I’ve got a confession and it might cause a gasp from many of you. That’s because I break the mold of many frugal bloggers.
My confession is – I DON’T Menu plan. Not one bit. In fact many nights I don’t know exactly what we’re eating until about an hour before dinner time.That doesn’t mean I break the bank by eating out every night or going to the store to buy special ingredients. Far from it. Instead I come up with meals from items in my stockpile and freezer. Honestly, some of my favorite recipes have come from spur of the moment conceptions.
Here are a couple other reasons I don’t menu plan:
- Many people that menu plan base it on the store’s sales for the week. Sometimes, there are slow weeks at the store with no deals in the ad that would make for a dinner that my family would enjoy. These are usually week 3 and 4 of the month.
Instead, I stock up when items we like are on sale and know I have them in my freezer or pantry. This is particularly a money saver in regards to meat.
- Some Days don’t go as planned. With 5 kids, afternoon and evening schedules can change easily. Some nights I might have to be more of a chauffeur or tutor just depending upon what has happened during the day at school for the kids. That means I don’t know until around 5 or 6 how much time I’ll have to cook. I have to be willing and able to adapt and a menu plan doesn’t allow for that.
- I don’t consider myself a crafty person, but planning meals using what I have in my stockpile is an outlet for my creativity. It also allows for our meals to never become repetitive.
The one thing I always make sure I have in my cupboard to create meals on the fly is spices. I stock up at Aldis, drugstores, Dollar Stores, and the Mexican Food Aisle. You would be amazed at the variety you can find in those locations at great prices.
My latest Stockpile Recipe was dinner last night. It was Ricotta Sausage on Muffins or for me a salad variety.
At dinner time I went to the freezer. Even though I don’t “menu plan” I do try to rotate proteins. So when I looked in the freezer I saw a pack of ground turkey and ground sausage that I had picked up at Aldis a while ago. Combining these two items is the only way my husband will eat Ground Turkey – truth me told I didn’t even mention the turkey to him.
Also from the freezer, I grabbed a free bag of Birds Eye Recipe Ready vegetables with zucchini and peppers and a bag of English Muffins. Since time was short, I figured this would make for a quick starch.
Next stop was the pantry and extra refrigerator. My original thought was to make English muffin lasagnas with a tomato sauce and ricotta spread on the muffin. I decided to change that up though because my husband doesn’t just love cold ricotta on the muffins. So here’s what I came up with.
Ricotta Sausage Muffins from my Stockpile
- 1 pound Ground Turkey
- 1 pound Ground Sausage (mild)
- 2 apples peeled, cored and diced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ TBSP Cumin
- 1 TBSP Ground Sage
- 1 TBSP Granulated Garlic
- 1 TBSP Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 14 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 1 Bag Birds Eye Recipe Ready Zuchinni and Peppers
- 6 English Muffins
- Defrosted Meats in Microwave
- Mixed together all the spices in a seperate bowl
- Add meat and 4 TBSP of Season Mix to frying pan and brown.
- After majority of meat is browned, add the apples and cook for a couple minutes.
- Stir in Ricotta Cheese and heat.
- In seperate pan, saute veggies in bit of water and add remaining spices.
- Serve on toasted English Muffins. For my husbands I added a bit of garlic butter.
- Can also serve on a bed of lettuce
Tonight’s dinner is going to use chicken and I have about 30 minutes to make it. So stay tuned tomorrow for that recipe.