Instead of posting my menu plan and grocery purchases, since I often reverse meal plan, I thought I’d share with you what we ate this past week and then what we bought for this coming week. I don’t do a rigid meal plan most weeks; I usually just make sure we have enough on hand for 8-10 different dinners and then I plan that day what we’re having based upon the time I have and what sounds good.
I know that this system doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked pretty well for this season. I also make sure to have back-up emergency dinner options in the freezer (chicken nuggets/strips + frozen pizza) so that if I just don’t feel like cooking at all or run out of time, we still have options that are much less expensive than takeout.
If you are the type who needs a structured meal plan and you feel stuck in a rut, check out my 10 Weeks of Money-Saving Menus for some of our very favorite inexpensive and easy recipes — all done for you, complete with grocery lists! (And you can also download my FREE 60 Meals to Make Instead of Getting Takeout list for some great last-minute dinner ideas.)
I’m trying to use up a bunch of odds and ends we’ve had on hand for awhile — lots of things from deals I’ve gotten or clearance or markdowns I’ve found. So this week’s menu is especially hodge-podge due to that. I hope it encourages you that you don’t need to have fancy meals; cereal is just fine every once in awhile!
What We Ate This Past Week
Here’s what we ate this past week:
Sunday — We drove home from Kansas and got home right around dinner time, so it was Fend-For-Yourself night. I think most had cereal or sandwiches with leftover turkey and cheese and bread we had from our family Christmas dinner we’d had before we left for Kansas.
Monday — It was New Year’s Eve, but all the older kids were gone, so we just had scrambled eggs and some other odds and ends with the little kids.
Tuesday — I made a pot of “Chili” — using what we had on hand. You can see a super short video of what I used for it here. We also tried a new-to-us Honey Butter Cornbread recipe that didn’t have refined sugar in it (since I’m really cutting back on how much refined sugar I eat this year). It was almost as good as my World’s Best Honey Cornbread. Not quite, but really delicious for only using maple syrup!
Wednesday — We had leftover cornbread, sausage (I cut it in two-inch pieces and browned it), steamed veggies, and sweet potato fries and french fries.
Thursday — I made our family favorite Chicken Salsa Pizza. This is the BEST pizza crust recipe!
Friday — We had leftovers because there was just enough soup, sausage, and pizza left to make enough of a meal for everyone!
Saturday — The older kids were gone, so Jesse and I got take out from Taziki’s.
Sunday — We had dinner with our Community Group. It was baked potato bar and chili night. Everyone brings something to make it easy to have dinner together! We brought a big bag of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits.
I did a grocery pick-up order at Kroger on Saturday night and we picked it up on Sunday. Kierstyn started 4 mornings-a-week preschool this week so I bought a few things specifically for her lunches/snacks at preschool as I’m trying to figure out what she’ll eat at school when I’m not there encouraging her to eat (she’s one of ours who sometimes needs some extra encouragement to eat!)
I Think I’ve Finally Landed on a Grocery Budget Number!
If you remember in the fall, I was tinkering and experimenting with our grocery budget and trying to figure out what would be the best amount for right now, especially since I’m doing grocery pick-up instead of shopping in-store as that’s just been saving me a lot of time and I’ve been very pleased overall with the deals I’ve still been able to get.
With adjusting our diet a little bit and Kierstyn going to school, I’m thinking we’ll likely be sticking with a $150 grocery budget right now. That feels like a good amount for what’s reasonable and realistic in this season. That could change in the future, but I feel good with it right now!
And I’m excited because we spent exactly $149.64 at the Kroger this week! YAY! Here’s what we bought:
I’ll post next week to share what we ate with this + what we already have on hand! Stay tuned! Also, our stove is currently broken and we have been told we need to fully replace it, so it may be a few weeks before we have a stove again. So we’re getting creative with oven and instant pot and griddle recipes! I’m finding most things can be pretty easily adapted!