Monday, September 7, 2015

[[Menu Planning Monday]]

Happy Labor day friends!
I hope you are all enjoying an extra day with those you love most! We are going to spend the day together as a family & head on up to camp later for the afternoon.
My baby starts Pre-K on Wednesday! I cannot believe that the time has come. He did so great on welcome day and had so much fun. I am looking forward to all the things the 2015-2016 school year has in store for him.
I thought I would share a little background on why I menu plan!
Menu planning has really helped to ensure I am not feeding my family the same things over & over and that we stick to our budget in the grocery store :) I used to think of the word "budget" as a dirty word for not having enough money. When in fact I have learned that it really is the complete opposite. We use a budget to make sure we know where our hard earned dollars are going. To ensure our bills are all paid and that we have money set aside for when emergencies arise!
I used to aimlessly walk through the store without a plan and wait for the aisles to "speak to me" so I could decide what I wanted to make. I would leave having spent around $250 and no idea what I was going to make for dinner all week or be lacking all the ingredients.
Now, when I make my grocery list I first shop my pantry & fridge/freezer. I see what items I have and what meals can be made from what I have on hand. I am not afraid of homemade and actually prefer it. By going through what we already have first I am able to stick to a budget and save money for other things.
Meal planning also helps us to not eat out as often. Pre-kids we ate out almost EVERYNIGHT! Not only is that expensive, its not healthy. SO now I plan for the week and prepare the night before. I make sure everything is thawed that may be frozen and try to do as much pre-prep work as I can so that after work/daycare when we are all tired and cranky I just have to throw dinner together! No standing there with hungry tummy's wondering what we are going to eat or where to order from!
I also get my family involved! :) I ask my husband and Dominick, (Aidan is still a little young) what their favorite meals are they would like to eat for dinner this week :)
This weeks menu is the following:
Monday: we are going out to camp today, we usually eat there when we go
Tuesday: I don't think Giovanni will be joining us for dinner tonight so as per request from Dominick we will behaving Grilled cheese & soup :)
Wednesday: Ranch pork chops & loaded baked potatoes with green beans (although these are ranch, they are "Dominick friendly" being that its ranch dressing mix unprepared, it has no egg)
Thursday: We are going to our friend's for dinner, we rotate weeks. We have done this for 5+ years and  really enjoy it. We get to visit and catch up while still "going out to eat" with out the cost. Its really great!
Friday: Pasta with red sauce, turkey meatballs (my kids love these) garlic bread & salad
Saturday: we are going to my cousin's son's 2nd birthday party! we will most likely eat there
Sunday: We are having my sister & her boyfriend over for dinner. We rotate with them on Sundays, same concept as Thursdays! :) I will be making Turkey Dinner! Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn & biscuits.
I always plan an extra dinner or two incase something comes up or someone is sick and we cant attend our weekly dinners! (Our weekly dinners with friends really don't effect our grocery budget much at all, I like to cook and have left overs for lunches or quick meals later in the week so we usually always have plenty with leftovers on weekly dinner nights too!) I feel that being prepared counts! :)

Do you menu plan? I would love to hear new suggestions/ideas for how you plan for the week and save money in the grocery store! :)
Until next time,
XO Jessica  

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