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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One of the biggest stresses of my week is how to feed the seven people in my family. Not only can it be a stress on my time, but also on my budget if I don't plan correctly.

When I plan correctly for meals, I can save hundreds of dollars a month. Plus, end the constant opening and closing of the fridge while some hungry child looks for food.

And, when I post the menu, it also reduces the number of times I hear: What's for dinner? My kids love it!

This approach works as well in a family of one as it does in a larger group. Here are some tips on creating a weekly menu:

1. You must be hungry to create your weekly menu. Do not attempt this after dinner, or nothing will sound good. This is a critical component of the plan.

2. Create a schedule for your week, listing evenings when you have less time. Pick easy meals for those days.

3. Gather the grocery store ads for the week. Identify good sales to incorporate in your menu. For example, I almost never buy packaged biscuits. But when they went on sale for 88 cents, I planned a few menus with stuffed, baked sandwiches using crescent rolls. Kind of like pasties, if you know what I mean.

4. Use your crock pot at least once a week on a busy day.

5. Identify the main food you will use that week based on sales and what's in your freezer. For example: chicken 2x, hamburger 1x, fish, pork roast, eggplant, eggs.

6. Find recipes to use those items, recording on your menu where the recipe can be found. (You will forget)

7. Where to get ideas:

8. Create a master list of your family's favorites, as a handy go-to resource.

9. Make a double recipe at put one in the freezer. Works great with casseroles.

10. Remember to put side dishes, especially fruits and vegetables on your menu.

When many of us are trying to find ways to save, be healthier and spend more time with those we love, this is a great way to hit all three of those goals.

Before I end, I want to share a link to a fantastic dinner I made last night. I found the recipe looking for ways to make chicken on http://www.foodnetwork.com/. It earned fantastic raves from everyone, including the teen boys. One said it was better than any restaurant food he's eaten. Sadly there were no leftovers for me for lunch today. I guess I need to make it again. Next time, I'm going to put mango chutney under the cheese.

Grilled Chicken with Brie and Baby Spinach Salad

I hope these tips have been helpful. I'd love to hear about one of your family's favorite meals. Please leave a post so we can all benefit.

In His Love,



Spring Fricks said...

This is awesome!! I just implemented creating a weekly menu a few weeks ago. Due to diagnosed wheat allergies for 3 out of 4 of us, I've had to convert to a gluten free kitchen and learn to cook all over again. I'm still looking for a favorite recipe. LOL. However, www.livingwithout.com has some awesome wheat-free recipes I can't wait to try.

Eagles Wings said...

Thanks for sharing this..I've been working on saving money for our family but occasionally get a menu together - it's just so hard with four boys under 6...Thanks again.
I shared this on my blog so my friends can draw from the wisdom shared here.

Steph said...

My running partner and I were just talking about meal planning this week as i just started doing this 3 weeks ago. THANK YOU for the practical ideas!

There's no chutney here...I want to eat at your house! A fam fav is ground turkey tacos. I cut up the tomatoes, cucs, onions, lettuce, shredded cheese and cook up the ground turkey and add the seasoning. We add shells - it's easy and the boys all LOVE them - easier dinner on a late sport night that I can prep ahead of time.

Friends just got me onto the http://www.thegrocerygame.com/
(the first month's free) and I've saved quite a bit already. Will come under budget by $200 this month b.c of it!

I really appreciate the God-centered practical help you continue to give!

My Journey to Hope said...

I really appreciate the links and tips you provided! I don't like cooking, and especially meal planning. But this makes sense, so I think even I could do it if I prepared better. Thanks again!

:) Michelle