Monday, 19 January 2015

Menu Monday #2 - How to meal plan and save money

Instead of my weekly menu, I thought I'd share with you how and why I meal plan. I was tagged by my BFF (I'm an adult, am I allowed to use that term?) to do a #4dayfoodchallenge which I will be post on my Instagram. So if you want to know what I'm rustling up for dinner, head on over and follow me :D 

I have been meal planning for as long as I've been married (which was a decade this past November). I had to learn some kitchen skills asap and I just didn't know any other way to shop for groceries.

And this is where meal planning comes in. Before even thinking of heading to the shops I write down everything I have in my fridge, freezer and cupboards. Im talking EVERYTHING. Sometimes its a very long list, sometimes its isnt. Sometime the list is full of ingredients that don't appear to go together, other times there a marriages made in heaven.

Either way, with my list of ingredients I head to Google and seriously type in a handful of ingredients that I have and type in "recipe" afterwards and see what pops up.

For example 

Brown sugar, garlic and lemon returned a recipe for a great marinade for chicken, and with a bag of frozen veges in the freezer and a sachet of instant sauce which goes great with chicken, you have a meal. And all I had to buy was the chicken.

And I do this until I have enough lunches and dinners for at least a week or until I've used up a decent amount of ingredients and my cupboard are looking bare.

I usually take a quick look at whats on special at the supermarkets but its very rarely stuff that I truly need.

I meal plan for so many reason.

1. It saves me money as I buy what I need and dont waste food as we use up what we have. With a family of five (soon to be six i think...) and a mortgage, living off my husbands income, we just don't have the financial ability to waste money

2. With a very small kitchen and no official pantry so I just don't have the space to hoard food. My kitchen must be organised and practical or I'll have tins of tomatoes falling on top of me and thats not the vibe I'm going for.

3. It saves me time as I know what I'm cooking for dinner and I can defrost meat as needed and I'm also not running to the shops every few days. I normally do a main shop on a Sunday or Monday and normally by Thursday we're out of milk and fresh produce so I do a quick restock. 
Meal planning
Three books which really taught me a lot and changed my perspective on grocery shopping are

Table Tucker by Penina Peterson

The $21 Challenge by Fiona Lippey & Jackie Gower

4 Ingredients series by Kim McCosker& Racheal Bermingham

What are your tips and tricks with saving money but still feeding the troops nutritious and delicious meals? 

Lets hope 2015 is the year of no wasted food, no wasted money and organised kitchens. 

Step 12,

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