Eat Well, Spend Less: Bringing back the menu plan for fall

As much as I have been crushing on summer lately, it will be a relief to get into a fall routine. The last month has been deliciously scattered, with more waffle breakfasts than I can count, but I also can’t match one. single. pair of socks. We need some order restored.

This week begins our entry back into school. I’m packing Noah off to Grade 2, Danny out the door to work, and dropping Mateo at French-immersion preschool three afternoons a week. What Clara and I are going to do with our girl time remains to be seen. Perhaps we’ll whip this household into shape. Perhaps not.

At any rate, restoring order to our meals is my first priority. I kinda blew the food budget for my recent birthday dinner/harvest party (totally worth it) and am planning a lean September, which shouldn’t be that hard, considering produce prices are at their lowest right now and I have a well-stocked pantry of dry staples.

Cracking down and spitting out a weekly menu plan is also part of my plan to save money this month, as well as help us stay organized for busy school days. I’m no stranger to the menu plan, but it kind of goes out the window over the summer weeks.

If you like, you can brush up on your meal planning basics with these 9 Tips to Successful Menu-Planning. And without further ado, here is my meal plan for the week:

Menu plan for August 27 – 31

Monday – I have a mound of peaches to preserve in syrup this day, so a fast dinner is best. We also like to go meatless on our Mondays, AND we have an excess of our own eggs. So the easy solution is Crustless Quiche, with basil, corn & Parmesan, because I have all of those ingredients on hand. Plus a huge tomato salad, as every tomato on my counter is ripening.

Tuesday – Basil is two feet high in the garden and a big batch of pesto for freezing is penciled in for today, so pasta is an obvious choice for dinner. Penne with Pesto, with some slow-roasted cherry tomatoes tossed in, plus a huge green salad.

Wednesday – Mid-week calls for a roast chicken, one that I can use for leftovers in lunches. I have a whole bird in my freezer and root vegetables dug up from the garden, so there’s nothing coming out of the bank account for this meal.

Thursday – It’s just me and the kids for dinner, as Danny has a charity golf tournament. We’ll stop off at a roadside stand and pick up corn and watermelon for dinner. That’s it. And no one will complain. I’ll probably have mine with mint & feta butter, because I’ve got those ingredients on hand also.

Friday – I’ve been craving pizza, and tonight’s the night. It may be grilled pizza, or more traditional, but will definitely use up any leftovers from the week, such as pesto, plus I’ve got my own garden peppers that are ready! Pizza dough is from this excellent recipe, and pizza sauce is in the freezer.

If you’re looking for more help with menu planning, Jessica is running an excellent little series on Meal Planning 101 over on Good, Cheap Eats.


Cookies must happen for school lunches, and these Honey-Oat Cookies with Chocolate Coated Sunflower Seeds are in the works. No nuts!

We’ll need a few dozen of these best muffins ever for after-school snacks, which I’ll make with grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Katie has a lot more creative ideas for homemade after school snacks.

Bread baking is on the back burner as I am focusing on canning & preserving this week (month!), but I have some in the freezer to help round our school lunches.

Week’s Shopping List:

  • mozzarella or other pizza cheese
  • mushrooms (pizza must-have)
  • cherry tomatoes (unless enough ripen in the garden by then)
  • pine nuts (for pesto)
  • corn
  • watermelon
  • milk

That’s it! I’d say $20 should cover it.

What’s something you have planned for dinner this week?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Thanks for the shout-out! I love your meal ideas for this week. If I didn’t already have a plan, I’d steal yours.

  2. I haven’t been menu planning for most of the summer. Especially since all the fresh veg has really started to come in. I would say more often than not we are eating salads and a lot of really great fresh raw veggies. But, pizza is a must every week for me. I am also looking forward to fall. It is easier for me to get into a cooking routine when it is cooler. Breads, soups, stews, chili, those are my staples once the cool air comes back.

  3. I just made a roast chicken over the weekend so we’re having chicken chili this week to eat up the leftovers.

  4. Robin from Frugal Family Times says

    I’m looking forward to a return to menu planning too. About four days into it, I will regret thinking this, but I am looking forward to a return to the routine back to school brings…no wait…I regret saying that already. 🙂

  5. The meal plan totally helps us stay on budget. Plus I like having a plan for what I need to cook throughout the day. I started sharing my meal plan each week on the blog and I am always surprised at how many of my friends talk about it with me.

  6. I love this, Aimee! And, with a few exceptions, I think I’m going to make my own meal planning super simple and just follow yours 😉

    Thanks for reminding me about freezing pesto, as we’ve got an abundance of basil here, too.

  7. We are heading back to school this week as well. We got one week before the craziness kicks in.

    Great menu plan

  8. Looks delicious. Our garden is on its last leg, unfortunately. Although we DO have ridiculous amounts of peppers – I’ve got several in the freezer, stuffed and ready to cook!

  9. Can I come over for dinner tonight? My menu planning has gone by the wayside this summer, too. Looking forward to getting a little order back in the kitchen. Tonight, though, I think I want to finagle an invitation to your house! The crustless quiche and tomato salad sound so divine!

  10. I love reading your thought processes.

    Have you ever tried pumpkin seed-butter pesto? The flavor is excellent and it’s much cheaper.

  11. I’m normally a very organized person when it comes to my menus, but this summer we deviated from all of our plans (and it was wonderful!) We’re still enjoying the fruits of our little urban garden, so I’m planning week to week once I see what’s available. I need to get back into the swing of REALLY planning our meals, but for now, it’s nice to fly by the seat of our garden 😉 thanks for the tips and great post!

  12. I love your menu plan, Aimee. Now that I am back to work, I definitely need to get organized, especially with grocery shopping and laundry. So fun that you and Clara will get a little alone time during the school weeks.

  13. This has been the theme playing in my mind the last week; I want, very much to setup a weekly menu of one kind or anther, especially with fall on us it seems that grocery shopping has turned into a real pain.

  14. I like having a menu plan..Its help a lot to me every time I want to cook…I enjoy doing this..

  15. Brian @ A Thought For Food says

    I can’t believe summer is rapidly ending, but I’m super excited for fall foods! WOO HOO!

  16. It’s so hot, and I’m so tired of cooking lately. Will you deliver???

  17. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    That’s it. I’m moving in so you can teach me how to be a better grown up.

  18. Yum! Those suggestions sound great. Tonight we had lasagna rolls: ricotta, mozarella, parmesan and spinach rolled inside individual lasagna rolls and baked with tomato sauce.

  19. Your menu looks absolutly yummy! I wish I had a garden packed with that much good food.

  20. I need/want to know more about the skillet roast chicken(from the 1st photo) – do you have the recipe shared anywhere? thanks!

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