Menu Planning

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As a wife and mother with a full-time job, I know I am not alone in feeling like time and life in general work against me sometimes.  One of my major battles is feeding my family.  Of course, we have to eat, but we also need to watch our budget and maintain a healthy diet.  I also have to keep in mind that my kids are little and many of the things that my husband or myself would enjoy on a regular basis are not things that appeal to their palate.

Did I mention that I absolutely HATE to cook?  That works against me too.

In comes Menu Planning.  I rolled my eyes at the prospect of planning my meals for a while, but I broke down sometime last year because I needed to get a handle on how much we were spending and takeout can really put a dent in your budget.  I also got swept up in the couponing craze, which can become extreme, just like the show says.  However, they really work well hand in hand.  Like anything else, you have to wade through the junk to find out what works for you, but I have found a system that works for us.

First, I take inventory of what I already have at home.  I buy meat when it is on sale or I have a coupon, so I freeze much of it.  I try to plan my meals around what the main course will be.  Might sound sad, but it’s usually some sort of chicken.  Just our preference.

I then look through my coupon collection to see if there is anything that will lend itself to possible dinner ideas.  Say I have cubed chicken in the freezer and I have a coupon for chicken stock, I am likely to choose a recipe like soup or something that includes both ingredients.  I also buy the newspaper regularly and my Mom, Mother-in-Law and I swap what we don’t use.  It works out pretty well.

Then I look through my recipes and pick them out according to what I have and how much time I have on a given night to prepare a meal.  Sooo many of my regular recipes are slow cooker recipes.  It makes everything a ton easier!

I also highly recommend Pinterest for recipe ideas.  I pin food 100% more than I pin anything else and I find my food board to be my go-to for dinner inspiration.  I try to choose recipes that are alike so that I can buy similar ingredients in bulk if necessary. 

Once I have done all of this (it doesn’t really take much time at all – especially once you do it a time or two) I make my menu plan according to how the meals will fit our schedule and it’s done!

Menu planning isn’t for everyone.  Your lifestyle and priorities have a lot to do with how necessary or doable it will be for you.

If you are interested, here is the link to my personal menu planning and shopping list template!  It lays out the week by day and then your shopping list by department. 

Looking for some coupons?

$3.00 off Ameri Gas Cylinder Exchange or Purchase

$0.75 off ONE (1) Suave Body Wash $2.00 off Neutrogena All-in-1 Acne Control $2.00 off Neutrogena Naturals Night Cream $1.00 off any Mitchum or Mitchum for Women product $0.50 off any FRENCH'S French Fried Onions $1.00 off on One (1) 64oz. Ocean Spray Blueberry $1.00 off ONE DIGIORNO Pizza Dipping Strips $1.00 off any 1 package of Pepperidge Farm Jingos $2.00 off one (1) Similac Prenatal Vitamin $1.00 off any size bag of Pretzel Crisps $0.55 off any Goober Product $0.70 off 1 Kellogg's FiberPlus Nutty Delights Bar $3.00 off Loads of Love™ 3x Concentrat Detergent $1.00 off Any ONE BabyGanics product $1.00 off Comet Cleaning Product $1.00 off on any Comet Stainless Steel $1.00 off TWO Breyers products $0.50 off 32 OZ. Mountain High Yoghurt $1.00 off LACTAID Dietary Supplement $2.00 off any TUCKS products $0.50 off 2 boxes Fruit Flavored Snacks

$0.50 off 1 box Fiber One Chewy Bars $0.50 off 1 BOX Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies $0.50 off 2 boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars $0.50 off 1 BOX Nature Valley Protein Bars $1.00 off 2 General Mills Kid Cereals $0.75 off Apple Cinnamon Chex cereal $0.50 off ONE BOX Honey Nut Cheerios cereal $0.50 off ONE BOX Reese's Puffs cereal $0.75 off TWO Yoplait Kid products $0.50 off TWO Yoplait Greek yogurts $0.50 off select Bisquick products $0.40 off SIX Yoplait Yogurts $1.00 off TWO Cocoa Pebbles cereals $0.50 off 1 Orville Redenbacher's Popped Corn $1.00 off 1 Jamba All Natural Frozen Smoothie Kit $1.00 off 1 IHOP at Home Hearty Breakfast Bowl $1.00 off IHOP at Home French Toast Breakfast $1.00 off any 2 Welch's Sparkling Juice Cocktails $0.50 off two Softsoap Liquid Hand $1.00 off two Gerber Organic baby food $1.00 off Huggies Little Swimmers $1.00 off any Banana Boat Sun Care $1.00 off (4) LEAN CUISINE Varieties, 5-16 oz $1.00 off 2 HORMEL Bacon Toppings $1.00 off HORMEL ALWAYS TENDER meat $2.00 off LLOYD'S Barbeque Ribs $1.00 off LLOYD'S Tubs or BBQ $0.95 off 2 boxes of LEAN POCKETS Sandwiches $2.00 off ten Weight Watchers Smart Ones Product $1.00 Off any One A Day Multivitamin product $1.00 off any Citracal $2.00 off On Any Aleve 80ct or larger $2.00 off on any Aleve-D product $2.00 off Phillips' Colon Health Product $0.75 off Clear eyes Product $2.00 off any 2 Playtex OrthoPro or Binky Pacifier $1.00 off (1) One NEW! Almond Plus $1.00 off 2 Weight Watchers Smart Ones Desserts $1.00 off any ONE (1) Yosicle™ product $2.00 off Any Similac SIMPLYSMART Bottle $1.00 off Reser's American Classics 3 lb Salad $0.50 off Newman's Own Salad Dressing Free Rice cup w/ purchase of 3 Ready Rice pouches $1.00 off 1 package of Butterball Turkey Burgers $0.50 off FRENCH'S Dijon Mustard FRENCH'S HONEY MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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