Monday, February 9, 2015

Make It Monday - Menu's and Pizza

Recently I read a great, simple, to the point blog post that was posted at Money Saving Mom.  In the article, the author gave some real-to-life things that she learned about making a grocery budget and sticking to it.  It spoke to me because I understand every point she made!  I'm great at making the grocery budget but then I "forget" about the 2 (or 3, 4 or 5) extra trips to the store and how that impacts my spending.  Through the years I've tried all kinds of creative ways to save money from shopping for two weeks at a time - which never works because you ALWAYS have to go back to the store many more times to get milk, veggies, etc AND you tend to eat more food because, well, it's there - to trying to plan the menu for the month so I can shop ahead and more.  Well, I finally decided to do something I've wanted to try for a long time.  I created a set menu.

How did I come up with this?  It's pretty simple.  I went through my recipe book and picked out the recipes that we truly love and could actually eat every single month without question.  I was afraid I'd have way too many but I didn't!  Then, I added in those things that are consistent - We have Tacos every Friday night that we are home.  Saturday nights are one of two options - it's either Pizza night (ordered in, eaten out, or homemade) OR Darryl brings home dinner if he is working.  Wednesday night are simple kid friendly meals since Darryl normally has practice and it is just the boys and I - Pancakes and Waffles with Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy (My kids love the biscuits) and Hot Dogs round out the month.  Another new tradition we have added is that the first Tuesday of the month we go out to Applebees.  Why?  Kids eat for $0.99 so we can eat there for about $20.00 - they have really good burgers :-)  That left me 15 other nights.  I did leave 4 days as "Cook Choice" so I can pick the other recipes that we like or try new things.  So what made the list?
Sunday Dinner - Roasted Pork Shoulder, Stuffed Shells, Sunday Swiss Steak, and Roast.  Great meals to cook while we are at church.  I also planned our Sunday evening dinners - Sloppy Joes, Soup (I can pick various soups that we love) w/Simple Ham Sammies (Yeast Rolls and Ham Steak), Quiche or simple breakfast casserole, and Little Ceasers Pizza :-)

Week Night Meals:  Amish Baked Chicken, Enchiladas, Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Lasagna, Beef Tips or Beef Strogenoff, Pan Fried Pork Chops or Chicken Fried Steaks.  Then I have a blank for Chinese Choice - I have several recipes we really love from Egg Drop Soup, Fried Rice and Egg Rolls to a Shrimp Stir-fry.  Then there is also a Slow Cooker Slot - again, I have lots of slow cooker recipes that we enjoy.  Techingally there are only 2 true cook's choice nights but I'm counting the Slow Cooker and Chinese Choice as my choice too because I can always do something else!

Winter vs. Summer - I can tell you that my set menu will change sometime in May and I'll switch out quite a few items for things that aren't so "hot" (i.e. I don't make Lasanga or cook roasts in the summer!)

So, with this in mind, I made a new pizza recipe this past Saturday and thought I'd share the recipe along with my attempt at Little Ceaser's Breadsticks.
 For a long time I've been wanting to try Garlic Bread Pizza and I finally did it!  They are so simple.  It's just frozen garlic bread slices.  Put a small amount of sauce on each slice, followed by mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings.  Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. 
The breadsticks had the flavor of Little Ceasers but they were flat and slightly crunchy verses being big and soft.  It was just a tube of pizza dough cut into "sticks".  Once cooked (425 for about 10 minutes) brush with garlic butter (2 tablespoons of butter melted with 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic Salt) and sprinkle with Parmason cheese!