and you’ll have enough chicken for 8 meals, plus about 12 cups of stock.

4. Choose 4 meals that call for cooked chicken, including one soup.


Coconut curry chicken with peas and potatoes
Barbecue shredded chicken sandwiches
Chicken and bean burritos
Chicken with pasta and sauce
Chicken casserole
Chicken soup, stew, or chili
Creamed chicken with cornbread stuffing
Chicken pot pie
Chicken salad sandwiches (stretch with hard cooked eggs)
Waldorf Salad, or any salad calling for cooked chicken

There are lots of possibilities, and the basic method allows for a lot of flexibility. The important thing in stretching meat is to make it a supporting player, not the main dish. Most soup, stew, chili, pastas, or casserole recipes are great places to use a little less meat but still have a filling and flavorful meal.


This week’s chicken-heavy menu, still working out of the pantry and freezer:

Monday: Lentil tacos, orange slices

Tuesday: Barbecue shredded chicken sandwiches, cole slaw, pickles

Wednesday: Chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole

Thursday: Huevos Rancheros, refried beans, carrot coins

Friday: Baked beans, corn bread, greens

Saturday: Creamed chicken over cornbread dressing, peas and carrots

Sunday: Chicken tortilla soup with lots of veggies

For more menus, head on over to OrgJunkie.com and to see what people are cooking from their pantries, stop by LifeAsMom.com.

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Another week of pantry eating is upon us! We have quite the variety of dry beans, so you’ll see those as the staple of the week, and likely for the next few weeks as well as we work down the stash!

Monday: Black bean and sweet potato soup

Tuesday: Chinese meatballs, brown rice, green beans

Wednesday:  Mac and cheese with white beans, broccoli

Thursday: Lemon chicken with capers, brown rice, carrots

Friday: Baked beans, cornbread, oranges

Saturday: Creamed chicken with cornbread dressing, mixed veggies


We spent the day at The Tech Museum in San Jose today. Every second Sunday is free day, and we took advantage! Readers, would you be interested in posts about local free events and activities for families?

Their current display shows technology benefits humanity, with technologies that are making a difference in the lives of impoverished people around the world. The one that struck me was a stair-master type water pump to irrigate fields and provide drinking water to people who otherwise would be reliant on rainfall. We take easy, affordable, readily available drinking water for granted, and explaining to Peanut that not everyone has running water reminds us that our situation, which I often think of as “poor”, is so much better than so many people who are struggling around the world just to have basic needs met. I am humbled and grateful!

For more menus, check out Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com!

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One of my key savings strategies is eating at home and cooking from scratch. We spent far too much on eating out last year, a trend that must be nipped in the bud! Having a menu plan will help me to stay on track, limit wasteful spending, and keep me from letting perfectly good food go bad before we have a chance to eat it. I also need to work on preparing just what we’re going to eat and not planning so many leftovers; too much is wasted with leftovers that never get eaten.

This week’s healthy, frugal menu plan is based on what we have on hand, and I think I’ve got enough in the fridge, freezer, and pantry that I won’t need to shop this week for anything but milk, eggs, and fresh fruit.

Monday: Lentil soup, crusty bread, and broccoli slaw

Tuesday: Chicken, broccoli, and brown rice casserole

Wednesday: Tofu and noodles with cabbage and carrots in  peanut sauce

Thursday: Chicken pot pie, green beans

Friday: Crockpot Baked beans, spinach, and corn bread

Saturday: Frittata with bacon, zucchini, tomato, and onion (frozen mix), whole wheat toast, orange juice

Sunday: Tuna cakes, brown rice, mixed veggies

See more menu plans at Menu Plan Monday, hosted by orgjunkie.com.

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Putting away $6,000 is a lofty goal for me. I’ve never been able to save that much, and it will take diligence and creativity to stretch each quarter as far as it will stretch and bring in extras to supplement the savings. I’ll be testing as many ideas for finding and earning extra money as I can, and documenting it along the way.  Here are a few of the ways I’m planning on saving, and what you can expect to find on the blog:

Scratch vs. Store Bought

In this weekly article, I’ll be determining whether it is more cost effective to make from scratch such items as condiments and convenience foods, household cleaners, and bath and beauty products, testing recipes and reporting the results.

Dialing for Dollars

Our service providers will be receiving a phone call to reduce rates for regular expenses, like auto insurance, phone service, and even the water company. I’ll post the outcomes of my negotiations, hopefully finding significant savings!

Menu Planning

Wasted food wastes money, and having a plan is the most effective way I have found to reduce food waste. I’ll be posting my low-cost menu plans each week.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Use it up, wear it out, make do, do without

Finding creative uses to keep things out of the landfill, keeping spending on new products mindful and to a minimum, and keeping our things in good working order will certainly keep money in our pockets. As I try new ways to use items up and do without, I’ll be sharing them with you.

No-Spend Days

Clearly eliminating all spending for a set period of time will save me money, but it may also help me to redefine and focus in on needs vs. wants, hopefully helping me to spend more mindfully when I do shop. My goal to start is 7 No-Spend Days each month.

Money Making from home

I’ll be exploring a number of options for making money at home, with a more detailed list of ideas tomorrow. Your suggestions for legitimate, legal ways to make money from home without upfront costs are welcome!

You’ll also find a monthly wrap-up to see what’s working and how well I’m doing at reaching my goal, tips for frugal home making, crafty goodness, and inexpensive activities, projects and products for the family.

Sound interesting? Subscribe now and don’t miss a thing, and post your comments with ideas, questions, or encouragement!

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