We have all been there. That panicked “WHAT”S FOR DINNER” at 4 PM. That’s when we tend to grab a takeout menu or run to the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken. They both have their place but the problem is that they tend to be budget breakers. Add up the cost of a meal that you get in a last minute hurry versus how much it would cost to make the meal at home and you will see what I mean.
Meal planning saves my grocery budget. The weeks that I am organized and plan out my meals are the weeks I spend less on pre-made foods or avoid the last minute run to the grocery store for items I am missing.
I try to keep a basic inventory list of what I have. I also stockpile the items I always use. I always have a supply of spices and herbs, and make sure I have several bags of our favorite veggies in the freezer (Broccoli is easy to blanch and freeze when I get it for $.99#.)
The key is ORGANIZATION. This week I shopped in my freezer. Ok fine, I had to organize my freezer since I had no idea what was in it. I made a master checklist so now I know. When you know what you have it is much easier to make and follow through on a menu. A friend of mine gave me a great idea. She said she keeps a white board in her kitchen and puts her weekly menu on it. The night before she pulls out the next evening’s meat to thaw in the fridge. Brilliance!! It really works. When I know I have meat in the fridge that needs used and is ready to pop in the oven, on the grill, etc. it is so much easier to have the willpower to go home and get it done.
Here’s my dinner menu for the week –
Monday – ribs(adults), hotdogs(children) homemade potato wedges, celery sticks
Tuesday – ham and bean soup with cornbread
Wednesday – chicken with stewed tomatoes and acorn squash stuffed with rice (may change, we are having company)
Thursday – lentil shepherd’s pie
Friday – corned beef with potatoes and carrots
Saturday – homemade pasta with white sauce and turkey sausage, broccoli or salad