Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu

We have been trying to write a menu for meals every weekend, shop for those meals, and then stick to cooking them during the week.  It has cut down on our grocery budget a lot, more than I thought it would.  And I didn't think we spent a lot of money on food before.  There are a few reasons why I think it has helped:
  1. We look around our house and try and think of meals that we can cook that use more of the foods we buy cheaply in bulk or the foods we grew and canned ourselves.  This helps us use those foods and saves money.
  2. We don't just buy everything that looks good at the store. 
  3. We don't buy more than we need and have produce go bad before we can eat it.
  4. We don't (as often) stare at each other in the kitchen, not feeling inspired to cook, and then decide to go eat out.
We've been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I think we are starting to make it a habit, which means I'm ready to share our process.

Everyone has a different way they make a menu, you have to find what works for you. We try and schedule meals for a certain day of the week...but we usually end up switching once or twice during the week.  I think we do well with about 5 cooked meals, and 2 nights of leftovers.  I also usually eat leftovers for lunch, which helps.

The meals for this week:
Sweet potato & curried lentil stew
Potato Soup
Spaghetti
Salmon & Roasted Veggies
Canned Chili

We also usually try and come up with a few things we make that we can eat as breakfast, lunches, or just snack on between meals.

This week we are also planning on making:
Cornbread muffins
Cabbage Salad
A big batch of Oatmeal

The things we always keep on hand.  Most of these don't go bad, so we buy them in bulk and them just always have them around:
Homemade trail mix
Dilly Beans
Apples and some other fruit, right now its pears
Pistachios
Protein bars (this is a new one to help my current state, I eat one a day)
Whole Wheat crackers
Chips & Salsa
Popcorn
Dried apple slices
Veggies & Hummus

I would love to hear how you plan your menu and what favorite meals you rotate in, we always need new ideas!

3 comments:

Wyatt said...

Great idea. We are notorious for impulse shopping and it does get spendy. We tend to make enchiladas a lot when we have left over poultry. Another weekly fave is chicken and sausage skewered on a rosemary branch and grilled. Really easy :)

Wyatt's Mom

Tadd Family said...

We always buy cheese in bulk at Costco, or when it's on sale at Walmart and freeze what we dont need.

We also buy the raw/fresh/uncooked tortillas (in bulk) from Costco, or Walmart. I rebag mine into freezer bags (just enough to feed my family for each meal) and they can be frozen for a while.

At the drop of a hat, I can whip up quesadillas with salsa and sour cream. Its even better when we have chicken for dinner the night before. I just cook 1 extra chicken breast, slice it up, and save it in the fridge. Then for lunch or dinner the next day I have something quick and easy to throw together. And clean up is a breeze.

Becca & Joel said...

Lauriel, you are so inspiring! What a fun thing to include in your blog!
I am a big fan of preserving too - and missing it here while living in Okinawa where we can only grow in pots - which I dislike(we live on an Air Force Base). I noticed you love Dilly Beans and thought I'd share my fave recipe for making them yourself. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can do a bottle at a time as your harvest allows, or in bulk if you are lucky to have a larger harvest. It is actually my dill pickle recipe, but I sub out cucumbers for whatever is plentiful at the time (green beans, asparagus, diakon - japanese radish).

Just look at the very bottom of this post: http://cartiersincamo.blogspot.com/2008/06/first-cucumber-harvest-pickles.html?zx=b4672ce8db9cdd68

Since doing this post, I've done a batch or two with adding a tablespoon or two of crushed red pepper flakes - superb!

If you can't access my blog anymore, e-mail me and I'll re-send you an invitation.

Happy New Year!