Monday, July 28, 2008

MENU MAKING - What's on Sale? Time to fill our Make-a-Menu Calendars...

What "main ingredient" (meat, cheese, etc.) is on sale at your local grocery store this week? I notice that my HEB sales flyer lists Tyson Chicken Breast Tenders for $1.99/lb. and HEB Chicken Thighs Sesasoned Fajitas Value Pack for $1.49/pound. They also list pork tenderloin for $2.99/lb., and even though I don't like to pay more than $2.50/lb. for meat, I'll buy one.

So, my Menu Making Friends, what do I do with this bit of sales information? Drumroll, please...

STEP #1: Check out the Make-a-Menu Notebook's Family Favorites List. I notice that my gang loves the following:

* Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers
* Crocked Saucy Chicken with noodles
* Chicken Cordon Bleu (from a computer cookbook)

The Chicken Fingers recipe is already in my "chicken" section, but the other recipes aren't. I quickly print the Chicken Cordon Blue and write out the Saucy Chicken recipe on a blank sheet. Then I add the recipes to the "chicken" section. (Wow! My cookbook of family favorites is really starting to grow!)

STEP #2: Jot the ingredients for all recipes. I'd like to put a couple recipes of each in the freezer, so I'll be sure to write down the correct amounts on my shopping list.

STEP #3: Jot the recipes on my Make-a-Menu Calendar, remembering not to serve the same meal twice in one week. I really like to wait two weeks between serving the same meal. Even if it is a favorite, they don't want too much of it! I notice that I'm already printing out a September calendar!

STEP #4: Plan to prep the chicken after I shop. I'll shop tomorrow. When I get home, two packages of chicken tenders will go straight to the freezer for the Saucy Chicken. I'll use two more packages of tenders to prepare easy Chicken Cordon Blue and flash freeze. On Thursday, I'll prepare 3 recipes of Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers. I'll serve one recipe for dinner and freeze the rest.

Keep trying and you will get the hang of planning, shopping, and cooking this way. Soon enough your menu will be planned, your freezer will be full, your wallet will be fatter, your evenings will be easier, and you will experience No-Brainer Nirvana!