These are my meal planning steps :
- choose 7 breakfasts
- choose 7 lunches
- and 10 dinners
25 breakfasts (variations on a theme) with an average cost of $1.76
45 lunches with an average cost of $3.76
35 dinners with an average cost of $5.33
Those average costs are for the entire family. It doesn't include beverages per meal (which average $.95) or side dishes (which I usually have at least one veggie and averages about $1.25)
So, I plug and chug and made a menu plan for breakfast, lunch & dinner for a month (this time it was 6 weeks hoping to get me to Easter.) My goal is $400 for a month. This month I bought 3 fish meals and those were pretty expensive $8-10/meal just for the fish. I tweaked a few meals to lower my overall cost, so I could do it.
Yesterday I shopped for 4 hours (that was longer than it needed to take, but I ran into some glitches) and I came home and cooked 15lbs of hamburger, 6lbs of chicken (which left the remaining 9 to be cooked the next day), and 2 lbs of sausage. The girls and I (and a very pregnant friend came for a few hours -- she wanted to come help!) spent all day cooking. The boys helped some and were on baby duty alot. We put up 13 side dishes (mashed potatoes, garlic & cheese buscuits, cornbread and rice pilaf) and 17 meals (3 lasagna, 3 shepherd's pie, 3 sausage & rice bake, 3 sloppy joe, 5 omelet mixes). I also put up all the meat for the rest of the meals.
I ran out of time (and steam) and still need to make 10 meals worth (40 Cups) of Alfredo sauce, but then I'll be done. I'm so pleased that I don't have to mess with cooking for quite some time! One more item off my plate and we can focus on school! YEAH!!