Frugal Village Forums banner
1 - 20 of 72 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got my blank calendar ready to go! I did really well in 2014 at planning my family's weekly meals (I stopped posting mostly because the rotation didn't change too much each month) and hope to best that record of 40 weeks by planning meals - primarily suppers as the other meals don't change too much or are reliant upon leftovers - for every single week in 2015!

If you'd like to join me, just share your weekly or monthly meal plans with the group. It may help some people to try new recipes or figure out how planning ahead can help save money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
I'd love to join in. Meal planning is something I have really wanted to do. Do you have any tips or suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For the last couple of years I've used one of the free wall calendars that I've received from places like my insurance agent, my church, etc. I hang it up on our fridge near our family calendar.

Each week I sit down and plan out our meals--usually just suppers as lunches and breakfasts don't require much planning and I utilize leftovers for those--around our events. Really busy nights require quick meals so we don't resort to running through the drive-thru. I generally go with something like soup and sandwiches, fast pasta dishes, or something in the crockpot that I can just have cooking during the day. Other nights, I just go with whatever I happen to have in the freezer that I can thaw, or I go with what's on sale. I also try to use one dish that can be stretched into more than one meal. For example, I will roast a chicken that we'll eat one night, then I'll take the rest of the chicken and use it for quesadillas or chicken and noodles or something like that.

I really strive to work with what goes on sale and stock up when I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
I need to do this challenge. I'm pretty good at planning meals 2-3 days out, but I really need to stretch it to 7 days. The hold up is that I have a tough time making up my mind between many good alternatives. The way I'm thinking, though, is I can just come up with a list of 7 things I can make from what I have on hand, do the basic prep on one or two days and then just choose day by day what I'll serve.

Breakfast is no problem. I usually have a baking day about every week to ten days and bake up 3 or 4 different items for a grab and go meal. Oatmeal or smoothies are daily options. Lunch is usually leftovers.

I have more than one reason to menu plan:

-Use up what I have on hand
-Know when I prepped a meal so it gets used rather than languishing in my fridge
-Rotate more new recipes into regular use (I'm beginning to explore Russian food)
-Take advantage of sales
-Spend less so that I can spend more when good meat deals come along

Dinners this week:

Panko shrimp--today
Ravioli (Italian sauce is in the fridge)
Curry Rice (curry beef is in the fridge)
Broccoli cheese soup (made yesterday)
Chicken salad (made from the chickens I roasted on Monday)
Spinach mushroom quiche (all items on hand)
Alfredo mac and cheese (all items on hand--make this if daughter's besty comes over, she will like it)

Okay, that's 7. I also have enough stuff on hand to choose other meals such as baked mostaccioli, chicken picatta, or gyoza.

There is a good chicken breast sale beginning tomorrow. I also have a large pork loin in my fridge that needs to be cut into meal sized portions and stashed in the freezer. Pork will go into (among others) a pulled pork crock pot meal and be sliced and frozen as cutlets for tonkatsu (a fried Japanese dish).

I have at least 3 meals in my freezer: pork chops with apples, island pork, and honey sesame chicken.
I might have more but can't check right now because everything is jammed in my fridge freezer because the stand-alone freezer has just been defrosted. It's the small type--dishwasher sized.

Clearly, my struggle with menu planning is that I have too many options at the moment. Now that's something I need to think about.

Kind regards,

Sally
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
If you're still looking for ideas on how to go about planning your meals, here are some links to some meal-planning sites/blog posts/etc. that I found on Pinterest! Some contain free printables you can take advantage of if that suits you!

Search for "free meal planning" - I am THAT Lady
This gal has three different meal plans including grocery lists available on her blog. I was particularly interested in trying them because her grocery lists come from Aldi. I tried the crock pot plan and the gluten free plan. The crock pot one was terrific. In fact, I invested $1.97 and got the file downloads (optional).

The gluten free one was just okay. There was some overlap with the crock pot one.

After over a month of having crock pot meals available in my freezer, I'm hooked on this method.

Kind regards,

Sally
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
I'm in! I do real well when I meal plan, and it's helpful all around. I put it on my google calendar, hubby can see it. That way if I forget to pull out the protein before going to bed to thaw, he will. Also, it takes a LOT of stress out of my day. I get up early, run kids to daycare, drive to work, work 8 hrs, drive home, grab kids, we do homework, dinner baths, bed. I don't have time to go "uhhhhh what can I make?" It also makes me utilize left over proteins and stuff I buy gets used!

I will post by the weekend end, my January meal plan!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
I so need to do this that way I will be able to utilize what I have in the freezers. I am sure there is a bunch of stuff in there that is just beyond being good. I have a bad habit of buying stuff and putting it on top so when I want some burger I just take what is the closest to me which is always the new stuff. I need to take stock and defrost them both so that I can take an inventory. Thank you for starting the challenge!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I would like to join this challenge with ya'll. I use to menu plan where the meals would be in the house but not necessarily on that specific night. I have gotten away from it and my grocery bill shows it. My freezer and pantry are full so ill just pull some things together and make do. I'm off this week so maybe I can get some things accomplished. Tonight we are having butternut squash soup with ham.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,091 Posts
I'm in I need to do this again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
Meal plan thus far for January:

1/1- beef pot pies (1 for dinner, make 2 for freezer)
1/2- sausage, kraut and taters
1/3- pizza night
1/4-L/O
1/5- Alfredo pasta
1/6 grilled cheese and tom soup
1/7- taco pasta
1/8-lemon pepper fish packets
1/9- sloppy joes
1/10- bacon Mac n cheese
1/11- butternut squash soup
1/12- L/O
1/13- stuffed shells and garlic bread
1/14- BBQ pulled pork
1/15- L/O

I gotta do freezer inventory, then I'll finish off the month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,430 Posts
I am in for this one. It matches with the freezer/pantry challenge and hopefully will also help with not wasting what we have on hand. 2015 needs to be the year to use what I have wisely, to limit waste as much as possible and to eat out much less. So much healthier for the family and more frugal to boot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
Alright here's the other half of the month!

1/16- spinach artichoke pasta
1/17- split pea soup
1/18- L/O
1/19- round steak n gravy
1/20- pad Thai
1/21- leftovers
1/22- beef tenderloin (DH birthday dinner)
1/23- tuna cassarole
1/24- L/O
1/25- venizun fajitas
1/26- brucaluna and pasta
1/27- L/O
1/28-ven strognauf
1/29- BLTs
1/30- L/O
1/31- lasagna w/ garlic bread.

Whew! 1/12 months done! :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: nuisance26

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Meal plan thus far for January:

1/1- beef pot pies (1 for dinner, make 2 for freezer)
1/2- sausage, kraut and taters
1/3- pizza night
1/4-L/O
1/5- Alfredo pasta
1/6 grilled cheese and tom soup
1/7- taco pasta
1/8-lemon pepper fish packets
1/9- sloppy joes
1/10- bacon Mac n cheese
1/11- butternut squash soup
1/12- L/O
1/13- stuffed shells and garlic bread
1/14- BBQ pulled pork
1/15- L/O

I gotta do freezer inventory, then I'll finish off the month.
Way to plan ahead, Raiquee! That's AWESOME!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Raiquee

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Can ad Admin please make this thread a Sticky for us? Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Hi everyone, so far I have only planned my menu until my son leaves to go back to college. He wanted some of his favorite meals before he has to become his own cook again ;)
1/1-homemade pulled bbq pork, collards, black eye peas, and cornbread
1/2 leftovers
1/3 his choice of restaurant- within reason- to celebrate his birthday
1/4 beef roast in crockpot with veggies and rice
1/5 leftovers
1/6 chicken salsa burritos with nachos
1/7 sausage, potato, and kale soup
1/8 homemade alfredo pizza
1/9 breakfast
1/10 cube steak with gravy in crockpot over rice, veggie
1/11 shrimp with pesto noodles, garlic bread
1/12 whatever son leaves in the fridge for leftovers--- he leaves to go back to college
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,430 Posts
Today I planned the menu for the entire month of January. Now I am going to track it daily to determine how well we followed the plan, how well the plan used what is in the pantry/freezer and the impact on the grocery budget. Additionally I want to see how well the plan fit into my families schedules and needs. Did it help us to eat healthier, waste less food, spend less and stress less?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I finally got my menu plan figured out for the next two weeks. (YEAH! Two out of four weeks planned!) Here's what I have planned:
1 - Sage-seasoned pork chops w/ dill potatoes
2 - Dirty Rice
3 - Marlboro Man Sandwiches w/ homemade fries (yep, it's a Pioneer Woman recipe!)
4 - Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie
5 - Spaghetti w/ meat sauce
6 - Worcestershire chicken w/ rice
7 - Homemade pizza
8 - Chuck roast and mashed potatoes
9 - Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
10 - Eat out
11 - Beans (in the crock pot)
12 - Sloppy Joes w/ homemade fries
13 - Enchiladas
14 - Cavatini & garlic bread
15 - Find your own supper/leftovers
16 - Beans and noodles
17 - Lomein and cashew chicken

LOTS of make-your-own-takeout this month! I also always have hot dogs, mac & cheese (I do still buy this rather than make it myself), cereal, homemade waffles and pancakes (in the freezer), etc. on-hand in the event something unexpected comes up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nuisance26

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,714 Posts
~I'm in. I planned 2/3 of our dinners last year. There was some procrastination time between planning as well as over-cooking which resulted in leftovers or this-and-that-use up-meals.

I plan for a month at a time also. It's just easier and we get a lot of variety that way. Still haven't planned for this month(apart from a full baked ham dinner on NYD). Still eating LO. Will need to have a plan in place next week when we all go back to work.

I plan with this structure:
Sunday- family favorite meal, sometimes have meat
Monday-soup and bread, salad if we have fixins, meatless
Tuesday-casserole or pasta, salad, meatless
Wednesday-family favorite like nuggets and mac & cheese, always have meat
Thursday-LO or breakfast for dinner, sometimes have meat
Friday- homemade pizza, salad, sometimes have meat
Saturday- burger/dogs/fish/veggies on the grill
~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
870 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So we've already had an unexpected meal come up when friends invited us over for supper last night. When that happens I usually just shift that meal to the next night's, but sometimes I just move it later in the month. As it was, I did the former with tonight's meal.

So my month has an extra meal in it somewhere down the line!
 
1 - 20 of 72 Posts
Top