Meal Plan Monday July 23 With Some Rambling About Cookbooks

I check out a lot of cookbooks from the library. I used to have a bad cookbook buying habit but after packing and moving to three different cities in four years I got brutal and culled them. (Cookbooks are heavy.) Anything that I didn't use regularly, that I'd never use or didn't have any kind of real value to me got tossed. I've had access to great library systems so I just check out any book I might be interested in buying. The result is that I've not purchased a lot of lousy cookbooks. I still own a lot -- I have a bookcase in the kitchen that is reserved just for cookbooks, food-lit and library books -- but they are cookbooks that get used.

My Saturday library haul -- mostly cookbooks.

The last few weeks I've been reading a lot of budget and/or family cookbooks thanks to the library. I've always been interested in home cooking. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at the things that gourmet chefs make but I am not a gourmet cook. I don't do fussy food. I like to cook but I don't want to spend two hours on dinner every night.

What I've discovered is there are a heck of a lot of crappy budget cookbooks. They tend to either come up with combinations of ingredients that most people I know would not touch or they have a totally different idea of what constitutes a budget. I was reading one over the weekend in which most of the recipes were for single dishes with no sides and cost close to $10/dish and only served two people. If the fake husband and I spent $10/meal we'd be spending close to $900/month on groceries. No thanks.

Cookbooks that are authored by mothers are often the winners for me. They tend to focus more on creating meals than dishes. Even when they aren't specifically written to be budget-friendly they often are. I'll take a cookbook authored by a mother which focuses on feeding a family (or a father though I haven't really found any yet) over a celebrity chef cookbook 9 times out of 10. Moms for the win!

And yes, I'm thinking about food budgets a lot lately. We're coming close to the end of the month when we'll find out how close our projected budget was to what we actually spent. I think we'll be mostly ok on food. We went over our food budget last week but we've been under most weeks. I think we'll come out even. At least in that department. (I forgot my web hosting fees -- I pay for 2 years at a time -- were due this month. Oopsie!)

Enough rambling. Let's talk meal plans. Our menu from last week got switched around a bit. Pulled pork got moved to Friday, pizza got pushed out completely, Saturday we ended up having fish and Sunday we made a casserole out of the pulled pork instead of tacos. The casserole was kind of a score because now we have lunch for today and we're freezing a few portions. I'll pull them out some night when the fake husband isn't home or when I am too lazy to cook. Yay for freezer meals!

Monday: Pizza! I'm going to try the dough recipe from Dinner: A Love Story. (Possibly also their pizza sauce recipe.) Their dough recipe makes enough for two cookie-sheet-sized pizzas. We like rectangular pizzas. I will freeze the second ball of dough and pull it out the next time I have pizza on the menu.

Tuesday: Chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks from the Homesick Texan. I'm not sure if we'll bake these or if we'll grill them and baste with the sauce. It will probably depend on the weather. (We're hoping for rain. We need rain. We're kind of having a drought and everything is crispy. Except for the weeds.) We're going to make Jamie Oliver's potato salad to go with it.

Wednesday: Just me at home and I am declaring it sandwich night.

Thursday: BBQed sole filets and sweet potatoes.

Friday: Ground pork thai salad.

Saturday: I'm going to try another Dinner: A Love Story recipe (I think it's my new favourite cookbook) and give their spaghetti with meatballs a shot. Since the author says she sometimes subs ground turkey for ground beef in the meatballs and we found some ground turkey in the freezer I'm going to give it a whirl.

Sunday: I am hoping we'll have enough leftover meatballs for meatball subs. I am cutting the original meatball recipe in half but we should have enough.

What cookbook do you find yourself reading for the most?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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