March 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Our Monthly Meal Plan has kind of become a staple of our budgeting process.  Rather than planning for meals from week to week, we put in a little extra time and effort and knock it out right away.  It takes a little discipline, but sticking to the plan can keep costs down and lead to a healthier and closer knit family.  Research supports the notion that having dinner as a family has a number of benefits for the kids (http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important).

I’ve had a few people remark in the past that they just don’t have the time to plan a menu like this.  My response is that we don’t plan because we have time; we have time because we plan.  Taking the time to plan out our meals makes our shopping list easier to make.  We simply look at our plan and buy the things that we need for the week.  That keeps us from buying all sorts of extras and it saves us the time of planning our meals and our shopping list at the same time.  Other people tell me that they just aren’t disciplined enough to stick with it.  Here’s a “not so secret”:  neither are we!  We have a plan to keep us on the right track, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get cravings or just not feel like cooking sometimes.  Rather than having no ideas as the default, however, we have our plan to fall back on.  This becomes one of our main rationales for keeping up with it.

March is the last month of our New Year’s diet plan.  I’ve heard that, after a few months of not eating meat, many people lose a taste for it altogether.  Let me just say that we are not those people.  We are anxiously awaiting the last week of the month when we are able to enjoy a nice thick hamburger or some fried chicken.  As it is, adding cheese and milk back into our diet have given us a lot more options for our menu.  We made it a point to go back to our Thursday night leftover plan.  Otherwise the fridge just backs up with leftovers that we wind up throwing out at the end of the week.  I hate wasting like that.

We hope that you enjoy our humble offerings.

 

March 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Week 1 (February 26 – March 3)

Sunday–See February Meal Plan
Monday–See February Meal Plan
Tuesday–See February Meal Plan
Wednesday–See February Meal Plan
Thursday–Tortellini
Friday–Subs
Saturday–Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Week 2 (March 4 – March 10)

Sunday–Lasagna
Monday–Tortellini Soup
Tuesday–Quiche
Wednesday–Quinoa Pancakes
Thursday–Leftovers
Friday–Veggie Quesadillas
Saturday–Fried Calzones

Week 3 (March 11 – March 17)

Sunday–Veggie Pot Pie
Monday–Brocolli Fettucine Alfredo
Tuesday–Veggie Cheese”steak”
Wednesday–Veggies, Pita, Hummus
Thursday–Leftovers
Friday–Baked Potatoes
Saturday–Gnocchi

Week 4 (March 18 – March 24)

Sunday–Mushroom Risotto
Monday–Veggie Lo Mein
Tuesday–Veggie Fajita Nachos
Wednesday–Morrocan Rice
Thursday–Leftovers
Friday–Subs
Saturday–Polenta with Mushrooms

Week 5 (March 25 – March 31)

Sunday–Roast Chicken!!
Monday–Baked Penne
Tuesday–Caesar Salad
Wednesday–Fish with Noodles and Veggies
Thursday–Leftovers
Friday–Pizza
Saturday–Burgers

As always, if you are looking for recipes or answers on monthly meal planning, please leave a comment or email us with your questions.  We can’t promise that we will have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find them!  Just send us an email at [email protected]

Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?

 

February 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Our Monthly Meal Plan has kind of become a staple of our budgeting process.  Rather than planning for meals from week to week, we put in a little extra time and effort and knock it out right away.  It takes a little discipline, but sticking to the plan can keep costs down and lead to a healthier and closer knit family.  Research supports the notion that having dinner as a family has a number of benefits for the kids (http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important).

We made through our first month of the year.  We finished the 2012 Whole Living Action Plan and continued the month eating a vegan diet.  So far, Brian is down over 20 pounds and Beth has lost 12.  These are pretty good accomplishments for our first month!  We are hoping to continue these gains (or losses…it all depends on how you look at it) and to learn from our experiences as we move forward.

February is kind of a transition month for us and our diet program.  Half-way through the month, we switch from a vegan diet, eating no animal products whatsoever, to a vegetarian diet, introducing dairy products, eggs, etc, but still refraining from eating animal flesh.  Thankfully for Beth, this changeover occurs on her birthday.  How easy is cheese pizza for a birthday present, eh?

We hope in our meal plan this month that you find a variety of healthy, meatless meals that your family will enjoy and ask for again.

 

February 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Week 1 (January 29 – February 4)

Sunday–See January Meal Plan
Monday–See January Meal Plan
Tuesday–See January Meal Plan
Wednesday–Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas
Thursday–Twice Baked Potatoes
Friday–Spaghetti
Saturday–Vegetable Minestrone

Week 2 (February 5 – February 11)

Sunday–Super Bowl Menu
Monday–Veggie Stir Fry
Tuesday–Pita, Hummus, Veggies, and Cous Cous Salad
Wednesday–Stuffed Peppers
Thursday–Taco Salad
Friday–Veggie Subs (nothing says Happy Anniversary like a sub! =P)
Saturday–White Bean and Mushroom Stew

Week 3 (February 12 – February 18)

Sunday–Pizza!!  (Happy Birthday Beth!)
Monday–Corn Chowder
Tuesday–Pizza!!  (Yes, again!  For Valentine’s Day this time!)
Wednesday–Veggie Quesadillas
Thursday–Chef Salad
Friday–Southwestern Scramble
Saturday–Veggie Fried Rice

Week 4 (February 19 – February 25)

Sunday–Mushroom Risotto
Monday–Veggie Lasagna
Tuesday–Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Wednesday–Spanish Tortilla
Thursday–Quinoa Pancakes and Eggs
Friday–Veggie Pot Pie
Saturday–Falafel

Week 5 (February 26 – March 3)

Sunday–Chili with Cornbread
Monday–Baked Potatoes
Tuesday–Macaroni and Cheese
Wednesday–Subs
Thursday–See March Meal Plan
Friday–See March Meal Plan
Saturday–See March Meal Plan

As always, if you are looking for recipes or answers on monthly meal planning, please leave a comment or email us with your questions.  We can’t promise that we will have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find them!  Just send us an email at [email protected]

Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?

January 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Our Monthly Meal Plan has kind of become a staple of our budgeting process.  Rather than planning for meals from week to week, we put in a little extra time and effort and knock it out right away.  It takes a little discipline, but sticking to the plan can keep costs down and lead to a healthier and closer knit family.  Research supports the notion that having dinner as a family has a number of benefits for the kids (http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important).

It’s a brand new year and with a new year comes a feeling of renewal and a great opportunity for a fresh start.  For us, that means kick starting our diet.  We are starting the year off with the 2012 Whole Living Action Plan, a 21 day detox designed to give you more energy, help you sleep better, and help you lose weight.  Basically, it cuts out every that we eat from day to day and replaces it with the produce section.  The plan eventually adds in seafood and eggs, but we are pushing the envelope a bit.

For the first six weeks of 2012, including the 3-week detox, our diet will be totally vegan.  No meat, seafood, cheese, eggs, milk, or even honey will be included in our meal plan during that time.  For the following six weeks, we will adjust to a vegetarian diet, reintroducing animal products, but not animal flesh.  Many of our dinner leftovers will be re-purposed as lunches.

We hope that this 12-week plan will not only help us to accomplish some much needed weight loss and increase our energy levels, but to give us a greater appreciation for what we are putting into our bodies.  We hope that it helps us to focus our meal plans less around meats and processed starches and more around healthy grains and fruits and vegetables.

With that, here is our first meal plan for the new year.  We hope that you find it intriguing, varied, and, most of all, delicious.

January 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Week 1 (January 1 – January 7)

Sunday–Potato, Cabbage, and Chickpea Stew
Monday–Steamed Broccoli and Butternut Squash w/ Tahini Dressing
Tuesday–Roasted Peppers and Cauliflower w/ Almonds
Wednesday–Stir Fry Veggies
Thursday–Butternut Squash Soup w/ Steamed Cauliflower and Sauteed Mushrooms
Friday–Greek Salad
Saturday–Roasted Ratatouille

Week 2 (January 8 – January 14)

Sunday–White Bean and Mushroom Stew
Monday–Red Lentil Soup
Tuesday–Roasted Vegetables and Cannelini Beans
Wednesday–Baked Sweet Potato w/ Broccoli
Thursday–White Bean and Mushroom Stew
Friday–Red Lentil Soup
Saturday–Falafel

Week 3 (January 15 – January 21)

Sunday–Acorn Squash w/ Quinoa and Pistachios
Monday–Chickpea Brown Rice Burger
Tuesday–Veggie Fried Rice
Wednesday–Kale, White Bean, and Potato Stew
Thursday–Rice Noodles w/ Broccoli, Kale, and Mushrooms
Friday–Polenta w/ Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Saturday–Lentils w/ Rice and Kale

Week 4 (January 22 – January 28)

Sunday–Chickpea Curry w/ Naan
Monday–Veggies w/ Lentils
Tuesday–Quinoa Salad w/ Almonds
Wednesday–Spaghetti Dinner
Thursday–Baked Sweet Potato
Friday–Veggie Stir Fry w/ Rice
Saturday–Polenta w/ Mushrooms

Week 5 (January 29 – February 4)

Sunday–Dahl w/ Naan
Monday–Pasta w/ Peas and Mushrooms
Tuesday–Squash and Kale w/ Rice
Wednesday–See February Meal Plan
Thursday–See February Meal Plan
Friday–See February Meal Plan
Saturday–See February Meal Plan

As always, if you are looking for recipes or answers on monthly meal planning, please leave a comment or email us with your questions.  We can’t promise that we will have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find them!  Just send us an email at [email protected]

Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?