Tuesday, February 26, 2013

what's for dinner.

I don't know about you, but one of my biggest pet peeves is trying to think of what to make for dinner each night. I don't really mind cooking dinner, or even shopping for the ingredients, but thinking of what to make seems to be the hardest part! Once we've finally decided what we want, walk down to the shops to buy it and then get home to make it- it is nearly 9pm and I am totally over it. Not to mention, going to the store every single day is probably the best way to spend the most money on your groceries- which is not really the goal, right?!

Two weeks ago I decided there HAD to be a better way. I was getting really tired of the nightly arguments discussions on what was for dinner, the daily trips to the store and eating dinner at bedtime, so I decided to start a weekly meal plan. To tell you the truth, I had been wanting to do this for a long time but was making it waaaay to complicated of a process in my mind that I never thought I had the time. Instead, I have come up with a much easier and faster way to meal plan that has seemed to make all the difference these last two weeks. So what am I doing you ask?

1. I sit down (usually with Max) on Sunday night and make a list of 5 meals for the week. Easy meals... nothing too crazy or even new. Just 5 meals that we would normally eat (5 minutes)

2. I write the menu on the wall above the stove for all to see (2 minutes)

3. I make a shopping list that includes everything we need to make these meals plus the other normal things we need each week like bread and milk and fruit... and cheese, haha (10 minutes)

4. I go shopping on Monday and buy ALL the food for the week.

With less than 20 minutes of preparation, I have planned dinner for the week and avoided the nightly "what's for dinner" argument discussion.

So what was on the menu last week??

Monday-
24 February 2013- dinner005

Tuesday-
24 February 2013- dinner004

Wednesday- we went out for dinner (very rare for us!)

Thursday-
24 February 2013- dinner003

Friday-
24 February 2013- dinner002

Saturday-
24 February 2013- dinner006

Questions??

Why only 5 meals?
- Well, I want to plan for 5 specific meals to allow for things like leftover night or going out to dinner. Also, our weekends are usually very unpredictable and almost always involve BBQs, etc. Plus, some nights you just feel like having toast for dinner...

Aren't these meals kind of boring?
- Well, yes and no. They are just normal, everyday meals that I make pretty regularly. Cooking new or overly complicated recipes seemed to overwhelm me in the menu making step and that, my friends, was not part of the plan. I want to make things EASIER on myself. If this plan continues to work for the next few weeks, I might think of throwing in new things here and there. But let's face it... I am a pretty simple minded kind of cook :)

Does this actually help you save money?
- Yes, I really think it does. I was recently reading a blog where the writer was talking about how much money she spends on groceries for she and her husband ($150-$200 a month) and was in total shock! We spend waaaaaay more than that each week... and we only have one of our kids part-time and the other doesn't even eat food yet!! Of course, this was an American blog where the cost of living is much, MUCH cheaper compared to Australia, but I still felt like every time we go down the to the shop for some bread and apples it ends up costing $50. I am new to this whole "shopping for the entire week" thing, but I do believe it will end up saving us some money and TIME. Now if I could only get my husband to pack his lunch everyday... :)

So what about you? Do you meal plan? Does it help you save money? Do you have any suggestions for easy, simple meals? Is it seriously possible for real people to only spend $200 a month on food??!?!?!!?

And just incase you are looking to start something like this, I will continue to share pictures of our meals via Instagram- user name ourlifedownunda

Happy cooking friends! xoxo

8 comments:

  1. $200 a month?? No way. Not possible.

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    1. AGREE!! I couldn't believe it when I first read it. But imagine how great that would be if that was possible. [dreaming!]

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  2. Love this post, friend! I love meal planning and I think it helps me to be so much more intentional with what we eat. And I totally agree that it is a big money saver. Although, I do not think I could ever get our grocery budget down to $200/month (seriously, we probably more than twice that). That is crazy cheap! xoxo

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    1. Thanks Cassie! Yes, I am really liking it so far (beginning week 3 now) and hope it helps with some money saving or at least gives me an idea of what we actually spend on food. Right now I am at about $150 a week... or more, hehe.

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  3. What are party potatoes? They look good! There is no way someone spends 200 a month! Glad to know we aren't the only meal planning family :)

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    1. Ahh, I will have to do a recipe for that one! They are really yummy (very unhealthy) mashed potatoes. My mom's recipe :) And yea, $200 is crazy cheap!

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  4. I've been menu planning for about 2 years and I found this website which has been very helpful. Since I love to pull recipes out of magazines and newspapers, I keep a large folder full of recipe idea which is great when you don't know what you are hungry for or just plain out of ideas!

    http://orgjunkie.com/menu-plan-monday-guidelines

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the website Stacy! I looks great and we all know I can use as much help as I can get :)

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