menu plan monday + and other stories

hello friend! welcome to the first official menu plan monday at the birdie blog!

(applause, applause)

I’ll be linking up with Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie.

today is something kind of special. in addition to telling you what we’re eating this week (yay food), I’m including a list of our favorite meals (I’ll give you one new recipe each monday!), tell you how I keep grocery shopping simple, and show you how I keep lunchtime organized- even when I’m not home!

so. much. food. talk. (my favorite) ready? 🙂

weekly meal plan
monday // spaghetti (his mom gave us a tub of her ahhh-mazing homemade sauce!! ❤ )
tuesday // grilled chicken salad
wednesday// creamy tomato ditalini soup (aka, homemade spaghetti-o’s) & mozarella sticks
thursday // burgers & cold veggies with dip
friday // homemade potato cheddar perogies [with peas for him and broccoli for me]
saturday // breakfast for dinner- eggs & ham
sunday // orange chicken stirfry over rice

sounds like a good week of meals to me!
next week, I’m going to start incorporating more soups and wintery foods in (family recipe meatballs over rice- to die for. seriously, we had them at our wedding, potato corn chowder, chicken soup, my nana’s shepherd’s pie…?), and I can’t wait. (mmmm…)

what the avricks eat

there are a few things you should know about the meals I plan. these few things are basically the silent governors of what we eat and why.
I’m trying to eat meat no more than three times a week- for cost’s sake. (we’re poor, okay?)
which means we also eat a lot of pasta… (the whole being poor thing)
I’m trying to eat more healthfully (a salad for dinner once a week, as many veggies as possible)
I don’t get home from work until 5:30 on monday-wednesday, and tuesdays and wednesdays we have places to be asap after that. (I hate tuesdays. we don’t eat dinner until 10:30.) so the first three nights, dinner has to be crazy-fast.
we are both picky as all get out. we like what we like, and we don’t like much else, but I’m trying to expand our horizons. (we’ve tried one new meal each week for three weeks now, and they’ve become favorites!!)
and going along with that, may I say… I’m in love with Pinterest (sorry, honey)! finding so many yummy-looking autumn-y recipes to try this fall.

easy grocery shopping
for me, easy grocery shopping starts with a big-picture view. this may just be that I’m a big picture person, but I think, overall, it helps us to spend less and eat better. it also makes sure we don’t have three grocery shopping trips a week from forgotten items!!

I always, always, always meal plan.
before I started sharing on here, I did it.
my mom did it (thank you, mama, for healthy habits!)

I try to use as much as possible of what I already have on hand. that way I make sure that I use things before they go bad. lots of tortillas left from taco night? we’re having quesadillas. got potatoes left over from last week’s potato soup? (pinterests: warm autumn potato recipes. pinterest can definitely be made into a verb)

we write it down. if J or I use the last of anything… peanut butter, eggs, cheese, coffee… we write it on the shopping list. that way, I’m not scrambling around the (very tiny) house before I go shopping to make sure we’re not out of things. if we’re out of it, it’s on the list already. also, if I’m trying a new recipe, I scrutinize the ingredients and write any I don’t have on the grocery list at the beginning of the week while I’m making my meal plan. I don’t wait till the day-of to check the ingredients for something new.

I improvise. this happened to me recently while making that potato corn chowder. I didn’t have the right seasonings on hand! somehow I’d overlooked them while going over the ingredients. so I used different ones that I knew would taste right with the rest of the ingredients. and simple salt and pepper goes a long way, ladies…

we’re not scared of left-overs! most soups, and often things like shepherd’s pie and meatballs, will give us enough leftovers for the next day’s lunch. fine with me!!

I don’t hungry-shop!! which is hard when I’m shopping at dinner time. but seriously. I’m such a bad hungry shopper. (“of course we’ll need two gallons of ice cream and a bag of chips. and mozarella sticks. and french fries.”) sometimes I buy a very small package of nuts or something else small, inexpensive, and filling so that I won’t be tempted to buy everything I see, if I’m hungry at grocery shopping time!

I stick to my list. if it’s not written down, and I know I don’t need it, (if I forgot to put milk on my weekly list, I’d get it anyway because it’s always on the weekly list) I don’t buy it! I’d rather make the two-minute store trip later if I was wrong, than waste money now on an impulse.

I know where to shop for what! I have three main stores where I shop. BJ’s for bulk items, Aldi for fresh produce and beef (two 6oz, bacon-wrapped steaks for $3.25?! um, yeah!), and Giant for everything else. I know those are the best places to get deals on things where I live (in Lancaster, PA), so that’s where I go. plus, I get gas rewards at BJ’s and Giant! win, win here!

I have three grocery lists. I know. that sounds so far from simple! but it helps me so super much!! because I buy some things in bulk, I know I only have to buy them once a month (frozen chicken breasts, hot dogs or burgers, cereal, cheese, coffee, etc). we go through other things a little quicker, and I buy them every two weeks- most things I buy bi-weekly, actually. (juice, eggs, tomato soup, frozen veggies, lunch meat, frozen chicken nuggets or frozen pizza, bread, etc). And then I have a smaller list for weekly items (milk, pound of ground beef, fresh veggies, anything we’re out of, etc).

and there you have it! that’s how I shop!

here’s what I keep on hand for lunch- and the little sign I keep on my fridge.

I’m crazy indecisive. unless my options are written down, I’ll be eating pretzels with nutella for lunch. (yup. guilty.) not just that, but my husband is home alone for lunch three days of the week, and I wanted him to know what there was to eat in the house, and not have to worry that he was eating the dinner ingredients!

so this little guy was born. the what’s for lunch list (pretend you don’t notice that I put burgers under the oven category…) 🙂

it also reminds me what there is to pack for lunch on the three days I nanny, so when I have to head out the door at 7am, I don’t have to attempt to remember what my options are- I can just look at the list and pick something 🙂
(today I packed yogurt and instant oatmeal for breakfast, and chicken nuggets for lunch!)

there it is, friends!

that is how I keep my food life organized 😉

how do you grocery shop and keep things organized in your house? I’d love to hear your tips for grocery success!

shalom ❤

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