Last week’s meal planning was one of my more successful weeks lately. I budget $100 week for my family of three for groceries and I ended up using so many things we already had on hand that I only spent about $60! I’m trying to reduce the amount of food (aka money) we throw away and have gotten verrrry friendly with my freezer. If you have any tricks for making groceries last please share them in the comments!
If you’re trying to save money on food, eating at home is a must. Here are my tips before you head to the grocery store:
- Shop your pantry. Take a look through your freezer, fridge and cupboards to see what you already have. Plan your meals around things in your refrigerator you want to use before they go bad and staples you have in your freezer and pantry.
- Assess your food mood. This is a big one for me. In recent weeks I have not been in a mood to cook time-consuming meals. It’s important to acknowledge this because I don’t want to plan ambitious meals that, at the end of the day, I’m just too tired to prepare! This is a recipe for disaster (pun not intended), aka McDonald’s for dinner.
- Rotate and clear your fridge. I try to do this each week before going to the store, though it often happens after. I clear out anything that is expired, rotate leftovers that need to be eaten soon to the front where I’ll see them, and rearrange my produce in the drawers. I prefer to keep “new” (fresh, unopened and/or whole) produce in one drawer and all the “bits” that need to be used up sooner in the other drawer – I’m probably the only person in existence that does this but it helps me to not waste food!
We have some go-to meals that we eat fairly often but I love to hunt Pinterest and my favorite foodie blogs for frugal, healthy and delicious recipes for my family. Hopefully my recipe round up will help if you’re looking for some inspiration!
Disclaimer: I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, my husband is low-carb, and 1 year old daughter will eat anything!
I kept it simple this week and made sure we had bread on hand for toast, oatmeal fixings, and plenty of fruit.
Skillet Pineapple BBQ Chicken Chicken thighs were on sale at Aldi this week so I checked my favorite food blog, Budget Bytes, for a recipe. The thighs came in 5 packs so I intended for this to be Hayden’s lunch for the week but you guys. This chicken was so good (yes, I even had some) that it only lasted two days. Seriously, do yourself a favor and try this recipe!
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Mac Don’t be fooled by the name – I didn’t actually cook this because we had half a batch left in the freezer from last time. I’ll be honest, while this meal was really good when it was fresh we were not at all impressed with it after being frozen. Next time I make it I’ll just have to cut the recipe in half so there’s nothing to waste.
Slow Cooker Veggie Pot Pie As I’ve mentioned before, this meal is a great way to use up what you have in your freezer. I noticed last week that ours was starting to fill up again with half-used bags of veggies so this time I filled my pot pie with frozen peas and carrots, a sweet potato I already had in the pantry, a zucchini and mushrooms. It was the perfect meal for the stormy weather we were having!
Pizza Hut Since we were nursing a very sick baby this week we had to do something quick and easy for dinner. My mother in law desperately wanted to help and offered to bring us dinner so we opted for Pizza Hut. I learned a little trick from someone in the #debtfreecommunity recently that really felt like we were stretching our dollar: if you order online and get the 2 medium 2-topping pizzas for $5.99 each you can divide your pizzas up with different toppings on each half. This way it feels like you’re getting four pizzas!
Cheeseburgers & Tots I liked the chipotle black bean burgers from Aldi so much last week that I picked up another box. We had other meals planned but I like to have easy backups like this in the freezer. I’m glad we did because sick kiddo = very little hands-free time for cooking. I also still had half a bag of tater tots and a few hamburger buns in the freezer so this was a very frugal meal for us!
Spaghetti & Roasted Summer Vegetables We couldn’t stop thinking about the turkey spaghetti we had last week but I wanted to make the sauce this time. This pasta sauce recipe is so simple and so delicious!
Breakfast Aurelia’s appetite was down this week due to being sick but she still managed a little breakfast every day which was the same as last week: peanut butter toast or a whole wheat waffle topped with maple syrup plus half a banana.
Lunch Scrambled eggs with cheese, avocado and berries.
Dinner Aurelia tried the black bean chipotle burgers and the BBQ chicken. The other nights she had turkey dogs with beans. We’ve struggled to get her to eat veggies lately so I’ve been buying the SimplyNature Kids Sweet Potato Bites and Spinach & Kale Bites from Aldi. They’re in the freezer section and she really likes them!