Okay, y’all. A few people on Facebook asked to know about the details of the monthly meal planning I’m doing. I got the idea from Molly. This might not work for everyone but it tickles me pink, so here’s what I do:
1) Make a list of the meals you want.
2) From that list, find out what ingredients you’ll have to buy.
3) I like lists. So I make an additional grocery list split up into Meats/Perishables/Non-Perishables.
I buy my meat in bulk from Sam’s. That just works for me. Winn Dixie and Publix just don’t have the prices that I like, and I love buying a ton of meat and portioning it all up in Ziploc bags when I get home.
I buy almost everything else from Walmart. That’s the short story. If you want more details, here you go:
Here are the meals I came up with, and what I’d have to buy to make them happen:
- Spaghetti and Meatballs (frozen meatballs, pasta, pasta sauce)
- Cowboy Beans (bacon, ground beef, baked beans, black beans, chick peas, veg)
- Santa Fe Chicken and Rice (chicken, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, salsa)
- White Cheddar Chicken Pasta, Salad (white cheddar, chicken, parmesan, pasta)
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs (frozen meatballs, grape jelly, chili sauce)
- Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread (pasta sauce, smoked sausage, pasta, mozzarella)
- Tortellini White Bean Soup (diced tomatoes, tortellini, white beans, parmesan)
- BBQ Chicken, Quinoa & Black Beans (chicken, BBQ sauce, corn, black beans, quinoa)
- Beef Stroganoff (round steak, egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream)
- Lasagna (Cottage cheese, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian sausage, lasagna noodles, mozzarella, parmesan)
- Jazzed Up Mac & Cheese (noodles, cheddar, diced ham)
- BBQ Chicken Pizza (using left over BBQ chicken from a few days before) (BBQ sauce, pineapple bits, mozzarella, pizza crust)
- Sausage Potato Soup (Italian sausage, potato, corn)
- Cream Cheese Pesto Stuffed Chicken (chicken, store bought pesto, cream cheese)
- Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas, (chicken, Mexican seasoning)
- Salmon Cakes, Roasted Potatoes, Corn (4 foil pouches salmon, breadcrumbs)
- Jambalaya (rice, smoked sausage, diced tomatoes)
- Burgers, Potatoes (ground beef)
- Quesadillas (tortillas, left over chicken, Mexican cheese)
- Corn Dog Muffins (hot dogs, corn bread mix)
- Panini Sandwiches, Tomato Soup (bread, lunch meat, cheese, creamy tomato soup)
- Chicken Puffs (crescent rolls, chicken, cream cheese)
- Swedish Meatballs over Rice (frozen meatballs, rice, beef boullion)
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (chicken, BBQ sauce, buns)
- Creamy Chicken Taquitos (cream cheese, green salsa, chicken, tortillas, red salsa, Mexican cheese)
- Coconut Chicken Fingers (coconut, chicken, apricot jam)
- Hawaiian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (lunch meat, cheese, pineapple bits, bread)
- Orange & Balsamic Chicken Breasts (chicken, orange juice, balsamic vinegar)
- Frozen Calzones (pizza crust, homemade pizza sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella)
- Enchiladas (green chiles, tomato sauce, cream cheese, chicken, Mexican cheese, tortillas)
- Ranch chicken (ranch dressing, parmesan, chicken)
- One pot Italian chicken, potatoes, & carrots (bottle of Italian dressing, potatoes, carrots)
Dry spices, eggs, bread crumbs, milk, flour, salt, pepper, etc- I don’t account for because I already have on hand. As you may notice there are no sides to go with this. I usually like to focus on the main course, and either have a salad as a side or a simple starch like flavored rice, or roasted potatoes. I don’t like complicated side dishes. If you have a local grocery store around, go to their website and check out their weekly ad. A lot of their rice/pasta sides are usually buy one get one free, or 10/$10 (also pasta sauce, but I prefer making my own). Usually I run by the veggie market once a week to stock up on fruits and veggies, which is around $15/week.
We eat cereal or have a Fiber One bar for breakfast. Will either has oatmeal (I get a big box of it from Sam’s that lasts a month) or a frozen pancake (I make a huge batch, then freeze them, putting parchment paper in between so they don’t stick together), or scrambled eggs (which we get free from Jason’s dad’s chickens).
Will and Jason’s lunch is either the previous night’s leftovers, while I try to stick with a salad (but sometimes I just gots-ta have me a PB&J ;). We keep it pretty simple.
We eat dinner at home around 4 nights a week. This list totals to 32 meals. 4 meals a week = 2 months worth of meals.
Also, of note: a lot of these meals I prepare ahead of time and freeze. Enchiladas, lasagna, burgers, taquitos, pesto chicken, Santa Fe chicken, chicken puffs, and calzones. It’s pretty exhausting preparing all of the food at once, but I’ve been working more lately, so I want food that I can just grab out of the freezer and whip up fast. I also like to make my own meatballs but this post is already too long to add that recipe. If you see any recipes that you would like to have that aren’t attached to links, let me know!
The cost of all of this was just around $200. Not including things we go through on a more regular basis, like milk and fresh produce ($20/week for both). The meat was $100, the extras were $100. The OCD in me wants to break down the prices, but my brain already hurts. It’s a work in process but I’m excited to be more meticulous with my spending and tighten up the budget. It’ll help us to not eat out so much, too. If you’ve made it this far, go get yourself a cookie.