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Monday, February 8, 2010

How do you menu plan?

Heather e-mailed this question to me: "Do you plan your menu around what is on sale? That has seemed easier to me than planning the menu first."

This was my response back to Heather: "I am going to confess to you that I am an AWFUL menu planner. It’s constantly on my list of things to do better. This is how I do plan and how I make dinner and my other meals. I cook based off of what I have. I buy things that I will use when it’s on sale and create a stock pile of ingredients that I need for my most often used recipes. Than when fresh produce goes on sale I make recipes that I have all the other ingredients for. I freeze lots of meats, cheese, lunch meat and even bread so my stash of items I have on hand is really high. Does that make sense? I am cooking based on what I have not necessarily what’s on sale that week."

In addition to my original response back to Heather I'd like to add that yes it is smart and very budget friendly if you are going to do a menu plan for a week to base it off the weekly store adds. I do have several go to recipes that I can cook whenever or need very little supplies that I don't have stock piled and I also have recipes that I wait for the produce to go on sale for.

Here is a new recipe that I just found in the Con-Agra coupon book that I received in the mail that looks yummy and I have all the ingredients for in my stock piles minus 1 green pepper.

Chicken Tortilla Bake

• 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (I think this is optional because I don't like onion ; ) )
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 1 can RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
• 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
• 9 corn tortillas (6 inch), torn into bite size pieces
• 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 325. Spray 8x8 baking dish and medium skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add bell pepper and onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring several times. Stir in broth, soup, undrained tomatoes and chicken; blend well. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Layer 1/3 each of tortilla pieces, chicken mixture and cheese evenly in baking dish. Repeat layers twice more. Bake uncovered 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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