Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Evaluation of Resolution

One of my resolutions was to do 1 month of menu planning and evaluate at the end of the month. My goal with this was to lessen stress at meal times, cut down the number of late meals by prepping earlier, and to go to the grocery store only once or twice a week (hopefully resulting in spending less money).

I originally thought I'd do a menu for the whole month in one sit down, but I quickly found that was not going to work for me. So, I ended up making a fairly comprehensive list of items we eat pretty regularly, or at least enjoy eating. The list really helped me in planning meals for the week. Most of the time I planned on Monday during Dean's nap and went shopping after he woke up.

My master list: (Sorry it's messed up, I had to transfer it over to paint to turn the table into a picture. Click on it to get a readable view.)

I was able to keep my shopping to 1-2 trips per week which is fairly amazing for me. It also did help lessen stress over meals, especially when I didn't particularly feel like thinking about food. We ate out a little less. By the weekends I normally am burned out thinking about food so we end up getting at least one meal out, usually just taco bell or something. I don't know if it really saved me money, but it probably did. The first two weeks I felt like I spent a lot (but it's kinda hard to tell when you have diapers and other non-food junk mixed in), so the third week I did a "make only what you have" menu. I think I spent about $10 that week on milk and produce I didn't have. I'd make a menu for the week and shop for that specific menu. I did end up trading around meals within the week, but I did pretty well at sticking to the items on the menu. When I changed the menu in real life, I changed it on the print out so I could see what seemed to work from day to day for us, and so I could have an accurate picture or what we really do eat.

January's Menu:


Mrs. Hass-Bark said...

I have been frustrated with menu planning my entire life. I finally discovered the master list idea about a year ago. I implemented it when Mr. H-B and I got married last summer. The problem for us has been finding foods that we both like enough to eat regularly. My husband always thought that he is one of the pickiest eaters. He eats very few vegetables, hates the texture of rice, and doesn't like "foreign" flavors (ie, flavors his mom didn't cook with). It was actully kind of a struggle, but we're finally getting there.

My new strategy is to make menus for two weeks (with flexibility to move things around within that time period). I cook 1/2 things I know he likes and then 1/2 things I want to try out. If they are successful (like last night's meal), I add them to the list. If not, it doesn't go on the list. Turns out, he's not as picky as he thought he was.

I am with you that a month's worth of menus just doesn't work for us. I like the two-week plan because we can do a huge shopping trip every other week, as well as prepping some freezer meals, instead of losing either Friday or Saturday every weekend.

We have yet to have an entire week out of food storage, but I've been much better about making sure I check the inventory before we go shopping.

Anyway, this is a terribly long comment to say, "Amen!" month-long menus aren't for me.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You eat yummy meals!

We've been trying to do the foodstorage meals this year. I made up a list of all the meals we would like to eat if we had to live off of foodstorage only. We tried to stick to foods our family liked that we could store for a year. We have about 3 weeks worth of different dinner meals. I broke that down into ingredients and multiplied it for the year. We have been buying only those items and actually trying out what it would be like if we HAD to live off our food storage. In about 2 more months we should have all of our year supply purchased and it's all the regular foods we eat.

Normally, with my son's special diet we spend about $600/month on food for a family of 5. This past month we spent $400 on food storage and only $200 on meals we actually ate. It helped a ton that I only went shopping every 2 weeks. I really hate going to the store!

I like having the month's worth of meal ideas, but I prefer to make a flexible menu every 1 1/2-2 weeks(meaning I can choose which night I want to eat what meal). My tastebuds are so messed up with this pregnancy-and it changes from day to day/hour to hour. I just can't stand to be tied to a specific meal.

Good luck on the planning! It will definitely help when #2 comes along!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to ask. Do you make your own chicken pot pie or do you just buy the premade frozen ones at the store? I am looking for a good recipe that I can alter to fit my son's diet.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

I make my own and it's 1000 times better than store bought. I'll look for the recipe after Dean's down for bed.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

I follow this recipe pretty closely in the way of ingredients. I do add a diced, cooked potato, and I cook the chicken and veggies with a different method. I do the sauce almost exactly as written and love it. Mine is not as dry looking as the picture. For the crust I use my standard recipe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Have you tried making extras and freezing them for an easy meal?

Anonymous said...

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Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

I always like comments. =)

Haven't tried freezing the whole meal. My freezer usually is too stuffed and then I lose sight of and forget about things like that.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I made the pot pie tonight and used broccoli instead of the peas. I used one of my own crust recipes b/c we can't have egg. It was the yummiest pot pie I've ever tasted! I made an extra to put in the freezer. I'll try cooking it later next week and I'll let you know how it does frozen whole. Hopefully it will turn out fine and we can have some yummy meals when the baby's born without too much work. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

We had the frozen pot pie tonight. It took a long time to cook. I would compare it to cooking a frozen lasagna compared to fresh lasagna. The top crust did crack in the freezer, but I made a very full pie, so that might have something to do with it. It didn't affect the product at all and I actually couldn't tell it was there once it was cooked. I baked it at 475F for 15 min, then 375 for 1.5 hrs. The crust actually was perfect! The only thing I would change next time would be to only blanch the potatoes rather than cook them if it is going to be frozen. The cooked potatoes ended up a little like mashed potatoes. It was still really yummy and I will definitely be freezing some for when the baby is born!