Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Camille from Camille's Casa

We have a fun guest blog today: Camille from Camille's Casa. I first discovered her blog because she made these adorable decorations out of coffee filters a few months ago. They were seriously so cute and I spent more than an hour today searching her blog for them and can't find them.... so maybe I'm dillusional. Anyway, Camille has los of fabulous things on her blog, like Sharing Time ideas/plans, quiet book patterns, notebook cozy tutorial, tons of aprons, and lots of fabulous recipes. She is both creative and practical, which are important to me. Go check it out!
I asked Camille to post today about her 30 day menu plan because I think it's the best idea ever. I've been doing it this month and have loved it! We're down to the end of the month and I'm trying SO hard not to go shopping again, so even if I run out of diapers at least I know I've got all the ingredients I need for dinner! :)
Hi!! I'm Camille from Camille's Casa and I'm delighted to be posting here today for Laurie. I'm a high school home-ec. teacher turned stay-at-home mom I am going to share my menu solution, the one that's going to save you the agony of realizing everybody's hungry and you have nothing to serve for dinner. You don't need to be reminded about our responsibility to feed our kids well, but your hubby deserves a good dinner too right? One of THE best feelings ever is plating some delicious dinner, having a house that smells like home cookin' and having your husband thank you with a kiss. Am I right?

I plan my menus one month at a time. At the beginning of the month I create a list of 30 meals. If you count in eating out, parties, events and family events and occasional lunches, I generally cook 30 meals per month. So, for the first few meals I write down any freezer meals I have that I need to use, for example a pizza braid or baked ziti I made last month or leftover shredded turkey. Next, I go through the fridge and see what items I need to use, like spinach, mushrooms, or a half-eaten bag of tortilla chips. Then, I'll ask my husband what meals he's craving. (He always wants something with alfredo and some type of steak.) I write down things I'm craving, I always throw in a deep dish pizza or Calzones. Then, I'll browse through cookbooks or online recipes that sound like something fun and new to try. Don't forget to add in your favorites, like we always have tacos and spaghetti at least once a month.

Have you got your 30 meals yet? Good! Now, hang it on your fridge. Next step, I make a shopping list. I get all of the non-perishables (like canned tomatoes or pasta) and store them in the pantry. For your meats, I get them at a sale price during the month and portion and freeze. For produce, I get as much as I can that won't go bad, like onions are carrots are usually fine, but I might have to make a second trip for tomatoes or cucumber. Easy right?

So now, on my fridge I have a list of 30 meals. They are well-planned, well-loved and nutritious. There's a few new recipes to try and some comfort food classics. When it's time to start cooking, I can look at my list and choose whichever one I want, knowing I have all the ingredients. Lots of people assign days, but I don't bother. Sometimes a day gets so busy that I don't have time for complicated chicken cordon bleu, but I can whip out a Taco Salad or Chicken Quesadillas in less than 15 minutes. I like the freedom of cooking whatever sounds good that night, but knowing I've got the ingredients. This helps me keep my grocery budget in check, since I won't be running to the store every night and paying full price for one silly ingredient.

Now, here's the best part of my 30 day method. Give it a try for a year, save your menus, and guess what!? You have a year-long menu, of foods you love, with no extra effort! Sa-weet! In the summer months my menus have lots of grilling, in the winter I use my crockpot a lot, it's perfect.

Want to give it a try? Jump over to my blog and view my recipe index, browse my menus and pick out something good to eat.
Love you for reading - Camille

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