Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meal Planning

When I would visit my brother and sister-in-law, I was always impressed by the fact that they meal plan.  On the one hand, it clears up the, "What do you want to have for dinner?" question -- often a time stealer at our house. On the other, it can clear up time in general, if you purchase groceries and cook ahead as well. In an effort for full disclosure, I think in the three or four years since I have witnessed them in that practice, I have attempted meal planning four times and successfully meal planed maybe twice.  OOPS!

That is changing this week. As I'm looking over our finances, it seems as though there may be a little extra month at the end of our money.  So, it was helpful to try and stretch our grocery budget as much as I could to make sure food was covered and then deal with everything else.  So, I went for meals that were 1) well received in the household 2) easy 3) low-cost 4) at least somewhat healthful.  This is my meal plan for dinner for the next seven days (in no particular order, because that's still a little beyond me ;-) ):

Chili (w/peanut butter sandwiches)
Vegetable soup (w/grilled cheese)
Tacos (w/rice & [homemade refried] beans)
Chicken (w/salad & vegetables)
Loaded baked potatoes (w/salad)
Spaghetti (w/salad & bread)
Chicken stir fry (w/rice)

Lunches will be made up of leftovers, as I'm going to make sure there will be enough "extra" at least for my husband and I (as the kiddos will be eating lunch at school, except for the upcoming weekend).  I did have some "staple" items on hand like pasta, flour, seasonings, and the like, but all other items needed for the meals were purchased from Kroger for $56.  Not bad for a week's worth of meals.  Obviously this doesn't account for breakfast, but we do have some eggs, bacon, and oatmeal on hand.  Also have cereal, but will need to account for at least a gallon of milk.  And all in all, pretty decent on nutrition/calories.  Bought a bag of dried beans and long-grain rice, which I hadn't before.  Should be interesting and I'll try to report back on how things go.  And if it all works out, will definitely post again on recipes/cooking ahead/et cetera.

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