On the Menu: Penny Pinchers

What’s that saying about falling off the wagon? Well, I fell hard last week. I got as far as writing some meals on the chalkboard, but didn’t quite follow through on the execution of the meal plan. Luckily last week was all about scavenging in the pantry and freezer, so we didn’t spend too much on groceries and therefore did not waste any food.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this fantastic “Meal Planning Made Simple” series, discovered via a recipe I made at the beginning of February. I was pleased to see that many of her tips are already part of my regular planning process, with the exception of one very important idea that I tried to take to the extreme last week: Planning around the pantry. What a simple principle – before deciding on what to make for the week, take a look at the ingredients that are already in the fridge / freezer / pantry, and plan meals around that.

So last week’s failed meal plan was focused on hunting for food already in the kitchen in a feable attempt at saving money this March. (Between property taxes, wrapping up a renovation at the house, the upcoming tax season, a trip out of town, and an electricity bill for quite possibly the COLDEST WINTER EVER, we’ve got a lot of expenses to plan for in the coming weeks.) Confession: Budgeting is not a major strength of mine, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. In my mind, if I want to eat it I’m going to buy it, so the cost is irrelevant… which is probably why our monthly spend on groceries is a little high. My meal planning methodology certainly doesn’t help either – picking meals at random based on whatever I’m craving or pinning does not make for a cost efficient grocery list!

This new approach worked well – I was able to plan faster and cut the length of my grocery list in half – so I used the same system this week to assess what was already in the fridge and cupboards before starting on the menu.

menu-03-08

Sunday Food Party: I already had about 95% of the ingredients on hand for this Tomato Soup recipe that I discovered on Pinterest and since this is the winter that just won’t quit, it seems fitting to make a warm and hearty soup to enjoy during the week. For lunches this week, I’m making an old favourite – White Bean Tuna Salad – and with all the ingredients in the house already, this was an easy choice. For dinner, I am so excited… Lasagna! It feels like I’ve been dreaming of making a classic Lasagna for months, so tonight I’m biting the bullet and trying out this recipe. I hope it’s good!

Monday: Roasted Chicken with Potatoes. My man is working at the house trying to wrap up our super fun upstairs renovation, so he’ll be able to put the chicken in the oven in the afternoon. When I get home from work, I’m going to try out this recipe for Pommes Persillade (pan-fried potatoes with garlic and parsley, yum).

Tuesday: Steak with Salad and Rice, made by my man.

Wednesday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Sunday’s Tomato Soup. This will be an easy weeknight dinner and really, who doesn’t love this classic meal?

Thursday: Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice. My man will make dinner while I pack since…

Friday: My man is on his own on Friday as I’m off to New York for a long weekend to spend quality time with my girls. (I cannot wait!!! This also means that my meal planning next weekend goes out the window since I’m gone until the following Tuesday. A small price to pay for time with my best friends though!)

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