I decided to try a different approach to my meal planning this month. Rather than trying to come up with a different meal for each night I chose to make my meal plan for two weeks worth of meals and then repeated those two weeks to make up four weeks worth of meals.
I chose meals that I already had some of the ingredients to in my pantry and that I knew were liked by my family. I then made my list of items I still needed to purchase and looked through my couponing sites and store flyers for sales and deals.
I packed up the kids and off we went to my favorite grocery store, Publix. We walked in the door and Ian immediately began calling out "Cookie! Cookie!" and pointing to the bakery. The guy behind the counter smiled as he heard us coming his way. Now that my kids had a cookie each, we began our shopping.
For 20 nights of dinner meals (plus a few odds and ends for breakfasts and lunches), I spent $118. That was roughly $29.50 for dinner for each week.
After arriving home, we had lunch, the kids went down for naps, and I got to work. Because some of my meals were going to be slow cooker meals, I went ahead and pre-chopped everything so none of my veggies would go bad waiting to be used for their meals. I then put together the ingredients by meal recipe into labeled Ziploc freezer bags.
Here is our list of meals for 4 weeks along with links where you can find their recipe.
1/28 Mon.- Chicken and Rice Bake (one of my favorite recipes)
1/29 Tues.- Chicken Soup (freezer)
1/30 Wed.- Mac and Cheese w/ Chicken Nuggets
1/31 Thurs.- Chicken and Stuffing Bake
2/1 Fri.- Crockpot Cheeseburgers
2/4 Mon.- Creamy Farmhouse Chicken and Garden Soup (slow cooker meal- 8th recipe down)
2/5 Tues. Meat Stew (slow cooker meal- 2nd recipe down)
2/6 Wed.- Sandwiches for us/ Brian had left over Meat stew from Tuesday
2/7 Thurs.- Pasta and Sauce (pre-cooked, just need to thaw and cook pasta)
2/8 Fri.- Baked Ziti (Made from the leftover sauce from yesterday's meal)
Repeat above for 2/11-2/22
Dinner has been a breeze these last two weeks! Tonight we will have baked ziti and then on Monday we will begin at the top of the list again.
I did check with Brian before doing this to make sure eating the same meal twice in a month was fine with him. He had no problem, especially since I threw in a few of his favorites.
I don't usually plan out our meals for Saturdays or Sundays because we may go on a date or we will just eat leftovers those nights. I like making sure we don't waste any food.
I have had to go back to the grocery store since my big trip, but that is for things like milk, bread, cold cuts and fruit- not for anything actually related to making dinner. And, of course, for our "Cookie!"