Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Ugh. I'm kind of loathing doing this...

I started writing weekly menu plans, I guess, a little over a year ago. 

Since we've lived in TX I've been writing them for two weeks at a time and I shop for both weeks at the same time, (Except for produce. We do a quick produce run usually at the beginning of the second week.) I usually come in under my grocery budget and it saves gas, since we don't make extra trips to town for little things.

The reason I'm sitting down today to write a menu for just this week is because I LOST MY MENU PLAN. Ahhhh! This is the thing not to do. Actually, I lost it last weekend, right after completing it and my grocery shopping. AND, this is the ridiculous part of the story, instead of sitting down and re-writing it, I just stumbled through the first few days, remembering what I could, then totally struggled through the rest of the week.

I don't know why I did this! For sure, it reminded me how wonderful it is to have a plan, and how much more time consuming and stressful it can be to "just throw something together".

So, here's this weeks re-write of a plan. We have some cooked chicken in the fridge, so we'll try to use that up the first couple days. Also, we like beans. We usually eat pintos, but sometimes throw in navy beans of kidney if that's what we have (sometimes they are given to us...) If you avoid making dried beans and go for the canned variety, here's how I do it. It's so easy and way more delicious than canned! Oh, and for my method, you have to have a pressure cooker. From asking around, I'm finding that a lot of people have one and just don't know what to do with it.
-Pinto Beans-
Put in the pressure cooker:
2-4 cups dried beans (sort them to get out rocks and bad ones, and give them a rinse)
Fill to 3/4 with water
salt generously
a little pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Sometimes a little chile powder or a New Mexico or Anehiem dried chile 
(you can take the chile out when they are done or after an hour, this gives it a nice flavor)

And for those of you who avoid beans 'cause of the "gassy" effect, this is my little family secret:
When you put all this stuff in the pressure cooker peel a raw potato and throw it in. (Apparently it absorbs the "gassiness", I don't know if this is really true but it's what my family does, and growing up, I never heard ,until junior high or high school, about beans making people "toot"... how'd I miss that? )

I usually cook beans on medium after they've pressurized for 1 hour then check, they're never done yet, but take out the chile and potato (and DON'T eat it) and taste the broth, they may need more salt. 
I then close it up and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. 

Now they are usually done. Yum!
Here's the plan:

B- Cereal with milk
L- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Apple
D- Chicken Tostadas, rice

B- Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
L- Beans, cheese, homemade tortillas
D- Homemade Burgers with our bible study group, veggies

B- Chilequillas (eggs with tortillas and salsa), and beans
L- Fried Rice with Chicken and Veggies
D- (possibly out when we're in town for church)

B- WW pancakes and peanut butter
L- fish tacos in corn tortillas
D- Spaghetti with peppers and onion, bread, salad, peas

B- Cereal with milk and banana
L- BLTs,  carrots and cucumbers with ranch (we've been waiting for these!)
D- Shredded beef tacos, rice with carrots, refried beans, 1-2-3 Jell-O 

B- Boiled eggs, toast
L- Left over spaghetti with cheese.
D- Grilled Steak, rice, sauteed veggies.

Ahhhh, now I'm back on track. I feel so much better!

For more menus, and where I got motivated to start doing this in the first place, check out Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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