Well, we were mostly successful this week on staying out of restaurants. We did end up eating out Wednesday night because I didn’t plan our schedule well and we were out of the house from late afternoon until bedtime. But I was successful in packing (and sticking to) picnics the days we were out of the house for lunch!
This week, I signed up for the “Eat Local” challenge through our local farmer’s market. I picked the ultra lenient path – simply because I need to use up what’s in my freezer and not buy more groceries than necessary. I tried to plan seasonal meals this week so that whatever I need to buy, I can buy from a local source – whether that be the farmer’s market or the grocery store. Luckily our grocery store sells quite a bit of local products!
Last week someone asked me if I stuck to a budget when I make my meal plan. I typically try to spend less than $150 at the grocery store each week. Sometimes I’m more successful than others. I try to keep my freezer pretty stocked with meat and frozen vegetables and our pantry stocked with essentials like canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, pasta, etc. I buy a lot of those items when they go on sale, and I try to create meal plans around the meat in our freezer. I also try to use up everything we have. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money on food and seeing it end up in the trash can or garbage disposal!
I’ve included a pantry list this week as well as a grocery list, to give you an idea of the kinds of things we always have on hand. To help you in budgeting, I’ve also put the price next to the items we bought, and whether or not we were able to find it locally sourced. The trick in eating at home is to make sure you always have your favorite items on hand!
Monday – Lunch: Apple Pie Panini – Doesn’t this simply look amazing?! We almost always have these ingredients on hand, and I can make the bread in my bread maker. I can’t wait to try this one!
Dinner: We have an outdoor event Monday so we’ll pack a picnic. I am not a huge fan of sandwiches for dinner, so I try to be creative. This week we’ll try this Caprese Pasta Salad, because it uses up a lot of ingredients I always have in the fridge.
Tuesday – Lunch: Leftover Caprese salad
Dinner: White Chicken Lasagna
Thursday – Lunch: Rice Cooker Macaroni & Cheese – I add a tiny bit of cooked chicken and frozen peas to it for an extra nutrition boost!
Dinner: Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta – I love this recipe because you can edit it based on the vegetables you have in your fridge!
Friday – Lunch: Picnic (sandwiches, fruit)
Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup, biscuits
Saturday – Lunch: Clean out the fridge
Dinner: Irish Beef Stew (Extra bonus – if you make this recipe as it’s written, you get 2 meals out of one preparation!)
From my pantry/fridge:
parmesan cheese (at least 2 cups)
arrowroot (you can also use cornstarch)
whole wheat pasta – $1.99 at Whole Foods (not local)
tomatoes (3-4) – $2 at the farmer’s market
basil – free in our yard
cream cheese – $1.69 at Whole Foods (not local)
cinnamon raisin bread – made in our bread maker
15 oz frozen corn – $1.50 at Whole Foods (not local)
red bell pepper – $1 at the farmer’s market
plain yogurt – $7 at the farmer’s market
eggplant – $1 at the farmer’s market
zucchini – $2 at the farmer’s market
apples – $8 at the farmer’s market
milk – $5.49 at Whole Foods (not local)
whole wheat lasagna noodles – $3.99 at Whole Foods (not local)
cooked chicken (rotisserie is usually a good buy, or you can buy breasts and cook them. We keep cooked chicken in our freezer at all times!)
onions (4) – $3 at the farmer’s market
chicken broth (I should have told you last week to save the bones from your whole roasted chicken. Chicken & veggie broth are my favorite “free” groceries…I put my crockpot to work with scraps that would be thrown away!)
half & half – $4 at the farmer’s market
fresh ginger – free from our yard
heavy cream – $5 at the farmer’s market
local bacon (for butternut squash soup topping) – $9 at the farmer’s market
1.25 lb beef stew meat – $9 at the farmer’s market
1.5 lb new potatoes – $6 at the farmer’s market
carrots – $0.95 at Whole Foods (not local)
parsnips – $1.39 at Whole Foods (not local)
butternut squash – $4 at the farmer’s market