April Menu Plan
So I did a thing last week and the week before and it’s basically determining most of the April Menu Plan. That thing is called a “Kitchen Inventory.” I know, I know…I’ve been talking about this for a while and I should’ve had it done at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, I didn’t and after seeing the expired food we threw away, I’m a little sick about it!
Having a menu plan saves me time and money, but not finishing my kitchen inventory sooner actually cost me money. I won’t make that mistake again and plan to start doing this at least every six months.
Anyway, off to the April Menu Plan…
April Menu Planning Tips:
- I’m preaching here, but do an inventory of your food!! I thought I was down to my last couple of cups of brown sugar, so I bought a new bag. After I got in the back of the cabinet, it turns out I wasn’t almost out after all. We’re now the proud owners of five bags of brown sugar!! Will it go to waste? No, but that’s money I could’ve spent on something else if I had known.
- Plan around holidays and special occasions. We celebrate Easter and this year, I’m hosting dinner. That means I don’t want to cook huge meals the day before or the day after and I want to utilize leftovers. I know we’re having ham, so I’ll cut off the bits around the bone that nobody eats and I’ll make fried rice. The bone will also be frozen to cook with pinto beans later on.
- Be flexible. I didn’t make almost half the meals I had planned for March because for three weeks I was home alone A LOT. It doesn’t make sense to cook huge meals just for me, so I cut back. On the one hand, it made the leftovers last longer. On the other hand, I ate more sandwiches and meals from the drive thru than I had planned. Always keep a running list of simple meals you can switch out if you don’t have the time or energy to make what’s on your menu. It’s not set in stone!!
Last Month’s Favorites:
Not that I cook very many things we don’t like, but I thought I should start sharing some of the recipes that we loved each month. I’m still working on my goal of 52 new recipes in 2023 and I’m keeping notes on which ones we liked or disliked and why. Hopefully, I’ll be sharing that at the end of the year, but in the meantime, I’m going to start sharing on the menu plans. Here is January thru March to catch us up!
January Menu Plan Favorites:
- Cheesy Pig Taters
- Cream of Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Quesadillas with Chipotle Sauce
- Not Haggis — I changed the plan for Jan. 25th because my daughter and I cooked a Burns’ Night dinner at my sister’s house: Not Haggis, Tatties & Neeps, and Scones for dessert!
February Menu Plan Favorites:
- Fiery Cajun Shrimp
- Jalapeno Popper Cheese Fondue
- Candy Bar Fondue
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cobbler with Ice Cream
March Menu Plan Favorites:
- Bacon Ranch Flatbread
- Pesto Pasta
- Hibachi Shrimp and Chicken w/Yum Yum Sauce
- Grilled Meatloaf — This wasn’t on the menu, but on one of the rare days my husband was home, he made this. Grilling meatloaf is a game changer!!
April Menu Plan
Saturday/1: Smoked Pork, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Beans. My husband and our neighbor are planning to play around with a pellet smoker and that’s a win/win for me!
Sunday/2: Family Dinner/Leftovers.
Monday/3: Cajun Smoked Sausage Alfredo. There are multiple recipes for this on Pinterest. You basically just add some Cajun seasoning and extra Parmesan Cheese to Alfredo sauce, cut up and fry the smoked sausage, and toss it all with some pasta.
Tuesday/4: BBQ Pork Stacks. Pulled Pork (leftover from Saturday) tossed with some BBQ sauce, put on top of fried cornbread, and covered with slaw. This is a fairly simple dish and oh so delicious!
Wednesday/5: Salmon Tacos, Corn w/Elote Sauce. One of the things I found when I did my freezer inventory was a couple of pieces of salmon. There’s not enough to do a huge meal, but definitely enough for tacos and the recipe I linked to also has a cilantro slaw that sounds fabulous. After that, all I have to do is cook some of our corn that’s in the freezer, make elote sauce, and supper’s ready.
Friday/7: Homemade Corn Dog Bites, Onion Straws, Macaroni & Cheese. One of the other great things I found in my freezer inventory was four packs of hot dogs. Two of those I had just purchased and put in the freezer a week or so before, but I did that because they were on sale and I didn’t think we had any! I thought corn dogs would be a great way to use some of those up. I used to love corn dog bites, so I decided to try to make my own. How hard can it be, really?!?
Saturday/8: Angel Chicken, Campfire Veggies, Corn on the Cob, Sister Schubert’s Rolls
Sunday/9: Easter Dinner. There are at least five people providing food for our Easter dinner, so the menu isn’t completely finalized. I’m contributing ham, mustard sauce, corn salad, pineapple au gratin, and a dessert for sure. The rest of my family will fill in the blanks and we’ll have a big variety of side dishes, as usual. Plus, my mom is making homemade rolls. I’ll never complain about my family cooking and getting together for a meal!
Tuesday/11: Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice, Hot & Sour Soup. We generally have a spiral sliced ham and there are always some good sized pieces left on the bone. Those will be shaved off and used for the fried rice. My Hot & Sour Soup is actually a mix that I use with beef broth instead of water and a few other ingredients. It’s not authentic, but it’s a whole lot faster.
Wednesday/12: Pinto Beans, Cornbread, Fried Potatoes. I have a ham bone in the freezer that needs to be used, so I’ll cook it with the pinto beans for extra flavor. The bone from Easter will go in the freezer for next time!
Friday/14: Tuscan Chicken, Spaghetti Squash w/Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese. Our local Save-a-Lot grocery had a great deal on chicken a while back and I froze several packs, so one of those will go in this recipe. The kitchen inventory also revealed a couple packs of bacon in the freezer. We generally eat it as fast as we can get it, so I’m not sure what possessed me to put it in the freezer. I’m not mad about it though…bacon is expensive.
Saturday/15: Steak Fajitas, Lime Rice, Guacamole, Pico. When we have extra money and the local cattle producers have grass-fed beef available, we buy a quarter or half of a beef and put it in the freezer. Unfortunately, we can’t always afford that. I don’t know if you know this, but most grocery stores put clearance prices on meat (all meat, not just beef) a couple of days before the “sell by” date. I always look for those deals and put them in the freezer for later. I’ve been doing this since my kids were small and it has helped us afford to eat the way we do! I found a great deal on sirloin tip steak recently, so I bought a pack that had two big steaks. That is the perfect size to make a batch of Steak Fajitas and the Lime Rice will stretch it even farther.
Sunday/16: Family Dinner/Leftovers
Monday/17: Mojo Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Black Bean Fritters w/Cilantro Sauce. My suggestion is to hide a black bean fritter or two for lunch later in the week.
Tuesday/18: Grilled Shrimp Po Boy w/Remoulade, Corn on the Cob. Our middle child found a bag of shrimp in the freezer and informed it wasn’t his “brand,” so I’m going to use it. (He shops at a different store than I do and meal preps for work because it’s in the middle of nowhere, so I try not to eat his food.) Since our daughter is allergic to shrimp and she’s still away at school for a few more weeks, I’m going to get my shrimp fix in while I can. I love a good Cajun remoulade and I might even try to make my own French bread for a change!
Wednesday/19: BLTs, Tupelo Honey Fried Cauliflower w/Hot Honey Sauce, Side Salad. BLTs are a super easy thing to make and perfect when you’re just cooking for two or three people. I’ve shared the link for the Tupelo Honey Cauliflower before and it is just so amazing. It’s the Hot Honey Sauce that really makes it though!
Friday/21: Greek Chicken w/Lemon Couscous, Tzatziki, and Pita Bread. I’m going to attempt this recipe with a pack of chicken legs I have in the freezer. I think it will work out fine as long as I marinate the chicken for a few hours. I’m honestly more excited about the couscous!
Saturday/22: Homemade Pizza Night. There is no one way to make a homemade pizza, so we just chop up a bunch of ingredients and everyone makes their own. The Super Trooper has gotten really good at making dough, so he gets to do that AND cook them on the grill! If you had told me when we got married that he would turn out to be such a good cook, I would’ve laughed at you. The first dinner he cooked me was Hamburger Helper when we had just started dating. My, how his skills have improved!
Sunday/23: Family Dinner/Leftovers
Monday/24: Grilled Brats w/Peppers and Onions, Sauerkraut, Pasta Salad. My little deep freeze looked like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag while I was doing my inventory. I just kept pulling more and more out of the bottom! One of the things I found was a pack of bratwursts. We’ll throw them on the grill (sometimes I just fry them in a pan) and serve them on a bun with sauteed peppers and onions and some spicy brown mustard. I love sauerkraut on mine, but I’ll probably be the only one eating it. The pasta salad was part of the kitchen inventory too. We found three box mixes stuck in the back of the cabinet. I’m not even sure why I bought it!
Tuesday/25: Chicken Taco Soup, Cornbread. This is a recipe I made up with the help of a couple of others. It’s supposed to be keto, but I add stuff to it. Pretty sure cornbread isn’t keto either, but it will fill us up.
Wednesday/26: Fried Chicken, Veggie Fritters, Pimento Cheese Grits. This is probably the last pack of chicken in the freezer unless I happen to find some on sale before this date. I’m going to make a batch of my sister’s Pimento Cheese recipe to use in the grits. I may throw some bacon in too!
Friday/28: Pork & Pineapple Skewers w/Spicy Jam Glaze, Spinach Salad. I recently bought some jam from a Mennonite Store that has pineapple, peaches, and oranges in it. While it was great on biscuits, my daughter and I decided it would be even better as a glaze for pork. My idea is to do cubes of pork, onion, green pepper, and pineapple on the skewers and make a sweet/spicy glaze with the jam. I’ll let you know how it turns out!!
Saturday/29: Grippo Chicken, Loaded Potato Bites, Green Beans, Homemade Bread. If you don’t know what Grippo’s are, they are just the best BBQ potato chips in the world. My mom used to tell me I could be the poster child for Grippo’s because I ate so many of them growing up. To make Grippo chicken, you either dip a piece of chicken in egg or baste it with mayo and then roll it in crushed up chips. Bake and eat! I’ll try to remember to take some new photos, so I can share a little better recipe than that!
Sunday/30: Family Dinner/Leftovers
Now that you have the April Menu Plan, don’t forget to sign up for the That One Mom Newsletter and get access to the Subscriber Library. A new printable menu plan with fill-in-the-blank spaces for April can be found there!
Also don’t forget to be flexible, give yourself grace if you don’t stick with your menu, and do that Kitchen Inventory! I figure I threw away at least $150 worth of expired food that we could’ve been using (makes me sick to my stomach). Fortunately, by knowing what we have on hand and building my menu around it, I’m probably going to save that much and more this month!