Jump to content
pixiedrea

How many Menu Plan?

Do you Menu Plan?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. I've been wondering how many others out there that are on a budget have been turning to menu planning and recipe swapping to help stretch their dollars, do you?

    • I am a menu planner, I'd swear by it
      9
    • I'm not a menu planner, but I'm interested
      5
    • I'm not a menu planner and don't really care to be
      7
    • What's a menu plan?
      1


Recommended Posts

So, I've been thinking of ways to stretch the dollar, and realized how much I spend on groceries and eating out. There's only two of us in the house, so we should be able to get by on much less than we do.

I've dragged out the old recipe box and realized how many of these can be frozen and reheated, especially with just two of us in the house. I can make the 4 servings, freeze two and eat two that night.

Which lead me to thinking about menu planning. Is it really a time saver for those who do it? Can you tighten your grocery bill by doing this this way?

I browse for recipes a lot and have found several sites that I really enjoy reading, if not actually practicing their wisdom.

www.hillbillyhousewife.com - That one's my FAVORITE!

www.5dollardinners.com

www.allrecipes.com

What are you thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We should be doing menu planning and sticking to it - a lot less wasted food that way. There are 5 of us in the house, and we often just don't have any ideas for supper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...we often just don't have any ideas for supper.

That's one of my biggest issues! hunny will eat just about anything I serve him, bless his heart! The downside is that I'm always left to decide what's for dinner, as first time he cooked he gave himself severe food poisioning. So, my thoughts have been to have the little recipe box, plan a weekly menu, and get him involved and learning a little each week. About a month ago he learned the art of browning ground beef! I'm hoping this way he learns a little and takes some of the load off of me.

And it would be so much easier to know what's for dinner every day and have the list of what to buy at the grocery, rather than just wonder around looking for something that looks good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for starting this topic Andrea. I used to be great at meal planning. Besides saving $, it is wonderful for me because otherwise I will wait until 4:30 to even think about what to make. Of course then everything is frozen, and we end up eating the same thing night after night. I need to get back to this, and I appreciate this reminder! BTW, I love Allrecipes.com. That is my first stop when I am looking for a recipe. I really like that the recipes have ratings, and advice on how to make improvements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot one more link!

www.mypyramid.gov

this one is really great, totally free, and helps with tracking your intake and output. Not a menu planner, but a really great site if you're attempting to get in better health.

you can track what you actually ate, and you can plan what you are going to eat. It will help you see if you are getting enough fruits, veggies, grains, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to menu plan. I would spend saturday afternoon deciding 3 meals a day for the week, put together a shopping list and shop on sunday.

I still do plan my menu, actually. Subway (monday) Texas Roadhouse (tuesday) Ruby Tuesday (wednesday) LOL!!! :(:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Menu planning is not difficult, and you don't have to sit down ahead of time to do it. We hit the grocery store and see what's on special & what we can afford, and I plan menus as I shop or whilst putting away the food when we get home. For example, we went to the store today (weekly trip) and they had shrimp on sale, so I bought a pound and I shall shell them tonight; half will go into a freezer bag to join the whole frying chicken that was on sale that I've jointed and the tenderloin of pork that was on sale that I cut into thirds. With the four catfish fillets that went into two freezer bags we have ten HUGE meals for the two of us. Tonight's shrimp will go into the oven in a little olive oil & salt & fresh-ground pepper while I cook pasta and veggies (the rest of the broccoli florets & carrots we didn't eat two nights ago, along with carmelized Vidalia onion, and then all tossed together & finished back in the oven with a bit of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Recipe? If I have time I go browsing through the cookbooks/ recipe binder ( collected recipes for the 5+ years we subbed to the recipe NG)/ DH's recipe box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't plan weekly menus, however, I plan the next day's menu the night before so it can thaw that night and I know exactly what I am cooking after work. I usually cook Sundays-Thursdays. We eat out on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every so often I get inspired and plan a menu for the week. I even figure out the nutrition (calories, carbs, fat, protein- my husband is diabetic and this helps him) and type up a shopping list. Then I save them in a file on my computer with the menu, shopping list, and recipes when needed. My goal is to have a good 10-15 weekly menus by the end of the summer so I can just go through them, find one that looks good for the week, print it and go. It's a lot of hassle in the beginning, but every time I'm good and really plan the menu and stick with the list, groceries cost at least $20 less and we don't have spoiled food in the fridge a few weeks later.

I should add, the shopping list has absolutely everything on it needed for the week for every recipe, down to salt and pepper. That way I can print it, go through the cupboards and mark through what we have, then go to the store. Plus, I know exact quantities, so I only buy 1 tomato if that's all we need, not a whole bag because I'm not sure how many I'll want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Every so often I get inspired and plan a menu for the week. I even figure out the nutrition (calories, carbs, fat, protein- my husband is diabetic and this helps him) and type up a shopping list. Then I save them in a file on my computer with the menu, shopping list, and recipes when needed. My goal is to have a good 10-15 weekly menus by the end of the summer so I can just go through them, find one that looks good for the week, print it and go. It's a lot of hassle in the beginning, but every time I'm good and really plan the menu and stick with the list, groceries cost at least $20 less and we don't have spoiled food in the fridge a few weeks later.

I should add, the shopping list has absolutely everything on it needed for the week for every recipe, down to salt and pepper. That way I can print it, go through the cupboards and mark through what we have, then go to the store. Plus, I know exact quantities, so I only buy 1 tomato if that's all we need, not a whole bag because I'm not sure how many I'll want.

This is what I'd like to eventually have, as well. A good 10-15 weekly menus sounds perfect!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really a menu planner and for me I don't know how well it would work out on a regular basis. I'm not really sure what I will want for dinner (or how much energy I'll be willing to spend on making the meal after working a ten hour day) from one night to the next so it would be difficult to plan a week ahead of time. But with the exception of fresh items, I try to keep my cupboards & freezer stocked all the time so I almost always have the required ingredients on hand for whatever I might want to cook. And by keeping everything stocked up I save quite a bit becaue I can wait till something comes on sale to replenish my cupboards or freezer.

The closest i get to planning meals ahead is whenever I make something that will freeze & reheat well, I will make enough for 3-5 nights - then we'll have one the night I make it and freeze the others for a night in the future. It usually doesn't take me much longer to prepare 3 casseroles than it would just one so it saves a lot of time on future nights when I am tired & don't feel like doing anything more than throwing something in the oven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to plan meals, but got out of the habit for a while. I do have the book Saving Dinner. Its a recipe book with weekly menus for each season that has the shopping list at the beginning of each week. All the recipes serve six although we found out they serve more. There is a recipe for black bean soup that will feed a small army.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Jimmy was alive, I planned menus. Now I have no reason to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I menu plan and bulk cook.

I spend one whole day, usually Sat, doing sauce, rice and chopping. I use the holy trinity (onions, celery, green peppers) nearly every night so I chop those, carrots and blanch tomatoes to slip the skin. If I have time I roast peppers (poblano mostly) I make our pizza and ghetti sauces, mix the pizza dough for the freezer and chop all veggies for pizzas. I often make chicken stock and beef stock on Sundays. Dh makes up pancakes (2 a day, 3 days a week, x6 kids) those get frozen as well. If I have room in my freezer after shopping I make up a few casseroles, they love nacho/taco/mexican anything so it's usually that. If I'm in the mood I make soup to freeze.

We have real meals 3 times a day, 7 days a week. Not because I'm supermom or anything, I have dietary issues and will not spend my time making my meal then theirs. We all eat the same. That means I have to either make from scratch or do without.

Anything that makes that easier on me I'm all for. I use a software program called MasterCook to help me. You can import your own recipes or from the web. You can just go with the installed cookbooks too. Found some great recipes there. I can make a master grocery list to print out with just what I need for the recipes I have. I can do searches for non fat, vegan etc. It's much easier than me trying to remember everything I need for a list. My thinker isn't that sharp any more lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow Dena i'm exhausted just reading your post...well done to you!!!

i do menu plan and bulk cook to freeze its easier and alot cheaper :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do the weekly planning as well, so most often on either Sunday or Monday we sit down together and plan the coming week and then I do the shopping list after that. Sometimes we plan "doubles" ie cooking one night and then re-heating the day after depending on what we have planned for that day.

Hugs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't plan for the whole week because I like to see what is on special at the supermarket and take it from there. I cook most nights from scratch although sometimes I will cook a pasta sauce in the morning and heat it up at dinner if I know I will be rushing back out again. I quite often put an extra portion in the freezer because that is hnady when I am eating at my Mum's and my husband needs something for his dinner. The days he is off work, he will have dinner ready for my coming in but only if I tell him what he is cooking (or reheating) and how long it will take. If I leave the decision up to him, he will chose to buy take out!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We take the grocery flyer and sit down and plan for the week based on what's on special and/or what's in the freezer. If there'a a really good sale on something, we'll buy 2 or 3 (we have a small deep freeze). We also go to Costco (Sam's, BJ's type store) every few weeks and load up on olive oil, parmasean cheese, chicken pieces (almost always cheaper than in grocery), various other things. If we make something that takes a long time like lasagna or moussaka, will use those foil pans and divide it up into dinner size portions, plus leftovers for lunch, cook one and freeze the rest. If I roast beef, pork, or chicken/turkey, always get a big one and freeze part of the leftovers to use to make pot pies, hash, sandwiches. When we make italian tomato sauce, we always make a big pot of it so we'll have some to freeze and can make a quick meal that way. I always plan for an out of the freezer meal and/or really easy to cook meals 2 or 3 times a week in case I don't feel like cooking one night - that avoids the let's go out to eat or order a pizza syndrome most times.

We've been experimenting with making Thai food at home. The prep is the most time consuming part of that cuisine. Found out that we don't like the jar/can curry mixtures, so I've been making them from scratch. The curry pastes themselves are kind of time consuming, but they keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and can be frozen. Then when it's time to cook dinner, you start the rice (or noodles/pasta), chop the ingredients, and cook. Usually by the time rice is done, curry is done. Best thing about most curries though is you can make the night before or even earlier the same day and it tastes even better after sitting for a while in the fridge.

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dena,

I'm floored by your ability to do all that! I'd love to have the drive to do so, it would make life so much easier in the long run. I think I'll just have to push myself enough to do it the first time, then it will get easier.

Karen,

I LOVE Thai food, but I've always been very apprehensive about trying to cook it at home. I'd lvoe any more pointers you could give.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't have an option for me. Sometimes I menu plan and sometimes I don't. Depends on what's going on that week. I'm flexible. If I wasn't we would never eat, lol!

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am always trying to cut our grocery bill. I think we spend way too much for 2 people. Also I worked as a private gardener for a family who owned a chain of grocery stores and believe you me, they are multi millionaires because we do not think ahead to do our shopping and everytime you buy something and don't eat it it is profit in their pockets. I do lots of crock pot cooking where I can freeze a portion and eat a portion. I have been using a 1970 cookbook laetely "Betty Crocker's Do-Ahead Cookbook from the freezer and the refrigerator." Lots of good recipes to cook a stewing chicken and make dishes out of the meat and broth. I try to think ahead and buy when on sale. Our local grocery store has a sirloin porkroast buy one get one free this week so I will go several times to stock up. I keep stock of what's in our refirgerator and plan ahead to use up the half of an onion, 2 stalks of celery, etc. instead of wasting. When we make pancakes for weekend breakfast portions are froze for the next weeks breakfast. When I cook I always keep in mind leftovers for the next days lunch. We eat a wide variety of foods and eat healthy. Rita

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dena,

If you don't mind me asking, how much does MasterCook run? And where does one find it? How easy is it to upload your own recipes into it? How accurate are the shopping lists when you load your own recipes?

I'd be willing to spend money on a good program to help me stay organized in the kitchen. I'm not a big fan of cooking when I have to, only when I want to. If I have something that helps keep me organized, it would make it more fun to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I menu plan. I read the menu at our local pub, and order whatever appeals to me..or look at the "specials" blackboard and order off that! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I voted as not a menu planner and not interested. The reason is that I don't really cook that often. Ray and I mostly eat raw or simple foods: fresh vegetables, fresh or tinned fruits, yogurt, and home made muffins or whole grain breads and cereals.

If I cook, its usually either home-made soup or a dish made with eggs.

Mind you, there's only the two of us, so meal planning is not too difficult.

-susanne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love planning meals - DH's mom found out that I LOVE to cook so she let me borrow some of her old cookbooks...I wrote down all the ones I was interested in on notecards. When I go shopping, I pick out 4 or 5 cards w/ recipes that I want to try and take that for my "grocery list". I think it's cheaper that way because we end up buying what we need instead of just wandering around for hours thinking of stuff we could make.

I have put a notebook together full of recipes cut from magazines or written down/printed off the web, it's nice to look through and get ideas from. But sometimes I like making up my own recipes. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...