Friday, April 25, 2008

A Weekly Menu

Let me paint you a picture:
It's five o'clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I pour the last drops from the last gallon of milk for the baby. I resist the urge to put the empty jug back in the fridge, just so it will look like we have something in there. No. I can't deny it. I must go grocery shopping. The kids will be hungry soon and we don't have anything that matches: cereal, no milk; lunchmeat, no bread; noodles, no sauce, etc... So I pack the one year old, the two and half year old and the seven year old into the car. We drive in rush hour traffic to get to a completely packed grocery store, which has terrible selection, but is the closest one to the house. I argue with the two and a half year old over why we can't get the car cart (because at this time of day we will hardly have room for a regular cart!) I buckle the one year old in, or rather I don't because the cart doesn't have buckles, and put the two and a half year old in the basket. With the seven year old trailing behind, we begin the journey. After about 45 minutes I have: four gallons of milk, three dozen eggs, one loaf of (now-squashed) bread, some lunch meat, two boxes of diapers, one box wipes and hopefully something to eat for dinner. Now, we just have to check out. Another 45 minutes because of course there is only one lane open for people with basket loads of stuff. After averting the seven year old's attention from all the wonderful literature and the two and a half year old's from all the nutritious snacks and re-seating the one year old who is successfully climbing out, we finally make it back to the car. Twenty minutes to navigate through the parking lot, a short drive through rush hour traffic, a pull through McDonald's (because there is no way I have energy or patience to cook or clean now, and the kids are STARVING!!) and we're home. To put away our groceries and eat cold fries. This is a weekly senario in this house because I HATE grocery shopping and only go when forced. So I decided to make a weekly menu of easy to prepare and clean meals that all of us will eat. It may not be terribly healthy, but we are going to go with it for now. When I get more confident, I will work in changes.
Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, Biscuits
Dinner: Chili dogs and french fries
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Tortilla Pizzas
Dinner: Spaghetti
Breakfast: Egg Tacos
Lunch: Ham/Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches
Dinner: Hamburger Helper
Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Quesadillas
Dinner: Enchiladas
Thursday (grocery day)
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Frozen Pizza
Dinner: Rotisserie chicken
Breakfast: Cheese and mushroom omelets
Lunch: Tuna/PBJ Sandwiches
Dinner: Salmon Steak (Shrimp salad for Thom)
Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, and Pancakes
Dinner: Out
The simple grocery list:
1 pkg bacon
2 doz eggs
1 pkg hotdogs
1 pkg hotdog buns
3 cans chili (two are for enchiladas)
2 bags of chips
1 bag of potatoes
1 box cereal
2 pkgs flour tortillas
1 pkg corn tortillas
2 cans spaghetti sauce
1 pkg angel hair pasta
1 pkg frozen corn on the cob
3 pkgs frozen veggies
1 pkg shredded cheese
1 block of chedder cheese
1 onion
1 pkg lunchmeat
1 loaf of bread
1 lb ground beef
1 hamburger helper
2 frozen pizzas
1 rotisserie chicken
1 salad mix
1 box mac and cheese
1 pkg chorizo
1 can tuna
1 bag salad shrimp
1 lb salmon steak
4 gal milk
5 gal water
1 can nuts
Once I buy this grocery list, I should be able to put aisle numbers and it will be even quicker! Of course, we also have our usual snack items: yogurt, string cheese, cottage cheese, ramen, biscotti, juice, soda, etc. Also the staples that we have to check for and buy less than once a week: flour, sugar, margarine, peanut butter, jelly, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, baby soap, soap, toothpaste, deoderant, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, dish soap, sponges, coffee, coffee filters, etc.
That all sounds pretty easy and delicious, right? How do you do meal planning and shopping? Is there an easier or healthier way? Have any secrets you'd like to share?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Angel Food Cake

I made my first angel food cake the other day. I had to buy the pan and the only one they had the middle came out. I wouldn't have bought it if there had been other choices, but man, am I glad I did. It came in very handy! I always have all the ingredients on hand and it is pretty simple to make. And the cake turned out delicious!

1 1/2 c egg whites (10-12 large eggs)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c flour
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1 t vanilla
1 c sugar

Bring egg whites to room temp. Sift powdered sugar and flour together three times. In a large bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla until soft peeks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Sift about one fourth of flour mixture onto egg mixture. Gently fold in. Continue this until all ingredients are mixed together. Pour into ungreased angel food cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 min. Immediately invert cake (keeping in pan.) Cool thoroughly. Remove from pan.

Friday, April 4, 2008


These are an all time favorite in this family. The kids love to do the cinnamon and sugar dusting.

1/2 c margarine or butter
1 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t cream of tartar

Thoroughly beat together ingredients. Cover and chill dough one hour (or as long as you have patience for. We let it go about 15 min.)
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Combine 1 t cinnamon and 2 T sugar in a small bowl. Roll balls in it. Place on cookie sheet and bake 10 min at 375 degrees.

This should make about 36 cookies, but if your two year old opens the fridge and allows your one year old access to the bowl of dough, which is then played in and partially dumped on the floor, you will only end up with about fourteen. (Which is probably just the right amount for us because they will all be gone before bedtime regardless of the number cooked.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tator Tot Casserole

I have never made or eaten tater tot casserole, but the recipe is so popular and easy that I thought I would give it a try. I made it for dinner last night. Adeline ate and liked it. Thom has eaten for a midnight snack, breakfast, and lunch.

1 lb ground beef
1 bag frozen tator tots (I hear shredded hashbrowns can be substituted)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can evaporated milk

Brown ground beef. Place evenly in bottom of 9x13 pan. Pour tator tots evenly over top. Mix together soups and milk. Pour over top of tots. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Notice I didn't give my opinion above. I thought it was mediocre at best. If I make this again, I will probably cook a chopped onion, salt, pepper, and Lowry's seasoning salt in with the beef. It was a little bland for my flavor without anything. And maybe a can of drained Rotel in with the soups?