What my meal planning looks like
I tallied up my grocery spending for the month– $661 so far –and I’m not really wanting to spend more than another $40. So I sat down with my cookbooks and went through the freezers for ingredients and did a menu plan for the rest of the month that would allow us to eat mostly from the pantry, freezer, and garden. I usually do a menu plan every couple weeks, and stick it on the side of the fridge to remind me of the plans. Here’s what I came up with this time around. Some of the meals will be made two separate times (thus the x2 notation), and a few others will be doubled to serve at two different meals.
|Burgers and oven fries for Sunday lunch (x2)|
|Hamburger zucchini stir-fry (x2)|
|Make-your-own pizza- crust from FF (x2)|
|Thai chard wraps (x2)|
|Lentils and rice (doubled)|
|Chicken and rice soup (doubled)|
|Chicken, sweet potato, squash stir-fry|
|Homemade corn dogs (Friday sleepover, per kid request)|
|Injera and shiro, plus dinich wat or doro wat|
|Spaghetti and meatballs|
|Cranberry chicken walnut salad|
You’ll notice that in most cases I don’t specify when I am going to cook each meal. I like the freedom of being able to decide on the fly, depending on how the day went and how much time I have to cook. I find that if I have the dinners figured out, the other meals are easier. Breakfast is usually pancakes, or oatmeal, or eggs/toast. Cereal is usually saved for Sunday morning. I also plan to make a batch of granola, and we usually have homemade yogurt in quart jars in the fridge. Lunch is our leftover meal. I pull recent leftovers out of the fridge and the kids zap whatever they choose from those options. Pretty easy.
My grocery list after making the menu is pretty short. Because I’m making corn dogs AND Ethiopian food, I’ll need to buy oil. I don’t have enough potatoes or milk. And doubtless there will be other things that I discover are running low. But I’m pretty confident that I already have a good 90% of the groceries we’ll need for the rest of the month. What about you? Do you meal-plan, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?