2?'S Menu Help - Help with Idea's on a Recipie(tatertot Cass.)

Updated on April 10, 2013
C.Z. asks from Manning, IA
9 answers

So I have set my budget but I am failing in the grocery department. I need help making a monthly menu that I can fallow when I shop. I want to do monthly shopping so that I dont look and say hmm that looks good. Ok, unless its milk, eggs, and the parishables.

Here is what I know I can make good, also taking applications for good recipies:
Pork chops
pork loins
Trav makes steaks
chicken fried steak - I know how just havent since living here
Fried Chicken
Homeade Pizza
tater tot casserole
Chicken Casserole
My moms stir fry mix
Chicken Alfredo

I know this is not the complete list but I am struggling now to find out what I know how to make. Does anyone have suggestions to put on this list so that I can learn to make more?

Also for the second question. I made Tater Tot casserole for the first time last night. I took my mothers recipie and tried adding more flavor.... It didnt happen. Its still kind of bland. Any suggestions for this as well? I dont want spicy, just flavorful.

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So What Happened?

mrslavallie - I do make tacos and meatloaf lol... See told you I missed some stuff. haha. I am not a fan of turkey so we use chicken instead. Tofu I really dont use and its hard to find out in the sticks lol.

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answers from Kansas City on

For my tater tot casserole (just made it last week) I mix a cup of evaporated milk with a can of cream of chicken soup, then sprinkle 2T onion soup mix over that, then the tots.
What about grilled chicken or baked chicken?
Broiled salmon steaks, tuna salad, pulled pork or beef, homemade soups, stew...
I got a small notebook and wrote O. "dinner" per page (entree and usual sides), I pick about 4 and shop per that list.
You WILL save money shopping that way. Just add salad stuff, lunch stuff, fruit, paper/soap goods.

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answers from Grand Forks on

My kids prefer simple meals, so I start with roast chicken, roast beef, roast turkey, roast pork, baked ham, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts and fish fillets. Then I add a starch and a veggie. Many of these will make two meals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I see that you don't have meatloaf, tacos, soup of any kind, or turkey, tofu, or any sort of roast chicken. Those are all things you can add to your list.

As far as the tator tot casserole, we have two varieties...one with corn, and one with green beans, and they really taste different.

The key to a lot of flavor in this dish, first, to to make sure you're really seasoning your meat well. Chop some onion to throw in your hamburger, and season it well with salt, pepper, and whatever seasonings you like personally (me, I like cumin, oregano, etc for dishes like this, and for Asian influence dishes, I prefer to use garlic, ginger, allspice, etc.)

Both of my recipes consist of the hamburger, cream of mushroom soup (we have to make our own, but Campbell's is fine), cheddar cheese, either the corn or green beans, onions, tater tots, milk, and as I said, plenty of seasoning.

**I also shop for a month at a time, besides perishables. What I make sure I DO have on hand are a variety of meats, pastas and a variety of rices, good seasonings, always fresh fruits and veggies, dairy, cereal, eggs, and some quicker breakfast foods. From those things, I can always create a meal...the key to variety, for me, is usually in seasonings and representation. Don't be afraid to make your own sauces...every week I have to go out to buy onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc. I love my blender, I recently love dried chilis (quajillo, arbol, etc...they're so versatile) and last night I made cabbage rolls...so simple! Browned my lean ground pork with onions, green peppers, garlic cloves, ginger, and black pepper, added a bit of vinegar and Tamari, and rolled up in cabbage leaves alone with rice stick noodles. Easy, delicious!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Decatur on

I have a great recipe for Tater Tot casserole - I use bulk sausage instead of hamburger. I brown a pound of bulk sausage and then salt & pepper it. In another bowl I mix one can of cream of mushroom soup with 1/2 can (mushroom soup can) of milk. Mix that together then mix it with the sausage in a 9x13 inch pan. Then add lots of shredded cheese and then top with tater tots. If I do use hamburger then I use cream of chicken soup and 1/2 can of milk. I think it's flavorful and my husband absolutely loves it!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I use a book called "6 Ingredients or Less". See if you can find one.

Start at the front of each section and pick a beef, chicken, fish, salad etc etc recipe for this week. Now you have instant meal planning and grocery list without any work or decisions! Do that for the rest of the month and your work is done!

btw hot sauce can add all kinds of depth and flavor to any meal. There are different kinds - mild to intense, plain, lemon, lime, fruit based hot sauces.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ham- Get a nice one.
1st meal, is the ham
2nd meal is ham salad or ham sandwhiches for lunch.
3 meal is Augrauten potatoes with ham.
4th meal Hot ham and cheese sandwhiches.
Bone from ham, Split pea soup, or bean soup, or beans (great northern) with Grilled cheese sand.

Ham is expensive, but you can repeat any of the meals above (or your recpies) until the ham is finished. When cooking it the first night decide how you are going to re serve it. Lunch meat put it-cut it into enough for the number of sandwhiches. Or how much you will need for Augrauten potatoes etc.. Ham is $20 .. but it lasts for 4-5 meals. You can put it in the portions to freeze so you are not eating a week of ham this and ham that.

Roast, take the left overs and make a veggie beef soup. or stew.
We also do beef strogonoff in the crock pot.- inbox me for the recpie if you want.

Turkey- same thing.
Make it for the first night with sides you like.
I make soup or broth have some for lunches (with the bones)
I cut it up and make a few Turkey pot pies. (usually 4 whcih I freeze for a later time, boom pull it out cook it and dinner was turning on the oven)
Turkey salad
Turkey sandwiches.
agian when done cooking it. Put it in the freezer in the cut up portions that you will use it in.. the good stuff for sandwhics,..

THis will stretch your meals farter.. once you do this think of using the entire thing not just for one meal you can go further.

Tater tot casserole- we mix ground beef with italian sausage (mild). :)

Breakfast for dinner is one of my quick ones.. You can use the ham, turkey, chicken for quick omlets..etc..

I try to make a list, I can only do 2 weeks at a time.. I am working on my organization.

Ground beef, cook it then freeze it.- now you can have tacos, add it to spagehti, or sloppy joes..

We make meat loaf 3 at a time. We use 2lb ground beef, 2 lbs turkey, 1 lb pork. mix , seperate into 3 pans, freeze 2-3 depending on if that is dinner that night or not.

Good luck


answers from Salt Lake City on

To fill in the gaps, I personally would consider some quick and easy dinners. I like to cook, but there are some nights that we just need something fast but healthy. Here are a few meal ideas that I use:

breakfast for dinner (pancakes, German pancake or omelets, served with a piece of fruit or hash browns

Chicken breasts with salad (we buy a giant package of chicken breasts, sprinkle them with seasoning and grill them up Sunday night, then have them for lunch and dinner for a few days. We like them with any salad mix or with a homemade light coleslaw mix like shredded cabbage, onions, carrots and a bit of light mayo. Could add hard boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes etc to make your salad more interesting)

Sloppy Joes (super easy, we always use the Manwich stuff, I have made the sauce from scratch before and we still like Manwich better)

Tuna or chicken salad sandwiches, grilled cheese with tomato soup, or sandwiches with chips, salad or fruit

Do you follow any food blogs? I think that food blogs are a great way to learn how to cook as the writers usually include lots of pictures and explain the steps in great detail. My favorite blog is Ourbestbites.com and I have their cookbooks, I tell ya, not one of their recipes has been bad- in fact they are all fantastic and usually fairly quick and easy. Lots of people like the Pioneer Woman as well. AllRecipes.com is good because of all the user ratings for each recipe. I will usually refer to the food blogs for inspiration and write down the ingredients needed and my meal plan for the coming month, then by the time I go to the store I know exactly what I need for a month.



answers from Champaign on

For tator tot casserole, we use 1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup and 1 1/2 cans of fiesta cheddar cheese soup. The fiesta cheddar cheese gives it a little kick, since my son doesn't like sausage. Sometimes I will add in a package of frozen mixed veggie - but I will use a full 2 cans of the cream of mushroom/cheddar cheese soup mix.


answers from Dallas on

Here's my Tater Tot Casserole Recipe. I don't really like it, but my family loves it.

Brown 1 pound of ground hamburger meat (I use ground turkey when I want to feed them something healthier)
Mix 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup, 1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, and 1 Can of Chicken and Rice soup

Spread a layer of Tater Tots all over the bottom of a large casserole dish. Then mix the soup mixture and meat together (add salt and pepper). Then spread the soup/meat mixture over the tater tots. Cover with grated cheese. Bake for 40 minutes at 350.

It's easy and filling. I like the idea of using sausage instead. It would make it even worse for you, but it would probably taste better. :)

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