What's for dinner?

A common question at my house: "What's for dinner?" (Quite frequently followed by "What's for snack?") I thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking, especially for my family, and admittedly often find myself in a rut not knowing just what to make. When that happens, we have a lot of soup, sandwiches, meatloaf, spaghetti and pancakes! However, I also consistantly (one week a month at least, and then on multiple random occasions) make something that we've never had before each night. After each meal we all decide if the recipe is a "keeper" or not. This week was full of keepers...although I'm not quite sure if it ever matters, because chances are I won't make them again anyway as by the time I get inspired to make something new, I'll have a new edition of "Cooking Light" or "Food Network Magazine".

During this last episode of new recipes we ate the following:
Grown Up Grilled Cheese sandwhiches

Tuna Noodle Casserole (I know, it sounds blah, but it was really yummy...no cream of mushroom soup in this recipe)

Southeast Asian Fried Rice

Greek Chicken and Barley Salad

Speedy Chicken Potpie

Roasted Garlic White Bean Chili
Steak Fajita Chili
Chipotle Bean Burritos with homeade salsa by Julia

Mexican Casserole

Banana, Wheat Germ and Oats

That's almost two weeks of meals...I think we added a couple of "fall-backs" in there, including Ham, Egg and Cheese sandwhiches, French Toast and bacon, Tossed salad with Chicken and probably sandwhiches and canned soup to fill in the gaps. I confess that one night I caved and made really nasty meatballs and instant mashed sweet potatoes. (I didn't eat at home this night, but I heard it wasn't a keeper meal!) Cold cereal, pancakes, breakfast burritos, oatmeal and cream of wheat usually round out breakfast although I think we snuck in a granola bar or a piece of fruit on a really rushed morning.
I thought it would be fun to add pictures of some of the things we ate...another confession: most of them are right out of the magazine, but in all honestly, the actual meal looked amazingly just like the pictures! Very pretty. The best part? I don't have picky eaters. Each of our kids has a pretty grown up pallate. Of course that doesn't mean that we don't regularly consume hot dogs, mac and cheese and frozen pizza.

Now, if I could only find a kitchen fairy to clean up. When Cash was here, the kitchen fairy visited more regularly, but when he left, she stopped coming! :) I don't know what my brother would think about the menu I just recorded because much of the time he was here I think I fed him frozen pizza, frozen hot pockets, frozen something or other! Poor Cash!
What's for supper tonight? Well, I have two more recipes and then I'm going to have to take the time and make another shopping list with another group of recipes. On another positive note regarding these meals: Most of them fed 8-10 people and many of them provided leftovers and the total grocery bill was around $125 for those two weeks. I always seem to touch on just a little of what requires a whole additional blog entry...coupons and grocery shopping. Since October we've cut our grocery budget in half. I've averaged about $500 a month ($750 including toiletries, gifts all the other "stuff" that used to cost us around $1250) I shop 12 times a month now though instead of 2 and stay up late cutting and organizing coupons, but it's getting easier and considering we've added two sets of tires, car repairs, two TVs, Christmas presents, Haiti relief donations, etc, etc, etc...I think it's worth it.