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Old 01-03-2008, 08:38 PM   #1
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Weekly Menu?

Hello,
I have to cut our grocery bill down. I am constantly going to the store with no real plan and hardly ever coming home with something we can actually eat . So, I have decided to start a weekly meal plan.
I am a student, wife and Mama of two, so I don't have a lot of time. I am also trying to lose a couple of pounds so I don't want to use a lot of cream based soups, etc.
I NEED HELP!!! Please! I have looked online and I don't want to pay for something unless I really need to. Any advice or websites or books available or other resources would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Weekly Menu?

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Weekly Menu?

http://www.kraftfoods.com
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:44 PM   #4
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Re: Weekly Menu?

You can check out www.hillbillyhousewife.com for a couple cheap menu plans.

The more things you make that involve veggies (and little or no meat) the healthier it is, and the less expensive it will be. Rice is cheap & very versatile, and if you do brown rice it's more healthy. Don't go to the grocery store hungry, and always take a list.

Crockpot recipes are great, because you can do a big batch and have leftovers for lunches or freeze some and have a ready made meal for another day.

HTH
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: Weekly Menu?

Thanks Mama's! Keep em coming!
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:59 PM   #6
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Re: Weekly Menu?

Does anyone actually do a menu or am I being unrealistic?
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: Weekly Menu?

Lots of mamas do menus! Us included! There are a ton of threads in the crock-pot sticky for crock pot ideas, also I think in the Thrifty Families forum there are some sample menus and shopping lists. Those might be a good place to start. HTH mama!!
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:17 PM   #8
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Re: Weekly Menu?

We do a menu for each paycheck to simplify shopping, save money and stop the never ending questioning about what we're having for dinner. My parents live with us and we have a boarder, so there are a lot of hungry, interested people.

One thing we recently did to cut costs a little bit is schedule spaghetti, bread and salad 2x a week. It also simplified cooking since that's so easy to make. Other than those days, we just kinda rotate through our normal meal list until someone complains or asks for something special. Once or twice in each 2 week period we will have a leftovers night, but most leftovers get eaten at lunch time. HTH!
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:47 AM   #9
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Re: Weekly Menu?

http://orgjunkie.com/ has Menu Plan Monday. I often look there for ideas when I make mine. I always make at least a week's menu on Sunday nights. Sometimes I make a month at a time if I'm feeling very industrious. It saves a lot of calories and money because I'm not scrambling to find something for dinner each night and I can look at the grocery sale ads on Sunday and kind of plan my week around what meat is on sale, KWIM?
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: Weekly Menu?

Gosh, it sounds like we are in the same boat. I have two dd, another dc on the way, and run a home daycare. If I didn't use a weekly meal plan, I would go crazy and my kids would be eating crap every night. About a year ago I really buckled down and started writing out a weekly menu plan. It is a lot of work, but soooo worth it in the end.

Some random suggestions that have helped me:

When I started, I tried to schedule 2 or 3 weeks worth of meals. That was just too much. I would suggest just starting with one weeks worth of meals and going from there. To make it easy, just pick some family favorites and do those the first week. My point is don't make it too complicated, or it will become complicated. I used to spend hours analyzing and thinking about my meal plan, when really most everyone can think of 7 dinners their family would enjoy, then use that as a jumping board to add more.

Make theme nights...for instance at our house, Sunday is always soup day. Sometimes in the crockpot, sometimes not. Monday's are my husband's night, I make a special meal I know he really likes on this night. We also try to make sure 3-4 nights are vegetarian nights. (this saves on the money, too!!) Like the previous poster, make 1 night a spaghetti night or a pizza night, mexican night....just taking the pressure off for a couple of nights really does help.

I know it is hard when you are trying to stay healthy, too. I am totally picky about feeding my family healthfully. It always seems like the fast and easy or mealplanning websites have recipes with lots of junk in them. I have found the simpliest meals are sometimes the best. Salad with grilled chicken (can make everything in advance!), soup, pasta (including the beloved spaghetti!), even sandwiches.

As far as suggestions as to where to find good, healthy, fast recipes....I just got Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals Cookbook and a lot of her stuff looks good. It's all geared toward quick or make ahead meals and most of it looks healthy. I also find some good things from watching the Food Network (Racheal Ray, Giada). I hate to spend hours at recipe websites, but allrecipes.com does have a lot of good recipes and the reviews are the best. The problem there is that there are sooo many recipes, it's hard to narrow it down. I usually try to narrow myself down to one new meal a week. That way I'm not bogged down in recipes.

Make a binder for your "go to" meals. I have a super simple binder that has a list in the front of non-recipe meals (spaghetti, etc.) as well as recipes that my family enjoys from cookbooks (with page numbers, etc.). Then I have printouts, or clippings from magazines, in the binder of meals my family has liked. I also made a section for recipes I want to try. That way when I go to plan meals, I have a big source of recipes to pull from. At first the binder doesn't seem to work so well because you won't have much in it, but since I started it (about 6 months ago) it really helps now.

I am not into those services that offer a weekly meal plan...I just don't think my family would go for all of it and I also think the recipes are too "special". I know that sounds silly, but I am sure they offer a different meal every night of the month, and that's totally unneeded and unwanted in my house. I mean, my kids could not live a whole month with just one day for spaghetti or tacos!

You CAN do this! It seems like a lot now, but just start one week at a time, get your binder (or other system) going, and you'll be smooth sailing really quickly!

Good luck,

Melissa
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