Boy, oh boy do I love my menu planning.  You’ve heard me wax poetic about that before, right?  If not, love love love love love love love menus.  We’ve always planned menus here, but for a number of months they were kind of a loose reminder of what we could probably make rather than what was planned.  They were not actionable parts of our routine, and now that they’re back, I remember all over again everyday how much I would prefer not to ever live without them again.

So, how’s the challenge going?  Well, so nice of you to ask.  It rocks.  We’ve been eating good food every night without anyone having a temper tantrum about who has to cook what, there are only small amounts of leftovers (perfect for lunches and the occasional Survivor Night), and we’re moving through food at rapid speed.  I keep thinking to myself … we’ve had all this food in the house the whole time … and we haven’t been cooking it … and I haven’t been grocery shopping (I only shopped for holiday meals ingredients in December and nothing else) … so what in the world have we been eating?

The answer is either nothing (which my scale finds unlikely) or take out (which my denial filled brain wants to believe impossible).  I don’t like either answer, and this challenge has soundly reminded me that neither are necessary.  There’s good food to be had, faster than drive thru or take out, already living in my house.  I just have to find the wherewithal to be aware of that.  Sweeeeeet.

So, 2 weeks of menus down.  We’ve eaten spaghetti and breakfast and hot dogs (twice … which is gross, but there are sooooooo many of them in my freezer).  There was an awesome beef stir fry from a wacky looking frozen beef roast and some reduced produce rack bell peppers.  We’ve had homemade pizza twice; once on tortillas and once on regular crust.  There were sloppy joes with rice in them to stretch the ground beef (and I think they taste better that way …), grilled cheese and soup nights, leftover/sandwich/raw veggie extravaganzas.  It was all quite tasty, on the table at a decent time, and without much fussing.  I’m stoked.

Things are not entirely perfect, however.  We’re not having turkey pot pies this coming week, for example, because we didn’t have whole roasted turkey on Sunday … because I didn’t cook it … because it didn’t come out of the freezer to defrost early enough in the week … because I got scared of what I was going to do with all that turkey, I mean, this bird is like 18lbs.  I know there are 5 of us, but still … terrified.

Or, the night I came home from the grocery store (where I went with a very specific list based on the menu’s produce needs) at 8pm on grilled cheese night and realized we had 6 pieces of bread in the entire house.  6?!  There are 5 of us.  Luckily, one was out of town for the night and I had my own GF bread to eat or we would have been short someone’s dinner.  How in the world did I do that?!

In week 3 we’re eating hot dogs (I know! Sooooo many of them!) with tater tots, a breakfast egg casserole with bacon and toast, ham steaks with potatoes, beef and bean chili with corn muffins, an all in one pizza skillet, leftovers, and bbq ribs with grilled potatoes.  All from the pantry.  Yes!

I’ll be back with another update next week (for which, the menu is already planned) on if I was successful in planning an additional 2 weeks (for a nice even 6 … seriously?! SIX weeks!?) of menu based on what we already have.  I’m pretty sure I can make it stretch.  I’m loving the challenge.