So, here's the deal. I like menu-planning. I like grocery shopping. And my favorite part? That feeling when the cashier scans your Kroger card & coupons (at the end of scanning the groceries, duh!), and the total bill gets lower and lower and lower!
Because my job in our family is not to make money. My job is to SAVE our family money. My job is to be a good steward of the resources (food and money) that God provides. For us, that means menu planning. Sticking to a budget. And making things from scratch. Around here, every penny counts.
So, here is a sample menu for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 boys ages 6, 4 & 13mo). It covers 9 days of meals, but could stretch longer if you make enough for a night or two of leftovers.
Sunday: BBQ Chicken Pizza
Monday: Chicken Fajitas
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday: Ham and Cheese Quiche
Thursday: Pasties (see pie crust blog link below!)
Friday: Pancakes and Hash
Saturday: Pork Loin, Broccoli, Rice
Sunday: Silly Soup
Monday: Meatless Stir-Fry and Rice
Sunday-Tuesday's meals do not need side dishes. You will use one rotisserie chicken for all 3 meals. The veggies from the pizza will be the veggies for the fajitas and the pot pie. You may need to buy a bag of frozen mixed veggies to supplement the pot pie.
I use the pie crust in this blog post (I use 2 cups of Criso instead of lard!) and use it for the Pot Pie, Quiche and Pasties (Tuesday-Thursday's meals). Any left over pastie filling from Thursday goes into the hash for Friday. MAKE THE PANCAKES FROM SCRATCH...you have the ingredients in your pantry. It's not hard. You can do it!
Saturday-Monday you're going to use a pork loin and a bunch of fresh veggies. Cook Saturday's meal and make sure you cook extra pork. For Silly Soup: Cook ramen noodles WITHOUT the flavor packet in chicken stock (that you MAKE YOURSELF from the chicken carcass from the rotisserie chicken earlier that week), top with RAW veggies sliced really thin. we like: mushrooms, red peppers, whole snap peas, carrots. Also top with hard boiled eggs and the leftover pork. We call it Silly Soup because my boys think the noodles are silly. Use the leftover veggies to make stir-fry and serve it over rice.
Some notes on making things from scratch:
I make bread every day. I have a recipe that allows me to mix it up when my boys go to bed and bake it in the morning. One loaf lasts us 1-2 days (depending on lunches) and a bag of bread flour lasts 1-1.5 weeks. That's $3-$6/week (depending on the type of bread flour you choose) for bread. Bread that is 4 ingredients instead of the 30+ in the store-bought loaves.
I grow thing, can things, and freeze things. If I can grow it, I do. And then some. When I can't grow something, I buy extra when it's in season and can/freeze it for the rest of the year. This includes making jam. Lots of jam.
I make our own seasonings. Taco, fajita, chili, cajun...you name it, and you can find it on Pinterest.
All these things take a tiny bit of extra time, but the money it saves adds up to be pretty significant. The added bonus is that I feel better about what I'm putting into my family's bodies, and I don't feel bad a
I make our seasonings: taco, fajita, chili etc.
All these little things take a tiny bit of time, and the money we save on each thing adds up to be significant. Bonus: I feel better about what I'm putting in my family's bodies and don't feel bad when we splurge on fast food!
Before shopping, cross off anything you already have enough of in your pantry!
ramen noodles (3-4 pkgs)
frozen mixed veggies
red pepper (2)
snap peas/snow peas
ham cubes/lunch meat
ground beef (1lb)
pork loin (1-2)
eggs (1 dozen)
I'd LOVE to hear if you try this menu out!