Menu Planning - A Weekly Organization Mission

Growing up, my parents would go to the grocery store nearly every day. They would do a big shopping trip once a week or so for all the basics and the things that were on sale, but the day to day stuff would be picked up on the way home before my mom made dinner. My mom sort of planned out what we would be eating for the week, but not really. Most of it was done on the fly, which is even more impressive when you consider that she had two very picky eaters and that she did all of the cooking. My mom is also a good cook - she knows how to look in the refrigerator and throw things together to make a quick and healthy dinner. In fact, one of our favorite dinners growing up was called "Hope For The Best Minestrone" - vegetable soup that really just consisted of whatever vegetables were in the house. As Rachael Ray would say, YUM-O.

I, however, am not that talented. I can't cook without a recipe, and even with a recipe it's hard for me to know if I will like a dish or not. My husband does a lot of the cooking too - he is an amazing chef, and back when I was working full-time, he did all of the cooking. So, I am a planner. It's easier to know in advance what we'll be having for dinners, and it makes grocery shopping easier as well. Not only do I save money (because I just buy what I need for the week), we tend to not overbuy - no one likes having to throw out food because you just didn't get to it. I also find menu planning really difficult. I like to look around online for ideas, and I love Menu Planning Monday (sponsored by because it gives me some ideas (and lets me know that I'm not alone in trying to organize this one tiny area of my life!)

So, here is my first attempt at Menu Planning Monday. This week's meals are a little different, in that we are going out for New Year's Eve (yay!), my husband will be home for 4 days for the holidays, and I am very limited in what I can cook because I injured my finger last week. Oh yeah - we have about 5 pounds of leftover shredded potatoes in our refrigerator as well...we made potato latkes with our friends last night to celebrate a belated Chanukah, and we shredded up a few too many. :) With that, my menu plan for the week...

Monday: leftover lasagna (I make the best lasagna ever...don't tell anyone, but my secret recipe for lasagna is on the back of the box of Barilla no-cook's amazing!)
Tuesday: meatloaf muffins (I leave out the peppers and onions), Au Gratin potato casserole (a new recipe for us...trying to use up the potatoes!), green beans
Wednesday: beef roulade (this is one of my dinners from Let's can read more about Let's Dish in this post), leftover potato casserole, some sort of green vegetable (because my mom taught me that you always need to have a green vegetable at every meal!!)
Thursday: out for New Year's Eve!
Friday: Peruvian Roast Chicken, oven fries, salad
Saturday: prosciutto-wrapped chicken (from Let's Dish), egg noodles, green veggie
Sunday: raviolis. salad, french bread