Menu Planning Monday: my menu for the week of 1/3

You can read more about my $40 weekly budget in this post here. You can see pictures (and the breakdown) from my latest weekly shopping trip here.

If you have blogged a menu plan for the week (or even just a favorite recipe), please feel free to comment and share your link. I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration and will be happy to share a link to your blog if we try your recipe!

If you need inspiration, check out the weekly meal plans here at Organized Junkie.

SUNDAY ~ Cheesy rigatoni bake – this recipe came from this cookbook: Girlfriends on the Go: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Make-Ahead Meals (it can be frozen although I have never tried it that way)

1 16 oz pkg rigatoni noodles
2 Tbsp butter or margarine (I use light margarine)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. milk
1/4 c. water
4 eggs, beaten
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs. Spoon into a greased 9X13 pan. Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Spoon white sauce over top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
(I prepare this in the morning and refrigerate. I just pop it in the oven when I get home).

MONDAY ~ Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork – I found this recipe on Our Best Bites. We haven’t tried it before, but I’ve heard from others that it’s good and I’m looking forward to trying it out!

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 Tbsp. cooking sherry or apple juice
1 lb. pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
1/3 c. water
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. oil
1/3 c. chopped cashews (or exactly one of those little .99 bags of Fritos cashews at the front of the grocery store)
¼ c. green onions
2 tsp. minced or grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced or pressed
6-8 oz. snow peas, trimmed
1 8-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained

I’m cutting and pasting the directions directly from the blog post here.

Now…to get your pork super thin, you’ll need to partially freeze it. When it’s semi-frozen (or mostly-frozen), you can either cut it very thinly with a sharp knife or pop it into your food processor fitted with the slicing blade. It’s like magic.

When I say trim your snow peas, I mean get the icky hard parts off. Little baby snow peas are very tender and don’t need to be trimmed, but you’ll probably have some bigger ones in there. Just snap the corners off and then tug a little to get the tough string that goes along the side of the snow pea. It’s like a vegetarian version of a fish-gutting. Without the guts. Okay, it’s not really like that at all.

Begin cooking your rice.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sherry, and pork. Toss well.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir with a whisk; make sure there are no clumps with the cornstarch.

Now collect everything that’s going into the stir fry next to the stove so you can access it easily.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp. canola oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add onions, ginger, and garlic.

Stir-fry 1 minute. Add snow peas and pineapple. Stir-fry 3 minutes more. Whisk sauce ingredients again and add to pan

Bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews and serve over hot rice. Garnish with more cashews and green onions if you want.

TUESDAY ~ London Broil (Pot roast style) – slow cooker – I got this recipe from the Babycenter Crock Pot Cooking board. I haven’t tried it before.

London broil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Baby carrots
2 potatoes, cubed
Garlic powder, salt, pepper (to taste)
1 cup water

Directions: Place the potatoes and carrots at the bottom of the slow cooker. Season the meat with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and place on top of the potatoes and carrots. Pour the cream of mushroom soup and water on top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

WEDNESDAY ~ Tator tot casserole

1/2 pound ground beef
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can French style green beans
1/2 (32 ounce) package tater tots
shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef and drain fat. Stir in condensed cream of mushroom soup, water, garlic salt, cheese, and green beans. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish and layer with the tater tots. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until tater tots are browned and crispy.

THURSDAY ~ Crockpot chicken and rice

2-3 frozen chicken breasts
1 pkg McCormick Zesty Herb chicken seasoning blend (sometimes I substitute the Good Seasonings Italian dressing blend if I have it on hand)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. hot cooked rice
Grated cheese
Bell peppers

Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Mix ingredients for McCormick seasoning according to directions on the packet and pour over the top of chicken. Cook on low for five hours. Shred chicken in crock pot using a knife and fork. Add cream of chicken soup. Let cook for one more hour. Service over rice with additional toppings as desired (we add cheese, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. depending on what we have on hand).

FRIDAY ~ Country style pork loin – this recipe comes from Taste of Home Magazine, is super easy to make, and has become a family favorite!

1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons canola oil (I omit this)
2 cups chicken broth (I use 100% fat free)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Hot mashed potatoes, optional

Cut pork roast in half. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, onion powder and mustard. Add pork, one portion at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil over medium-high heat on all sides. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Pour broth over pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until tender. Remove pork and keep warm. For gravy, strain cooking juices and skim fat; pour 2-1/2 cups cooking juices into a large saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice pork; serve with gravy and mashed potatoes if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

SATURDAY ~ Peppered steak – This is a family recipe that came from my mother in law – we love it!

3 cups hot cooked rice
1 lb lean beef round steak (cut into 1/2 inch thick strips)
1 T Paprika
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 cup sliced green onions
2 green peppers, cut in strips
2T cornstarch
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 lg tomatoes (cut in eighths)

Pound steak to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1/4 inch wide strips. Sprinkle meat with paprika. Let stand. Brown meat in butter. Add garlic and brother. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in onions and green peppers. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Blend cornstarch, water and soy sauce. Stir into meat mixture. Cook, stirring until clear and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir gently. Serve over beds of fluffy rice. Serves 6.