Even with careful weekly meal planning and grocery shopping for only what we need for the week, the pantry and freezer can get too crowded. When this happens, it calls for an attack that we call “Eat Through.” Putting “Eat Through” into action means we eat through what’s hanging around so that nothing gets wasted, lost in the freezer or needs to be thrown out – or given to the backyard chickens to eat! – because it’s gone bad.
Is “Eat Through” always fine, gourmet eating? Not entirely, but it’s good for us and we’re not wasting food and throwing money away by tossing food out. Is “Eat Through” a family favorite? Not always, but if we make brownies to have for dessert then it seems to taste better. Does “Eat Through” keep us from going out to dinner? Definitely. When we know we have healthy food at home, we eat at home.
Monthly Meal Plan
Meal planning saves money, minimizes food waste, and ensures healthy, home cooked meals for the upcoming week. Meal planning is my frame work or agenda of what home cooked meals we’re going to have for the upcoming week. It only takes about 10 minutes to meal plan and involves a quick view of the week ahead and checking to see what staples I already have at home in the refrigerator, in the pantry, and the freezer. Once the meal plan is made, then I make a grocery list of what items are needed.
With weekly meal planning, there’s an efficient plan of cooking for the week, I know what nights we’re having leftovers and I can keep track of what nights my kids are scheduled to cook – and clean up!
Weekly meal plan from Monday, January 6, 2014 to Sunday, January 12, 2014
Monday: pinto beans, chicken (leftover oven roasted whole chicken) and brown rice bowls (my daughter made dinner this night)
Tuesday: leftovers – pinto beans, chicken (leftover oven roasted whole chicken) and brown rice bowls
Wednesday: French onion soup – I had lots of onions!
Thursday: leftovers – French onion soup with garlic cheese bread
French onion soup tuna fish salad sandwiches
Saturday: egg strata with beet greens (frozen from last summer’s garden harvest!)
Sunday: whole wheat pasta with marinara, mushrooms (roasted tomatoes from last summer’s harvest) and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
Weekly meal plan from Monday, January 13, 2014 to Sunday, January 19, 2014
Monday: leftovers – whole wheat pasta with marinara, mushrooms (roasted tomatoes from last summer’s harvest) and green salad
Tuesday: Italian stew – chicken, mushrooms, artichokes, white beans and capers
Wednesday: leftovers – Italian stew – chicken, mushrooms, artichokes, white beans and capers
Thursday: pan seared salmon, quinoa, oven roasted
Friday: pizza (now and later pizza dough – make it now and freeze some for later!) – spinach, onions, mushrooms, artichokes
Saturday: pinto bean and fresh salsa burritos (my son made dinner this night)
Sunday: whole wheat pasta with clam sauce and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
Weekly meal plan from Monday, January 20, 2014 to Sunday, January 26, 2014
Monday: pork chops, quinoa and
green salad oven roasted broccoli (my son made dinner this night)
Tuesday: pinto beans, brown rice and fresh salsa bowls with cheese – and sour cream chipotle sauce
Wednesday: pan seared fish, kamut and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
Thursday: split pea soup with garlic bread and green salad (recipe coming soon!)
Friday: pizza (made with now and later pizza dough – this was the later version and had been frozen – delicious!) spinach, artichokes
and mushrooms, onions
Saturday: whole wheat pasta with marinara,
mushrooms (roasted tomatoes from last summer’s harvest) and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
Sunday: eggs, beet greens (frozen from last summer’s garden harvest!), roasted potatoes and vegetables – This was basically everything in the refrigerator and freezer.
Weekly meal plan from Monday, January 27, 2014 to Sunday, February 2, 2014
Monday: sauteed cabbage, ground pork and onions
over brown rice (my son made dinner this night)
Tuesday: oven roasted whole chicken,
brown rice quinoa and green salad
Wednesday: pinto beans, brown rice and fresh salsa bowls with cheese
Thursday: chicken noodle soup with spinach (This spinach was from a 2-pound container of Earthbound Farm spinach that was starting to go bad but I froze it and used it in the soup.)
Friday: leftovers – chicken noodle soup with spinach and garlic cheese bread
Saturday: We all went to different parties – and ate there!
Sunday: Super Bowl Sunday!! nachos with pinto beans from freezer, guacamole and fresh salsa, grilled shrimp skewers and buffalo chicken drum-sticks (my daughter made dinner this night – but we helped her!)
Do you have “Eat Through” at your house? What do you call it?
Go Gingham related links:
National Match-Up Day: A step-by-step on how to clean and organize your food storage containers!
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
Reusing glass jars and how to get them ready for re-use
Frugal grocery shopping – without coupons!
How to organize those recipes and cookbooks – but no burning books!
Organizing recipes and set-up binders for the collection – you’ll be so glad once you do
5 thoughts on “Monthly Meal Plan”
Sometimes when we have a lot of odds and ends in our fridge, we have a “leftovers” night. Those little bits of food seem to be the most likely to go to waste for us. It’s kind of fun to eat up a lot of leftovers–we let the kids pick what they want and my husband and I clean up the rest of it.
A lot of my cooking is “eat through”. I will look in the pantry and freezer and see what we have a lot of and base my meals on that.
Kris! LOL! We do the same thing – we eat what the kids don’t but now that our kids are old enough they thank us. It’s sweet. We call it “going clean-up” and honestly – it applies to much of parenting! 🙂
Thanks, Kris. I enjoy your comments and getting little snippets of your life.
1. There are just two of us, and we cook almost every night, so we always have leftovers. I try to freeze as much as possible, but we do have “leftovers” night at least once a week.
2. What is your Italian Stew? I love Italian.
3. I never thought of freezing spinach that’s about to go bad. Thanks for that!
4. I’ve learned so much from you, Sara. So glad I found your blog!
Vanessa! Thank you – I’m glad you found my blog, too!
I love Italian, too, and the stew is really just chicken thighs, broth, mushrooms, artichokes – and honestly – the very last of the thyme that I could pull off of the plant! It was basically me tossing in the stems of the herb. To me, thyme is a necessary ingredient when all those others come together.
I try and freeze everything before it goes bad. Cooked potatoes and sour cream don’t really work frozen but aside from that – anything goes! LOL!
Thanks so much for reading, Vanessa. I enjoy your comments. 🙂
Growing up, we called it Must Go (as in, “this must go, and this must go . . .” ). Now we call it Found Objects Dinner and is often very good, creating a dish from whatever you find. Coincidently – I’m doing an Eat Through week this week, using up items in the freezer, supplemented with some fresh vegetables from the store.
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