"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

Monday, April 13, 2015

Menu Planning and Shopping

I had to shop for groceries today.  There was really nothing to eat here.  Ok, that's not quite true.  We still had bread and peanut butter so I guess we could have survived another day or two.  I have been trying to stay under $100 a week.  That includes paper products, toiletries, OTC medicines...not just food.
I have been planning a weekly menu for years.  I think it helps me spend less and I just like to make lists and feel organized.  The thing I am having a hard time with is how to pare down our dinner meals a little.  I grew up with meat, a starch, and vegetable dinners and I tend to get stuck in that. It doesn't seem complete if we only have one or two things to eat.  I would also like to move to more meatless meals.  Do you have dinners that are one dish only?  For example, mac and cheese....and that's it?  Do you think I am over doing it?

This is our menu for the week....

Monday:  cheeseburger soup, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday:  baked tilapia, asparagus, rice, salad
Wednesday: shrimp stir fry, rice, salad
Thursday: out to eat
Friday: polish sausage, scalloped potatoes, peas
Saturday: spaghetti, sauce with ground beef, garlic bread, salad
Sunday: grilled chicken, potato salad, broccali

See how I have at least 3 things for each meal.  Maybe I could lose weight if I cut out something.

I ended up spending $137.28.  That freaked me out at first, way over budget!  Then I remembered that I didn't shop at all last week. So that's not so bad.  There were a lot of 10 for $10 deals....get the 11th item free.  I try to stock up on things that we use often when they offer this.  For example: I got salad dressing for $1 instead of $1.59.  I got a small box of grape tomatoes for $1 and they are usually $3.69.  According to my receipt I saved $42.71 on specials, $3.75 digital coupons, and $10.75 in rewards for a grand total of $57.21 in savings.  I think that's pretty good.

Here's the recipe for Cheeseburger Soup

1 1/2 lb. Ground beef, browned and drained
2 C. Sliced carrots
4 C. Peeled potatoes, cut into chunks
4 C. Chicken broth
1 can Evaporated milk
1 block Cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 C. Chopped onion
2 C. Grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. Seasoned salt
2 tsp. Dried basil
Bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

In crockpot, combine broth, vegetables, onions, and seasonings.
Add the ground beef and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Turn to high 1 hour before serving.  Add cheeses.  Stir occasionally.
Serve when cheeses are completely melted.
Garnish with crumbled bacon, and some grated cheese if desired.


  1. I usually make lists for everything except what we're going to eat. I have a rough idea in my head but that's all. I often make dinners that consist of just one dish. For example, last night we had fish rosotto. Of course there was rice in there, plus the fish and a variety of vegetables. Tonight we are having a hearty vegetable broth that I made and eating some chunky bread with it. I try to cut down on meat quite a bit. And I try to include more fish but I'm not really a fish person so we only get it about once a week. Sometimes we have just a dish made with our own eggs. A sort of omelete with lots of vegetables. Sometimes we have pasta with my own sauce (made using our own tomatoes) and some grated cheese over it. All very tasty, cheap and wholesome.

    1. Thank you for stopping buy Gillian. All your meal suggestions sound good. I am going to try for a little more simplicity in our meals.

  2. It is hard to cut back on habits like meal planning. Perhaps serving size is the culprit not the number of dishes. How are you incorporating leftovers? We have cut the size of meat/fish/poultry servings in half and increased our vegetable/fruit servings while also cutting the size of carb servings. Sometimes that means two vegetable dishes and a fruit salad with a small serving of chicken. Good luck on slowly making changes.

    1. You are very right Juhli! We definitely have to watch serving sizes. I have been trying to set aside a portion or two of our meals and freeze or save for lunch the next day. If I don't do that right away there probably won't be any leftovers. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I think I am coming to visit for dinner, it sounds like a cost effective and very yummy week.

  4. We eat lots of chicken at our house. DH can't eat fish; he used to be able to, but now it makes him sick. We also eat a lot of salad. And occasionally we only have soft-boiled eggs and toast for dinner. We don't eat as much as we used to when the kids were still home.