Menu Planning & Batch Cooking
Alright, I don’t have too much experience with this one. Well, I do, but I have a really hard time sticking to it. I do pretty good in the winter, but I really struggle in the summer when the boys are playing sports and we are out and about almost every single night.
We don’t eat fast food, I just prepare sandwiches and food on the go. This grows old on me FAST. Sooo….
I am making a concerted effort to plan a menu and stick to it. What I really want to do is start batch cooking on a regular weekly basis.
Batch cooking = cooking a bunch of food and freezing (or storing) it for a while.
For batch cooking, I am going to designate Sunday mornings as “batch cooking time”. Step. Away. From. The. Kitchen.
I am going baby steps and I am going to try a weekly menu plan. Maybe someday I will graduate to monthly. Right now, I’m just really impressed that I’m agreeing to this at all. Heh!
Not only is this a money saver (menu planning) but it is a total time saver (batch cooking).
I already save a ton of money grocery shopping by using coupons, but I think I just might be able to do a little better with menu planning. I generally don’t go to the grocery store more than once per week but on occasion it is necessary. It is those trips that have the potential to blow my grocery budget and yours too.
Not only that but, menu planning will save me a ton of money because I tend to shop with the “need to have every ingredient for every meal available just in case” type of mentality. But, I don’ t need to! I could save even more money if I bought what we needed for the week, right!
With planning a menu, I will also save myself time and heartache each night. Lately, I come home and do the “what sounds good for dinner tonight?” schpiel. Most times it ends in “sorry, the chicken is frozen” or “I didn’t take out any meat.” UGH! With meal planning THAT will be gone!!! Wahoooooo.
So, where to begin? There are a TON of websites that have meal planning ideas. There are even a few different software programs out there that help you meal plan. I think I will stick to my cookbooks, favorite recipes and a few of my favorite recipe sites.
Okay, now with batch cooking I am really excited to get in on this too. Whenever I make enchiladas or lasagna, I generally batch cook it. I recently (YES! recently) discovered how wonderful it is to come home start the oven and have dinner done in 45 minutes to an hour with minimal effort! So, what is my problem? It never actually occurred to me to batch cook meal ingredients rather than actual meals. I know! You don’t need to say it, k?!?!
I always buy my chicken at Costco so we are never short there. I always buy my ground beef in bulk when it is on sale (usually at Safeway) so we generally have that too. The problem however, is that it is frozen and I am not one for the microwave defrost job. Blech.
I was recently inspired by a post from Erin at 5 Dollar Dinners to batch cook ingredients. (She also does menu planning each week.) Check out this post she recently did on chicken breasts. Totally. Inspired.
Need I say more?
- Move on to Single Mom’s tip – week 10 on tracking your money