Now that we are heading into a new month I am trying to make a checklist of things that I would like to accomplish in May. There are several things around the house that I'd like to get done before school ends so that I can dedicate more time to the kids during the summer months. There are also some things that I would like to scour some thrift stores for. I am already starting to make lists of back to school things since both my kiddos will be students in the Fall. My daughter will be attending pre-K two full days a week at the same elementary school that my son attends. She is excited. I am a worrier, so I'm biting my nails about it. I'm sure she'll be fine but she is a very spirited child and that makes me a bit nervous. This momma is gonna be doing a lot of praying! ;)
Speaking of scouring thrift stores, one of the things I am keeping my eyes open for is another percolator. We do not brew our coffee in a coffee maker. We have always used an old fashioned percolator that you use on the stove. We like the coffee so much better that way. We've had electric coffeemakers in the past but you really cant compare coffee that is made the old fashioned way.
|This is the same percolator design that |
my grandmother used to have in her kitchen :)
I have been working on a meal plan and grocery list for May. I seem to have some trouble finding time to sit down and complete the whole thing at one time so I've been taking a few minutes here and there to work on it. I am making it a point to be strategic in my planning by incorporating some leftovers from one meal into another meal. I am also trying to work it out so the bulk of my monthly grocery shopping can be done in one large haul, with a nice amount leftover in the budget to spread throughout the rest of the month. This takes some planning too- for instance, I put on my shopping list to purchase a 5 pound package of ground beef. So while making my meal plan for the month I am including 4 or 5 meals that include the ground beef. If I buy one boneless pork loin I can cut it in half and use it for at least 2 crockpot dinners, plus several lunches. We still have a lot of bacon from the box I bought in January so I included some 'breakfast-for-dinner' meals that we can have with the bacon. I also noticed that boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale for $1.59/lb. at Aldi this week so I am going to stock up on that and I have at least 3 or 4 meals planned for the month using that cut of meat. I put on my list a whole roasting chicken, not that I have any distinct plans for it at this point, but I like to have a whole chicken on hand because if some meals get switched up during the month and I need some backup meals I know I can get at least 3 dinners from that whole chicken. A 2 pound box of Elbow Macaroni from Aldi will make 3 dishes this month- mac and cheese casserole, a pasta/macaroni salad and a handful of it may be tossed in the vegetable soup that I plan to make. I also saw that red grapes are on sale for 99¢/lb. at Aldi this week so I am going to get extra grapes and freeze them for a nice refreshing treat- we love to snack on frozen grapes, especially on hot summer days! Doing my planning this way, as well as first scouring my own pantry and freezer for ingredients to make meals, will hopefully save us a chunk of money this month and provide my family with plenty of yummy dinners to enjoy.
I have been enjoying my new cookbooks (a lot!) and I've pulled out a couple of my other favorite cookbooks from my bookshelf and included some recipes from them into my May meal plan. One of the things I make from time to time is Potato Gnocchi, though it's been a while since I made it. This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. Way back when I was a teenager, I took a summer job as a nanny/mother's helper/housekeeper. One of my daily duties was to make dinner for the family due to the parents both being professionals in the workforce who put in many long and late hours. It was this job that really gave me my first experience cooking from many different kinds of cookbooks. The lady of the house often marked recipes for me to prepare from The Joy of Cooking cookbook (she usually, thankfully, picked out easy ones for me) and one of their family favorites was Potato Gnocchi. The first time I made it I messed it up because I read the recipe wrong, but they were gracious and still ate it. The next time I made it, it was much easier to prepare and came out really good because I understood what I needed to do (the power of actually reading the recipe all the way through before attempting it!) ;) Years later I found this cookbook at a thrift store and immediately snatched it up and I've used it many times since I bought my own copy. When I make the Potato Gnocchi these days for my own family I double the recipe and refrigerate them after they are cooked. When we are ready to eat them, I fry a bunch of them in a pan with some butter and top them with parmesan cheese. They are really good and it's a very thrifty and filling recipe. Another way to eat them is warmed and topped with pasta sauce- that's good too. Really, you can experiment and eat them any way you want- the sky is the limit to the possibilities! I know that Gnocchi is sold in stores and in restaurants but I have never tried them other than the ones I make in my kitchen, so I don't really know how these would measure up to anything sold already prepared in stores or in eateries.
|My Meal Planning Companions|
So, Here's What's Cookin' In My Kitchen for May (in no particular order):
- Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread
- Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Fries, Sliced Fruit
- Crockpot Pork Loin, Mashed Potatoes, String Beans, Gravy made from crockpot juices
- Taco Casserole (from American Cancer Society cookbook)
- Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs
- Homemade Stromboli, Stuffed Pizza (from Bisquick cookbook)
- Oven Fried Chicken (Bisquick cookbook), White Rice, Steamed Carrots, Gravy made from pan juices
- Crockpot Ham Shank, Mac and Cheese Casserole, Salad
- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
- Baked Lemon-Pepper Seasoned Flounder, Parmesan and Parsley Buttered Noodles, Stuffed Mushrooms
- Sloppy Joes, Fried Potatoes and Onions
- Vegetable Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Spaghetti, Italian Sausages, Salad
- Chicken Cutlets, Mashed Potatoes, Peas
- Crockpot Beef Strips with Potatoes, Carrots, Mushrooms and Gravy made from crockpot juices
- Homemade Potato Gnocchi (from Joy of Cooking cookbook), Sliced Fruit
- French Toast, Egg Omelets, Bacon
- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Salad (as you know, meatloaf is this family's favorite meal!)
- Crockpot Shredded Pork, leftover Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies
- Cheeseburgers, Fries, Applesauce
- Baked Italian Ziti, Chicken Parmesan, Salad
- Grilled Hot Dogs, Pasta Salad (or Macaroni Salad), Deviled Eggs
- Rice and Beans, Corn Muffins with Honey
I've allotted 7 days of the month to eat leftovers, but I am pretty sure we will end up eating leftovers for more days than that, so some of these meals might be bumped over into the following month if they don't get made. We always have enough leftovers for lunches during the week, and whatever else is left after that gets put out in our "Buffet" that we eat at home each week. We are planning to have some company at the end of May/beginning of June so I am debating whether to add in to the grocery budget or split the added amount between both May and June or try to just squeeze more out of our regular and keep it the same. We are able to add more into it, so that is not the issue. I am just being stubborn again and deciding whether I should accept the challenge I'm dangling in front of myself of trying to keep it the same. The jury's still out on that one, so maybe I'll just do my thing now and decide what I am going to do about it later on in the month. Or not. (See, that's me being totally undecided...) :)
What would you do- increase it, split it or try to stretch it?
So, if all works out well like it did this last month, I will get the bulk of my shopping done the beginning of May and then only have to make small grocery runs for milk, bread and fresh produce throughout the rest of the month. My grocery list gets tweaked a bit each day so I am not yet ready to jump in the car, head to the store and do my haul because I keep finding ways to cut back here and there and I also want to stock up on some things for when our company arrives. I may try and hold off on the shopping until Monday or Tuesday, but no later than Tuesday because I want to get the deal on the chicken at Aldi (their special deals change over on Wednesdays.)
I hope you all had a nice week in your neck o' the woods. Our weather here cant make up its mind on whether it wants to be rainy or sunny, so we are just going with the flow on that as far as how much we get done in the yard. But yucky days outside usually results in more work getting done inside so either way it's a win-win situation. :)
I wish you all a very nice weekend!