Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mum stuff | Menu planning

I have been following blogs for a while that discuss menu planning, but had never really tried it myself. Honestly, it just smacked of effort.  This week, I had no choice. My hubby has been away for work and I had to get organised. With two children and working full time, I just didn't have time to think about what to cook every day.  On Sunday, the kids went to the movies with their grandparents, and while they were gone I sat down and wrote out a menu plan that incorporated items I already had in the pantry and freezer. Then I hit the shops, and shopped to my menu, not a shopping list. OMG! The total bill was only $85! I was amazed. I new exactly what I wanted, so my shopping time was cut in half too.  For that $85, I have been able to plan tasty and variety packed breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for 2 adults and 2 children. Yes, there was fresh meat and fruit and vege in my trolley. I don't expect my shopping bill to be that low every time, but its a start. I'll let you know how I go next week.  I've placed a copy of the menu on our fridge so we know exactly what the plan is and there's less chance of deviation.

Notes on shopping:
  • I incorporated the kids favourite foods into the menu. Eme would happily eat pasta every day of her life if I let her! The pasta sauce is loaded with veges too, so the daily requirements are met. Seth loves pizza. Pepperoni pizza to be exact. I purchased 8 slices of pepperoni from the deli, which cost only $0.25. If you buy it prepacked, its usually about $4. Huge saving!
  • I made enough zucchini slice and risotto to do more than one meal.  I've containerised (is that a word?) it up and put it in the fridge for leftover lunch. Love leftovers! It always tastes better the next day. When I make the bolognaise tomorrow, there will be leftovers from that too.
  • I purchased the chicken wings from the deli instead of prepacked, and saved myself $6 a kilo! You could marinate them, but the kids like them plain. No spices for their little tongues. Eme thinks tomato sauce is spicy sometimes...lord help me.
  • I made cheese and vegemite scrolls. I normally pick one up for the kids from Bakers Delight. For the same price as one, I was able to bake 12 using ingredients I already had in the pantry. Make time to bake because you will save a fortune! Not only that, I know exactly what's in it.
  • Coles now sells 2L of milk for $2. I'm sorry Dairy Farmers, you just can't compete with that price!
  • I no longer buy into the "3 for $xx" mentality. If I don't need 3, I don't buy 3. Its false economy people. My only exception is a great deal on bread. We go through a couple of loaves a week, so I buy 2 and stick one in the freezer. Then I don't have to go back to the shops during the week.
  • I am willing to try alternative brands. Some items are less than half the price of the big name brands. If the product sucks, at least I've tried it. However, I haven't been disappointed yet.
Enough ranting...I'll leave you with a recipe...

Recipe | Lisa's Zucchini Slice
This is a meal that my mum used to make us occasionally as a departure from the usual meat and three veg. Mum's recipe called for a cup of vegetable oil, but I've eliminated that completely. The eggs make the slice moist enough without the oil.

You will need:
3 zucchini grated
3 carrots grated
1 medium onion finely diced
250g diced bacon or ham
1 cup grated cheese
5 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
3. Pour mixture into a large baking tray, making sure mixture is spread evenly across tray
4. Pop it into the oven for approximately 40 minutes.
5. Serve hot or cold. Great with a side salad or by itself.

NB. If your kids don't like zucchini, tell them its cheesy bacon pie and they will gobble it up!

Cheers, Lis.


Cate Brickell said...

we've just recently re-discovered zucchini slice, everyone loves it here! It's amazing the difference a menu plan can make, isn't it?! I'm going to try something slightly different and theme each day of the week, see how that helps (thursday is scouts night, early dinner, so it's freexer night, sunday we usually have a roast or eat out, friday is fish or feathers etc)

Tracey said...

LOVE your menu plan, and thanks for the recipe. I've been trying to do this more too, it not only saves money but also makes life easier and healthier. xxx

Her Essential Hand said...

isnt menu planning and baking the best! I always do and agree it saves dollars at the grocery store and getting what you dont need and the thinking of what to cook.
yep, we bake at least twice a week!
I got my storybook kit...o my... YUMMO!! THANKYOU...
enjoy your night.

The Scrapbook Speedway said...

great menu! love the pic! now, i'm hungry!

Karen.C said...

Lisa it is amazing how much you can save with a plan the chicken risotto sounds good Recipe please:)

Lou Spiden said...

I couldn't survive without a menu plan. 1.it's much cheaper and 2.you think at the start but don;t have to constantly think about what's for dinner everyday. Much more organised.
This is a good site:


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