Remember the Meal Memo in a Jar that I started on March 1st?

Well, this is my month-long recap. Starting with March 1, I’ll track each and every day what menu we pulled and how it turned out. **EDITOR’S NOTE: A whole month of meal tracking is gonna be pretty wordy, so here’s the first week and a half. I’ll post another update (or two) as we continue.**

OBSERVATIONS: We’re eating so much better! Already from Janice’s suggestions, I’m going to revamp the Memo colors to incorporate one that signifies “More Work Meals”: those that take a bit more to prepare and are perfect for weekends or dinner parties. I also want to include “Dining for One”: those meals when Dot or I are out and the other still needs to eat. These meals will consist of easy things like microwavable TV dinners or frozen pizza. Maybe just Mac-n-Cheese with a side salad. I’m toying with the idea of throwing in two slips for when we eat out, like “Pizza Hut” or “Cheap Take Out”. But I’m worried that if I pull them both in the first week, we won’t have another outing for a month. So maybe that can be another colored memo that we know we only pull one every two weeks or something.

I’m paying attention to all your suggestions and ideas, and I really appreciate your feedback and sharing. In the first day, the Menu post has gained some popularity through Facebook, twitter, and even Pinterest! That’s kinda cool in my Book.

So. Now for the recap. Ya’ ready? Here’s how the Meal Memo in a Jar worked for us so far in March:

1st: I was so excited to start this new idea! I stayed up til midnight last night writing and planning and photographing and blogging. So when I had the chance this morning, I started to drag Dot into the kitchen to pull the first menu. Halfway there she said, “Oh, I’m going to Grandma’s after school today.” Needless to say, my shoulders slouched. She felt really bad, but I assured her that days like these were really worked into the plan. I just didn’t expect it on Day 1. So here I am home alone at dinner time. And that’s when I figure a “Dinner for One” option will be included next month. Tonight, for me, I guess it’s Clean-Out-The-Fridge time. Yea… (*dripping sarcasm, for sure.)

2nd: This morning Hannah pulled the first menu card! Drumroll… “Steak bites, Baby Potatoes, Salad, *Leftovers”. The steak and potatoes are frozen fresh from Schwan’s. I order from them every so often to stock up my freezer and I’m so glad I did. Instead of making the entire batch and refrigerating leftovers for tomorrow, we opted to make just enough for tonight and put the card back in to draw later this month. Schwan’s foods almost always offer several ways to prepare the food. Tonight we went for the less-mess microwave method. In 10 minutes, we had hot potatoes and meat. I tossed a small salad with torn lettuce, diced tomato, carrots and snap peas. Oh, and I already had garlic toast leftover in the fridge that only took two minutes to warm up. It was a pretty fine meal, if I do say so myself.

3rd: Dot went out with friends so I had more leftovers. Instead of dinner, though, I opted to eat more of this morning’s Breakfast Frittata and hashbrowns. Fantastic and filling!

4th: Today’s Meal Memo called for Texas Hash. This excites me because this is a great recipe, super easy, and it’s included in my Cookbook! I took the last leftover bits of steakbites and potatoes and tossed those with lettuce and diced tomatoes for a great salad; and finished it off with Schwan’s frozen garlic toast. Super easy, super delicious. And so much Hash left over that I’m freezing half of it. We’ll eat leftovers tomorrow, and put the Meal Memo back in the jar. Next time it’s pulled, there’s no prep except to thaw, heat, and eat!

5th: Both Dot and I are pretty tired today. So very thankful for the leftovers in the fridge!

6th: Day 3 of leftovers; we’re finishing up the Texas Hash and the Breakfast Frittata. On a side note, am very happy that the Texas Hash photographed well enough to prob’ly make the cover of the Unemployment Cookbook!


7th: Believe it or not, one last day of leftovers! The frittata’s all gone, there’s a little bit of Texas Hash left… but I’m having a cup of yogurt and two frozen waffles. Yummm! *Full disclosure: After taking Dot to youth group I ran through McDonald’s for a burger and Shamrock Shake. They totally messed up my order and charged my card for someone else’s more expensive order. That’ll teach me to go off track…

8th: Dot’s going to her grandparents after school so I’m relegated to scrounging. I think scrambled eggs and toast are on the menu for me tonight. *Late nite note: I opted for peanut butter and pickle on a toasted English muffin.

9th: Finally got to pull another Meal Memo today! Today’s menu: “Dump” Chili, bread, and Jell-O. I chose strawberry-banana. For the chili, I just mixed two cans of no-bean chili, mixed vegetables, and seasoned diced tomatoes. I had everything prepped within 10 minutes. All I had to buy was some shredded cheese and I chose tortilla chips.

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