Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu planning made easier

  Or at least that's what I'm hoping for. In order to help the food budget, I menu plan from the local grocery ads. I "cherry pick" from the two higher end stores (meaning I only buy what is on sale, not my basics) and then do the rest of the shopping at the cheapest store out of the three local stores (all within 5 miles of my house). This usually works out, but I still seem to miss a couple things I'll need for my menu. Which means I need to run out (or have Hubby stop on the way home) to get the missed item.

     Well I think I've come up with a better way to menu plan and make sure I've got everything I need for that weeks menu. I took 3X5 cards (that I already had on hand for the twins for school) and wrote one meal on each card. I then wrote every item I need to make that meal (not the actual recipe, just the ingredients). I color coded them for each meat with a pen, so black is beef, green is chicken, blue is pork and red is other (seafood or the recipe doesn't call for meat).  So for my stuffed shells recipe it looks like this
                         Stuffed Shells 
                     ground beef
                     pasta shells
                     shredded mozzarella cheese
                    bread crumbs
                    parmigiana cheese

 So now when stuffed shells is added to the rotation I look in the pantry to see what ingredients I already have on hand and what I need to buy gets written down on my grocery list. I will let everyone know how well this plan works out for me. I'm hoping I will be much more organized now.

   My other tip for shopping the grocery store is go on-line for the store you shop. Most stores allow you to view their ad on line and you can click on the things you want in the ad to create a list. Then you can follow the tabs to add the other items not on sale to your grocery list. When you print it out, most stores organize the list by isle. So you only go down the isles you need and you know exactly what isle everything is in. So when you're in isle 9 you know you're going to get your pasta, sauce, rice and beans. Make sure to take a pen to cross the items off as you go. If you're shopping with a little helper, have them help you with the isle number or how many of the item you are looking for. 



Dianna said...

Thank you for the great tips. I am struggling at finding ways to organize that work for me. I am more of visual type, if I can see it I can process it. But creating a system has been overwhelming for me so am taking baby steps each day. Your idea with the index cards is awesome.

Tys said...

I soooo need to do that with the aisle & printing out stuff from my list in that aisle! Hope to add this to my to-do list of getting organized in 2011!