Today is V-day. Day of hearts, the color pink, and pollen-ridden flowers. And oh-so-lovely chocolate, which almost makes up for the pink hearts and roses. Almost.
So, I was planning out my month-long meals by visiting good ol' 360 Crockpot blog and I decided on the following:
Easy Chimichangas Thanks to the Crockpot I wanted something tasty and something to break the meatloaf cycle - and this, as it turns out, was the most excellent idea!
Crockpot 16 Bean Soup Because I always need a bean recipe to get me through the month (and I had all the ingredients on hand)!
Chicken Enchilada Chili [Because I had most of the ingredients on hand and this sounded easier than making homemade enchiladas. For the enchilada sauce, I went to Gluten-free Goddess and borrowed her Quickie Enchilada Sauce, subbing one boring ol' can of salt-free tomato sauce for the 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes.]
Potatoes Augratin [Because I found that Safeway had a weekend sale on potatoes - buy 10 lbs for $3!!! So, I had potatoes on hand.]
How did I make these decisions? I first thought of what I had in the kitchen (canned tomatoes, onions, beans, rice, etc.) and then planned on the rough draft of my shopping list. Since I don't trust processed enchilada sauce, I added "salt free tomato sauce" to my list [Whole Foods usually has a good deal on these], and other necessities (like cream for the potatoes augratin). Then, I was shopping at Safeway for a "tide me over until Sunday, when I can start creating my meals for the month" meal and I saw that ground turkey was on a "buy 1 get 1 free sale" [which gave me the idea to try my hand at making homemade sloppy joes] and then, poking around in the meat department for my chimichangas, I saw a most excellent price for the meat (I saved 2 dollars and some change for over a pound and a half of a beef roast!). To add to my excitement, Giant's had chicken on a "buy 1, get 1 free" deal for Perdue chicken. I then rounded out my meals with the basics: cheese, Giant's salsa, olives, corn tortillas, and frozen veggies (which, thanks to my short-circuited brain, I picked up two packages of green beans - do'gh!).
Since I had left over meat from the chimichangas (a few of the brown rice tortillas fell apart), I used the meat to make a Mexican lasagna - or California casserole as the recipe on the olive can read - and layered corn tortillas, the meat mixture, salsa, and cheese and topped the whole thing off with cheese and olives. I thus have 6 more meals for this month :)
More tomorrow - I'm doing a two-day cook instead of a one-day cook for this month because I really, really wanted chimichangas and I need the crockpot for three meals. Thanks goes to Uncle Sam and, additional thanks to a good deal at Target, I got a brand new 3 quart Crockpot for $14! Not only is it shiny and pretty, but it gives me more room in the kitchen to cook (and with less time)!
All in all, I spent $100 for a month's worth of dinners. That's $25 per week, or $3.57 per meal! I'll get back to you with the exact totals [because, this month, I saved the receipts ;-)].
Until my next post, may your oldest guinea pig give you his very first guinea kiss and may your youngest guinea pig wear himself out by doing laps in the kitchen!