Well, I did it! It may have taken me three hours of figuring and re-figuring along with 2 hours shopping but I made a meal plan for the next three weeks and bought all needed supplies.
It was quite difficult to do this three week meal plan for a few reasons.
Reason one: we have a limited about of recipes that are 'regulars' and I didn't want to repeat them. I've come to the conclusion that I need to start compiling a list of meals that we like so I have a quick place to go to and choose meals.
Reason two: I will be watching my niece and nephew the 11th-18th (minus the weekend) and I'm not sure if I will be staying there or coming home every night. Therefore, I want to make sure to have food for Jesse so he won't be tempted to order out while in my absence. I tried to find recipes that I can have ready for him before I'm gone or something that he can pop in the oven or microwave.
Reason three: leftovers galore. Yes this is actually an issue. Don't get me wrong, leftovers are a good thing, however I'm not a huge fan of them (I'm working on that). Jesse's lunches usually consist of leftovers but I try and set it up so that he doesn't have for lunch one day what he had for supper the night before. That's just not that fun, unless you looooove that food (aka pizza). I also don't want to have us eating leftovers of the same thing forever. I swear we have been eating lasagna for two weeks. I love lasagna and should have frozen half of it for later but we don't have much to freeze things in.
Well, I ended up compiling a short list of our regular recipes that I plan to add to. A whooping six meals that we are having over the next three weeks come from Sarah's rave reviews. It's like she's my personal menu taster and only tells us the things that taste good and get her seal of approval. I'm hoping our tastes will be somewhat similar (I do have to give her credit for my feta obsession). Lunches completely consist of leftovers or sandwiches, which isn't much of a change. I did my best to arrange the meals so we aren't eating chicken night after night. I'm sure everything won't go as planned, but that's okay. As I've said before, I may not stick to the menu but usually just shuffle the meals around. As long as we don't eat out more than planned (allowing Jesse lunch once a week and our supper once a week). I will consider this a huge success! I actually don't expect to make all of the meals that are planned and won't be very surprised if we eat out more than once. My current view is setting a high goal will push me harder than reaching a little goal. I'm willing to bet that we will have plenty of leftovers and I won't end up making two of these meals.
The pocketbook: I was hoping to not spend the entire budget today so that I could use the leftover money on any awesome deals that take place over the next couple of weeks. Well that didn't happen. I actually went a little over budget, but only by 32 cents for the whole three weeks. Our goal is to spend a mere $25 a week on groceries and we have been doing a pretty good job so far. Between WalMart and HyVee, I spent $75.32. I will only allow myself to buy grocery items over the next few weeks unless they are on killer sale, or if we are in dire need of it (most likely milk). I just realized that Jesse and I also spent $12.35 on Saturday. I guess I should include that in what we have spent on groceries. I'm pretty stoked about the deals we got: 10 packages of shredded cheese for .99 each, that will last us a very long time; 2 half gallons of milk for .99 each, one of which is already gone; and treat of Minute Maid fruit punch for .77, a yummy treat. I will work on keeping track of what, if any, I spend through August 22nd.
The plan: I wrote it all out in my Google Calendar. This works well for a couple of reasons. For planning I could see all three weeks at once to make sure I wasn't copying anything or putting meals beside each other that I didn't want to do. I've also shared my calendar with Jesse so he can check it out to, especially for those days I may be gone. Here's what I have for the plan:
8/3 - Cheesy Pasta and Broccoli
8/4 - Lunch: Lasagna leftovers with Caesar salad
Super dogs with canned peaches in lite syrup
8/5 - Lunch: Cheesy pasta leftovers
8/6 - Lunch: Lasagna leftovers (I said we have a ton!)
Back home for supper
8/7 - All meals at home
8/8 - Most likely lunch and supper at home
8/9 - Jesse: out Dani: Sandwich/leftovers
Tangy Honey Glazed Ham with baked potatoes and green beans
8/10 - Lunch: Tuna sandwich and chips or leftovers
Chicken Pot Pie
8/11 - Lunch: Ham leftovers
8/12 - Lunch: Pie leftovers
Tater Tot Casserole (half)
8/13 - Lunch: Any leftovers
Grill or out
8/14 - Lunch: Sloppy Joes
8/15 - Sandwiches/Salads/Leftovers
Homemade Chinese and rice
8/16 - Lunch: Leftovers
8/17 - Lunch: Jesse out, Dani Sandwich/Leftovers
8/18 - Lunch: Leftovers
Ham & Broccoli Bake
8/19 - Lunch: Leftovers
Broccoli Feta Quiche
8/20 - Lunch: Leftovers
8/21 - Eggs, bacon
8/22 - Lunch: Leftovers
As you can tell by the end of the menu planning I did get a bit lazy and just made lunch designated as leftovers. I will almost guarentee you that we will have plenty of leftovers, but you never know. So, if we do not have leftovers available for lunch one day, I will see if I can rearrange Jesse's eating out day (which will probably happen anyways). If I can't do that, then sandwiches will be had.
I think by putting this out there to be seen by someone other than me will keep me motivated to stick to it. I hope to update regularly on if I kept to the plan or how I have modified it if I haven't.
We are on track tonight! The Cheesy pasta and broccoli was yummy! There was a bit lack of taste, but I realized that I didn't salt the noodle water at all and that could be why. I small addition of salt solved the problem. The recipe only called for broccoli but since we had some frozen carrots, I thought that would be a nice color burst! And it was! For sure will put in more carrots next time along with peas. Jesse even suggested adding shredded or grilled chicken to it.
*Whew, that was quite the post!