One week down, three weeks to go!
This week was pretty successful, although I did end up making a last minute addition of chicken parmesan for lunch today, as our plans didn't happen the way I thought they would. No big deal! I chose what was easy to prepare and what was on hand, and only made a small amount (no leftovers).
Of the new recipes I tried, I realized the calzones were not all that different from ones I'd made in the past, so that was no huge improvement. I found cheesy chicken strips recipe in a cookbook I've had for a few years, but not made much out of yet. They were okay, but I'd probably add a little more seasoning next time, if I were to make them again. They were a bit on the bland side.
I personally LOVE the chicken fajita recipe I use, and could eat it on a weekly basis if my picky eaters liked Mexican. I cut chicken breasts into thin strips and marinate them (usually overnight, but even an hour or two ahead of time works just fine) in a mixture of one part soy sauce to two parts molasses. Sounds weird, but it's really good! My dad actually came up with that one years ago, but I've added it into our regular meal "rotation" lately. Saute the chicken with sliced onions and peppers, and serve on tortillas with whatever toppings you like. Leftovers are excellent, too!
As far as shopping for what I needed this week, I did pretty well. I bought milk earlier in the week, and also a yellow pepper for the fajitas. I don't believe I bought anything else for meal prep this week.
Where I'm concerned (and starting to think my budgetary goal of $150 wasn't quite as high as I felt like it was!) is that I've already spent about $100 in groceries this month. That DOES include about $45 in meat, which will be at least ten meals for us, maybe more. We're only one-third of the way through January, but I've spent two-thirds of my goal... so we'll see. I don't expect (and never did) to really trim the budget back that much every single month (after all, the goal this month is to use what you've already bought), but I can't help but think it's a nice effort to try it once. :)
Here's the meals I'm planning to make this week:
Monday 1/11 - baked penne, corn, garlic bread
Tuesday 1/12 - out to dinner
Wednesday 1/13 - honey BBQ pork loin with carrots and corn*, cottage cheese, rolls
Thursday 1/14 - rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, green beans
Friday 1/15 - chicken and veggies with dumplings*, baked potatoes?
Saturday 1/16 - lasagna, green beans, garlic bread
Sunday 1/17 - quesadillas, fruit
* denotes a new recipe I'm trying
I had planned to make orange chicken (a new recipe) and stir fry rice on Tuesday night, since my husband will not be home for dinner and that's the kind of thing he absolutely detests. But, my mother-in-law has offered to take Sassy and me out to dinner that night, so we took her up on it. I'm no fool.
I saw a recipe for chicken and veggies with dumplings that looks really good, but I'm a little concerned about substance for my meat-and-potatoes husband. The only "hearty" addition I can come up with is baked potatoes, but I would LOVE other suggestions if anyone has them! I'm not coming up with much... the meat, veggies, and "bread" (dumplings) are already in the main course.
I will have to make a quick trip for milk again, but other than that, I'm hoping not to have to buy anything else for this week's dinners. If chicken is on sale, I will buy some of that, though... I know we don't have enough chicken in the freezer at the moment.