Dinner Time Decisions: Week 1

*This post features some recipes that use seasoning blends found in the eCookbook, 
Mix it / Store it / Make it  ~ Entrees and Seasonings.
Click here to purchase and make the seasoning for your pantry!   

Dinner time decisions are best made in advance, but sometimes we need a little help.  
Each week I'll feature 7 days of meals using Cook Once / Serve Twice concepts.
In addition, I'll share my thought process 
so you can learn ways to stream line your dinner time decisions
...or just use mine! 

This week my dinner decisions are still being driven by what I already have on hand.  With that first college tuition payment looming at the end of the month, I've challenged myself to go to the grocery store as little as possible (if any!).  With teen and young adult boys still at home, there is no getting around the need for milk and bread to be replenished about every other day (grin), but the daily meal planning is something I can control. Here is how my dinner time decisions played out this week...

First stop...what's in my freezer?  

OK...what seasonings do I have on hand or can I make with spices and herbs I have in the pantry?
  • Kansas Style Rub
  • Basil and Garlic
  • Lemon Pepper with Garlic

Next...what is in my fridge that needs to be used before it becomes 'cash in the trash'?
  • lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes and a few bell peppers. Have been avoiding the grocery store for over a week, so produce is slim.  Freezer and pantry have a solid assortment of veggies though, so I'll be fine!

Finally...what does my calendar say about my dinner time decision making?
  • Monday and Tuesday are open and everyone is home for dinner these nights.  
  • Wednesday is volunteer day for me at the food bank, so I'll need to plan around being pretty tired when I get home and everyone is hungry.  
  • Thursday - Sunday, I'm going on a road trip with a girl friend, so need to plan some meals that the family can easily prepare while I'm away.  

OK...I am ready to decide 'What's for Dinner' this week! 

(with a full house, I'm looking for a family favorite, but Monday is catch up day for me after a weekend of activities, so I need something easy.  With precooked ground turkey in my freezer, Tacos are a perfect choice)
  • Tacos (but don't tell Micah it's ground turkey...he thinks it's ground beef!And the seasoning is our favorite packet from the grocery store...they won't eat anything else *grin*)
    • lettuce, tomato and cheese
  • Black Beans seasoned with sliced jalapenos
(I need to do some cooking ahead for the days I'll be gone, so I'm filling up my slow cooker with the pork roast and the package of pork chops to make enough to Cook Once and Serve Twice)
  • BBQ Style Pork Roast (really, bbq pork anything I have in the freezer that can be cooked all at one time with this recipe.  I'm shredding it for dinner anyway, so it doesn't really matter!)
    • NOTE to Self: pull out enough of this slow cooked pork to make 2 cups shredded meat and store in fridge. 
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Tossed Salad
BEHIND THE SCENES: after dinner, put the 2 cups of shredded bbq pork into a baggie and place in fridge with a note written on the bag that says 'do not touch until dinner time Friday!)

(I'll put the sauce in the slow cooker before I leave for the food pantry today so it will be ready when I get home)
  • Spaghetti and Meat sauce
    • NOTE to Self: fill up the slow cooker and make 4 batches.  Use 4 cups (one batch) for dinner tonight, adding precooked ground turkey before serving, and save the rest for 3 future meals.  
  • Garlic Bread 
    • actually...garlic buns. I have a partially used bag of hamburger buns that are a little less than fresh.  I'll butter the insides, top with some Basil and Garlic Seasoning Blend and place them buttered sides up under the broiler and toast just before calling family to the table. 
  • Tossed Salad (again? yes...I need to use the lettuce and tomatoes before I leave tomorrow!)
BEHIND THE SCENES: after dinner, put one of the reserved batches of sauce into a gallon sized baggie and add to it 24 of the precooked meatballs from the freezer.  Put in the fridge with a note that says 'do not touch until dinner time on Saturday'. The other 2 of the reserved batches can go into the freezer to store for another week. 

(Before I leave town Wednesday evening, I'll put this meal in a bag and leave my daughter instructions to put it in the slow cooker when the baby gets her up Thursday morning!)
  •   Pulled Pork Sandwiches (this is made from the extra pork made on Tuesday)
  • Baked beans (yes...from a can!  The grocery store had them on sale 2 for 1 a while back *wink*)
  • Meatball Sub (all they have to do is heat the meatballs with the sauce and pour over sub rolls!)
  • French Fries
  • Salad (A momma can hope!  I'll put it on the menu but since I won't be home to put it on the table, who knows what will really happen!) 
  • Pizza! 
    • I'm out of town...who am I kidding to think they won't order from town at least once! *lol*
The meals for Thursday - Sunday will be communicated on a sheet of paper that I'll leave with the oldest child.  By having the hard part cooked and ready for a reheat, there is a better chance that they will eat well while I'm gone, but the fridge will tell the truth when I get home!  

Let’s Eat!
Copyright© 2012 Around the Table with Tami

I'll be sharing these Dinner Time Decisions with other meal planners at these links too:
Menu Plan Monday 

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