Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meal Planning

I'm in the process of finding the best way to buy groceries while staying in our budget.  I tried going once a month, which was super fun.  I LOVE getting a ton of groceries at one time.  :)  The down-side?  We run out of SOME things before it's time to go again.  Also, it's easy to spend more money than I need to when I shop that way.

So, now I'm trying going every two weeks.  I have a certain amount to spend on groceries, and then a little to spend on household items.  I HAVE to stay under a certain amount because I'm paying cash.  The only problem I see with this so far, is that there are going to be times when I run out of big things all at once, which is going to use up all my cash.  I'm not sure how to handle that yet, but it's a learning process I suppose.  :)


I'm going to share how I plan out meals in order to simplify my life a little bit.  :)  (I do NOT plan breakfast or lunch, because at this point at least, those are simple and easy.)

First, I go to my handy-dandy list of meal ideas.

Seriously.  WHY does it turn my pictures?  Grr.
 This is simply a list of supper ideas so I can just pick meals off of it and write them down on my monthly calendar.  I try to plan two weeks at a time.  (Obviously, I hadn't written anything down on here yet)  ;)

After I've planned out meals, then I check to see what I need to buy.  This helps me make sure that I only buy what I need for the next couple of weeks, which of course, keeps my grocery bill down (hopefully)!

More specifically, I want to share with you how I make meal preparation even EASIER.  We all want that, right?  I love to cook, but I also like things simple!

Since my family eats a lot of things with ground beef, I try to buy a family-size package.  It's pretty cheap for the amount of meals we can get out of it, which makes it a staple in our house!  We use it to make Hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, Meatloaf, Taco Meat, and Spaghetti.  I also lay aside a portion to use for baby food.

I always bought a big portion of beef, and then would split it into different bags to freeze until I needed it.  The problem with this, was that when I needed just a little bit for spaghetti, I had to thaw out a big portion of beef.  This was annoying.  So, here is what I do now!

Here's my 5 1/2 pounds or so of beef...

Now I separate it into sections, according to how much I need for a meal.  For example, I take a small portion and set it aside for spaghetti, or a large portion for meatloaf.

Then I take some freezer bags and label them with the meal I'll use that package of beef for and the date I freeze it.

Next, I place the beef in their 'assigned' bags, and flatten them out as much as I can.  This saves a LOT of freezer space!

This is such a simple process, but makes things SO much easier for me.  Now, when I see that we're having tacos the next day, I can just go ahead and take out the bag labeled 'taco meat' and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.  SO EASY!  I also do this with chicken, which is a little more involved, since it takes a while to cut up all of the chicken.  It is really worth that extra time in the long run though.

And again.

Anybody else have some good meal planning tips??  :)

Y'all have a fantabulous weekend!!


  1. Meal planning is quiet a chore sometimes isn't it? I love the idea of putting the meat in freezer bags. Your right - that would save room!

  2. I like your meal planning! Great post!

  3. Coley, it definitely can be! :) Lisa, thank you! :)

  4. Love the cute calendars! :) I will actually take all of the meat and brown it, and then put it into plastic storage containers/bags. Takes much less time to cook at meal time. (I often forget to take it out in the AM!)

  5. Rachel, that sounds like a good idea! Thanks for sharing! Does the meat taste any different??


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