Monday, March 2, 2009

Meal Prep/ planning on a budget 101

Step One: Make Lovely charts that lay out precisely what meals you are planning for each week and where and what you need for those meals to happen.

Step Two: Hunker down with a nice piece of paper ( I make a list for the store and a calendar of the week I'm planning for) and a stack of cookbooks from your book shelf.

Step Three: Find fun healthy, happy meals that satisfy the needs of your family and budget.

Step Four: SHOP, bring only cash and set aside an amount of Money every week for those things you need, be frugal, you really get creative when you need to. The amount we go by is $100 a month for every person, hence our home= 2 people= $200 a month for food= $50 a week. Easy, trust me... I make wonderful things with that amount you can too.
Trick is, STOP BUYING PROCESSED FOODS! Make it yourself, you can do it, I PROMISE!
Step Five: Make it one of your goals in the week to make everything you planned on making, I understand life happens and things don't always go as they planned, ie: I planned on making Chinese Chicken Salad Saturday night and my hubs and I ended up eating artichokes and french fries instead. just depends... but every other night this week except Friday and Saturday, I made what was on my list. It's really important to stick with it! It's rewarding!!!!! And fun!!!!

Step Six: This little trick I've learned is a GREAT way to get in your veggies and fruits during the day, before a meal while you're cooking, set out a few bowls on the table, olives, grapes, cut apples, orange slices, come over, we've got a TREE full that need harvesting, bananas, carrots and ranch, pickles, etc. It helps you and your loved ones get the fruit and veggies they need, and helps them fill up on the good stuff, which meals they'll eat less during the meal, and you'll have more left overs for lunches.

hint: Lunches are rarely made in our home, it's a rare thing, maybe once a week, we just take leftovers. Live with it, you don't want to waste right? Even if you don't want to eat it, just do it.
hint: each meal should cost somewhere within these ranges:
Dinner: $2 per person per meal
Lunch: $2 per person per meal
Breakfast: 75 cents or less per person per meal.
it isn't THAT hard planning out how much meals cost, ask me, I'll help you.

Another thing is that this $50 a week does NOT include household items, toilet paper, paper towels, make up, soaps, shampoo and conditioner. There is another budget for that, about $35 a month on those things, so about $85 total. I do use the home made laundry soap and dish washing soap, this saves LOADS of cash.
Here I go, I'm going to walk you through what I'm planning for this week:
March 2-8
Monday: Italian Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, green beans, foccia, & banana pudding pie

We're having company tonight, but I'm still going to try and stay in budget as far as this meal goes:
From the Jessica Seinfeld Deceptively Delicious cookbook:

The idea behind her cookbook is that you're hiding pureed veggies in all the recipes from the book. We've tried a few, but I just adore this idea, my husband hasn't LOVED all of them, but for the most part, they've been enjoyed by both of us.

Tuesday: Chicken and Sausage Paella
{Since we were invited over to my mother in laws Friday for pizza, I didn't get to make this recipe, but I have all the ingredients for it!}

Wednesday: Sloppy Joes
{I'm going to try yet another meal from Jessica Seinfeld's recipe book, I'll also try and make it today, my day off, and put it in the fridge for Wednesday.}

Thursday: Tuna Cassarole
{bible study night, I'll most likey make this thursday morning, throw it in the fridge till I can cook it when I get home from work thursday around 5:30pm}

Friday: Chicken Corn Chowder

Saturday: Dinner with Suzanne and Martha, we're making ravioli

Sunday: Left- overs


Lydia said...

wow that is so impressive!
And it all sounds so delicious! Seems like your system works super well. Go you!!

RachelRuelas said...

aw thanks Lyd.
:) it's taken time to develope, and It's BEYOND helpful to know, ok, monday night, walk into the kitchen, i have everything and i know what to make.
it's lovely.
i only hope I can keep it up with I have babies