Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meal Plan....What's a Meal Plan?.....Leftovers, Using What You Have & Less Shopping

 *The one where I ramble on about meal planning changes and leftovers.*

This week has got me swimming in circles here in regards to meals.
Though I haven't been adhering to a regimented Meal Planning for a couple of months, I was still cooking off of a loose framework, using what I picked in the garden or found for a good price at the farmstand/market as a guide.  Basically I pair some protein in the freezer with the fresh veggie du jour.

In a few short years, it will be down to Hubs and I for meals here.  #1 son is back to college soon, Daughter leaves for college next fall and 3 yrs after that #2 son follows.

For now, Daughter has started a new job(but still working some at the old job too)so most nights she isn't home.   #2 son is still doing Band Camp this week, so he's been gone from 9am until 8pm through this Friday and he doesn't want to eat when he gets home.  So that leaves Hubs and I most nights to eat alone.

Something I struggle with is not preparing too much food, which leads to food waste.  I find it hard to get use to cooking for 2 or 3 people when I am so use to cooking for 5.   I've used this week to try to prepare myself for cooking less amounts of food and also a narrower range of foods for the week, since once the kids are out of the house, I won't need to prepare as much food for a meal.

Hubs and I, unlike the kids, are perfectly happy to eat the same meals over and over again during the course of a week.  This along with cooking less amounts should help cut down on food waste and food expenditures in the years to come.

Here's what I've served since Saturday evening.....

#2 son had a sleepover here Sat. so I made them pigs in blankets and chili(all from stockpile).  I had a BLT(stockpile bread & bacon and tomatoes from the garden) and Hubs & Daughter ate leftover Pork Enchiladas from last Friday.  I way over made on the pigs in a blanket so there are 6 left over along with a whole bowl of chili.

Sunday was pancakes and bacon for breakfast & Chinese take-out for 4 for dinner.  Usually we eat half of the Chinese food since it's just so much food, and save the other half for subsequent there is Chinese leftover.

Monday I had eggs for Breakfast.  Daughter and I had leftover Chinese for lunch.  Dinner for 3, was BBQ chicken thighs-I made a package of 5(freezer/stockpile sauce)and salad(garden).  There is 1 piece of chicken leftover.

Tuesday I had a BLT for lunch, Daughter had the last Pork Enchilada.  For Dinner I cooked up a package of freezer ground beef and made Stuffed Yellow Squash(like Stuffed Peppers but with Squash)since we had 4 squash sitting in the fridge from the garden...I used 3 and made 6 halves.  I made wild rice medley with it.  There are 2 halves of squash leftover as well as 2 servings of rice.

Wednesday I had a bagel for Breakfast.  Daughter had raw veggies and salad dressing dip for lunch. Hubs was out of town for dinner(he ate a hamburger on the road-billed to his job) &  Daughter had work and didn't eat so I took some leftover ground beef that didn't go into the Stuffed Squash dish, a jar of pasta sauce and whipped up 1/2 a box of rigatoni.  I ate a serving of that for lunch and then another serving for dinner too.  There is 1 serving left.

At this point the leftovers are.....

6 pigs in blanket
1 bowl chili
Hub's Chinese food
#2 son's Chinese food
1 BBQ chicken thigh
2 servings of stuffed squash and rice
1 serving of rigatoni w/meat sauce

Thursday I'll probably have another Bagel and then a BLT for lunch....fresh tomatoes here still so I could eat that every day and not tire of  For Dinner, Hubs and I will have leftovers...if I had to guess, Hubs will choose his Chinese food and I'd pick the stuffed squash & rice.  If one of us wants the chicken or rigatoni, I'll prepare a salad or a veggie mix from the freezer.  Daughter is working again so she'll eat at her job or eat her brother's leftover chinese food that's still in the fridge before she leaves.

Friday is the Band Picnic/Preview.  I need to make something to take but am still at a loss about what to make. If I thought the kids would eat sour cream cucumber salad, I'd make that as I have a plethora of cukes   I guess I'll make a pasta salad since I have pasta, peppers, onions, salad dressing, celery, carrots and I can put cukes in it too.  Or I can add tuna in too and turn it into fancy pants tuna salad. ;-)
I'll have whatever is still leftover for lunch(or another BLT!) and when #2 son comes home at noon he can eat the leftover chili and hot dogs.  We'll be eating at the picnic for dinner.  If Daughter doesn't go she's on her own and will make something for herself.

Saturday we'll see what is still here in terms of leftovers and either finish those up or see what we can feed to the dogs if no one wants that particular item.  In this way, we start off Sunday with no leftovers to be forgotten and go bad in the back of the fridge next week.
I also only had to "cook" 4 days(not counting making BLTs).

Through Wed. I've used for the week.....
2 packages of hot dogs
2 tubes of crescent rolls
2 cans of chili
1 package of pancake mix
1 package of bacon
3/4 loaf of bread
3 tomatoes
1/4 head of lettuce
5 chicken thighs
big bunch of leaf lettuce
3 yellow squash
1.5lb. ground beef
1 qt. of home canned tomatoes
1 onion
2 packages of rice mix
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 box pasta
3 eggs
2 bagels
1/2 package of cream cheese
1/2 lb. grapes
2 cups of mandarin oranges
6 celery stalks
4 carrots
1 gallon of milk
some butter
some syrup
some mayo
some salad dressing

I've only spent $3.32 this week for a gallon of milk.
#2 son has taken $5 a day(for 3 days=$15) and assorted snacks/drinks from the stockpile to Band Camp for meals.  Tomorrow instead of $5 he gets a certificate I won for 4 free hot dogs to a local joint he can walk to from school and he'll share it with a buddy.  The buddy will buy their drinks and leave the tip.
The Chinese food came to $36 for 4 people plus leftovers.  The eating out comes out of the entertainment budget so I'm not figuring that amount in.

So far that means I've spent $18.32(with the $5 a day for #2 son)on 26 meals this week.  We will get at least another 6 meals/servings out of that amount of food.
Since the store sales suck this week I won't be stocking up on anything but I'll buy milk again for another $3.32, making my week's grocery shopping total $6.64 for milk and $15 for #2 son's Band lunches.

Next week, #1 son returns from working at camp for the summer and Band Camp is over so unless Daughter is working, we are back to 5 for dinners.  I think I'll do an actual Meal Plan for next week.

The following week, #1 son leaves for college, so we'll be down to 4 or 3 for dinner(depending on Daughter's schedule).
It's always changing around here lately.....



  1. We love leftovers here. I always plan for Thursdays to be a leftover day because that's also the day I shop for the week. Who wants to cook after a rigorous day of shopping? Sometimes we have more than one leftover day in a week. Sometimes I even plan to have leftovers several days a week.

    Something I like to do (but admittedly don't always accomplish) is to have a rough idea of what I'll be serving for dinner for a month. The fourth week of the month, though, I leave wide open. That way, when I have unexpected leftovers during the first three weeks, I make "room" for the leftovers immediately by bumping a planned meal to the end of the month. That last week usually plans itself that way. :)

  2. I remember having a relatively rough transition from family meals (just one son, but he had a good appetite) to just two of us, to really just one of us. I now fix myself about the same amount I was fixing DH and me before, and take his portion (the leftovers) to work for lunch the next day. That works pretty well. Some evenings, though -- I kid you not -- my dinner has been 3 beefsteak tomatoes and two helpings of green beans and nothing else, just eating nothing but the CSA veggie box stuff :)

  3. It sounds like you managed your leftovers pretty well. I admit, I looked at your list and thought, "you can freeze all that." LOL!

    We rarely eat leftovers at home. Any leftovers from dinner are packaged up in individual servings and put in the freezer for me to take to lunch in the future. Though my "lunch" stash has been getting a little low, lately, as Hubby has been cooking just enough for the two of us and we have not been having any leftovers. LOL! I bought a few frozen Healthy Choice meals for when that happens, so I can still take my lunch and not go out to eat.

    We never, ever, ever, ever, ever throw away food.

  4. I'm wondering what it will be like with Anna not here. I think the food bill will go down but my guess is she will be using the money for food down there. I'll let you know!

  5. AnnieJ--Rough planning for the month sounds like it works well for you. I don't know if I could work something so far in advance tho.
    Some day I'll get brave and try

    I'm Pretty--I think everyone has an adjustment period from a full house to the empty nest, I just didn't expect planning/implementing the cooking part of it to be so hard.

    Frances--I guess I 'could' freeze leftovers but most of the meats were frozen to begin with and I just have a thing about refreezing those. Luckily, even tho the kids hate leftovers, Hubs could eat them every day and then there are the hounds to eat whatever we don't...if I don't forget them in the back of the

    SonyaAnn--Your food bill will go down, if you can keep Den out of the ethnic And that new found food money will indeed be heading south to school for books, tuition, fees, etc. etc. etc. 8-(


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