Gluten free weeknight meals & budgeting

So this blog post should really be a post of the numerous ways the month of September has come and is exiting before my head has been able to wrap itself around it all.  Surely I am not the only mom who finds herself witnessing myself both coming and going in the middle of the dark of night, right?

My new purse is even sporting some tag-along buddies.  I don’t think I go anywhere any more without things packed into my purse that aren’t really mine.  And despite the extra poundage, I wouldn’t really change the rest of it.

Now THIS is a MOM purse

Well, maybe I’d change my sleep schedule:  to bed late (or early) and it takes me forever to fall asleep and up no later than 5AM or we are ALL off late for the day already.  A change with these hours would be helpful, but I honestly don’t see that happening anytime soon.  Teaching doesn’t end with the kids leave… or even when my kids finally crash and go to bed.  (PS…they have been in bed for 45 minutes now… and the Chicklet just asked via the monitor “Hey Mom, what’s my cake going to look like?”  “Your cake?”  “Yes, for my birthday.”  “Babe….your birthday is in May.  It’s September. We have a while to think about it, okay?” = this is the kind of thing that never ends around here….LOL)  Evidence:  apple slices + goofy face photos…despite a few attempts we don’t have ONE photo for BOTH smiling nor BOTH making a goofy face at the same time.  Egad.

Apple slices + goofy faces

So I decided to share my working mom “Sanity Saver” meals.  I’ve been asking and posting here when I thought my world was careening off track, but seldom have I posted when I have done it right (finally) for a month.  I challenged myself this month to get the meals down and stick to them.

Next month, I am challenging myself to:

  • only go to the grocery store every 10 days to 2 weeks
  • STICK to my grocery budget – and SAVE every penny that I don’t spend in an account for a family trip
  • stick to my meal plan (come high water or sleep exhaustion)
  • stick to a reduced (extremely) budget for “eating out”

Seriously.  I’m starting at ZERO here people.  There is only room to grow, right?

Some of you are experts at all of the above (budgeting, time-management, meal-planning, saving (!), etc) but these are things I tend to stick to for a short time and then meander down some random thought-path-etc and I blow it.  We have had TWO four-day vacations/trips in the last EIGHT YEARS of our lives.  (My Love does NOT get time off from work.)  But we’ve had SO much fun on these rapid-paced trips to see family (my parents/his parents) that we want to do it more often.  And now the girls have seen an ad for Disney Land and CarsLand.

Yeap.  My budget better get in gear.  NOW.

Want to follow along on my endeavor?  Care to add your two cents/tips?  I’d love to hear them!

Okay… enough meandering.  Some of you are just here for the list of my weeknight go-to meals.  Take note:  the meals on this list HAD to be able to be prepared and ready to go in under an hour (or toddler + mom meltdown ensures).  Well, here it is:

  1. fajitas (chicken or flank steak)
  2. enchiladas
  3. taco salad
  4. one-pot rice dish (random meat/tofu, rice, veggies – a la jambalaya)
  5. tarragon chicken tenders
  6. Bo-jay-fan (Chinese one-pot chicken/rice/sausage/mushroom)
  7. pork chops and apples
  8. steamed fish + tofu
  9. split pea soup (thank you crock pot)
  10. jambalaya
  11. quinoa salad (a la fried rice/couscous – NOTE couscous is NOT gluten free!)
  12. pasta salad (schars or jovial)
  13. parfait (yogurt + granola)
  14. pancakes (corn ones here) or waffles (to save time, i’ve made “waffles” in a panini pan with pancake batter )
  15. chicken chili
  16. mongolian beef (marinate night before or immediately upon returning home for 45 min at least)
  17. spaghetti (schars, jovial or homemade on the weekend)
  18. lasagna (no boil/lazy method – make ahead, pop in oven)
  19. pot pie (make ahead OR make muffin-sized (lunch/dinner) OR make with crescent roll dough  for last minute)
  20. roasts (pork loin is our favorite as faster than whole chicken, etc)
  21. meatballs and mashed/roasted potatoes
  22. kebabs
  23. tortilla española (potatoes, eggs, onions, seasoning) – leftovers are great lunches too
  24. shrimp and grits
  25. chicken marsala
  26. risotto
  27. lettuce wraps
  28. migas
  29. corned beef (crock pot or reheat after cooking on Sunday), roasted cabbage
  30. curried chicken
  31. beef and broccoli
  32. spicy green beans and tofu
  33. arroz con pollo
  34. baharat chicken or lamb
  35. chowder (Chinese corn, OR salmon/fish, etc – whatever you got and put it in a pot!)
  36. arepa sandwiches
  37. jibaro sandwiches (plantains, flank steak, etc)
  38. burgers (bean or beef) (speedy buns – done in the oven while I grill/cook burger or pao-d-quejo buns – quick too!)
  39. beef stroganoff but served over rice, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower/broccoli in lieu of noodles
  40. teriyaki chicken (or whatever is on hand)
  41. quiche
  42. fried rice
  43. ….leftovers!  (the great list ender…I try to use up leftovers for lunch, but often there is a bit more)

I hope this list helps someone else pull a menu plan together.  My trusty purple spiral bound notebook and I roam the aisles of the grocer trying to make sure I have it all together.  Maybe that will be what I share next?  Ay!  Who knows!

Hopefully now that I am getting my feet under me at school the next blog post won’t be delayed as long as this one has been.  I’m sorry – and THANK YOU for sticking with me.

Happy GF Eating 
~Kate

12 comments on “Gluten free weeknight meals & budgeting
  1. Rose Moore says:

    Kate,
    What has helped me is every Sunday I make myself a grocery list( monday is shopping day) and I figure out the meals for the week and write down on a dry eraser board on the side of the refrigerator to remind myself and family members as I get so sick of them asking whats for dinner, now they just have to go the refrigerator. These helps time and panic for dinners just remember to look night before what’s for dinner tomorrow so you can take out meat and put in refrig. might before !
    Lots of hugs,
    Rose

    • I shop on Monday too! I find there are usually less people at the store. I have never thought to write the menu and put it on the fridge. That just made my life easier, and I already have a dry erase board up there!!!

      Sherry at SherryFredley.com

  2. My hubby and I have a menu that we follow and we shop off of that to try and save money. We used to make a menu for two weeks but found that our produce wouldn’t stay fresh that long so we’re back to going once a week… a bit of a bummer there.

  3. This is a great assortment of meals. I use a lot of fresh produce so have buy it once a week. I make a lot of these meals in the crockpot, you may too. Roasts and pork chops with apple (yum – put some chunks of sweet potato on top for the last hour or so) work so well in it. I also like meatballs baked so can make them while another dinner cooks and they’re ready ahead of time.

  4. Alison Fujito says:

    Am I REALLY behind right now? I thought it was still September….(“Your birthday is in May. It’s October.”)

    But I love your posts anyway! <3

  5. Kathryn says:

    Just discovered your blog a couple of days ago. That was pure serendipity! I’m subscribing to it using my newly discovered RSS reader. I will definitely hang in there and wait for your next post. In the meantime, I’m going to start working my way through the list you so graciously shared with us. Thank you.

  6. Heidi says:

    I just discovered your blog when I was searching for a gluten free pumpkin pancake made with cottage cheese. I love your site and your ideas. I am new to gluten-free, and I’m trying to start a GF community on my website. I have started a weekly Gluten-Free Share Page on OneCreativeMommy.com. It’s brand new, but I hope it will become a great resource as it grows. I would love it if you visited and shared some of your great ideas each week. I hope to see you there.

  7. Celiac Kiddo says:

    Hi, just came across your blog and it’s great! My 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with celiac a year and a half ago. I’m always looking for recipes and especially dinner inspiration, so thank you for this great list! Looking forward to following your blog.
    -Dana

  8. ingredieat1 says:

    This is exactly what I need! I was wondering, how much a week do you spend on groceries? Your shopping list sounds delicious.

    Anna

  9. Jess Rossiter says:

    I’ve tried menu plans, I’ve tried pre-making meals and it never ever works for us! I know I spend too much on groceries but I can’t help myself, i just LOVE good food, and I’ll pay for top quality. We NEVER eat out because if I don’t cook once a day, I’ll explode. Even if we happen to go for dinner, I’ll make dessert when we get home.

    HELP

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