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Aug 6, 2012

Meal Planning

I seem to go through spurts with my meal planning.  I will plan my meals consistently for several months and then the next few months, I will slack off.  I can tell a major difference in our budget when I don't plan my meals for the week.  We tend to "run out" to get something to eat rather than eating a healthier and cheaper meal at home. For instance, last week, I didn't meal plan. I don't like to really grocery shop unless I plan because I tend to spend double $. So, guess what, hubby and I ate out 4 nights. :( 4 NIGHTS! Not good.  We save so much money and tend to eat more wholesome meals when I cook at home.  Plus, cooking for my husband is one of my favorite ways to serve him. :) He loves to eat. <3 I thought I would share with you my strategy for meal planning and a sample menu (which happens to be this week's)  Every week may be different, the kids are into different activities, etc.  With little man coming soon, I really want to be able to effectively and time efficiently plan my meals so I am not scrounging around the kitchen trying to find something to cook! Once school starts and the girls are in dance two days a week, the crockpot becomes my best friend!

I have adopted the "cook once, eat twice...or more" strategy. This strategy is so simple, yet so filling! For example. This week I will buy a whole chicken and roast or boil it.  This gives me chicken for more than one meal for my family.  I can purchase a whole chicken for half the price of chicken breasts for 1-2 meals! If hubby requests something different, then I can shred the chicken, place it in a freezer bag with a little stock, and freeze it for another day. I like to do this with other things I cook as well. (as you will see this week) Aly, the oldest, is extremely picky.  So I know that she will not eat most of what I fix, but with each meal, I try to fix something she likes as well or I will modify hers. For instance, on chalupa night, I will fix her a quesadilla.  Macy, the youngest, will eat anything I put in front of her. Ha!

On my menu, you will see "or Salmon Cakes"  I always have pantry meals available should hubby want something totally different on a specific night, I run low on time, or I have failed to go to the grocery store for the next week. Pantry meals are meals that I have on hand at any given time in my pantry or freezer.  I also double and freeze a lot of my meals, so those are on hand as well.  On average, I keep our 3 favorite meals frozen in the freezer (chicken rotel, pizza casserole, and baked spaghetti), also ingredients to make potato soup, salmon cakes, and a few others.  It is great to have these handy for those days you are just "feeling something different".

Also, on Saturdays, my husband usually takes us out to eat, unless he has a particularly rough week at work and just wants to relax at home.  I look forward to these date nights. 99.9% of the time we eat out at our favorite local Mexican Restaurant.

Also, my menu strategy changes from week to week as well.  We have the girls every other week. So the weeks it is just Tony and I, I do not cook nearly as much.  For instance, we normally go out to eat on Wednesdays to eat chicken wings. :)

Here is my menu for this week: We have our "favorite" meals, so I tend to fix those at least twice a month. You will also notice, my dinners are cost effective.  Very important!

Monday: (grocery store day so I do not like to "cook") After going grocery shopping, I am "fooded" out! lol.
               We will have turkey, swiss, and mushroom paninis with ranch and cucumbers
Tuesday: Roast chicken, crock pot pintos and greenbeans
Wednesday: Chalupas (using pintos for refried beans) with lots of veggies on top
Thursday:  Chicken Fried Rice
Friday: Leftovers, or if I don't have leftovers, Salmon cakes with greenbeans and mashed potatoes
Saturday: Family date night or Chili (hubby's request)
Sunday: Dirtbike racing Sunday afternoon, so Chili if I don't fix it Saturday, or sandwiches. (I will freeze any
             leftover chili.

That's how it is done in the Deal house. :) Like I said, I slack sometimes, most of the time Especially this summer, I didn't plan at all. I just know how much money I save and how much happier hubby and I are when I do.  My goal is to eventually be able to do monthly planning rather than weekly planning. With our little bundle of joy coming in December, I really want to hold myself accountable with this area of my homemaking. :) Let me know if you want to start seeing some of my weekly meal plans and more recipes on here.

This post is linked to Time-Warp Wife!


  1. You are so cute!! I just found your blog! I look forward to going through it and checking some stuff out! I would deff. like to see some of your meal plans for your busy weeks. My oldest child is starting Cheerleading, so that is going to be a change for us!

  2. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Lindsey! It's run, run, run once our little ones start after school activities! I will definitely post some of my meal plans for those busy weeks. :) Good luck to your oldest starting cheerleading!