Monday, April 4, 2011

April--A Whole Month of Meals!

Best homemade pizza--EVER!
Homemade pizza on my pizza stone. SOOO good!
After neglecting to do a monthly menu plan and freezer cooking day in March, I am so ready to get back to it this month.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down and formulated our meal plan for the month. First, I print out a blank monthly calendar. I pull out my recipe binder and a few cookbooks and look over some of my previous monthly plans for inspiration (here's February 2011, January 2011, and December 2010). The weather is spring/summerish here in Florida already, so this month I'm moving on from soups/stews to pasta salads and hamburgers on the grill. Whooo-hooo!

Here's how April looks:


April 1st--Dinner at Chick-fil-A! Our neighbor brought us a Korean dish for dinner. :)
Lemon Tomato Tilapia/ Broccoli Quick Crustless Quiche Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts/ Spinach Burritos Spicy and Cheesy Black Beans and Yellow Rice Date Night Hamburgers on the grill!
Stuffed Pasta Shells/ Green Beans/ Sweet Potato, Chard, and Coconut Milk Casserole
(New Recipe)
Black Bean and Mango Chicken Salad Shepherd's Pie (I make some adaptations to the recipe) Sticky Chicken/ Roasted Asparagus Pizza Night Baked Grouper/ Veggies
Garden Macaroni Salad Quick Crustless Quiche Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts/ Spinach Taco Salad Spicy and Cheesy Black Beans and Yellow Rice Out of town Out of town
Stuffed Pasta Shells/ Green Beans/ Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Black Bean and Mango Chicken Salad Shepherd's Pie Sticky Chicken/ Roasted Asparagus Pizza Night Baked Grouper/ Veggies

Does the idea of planning out your dinners for an entire month intimidate you? Please don't let it! I tried it for the first time in December and was happy to discover how simple it was. When I take the time to plan for a month, I actually spend less time menu planning.

During the month, we don't stick to the plan exactly. Some weeks, I switch the meals around. The veggie sides may be switched out for whatever vegetables are on sale that week. Occasionally we'll go out to eat, or eat dinner at a friend's house. Regardless, there is a plan to fall back on, which makes the month go more smoothly.

Last night I went to the grocery store and purchased a lot of meat on sale, so I'll be doing my freezer cooking day sometime this week. With the recent increases in food prices, I'm finding that the combination of monthly meal planning and freezer cooking is vital to our budget.

(Side note: My hubby picked up a gallon of OJ at the grocery store this weekend and it cost $6! Wow! Maybe we'll drink it out of wine glasses...*wink*)

Linked to Menu Plan Monday.


  1. Wow, it sounds great! (like the burgers on the grill!!!) It's a healthy and diverse mealplan. Go Alicia!
    Your pizza looks tasty. I got a pizza/breadstone for my birthday and it gives great crusts. Love Amelie

  2. I need to do this. I need some new recipe inspiration to get out of the cooking-supper-blahs.

    $6 for a gallon of OJ!!!??? Does it have liquid gold in it or something? Ours is creeping up - $3.89/gal. this past week, but it's usually cheaper in the winter than the summer. I still happily fork over $$ for it, though, b/c it is ONE "healthy" drink Daniel will drink. He is a little allergic to milk so he doesn't drink much of that, and so he gets a big glass of OJ w/ breakfast... and then packs 2 cans of sodas for the day. We figured up that per gal. sodas are super expensive... but I still don't think he wants to give it up yet :)

  3. It completely astounds me that people can plan for a WHOLE month! I'm so impressed! Your menu looks wonderful!! I love seeing how you rotate so many meals!

  4. Looks like a great month on tap! We're doing lots of "freezer kits" this month. It's just going to be so busy.

  5. Alicia--that is fabulous. I *so* need to do this--I just can't seem to pick that many recipes! How do you pick them? Do you try to balance out new, old, casserole, meat type, etc? Or just whatever looks good?

  6. Amanda,
    Yes, I do try to balance out the meal types/meat types...otherwise we'd accidentally end up eating chicken every night (there are so many chicken recipes...).
    From my menu above you can kind of tell...but on Sundays we do some sort of pasta, Fridays are pizza night, and on Saturdays I try to do steak/hamburgers/or seafood. Sometimes the other days are themed, too (crockpot meals, ethnic meals, salad night), but this month I just ended up plugging in whatever recipe I wanted.
    I'm slowly building up my repertoire of recipes...I try to pick recipes we love, but also add in a couple new ones each month.

    Miriam--I know!! And it wasn't even not from concentrate...

  7. Thanks for coming by Whole Foods OAMM! I just did my month of meal planning this weekend too!

  8. This is for Oh Amanda...As far as coming up with a months worth of meals you can make it easier on yourself if you only do a weeks worth of meals. Save the weeks meal plan for 4 weeks and bada bing, you have a whole months worth of meals...

    Now, do I do that? Um, no...I still struggle weekly to make a plan...thanks for the inspirations Alicia.

  9. Sidenote--I have found that if I plan the same meal more than twice, we tend to get tired of it no matter how fabulous it is(there are normally leftovers, as well). That's just us!

  10. Grilling more sounds wonderful and this monthly menu very yummy.

    I haven't started planning monthly yet and don't freezer cook, but would like to start both at some point.

    I do weekly plan and in that regard am working on planning more veggie sides because often I totally forget sides haha.

  11. Alicia,
    It is nice to know there are moms like you who do monthly meal planning. I have done that for two years using the "Saving Dinner" cookbook and some of our family favorite recipes. I had twenty four months of menu with themes of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I kept the menu simple but nutritious. My family loved it. I have not been able to do it currently due to some family circumstances. But will definitely get back on it again as soon as I could. Another venue I have yet tried is the once a month cooking. My family like freshly cooked meal so the freezer cooking method is still on the pending mode.
    I really enjoy reading your posts. You are so young yet so capable, it shone through in your straight forward writing style and your candid spirit. Your love to your family is also extremely evident.
    When my daughter has her own house to keep, I would definitely refer your blog to her. :)
    Have a blessed day!


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