Saturday, July 8, 2017

The basics : part 4 - meal plans

We have covered the two little things that you can do to cut  your food bill and contribute to better health too.   We have found ways to get your protein at the RBP,and start the journey to build a stock for emergencies,    Emergencies can be as little as a snow storm, a sick  child, or the flooding of the main  road so the grocery stores can't get their restock.    Yes that did happen , and it was Christmas to boot.  

Let's talk about meal plans.   Meal plans save you from the pizza delivery demons. Being organized reduces stress.   If things are set up, almost anyone on the family can finish dinner even if you are otherwise occupied.  

Have a plan or plan to fail.    There are no magic surprises ofmyoumhave a basic stock ofmfood on hand that you can make meals from .   Having a few aces in your hole doesn't hurt either.  Always have a few easy, cheap meals in your pantry or freezer.   I buy Foster Farms chicken patties when I find them on sale,   If you have pasta and pasta sauce, you have chicken parm.
 We always have ground beef already cooked and in portion controlled bags in the freezer.    It's a versatile base for any number of meals.  

The basis for a lot of this organization is making a list of ten to fourteen meals your family will eat. At least, most of your family will eat, there is always that one holdout.    We didn't have that when we were kids,  you ate  or you waited for the next meal,  no snacks there.    I digress

After your list is  complete and you have analyzed it for budget breakers......this list should be economical meats and sides.    A lot of things like asparagus, and water chestnuts are  out of reach for a super economy meal. Stick to basics.

Ideas

Spaghetti and meatballs
Mac n cheese
Pork chops and dressing
Nachos
Tacos
Enchaladas
Chilli
Vegetable bean soup
Chicken roasted with garlic bread and oven roasted root veggies
Chicken soup
Chicken pot pie - one crust or Biscuit topping
Chicken stir fry
Breakfast for dinner
Quiche - impossible pie
Sloppy  joes
Chicken chimichangas

Now, make a list of ingredients that you need to make these dishes.   Note the things that you can buy in bulk and use for several dishes.

In our house that would be diced tomatoes. Other than tomato paste, i don't buy a lot of tomato products. Simplifying your grocery list for things that are versatile makes life and budgets a lot easier.   

Pasta sauce and pasta are items you can find coupons for and are often on stock up sales.   Being able to match a good sale with coupons, doubles your savings.   Planning a buy 5 save 5 type sale can take some time, but it can make remarkable purchases.   One time I saved 78 percent.    So much for not wanting to use coupons to save .25 cents.    Lol.

Potatoes, celery and carrots are a staple here.
I keep one ahead of things like catsup, mustard, and mayo.
Canned green beans, beans ( some) and corn 🌽.
I get dry beans in bulk, not too many they do go bad.  And also rice and flour.   You can make all kinds of things in a pinch with flour-  anywhere from noodles to crackers, tortillas, biscuits.....

Instant mashed potatoes and dry milk are nice t have on a pinch,
Tortillas are versatile, cheapest usually at dollar tree or Costco.    You can use them for quesadas , enchiladas, chimichangas, tacos, taco chips for nachos.  

It's a lie that shredded cheese is more expensive than  brick. A pound of cheese is a pound of cheese.   Watch those small bags, they can be a budget killer.  If you use a lot of,here's, buy five pound bags at Costco.   It does freeze.without harm.    I pay close to two dollars a pound.   It can be up to seven.  

Diced green mild  chilies and sliced black olives male things special.    Cheapest at Winco here.

All of this is bought at discount, of course, and over time.

Pit groceries for three of us has been less than 55.00 a week.  That is about 45 percent of the usda stats for poor people.    They call it thrifty.    Lol.    We eat well. And we don't eat rice and beans,  
We also don't get our groceries on line and pay full price with a delivery charge,   We don't buy junk food for the most part.   We scratch cook efficiently.   I rarely spend more ham fifteen  minutes hands on time cooking dinner at dinner time.  So,e bulk cooking and the insta pot helps remarkably,










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