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Thread: Menu Planning?

  1. #1
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Menu Planning?

    My desire and energy to cook has totally gone out the window with my new pregnancy morning sickness and exhaustion! I was trying Weight Watchers before I got pregnant and now I feel like I am in a rut of what to cook for the family. My DH has not complained, and a huge kudos to him! I'm so tired of cooking the same chicken salads, taco salads, nacho chili every single day. Would menu planning each week help? Does anyone menu plan nowadays? We are on a tight grocery budget of course, and I know that menu planning will cost more for the first week or two as I stock up on the basics. I just want to give my hard working husband (he's working 12 hr days!) something nice at the end of each day, kind of like a thank you to him.

    Any ideas on healthy, cheap menu options? (I'm no longer on WW so I no longer have access to their recipes. Bummer! Wish I thought of this a few months ago!)
    Last edited by NZquilter; 11-19-2018 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Spelling
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  2. #2
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    Yes, it would definitely help. I know because when I lived alone I did it for several years, and it is wonderful knowing what the next meal is and sometimes it was already partially done. Go for it.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

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  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I used to do it, mainly because of budget issues, and then later because I worked and had to feed the kids and didn't want to rely on fast food. I don't do it as much now, because we are retired and I pass by a grocery store 3 times a week on the way home from the gym. Plus, my Instant Pots have rejuvenated my meals! Mr. Stitchnripper very happy with the output.
    Alyce

  4. #4
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    Try some of Bonnie Hunterís recipes under her recipe tab on her Quiltville site.
    Look for a sale on hamburger to do some of our staples....meatloaf with baked potatoes, easy cabbage rolls, shepardís pie, meatballs done in the oven and then into jarred spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili, hamburgers on a nice bun.....
    Last edited by Tartan; 11-20-2018 at 07:28 AM.

  5. #5
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    Check out Skinnytaste.com. She has a plethora of recipes many of which are one pot meals and also lots of menu planning. All the recipes include the WW points as well. She also divides into which vessel you want to use....skillet, crockpot, pressure cooker, sheet pan. Maybe you can get some ideas from her. I have her new cookbook, One and Done and just love it.
    Here is a link:
    https://www.skinnytaste.com/

  6. #6
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Thank goodness DH does not mind leftovers. But I do try to 'disguise' them. I often make a double batch of something and then freeze the excess in single serve containers. Baked chicken can become fajitas or chicken salad. An economy pack of ground beef, pre-browned and frozen in 1 lb. containers can be turned into meat sauce for pasta, taco, or chili. Even mashed potatoes can be frozen. Just thaw, press into a baking pan, dot with butter and bake until the top is a little crunchy.

    But I understand not wanting to even think about cooking in your present state. Goodness knows I was there many many moons ago!!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  7. #7
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    When I was on a really right budget, menu planning was the only way I got by without over spending. It was difficult at first but it got easier and kept me on track.
    Patrice S

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    I go to the grocery story and buy what is on sale, then I choose a menu to match what I have for hubby and myself. Only exception is preparing for our weekly family dinner.....think Blue Bloods TV show..... Cooking and Serving 12 people requires a specific planned menu, and trip to grocery store and help from my 7 year old grand daughter. She and I pull it off every week! So, yes, menu planning still exists in my world.

  9. #9
    mim
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    twice a year we "move" from coast to coast. We have to "eat down" both the freezer and fridge. Menu planning is the only way to go. Especially when DH loves to go wild in the grocery and buy everything he thinks we NEED. He's worse than a three year old.

    Menu planning makes my life easier week to week so I can keep a lid on his "gimmies". It also helps both of us gradually lose that extra 10 pounds.

    Mim

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy224 View Post
    Check out Skinnytaste.com. She has a plethora of recipes many of which are one pot meals and also lots of menu planning. All the recipes include the WW points as well. She also divides into which vessel you want to use....skillet, crockpot, pressure cooker, sheet pan. Maybe you can get some ideas from her. I have her new cookbook, One and Done and just love it.
    Here is a link:
    https://www.skinnytaste.com/
    WOW, what a great site for healthy meals, thank you so much for giving the link.
    Signed up for her newsletter.

  11. #11
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    There are tons of WW recipes on Pinterest.
    I promise not to buy any more fabric until I see something I really like. Or it's on sale. Or I think it might match something.

  12. #12
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    Congratulations on the new pregnancy! How exciting. I could not stand the sight of meat in my first trimester with each of my children, so you're doing well to fix what you do!

    I have found the easiest way to meal plan is to take a blank calendar page and write the same meal on it somewhere 4x, tHen 4 of another, etc, until your calendar has most blanks filled. Part of my plan is leftovers, and part is eating out (because it's not realistic for us not to). Sometimes it's Breakfast for Dinner (scrambled eggs and bacon, toast) sometimes Meatless (like bean burritoes), soup/salad/bread, Italian, Sandwich Night (like Reubens) with storebought potato salad. Then you can simply make a master list of ingredients you'll need for a week or two , or however often you shop. I always try to plan for leftovers to either have for lunch or to freeze and pull out on Hodgepodge Night (everybody eats whatever they can find--there are only 3 of here now).

    If you like that master plan, just photocopy it for the next month.

  13. #13
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    First...a big congrats to you and your family on your new addition! Ahhh...morning sickness...I remember those days.

    I went off WW a couple of months ago, stopped planning my meals and whoop! the weight started coming right back on. I've also got to get back on program. So, my advice, do try to stick with the meal planning and weekly weigh-ins, even if you're not on WW anymore. It will help you keep in the groove.

    Get the other family members to help with the cooking by buying things that they can make s/a homemade pizza (pre-made pizza dough is cheap,) soups and veggie-based stews (very WW friendly,) create-your-own soft tacos, scrambles with eggs or tofu, beans of any kind (zero points,) etc. Let them create in the kitchen. If they complain, walk into the kitchen, drop to the floor like you're fainting and let them carry you to bed. They'll get the hint after a couple of these episodes. It's your time to be a diva. I mean after all, how often do you get to do that?

    As for keeping within a tight budget...make a list ahead of time. You don't have to plan every meal, but at least buy good, quality items to have on hand. I use the SAFEWAY ap and I scour their website, adding coupons and deals to my phone before I go shopping. It has really helped cut down our grocery costs. I"m sure that other big chain stores have aps too.

    We stay away from processed foods as much as possible, except during the holidays when our guests expect their favorite "goodies." Otherwise, we go with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are usually way cheaper than meat or packaged foods. Send the DH, or another family member off to go shopping with your saved list and a total cap on the cost. (I like to send my DH with a credit card that is almost maxed out. If he goes over budget, then he's embarrassed when the card won't go though. I know, I'm mean sometimes. No 24-pack of beer for you, buddy.)

    One last thing...go to some of the great websites out there for healthier recipes. Murphy224 and Farmquilter mentioned skinnytaste.com, which is awesome. There are lots of others too. Just do a search and you'll come up with tons of new and interesting foods to make. (That is, for your family members to cook. Not you...you'll be on the couch calling out instructions, as needed to the "chef" in the kitchen.)

    The holidays are a difficult time to keep eating healthy. You gotta be armed and prepared.

    Good luck!

    ~ C
    Last edited by tropit; 11-27-2018 at 06:39 AM.

  14. #14
    Junior Member Nerys's Avatar
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    Some tips. Mashed potatoes you can add root vegetables like carrots or celeriac root to extend the volume of dish.
    Potato casseroles with added vegetables.
    Rice with things mixed into it like peas, beans, corn, colorful bits of bell peppers.
    Beef stew from less expensive stewing beef cuts cooked for few hours until fork tender a little sugar and spoon of apple cider vinegar will help soften the beef.
    Save bits of vegetables and store in a bag in freezer and end of week you have start for a soup.
    Ovenroasted chicken just seasalt pepper and some citrus lemon and/or orange and it roasts in its own juices.

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