|Raising small people is expensive. Worth it, but expensive.|
The biggest area for potential money saving for us was the food budget. So this month brought some changes. We finally joined Costco. That was the easy part. Then I finally decided to really give the once-a-month cooking idea a shot. The first weekend in August, we planned out dinners for the month, went shopping, and spent two days prepping and freezing ALL THE FOODS! I'd done some freezer meal swapping before. I'd dabbled in meal planning. But it gets real when you sit down and plan out dinners for the whole month. I followed just a couple rules of thumb I gathered from the wise old internet: have breakfast for dinner once a week, and plan for leftovers periodically.
Here's how August has worked for us:
1 - Leftovers
2 - Wendy's
3 - Mac 'n Cheese
5 - Breakfast for dinner - Blueberry pancakes
6 - Slow Cooker - Santa Fe Chicken
8 - Out to eat (Durham Bulls game)
9 - Fish Sticks
10 - Leftovers
12 - Breakfast for dinner - Waffles
13 - Slow Cooker - Cream Cheese Chicken
14 - Black Bean Taco Soup
15 - Slow Cooker - Spaghetti and Meatballs
16 - Leftovers
17 - Chicken Tenders
18 - Italian Grinder Hand Pies
19 - Breakfast for Dinner - Omelets
20 - Slow Cooker - Beef and Broccoli
21 - Ham and Cheese Hand Pies
23 - Leftovers
26 - Breakfast for Dinner - Eggs and Muffins
27 - Slow Cooker - Cheesy Potato Soup
28 - Leftovers
29 - Mac 'n Cheese
31 - Leftovers
The hand pies are just zwiebach dough that Jonathan makes with various fillings, and I made a bunch of extras for lunches.
They've been a big hit. Next month we'll make the dough whole wheat and we'll play around with different fillings. This month it was pretty simple with the ham and cheese and Italian style pies.
Our other favorite dinners so far this month have been the taco soup, chicken tenders, and the Santa Fe chicken. We do at least one meal each week in the slow cooker, which is so nice to come home to... but I still have problems with meats being too dry or overcooked in the slow cooker. I'm looking forward to cooler weather so we can have soups all the time.
Oh, also, we do get a produce box every week. So we always have sides to go with whatever the main course is for the night.
And there you have it - our plan for easing the evening crunch and avoiding the drive-through. So far, so good. I figure after a few months we'll have a good variety of family-approved recipes for the mix.
|The Mouse enjoying first breakfast before heading off to school.|