Monday Menu Planning

This is a different kind of week around here. Kendall and Zach are out of school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Lily is out on Monday. I have to work everyday but the good news is that we will have a couple of extra nights at home.  We are trying not to waste food as usual. We don’t have a lot of leftovers from Easter as we had hamburgers and hot dogs at my brothers.

Breakfast- Saturday– Bacon and pimento cheese biscuits, Sunday-Easter Breakfast at church  Monday-cereal   Tuesday-eggs and sausage links , Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Steak fried rice using all left-overs from the fridge  Sunday-leftovers Monday– leftovers for everyone except Zach who had egg salad, Tuesday– Mac and Cheese , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- sandwiches and grab and go
Dinner – Insta Pot Baked Pot Soup, Sunday- Hamburgers and hot dogs  Monday-Left-overs  Tuesday– Crock Pot Cube steak, rice and green beans   Wednesday–Chicken and Broccoli casserole Thursday– Sloppy joes and French Fries  Friday- Pork Chops and corn on the cob on the grill if it is not raining. 

Monday Menu Planning

Things are suppose to be really crazy busy this week but storms have made at least Monday night a stay at home night. After a HUGE month of spending on groceries, we have managed to keep things under control for these first two weeks. One thing we were able to do this week is use up left-overs in a creative way.

Breakfast- Saturday– Bacon and pimento cheese biscuits, Sunday-gravy biscuit (gravy was a left-over)  Monday-bagels,  Tuesday-baked oatmeal , Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Arby’s for Matt and I Sunday-out to eat  with friends Monday– leftovers for everyone, Tuesday– Ravioli, Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- the last of our Lunchable.
Dinner – Saturday-left-overs from the fridge , . Sunday- Creamy Spinach Pasta (new recipe that was a hit) Monday-Salisbury steak with all sides from the fridge  Tuesday– Cheese quesadilla and Mexican rice   Wednesday–Tortillia  Thursday– Steak and Baked Potatoes  Friday- Chicken Sandwiches and French Fries

Grocery Spending

First a look at the numbers:
March Grocery spending prior to my Spring break  $304.20
Grocery Spending this week (Spring break  $754.25
Total Grocery Spending for March $1058.45
Total Grocery Spending for February $175

Budget for Groceries $450 each month

 

One of the reasons that I continue to update and blog is that it proves accountability for me of some form. In addition, it allows me to glance back that years past and give a better perspective.
March 2018 Spending $726.27          March 2016 Spending $200

Now, let me explain at least part of the spending.  I am enjoying a week long break from my job so I wanted to make sure I got lots of things in place to help the next 9-11 weeks go smoothly.  We are entering a “busy” season for us, baseball 2-3 nights a week and then swimming for everyone starts in early May. My goal this week was to prepare ahead as many meals as possible which in the long run will save both time and money. I am actually ahead for the most part with this goal, I have already gotten 13 meals in the freezer with plans for at least 7 more before the week ends. So that is a total of 20 evening meals in addition to the 5 for this week.  Just looking at that number I am averaging $42.33 a meal to feed 6 people.  I also purchased 30 lunchables for the kids to take to school so that also reduces the amount.

Another  way to look at my March spending is that I had $275 left in my grocery budget for February.  I also purchased enough food that I don’t plan to spend much of my April budget for groceries either so if I leave $100 in the grocery budget for April then I am back to my monthly average of $450.

After looking at the numbers, overall I am very pleased with both the amount of spending and the amount of food that I have prepped ahead of time. I did way over spend this month but if I can control spending for the next couple of month I will definitely be back on track!

Saving on Saturday 3/23/2019

One of the ways that we attempt to cut out grocery budget is with the purchase of an entire cow. We purchased 890# of meat approximately one year ago.  This works well for us especially since we have the freezer space for all this meat and some to spare. We have been enjoying beef several times a week but it has become really clear that we as a family do not like roast.  I have tried several different versions and ways to make the roast with different taste and it still does not end up being all that great, with lots of left-overs. However, we like ground beef and eat it a hundred different ways with no complaint. Now here is how we are saving money today. I purchased last month on Amazon on a 60% off sale a grinder that attaches to my Kitchen Aid Mixer.

Last night, I set 3 roast out to unthaw and today, I cut the bones out of each of them and then ground them up with the grinder. I will admit it was a little bit of work to get this accomplished but less than 2 hours for the entire process.  After grinding the hunks of roast into ground beef, I fried it up and tossed in the crockpot with taco seasoning and water.  The remaining bones and meat that was attached I placed in a second crock pot  and made beef broth that I will bag and freeze tomorrow.

I was able to take 3 meals that we would eat and not enjoy and turn into at least 7 meals that will be quick and easy to prep and at least 16 cups of beef broth. I am definitely calling this a win  in the saving department!

Monday Menu Planning

The goal for this week is to make it till Friday when my Spring Break begins. We are definitely starting to see some holes in the pantry and freezers especially where our convenient foods are usually.  On a positive note, we purchased a new grill on Friday of last week so we are definitely planning to use it a lot during the next fun and warm weeks of Spring! I will not be posting a menu plan for next week, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants and try to cook ahead so that should be interesting to say the least.

Breakfast- Saturday–  bagels, Sunday-bagels (we slept late) Monday-bagels, breakfast burritos found in the bottom of the freezer. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Hamburgers and French Fries  Sunday-Mexican with friends  Monday– soup  for everyone, Tuesday– Chicken salad lettuce wraps  , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- soup or sandwiches.
Dinner – Saturday- KFC bowls, these were planned for Friday but we ate Raman Noodles instead. Sunday- Gifted left over pizza Monday-Spaghetti and Meatballs  Tuesday– Hot Dogs and Tator tots  Wednesday–Pulled pork with corn and broccoli  Thursday– Grilled Chicken and pasta salad  Friday- Eating out for Haley’s Birthday

Menu Planning on Tuesday

I am only one day late with this post and because the reason was the pictures from our kitchen, I don’t feel at all bad.  Last week turned out to be very interesting as Kendall was sick, my mom was sick and I ended up spending a lot of time not feeling great.  I did break down on Saturday and make a quick grocery store trip which push our grocery spending to $215 this month.  Thankfully, I have also been able to organize and re-arrange the freezers and I feel much better about the amount of food we have on hand these days.  We should easily make it until the end of the month before needing to grocery shop and we also have enough ground beef to last the rest of the year!  We are continuing to use items on hand and even try some new ideas!

Breakfast- Saturday– BLT biscuits, Sunday-Bagels  Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday-  Pizza Sunday-Meatball vegetable soup (new and something we will repeat) Monday– Sandwich for kids and left-overs for me Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- Chicken nuggets and chicken salad wrap with leftover soup at least one day. We are out of uncrustables so the kids are having to think about lunches a little bit more. 
Dinner – Saturday-Gravy and biscuits and grits Sunday–Left-overs  Monday-Salisbury steak  Tuesday– Soft Tacos  Wednesday–Sweet Hawaiian beef (new)  Thursday– Spaghetti and meatballs Friday- KFC bowls 

Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • We have spent more money on “unexpected medical cost ” in the past month than in the past 2 years. Matt had an infection under his crown, $17 prescription and $129 dentist bill, Lily had strep throat, $40 co pay and $5 prescription and Kendall has a virus that has kept her out of school for the past 2 days $40 co pay.
  • I am becoming more and more frustrated this month as I am tracking every dollar we are spending. We currently have spent $267 in the past 8 days. There is only one day in that time period that has been a no spending day.  $99 of that is gas and $40 for a copay. The rest of the list is wants not needs.  I am planning to continue until the last week of the month. I am really surprised at the amount of money we are spending and how fast it is leaving my accounts.
  • I spent some time this weekend and have planned out most of the square foot garden. We are going to try something different this year, planting/starting most of it from seeds instead of buying plants. I have been collecting seeds at fifty cent a pack over the past several month and will also be using seeds that I have stored for the past couple of years. I am going to over sow the area as well and may have to weed out some plants but this still appears to be cheaper option than purchasing the plants. I do need to buy probably 4-5 bags of soil to add to some of the beds but I have decided against buying the expensive $18 a bag and plan to use gift cards from Swagbucks to purchase at Lowes.
  • We have started 2 separate grocery list, one for Costco and one for Aldi/Walmart. I think that I have finally gotten everyone on board with the no grocery shopping until the end of the month. We ended up using French fries last night for the breakfast casserole because we were out of both hash browns and tater tots.
  • Hopefully Matt will get the buffet/ bar finished this weekend, we have had a delay in progress due to the weather and another delay due to items not being ready at Lowes.

Monday Menu Post

The focus of the month of March, is to use what we have and keep grocery spending to a bare minimum until the last week of the month. I did go out and check to make sure that we have all the ingredients to complete our meal plan for the month. I am going to only post by the week because we still need some flexibility to change plans as our taste and needs change. We are also using a lot of pre-made meals this month in order to be able to clean out and re-organize the freezer in anticipation of restocking most of the meals.
Breakfast- Saturday– Sausage egg and cheese bagels, Sunday-Matt and Zach; Men’s Breakfast and Sheila and Kendall enjoy a meal out. Lily is at a youth retreat. Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Homemade Cheeseburger Pizza Sunday-Grilled Cheese sandwiches Monday– Left-overs for everyone, Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Left-overs (yes we have cleaned out most of the fridge at this point. Sunday–Instapot Potato Soup Monday-Breakfast casserole Tuesday– Chicken Enchiladas Wednesday–Chicken pot pie Thursday– Pepper Steak Friday- quick tortellini pasta

Planning Ahead = Saving Money

Planning ahead is a way to always save money. If I know that I have a plan, I am less likely to decide and make random choices. I am definitely planning ahead for the Spring. I can not begin to explain how much I am looking forward to warm days.  First, it gets me so much closer to the end of the school year and my summer off with lots of fun filled activities.  Next, I am also looking forward to my week of Spring Break at the end of March. Let’s talk about what my plans are starting to look like.

Both Kendall and Zach will be in school during my Spring break which means I should have some extra time to doing not only shopping for food but also some extra time for meal preparation as well. We are currently eating out of the pantry and freezer in order to make more room for prepared meals. I will be make a huge trip to Costco during my week off to purchase items to make at least 30 meals to place in the freezer. This should provide us with enough “prepared” meal to make the months of April and May pass smoothly even with all the end of year activities, baseball and chorus. My current plans include:
·         2 baked ziti- One for an evening meal and one for the freezer.
·         5lbs of taco meat in the crockpot for our Mexican meals
·         A pot of sloppy joes. We have been enjoying at least one meal of sloppy joes a month.
·         2 chicken pies and 2 chicken pot pies
·         3 meals of chicken enchiladas- one for an evening meal and the other two for the freezers. ·         6 bags of chicken breast ready to grill.
·         I am also hoping to try out some more of the freezer meals I have been finding online.

A more long range goal is to plan and prepare ahead at least 60 meals during the summer to use for the school year!

Moving to the garden. I am so excited to have the extra time to devote to the garden this year. Last year was a bust overall but I am wondering if most of the issue is the amount of time and energy that was put in the garden.  To reduce the overall expense of the garden, I am planning to use gift cards earned through Swagbucks to pay for most of improvements in addition to all of the plants that I want to use.  My goal is to have at least $100 to spend on the purchase of plants during the first week of May. I have purchased both cucumber and squash seeds and will be starting these during my Spring break.  I will need to purchase one additional bag of dirt to use for starting these plants. I have already purchased one bag of organic fertilizer and will be purchasing at least 5 more to spread in the garden.  Between the dirt and fertilizer I am hoping to spend less than $50. My overall goal is to also fund as much of these purchases with gift cards as well.  I will also need to spend several hours if no more in the garden spreading the fertilizer and replacing some of the strings that separate all the squares as well. Prior to moving forward with these plans I also need to make a master plan for planting for the year.

My other goals/ plans during Spring break include an appointment to get my hair colored and a trip to the nail salon for a pedicure and manicure. 

Monday Menu Planning 2/25/2019

Heading toward the end of the month, I want to focus on a couple of things. First, I have spent less than $100 on groceries during the month of February! This balances out for $800 I spent in January. I have a week of break at the end of March and I will be doing lots of re-stocking which means probably a fair amount of expense. My goal over the next 4 weeks is to only buy “needs” For example, today I am stopping by Aldi to grab some cucumbers and tomato for salad and taco Tuesday and some cabbage to make a slaw.   Second we are increasing our schedule with baseball practice 2 days a week until games start and then it will be one or two games a week with practice on Saturdays.  Finally after eating out for several meals this weekend we NEED to clean out some left-overs. 

Breakfast- Saturday– Bacon and egg salad sandwhiches Sunday-Sausage cresent rolls (frozen mix) and orange rolls  Monday- Kids and Matt had left-over cinnamon rolls  from IKEA and I had pesto eggs. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of  left-over baked oatmeal, eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal,or toast. 

Lunch–Saturday-Egg Rolls   Sunday-Wednesday   Monday– Left-overs for everyone  Tuesday– Chicken salad wrap for me  Kendall and Zach have chicken nuggets , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.

Dinner – Saturday-Ladies Banquet and pizza for the boys.  Sunday–Chinese  Monday-Shepherd pie (we had oyster stew on Friday) . Tuesday– Soft tacos   Wednesday–Left-overs including choice of meat and veggies to clean out fridge.  Thursday– KFC bowls  Friday- Shrimp fettuccine alfredo