Monday, February 4, 2008

No menu plan this week -- we're winging it

My sister is away on business so this is my week to stay with my mother. DSis and I and several other family members have been sharing this job since Mom came home from the hospital after her stroke in early December. I'm finding out this week how much of the work usually falls on my sister -- she does live next door to Mom while I'm about 7 miles down the road, but, boy, am I appreciating DSis more this week!

What does all that have to do with menu planning? Well, I'm trying to juggle 3 meals a day for Mom and myself or whoever might drop in. And she has a lot of visitors over a week's time. Plus, DH and DS are learning to fend for themselves or, more accurately, raiding my supply of OAMC stashed in the freezer. These are the times that strain the grocery budget -- at least at our house.

In the freezer I have about 4 dozen cornish pasties made with ground meat, in this case venison, and shredded white potatoes and chopped onions. I made them last week when I was recovering from the "ick" we all shared during January. Since I had managed to make more dough than filling (why does it always come out uneven?), I sliced a kielbasa and used it with some nectarine mustard to fill the last of the pasties. Those last few are all for DH as DS has decided most sausages are not for him.

Then there's the supply of individual vegetable-beef soup bowls (probably an even dozen now), several multiple-piece packages of individually-frozen oven-baked crispy-battered chicken. (note 3 hyphenated compound words in a row -- a new record) Add 6 egg and cheese burritos, a dozen beef and black bean burritos, and several tv dinner-style frozen dinners with a main dish and 2 veg and I think they'll make out okay. Plus, if they hold to past performance, they'll both manage to eat lunch at Mom's most days and DS will eat dinner there every night as DH will bring him by on his way to work each weekday.

There's a thread running this week on a site I frequent, Fractured Frugal Friends, asking about fish cookery. The person that started the thread mentioned she'd been reading about how 3 fish-based meals each week could improve one's health and she wondered how many times people served fish and some of the preparation methods. That got me to thinking as, in that small survey pool, we seem to eat fish a lot. Well, compared to other posters, I mean. Once a week we have some type of whole fish or fish fillets, either fresh or, more frequently, frozen. Sometimes we have shellfish and there's always canned tuna and salmon. So I've been trying to write down our favorite recipes that use some type of fish and I'm going to try to add at least one new recipe using fish to our menu sometime this month. I worry about getting in a rut with meals but I hardly ever think about expanding the fish side of the menu.

So this week's menu planning will probably become this week's menu after the fact if I even manage that. Here's hoping next week will be better.

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