Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Mish Mash, Recipe Included

This weekend I made a monumental decision. I am going to get back to menu planning more consistently again. After a summer of "winging" it, I think I'm ready to for a bit stress free meal decisions. I'm going to start to get back into it with just picking a week's worth of meals and then picking out of that list each morning or the night before.

I'm in a bit of a decision dilemma with how to do my grocery shopping. I get a lump sum of grocery budget twice a month. I've been doing the whole of the shopping when I get these lump sums. But I tell ya. I'm getting a bit tired of the marathon grocery shopping trips, and the marathon packing away of said groceries. Then invariably I'm always running back at some point in the middle of two trips because I don't have something I didn't think to add to the list or I run out of milk and fresh produce. Which is a given with teenagers and a dayhome. I just cannot stock enough of it to last. But if I go to a weekly plan I'll lose the "free items" that my grocery store offers if you spend a certain amount of money. Usually you have to spend either $150 or $250 to get the free item. And sometimes it's really worth it. Last time I got Rubbermaid Premier storage containers worth $30. This week I think it's a free turkey. But on the other hand, going once a week, meal planning would be so much easier, the trips would be so much simpler, and the packing away of it would take so much less time. So you see my dilemma. What to do, what to do?

Isn't my weekend news exciting so far? LOL. We had a pretty laid back weekend. Hubby was home Saturday, his first Saturday off in over a month. When that happens we just go with the flow. And watch movies. And make popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn. Now the gross microwave stuff. But on top of the stove popped in olive oil stuff. The stuff you can't stop eating. This weekend's showings included "Flight of the Phoenix (2004)" one of my favorite movies ever. Prince of Persia followed, and on Sunday evening we wrapped it up with "Star Trek Insurrection". So I'm pretty movie'd and popcorn'd out for awhile.

Now we did have some real food too. If it was up to my hubby, he'd make a meal of the popcorn, but me? I need the real thing. Sunday was burgers on the grill, 'cause now that summer's over, we actually had a nice warm day as opposed to the crummy ones we've had all summer. On Saturday, because I was lazy and popcorning, I threw together a very simple chicken casserole called Chicken Bruschetta Bake. It's chicken breast, tomatoes, lots of garlic and stove top stuffing. Oh what the heck, here's the recipe:

-2 pkg. Stove Top Stuffing mix Chicken flavor (the original recipe calls for one but I find it's not enough)
-1 28 0z. can of stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
-2 large cloves garlic, minced
-1 1/2 lbs (3/4 kg) skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized peices
-1 tsp. dried basil
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400*F. Mix together tomatoes, garlic, and stuffing and stir just until moistened.
Place chicken in 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and basil and pepper to taste. Top with stuffing mixture. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until chicken is cooked.

Done. Can't get any easier than that.

Exercise came in the form of a nice walk to the neighborhood Starbuck's for their fall coffee. I had my Pumpkin Spice Latte and Hubby had the Toffee Mocha Latte. Yum. And our barista turned out to be an old family friend so our coffee was on him. Thanks Teigan!

Oh and I can't forget I vacuumed. Be still my heart.

Pretty exciting weekend, eh? What did you do?


Thena said...

I went to a coupon class on Saturday and one thing they suggested was to not buy what you need, but buy what is on sale.
Check out southernsavers, it's a website that does the work for you by posting all the sales for the week. Publix is awesome when it comes to coupons but unfortunately we don't have one.

ellen b. said...

Well sounds like a perfect laid back weekend to me with some good food thrown in! :0)
Thanks for the recipe...

Mom24 said...

I struggle big-time with the grocery dilemma. Also, I am TERRIBLE at budgeting for our groceries. It's very, very hard, all right, really impossible, for me to stick with what I have to spend. I just can't seem to do it. Of course, around here, we don't have any incentives like that, if we did, I think I'd probably try to stick to doing shoppings big enough to qualify. Those are some serious premiums. Then too, they say the less often you go, the less you spend in impulse buys. It's hard.

Good luck with it.

I do not know why anyone makes microwave popcorn, ever. The stove-top stuff is so easy, and so incredibly delicious. It's all we do. Sadly, my youngest is about to get braces, so popcorn will be disappearing from our home for a while.

Barbara H. said...

I really do need to menu-plan. I don't know why, I just hate to take the time -- yet the time would be more than made up for my planning for those extra ingredients I don't have on hand or trying to decide all day what to make.

I understand the shopping dilemma. It wears me out to do a major shopping trip, yet it does seem to save time over two shorter ones. Yet -- as you say, seems like we always have to run back to the store in between no matter what we do.

This past Sat. was the first one in a long time that we didn't have to be somewhere or have someone over or have something we had to do. We enjoyed puttering around the house getting a few minor but needed things done.

Faith said...

hey... i LIKE boring and relaxing weekends...which we had here in our home! What did I do? I cooked on the grill....yay...grilled chicken...was super mild here with temps in the low 70s. got a new trimmer bobbed haircut/color and got to just READ most of the evening. Sunday was church followed by sandwiches followed by a date with hubby to a wildlife preserve for a bit of easy hiking. Saw lots of trees starting to change color. I am now trying to get ahead with my own meal planning for the next 2 weeks....i do weekly shopping twice. once at the normal grocery store and once at Fresh Market. It's the only way I can do it....and i STILL seem to run outta something between those trips! argh......oh well....enjoy your monday! Glad my post about blowdown was a blessing to you!

Donnetta said...

I tend to shop sales as much as possible every week and menu plan from what I already have on hand. I do go weekly for the milk/produce that we will consume that week though.

Reading about the popcorn tempts me to add the real stuff to my grocery list this week even if it's not on sale. YUM!

I'm planning to BBQ burgers this week as the forecast is for beautiful weather the next few days.

I also had my first pumpkin latte of the season. YUM! Haven't tried the Toffee Mocha yet but it sounds delish as well!

Beck said...

That is one of my favorite things to make that I can't make anymore! Wah!

Can you make one of your teenagers do your grocery shopping FOR you? That might help.

Jerralea said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, Susanne.

I take your mentioning the menu planning as confirmation that I need to get back on track with menu planning as well. Life goes much better with a menu.

That being said, I understand your dilemma about how often to grocery shop. I shop weekly and often get tired of doing it. I'm not sure I have room to store food for half a month at a time, though ...

Oh yeah, I love to veg out watching movies and munching popcorn too!

Tina Leigh said...

Sounds like you had a good weekend!
We love popcorn too but we are eating "already poped, in the bag pop corn" right now because my granddaughter LOVES it!! She will eat fresh popped but not like "In the bag"...go figure!

Laura said...

This is my 2 cents...ask yourself this...what is your sanity worth? Is it worth more than a free item? If so then you have your answer :)

Finding Pam said...

I have learned to shop the perimeters of the store only. It saves buying a lot of junk food. I cook everything from scratch now.

When I worked full time plus I would do all of my cooking on Sunday and then freeze it. I owned my own flower shop and it was so hard to cook healthy food for our sons. I preferred to eat oatmeal rather than a hamburger. Thank goodness I sold my shop and got my life back.

We live so deep in the country that I have to travel a ways to the grocery store. I hate it, but that is what I do now. In fact, I have to go today. I think I will try your receipe.