When I first announced that I wanted to plan out my menus for an entire year many thought me totally NUTS! My thought was you plan a menu every week, so why not collect all 52 menus and end up with your menus planned for the next year. The benefits of having a meal plan are numerous. These posts are about the menus I planned and how I did them.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


February 28, 2013

While doing clean-up on my blogs I discovered I'd never got this post up and running.  It was originally written for the week of July 4, 2012 and for some reason never left the draft mode. I did some adjustments to it and so here it is.  Finally!  Hopefully I'll get the rest of the 52 weeks up soon.

July 4, 2012

It’s ground beef time again.  As I said in the beginning we eat a lot of ground beef, so technically every other week my menus will be ground beef based for a while.  After all what can’t you make with ground beef?

Please note that most, if not all, of the recipes I do with ground beef could be done with other ground meats.  You might have to make a few allowances for fat content or such to keep things from drying out, but pretty much you can interchange the ground meat ingredient without much change.  Unless, perhaps with wild meats, such as venison, but if you are cooking with wild meats you most likely KNOW what you need to do to make the recipe work. 

As usual I’m running a little behind on my menu posts, so this is being done during the July 4th week and therefore you will be seeing our holiday cook out menu for that day during the week. It will look like a huge menu for just the three of us, but we LOVE leftover grilled meats, so when I am cooking I am doing so with planned leftovers in mind.

Today is Tuesday and I have the Donvier in the freezer preparing for our homemade ice cream for tomorrow’s dessert.  And the chicken leg quarters to grill, along with tomorrow’s ground beef and bologna are already thawing in the refrigerator.  I’ll boil the eggs for the deviled eggs later on today. 

My son has already made a delicious huge batch of chocolate chip cookies both for sharing at work today and to go with our ice cream tomorrow.  We are in full holiday mode here.

We’ll have zero fireworks because we don’t want to burn the place down, not to mention the fact that the cost of those does not comply with the budget we have going right now.  We’d rather save money we would have spent on fireworks to travel to Walt Disney World in the future on a shoestring budget to have a wealth of fun and enjoy their fireworks while there.  If you are interested in how you can travel to WDW cheaply, and still get the most fun see my blog posts on the subject. How to Plan a Frugal Trip to Walt DisneyWorld,  Payingfor your Magical Trip, Saving Money While onthe Trip—Getting There,  Saving Money While on the Trip—Food! GloriousFood!,  and Saving Money While on the Trip—Souvenirs and Other Things.

So instead we  will have a great day of watching the latest Harry Potter movie and other movies we have recorded scheduled, complete with popcorn and a little Pepsi (an uncommon treat around here any more), along with a cookout and some down time as a family. During the evening hours we’ll watch fireworks on tv in the cool of the house.  Both men are off work for the holiday and that makes for an even better time. 

In this week’s menu you will also see the appearance of using my muffin tins for things other than just muffins.  For a whole list of ideas on other uses of the muffin tin and other common household items view “Muffin Tins, Not Just for Muffins and Cupcakes Any More.

Anyway, here is the menu for Week #3—Ground Beef #2.  Hope you have a Happy and Safe July 4th!


Raisin Bran




Fruit salad

Dried Fruit


My husband loves cake donuts, but we don’t love the calories from frying donuts.  So for Christmas  I purchased him two donut pans and we’ve been experimenting with different recipes.  We’ve found that muffin recipes work well, especially if you add a little glaze.  As time goes on there will be various other donut recipes posted as we find ones we like.  This was the first, other than the one that came on the pan—which we can’t find right now, that he really likes.  He eats his unglazed.  Me I want the glazing—gotta have my calories you know!


MuffinTin Corn Dogs—once we’ve had them for dinner

Spaghetti and Meatballs—once we’ve had them for dinner

Home canned beef soup

Jarred salad with cucumbers from the garden


Potted Meat Salad sandwiches.


In an effort to stick with keeping things cool in the house I’ve taken to cooking various muffin tin meals.  These make great individual servings, that leftover well and re-heat quickly.  They also cook in record time.  After all the shorter time the oven is on, the better it is when it’s 100+ degrees outside.


Mashed Potatoes—make a big batch for uses later in the week


Jarred salad

Toasted French Bread



Red Topped Meatloaf is the basic ground beef meatloaf with the ketchup topping we all grew up with.  You can either cook it in your Summer Kitchen in either your turkey roaster or crockpot.  Or if you prefer in muffin tins to speed up cooking in your oven.

We like potato salad made with mashed potatoes, so later this week you will see the leftover mashed potatoes appear with the holiday big meal. If you prefer a different type then go ahead and prepare your potatoes while boiling the potatoes for the meatloaf then cool and refrigerate for being one step ahead in that meal preparation.

WEEK 3-Day 2

Frozen French Fries

Pork ‘n Beans

Refrigerator Pickles


Applesauce Spice Cake


As I mentioned earlier we are trying to cut down fried foods in our household—except on the fourth—sorry doc, so I’ve been experimenting with how to have our favorites without frying them. 

On one list a woman recently posted she made these using a pre-packaged cornbread mix.  Since I make all my own mixes I first tried them with my Cornbread Master Mix cornbread and it came out a bit too dry and crumbly for our liking. 

So then I decided to use my Corn Dog recipe that uses that master mix and found we liked the texture and firmness better.  An additional tweak I did was on the second batch I used my mini loaf pans instead of muffin tins and found they accommodated the shape of the hot dog link better. 


Mexican Rice





Moo Gurgle is our quick and easy homemade taco filler recipe that we use in numerous ways.  My husband made it as a teenager and then introduced it to me while we were dating nearly 40 years ago. 

It didn’t earn its unique name until we had teenagers of our own, however.  A group of them went to our lake house together and wanted to make tacos while there. 

They called and asked me for the recipe and I rattled it off—forgetting to tell them to drain the meat after they browned it.  Being teenagers they purchased the cheapest, fattest ground beef they could.

All the kids called me “Mom” so when I was asking them how the tacos turned out one young man said “Mom, those moos really gurgled!”, referring to the thick grease in the taco filler.  Thus the name was born “Moo Gurgle”.

WEEK 3-DAY 4—July 4, 2012

Charcoaled Hamburgers, plain

Charcoaled Hamburgers, bbq sauce

Grilled Bologna

Char-grilled Chicken Leg quarters

Potato salad

Butterfly potatoes

Cole Slaw


Homemade Ice cream

Chocolate chip cookies


We thoroughly believe in this house when you fire up the charcoal grill or a wood fire you use every bit of the fuel you put in the grill.  We also love grilled leftovers, so while we’ll cook all the above on the fourth not all of it will be eaten for certain.  It will be a pick and choose meal.  “This is what we cooked, choose what you want and the rest will reappear in other meals.”

All the hamburgers with bbq sauce consist of is a beaten egg mixed with bbq sauce and then mixed into the ground beef patties and grilled.  One word to the wise, they do tend to fall apart easily—despite the egg for a binder, so cook them on foil on the grill.   I use Kay’s BBQSauce as the sauce in them.

We make up for all of the non-fried foods this week in this one meal.  Butterfly potatoes is our name for the potatoes that you see at fairs of all sorts that are potato chip thin and cut in a spiral.  I was lucky enough to acquire one of those potato cutters at a craft fair years ago and we have enjoyed it ever since.

I’ll try to get one of the guys to create a pattern for it and I’ll put up photos of it as well asap.

We are Pepsi addicts in this household, but once we decided to become super gazelle intense on paying off our debt Pepsi is one of the things we removed from our life.  Now we each drink one sweetened beverage a day (juice, tea, lemonade or kool-ade) and the rest of the time we drink water or unsweetened tea.  I will admit it’s hard going from lugging around a Pepsi all day to going to a single sweetened beverage (I generally do a juice), but it has saved us so much money it is unbelievable. (Do the math on how much you pay for soft drinks in a week and multiply that by the month/year—you will be astounded!) Plus all three of us are losing weight and are feeling better. 

So the Pepsi for this one day—two 2-liters, is a special treat.  The bottles will be washed out and saved for future events—stay tuned for those.


Smoked Chicken Salad in Tortilla bowls

Lime Cilantro Rice

Refried Beans or home canned pinto or kidney beans

Chocolate Chip Cookies



What grilled chicken isn’t eaten on the fourth will be deboned, cubed and tossed in with picante, refried beans, corn, lettuce, rice and whatever else we happen to think of for a cool salad on a hot summer night.  We may even forgo cooking the tortilla into a tortilla bowl and simply roll it all up in a burrito style tortilla much like Qdoba burritos.


Garlic Toast

Jarred Salad with Italian dressing

Leftover desserts from the week



I generally make a double or triple batch of the spaghetti meatballs—which are different than my Master Mix Meatballs and either can or freeze them with or without the sauce for future grab and run meals.  

Both men also like for me to cook extra pasta for the meatballs and will take the leftovers to work for lunches. 


Biscuit Cup Tacos

Either leftover Mexican or Lime Cilantro Rice


Leftover Flan


Truly the tail end of the week and a meal of all leftovers, simply reproduced in a slightly different manner.  Quick to bake in the toaster oven in the Summer Kitchen.  Look for any leftover Biscuit Cup Tacos to make an appearance at lunchtime next week.

Jan who wishes you a Happy and Safe Independence Day in OK

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