June 20, 2011

Meal Planning, Week of 6/20

I’ve decided to change up my meal planning posts a little bit.  Normally I would post which days I plan to prepare what, but I’ve found that I rarely follow that for every day.  Instead, I’m going to post Meal 1, Meal 2, etc.  I might switch meals around based on how busy our evening is or what leftovers we have on hand.  Sometimes I prepare these meals at my dad’s, sometimes we stay in, sometimes we abandon the plans altogether and enjoy a night out at a restaurant.  Having the plan is key for me, though.  When I don’t make up a meal plan, I find we are much  more likely to dine out and spend more money.

This meal plan is for a family of 3.  We often have at least one friend or family member over to share a meal with us during the week.  Since I factor the cost of the meal when I first prepare it, leftovers will be marked as $0.  When we dine out, it comes from a different part of the family budget and those expenses will also show $0.

Meal 1

Pasta with veggies and feta

Approximate cost--$4

Ways I saved on this meal—The pasta was free after coupon and sale at Kroger.  The veggies will be mostly from my garden with a bit of broccoli and cauliflower from the farmers market mixed in. To make the sauce/binder, I’ll add the feta to the pasta and veg while still warm.  The feta will melt slightly, giving the pasta a creamier taste.  Then I’ll add some olive oil and a bit of lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs to make the final product.  The feta was from the farmers market and is $6 a pack.  I’ll use about a third of it tonight.

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Meal 2

Steak stir fry

Approximate cost--$6

Ways I saved on this meal—I’ll slice a little meat off of some of the sirloin we have in the freezer, saving the rest for another meal.  The sirloin was part of the 1/8 of a steer we purchased earlier in the year at about $3.10/lb (local, pastured).  The cabbage, onions, Chinese cabbage, peppers, carrots, and squash will come from my garden.  I’ll add a little garlic I bought at Three Rivers Market (TRM) when it was on sale and some of the broccoli and cauliflower I mentioned above from the farmers market.  The brown rice was bought in bulk on sale, also at TRM.  The sauce is a little different each time.  I add some ginger (might get some fresh since TRM has it on sale this week for a great price), a little cayenne, sesame seeds and soy sauce.  I sometimes add a bit of molasses or honey to the sauce, sometimes I don’t.  I use coconut oil which I buy through Mountain Rose Herbs in bulk as my cooking oil. 

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Meal 3

Dinner Out

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—We have plans to enjoy a meal at a restaurant this week thanks to a freebie through MyPoints

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Meal 4

Potato and Kale Soup

Approximate cost--$3

Ways I saved on this meal—I have some stock in the freezer that I’ll use as the base of the soup.  The potatoes are from the farmers market, and the onions, carrots, and kale are from our garden.  The milk was bought from a local farmer at the market, cheaper per gallon than organic in the grocery.  The flour is some that we mill at home with wheat we bought in bulk.

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Meal 5

Leftovers

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—Cook once, eat twice.  Love that!

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Meal 6

Supper with family

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—We’ve been invited to have supper with family this week.  I’ll bring something from the garden and a hostess gift as a thank you.

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Meal 7

Sandwiches

Chips and Salsa

Veggies and dip

Approximate cost--$5

Ways I saved on this meal—In summer months I try to avoid heating up the kitchen with cooking when I can.  Sometimes it is nice to just have a simple meal of a few different kinds of sandwiches (made from whatever we have on hand) and some sides.  I’ll use whatever we have from the garden with a little homemade vinaigrette and some extra Ranch we had leftover from a trip to Chick-fil-a.  The salsa is locally made, and we buy it in a case through TRM in order to get an extra 10% off with our share discount.  The chips were some I picked up at Kroger when on sale.

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