November 6, 2011

Menu Planner. . . .

I have been so bad about menu planning the past year......blogging may or may not have something to do with that??

I've been finding, though, that my grocery bill is spiraling out-of-control!  Not only are food prices skyrocketing, but my lack of planning has caused impulsive purchasing at the grocery store.....

I buy things that I "think" I might need and then never have all the ingredients that I need for a meal......translation:  my hubby is getting really tired of tacos because those are the ingredients that I always have in my fridge.

Last weekend, I decided to haul out the recipe books and get planning....

I don't know why I was avoiding making a really only took about 1 hour of my time to plan meals for one whole, I have decided to share with you my next 5 weeks of meals in hopes of helping you make a plan and save money!

So, here's my menu for the week.....

Monday:  Homemade Macaroni and Cheese and Stromboli 

I just make a basic white sauce with butter, flour and milk and then add sharp cheddar cheese. 

I mix in multi-grain pasta and top with cheddar cheese and paprika.  You could also top with croutons, bread crumbs, bacon bits.....endless ideas!

To make homemade stromboli, I use frozen bread dough.  After it unthaws there are endless possibilities for filling. I made one filled with pepperoni and mozzarella and one with ham and cheddar cheese.

This is definitely one of my families favorite meals!  It's also easy to throw together!  You can find the recipe HERE.

Wednesday:  Hot dogs and french french fries.

Wednesday's we don't eat together as a family.  My hubby is a youth pastor, so he eats with his volunteer staff and it's usually Wednesdays are my "throw-away" meals....chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and box mac-and-cheese.

Thursday:  Chicken Stir Fry

I buy a bag of oriental vegetables in the frozen food aisle and add chicken.  To make a marinade, I add soy sauce, chicken broth, and lemon juice to taste and then thicken it with cornstarch.

Friday:  Homemade Sausage Turnovers and applesauce

This is a new recipe that I just tried.  Let's just say I made a double batch to freeze some and there wasn't a crumb left!  My family ate TWO batches in ONE meal!  

Saturday:  Homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese

We actually put food together with our neighbors and had a wonderful meal! This is a great way to say money. When we lived in Wisconsin, we did this regularly with our neighbor friends......we would take turns bringing parts of the meal!

Sunday:  Breakfast for dinner!

I was shocked by how much money I saved when I had a plan.....somehow I had forgotten that!  Right now, I have about $575 to shop for my family of 5 for a month.  This includes all fresh fruit, meat, snacks, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and toiletries.....everything!  I am not a big coupon-user.  Frankly, I just don't have the time that needs to be invested to make couponing work.  

I also don't go to discount grocery stores.....when I factor in the gas that it costs to drive to those stores (at least $10) and the fact that I usually end up buying things that I don't really need because they are so "cheap", I end up spending more money at those places.

I'd love to hear how you save money feeding your families!


An Oasis in the Desert said...

Good for you! I have to have a menu plan, even though there are just the two of us at home now. If I don't do a plan, we eat all the wrong things. It's certainly not always easy to put that plan together, is!
:) CAS

OrganizingMadeFun said...

Pinterest! That's my newest menu's fabulous! I have made so many great recipes from what I've repinned and pinned. It's amazing!

Becky B.
Organizing Made Fun

Turquoise and Trine said...

I feel the same way about menu planning. If I don't plan ahead then I spend waaay to much at the grocery store and we tend to eat out a lot more. I started menu planning again about 2 months ago and post it on my blog every Monday.

I use coupons but don't obsess over them. I also shop at a store that doubles coupons. A new Aldi opened near me so I'm going to try shopping there and see how much I save.

Lori : )
Thrifty Decor Mom

Vanessa said...

Meal planning definitely saves us money at the grocery store! I also use coupons and the "buy ahead principle". When I notice something on sale and I have a coupon, even though it's not on my shopping list, I will buy it if it is a very good deal and it is something that I know I will use.

I also like to stock up on meat when I see a good deal. Just recently I noticed chicken on sale for $.99/lb.--this is definitely a stock up price!

Sara said...

I meal plan weekly before I go shopping. I would like to stretch it out to a month but haven't been able to do that. Freezer cooking is something I want to try as well.

Hannah said...

I plan my meals out for the next week before I go grocery shopping on Saturdays. This helps ensure that I don't make impulse buys at the store. It also ensures that I am eating properly (i.e. getting enough fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc). When I plan out my meals, I don't necessarily assign things to certain days. I just make the stuff on the days that it sounds good! :)
I will stock up on things if they are on sale at a good price, especially cereal. If it's under $3 and it's a kind that I really like and that is healthy, I will buy 4-6 boxes.

Nicole@Thrifty Decorating said...

Thanks so much for your ideas and comments! :)

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