Weekly Menu 4/14 – 4/20

It’s that time again.  Plan, plan, plan.  This is probably one of the fastest weekly menus I have ever created.  It is primarily due to my sense of sluggishness lately.  My sleep patterns have been awful, and I have yet to completely get over the stomach issues I discussed last post.  Jason has been over his stomach problems for days now, and I am trying to figure out why I am still having issues.  More on my theories another time.  For now, I have an excellent menu planned…and I am feeling quite certain that we will stick to it this time unlike last week.  Last week’s sugar-laden treats and celebrations got us completely out of whack, which is probably why I have been experiencing this extended stomach upset anyway.  Be prepared for a week of super freakishly clean things.  It does not get more simple than this.  Before we get lost in the world of cooking methods and spices together I wanted to discuss cost.  Grocery bill time!

Obviously a family’s grocery bill depends on how many mouths there are to feed, but regardless of that number there are always tricks to save.  I briefly discussed some tricks on another post.  The biggest factor that I would stress is simplicity.  There are two ways to keep it simple – one, you could get lots of pre-cooked, pre-packaged things that are easy to throw together OR you could keep your ingredient list minimal and cooking methods simple.  I prefer the latter, obviously, because the first leads to an unhealthy road that you don’t want to travel.  When you’re buying pre-packaged meals (meals that come ready to go in boxes, bags, or worse fast-food, etc.) you are not keeping it simple in reality because the ingredient list is extensive along with words you probably can’t even pronounce.  Best bet is to not even go that route, but stick to fresh ingredients that are seasoned minimally and are cooked in such a way that all the extra fillers needed are just left out of the mix.  That is the kind of stuff that you’ll find in this week’s menu.  I made my trip to the store a few hours ago, and when it was all said and done I got groceries for this Saturday through next Friday for $150.  My complete bill was $152 and that included things that don’t even count for the menu such as toilet paper, foil, and trash bags!  That amount also covers all three meals of the day for us.  My grocery list was about 70 percent produce, 20 percent meat, and 10 percent extra stuff…yet I hear so many folks say that they don’t eat a lot of vegetables and fruits because they’re so expensive.  They’re not.  That is the sorriest excuse I have ever heard…I just have to say it.  For example, a bunch of kale costs 92 cents.  A single cucumber costs 62 cents.  2 whole pounds of turnips costs $1.94.  A whole head of cabbage costs $1.45.  How can an individual say that they would love to feed their child a healthy snack, but to be honest bags of chips and cookies cost less than fresh produce?  It’s not true.  I bought 6 huge carrots for $1.22.   Now you might argue that a bag of chips will last longer than 6 carrots for your kids to snack on…that may be true, but how long do chips really last at your house?  Be real.  Now I haven’t been down the ol’ chip aisle is some time, but I am fairly certain that the prices are not that different, and the health benefit from fresh produce versus crap is massive.  That I am 100% certain of.

You know what else I love about grocery day?  Okay check it out.  Each week I go I have all this produce making its way down the conveyor belt, and the cashiers freak out!  I am lucky to get a cashier that can check me out without asking at least once what a particular item is.  And that is not to say that I even get that radical of produce — the items I get are pretty general!  That makes it even worse.  If I had to guess I’d say that 85% of the cashiers I get ask me what turnips are.  They also ask what the heck fennel is.  So this is bad on so many levels:  1) they should know these products because they work there…which tells me that other people are not buying these odd-ball vegetables frequently enough and 2) they don’t know what they are so likely they don’t eat them either.  Hahaha and like I said…these vegetables aren’t even weird!  Maybe the cashiers at my local grocery store are just stupid, call me out if this is just an observation that is true to my store!

Enough of me flappin’ my gums as Jason would say.  On to our super simple menu for this upcoming week.  Lots of grilling again!  I had to with our new grill and all.  I told you, simple cooking methods!  Grilling is one of the simplest and one of the funnest, too!  Sunday is exciting because we will have Jason’s mom and sister over for the night.  We will make a fajita feast for them…and hopefully this time we won’t get sick afterward!

Saturday:  Simple Lamb Stew Meat over Cauliflower Rice

Sunday:  Smoky-Lime Fajitas with Poblano Guacamole & Lettuce Leaves

Monday:  Cedar Planked Salmon with Lemon Roasted Green Beans

Tuesday:  Grilled Beef Heart Skewers with Smoky Roasted Turnips

Wednesday:  Grilled Portobello Burgers with Baked Carrot Fries

Thursday:  Chicken & Vegetable Lo Mein

Friday:  Slow-Cooker Braised Beef Shanks with Sauteed Kale

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