Why This Frugal Gal Doesn’t Make a Strict Menu
(skip to paragraph 3 if you want to read about frugality)
It sure has been a long time since I posted a menu plan. I didn’t mean to take such a long break, or really any break for that matter. But we switched website hosting companies at the end of last winter, and our website went down for a few weeks and I couldn’t post anything. And then it was up and running again, and then I lost access to the website again. The spring was a bit rough for the website. Quite rough.
Then our first spring soccer season arrived like I mentioned here, and we were eating on-the-go a lot. Not buying fast food, but bringing portable food to soccer games, and I still wasn’t in a menu groove. Summer came and went, and now the latest soccer season is coming to a close this Saturday. Since school started I have felt like I need to get back in a menu groove again.
Writing out a menu helps me be more intentional about the food we eat, and what we do with leftovers which can be a huge money saver. I tend to throw away more food when I don’t have some kind of menu, and it grinds again every fiber of my being when food is needlessly going down the garbage disposal or in the trash.
With that said, in order to be a frugal gal, I do not adhere to a strict menu where I write something new and different we are going to eat every night. May be that works for you, but it has never worked for me (okay, I haven’t really tried, but I’ve imagined how much I’d hate being pinned into a strict menu). What do you do with the leftovers when you have a strict meal plan? Yes, my family uses leftovers for lunches, too, but that’s some money down the toilet if you ask me! I think it’s just too easy to accumulate those leftovers here and there, and then waste. Those boxed up leftovers end up getting shoved to the back of the fridge and then out of sight and out of mind. Eating and/or repurposing leftovers in my book equals saving money!
But some kind of menu is needed to be frugal so you are intentional with all things food. In my menu planning I have lots of room for flex. This allows me to use food that needs to be used right away. For instance, when my dad went on a trip recently, he gave me a bunch of his veggies, so I was incorporating more kale salads into our menu, and his other veggies into what we were making. Then when our friend blessed us with cilantro a few weeks ago, I made sure to make some cilantro lime pesto and cilantro lime dressing that we used on burritos and salads.
Also I am really not locked into ad prices in conventional stores, anymore. What I mean is, instead of waiting for the ads to come out and to shop from them (which can be a great way to write a menu if natural foods aren’t on your radar), the main foods we eat don’t go on sale. My main chicken source is the Organic Costco Drumsticks (I’ll shred the meat for other dishes), and they are always $1.99/lb., and then I am buying a ham from them about once a month. I try to keep all dry goods continually stocked, so I am not rushing to the store to buy something that might not be an optimal price. We keep dried organic beans, and canned beans, rice, pasta, tomato goods, and lots more stocked.
So instead of planning a week at a time, I like to write it for about two weeks, or roughly twice a month. It will end up being about 7 main courses (so it might look like a normal week to you) since I try to double meals and end up with leftovers, and I like to leave wiggle room when we go to a potluck or eat at a friend’s house. Often every other night we are eating or repurposing the leftovers from the previous main meal. So I am going to call this a weekly menu that will come out twice a month. Hope that makes sense. Now onto the menu…
(I expand this menu to two weeks especially with those leftover soups and salads)
Crock-pot Ham and salad.
Crock-pot Ham Soup-I discovered this weekend how much Jonathan really likes this soup. More to come I guess.
Ham Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
I’ll admit I’ve totally been cheating with salads lately and giving them to the family in smoothie form at dinner. Oh yes! It’s the Key Lime Pie Smoothie. Like practically every night. Such a great way to get in those greens and I am including my dad’s kale in it, too along with fresh ginger for its inflammatory fighting capabilities and more.
I also want to try to experiment making a pizza soup…and
I’ve been experimenting making our own homemade Top Ramen. Did I just really say Top Ramen? YES! It just sounded really good a few weeks ago, what can I say, and the family LOVES it. The kids had never had it before since we haven’t bought those packages in over a decade. So it’s a lot healthier and tastier, I can tell you. When I am happy with the proportions, I’ll share.
I also thought I’d use this opportunity to share all of my updated pictures since last spring of food from the archives. I have loved updating pics and there are still more I want to do. Just click on the picture to take you to the recipe.
And then as always (since we have them almost daily):
Are you a menu planner? What do you have on your meal plan this week?
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