I had the busiest of days yesterday, and mostly due to it being the end of semester and making sure the kids had all their work turned in.
If you're a homeschool mom with teenagers, you know just how much they enjoy school work and being on track. Yeah, about as much as I love a good root canal. Goodness!!!
Anyway, between that, helping my niece with some military stuff and cooking, cleaning and laundry, I didn't get to my computer until much later in the day, so the post I want to put up, which is this one, ended up having to wait.
But nevermind, let's get on with it now :)
I need to menu plan for the next two weeks so I thought I would just bring you along while I do that.
I've talked about meal planning at length here on the blog, you can find a few posts on the subject by searching using the navigation bar up top.
I've been putting this off because I've been so busy with other things, but it needs done as tomorrow I have to go grocery shopping, and I just can't function without my trusty meal plan.
I have a notebook that I use for my meal plan and grocery lists, I keep them together and I take the book with me to the store. I've made a post about this before and if you want to see what I'm talking about, just go on over and read Meal Plan and Grocery Notebook. I have one for budget too, but I'll talk about that in another post that I'm doing in the next few days :)
We have a lot of things happening this year and one of the things that my husband and I want to do is cut some bills, get rid of our credit card, be debt free and spend as little as possible. That's one thing I will talk about in depth in an upcoming post where I'll tell you my goals for 2017 and our no spend adventure.
So, with that in mind, I am trying to provide good filling nutritious meals but also trying to keep the food budget on track. For the most part, I have been able to do that, matter of fact for the past almost 20 years our budget has remained the same which is quite a feat in itself.
$250 every 2 weeks for the 4 of us, and that includes toiletries and pet essentials and so on. It's not a lot, it's really nothing when changes are ongoing. Feeding toddlers is nothing compared to feeding growing teenagers, especially boys. My son is constantly eating, I have no clue where the food even goes because he is very skinny.......but, it's going somewhere.
Anyway, I want to try and keep the budget the same or even cut it a bit if I can, and that is where meal planning comes in. I would not have been able to make it through rough months, tight pays and my husband being laid off, if I hadn't been able to be creative in the kitchen.
You have to make do with what you have, you need to plan accordingly so that if you make a certain dish and you know there will be leftovers, you can make use of those for a different meal. I've gotten pretty good with that, thankfully.
So first thing I do is look through my freezer and fridge to see what is left. If there is any kind of meat, poultry in there, it is used in the next meal plan and I pick my meals around what I have.
The pantry is the second place to go, so I'll try to incorporate what I have in there, into as many meals as I can.
It's a great way to cut down on expenses and it also saves you from buying 2 or 3 of the same items when you already have them sitting on a shelf.
You may notice that on the side of some of the meals I have written Bookmarks. Sometimes I write blog, other times a pg number. It helps me remember where the recipe is so I can quickly find it, I've forgotten to do that many times and then couldn't locate the recipe and had to try and make something completely different. So frustrating, not to mention it defeats the purpose of meal planning hahaha
This isn't a quick process. I mean it can be, but when you're trying to save some money, like I am at this moment, it takes a bit more planning but it's well worth it in the end.
Let me go through my menu for the next two weeks and I'll even talk you through why I'm making some of the meals and what I'm using etc.
Layered Nacho Dinner (Soft Tacos or Nachos)
This is a very simple dinner, I actually got it from one of the vlogs I watch "The Kneady Homesteader". Basically just a very simple layered casserole with ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, then a layer of refried beans, diced onion, queso using velveeta and rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, shredded lettuce, diced tomato. You can then eat it with taco shells or soft tortillas or even as nachos. I think my family will enjoy that.
Roast Dinner - Chicken, Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole and Gravy
I have a bag of frozen chicken legs in the freezer, so will use those instead of buying a whole chicken, so that's money saved. The Green Bean Casserole I have in the freezer as well, made an extra around Thanksgiving so will use that one.
Hotdogs with Green Pepper Sauce
I have hotdogs in the freezer so will use those, all I need to buy is the green pepper and the buns.
Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops with Rice
Chicken Spaghetti, Steamed Broccoli
Have a pack of Chicken Tenders in the freezer so will use that.
Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Sliders
Have a pack of ground beef in the freezer.
One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta
Will be in OKC so having dinner with the family up there
Beef Curry with Rice
Rissois with Fries and Salad (Portuguese Rissoles)
My sister in law and I made tons for Christmas, enough so that both of us have quite a few frozen. I'm going to use those.
Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy
Chicken Sandwiches with Potato Salad
Tilapia, Garlic Potatoes, Mixed Veggies
Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza
As I add the meals to the plan, I immediately flip the page and add the ingredients to my grocery list, that way I won't forget something.
When I go grocery shopping I usually take the whole book with me, it's not a big book so it fits well in my bag and I can have it handy to double check. Sometimes I have an item on the list that I don't remember why I need it so I go back to the menu plan to see.
Right, meal plan done and dusted, just have to finish the grocery list with a few more things, and I'll be ready for groceries tomorrow.
By the way, do you want me to do a grocery haul again or not?
Well I'm going to get this post up and go make sure that my ground beef is thawed out, tonight I'm making Homemade Crunchwraps, a family favorite.