Thursday, May 01, 2008

Day 1 - Menu Planning/Grocery List Making

Tomorrow is our big grocery shopping trip for the month, so tonight has been very busy. I've added a few meals into our master menu plan and then filled out my monthly grocery list. Tomorrow I will scan and post here the menu plan for the month, my grocery list, and the receipt from the shopping trip. This method does take some time, but it has proven invaluable when it comes to sticking to our $300/month budget.

This month I will be able to use some coupons that I have found online as well some Kroger loyalty coupons that I just got in the mail yesterday. (Talk about timing! I love when I get those coupons just before a big trip!) Right now I am estimating our trip tomorrow to come in right around $265, minus the coupons, for a total of $256.24. This figure is taken from the standard shelf prices I've added to my grocery list as well as the advertised sale prices. (This will make much more sense tomorrow.) Usually the total comes in a bit lower because Kroger often has a lot of unadvertised sales.
My menu plan for the month includes all meals, side dishes, snacks, and desserts. I also plan heavily around what meals I will be able to freeze for later in the month. This really helps in stretching the produce as well. Here are my freezer plans for this month:
  • 4 bags (3 c. each) veggie-tomato sauce (I use this for all tomato-based meals from spaghetti to chili)
  • 1 Shepherd's pie
  • 2 batches sloppy joe meat
  • 2 batches meatballs (30/batch)
  • 1 1/2 dozen chicken fingers
  • 1 batch chicken in gravy sauce (to be used for chicken and dumplings, pot pie, or a casserole)
  • 1 dozen meatloaf cups
  • 1 tortilla pie casserole
  • 1 casserole of black bean & rice burritos
  • 1 vegetarian lasagna
  • 6 1/2 lb. pkgs browned ground beef (I freeze it this way so that I can stretch the meat in a casserole when possible, yet still have the option to use more meat if necessary.)
  • 20 calzones
  • 2 batches chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 batch molasses cookie dough
  • 1 batch oatmeal cookie dough
  • 3 batches french toast
  • 3 batches pancakes
  • 2 batches cinnamon roll dough
  • 1 batch breakfast cookie dough
  • 1 batch chocolate chip muffins
  • 1 loaf English Muffin bread
  • 1 batch whole wheat breadsticks

My ambitious goal every month is to have all of this food in the freezer by the 10th of the month. This rarely happens that quickly, but I will try again this month. As I start cooking and freezing, I plan on sharing all of the recipes and the methods I use to prepare/freeze the meals.

I spent some time this morning, following Joy's example, really getting my pantry, refrigerator/freezer, and baking cabinet cleaned out and organized. I can not believe how EMPTY everything is. (I'll show you tomorrow, hopefully.) My baking cabinet is still fairly full, but that's it. Honestly, in my refrigerator right now are 2 gallons of milk (each 1/4 full), 1/3 gallon of apple juice, and a few condiments in the refrigerator door. I am so excited to fill it up again tomorrow. Obviously though, I could use some work in stockpiling. I would love to get a built up surplus like Teresa has. I plan on starting to work on it a little at a time each month with any extras in the budget.

Because today was clean-out today, we did not eat anything exciting. We had toast and oatmeal for breakfast (finishing up the last of our bread and oatmeal), leftover tuna pasta salad for lunch, and ground beef and onions in homemade beef gravy over mashed potatoes with a side of corn for dinner. Hopefully our meals will be more exciting (or at least there will be one worth sharing the recipe for each day) for the rest of the month.

Don't forget to stop by Joy and Toni's blogs to see what adventures they have been up to in their kitchens today!


Lynnae 8:49 AM  

I love your planning! Question for you. Do you have a stand alone freezer, or will all of this fit in a fridge/freezer combo? We rent and don't have room for a stand alone freezer, but I'd love to give freezer cooking a try.

Nancy 9:41 PM  

You have a great plan. I hope you're able to achieve having it all in the freezer by the 10th. Won't that be a wonderful feeling of accomplishment? Tomorrow is my big shopping day. I go 2x a month and we've found that as long as I have my menu plan and organized shopping list in place when I go it really does save us money each month. Those trips to the store to get just "a few things" really add up. I feel challenged this month to keep my grocery budget in line because of you gals!

bluechillies 2:48 PM  

I have two questions. =)
1-Are you planning on uploading or typing the recipes that you will use for this plan.
2-Will you update the master shopping list to show how much is needed for each item?
I would love to follow along with you this month as your plan would best suit our family.

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