March will be another once a month(ish) shopping month. Usually I refine the menu after my shopping trip, but I have had to delay my planned main trip due to a snowstorm. With plenty of chicken and a few other meats still stocked in the freezer, this plan should work pretty well. The only thing that might change is the variety of fruits and vegetables we use for side dishes and maybe I won’t find the salmon I want at a decent price and I would have to scratch that meal off the list.
$350 is the target for spending at the stores. I know we have one family restaurant dinner coming up, but that is the only time we’re planning to eat away from home. My husband takes sandwiches or leftovers for lunch, my son takes his lunch (pb&j every. single. day.) and I usually have leftovers. None of us really eat breakfast except for once in a great while on a random weekend day (yes, yes, I know – most important meal of the day and all that, but it just doesn’t happen here), so no major expenses there.
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How to make once a month shopping work?
- Plan a menu based on what you already have on hand and the meals you like to make.
- If you have a grocery budget (you should!), check the sale ads for the stores where you plan to shop.
- Realize that you may need to set aside most of a day for shopping and storing your purchases.
- Freeze your bread.
- Make meals that use perishable vegetables earlier in the month, saving root vegetables and frozen items for later.
- You may not make it through an entire month without shopping, but one or two quick stops for milk and fruit are a breeze compared to a big shop every week.
- If a full month seems like too much, try two weeks.
Related post: How to Plan a Monthly Menu That Works For YOU
This month I’m adding more new menu items that incorporate boneless skinless chicken thighs. Anything that says *new menu item* has not yet been tested by my family, so I will try to come back and add a quick review after we actually try the dish. The highlighted links you see in the menu will take you directly to the website for each recipe. If you want to see photos of the linked recipes in one place, you can visit my Pinterest board for main dish recipes. I’m always pinning new recipes, so following my board is a great idea if you’re looking for dinner inspiration.
March 2016 Menu Plan
- Oven-fried chicken drumsticks (coating recipe), sauteed cabbage or carrots
- Oriental chicken salad
- Roasted whole chicken & carrots, mashed potatoes
- *new menu item* Chicken with Cider Vinegar Cream and Caramelised Apples – This was not a one-dish dinner as I had originally thought. The flavor was very good, but it took two pans to make and my guys didn’t quite understand how the apples fit into the whole scheme of the dish.
- Chicken alfredo, broccoli
- Chicken, smoked sausage & veggie kabobs
- Smothered b/s chicken thighs, roasted potatoes
- Chicken Noodle Soup w/homemade noodles
- *new menu item* Crispy Coconut Chicken, fried rice
- *new menu item* Creamy Chicken Piccata, broccoli, biscuits – Fantastic!
- *new menu item* crockpot General Tso’s Chicken – This was excellent and will definitely become part of the regular dinner rotation!
- *new menu item* Chicken Lazone
- *new menu item* Italian Dressing Caramelized Chicken – This was super-easy but got more liquidy than caramelized. Still, it had good flavor and is great for a fast dinner.
- *new menu item* Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos – This was THE biggest hit of the month.
- One-pan roasted smoked sausage, chicken & potatoes
- Copycat Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
- Fried pork chops, roasted vegetables
- Sausage gravy & biscuits
- Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole, peas or green beans
- Hashbrown Casserole (love all-in-one meals!)
- *new menu item* Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, salad – MAJOR hit!
- Homemade pizza x 2
- Venison chops, roasted potatoes & vegetables
- Spaghetti or lasagna, garlic bread, salad or peas
Salmon(I’ve been craving it, too bad it’s from a store and not from Lake Michigan) – What the store had wasn’t what I wanted. *sad*
- Fish fry (bluegill & perch from freezer), homemade onion rings
Okay, there you have it — 28 home-cooked meals planned, one restaurant meal planned, and two nights left open for leftovers or “I don’t feel like cooking, make yourself a sandwich or a frozen burrito.” 😉 If you see a menu item that doesn’t list a side dish, it’s likely that I’m going to throw some random vegetables together and roast them — it’s super-easy and our favorite side dish during these colder months.
If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment in the box below. I read and reply to every comment.
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