Welcome to another week of menu planning! One of my favorite things about menu planning is how much money it saves our family! I love going to the store with a list of the exact ingredients I need to prepare dinner for my family. I don’t buy what we don’t need, and don’t end up with a pantry that is full of ingredients I can’t combine to make meals we love. I hope you find that planning your menu, even one week at a time saves YOU money too! (and don’t forget about the stress it keeps you from! No more, “what should I make for dinner?”)

Here we go! I have a week of cheap and easy to prepare dinners for you!

Monday:  Sloppy Joe Loaf – This is easy to do, and a nice change-up from your traditional sloppy joe. I used the recipe below as a jumping off point, and made my own dough. However, you can definitely use the refrigerated dough as the recipe calls for.

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken – SOO easy! Just throw your chicken breasts (frozen will do!) into the crockpot with your favorite bbq sauce. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. The chicken falls apart and shreds nicely too, if you wanted to use the chicken for bbq sandwiches. Serve with some quartered red potatoes drizzled with a little olive oil, salt, and rosemary that have been baked until tender.

Wednesday: Chili on Chips – This was my favorite “hot lunch” in elementary school, and we love to have this on nights when we are pressed for time. You can use canned or home-made chili (and when I make this, I get a can of bean-less chili for my husband.) Use your favorite tortilla chips, and have a variety of toppings ready (tomatoes, onions, olives, sour cream..) and lots of cheese. We sometimes use grated, and sometimes use melted cheese.

Thursday: Creamy Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli – Very yummy! I like having a few quick pasta dishes that AREN’T spaghetti in my cooking arsenal!

Friday: Taco Salad – The ONLY salad I can get my husband to willingly eat! (I brown up a pound of ground beef, and season it up with some taco seasoning. I have lots of cheese and veggies on hand to add (we do this salad bar style as well, so everyone can take just the things they like!) I have tomatoes, olives, onions, and kidney beans available at my house. My husband makes a dressing of sour cream mixed with salsa for his salad. We also like to crunch up Doritos into our salad. Yum!

Saturday: Easy Beef and Noodle Dinner – Okay folks, it doesn’t get much cheaper to prepare than this one! And yes ,this meal contains…gasp….ramen noodles! Hey, it’s cheap, filling, and my family loves the stuff! I also love that I can turn the quintessential college food into a suitable family dinner. If you are worried about the sodium, you can use half of the seasoning packet. (The recipe calls for a certain brand of frozen green beans. I personally don’t care for frozen green beans, as I find them to be “squeaky”. I’ve used canned green beans in this dish, and it turns out just fine. Fresh would be lovely as well.)

Sunday: Oven Ranch Chicken – I love finding new ways to serve up chicken to my family. This turns your typical breadcrumb-coated chicken into something a bit more special, and something much more tasty! This is great served up with mashed potatoes!

Enjoy your week, and let me know if you try out one of these featured recipes! Happy planning!