What’s for Dinner? Week of January 5, 2014 (plus Free Printable!)


The first full week of the new year and even a free printable to share with you (see the link at the end of this paragraph). This is the time where we will put those resolutions to the test. Let’s stay focused and motivated and we can all make ourselves better :). One of your resolutions may have been to save money. Well, one way to save money is to cut back on the take out food. You will be surprised by the delicious restaurant-style dinners you can prepare right in your own kitchen, and for half the price. My biggest tip about planning a weekly dinner menu is to make one list for the week and one trip to the grocery store. Plan out dinners you would like to prepare that week, check your pantry for ingredients you may already have on hand, then make a list of everything else you will need. Make one trip, and you will be surprised how much you can save. How many times have you gone to the grocery store to pick up items to make for dinner and end up buying 3-4 things that you did not need or intend to buy? I know I have.  But, if you only go to the store once, you will save yourself the cost of those extra items that could have probably waited until the next week (or not at all). Now, I’m no extreme couponer by any means, but I do believe a good place to start saving pennies is by making that one-stop shop for the week. I have even created a printable Weekly Dinner Menu Grocery List to make your life easier. Simply fill in the items you need under the appropriate category to organize your trip according to the sections of the store. Try it this week and let me know what you think.

The menu for this week consists of some recipes already posted on this blog as well as one recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Giada, that I cooked up for my family over the Christmas holiday. Giada’s recipe is simple and elegant and tastes like you ordered it from a restaurant, definitely worth trying. The other recipes are ones right from Make the First Bite Count and have been neglected recently. I wanted to highlight some recipes that are easy and inexpensive to start off the new year. You will see that the ingredients/leftovers from one dinner can be used in dinners later in the week.  For example, leftover meatballs from Wednesday’s Rigatoni and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce can be used on Friday for Meatball Sandwiches.   You can even toast up extra almonds for the strings bean on Tuesday to use in the Buffalo Chicken Salads on Thursday.  Don’t be afraid to alter as you see fit for your own taste buds as well as your family’s.  Enjoy the dinner menu this week and let me know what you think. Make the first bite count!


MondayPenne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce | Salad  (Giada – Foodnetwork,com)

TuesdayApricot Chicken | Brown Butter String Beans with Toasted Almonds  (Make the First Bite Count)

WednesdayRigatoni and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce  (Make the First Bite Count)

ThursdayBuffalo Chicken Salads  (Make the First Bite Count)

FridayMeatball Sandwiches  (Make the First Bite Count)


I didn’t forget!!

I didn’t forget about the menu this week, unfortunately, it has been so crazy I have not even had time to make dinner to post a menu for you. I have not had a menu myself for the past week, so I have nothing to pass on to you. My husband and I have been busy taking advantage of the summer to travel to see our families. Our families live about 2 hours away from us but in opposite directions. So time has to be split. We have been enjoying great dinners with great people, just not always home cooked. Sometimes it’s ok to splurge, especially when you are on vacation, to go out and enjoy dinner.

However, if you are looking for ideas of dinners to cook for the upcoming week, please feel free to visit some previous posts or browse through the Recipes tab. When I am having trouble coming up with ideas, I start by asking the hubby what he might be in the mood for that week. Sometimes he has an idea, sometimes not. I also try to think of themes. Are you feeling Italian this week, or maybe Mexican, or maybe Chinese? Would you rather have some baked ziti, or some fajitas or maybe a little Chicken and Broccoli? If you still need ideas after that, try thinking about a protein, such as pork, and think of your favorite dish with that protein.

Coming up with the meals is the hard part, but once you have that down you can plan your one and only trip to the grocery store that week. Make your grocery list off of the ingredients from the recipes you will prepare. Don’t forget to the check the pantry for items you may already have on hand. Making that one trip will not only save you time, but also money. Two things that are so valuable in our lives. So plan your menu for the week, and feel free to share your ideas for all to see. We will be traveling again next week so new menus will come in two weeks, make sure to stop back. Make the first bite count!