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Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping If you plan out your meals, grocery shopping bills can be sliced and diced!

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Old 03-03-2003, 07:31 PM
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shocking Menus, or lack thereof

This last fall when I became a SAHM again I went through all of my miscellaneous recipe collections and pulled together a stellar 10 week meal plan. DH does leftovers for lunch so I had even planned it down to the leftovers being eaten not the next day, but the day after and we didn't have something similar that night. We kind of gimped through it the first month, and the next month ends didn't meet because I had my second and third round of strep in five months (tonsils were removed eons ago) and uninsured hubby got it once, plus a trip to g-grandma's 80th birthday in CA. Hubby cashed out an IRA from a previous employer and ended up having a little leftover from paying everything for that month so I went and got a good portion of the groceries. It was after that when I finally made the connection that while I had a wonderfully planned out was so out of our budget we would never eat again!!

I think that's about the time I got really gung-ho about frugality. Been struggling with menu planning ever since. Right now I've decided to take it down to basics. Sunday is some type of roast, Monday is soup/stew, Tuesday is casserole, Wednesday is Sandwiches, Thursday another casserole, Friday is pasta (or at 'auntie's'), Saturday is 'other.' I'm working on a small collection of recipes for each of these categories so we can round it out a little better, but it has helped a little to at least have a genre set for the day. I have a pricelist that I have become quite fanatical about (I even email updates to area acquaintances so they can make good use of my obsession as well) and am tracking when good sales come back around so I can budget for them and stock pile till the next go-round.

The thing that has helped me the most the last month or so though is a tip I got from the Tightwad Gazette to freeze leftovers instead of letting them waste away to science projects in my fridge. This has cut my wasted food to a miniscule amount! (I am fortunate to have a stand-alone freezer to store them in). DH picks what he wants from teh leftovers for his lunches that day, sometimes for several days, so he gets to eat something he feels like eating rather than something he has to eat. Struggling with having breakfast type things ready for him though. Baby steps...right?
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Old 03-04-2003, 08:33 AM
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I just bought a small deep freezer, and am trying to fill up. The Tightwad gazzette idea is a good one thats what I started doing. Have had my deep freeze for less than 2 weeks already have chili, wings, couple of casseroles, not large portions but enough if dh has nothing to take for lunch or for ds and I as were pretty much always home for breakfast,lunch and dinner! Made a big batch of pancakes the other day. Bought a ton of hamburger on sale last week, made lots of hamburger patties and spagetti meat. we usually have some sort of pasta at least once a week. Every other Friday is usually pizza or hamburger and fries night! Anyway I am trying but so far have not planned any menus more than 7 days! Besides my thought is if I buy on sale take advantage of the freezer it shouldnt take me long to decide a dinner to make quick or otherwise!
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:31 AM
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Sounds like everyone is on the right track. I need to get there too. I do okay but nowhere near any type of organized system yet. I like the idea of penciling in a menu on the calendar, I think that might help me. I'll look through my things and see if I can plan a week first, I'll see how that goes and then plan for 2 weeks, if that goes well then I'll do a month at a time.

Usually once I set my mind to something and get the wheels rolling, the rest flows fairly smoothly. Just getting started is my hangup!
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Old 03-04-2003, 06:02 PM
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O-mama - sounds like you're right on track. My favorite make ahead breakfast is french toast that I toast in the morning! Some weeks I make egg mcmufins and freeze them too. YUMMY!
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Old 03-05-2003, 05:52 AM
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Meal Planning:
I'm going to try writing down what we eat for a month, and then next month I pretty much already have a meal plan. I tried to do it once when I was trying to keep track of what DS had for snack, etc the day before but didn't keep with it. I think this time I'll just log dinner and let the chips fall for the rest of it for now.

Breakfast Foods:
I revised a buttermilk pancake recipe to make it into buttermilk-applesauce pancakes that worked great for DS's snacks (doesn't work with pumpkin tho). Also, I found an interesting little recipe called Buttermilk Cookies on when I was looking to fix a botched round of biscuits (I was making 4 batches, but had accidentally put in 16 batches worth of baking soda...didn't realize it until after I had cut in the shortening ). I glopped too much batter into my jelly roll pan to make bar cookies so it ended up more like a cake (they're cakey cookies) and DH announced he loved it that way and they made great on-the-go breakfast munchies that don't need to be reheated! He also likes sausage biscuits, but those don't get made regularly, same with cinnamon rolls.
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Old 03-05-2003, 06:39 PM
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Pinkie Winky

Hi everyone,

I don't really have any set way that I menu plan. I usually plan out two weeks worth of meals. I usually plan it around what I already have on hand first, and go from there. This makes it a little easier to shop. I usually shop for groceries every two weeks as that is when I get paid. We usually eat pasta two times a month, so I always make sure I have pasta on hand and all of the fixing to go with it. It has made it a little easier on me to plan out two weeks worth of meals vs. a monthly meal plan.

LadyLynn Mom to 4 wife to Donny

Last edited by LadyLynn; 03-05-2003 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:40 AM
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I find my monthly menus gravitating toward the same recipes each time. I always PLAN to try some new main dishes, but reality gets in the way. Now I'm trying to plan for one new EXPERIMENT night when I try something new. I plan extra time for it, and I serve it with something the kids already like, just in case! dawny
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:25 PM
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Planning Menu's

In planning a menu I make a check of what I have on hand. Then I consider whats on sale. I have themes to work these togather. Plus I consider our sedule for the week.

Themes I have are.
Beef night--- Roast, steak, stewed beef,any recipe using beef as the main ingredent
chicken night--- Fried chicken. baked chicken, grilled any recipe using this meat
fish night, --- perch, shrimp etc
Vegetable night-- pinto etc. I serve 3 vegetables
Sandwich night--- club sandwiches etc with raw vegetables
Salad night--- Chicken salad, tuna salad , cheif salad
Mexican night--- taco's etc
Itay night--- pizza, spittiggi etc
Soup night--- Chowders, pot luck soup
Appertizer night--- finger sandwich, pickle of sorts, etc

I wacth for good sales and soon I get home start the prep work. I cook batch of pasta sauce, and chile put them in the freezer for later use. I got a good deal on sqush made squash casserole. We ate one I froze one.

This is what works on saving us money and time on our budget.

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Old 07-26-2003, 08:47 PM
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Do you follow a menu plan for the week, month or ???

Im working on becoming better organized so that we can have some more free time around here.

What do you do for menus? Is it something new everyday or do you have certain days that you have certain items--like Mon. is pasta, Tues casseroles.....etc. Or do you have a better plan?

Would you please share your tips with me? Im having a hard time coming up with an idea for this.


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Old 07-26-2003, 09:42 PM
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I've sort of "fallen off the wagon" since school ended. But this is what I do........

I sit down and make up about 15 days of menus with a corresponding grocery list of things I need in order to cook all of those meals. I print out a copy of the menus and post on the refrigerator door. As I make the meals, I "X" them off the menus.

This way, I don't feel "closed in" to fix a certain meal on a certain day but I have menus to choose from and have everything on hand to make any meal that I choose from the menu selection.

Most of the time, I ask for input from the family when making up my menus. I find if they have input, there is less complaining about what is placed on the table at meal time!

We discussed this once on the What's for Dinner thread. I don't remember who it was but I remember that there was one person who had certain days for certain foods.....for example Monday was chicken, Tuesday was pasta....etc... which I thought was a terrific idea but I would have a mutiny on my hands if I tried that!

I need to get back to doing menus!! It really eases up the stress some of trying to plan supper every day!
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