Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Meal Planning Challenge August 2017

I originally titled this Clean Out the Pantry Challenge, but then got lazy in doing a strong inventory. I did a general perusal and have the lay of the food stores. Oh how my daughter hates my clean out challenges, but I get invigorated by them. As I posted earlier this week, this challenge for me is more than a game. I'm hoping to get our personal spending under control, and with that, be able to contribute a bit more to needs in my community. When I refer to pantry, I mean anything stored in my kitchen, so freezer and fridge as well. For August, I want to keep total household spending to $350, including all groceries, household, and personal items. This should free up $50 or so to go towards school shopping. I'll need to plan a few nights of DD2's favorites to keep her from total rebellion.by serving chow mein, pasta, and a curry each week, I should tame her annoyance.

Looking at what was there and realizing we are all sick of our standard foods, I noodled around in my head ways to increase variety. Keeping in mind that I put myself back on track this week with healthier eating, I'm trying to not rely only on carb heavy meals, but built around vegetables and protein. Chicken will be a base for many meals as we seem to have a lot of it. I'm also stepping up my vegetarian game-curry and bean burgers are budget stretchers. Zucchini's should start to be plentiful at roadside stands for a pittance, but fingers crossed I score some from friends, neighbors, and coworkers. I will gladly gift  homemade muffins and quick bread for extra produce. DD2 and I will do an Aldi's run, with a list, after supper. I will be tight fisted with my cash, and stingy with my yes's to her requests.

I worked a few hours from home this afternoon, trying to get ahead of horrid road construction rush hour.  A bag of $3.00 ravioli, a $1.19 can of crushed tomatoes, $ .39 tomato paste, water, olive oil, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning were thrown together in the crock pot, for a meal for three for under $5.00. Yes, lots of carbs, but I'll keep to a small portion with some carrot sticks and fruit.There will be plenty for DH and DD2 for lunch tomorrow.I've got the makings all ready to go for a vegetable and country gravy stew, topped with biscuits. Tomorrow is predicted to be unseasonably cool, with temps not getting out of the 60's for highs. Stew will give us a little taste of fall, and used up the last of the carrots, a soft onion, soft potato, and celery. I'm also tossing together a salad with olives, artichokes, garbanzo beans, and celery for my lunch the next couple days. The link has the real recipe, but I'm using what I have so no peppers and goat cheese wedges instead of feta. Pasta, stews, and salads are great budget stretchers. I'll keep you posted on my success this month.
Picture from the recipe link at Food.com

10 comments:

  1. Good luck with your quest. We are also in a rut with eating the same old standard foods, so now I am trying to be somewhat creative. I made a ham and broccoli alfredo bake tonight that Jacob actually asked for 2nds of. Even hubby said it was good. I was glad because it got some chopped ham and a bag of broccoli out of the freezer that had been in there for a while.

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    1. That does sound good. I think if I think vegetable first, I might get better variety.

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  2. I love reading about your challenges! M & I are alone this week, so I dug out a mystery freezer surprise container for tonight. It turned out to be leftover PF Chang spicy noodles, so should be good. But, I echo your carb concerns & will need to serve my portion with leftover chicken & fruit!

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    1. I love the mystery freezer container. Reducing carbs is harder than one might imagine.

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  3. I guess everyone is trying to use their freezer stash. Mine is dwindling but not fast enough, and we are eating some seriously less than stellar meals. Oh well!

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    1. I am tired of waste, and even with being intentional, I still throw more than I should. I guess if the meals are healthy and nourishing, odd and less than stellar wins.

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  4. Yes, keep those budget stretchers coming! We only eat chicken and fish but I am looking for more veggie options as I'd like to have at least 3 veggie meals a week, not only to save money but to also eat healthier options.

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    1. I've been having some fun watching both vloggers on Youtube and reading recipes from vegetarian bloggers. There are some really great ideas and I think even my meat eater husband will be happy. I'm figuring out DD2 really is not much of a meat eater and pretty much any veggie based meal has been a hit for her.

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  5. I came across this recipe earlier this week -- cool here this weekend, so giving it a try:
    http://therealfoodrds.com/one-pan-teriyaki-chicken-veggie-bake/?mc_cid=40c18d9329&mc_eid=0c9a552920

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    1. Awesome-thanks for sharing! The internet is a budgeters dream.

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