Wednesday, July 07, 2010

5-week Menu Plan

I posted on facebook today that I'm looking for meal ideas to freshen up my 5-week menu.  We rotate the menu every 5 weeks, and I'm just getting tired of things.  :)  Since I do daycare and participate in the Child & Adult Care Food Program, my menus are quite thorough, meeting certain food regulations.  I only have a couple problems--1) I hate cooking and 2) I am quite picky.  There were several requests for my 5-week menu, so I thought I would try to post a skeleton version.  If you want a .pdf version, you can email me at stephtheis at 

Week 1

Mon: 100% juice, Cereal, Milk
Tues: Grapes, Bagels, Milk
Wed: Apple Sauce, Pancakes, Milk
Thurs: 100% juice, Cereal, Milk
Fri: Apples, Cinnamon Toast, Milk

Mon: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup, Apples & Peanut Butter (to provide more protein), Milk
Tues: Fish Sticks, Pears, French Fries, Toast, Milk
Wed: Meatballs, Lettuce Salad, Pears, Mac & Cheese, Milk
Thurs: Scrambled Eggs, Hashbrowns, Oranges, Toast or Tortilla, Milk
Fri: Corn Dog, Baked Beans, Peaches, Milk

Mon: Anything with ground beef and noodles (ie: hamburger helper)
Tues: Chicken Pot Pie
Wed: Sloppy Joes (we usually go with Manwich premade mix)
Thurs: Chicken Enchiladas (we use Old El Paso enchilada sauce and follow the recipe on the back, substituting shredded chicken breasts for ground beef)
Fri: Leftover night
Sat: Chicken Sandwiches (usually use tyson frozen chicken patties--fast reheat, decent flavor)
Sun: Biscuits & Gravy 

Week 2
Breakfasts this week:  oatmeal, bagels, toast, cereal, and muffins
Lunches this week:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, Quesadillas with seasoned ground beef and cheese, Sandwiches made with deli meats
Mon: Tacos (we use a large jar of taco seasoning that we got at Sams Club--love it).  Our favorite taco toppings: cheese, black olives, lettuce, tomato, rice, refried beans, taco sauce, sour cream, doritos, and pineapple
Tues: Country Fried Steak (premade version purchased from the freezer section at Sam's Club), mashed potatoes, peas
Wed: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thur: Roast Beef in the crock pot or Vegetable Beef Soup (wow, this is the EXACT recipe I've been using for 13 years!!)
Fri:  Leftovers
Sat: Lasagna (either homemade or the Stauffer's version from Sam's Club for not a whole lot more cost-wise)
Sun: French Bread Pizzas (shortcut to homemade pizza by slicing up a french bread loaf, topping as desired, then broiling until ready)

Week 3
Breakfasts this week:  bagels, toast, cereal, pancakes, cereal
Lunches: corn dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs, Pizza Hotdish
Mon: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
Tues: Fish (or substitute)
Wed: Ham (or substitute)
Thurs: Pork Chops (still trying to find a decent recipe)
Fri: Leftovers
Sat: Chili
Sun: French Toast

Week 4
Breakfasts this week: bagels, waffles, cereal, toast, cereal
Lunches: hot dogs, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, meatballs (a recipe I'll have to dig to find), fish sticks, chicken nuggets
Mon: Ground beef surprise recipe again
Tues: Tacos
Wed: Roast Beef (Pot Roast) or substitute
Thurs: Chicken & Rice or Chicken Alfredo (from a jar--bombed out twice on recipes, ugh)
Fri: Leftovers
Sat: Chicken Sandwiches
Sun: Biscuits & Gravy

Week 5
Breakfasts: bagels, waffles, cereal, toast, cereal  (hmmm....looks strangely like week 4, I think my weeks got out of order along the way)
Lunch: corn dog, PB&J, hamburgers, pizza hotdish, chicken nuggets
Mon: Spaghetti & meatballs
Tues: Meatloaf
Wed: Homemade Pizza
Thurs: Fish or Chicken something
Fri: Leftovers (hmm...maybe I'm wishing Mitch would take me out to eat on Fridays???)
Sat: Chicken Wild Rice Soup (can't find this recipe online either, I'll have to post it sometime)
Sun: French Toast

We eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies (well, those of us who are not so picky as ME and Micah), so I weekly buy: apples, bananas, grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc.  Our snacks include something from each of 2 food groups.  Here are some examples:  cheese and crackers, yogurt and crackers, peanut butter and graham crackers, pretzels and juice, banana and crackers.  A few times a month we have a sweet snack such as a cookie or donuts with milk.  I go shopping every week and we usually go through about 6-7 gallons of milk.  We would drink more, but we stopped having milk with supper, so that helps, plus I actually never drink any milk.  I buy my ground beef about 10 lbs at a time in a cryovac from Sams Club.  I divide it into 6 portions and brown each, then put into the freezer.  Of course I reserve some uncooked for making meatloaf.  I also purchase fresh chicken breasts from Sams Club--the price per pound is cheaper than frozen--and bake them in the oven right away, shred, then freeze for quick meals later.  If we are throwing chicken on the grill, I usually get a best of fryer or some other on good sale (usually with the bones still in).  I spend around $900/month on groceries (which includes eating out, plus all our personal care items such as shampoo, soap, diapers, wipes, etc) for our family AND daycare.  I think that's pretty good.   

But back to the subject at hand--I'd love to refresh my menu by adding a few new recipes.  We are wearing out our favorite foods by eating them too often, but we don't have enough favorites to spread them out more.  One of my biggest gripes is when I try a new recipe and it fails, so I'd like to avoid anything that requires more than basic cooking skills if I can.  :)  And  I'm a very picky eater (in fact, I skipped hamburgers today and went for a pb&j sandwich because I can't STAND the gristle that is in the frozen hamburger patties...and I do frozen hamburger patties because I'm so cramped for time).  I hope I don't sound like too much of a complainer.  Yep, it is a boring sort of post for sure.  :)


  1. Steph,
    I understand about picky eaters. My house is FULL of them, me included. We struggle with eating the same things over and over too. No specific ideas popped into my head right away for recipes and I know you don't like to cook and are super busy but maybe you could look online and see if any recipes look good to you. (Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals popped into my head b/c they are pretty quick and she really doesn't make things more difficult or fancy than they need to be. KWIM? I love her chicken tortilla soup recipe) Some websites also have a way to find recipes based on ingredients. I wish I had some better suggestions. Occasionally Jeff or I will cruise the internet for recipes and luck into something yummy.

  2. I don't see tator tott hotdish, simple, easy, delicious

  3. I'm not sure how your family is with muffins. I have a really basic recipe that you can tweak and make them whatever flavor you like. It just uses basic ingredients. It's the one in the betty crocker cookbook for blueberry strussel muffins.

  4. I'm a big-time batch cooker- I don't like starting out meals with raw meat - so I cook it ahead of time. These are a few you might like:

    I think one of my favorite easy meals (esp. for a crowd or if you have a few helpers to help shread) is French Dip Sandwiches. I came across the recipe I use on -- Don't be afraid of the soy sauce - you could cut back on it if you don't usually like it. (This dosen't taste Asian at all.) Link: - I buy the skinny baguettes, usually, for these (cheaper than the brown n' serve rolls, and you need something that dosn't turn to mush when it gets wet if you plan on dipping them)

    and here's a tip - if you don't have these spices in your pantry, Cash Wise has them in bulk in the Natural Foods section - it is SO much cheaper that way - especially when you don't need a jar of 300 peppercorns :) - and it's fresher, too.

    I grew up with Pork Chops in Gravy. I typically use an electric fry pan to brown the outsides of the chops, and then add 2-3 cans of Cream of Chicken soup to the pan afterwords (I add the milk, my mom dosen't - its preference) and simmer for 3 hours. They come out so tender you can eat them with a fork. For an easy dumpling, I make Bisquick dumplings, but then figured out that popping open a can of Grands and laying them on top of the sauce for the last 20 minutes tastes EXACTLY the same!

    (if you prefer, you can brown the chops in a fry pan and then throw it all in a crockpot for the day, too.)

    Both of these recipes reheat fantastically. the French Dip I usually make double what my family will eat andd throw it all in a quart-sized freezer bag after our meal or container and freeze for a quick 10 minute heat & serve meal on another busy night. The pork chops probably would freeze well, but I haven't tried it. And the more chops you cook, the less gravy you need, since you need to have enough to cover them, so they are great for a crowd. I usually buy a big loin and cut it into 3/4 - 1" thick pieces and lay them flat in a gallon ziploc bag and freeze them flat. Then when I am ready to cook them in my electric fry pan, I open the bag, tear down one side, and plop the slab of chops in the electric fry pan - fits perfect, and no handling raw meat (at least on cooking day, that is :) )

    I also make my own version of Maid Rite sandwiches - I finely brown hamburger(and drain), add a can of chicken or beef broth (or use bullion) and a whole bunch of pepper and let it simmer till the juices are gone. Serve on hamburger buns - the kids like them w/ ketchup and cheese. This meat freezes really well too.

    I might have a few others on my blog, too... Hope one of these meets your likeness :)