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Old 01-16-2010, 08:34 PM   #1
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Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

Hey mamas! I'm trying to cut down out grocery bill and start actually planning a weekly menu with recipes that are "frugal" I'd like to keep meals to under $10 each daily meal so I can manage to spend about $70-80 a week on groceries. I'm a decent cook and can manage to follow most recipes but really have no idea how to plan and shop for a weekly menu. I'd really like to use recipes with a minimal of prep. time and also avoid a bunch of pre-packaged foods. We generally do a frozen pizza every Tuesday (dance classes so not much time for dinner)...so that's easy at least...but I really need help making meal planning easy and inexpensive. What do y'all do for meal planning?

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:56 PM   #2
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

I shop on wed when the new sales fliers go into effect, some do double ad day where you get the deals from the old and new flier. Go through pick the store or stores that have the most appealing ads and plan from there. I also buy on sale. BS chix breast can be found somewhere on sale for $1.99 or less every 2-3 weeks so I always buy about 3 weeks worth or more if its a way better deal.

http://www.cheapcooking.com/costperserving.htm
thats great to know if cheaper cuts are really worth it

I also buy staples like rice in bulk $10 for 25lbs vs $1.50 for 1lb bag makes since right? I just use it as I normally would not necessarily to get it used up fast.

this week we did
chix fajitas with onion, bell pepper and avocados were on 3/$1 so 2 of those mexican rice(from giant rice bag) but i burnt it LOL
spaghetti w/meat sauce(meat from freezer not on sale this week)
steak, baked potatos, salad, garlic cheddar biscuts
chix stroganoff w/wheat egg noodles and zuchinni
breakfast burritos with extra tortillas and the other avocado(breakfast)
broccoli beef using steak since it was cheaper than ground beef this week WTH? frozen broccoli floretts, again cheaper than fresh and rice from my massive bag.
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:00 PM   #3
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

adding, I chopped all the onions for the week at once and put them in a container because i hate chopping them. had 3 meals with onions so it made it easier to just grab a handfull or whatever and throw it in. I also sometimes do a chop-a-thon and just slice and chop everything for 2 or 3 days so i just have to throw it all together and cook it.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:07 AM   #4
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

in thrifty families forum there is a great thread on this: http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/...d.php?t=896468 as for simple, i have a new system I will be trying out soon and hopefully I can get back to you about a suuuuper easy way to feed your crew.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:35 AM   #5
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

Blessings to you! Meal planning is still something I need to get under my belt. :-) My first baby is due in 12 days, and I'm trying to get some things prepared ahead of time. I know this is a little different than what you were asking for, but it may help... I got an idea today to try something instead of "freezer meals", but to do a "meal kit". One thing I remember my mom doing is cooking up a bunch of hamburger / chicken / etc. and freezing that already cooked. I am thinking of doing this, and dividing it into 1/2 lb. portions. Then it's ready to go. She had a few recipes that are easy "throw-togethers" out of basic ingredients (canned veggies, spices, etc.). So, I'm gonna set the cans aside for each meal, and the meat labeled in the freezer, measure any dry ingredients and put them together.
It's just as simple to cut up three onions (or green peppers, etc.) as it is to cut up one. Sometimes it's helpful to cut up extra when you're cooking and freeze it, so next time your prep work is already done! Then I can just throw in my crockpot or oven when I'm ready to cook.

This is really easy and something I fixed tonight. You can make meatballs, but I was short on time, so I just browned the meat. Here's what I did:

Serves 3
Cook, drain, set aside:
2/3 lb. ground beef (you can add some onion and garlic if you like)

In skillet or sauce pan on stove heat together on medium:
2/3 c. ketchup
2/3 c. grape jelly

When this is melted and mixed well, somewhat bubbly, add the meat back in and it's basically ready when it's all well-heated. If you like it a little more saucy just keep equal portions of grape jelly and ketchup. Sounds weird, but it's an awesome sweet & sour sauce!

Serve over rice, I made about 3 c. of rice - and I usually start the rice before I brown the meat and they're about ready at the same time.

Enjoy! :-)
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

Oh, I totally understand this! We just recently started doing the same thing!

We do a pizza roll...you can either buy a huge loaf of Italian bread from the bakery (1.49), or frozen bread dough, 2 C mozzerella cheese, 1/2 pound of salami, pepporoni, or ham (whatever you prefer, we use Turkey Pepp), and marinara sauce on the side.

You slice open the bread, put in the cheese, and the meat, bake for about 10 minutes on 375 degrees F, and then slice and serve with marinara sauce.

One big loaf cost us about 6.00, and it was delicious!

We also make Taco Soup: 1 pound g beef/turkey, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can corn, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can Rotel (mild tomatoes with green chilis), 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 pack taco seasoning, 1 pack Ranch dressing mix. (The small pack that you would make the dressing with)

Brown meat in a skillet, then mix with all of the cans, and spices...take the Rotel can, fill with water, and add that as well. Simmer until hot.

We top with cheese, and serve with crackers, or tortilla chips.

Tonight we are having BBQ chicken sliders. 6 chicken breast halves, 1.5 cups of your choice of BBQ sauce in the crockpot for 6 hours. Serve on a bun, or slider bun. We are having it with slaw, and potato salad.

Hope those are some fresh ideas for you! I understand the need to save money!
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:02 PM   #7
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

thanks for all the tips and advice so far! I really appreciate it! I found the thread in Thrifty families last night after asking this btw and it's very helpful! I used some of the ideas from it to build our menu for this week ^_^ Thanks for the tip about using the wednesday circulars (is that what they're called?) All we have here is Piggly Wiggly, Southern Family markets (basically a food world) and wal mart....I wish we had a publix or some of the grocery stores I've heard of from the northern states...I get non-food items at walmart...generally cheaper there...especially pull-ups...I'm hoping to get some cloth training pants soon though so we can cut that expense out. We use cloth on the baby though (DD#1s old stash) Anyway, off-topic...I think we did pretty good this week...$85 at the SFM...so much better than the $120 or so we'd been spending at Wal-mart when we lived with my Dad and it's much healthier food. I really want to work it down a little lower...with only 2 adults and a toddler eating, we should be able to manage to get it a little lower. I also have to work on stocking the "pantry" with sale items. Still trying to figure all this out. I can't wait for the mail to come in on Wednesday now so I can check the circulars and learn prices...I really have no idea what a good price is on different things...speaking of for frozen salmon fillets (in individually wrapped 4oz. pieces) 2lbs. for $9.99...is that a good price? It was the best price I could find at SFM and Walmart was a little more I think. We got it to have one day this week...found a great recipe for it on AllRecipes.com Anyway, thanks again!
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

start a price book on things you normally buy. Mine is in my head now LOL so I dont need it anymore. Also learn to identify the loss leaders on the ads. its usually the stuff on the top of the front page. Those are usually your best deals but not always, thats where the price book comes in if your planning to stockpile. Also while your shopping do the full circle, by that I mean start at one side and circle around the outside avoiding the aisles except the baking and frozen veggie rows that takes away so much temptation to buy prepackaged foods that you dont really need
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:49 PM   #9
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

If you have a Krogers ours had Rib eye steaks in vacuumed sealed package (2 pack) for 3.99 I did that with baked potatoes and a can of veggies for CHEAP
My DS, who is 2 and I share a steak and DH gets his own, then we each a backed potatoe or even 2 and some veggie and its a cheap and easy meal
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

here are some great ideas too, more on meal planning
http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/...d.php?t=902670
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