Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shopping and Planning Meals for a Month

It is an event. I open my cookbook cupboard, take down my faithful four, spread out at the kitchen table, brew some tea, and plan. I plan out my meals for the entire month. Like a budget, there is room for flexibility. If I plan focassia bread pizza, but really feel like eating BLT’s, then I let myself switch it up etc.

But, my biggest struggle is knowing what to fix. Once I know, I can make. Once I make, I can eat.

I also do my shopping once a month, excluding items like milk and eggs. It does help that all my produce comes from my garden, orchard, and I preserve it all for the winter. I rarely am forced to buy out of season. I do find myself reaching for some apples and oranges in January, but for the most part we eat what we grow.

I’ve often had people ask what this once-a-month shopping and planning looks like. (Note: if you do it right you will save a bundle of food money.)

Here is my list of what to buy this month and a list of meals for the month. I don’t make the same meals each month. Each month looks different. I also don’t plan sides for my meals. I come up with those the day of.

Shopping List:

2 whole chickens
5 lbs of beef
Find fun meat on sale, like steak etc.
3 packs of bacon
5 packs of morning sausage
Ice cream
Sour cream
Butter sticks and tub
Feta cheese
Cous cous
Noodles of all types
10 various soups
Various canned beans
Corn bread mix
Dry It. dressing
Balsamic vinegar
Frozen fries
10 frozen dollar meals for H’s lunch
Frozen burritos
2 frozen pizzas
Focassia bread
10 healthy bread loaves
10 cheap white bread for the kids (they eat way too many PB&J to buy them fancy bread)
3 bagel loafs
Fruit snacks
Granola bars
Apple juice boxes
T. paper
Aluminum foil
Dish soup
Baby puffs and mum mums


I plan 4 to 5 meals per week and allow for some leftovers, but leftovers are mainly eaten for lunches the next day.

Week 1:
Crepes and sausage
Roasted Chicken
Teriyaki noodle chicken
Frozen pizza
Meatloaf sandwiches

WK 2:
Taco soup with corn bread
Leftover soup
Super Easy Chicken Meal
Mac and Tuna Casserole

WK 3:
Pita Bread Pizza
Hamburgers and Fries
Zucchini Garden Chowder
Greek Tom Salad with grilled Ch.

WK 4:
Crustless Zucchini Tom. Quiche
Steak and pesto/tom pasta
Whole Ch with sides

(I often switch meals in week 1 for meals in week 4.)

Even though the day I go shopping is crazy and somewhat insane, it is way better than doing it once a week or twice a month. Taking my kids to the grocery store is not what I like to do with my time and with them.

Plus, I had to change my shopping and buying habits once we moved to the farm and live 30 mins. away from any legitimate grocery store.


Jennifer said...

You are so amazing!!!!

Jen Rouse said...

I started doing the once-a-month grocery thing a few years ago and it makes life so much easier to just look at a list of meals hanging on the side of the fridge and know that I have what I need to make any one of those things. Having no orchard or a large garden, I think I buy a lot more produce than you do. Plus, don't you find yourself needing to stop at the store in the middle of the week for things like milk and eggs? I feel like no matter how much I stock up on those things, we're alway running low.

The Austin Family said...

I wish I could be that organized, my husband is just so picky about his meals. We bought a whole steer this year and it was a great deal, something to think about if you have a big freezer. We ended up getting everything for about $2.30/lb. Which is a great deal when you consider the cost of some of the cuts. So now we never have to buy beef and we have high quality, local, organic meat anytime we want!

Rebekah said...

We do have a big freezer, and I've thought about buying beef etc. But I fill it up with jam, corn, etc. And I am super lucky that my husband eats whatever I make. The boys join right in. The only thing he doesn't like is leftovers too much and not the very next day. I don't really either.

Jen, I do go once a week just at the local, small store to get milk and eggs and a random thing here and there, but the trip doesn't soak of all my time and energy and is something I can handle with three little boys.

Sally said...

That's awesome! I wish I could do that. My fault is that I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to cook extravagant food networkish delicious meals. But with that comes the fact that I blow through my 2 week grocery budget in the first week. I need to teach myself balance in my grocery shopping... I just don't know how. We have done the meat thing and are now doing the pork thing. More pork in my freezer than I care to eat in fact.

Rebekah said...

Good point Sally. I don't live to cook or really love it. I do it. I love saving money. I love efficiency. Maybe that is why this works for me.

Rebekah said...

Oh, and I do love family meals. We eat all our meals together at the table. That is the major motivation.

Jessica and Jason said...

I love to see how other mommies do this. Thanks for sharing!

The Hotrum Family said...

Wow that is truly impressive. I can barely plan a week of meals. But in my defense I only have the freezer on top of my fridge, so I can't really plan too far out or I run out of room! One question for you...what are mum mums??

Rebekah said...

Mum Mums are these great snacks for babies. They are like a wafer cookie and they can hold them, but the are like puffs in texture so the child can't choke on them. I used them in the car with my middle son to keep him happy. I use them now to keep my baby happy when he's stuck in his high chair and I'm needing to cook etc.

Sally said...

Yes... Mum Mum's = happy baby!


Momma Such said...

Sounds great, although I'm not sure how you fit a months worth of groceries in a shopping cart? I usually have to bring my mother in law with me and I fill 2 carts and that lasts about a week and a half here.
I'm with you on the outnumbered thing too! I have 4 boys!
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Rebekah said...

Momma Such,

It fills two carts to overflowing. The people at Winco must think I look desperate because I always get help. I can usually make it to the check-out, but then they step in. I've even gotten them to pack my groceries. Once a young gal behind me helped. I hope when she's a mom she gets help from another nice young gal etc.

4 Boys! Many praise. I must go to bed early tonight. Sleep makes me a better mom. My boys were very physical tonight...wrestle mania. I was dreading when number three can join in the dog piles.