Food has always been a struggle for me. I feel like I am domestically challenged when it comes to cooking, and take-out food has been something I have fallen back on for quite awhile. For our family of ten, this can become quite expensive! I’ve decided to bite the bullet and try to put together a real meal plan, and stick to it!
Several years back I made simple family meals on a semi-regular basis. My oldest daughter loved to cook and asked to be taught how to make these meals and so I happily obliged. She has been a HUGE help with meals the past few years (when we aren’t eating out, of course!)
But now, I really want to step back into the kitchen more often. Over the past month we’ve tried several new recipes , and I’ve been more diligent to stick to a loose plan. The financial rewards for doing this have the opportunity to be tremendous, which has pushed me to try harder. I would love to bless my family in this way.
Yesterday my husband, Mabrey, and I visited an Aldi and Walmart on our “date” to shop for meals for the next two weeks. I’d love to share my plan, along with the disclaimer that as you might have guessed I’m not super picky about if our food is organic and the like. While of course I believe that healthy food is better than non-healthy food, my main goal is to feed my family the best way that I can.
For the next two weeks, I’ve planned a total of ten dinner meals. Saturday nights are our date night, and half of our children are participating in activities on Tuesday so we usually eat out. Our plan is as follows:
Mashed Potato Beef Bake (Recipe Book)
Chicken Broccoli Divan (Recipe Book)
Chili with Cornbread (Family Recipe)
Chicken Potato Chip Casserole (Yummly)
Chicken Enchiladas (Family Recipe)
Chicken Macaroni Casserole (Yummly)
Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice (Yummly)
Spaghetti (Family Recipe)
Stuffed Green Peppers (Recipe Book)
Chicken Tortilla Soup (Online Recipe)
I’ve found a great app called Yummly, which I’ve used to look for new recipes recently. As a large family, casseroles are our friend. I’m hoping that before long I can plan twenty recipes at a time to rotate on a four-week basis. I would love to take only one large shopping trip for the entire month. To really work this type of meal plan I would need at least one additional freezer. Along with each meal we eat either mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, steamed broccoli, steamed veggie mix, or salad with a roll or toasted bread.
For breakfast the kids have the choice to eat eggs, toast, yogurt, English muffins, fruit, cereal, and/or pop tarts. The older kids choose whatever they would like and usually make it themselves. Mallory (who is two) still eats her “baby” oatmeal cereal with fruit and milk mixed in each morning.
For lunches, the kids can choose between sandwiches, cheese quesadillas, or leftovers from dinner the night before, with a side of fruit, crackers, chips and/or cookies.
For snacks, I offer the kids Cheerios, applesauce, crackers, waffles, popcorn, or fruit usually.
Price Breakdown for Two Weeks:
Our Aldi haul came in at $161.71. This included tons of snacks and sides, canned goods, five pounds of beef, eight pounds of chicken, four gallons of milk, three large packs of shredded cheese, three loaves of bread, three packs of tortillas, tons of veggies, spices, and most of the other items we need. Four gallons of milk lasts around 5 or 6 days around here, but since we only have one refrigerator that is all we pick up at a time. Milk at Aldi was $1.79 per gallon this time around. We will need to replenish bread and fruit products weekly as well.
We filled in the gaps at Walmart. The total came to $143.19, which included $20 of antifreeze for our travel trailer and an $11 gift. Here we picked up paper towels, assorted soups not found at Aldi, muffin mix, yogurt, sugar, baby cereal and food, potato chips, Sunkist (for me…I dislike coffee and like to drink a pick-me-up from time to time), tea bags, mozzarella cheese, and a few other odds and ends.
Our total for the two weeks roughly came to $273.90 once subtracting the antifreeze and gift. We will need to fill in some gaps such as milk, bread, and fruit in another week. I will also need to pick up diapers for Mallory in the meantime.
If I can stick to our plan, I believe our family will begin saving a lot of money! Aldi is awesome. We used to shop there all of the time, but it is roughly 25 miles from our home, while Walmart is only 5 miles away. I think that making a special trip to Aldi every other week will definitely be worth it.
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