Sunday, January 23, 2011

menus and why we plan

We're sitting here watching football.  Yes, we watch football occasionally.  Me?  Not so much.  I'll sit here and pretend like I'm into it, I'll snack on the mass amounts of football food that I've prepared, and I'll surf the internet, because really anything on the internet is more interesting than football on Canadian television.  Today, I was bad.  I went with prepared food.  We were at Costco and I couldn't help but think of the things that I could be doing, rather than sitting in the kitchen slaving away over greasy, fatty, stomach turning football food.  So, I picked up and heated up some Hum bao, vegetable spring rolls.  Set out a plate of crackers, warmed pita,  and Spinach Artichoke Parmesan dip.  Mixed up some salmon and mayo.  Opened a couple of bags of chips and called it good.  Oh, and "football" food isn't complete without a Corona.  Personally, I would have paired this all with a Session, but I'm not into football and the man get his choice today.

I've been picking away at weekly dinner menus and probably next month I'll line it up for a few months like I usually do.  But for now, I will lay out what we had last week for ya, and then throw together the upcoming week's menu.  I found that with planning our menus out, I make fewer trips to the grocery store and I don't have that last minute panic attack over what to cook for the gang.  So not only is it going to help save money, but your sanity as well.

I usually have the kids (yes, all four of them) write out (the youngin's with the help of the older kids) their top seven favorite dinners to have at home.  I then mark off the repeats and work out a menu for the week with what we already have on hand.  Checking the refrigerator and freezers to make sure that we have enough to accommodate a meal or more.  I like to make extra for lunch for the next day, but it doesn't always work out that way.  Usually, someone finishes it off by the end of the night.  We rarely deal with leftovers, and if we do, it's gone within a few days.

Last weeks menu:

Monday:  Chicken vegetable stir fry over rice
Tuesday:  Crockpot shredded beef sandwiches
Wednesday:  Spaghetti
Thursday:  Hamburgers & salad
Friday:  Pizza
Saturday: Mashed potatoes, ground beef gravy, steamed broccoli with mizithrah cheese

This coming weeks' menu:

Sunday: Leftover hangover from football food
Monday:  taco salads
Tuesday:  grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup
Wednesday: Beef enchiladas
Thursday:  Tuna noodle casserole
Friday:  Children will fend for themselves.  Gma & Gpa will feed them, 'cause me & the hubs are heading to Victoria, BC ALONE.  For the weekend!

Crockpot shredded beef sammies

A quickie and simple dinner idea is the Crockpot shredded beef sandwiches.  I take a frozen beef pot roast.  sear the sides of it in a cast iron fry pan.  I then sprinkle it with salt and pepper and douse it with worcester sauce.  When the outsides of the roast have a nice crisp brown to it, remove and put in the crockpot.

I then add some onion (dried or fresh chopped), more worcester sauce, and a package of (dare I say it's processed) au jus gravy mix.  Yep, I do keep this on hand.  The flavor is one that I haven't been able to reproduce and we all just love it so much.... sorry.  Add a cup of water and close that puppy up, set it to low for at least six hours.  The aroma that is about to fill your home is mouthwatering and coma inducing.  Come dinner time the family is practically climbing the walls and I have to slap their fingers/hands to keep them from tasting too early.  Here is where I like to remind my husband how much I like jewely, his eyes are always glazed over and he nods his head a lot.  I think bits and pieces get through, but time will tell.

I pull it out and put it on a plate to sit for about 20 minutes before shredding it up with a fork.  I put out hoagie rolls, mayo, worcester, and A1 sauce.  I personally only need mayo on my hoagie.  A delicious side to go with this and on your hoagie is COLESLAW!  I have yet to find the perfect recipe, so if you have a favorite, send it my way.  But I definitely love the crunch that goes along with my sandwich.  YUM!

Here is where I lack in my commitment.... I always forget to take pictures of the finished product.  I will I promise.  It's a favorite here so I have many more opportunities.

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