Sunday, November 24, 2013

Meal Planning System Update & Easy Spaghetti

Way back at the beginning of the year, I posted about my pick-a-card meal planning system.
It is actually the first system that I have stuck with for more than a few months. It's been really great for us---helpful with budgeting, helpful with grocery shopping, helpful with actually getting a decent meal on the table.
Tenor either trying to help me or comment on my cooking by changing the whole week to Eat Out or Left Overs.
I wanted to do a quick update to say that yes, it does work! I've needed to tweak it just a bit though and thought I'd share.
Our schedule had changed this fall when our homeschool co-op began meeting again. That made both Wednesday nights (worship team rehearsal at church) and Thursday nights (wiped out after co-op) harder to make a full meal. We also reevaulated our budget and decided to cut back on expenses to try to get a little more into the savings account and to increase our tithe. I was also finding that we had way too many left overs so I didn't need to cook full meals 5 nights a week.
To have our dinner plans reflect a little less time mid-week and a little less available money, I changed my header cards.
Now we do
Pasta on Monday
Chicken on Tuesday
Easy Meals on Wednesday
Left-Overs on Thursday
Pork or Beef on Fridays
Left-Overs again on the weekends.

Changing up the cards was super easy and can be shuffled again if we need.

In a comment in my original post, someone asked about me sharing recipes for some of my go-to dinners so I figured I'd try to start posting those too. All my dinners are easy-peasy, not time intensive, and honestly, probably a little boring. But they fill us up, generally don't garner any complaints, and help me get food on the table. :)

Here's a pasta dish we enjoy (I use either Ziti or Penne noodles):

Ziti Bake                                                   Serves 8-10
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.                                              Prep time 20 min; Total time: 20 min.

1 16oz pkg Ziti noodles

1 lb. ground beef
1 15 oz carton Ricotta cheese
¼ C Parmesan cheese
¼ C chopped parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
¾ tsp. pepper
2 15oz jars spaghetti sauce
1 8oz pkg Mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Cook Ziti noodles; drain; set aside.
2. Brown hamburger and then combine with Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, pepper, and half the spaghetti sauce.
3. Add Ziti and toss gently to coat well..
4. Spoon into a 13”x9” baking pan.
5. Pour remaining sauce evenly over pasta and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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