Menu Planner – Week of May 21

menu planner for the week of May 21st

What’s on the menu for this week? Lots of things from the freezer! Why? Because last week was a fairly expensive grocery week and in two weeks, we have a huge picnic coming up that will also include a nice size grocery bill. That means it’s time to tap into those wonderful pantry and freezer stores and to do as little grocery shopping as possible.

First, a quick roundup of last week. I didn’t end up doing any baking at all. It was warm here and there’s something about summer that keeps me from wanting to have a hot oven going. So instead, I played with the ice cream machine, cranking out five batches in a single week. Lest you think that equates to expanding waistlines, we had no less than a dozen people over during the course of the week, all of whom were more than happy to donate their palates to taste testing the new flavors.

The biggest hit of last week was the Pasta Alla Trapanese. A very simple pesto made with roasted almonds, diced tomatoes, fresh basil and some kalamta olives turned out to be beyond delicious. In fact, it tasted exactly as I remembered it tasting when I had it in Sicily on our honeymoon. This recipe will show up on the blog soon and will likely go into monthly rotation.

What’s up this week? Lots of quick and easy recipes. I’m in crunch time on the book and we’re in the final two weeks of prepping for our summer movie night. We’ll be hosting somewhere around 100-150 friends, family, neighbors and classmates for a hot dog roast, pot luck and The Princess Bride on a 300″ screen in our backyard. Logistically, it’s going to take some work, so there won’t be any hour long dinners getting put together.

Monday (Freezer Meal)

I was moving some stuff around in the deep freeze this week and discovered a lost package of red wine beef with mushrooms and onions I’d made a month or so ago. This stuff was pretty tasty and when mixed with egg noodles, there’s plenty for the whole family in here. So I’ll pair that with leftover fresh greens from last Thursday’s farmer’s market for a tasty, easy dinner.

Shredded Red Wine Beef with Mushrooms
Egg Noodles
Fresh Garden Salad

shredded red wine beef with mushrooms

Tuesday (Small Group – No Dinner)

I’m starting to love Tuesdays. It gives me a mid-week break from making dinner and gives me an excuse to try out an appetizer recipe or two. In general, I’ve been taking fresh fruits or veggies with me the last few weeks and added a small, non-complicated appetizer along with it. Since we usually have pizza, I’m going to try a recipe for simple mozzarella sticks this week.

Baked Cheese Balls

baked cheese balls

Wednesday (Freezer & Pantry Meal)

Wednesday marks the return of all children to the house again each week, so I generally try to make something that’s easy, that everyone likes and that might leave us some leftovers for the next day or two. With the kids, a sure-fire favorite is “Chinese Chicken.” That basically means any breaded chicken in some type of sauce. I generally throw rice in with this, but if I have time that night, I may try out a new recipe for garlic noodles.

Frozen Bagged Orange Chicken (from Aldi)
Bang Bang Shrimp (for the grownups)
Garlic Scallion Noodles
Edamame & Broccoli

garlic scallion noodles

Thursday (Pantry and Freezer Staples)

There are a few things I always keep on hand in the freezer. Chicken breasts, shrimp, boneless loin pork chops. Each of these can be quickly defrosted and has almost endless possibilities for dinners. When I ran across a recipe for Chicken with artichokes over pasta last week, I kne we had to give it a try. All three kids adore artichokes and we all love pasta and chicken. Seems pretty surefire.

Chicken with Artichokes & Angel Hair
Fresh Garden Salad

chicken with artichokes over angel hair

Friday (Freezer Meal)

This Friday is one of those rare Fridays where we’re kid free, but don’t have to make the drive to Columbus. Thanks to an event at Thing One and Thing Two’s school, their dad will be in town and will simply take them back with him. That means Mr W and I have a shot at a truly relaxed Friday night. I’m thinking Surf and Turf on the grill.

Filet Mignon (Freezer)
Mashed Potatoes (freezer)
Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

skinny roasted parmesan green beans

Saturday (Eating Out, Woo hoo!)

I’m honestly not sure if this will happen Friday or Saturday, but with the month nearly over and budget numbers looking good, Mr W and I will probably go out at least one night and have a real date. That said, at some point this week I need to crank out some more ice cream. I’m taking five pints of homemade ice cream into the office staff at school this week as their final “thank you” treat of the school year. I’ve already cranked out three flavors that are vanilla based, so I’ll likely do some experimenting on my base dark chocolate recipe. Until I figure out some new ones, I’ll simply give you the recipe for the most delicious ice cream known to man.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream


We’ll still be kid free all day Sunday as all the kids will be gone for Memorial Day weekend. That means we can kick back on Sunday and eat leftovers or snack on whatever we find around the house. I’m not joking when I say Mr W and I will sometimes eat two bags of edamame and a whole pineapple for dinner. It’s quick, easy and we can munch on it while having a movie marathon or sitting by the fire.

That said, there’s also a good chance we’ll be borrowing the interns from church to help get the patio cleaned out and to start setting up for movie night. If that’s the case, I’ll probably be making a meal to feed everyone when the work is done. Just in case, I’ll have stuff on hand to make a build your own taco bar.

Ground Beef with homemade taco seasoning
Diced chicken breast with homemade taco seasoning
Chipotle Style Rice
Fresh veggies, salsa, cheese and sour cream for toppings

chipotle style lime and cilantro rice

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