Last week was a menu disaster! The kitchen was a mess, the pantry was bare and we ate out and ordered pizza a record number of times. Over the weekend the Hubs and I decided we would take the fam out to a nicer sit-down restaurant and we had a great time getting out together but there is nothing like paying $4 for a plate of mac and cheese to give you incentive to do a good job with the next week's menu and grocery shopping! So this morning after I dropped my girls off at school my little man and I sat down with a Food Network Kitchens cookbook to look for inspiration. I'm not going to actually follow any of the recipes in it - since they usually call for expensive ingredients - but I got lots of inspiration for simplified versions!
This week at my grocery store they were having several cart-buster sales which I finally took advantage of so now my cupboards are full or rice a roni (which will help out meals all month) especially since my favorite weeknight meal to cook right now is rice a roni with chicken. I discovered it quite on accident, actually. I was baking chicken to put in a pasta salad but then the day turned out to be too cold for pasta salad so I threw the chicken together with a box of rice a roni and voila! There was an inexpensive quick and easy meal that my family loved. And there are lots of possibilities and flavor combinations - so one night I seasoned some chicken breasts with chili powder and threw then in the oven to bake while I helped the kiddos with their homework (I think that baking some bone-in chicken is easier than pan-frying boneless skinless chicken - and it generally turns out better) then I mix up a couple boxes of mexican rice a roni and serve it with tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese and we've got a fun mexican night dish. But if I rub the chicken with simply salt and pepper and then use a couple boxes of long grain rice a roni and serve it with a tossed salad or steamed vegetables and I've got a completely different meal. Love it. And I really love the rice a roni brand (I used to buy the store brand but I haven't been able to find a good one lately) so to have them be on sale was an added bonus. I also found a loaf of bread in the bakery that was labeled as a cupcake so I got a whole loaf of bread for just ten cents - which I'll slice up and toast tonight to go with our salads.
Okay - enough about that here's the part you really want to know - my menu for the week:
Monday - Cobb Salad (chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs, corn, tomatoes, etc.) & toast
Tuesday - Rice a roni with chicken & steamed vegetables
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with fresh vegetables - sliced tomatoes, cucumber & carrots
Thursday - Pasta Salad with chicken, tomatoes, spinach and red pepper
Friday - Chili fries & hot dogs
Saturday - French Toast stuffed with nutella & cream cheese
Sunday - Mac a& Cheese and baked beans