I’ve tried menu planning so many ways and I’m still not convinced about which way works best for me. I’ve bought what was on sale and planned as I shopped and I’ve planned according to recipes that I wanted to make during the week and then just bought what I needed regardless if it’s on sale or not. But this week I decided to plan my menu around the odds and ends I already had in my cupboards and freezer.
I seem to collect strange food items that I either bought too much of when I needed it for a special recipe or it was on some crazy sale that I couldn’t pass up. This has left me with quite an interesting pantry full of things that I wouldn’t normally use. But with the help of websites like Recipezaar and Meals.com where you can enter in an ingredient and find hundreds of recipes built around that item, I’ve been able to use them up by purchasing a few cheap ingredients to add to what I already have.
I had 3 boxes of unused Manicotti noodles that were never going to get used, as well as cans of pumpkin, refried beans, and some pearl barley that has been in my cupboard for months.
Why not use it to stretch the budget?
So my breakfasts will look like this…
Amish Baked Oatmeal
Pumpkin Spice Bread
Chocolate Banana Smoothies and muffins
Baked French Toast
Oatmeal Buffet ( I set out dried fruits, brown sugar, milk, coconut and they serve themselves buffet style)
Poached Eggs and Toast
Hamburger Barley Stew and Peasant Bread
Vegetarian Meatloaf with green beans
Mexican Manicotti with corn
Ranch Potatoes and steamed broccoli
Better Than Sex Cake (we’ll just have to see about that)
And on the nights where we are just too busy this week…
Hot dogs and fries
Mac & Cheese
My grocery hunt went a little somethin’ like this…
Paper Napkins .99
Toilet Paper 2.49
3 cans diced Italian tomatoes 2.07
5 loaves of bread 4.40
3.5 lbs bananas 1.56
2 liter pop .68
Large tub of Cool Whip 1.93
2 skor bars 1.06
18 eggs 2.84
Brown sugar .98
1.34 lbs broccoli 1.31
1 yellow onion .25
Carmel ice cream topping 2.15
4 lbs ground beef 6.92
1 lb coffee beans 5.02
5lbs tangerines 6.98
4 pack refrigerated biscuits 1.29
2 lb cheese 5.98
Hot dogs .99
Cake mix .99
Jar of kosher dill pickles .79
4 boxes Mac & Cheese 1.00
Candy (potty training rewards) 1.98
2 cans evaporated milk 1.78
Picante sauce 1.49
Not as good as last week but I’m not complaining since before this little adventure I could easily spend $200 per week.
So here’s where I need your input. Is the itemized breakdown helpful for you guys or would a picture be sufficient. I don’t’ want to bore you to death.
And…I would love to do a post all about YOUR frugal recipe favorites. So I was thinking that on a set day you could all post your favorite penny pinching dishes on our own blog and then I’ll put up a Mr. Linky here as a central location. (kind of like WFMW does) We can share our blog traffic a little bit AND get some new budget stretching recipes. But only if you want to do it.