Friday, November 21, 2008

Meal Planning

After talking with Heather today at gym classs and checking out Amy's blog about menu planning, I thought I'd share what I've been up to in this area.

I made a menu plan for a month including breakfast, lunch and snacks. I'm having a contest with myself to see how low I can get our grocery bill without sacrificing nutrition and still making meals my family will eat (they're not big on soup or beans).
It has general categories that has flexibility. I don't have to go by which day, but I try and spread these categories out over a week so we don't eat up all our favorites first.

M - mexican (I bought mexican ingredients, but depending on what we have left on-hand and what we feel like it could be Tacos, Burritos, Nachos, Taco Salad, Chicken soft tacos, etc.)
T - SOS (i.e. creamed dried beef on toast or variations on that theme)
W - hamburger casserole (shepherd's pie, home-made hamburger helper...)
R - chicken dish (chicken & noodles crock pot, chicken & rice)
F - tuna meal (tuna & noodles, tuna & broccoli mac & cheese, tuna sandwiches)
S - meatball meal (meatloaf & mashed potatoes, meatball sandwiches...)
S - snacky dinner (baked potatoes w/ all the toppings, left-overs, lunch food, etc.)

THEN, and this is the exciting part, I took my receipt from Aldi's and averaged how much it was going to cost me to make each meal. I didn't get weird about it (figuring in 1/4 tsp salt), but eyeballed it. My average cost for dinners was $3.85 for 6 people. This doesn't include side dishes (they averaged .95 per meal) or beverages (they averaged .65 per meal) This is how it looked :

Baked Pot. $2.25
6 potatoes .20
Broccoli $1.00
Cheese .30
Sour Cream .50
Butter .25

Chkn Casserole $4.80
1# Chkn $2
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80
Pasta $1.00 OR Rice .45
Frozen Vegetables $1.00

Shep. Pie $4.30
1# Hamburger $2
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80
6 potatoes .20
2 cans Vegetables $1.00
Cheese .30

SOS $3.45
12 eggs 1.30
1/2 loaf of bread .25
2 ½ C Milk .85
5 pc sliced Ham .80
Butter .28

Meatloaf $5.30
2# Ham $4
2 eggs .30
1 Tom. Paste .40
Bread .10
Onion .25
Seasoning .25

Tuna & Noodles $2.95
2 cans Tuna @ .57ea
Pasta $1
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup .80

Here are some pretty templates for your meal planning session.

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