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I haven't done this in ages and probably the reason I didn't stick with it is I was too ambitious during the weeknights. As much as I love to cook, coming home from a stressful job five nights a week can take it's toll and I would give up on the "planning" part. So, I decided to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and dug out about 40 recipes that are quick and easy as well as a few new ones I wanted to try. I created a small binder and made categories for Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish/Seafood, etc. as well as a Crockpot and Weekend category to include the things we love but just aren't feasible for cooking during the week. Then I created a Weekly Menu Sheet with a section for Notes so I would know if I needed to purchase any special ingredients or take something out of the freezer for later use in the week. DH leaves Friday and will be out of town for 10 days. I'm not sure how strictly I will stick to the first week as I'm on my own and have penty of To-Do's while he's gone (I get SO much done when he's away!! :laugh:) He'll be back the second week and it should go pretty smoothly.

Here's the plan:

I need to run to the store tomorrow or Friday and pick up a few things before I can start. I need some Artichoke Hearts and Ground Pork.

Friday night I'll eat a small frozen pizza that is in the deep freeze. Saturday morning I'm going to make a Ham (leftover deli meat), Red Pepper (in the crisper), Ground Sausage (already cooked and looking for good place to go) and Cheese (in the fridge) Omelet Roll to nibble off of for a couple of days. I also have some other deli meat and a good variety of cheeses that need to be eaten to make sandwiches with. That will cover me from Friday to Sunday. I'm going to add the Ground Pork that I buy to some Ground Chuck I have and make a huge batch of my homemade meatballs and get them frozen for later use. I also need to take some chicken breast out of the freezer to thaw for a dinner on Tuesday...

Week One:

Monday - Ground Beef Sukiyaki with White Rice (never tried it before but supposed to be good)

Tuesday - Mandarin Chicken with leftover rice

Wednesday - Chicken Quesadilla's with Artichokes and Red Peppers, Salad as I'm sure the lettuce I have will need to be used up by this point.

Thursday - This is ALWAYS Leftover Night...if no leftovers it's Spaghetti, Hot Dogs or something from our Home Canning supply as I have other chores to tend to that night

Friday - This is ALWAYS Pizza Night...I'm going to try a new "Quick" Crust recipe that is made from scratch but doesn't require rising. It's another new one for me but something I want to try. I already have Pepperoni and will top it with whatever other meat products might still be hanging around and veggies from the crisper drawer.

Saturday and Sunday - I'll make some kind of breakfast (probably a bread/egg casserole so I can have leftovers) then make a quick Hamburger/Chicken Helper so I can finish any undone To-Do's. Since I'm still on my own I can eat off a single pan for several meals. If I need to, I can eat a can of soup or something to get me through the rest of the weekend. I will also pull out some chicken to defrost for a dinner on Tuesday night and get my meatballs and Crockpot ready for Monday morning. DH flies in on Monday evening and dinner will be ready and waiting when we get home.

The second week...

Monday - Meatballs, Crusty Bread and a Veggie

Tuesday - Oven Baked Ranch Chicken, leftover Crusty Bread, Veggie or salad (since this is an oven dish it free's up the stove top and I will prep the pasta and veggies for Friday night)

Wednesday - Asian Glazed Pork, White Rice, Pea Pods

Thursday - Leftovers or Home Canned Meat with a side dish

Friday - Pizza Casserole (this is actually a Pasta dish but with all the flavors of Pizza)

Saturday - Asian Pineapple and Pork with Red Peppers and Onions, Rice

Sunday - Steak, veggie and potato of some kind

Now that I'm ahead of the game I can watch the sales for whatever fresh veggies are on sale and use them the following week. I always keep a decent supply of frozen meats in the freezer(s) in addition to our Home Canned meats so we always have proteins available and can stay one step ahead in that department. Hopefully I can continue to tweak this in the coming weeks!:D
 

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Friday - This is ALWAYS Pizza Night...I'm going to try a new "Quick" Crust recipe that is made from scratch but doesn't require rising. It's another new one for me but something I want to try. I already have Pepperoni and will top it with whatever other meat products might still be hanging around.
Sounds like you got it all planned out :)

Would you share your quick crust recipe for the pizza ?
 

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MADH - great assessment for where you are and what you are going to do to be susccessful!! Very impressive - keep this up so we can follow your success!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like you got it all planned out :)

Would you share your quick crust recipe for the pizza ?
Not sure if I can post links yet as I'm still a Newbie and have so few posts but go to Recipezaar and search for Recipe #29002. If that doesn't work let me know and I'll post something. One of the newest Reviewers posted how she did it with a Pizza Stone and since I have one and use it frequently I'm going to try her way and see how it turns out. HTH!!
 

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Great job in menu planning!

Not sure if I can post links yet as I'm still a Newbie and have so few posts but go to Recipezaar and search for Recipe #29002. If that doesn't work let me know and I'll post something. One of the newest Reviewers posted how she did it with a Pizza Stone and since I have one and use it frequently I'm going to try her way and see how it turns out. HTH!!
Looking forward to hearing the result. Good Luck
 

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Thanks :)
I found the recipe and am going to give it a try this weekend.
 

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Well I think it turned out okay. I ate it all by myself.
Took me a couple of days to finish it off. I used a standard size cake pan.
Hubby should have helped me but sometimes he gets turned off by pizza or anything that has to do with tomatoes. His stomach acts up.
Make sure you start with a deep pan, because the crust keeps rising and comes up the sides. Takes awhile to bake. But I only bake at 325 because I don't want to burn things. And I used imatation mozzeralla cheese so it did not melt like I thought it would. I sliced up a onion and put that in the crust mix. It gave the crust a nice flavor. I would use less sauce on the next one I try. I also used pepperoni slices on this one and the next one will be hamburg crumbled up. I cooked the crust a little while by itself before I added the toppings. I may load it up like the recipe says the next time around...all at once or something like that. So I am going to make it again, and I think it could really work out good. I just need to figure out what I want to put on it so the hubby will eat it. I think it would make a excellent breakfast pizza. Use cooked scrambled eggs for part of the topping.

My next project is to cook a pizza using store made dough. I bought some fresh yesterday for 1.79. It's still rising in the frig. Wait till I put it on a cookie sheet tomorrow. My daughter in law, makes hers this way now, so guess I will get her on the phone and ask for hints. I used to do stuff like this all the time. Lots of scratch cooking. A little rusty now but not bad. I just want to do it right and not waste any food in my experimenting.
My question would be...when I get it rolled out on the cookie sheet...do I pre bake it partially, before putting the toppings on ?

You do know how easy it is to go to a store and buy a pizza already make and shove it in the oven :)
I guess I have to get out of my comfort zone and find cheap ways to do it from scratch again. It seems harder now because just the two of us. And the hubby can be finicky.
When the kids were home, I baked lots and even if I goofed a recipe...the kids didn't tell me...they ate it all and praised it....I guess they just wanted to keep me motivated :)
 
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It looks like you have a good plan. The meals look delicious and there is a good variety there. I like the way you incorporate leftovers in your plan.
 
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So how did your first week of menus go ?
Did they work out okay for you ?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
First week went good!

I skipped a couple of things...first was the Chicken Quesadilla. I thought I could make it til Friday before getting dog food but the Chow Hounds ate me out of house and home so I ran to Walmart (best price for their food) and picked up a frozen pizza while I was there to put in the deep freeze. By the time I got home I was whipped and ate some fish sticks from the freezer and some macaroni and cheese. Friday I was under the weather and happy to have the frozen pizza so that was lunch. Skipped dinner as I had to take one of the dogs to the emergency vet and had remaining pizza for lunch on Saturday.

DH got home yesterday and we are right on track for the second week. Even have next's weeks menu planned as I got a sneak peak at my grocery's upcoming sales flyer. Another lousy week so we are using mostly home-canned proteins next week with a "treat" of Ribeye Steaks (Grecian Skillet Ribeyes...one of our favorites!) that are on sale.

So far this is working out GREAT!! I'm really good about buying and using meats but I've always gone WAY overboard on produce. I try to get it in the Dehydrater before it goes bad but even that can sometimes be a chore. So far, I have used almost every little piece of produce or "this and that" that has been in the fridge with very little waste. AND, I'm having more fun this time because I realized where I was going wrong before. KISS was my answer for the weeknights.

Oh, and for the record, my binder that started out with about 40 recipes has now grown to a couple hundred. I just couldn't help myself. It's a full-on cookbook at this point but by keeping my categories simple and breaking it down to weeknight vs. weekend meals really helps!!
 

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Do you also make double portions and freeze the half you don't eat? That will make for even easier cooking when you're tired, or have an emergency visit to the vet.
 
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