Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Menus

Having the closest grocery store over 20 miles away has really taught me to plan better in the kitchen. I understand that people's lifestyles are different, some have children, some eat out a lot, etc. This is just what I have learned works for Bryan and me. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. We really do not have any restaurants close, so I cook, cook, cook. Here are few tips that I have learned.

1. Make a list. Stick to it and do NOT stray.

2. Make a weekly menu. If you know you are going to eat out 3 nights, just leave them blank. Or you can opt to fill them in and have the meals carry over to the next week.

3. Try to find meals that have certain ingredients in common. Example: I do not normally buy green onions, but this week I have two recipes that call for them.

4. Buy simple things that can be eaten in multiple ways. Example: I could eat a banana with oatmeal for breakfast, with peanut butter for a snack or after a run. I could eat hummus with any number of veggies that I could also steam or put into salad. I need 1/2 cup of veggie broth for a recipe, but I could use it to make soup the next day or even freeze it for later use.

5. If you are trying to eat healthy check labels. On my last trip to the store I randomly checked a generic brand canned item vs. the name brand canned item and was surprised to see that it had less sodium and reigned healthier in all ingredients.

6. Try to incorporate things that you already have in your fridge or pantry. This will eliminate extra costs and will force you to use products before their expiration date.

7. If you buy junk food, you will eat junk food. Just don't buy it.

8. If you have leftovers think of a different way to eat it for lunch the next day. Example: I will be fixing grilled salmon one night. I could make salmon croquettes or a salmon sandwich/wrap with leftovers.

9. I promise that by making a menu, sticking to a grocery list and purchasing things that can be used multiple ways your grocery costs will go down. I spent $110 on groceries and look at what all I purchased.

Of course, staples will have to be gotten along the way, organic products are more expensive and other variants cause the price you pay to either increase or decrease. I honestly try to keep my grocery purchases under $100 per week, usually more like $80. With the $110 spent I purchased everything I need to make the following recipes, plus more. (If you want to see a list of the groceries I purchased, just let me know.)

oatmeal + banana
uncooked Oats + Greek yogurt + fruit
Egg + 1/2 bagel (cheese is optional)
bagel + almond butter or peanut butter
egg + fruit
yogurt fruit smoothie
breakfast pizza on tortilla

leftovers from night before
Skinny Tuna Melt
Buffalo Chicken Wrap
grilled chicken salad
grilled chicken wrap

Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas
Grilled Chicken Bruschetta (I'm using turkey.
Barbacoa Beef + Cilantro Lime Rice + Corn Salsa (We're having company.)
Salmon + brown rice + grilled Asparagus
Stir Fry Spicy Chicken

apple + almond butter
celery + peanut butter
Greek yogurt + fruit
string cheese
veggies + ranch/hummus

We are having 20 lbs. of fresh shrimp brought from the Gulf, so knowing this allows me to figure out lots of ways to cook it. I found this Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad, this Shrimp Cobb Salad and this Garlic Shrimp; and I already know that I have the ingredients to make all of the above. It's good to have options. I could always make shrimp tacos or tostadas, too.

I have a couple of other things I think I will post about for Monday Menus the next couple of weeks. If you would like me to do a post on something specific, just ask! I hope some of these tips help!


  1. Those are all really great ideas and I try to incorporate the same into my weekly planning. I'm glad to know you spend about what I do a week too....typically around $80 for two of us and that's mostly every meal.

    And PS - how are you getting those shrimp? We'd love that!

  2. Aww I love that you're cooking mine and my friend, Caroline's recipes! :) I love seeing what people cook during the week to get some ideas!

  3. Even living close to grocery stores I make analyst and stick to it because it will save money. Finding other ways for leftovers is a must too. I cooked like crazy yesterday & it should last me most of the week

  4. Your menus look a lot like mine except when I cook salmon I can't bear to eat it as a leftover. Not sure what it is but it grosses me out :(

  5. What a fabulous menu and great tips you have. I go out almost everyday to get "fresh" fruit and produce. It's always slim pickings here and I end up spending a fortune on organic just so I can have stuff that doesnt look like it was run over. Definitely going to try out your tips. I usually spend $200 + on food per week.


  6. I try do the same thing before going to the grocery store...plan out my meals for the week. I actually enjoy doing it. Weird? I hope you try to garlic shrimp! I have another shrimp/avocado recipe that I'm putting up soon that you will love! I might have to try that barbacoa beef, that's my hubby's fave.