As it happens my September menus lasted five weeks (Matt was gone a bit last month so we defaulted to left-overs and sandwiches). So I actually didn't get my October menus and shopping done until right at the first of the month. I wanted to move away from so many pinned recipes, because frankly so many of them were rather disappointing. It still isn't cooling off much here, but there are a ton of soups on this menu. I love them and just can't wait anymore.
After the big Sam's and Publix shop I spent about three hours in the kitchen prepping for the month. I browned all of the hamburger, pre-cooked all chicken that needed to be cooked for the following recipes and pre-mixed and bagged the two buffalo chicken recipes for the crockpot.
Just a note that I don't always make these as the linked recipe dictates. Usually I sub whole-wheat flour, sometimes I sub sucanat for sugar, I always use butter instead of margarine, etc. We are not "whole-food" eaters by any means. And I suppose to tell you we are "real food" eaters might send the wrong message too, since I think that also carries a definition we don't exactly fit (though I try to make sure that our foods are as real as possible). I cook quite a bit from scratch, but we do sometimes eat low-sugar cold cereal and I buy whole wheat bread with few preservatives. Sometimes I grind my own wheat, but other times only white flour will do (or half-n-half) for a recipe we love. Some of our meats are local and grass fed, but many are not due to budget constraints. Our eggs and milk almost always are. Some veggies are, but it's not a hard and fast rule. I guess instead of "whole-food" we are "half-food," and I have come to terms with that.
Some of you may also be wondering what I do with this list once it is made. Every weekend I sit down and take a look at the list (usually right here on the blog or on my handy notepad -- the blog is typically easier to find). Then I look at our list of activities for the week to see what days I will be busy and what evenings we will be running. I have a little file on my NOTES app (on the MacBook and iPhone) labeled Menus Week of ??. I change the date each week and enter in what we will be eating for each meal each day on the file. Then I can access it easily from either device during the week. Every night I check my list (ok, almost every night I remember) and pull out the things I need to thaw for the next day. If I miss it, there is a reminder in my REMINDERS app that pops up in the morning to make sure I don't forget to check what is for dinner. Most things are fine thawing the day of. It's the crock-pot meals that will get you if you miss them the night before.
Finally, the list:
- Butternut Squash Soup - We had this already and it was yum, yum, yum. I started with a recipe but changed it beyond recognition. I need to post my version here.
- Potato Soup
- Broccoli Soup
- Hamburger Soup - My sister-in-law's recipe.
- 17 Day Diet Soup - I make this with a can of Rotel. Yum even if it is diet food.
- Chili (x2) - Make it up as I go along.
- Sloppy Joes (x2) - These are so good. This kids love them. I make these fries to go with them.
- Pizza (x3-4)
- Ravioli in Pumpkin Sauce - From Leslie Sansone's Eat Smart, Walk Strong: The Secrets to Effortless Weight Loss. We have never had it, but it looked too good not to try.
- Spaghetti and Meatballs - I make my own meatballs and sauce from offline recipes.
- Stew - Made this last month. So, so good.
- Penne Bake - I made two and froze one last month. All I had to do here was thaw and bake.
- Fried Rice/Stir fry - no recipe
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice - From the Leslie Sansone book.
- Tuscan White Bean Soup - This recipe got bumped last month when it stayed so hot through September.
- Dressed Pintos and Rice
- Cajun-seasoned Salmon - no recipe
- Blackened Chicken Salad - From the Leslie Sansone book.
- Breakfast for dinner
- Buffalo Chicken Salad (x2)
- Chicken Tacos - frozen leftovers from a meal made last month
- Pork Carnitas - frozen leftovers from a meal made last month
- Black Bean Soup
- Roast Chicken - because I will be needing to make more broth
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Butternut Squash Mac-N-Cheese