Meal Plan Monday - January 31













After realizing last fall how much food we were wasting, I made an effort to use up all our leftovers.   I am constantly looking for new and interesting recipes to use up leftover ingredients.  This week I can't wait to try this chicken recipe that I discovered at Family Friendly Frugality.  I was looking for recipes that included sour cream and red wine vinegar and when I discovered that this recipe had both, I knew I had to try it!  As an added bonus, I didn't need to buy anything extra for this dish as I already had all the items on hand!

Breakfast
Oatmeal
Cold Cereal
Bananas

Lunch
Grilled Cheese w/Tomato Soup
English Muffin Pizzas
Mac & Cheese w/Veggies
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Mon:  Skinless Chicken Thighs w/Red Wine Vinegar Sauce
Tues:  Mac & Cheese Soup
Wed:  Tuna Casserole
Thurs: Kielbasa Stir Fry
{We will be eating a lot of stir fry thanks to great deals on rice and soy sauce at Walmart.  I decided to use Kielbasa this time instead of chicken to change it up a bit.} 
Fri:     Hamburgers Under The Broiler
{I admit this is not quite the same as hamburgers on the grill, but when we have that craving for big, juicy burgers in the winter, this is second best. :) }
Sat:    Marinated Chicken
Sun:   Leftovers or Sandwiches

Dessert
Homemade Bread Pudding {I found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  It is super easy and melt-in-your mouth good!  As a small way to save money and reduce waste, I have started saving bread loaf ends and freezing them instead of throwing them away.  After letting them thaw, I dried them in the oven according to the recipe.}



$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more meal inspiration at Menu Plan Monday

Organize Your Coupons: The File Folder Method

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Not long after I started couponing, my kitchen table became lost in a sea of paper and I realized that I needed to have a plan to organize all those coupons!  There are many ways to organize coupons and it's important to find a style that works best for you {at the end of this post I have included some links to a few other coupon organizing ideas}.  I call this coupon organizing system the "file folder method" and this is what is working well for me right now:



I used some money that I received from a Single Check Rebate and invested in this file box from Walmart {price: a little under $8}.  My favorite thing about this file box is that the top opens and has sections where I can put paper clips, sticky notes, pens and scissors...it's really like a desk/organizer all-in-one!




1.  Every Sunday, I look through the newspaper inserts and cut out all the coupons that I think I will use.  If I know where I can get the best deal for that item, I put the coupon right into the store envelope {one for each store}.  If I'm not sure where I am going to get the best deal, I put the coupon in the small accordian file {also from Walmart...this fits perfectly in a diaper bag or large purse!}.  The accordian file goes with me everywhere {you never know when you might find a great sale!}  Printable coupons also go in the store envelopes or in the accordian file.

2.  The coupons that I know for sure that I won't be using, I put in my library envelope and donate them to the coupon exchange at our local library.

3.  The rest of the coupons stay in the inserts.  I write the date on the front of each one, paper clip them together and file them in the file box by month.  I also keep rebate forms, coupon books and magazines in the front of the file box.

4.  If I need to find a coupon that is filed away, I use a coupon database from hotcouponworld.com or couponmom.com.  When I complete a search for a coupon, the database will tell me the date and insert type so that I can easily go to my files and find the coupon that I am looking for.

Here are a few coupon organizing ideas that you might be interested in:

Rachel from Goldfish OTT -- The Binder Method

Motherhood On A Dime -- Another Binder Method {with video}

Money Saving Mom -- Coupon Box Method


How do you organize your coupons?
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Meal Plan Monday - January 24













Have you ever had one of those "ah, ha!" moments when the light bulb goes on and fireworks go off?  Last week I watched Money Saving Mom's 31 Weeks To A Better Grocery Budget: Lesson 2 about menu planning and had one of those moments.    Her "keep it simple" idea was so encouraging to me as I always feel guilty if I don't have a large meal prepared every night for my family. 

So this week I am sticking to the "keep it simple" idea with more simple meals...yes, including hot dogs for dinner *gasp*.  Thanks to some great Uncle Ben's and Kikkoman coupons, I was able to get some very inexpensive rice and soy sauce and I will be making stir-fry more often than usual.  Does anyone have any stir-fry recipes that I could try?  I have a feeling we might get bored with the usual chicken stir-fry.

Breakfast
Oatmeal
Cold Cereal w/Raisins
Bananas
Smoothies
Waffles

Lunch
Tuna Salad Sandwiches w/carrot sticks
Turkey Sandwiches w/Tomato Soup
Mac & Cheese w/veggies
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Monday:  Business dinner with hubby
Tuesday:  Hot Dogs w/veggies
Wednesday:  Marinated Chicken {using Ken's marinade--got a great deal at Walmart!}
Thursday:  Homemade Pizza
Friday:  Hungarian Stew {crockpot recipe}
Saturday:  Chicken Pot Pie {using leftover chicken}
Sunday:  BLTs


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning.

Get more meal inspiration at Menu Plan Monday

Meal Plan Monday - January 10














I had an "uh oh" moment last week when I realized that I forgot to buy pasta sauce during my grocery shopping trip.  Instead of running back to the store, I decided to substitute with things that I already had on hand.  I discovered that a can of tomato paste, tomato soup, and diced tomatoes diluted with a little bit of water mixed with a dash of sugar, garlic powder, and oregano makes a great pasta sauce when you're in a pinch!

Here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week:

Breakfast
Oatmeal
Cold Cereal w/Raisins
Bananas
Glazed Cinnamon Scones

Lunch
Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Turkey Sandwiches w/Tomato Soup
Chicken Nuggets w/Peas
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Monday:  Mexican Shepherd's Pie {I use mashed potatoes instead of the pre-packaged}
Tuesday:  Corny Chicken Wraps w/Salad
Wednesday:  Baked Chicken {This is one of my favorite chicken recipes.  The tangy sauce is so easy to make and it is made with ingredients I always have on hand!}
Thursday:  Super Sloppy Joes {I like to use diced tomatoes instead of crushed}
Friday:  Chicken Stirfry w/Rice
Saturday: Pasta
Sunday:  Leftovers or "Breakfast for Supper"


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning.

Get more meal inspiration at Menu Plan Monday

New Year's Resolution: Earn $50 In Swag Bucks For Christmas Spending


 Now, I know what you're thinking.
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     "We just celebrated Christmas and I don't want to think about it for at least another 6 months!"
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I truely believe that an important part of saving money is to plan ahead.  Wouldn't you love to save $50 or more on Christmas this year?  I was recently inspired by a post from Shannon at For The Mommas to earn Swag Bucks and use them to pay for Christmas gifts in 2011!

My goal is to earn enough Swag Bucks this year to earn at least $50 in Amazon.com gift certificates to use on Christmas gifts this year.  Here's my plan:

     4500 Swag Bucks = $50 worth of Amazon.com gift certificates

     4500/12 = 375 Swag Bucks per month OR

     375/30 = 12.5 Swag Bucks per day {approx.}

How you can earn Swag BucksYou can earn Swag Bucks by printing and redeeming coupons, redeeming FREE codes, answering poll questions, downloading the search bar, doing searches, and much more!  Go here for tips on how to earn Swag Bucks.  Sign up here to start earning!

Meal Plan Monday - January 3













With so many Christmas parties and family get-togethers over the past few weeks, I spent very little time preparing meals and took a break from meal planning.   I'm very excited to get back to our regular routine and meal planning!  Here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week:

Breakfast
Oatmeal
Waffles
Cold Cereal w/Raisins
Homemade McGriddles {recipe below}

Snacks
Apples
Yogurt
S'mores Goldfish {$1.00 at Walmart!}

Lunch
Turkey Wraps w/Carrot Sticks
Mac & Cheese w/Peas
Grilled Cheese
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Mon:     Eating out w/Hubby for my birthday!
Tues:     Chicken Vegetable Soup w/Homemade Biscuits
Wed:     Corn Chowder w/Leftover Biscuits
Thurs:    Heartland Chili w/Garlic Bread
Fri:        Chop Suey w/Salad
Sat:       Tuna Noodle Casserole w/Leftover Salad
Sun:       Leftovers

Dessert
Molasses Cookies
Peanut Butter Balls {it's a good thing I only make these once a year!}

Homemade McGriddles

I love {with a capital "L"} the bacon, egg and cheese McGriddles from McDonald's, but the amount of calories, fat and sodium in those tiny little sandwiches is enough to give me a heart attack without even taking a bite!  My husband {the expert egg chef at our house} made this homemade breakfast sandwich with waffles and eggs that reminds me of my favorite breakfast sandwich and curves my cravings for the not-so-healthy version.

1 or 2 Frozen Blueberry or Cinnamon Waffles
1 egg
1 slice of cheese of your choice {we like to use American}

Toast frozen waffles in a toaster.  Cook egg sunny side up in a skillet with a small amount of butter or cooking spray {you can also add salt and pepper to taste}.  After about 30 seconds, break the yolk with the spatula.  Put waffle on a plate and add sliced cheese.  When cooked through, remove fried egg from skillet and place on top of cheese.  Add another waffle on top to make a sandwich {optional}. 



$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning.

Get more meal inpiration from Menu Plan Monday