January Menu Plan

I’ve surveyed the goods in my freezers and pantries, and I know what I have.  I’ve set my rules.  All that’s left to do is make a meal plan for the whole month. Ack!  I sometimes have trouble coming up with meals for the week, let alone all month.  Help me out here, will ya?

Breakfasts – a rotation of eggs (fried/scrambled/omelets) with toast or muffins, pancakes, waffles, french toast, lazy granola, oatmeal with raisins, and the occasional bowl of cereal with bananas

Lunch – a rotation of sandwiches (grilled cheese or pb&j), fresh fruit and veggies with dip, snack lunch tray, smoothies, and leftovers

Suppers – Trying to build around the following, purchasing fresh fruits and veggies, dairy and eggs as needed:

  • A massive amount of shredded zucchini in my freezer
  • Only 3 lb. of hamburger and 1 round steak
  • 4 whole chickens (I hope to use 2)
  • Too-sweet salsa; might try it in a Mexican dish with extra spices and see what happens.

With ballgames, clean out the fridge nights, and the occasional “out of town” day, I think 20 meals to finish out the month ought to be good.  Here’s hoping!

20 meals, random order – I’ll figure out the weekly schedule later!

  1. beef and chicken fajitas – using the last of my round steak; found peppers on sale
  2. chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, peas
  3. ziti with Italian sausage – bet I can sneak some zucchini in this one, too!  I’ll sub pork sausage for Italian.
  4. classic shepherds pie, applesauce
  5. healthy cream of potato soup – (found some cauliflower cheap; think I can sneak some shredded zucchini in here?  I’m going to add cheese and maybe bacon or ham, too) with cranberry zucchini bread (total experiment)
  6. slow cooker Italian chicken meal, baked apples
  7. Mexican lasagna, salad
  8. crock pot chicken chili, corn bread
  9. loaded tostadas, Mexican rice
  10. turkey pot pie – turkey already cooked and shredded in the freezer  (I’ll make 2 of these; one for now, one for the freezer.  Same effort, more reward.)
  11. Tex-mex chicken skillet – I’ll use brown rice, will probably have to cook it first.
  12. pizza-stuffed meatloaf – (I almost always see fresh mushrooms reduced at our grocery, and I’ll attempt to make pizza sauce with the tomatoes I have frozen.) garlic breadsticks, fruit
  13. black bean and ham soup (ham and green pepper in freezer) with some sort of zucchini bread or muffins 😉
  14. baked spaghetti, corn, french bread
  15. creamy turkey and wild rice soup
  16. parmesan crusted pork chops, peas, baked apples
  17. puffed pancake topped with cooked apples
  18. crock pot potato soup with some type of bread (zucchini, anyone?!)
  19. sticky chicken

And now I’m stuck.  Want me to make your recipe?  Do I have the main ingredients (at least some of them!) in my freezer or pantry?  Email me the link!

Maybe I’ll just wait until Menu Plan Monday goes up and fill in the blanks with what I see there.  🙂

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  1. Oh your so good. Have fun with the challenge. You could always make sticky chicken in the crock-pot with the whole chickens and then make to die for Enchiladas.

    Here are the links to the recipes on my blog.



  2. How about Crock Pot Potato Soup? It might help you use up the 10 lb. bag of potatoes.

    I also love this Crock Pot Country Bean Soup.

    If you have black beans left, you might try this Black Bean Taco Salad.

    That’s all I can think of for now. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  3. this menu looks really good! and maybe you can just make something more than once? I repeat meals more than once in a month…maybe you coudl double a recipe and then freeze it for toward the end of the month?

    as far as the zucchini…you can add it to spaghetti sauce…it blends right in!

    • I’m excited to start “hiding” my zucchini and see what I can get away with. And yes, I will double some things, but was hoping to use them NEXT month. 😉

  4. We are eating from the pantry and freezer (and anything that comes up in the garden, if it does, as well) this month. I am not going to the store this month, and possibly the next couple of months.

    Here is our winter menu http://theprudenthomemaker.com/winter.aspx

    (we’ve done this before for a couple of years–eating from the pantry, that is).

    I’m trying some new recipes as well, but that is our basic plan.

    I have 3 months of other pantry menus that include seasonal items (from my garden), plus 2 weeks of menus from strictly pantry items (no fridge or freezer items) so I’m sure you can find something else to make 🙂

    Stick that zucchini in some breakfast muffins (use those as snacks, too). See my carrot cake recipe; I use carrots and/or zucchini in it, depending on what I have, and I often make it into muffins.

    Mix your too-sweet salsa with cooked lentils and taco seasoning and make tacos with it. See my tacos recipe.

    • Your winter menu is AMAZING! (And here I was complaining about doing one MONTH at a time!) I added your puffed pancake to our menu. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  5. Looks like a great and yummy month:-)

  6. Thanks for the link. 🙂

    We liked this Crockpot Applesauce Chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking. I would omit the red pepper though, if I made it again–just didn’t like it spicy.

    Good luck!

  7. Your meal plan looks great! I also just have a list of meals and I plan to just decide what to eat each day instead of sitting down and planning my week! We’ll see if it works okay for me!

    I have one suggestion for a meal using your chicken but I don’t really have a recipe for it!

    I make homemade Chicken Noodle soup! Boil a chicken, save the broth, debone it, add diced chicken back to broth, whatever veggies you have and noodles (egg noodles/linguine) and salt/pepper for seasoning! It always turns out really good and uses ingredients that most people always have on hand!

    • I’ve got carrots, and a few noodles… cooked my chicken today. Simmering the broth tonight. Might try this real soon. Thanks!

  8. You absolutely can use your extra zucchini in pasta dishes, even the meatloaf. I have hidden yellow squash and zucchini in so many differnt things. It adds moisture and nutrients, but not much in the way of taste. So basically if there is enough other texture, spice/flavor and color no one will have a clue!

    Good luck, you are doing great so far!

  9. http://redapron.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/sausage-and-zucchini-rice/

    try this recipe out (good way to use up the extra zucchini) let me know what you think 🙂

    • I’ll definitely have to save that one for when I have fresh zucchini. My frozen, shredded zucchini is pretty wet and limp coming out of the freezer. Better for baking and “hiding” in casseroles, maybe?

  10. You could use at least some of your too-sweet salsa for dessert nachos. Spread butter on flour tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, cut into wedges, and bake until crispy. Then serve with the salsa. If you don’t mind having something cold, you could even serve the dessert nachos and salsa with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (that’s something that’s always on sale at this time of year).

  11. Here are my suggestions:
    * for using up the chickens – Chicken & Dumplings (w/ veggies included!) http://unfinishedmom.blogspot.com/2009/12/chicken-dumplings.html

    Pork chops:

    Ground Beef:

    For the zucchini:
    Add some to muffins 1-2 times per month. The taste really doesn’t change. And I second the use it in spaghetti sauce suggestion. Zucchini hides well in any kind of tomato sauce recipe.

  12. I wish I had zucchini in my freezer. I would love some zucchini whoopie pies!

  13. Have you ever tried using the shredded zuke as “hashbrowns” or latkes? Just mix with egg and (and onion if you like them), spice however you like and saute in choice oil. You may even be able to bake them (altho, I haven’t tried). Very, very good! It is also healthier than potato equivalent dishes. I have the same problem with lots of zucchini taking up room in the freezer (good garden year for squash!! 🙂

    • I never in a million years would’ve thought of that. We love fried zucchini (sliced), so I bet these would be delicious. Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. Our local news channel just ran a story touted as a way to cut your grocery bill by 1/4 by doing nothing. The trick? Don’t go to the grocery store for one. whole. week! They featured a mom who’s fridge and pantry were stuffed to overflowing and she was struggling to come up with a menu for day 1. Your plan would blow her mind. Congrats on completing what’s probably the hardest part of this challenge!

  15. Amy,

    I make 2 puffed pancakes for my family (not counting my husband, who eats potatoes for breakfast most days, or leftovers). I have never put cooked apples on them before, but that sounds REALLY good!

  16. This would use up one of your whole chickens. I do this for Sunday lunch, but it would work for supper, too.

    Put whole potatoes, some carrots, and quartered onions into a crockpot. Add one whole chicken or a pack of leg quarters (rubbed with olive oil, spices, and minced garlic) and a little water. Cook on high for about 3 hours. I feel like a Prov. 31 woman when I come home from church to this lovely, simple meal waiting for us.

  17. I use up lots of my grated zucchini in weekly batches of zucchini bread which my husband takes to work for breakfast every day. Two cups grated zucchini will make 2 loaves of bread. I just save 2 cup sized baggies of it in the freezer.

    Here’s another recipe with zucchini but you’ll need a few other veggies too: Baked ziti ratatouille

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