Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Menu Plan Success!

On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I sat down and quickly planned out 17 dinners, lunches for kids and breakfasts for all. From that, I made a grocery list with all of the ingredients we would need plus quite a few things we were out of. Two hours, three stores and $308 later, I had everything I needed. Why 17 dinners? That was how many days until the next pay period, minus one. The minus one was a dinner group evening we have planned with good friends, so dinner was taken care of. We will simply provide a side dish. Easy peasy. And I personally find dinners to be the hardest thing to plan so this was the most important part.

I find this method to be so much easier on me. I have felt like I am at the store almost every day lately and still not sure what's for dinner most nights! Our schedule is so busy with three kids and all of their after school activities that I needed a plan to keep my own sanity and all of us fed. I do not like to cook so having a plan is so helpful for me. This also includes lots of recipes!! I have amassed quite a few tried and true recipes that I know how to make and everyone will eat - two of the most important factors for this household. There are a few recipes that I am writing down for the next go around that we would like to try but knowing I have almost if not all of the ingredients for each and every meal on my list is so satisfying. No more "what's for dinner" followed by the "I'm not sure yet" answer!

Here is the aftermath of my grocery list.

I realized when writing down my ingredient list how scattered it was. So, I did a quick Google search and found this little beauty. It has all of the groceries in categories so when I'm in the produce section I know everything that I need. I even wrote the store's initials next to each item if it was on sale in their circular. Yes, I went to three store but they are all right near each other so there was really no extra driving. AND, of the $308 I spent, my savings amounted to $121. So, yes, I go to three different store, because I trying to stick to me budget this time.  Here is the link for the list in case you you want to try it too: Grocery List Template

So, we are on Day 3 and I have no reason to go to the store today. The Apple Cider Beef Stew is in the crock pot and I am a happy lady. I will have to hit the store tomorrow get pick up some more milk, but that's it! I have everything we need for awhile. And what I don't have, I will make from scratch, like Italian bread for Spaghetti and Meatball night or pizza crust for Homemade Pizza night. I DO like to bake so I don't mind making homemade bread and dough.

And in case you need a little inspiration to do some meal planning, here is the list of our meals for the next two 1/2 weeks. They are simple but we made the list mostly from recall and asking the kids what they wanted to eat. I haven't figured out sides for all but have plenty in my pantry and freezer to choose from.

1. Tacos
2. Tacos (we love them so much they are on here twice!)
3. Chicken & Dumplings with carrots
4. Burgers & fries
5. Beef Roast in crockpot with potatoes & carrots (TODAY"S RECIPE)
6. Spaghetti and meatballs with Italian garlic bread
7. Spaghetti and meat sauce with Italian garlic bread
8. Homemade Pizza
9. Chinese noodles in broth with veggies
10. Chicken Pot Pie
11. Sausage, peppers & onions on rolls
12. Black Bean Burgers & fries
13. Ham & cheese sliders with salad
14. Sloppy Joes, tater tots and carrot sticks
15. Chicken thighs in crockpot with rice & peas
16. Fish (will buy this when ready)
17. Beef & broccoli stir fry with rice

So there it is. Let me know what you think and how you plan our your family meals.