I come from a long line of frugal women. My mom can smell a deal on the cheap from ten miles away; my grandmother could make about a million different meals using canned tomato soup. While I have always been a fan of getting great deals–I never met a clearance rack I didn’t like–I have recently committed to living more frugally, with the long-term aim of saving more money for our family to do the things we love. In this spirit, I have renewed my love affair with menu-planning.
Yes, I said it: I love menu-planning. There is nothing like getting all the shopping done for a two week period, and being able to prep in advance so you can spend more time with your kids instead of with your stove. There is also something truly satisfying about buying only what you need and being able to use some multi-tasking ingredients to create several delicious meals, while eliminating extra food waste. So, I menu plan. Some weeks, I do better than others, but in general, menu-planning gives me the ability to save money, save time and save my sanity.
I use a great smartphone app as my primary menu-planning tool: PepperPlate. It allows me to import or manually enter and tag/catalogue recipes; plan meals in a calendar view; and extract my shopping list from selected recipes and meal plans. I love it. I also love coupons, and try to save at least 25% on each grocery shopping trip (hooray for King Soopers: their receipts tell you right at the end how much you saved in in-store deals and coupons). When planning, I typically plan two weeks at a time (but I will only post one at a time here). I always plan dinners, and some breakfasts. I don’t plan weekday lunches, as those usually consist of leftovers; but I do plan Shabbat lunches, unless we are invited somewhere else. We don’t usually eat a formal dinner on Saturday; Shabbat lunch fills us up, and then we may have some light, “real food” snacks in the evening.
I started posting my menus here after visiting the blog I’m an Organizing Junkie, and seeing all the great menus and resources that Laura had posted for planning and saving on family meals.
In the coming weeks, I will be cleaning out my freezer (where I have stored at least two weeks worth of meals, soups and sides) in preparation for Passover (Pesach in Hebrew). I am both making room for Pesach foods, and trying to clear out non-Pesach items that I do not wish to “sell” before the holiday. What this means for my weekly plan is that I get a little more time out of the kitchen prepping meals in the coming weeks, as I “shop” my freezer for dinner, instead of creating new meals.
Don’t be envious, though: Pesach planning and cooking requires time-and-a-half.
So, without further ado: this week’s menu plan…
Visit Organizing Junkie’s Web site for more Menu-Planning Monday resources