Thursday, April 30, 2009

Black Bean Lasagna

So, I've been asked to share more of my bean recipes. Here's the thing, I love beans. My husband loves beans. My girls love beans. So we're beanin' it up lately and save loads of money. Loads? you ask. Yes, loads. When you aren't buying as much meat, it's amazing how much money you save. I've also gotten into canning meat, so when the chicken breasts are on sale, I'm buying a bunch and canning it. It tastes soooo good and it's super convenient, and, of course, cheaper.

Here's a bean recipe we had the Monday night. My vegetarian friend gave this recipe to me, and I tell you, everyone who has had it or made it for their family comes back with raving reviews. I personally love lasagna and this isn't quite the same, but it really is quite tasty If you try it, I'd love to know what you think.

10 no-cook lasagna noodles
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup salsa
1 t. cumin
1 t. minced garlic
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 c. skim milk
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 c. grated mozzarella cheese

Combine sause, salsa, cumin, garlic, and beans. Combine ricotta, egg, milk, and parmesan. Layer in a 9x13 pan, starting with a thin layer of sauces, noodles, ricotta, more sauce, then cheese. Repeat to make 3 layers. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. You can also use regular noodles, just cook before proceeding with recipe. (I also tend to use more mozzarella cheese. I put a small layer over each layer of ricotta. Can never have too much cheese.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Save Money Planning Monthly Meals

Well goodness. I had meant to post about my monthly meal planning, but I forgot. As Jenae mentioned, I did post about it on my family blog, but I meant to do it here too. Here's the rundown. I take one day and plan for the entire month. I assign each day of the week a theme. (See Jenae's monthly plan) That makes it easier to plan. Instead of thinking "hmmm 30 dinners to think of..." I think "What are 4 Mexican meals we like? What are 4 casseroles we like? What are 4 soups I'll make?" It makes it much more do-able, and it only takes me about 20 minutes to plan for the month. The first couple months, I saved about $20-40 dollars. I was happy. Last month, I cut $100 off our grocery bill! Hello monthly meal planning, you are now my best friend. Nice to meet 'cha. When you have your meals in front of you for the month, it's much easier to buy the items you need in bulk, or on sale, and you don't waste as much. I also started to strategically plan my menus. For instance, I knew I was making an enchilada casserole where I'd need refried beans. So, I thought of other meals that needed refried beans so I could buy those in bulk and make it stretch. I do one large shopping trip in the beginning of the month and go to the grocery store mid-month to restock our milk and produce. (I have to admit though, that part of that $100 saving is because we've done more vegetarian meals. If you can use beans instead of meat, it saves a ton.)

I recently taught an enrichment on preparing your 3 month food storage supply, and in it I introduced monthly meal planning. I've had several people tell me how it's helped them save money and they really enjoy it. It's taken the stress out of planning/cooking meals and made it fun again. Isn't that how it should be anyway? The idea sounds overwhelming, but it's so easy. I love it. And if it saves me $100 a month -- shoot -- I'm doing it!

So, for a week, you need 7 different themes for your meals. Here are just a few that I've used:

Crockpot (usually on Sunday because we have 1pm church)
Leftovers (usually my Saturday night)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trying the Monthly Meal Planning Out

Thanks for posting Ann!
I too am back with a post of meals, this time a whole month's worth.

Jenny had a post on her blog about doing a different style of monthly meal planning so I am trying that out in April and so far I love it! I just copied this from the Excel file I kept it in which made it easy to paste here. If anyone else is trying this, let us know how you like it too.

Mondays: Breakfast for Dinner Night
Breakfast Bagel Sandwiches
Waffles w/ Fruit
Eggs & Hashbrowns
Breakfast Burritos

Tuesdays: Mexican Night
Beef Tamale Skillet
Soft Tacos
Veggie Bean Burritos

Wednesdays: Soup/Salad/Sandwich Night
Enchilada Soup (FS Deals recipe)
Au Jus Sandwiches
Taco Salad
Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup
Out to Eat

Thursdays: Chicken/Pork Night
Baked Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Veggie
Chicken Fajitas w/ Lime Cilantro Rice
Yummy Pork Chops, Rice
Stupid Chicken w/ Pasta
Chicken Rice Goulash

Fridays: Italian Night
Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Sonoma Pasta
Pizza (frozen or homemade)

Saturdays: Beef Night
Shepherd's Pie (w/ Grands or Bisquick on top)
Hamburgers & Oven Fries
Lil Cheddar Meatloaves
Beef Stroganoff

Sundays: Crockpot Night
Shredded Teriyaki Pork (FS Deals recipe)
Cassoulet w/ Bread
Tin Foil Dinner in Crockpot
Elegant Chicken, Green Salad

Monday, April 20, 2009

This blog is not dead. Here's the meal plan to prove it.

Friday: Leftover Easter ham and green salad
Saturday: Yukon gold and green onion Frittata
Sunday: Falafel burgers with yogurt dressing and fresh bread
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper Pasta and asparagus
Wednesday: No cook day.
Thursday: green enchiladas

I also recently posted on my usually-non-food-related blog about why I love plain yogurt. Check it out.

There. What are the rest of you eating?